Summary: The heart of OUR WAY as Christians is marked by the way we treat one another and our enemies. 13th Sunday after Pentecost, Year A
Romans 12: 9 – 21
Intro: I want to share a story I found that appeared in Reader’s Digest in Dec. 1981. Emily Gloria Wilson was the housekeeper for John Kenneth Galbraith. On a particularly difficult day, Galbraith asked Emily to hold all telephone calls while he took a nap. A short time later the phone rang. President Lyndon Johnson was calling from the White House asking to speak to Mr. Galbraith. Emily told the president that she could not disturb Mr. Galbraith because he was taking a nap and did not want to be disturbed. President Johnson said, “Now look here, I’m the President of the United States. Wake him up. I want to talk to him.” Emily answered, “No, Mr. President. I work for him, not you.” When Galbraith did return the president’s call Lyndon Johnson said he want that woman to work for him in the White House b/c it was great to meet somebody who knew who she worked for.”
I Paul implies in these verses that Christians must regard themselves as servants of the Lord.
A Do you know for whom you work? Has your life been spent in working for things like a home, car, position, prestige, etc.?
B VSS. 9 – 12 Paul teaches practical, transformative Christian principles for everyday living.
C Paul encouraged the church in Rome and us to remember for whom we work and explains what OUR WAY of living should look like to the world.
II As Christian we should look up to one another, leading the way in showing to the world honor to one another.
A Do you remember the old son, “Home on the Range/” It sings about a place where “seldom is heard a discouraging word.”
B In the text for today, Paul tells us that we are EKKLESI, a community “called out” from the world. A community “set apart” for a distinct mission in relation to the world.
C It appears today that many churches and people have become so comfortable with the world that they have lost their identity as an alternative community to live OUR WAY.
III According to Paul, Christians should engage in a way of being and acting that seeks to embody GENUINE love, mutual regard, humility, solidarity, peace, and harmony.
A The key word here is GENUINE. The GK, word is a??p?????t?? / anupokritos
B There are several translations possible for this word / undissembled / w/o dissimulation (hypocrisy) / sincere / unfeigned.
C The GENUINE LOVE of which Paul speaks refers not just to the feelings that Christians have for one another, but also to the practical care for each other.
Concl: This passage may be easy for us to follow until it concerns our relationships with those whom we find hard to love.
VSS 19 – 21 Paul some verses from the OT where God speaks to dealing with our enemies. God speaks in Deut. 32: 35 – “ It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them.”
In other verses dealing with OUR WAY of coping with enemies Paul quotes Proverbs 25: 21 & 22 “If your enemy is hungry; give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.
The heart of OUR WAY as Christians is marked by the way we treat one another and our enemies. This should be the Christian witness and the mission of every church.