Summary: A teaching message on Romans 12:9-21.

Romans Series # 51 August 14, 2002

Title: A Christian’s "To Do" List Part 3



Introduction: Welcome to New Life in Christ. We are currently in Chapter 12 of Romans as we continue with message #51 of our verse-by-verse study of the Book of Romans.

Read Romans 12:13

Opening Prayer

During the past two weeks I have shared with you how Romans 12:9-21 is basically a Christian "To Do" list. This is a list of 15 practical things the Christian should be living out in their own lives. So far I have shared on 8 of the 15 things on the Christian’s "To Do" list.

1. Love others sincerely.

2. Hate what is evil.

3. Cling to what is good.

4. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.

5. Honor one another above yourselves.

6. Serve the Lord with diligence and enthusiasm.

7. Trust in and depend on God, especially in difficult times.

8. Open your wallet for Christians in need.

Now let’s continue by looking at the ninth thing on the Christian’s "To Do" list.

9. Make it a practice to be friendly with everyone.

This is the basic meaning of the Greek word translated as "hospitality." The word literally means to be friendly, kind, or loving toward strangers, i.e. those whom you do not know. This is what differentiates this exhortation from the previous one, which dealt primarily with how we treated fellow Christians. As Christians, our acts of kindness should extend beyond that of our own family and friends. It should also include those with whom we are unfamiliar. Practice hospitality.

9. Make it a practice to be friendly with everyone.

In, ancient times, hospitality was primarily practiced by providing food and shelter to travelers, who were in most cases, unknown to the host. Opening up your house was by no means the only way that hospitality was practice in New Testament times. Any practical act of kindness to a stranger was considered hospitality. With the advent of modern travel and accommodations, such as hotels, there are not a lot of opportunities to provide lodging for travelers, but we can still adhere to the principle of kindness to strangers in many other ways.

Let me give you a few examples of how we can make it a practice to be friendly with everyone. On the roadways, when we see a person whose car is broken down, we can stop and help, rather than ignoring them, which seems to be the more common response today. This is practicing hospitality. On the roadways, we can allow another motorist into the flow of traffic, rather than staying on top of the next car’s bumper so that other drivers cannot get in front of us. This is being kind to strangers. In our workplaces, we can help fellow employees if they need it, even if it is not our job. In the supermarket, we can allow a hurried shopper to get in front of us at the checkout line. In our neighborhoods, we can pick up the neighbor’s trash can when it is in the roadway, instead of driving around it. In the worship service, we go out of our way to welcome and talk with the newcomers and visitors, rather than allowing the same few people to do it every week, while others gather in holy huddles to greet and talk to their friends. Be kind, be friendly, and be hospitable. This is what the ninth thing on the Christian’s "To Do" list is about.

9. Make it a practice to be friendly with everyone.

Now let’s look at the tenth thing on the Christian’s "To Do" list, which is found in the next verse.

Read Romans 12:14

10. Do good and not evil to those who repeatedly hurt you.

The word "persecute" in this verse means to repeatedly attack or hurt someone. We generally use this word in referring to attacks that come because a person is a Christian, but the word means any kind of repeated intent to harm, whether physical, financial, verbal, and emotional, etc... It is the word Paul used to describe Ishmael’s antagonistic mocking of Isaac. (Galatians 4:29)

How are we to respond to those who hurt us, especially those who do so repeatedly? How are we to respond to the ex-spouse who repeatedly wrongs us, or the employer who treats unfairly? How should we respond to the neighbor who is purposely doing things that aggravate us, or to the co-worker who is not treating us right? How should you treat those who have lied to you, falsely accused you, deceived you, cheated or betrayed you, or even physically harmed you? Paul gives us the answer to these questions in verse 14, which is the tenth thing on the Christian’s "To Do" list.

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