Summary: Sincere love is a possibility for Christians. Evil cannot overcome us in our pursuit of genuine, sincere love.

Sincerely Yours – Victory

September 6, 2009

Putting it into practice

• Act in a loving way even when the emotion is not there.

• Initiate love rather than simply responding to love. Seek not to be loved, but to be love.

• Identify the evil in your life and dispose of it knowing that it is the enemy of love. Find the good in life and cling to it – always make it your constant companion.

• Perform an act of brotherly love to a Park Avenue member.

• Write at least three people notes letting them know how much you value them.

• Admit to God your weariness.

• Fuel Up

• Share something of yours — time, talent, possession, money — with someone in need. Be intentional.

• Treat a stranger as if he/she were Christ.

• Bless someone this week with a random act of kindness.

• Rejoice with someone who is rejoicing.

• Show sympathy to someone who is mourning a loss.

• Admit to someone this week you were wrong about something.

• Let someone be wrong without correcting them.

• Do something that you think is below yourself.

• When someone treats you badly stop and think before acting.

• Do someone good to someone who has ridiculed your faith.

All difficult tasks. The question is, “Can it be done?”

That’s what is so wonderful about the way Paul ends this section:

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

One of my favorite verses

• It’s brief and to the point

• It’s full of optimism and power

• It’s also related to my birthday – 12/21

Mark 12:21

• The second one married the widow, but he also died, leaving no child. It was the same with the third.

• That’s not a real great verse to live by but his one in Romans, this one can be a defining verse for my life.

• This verse assures me that good is always possible. That in the battle between good and evil good can always overcome.

That word overcome is a translation of a Greek word that you are familiar with- Nike. The word means victory.

The sports shoe company adopted that name because it wanted to be associated with victory. And Paul uses the word for the same reason – he wants Christians to know that victory is ours. We can overcome. We can make the right choices. We have the power to do good even when evil is knocking at our door.

A big part of winning a battle is knowing you can!!

This is not a new concept to Paul even in Romans. He has shared this confidence with them earlier in this same letter. In perhaps one of the most famous passages of the Bible.

Romans 8:35-39

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Paul is saying that evil can through at us it’s very best and still it is no match for the Christian. There is nothing that can separate from the love of God in Jesus Christ!

Verse 37 is one of our favorites where Paul declares that we are more than conquerors.

More than conquerors – one word in the Greek

Huper - Nike – Omen

Huper – where we get our word hyper – hyperactive, hyperglycemic

Nike – victory, victors

Omen – first person plural – we are

Paul is saying,” More than victors we are.”

Sounds like Yoda from Star Wars!

In Star Wars one of the basic premises is that good has something that evil doesn’t have. Good has the force and no matter how powerful evil may appear, good always that the power to overcome. I think in many ways Paul is saying the same thing – we have a power within us that can always win!

1 John 4:4

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

Guess what Greek word is used in “overcome”

Them – the spirit of the world, evil

1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

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