Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Abnormal Love

Part 4 of Love in Action

Text: Romans 12:14-21




Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (v. 21). 


Following Jesus

[This sermon was preached in a baptism service.] Today we witnessed five baptisms. This church believes that baptism is to be preceded by faith in Jesus Christ. Acts 2:41 says, “Those who received [Peter’s] word [i.e., the gospel] were baptized.” First, faith, then baptism. The person being baptized is making it known that he or she is a follower of Jesus.

The decision to follow Jesus is a decision to live an abnormal life. Do you agree? Think about Jesus, the person you’re following. Was Jesus normal?


Love Your Enemies

The life of a follower of Jesus is to be characterized by love. Jesus showed us what love is. “Christ loved us and gave himself up for us” (Eph. 5:2). Here’s a good definition of love: “Love is willing self-sacrifice for the good of another that does not require reciprocation or that the person being loved is deserving” (Paul Tripp, What Did You Expect?, p. 188).

Jesus said, “If you love those who love you, what reward do you have?” (Matt. 5:46). That’s normal love. Jesus expects his followers to have abnormal love. [Read Matthew 5:38-47.] To most people, this kind of love doesn’t sound very appealing. Where do we get the desire to love others like this?

Paul writes, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (v. 2). What we need is not behaviour medication. We need gospel transformation. The gospel should change the way we think and act. We should continually remind ourselves that we are sinners saved by grace. Are you more influenced by our culture or by the gospel?


Don't Seek Revenge

Paul writes, “Beloved never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord’” (v. 19). This is what Jesus did: “He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:22-23). God will not allow evil to go unpunished. The cross shows us that God will not overlook sin.

Our hope should be that the person who has wronged us will repent of their sin. On the cross, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:34). Paul writes, ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head’” (v. 20). The last part of verse 20 is difficult to interpret, but the most popular interpretation is that it’s talking about the possibility that the person will feel ashamed and repent. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (v. 21).


We Live for God's Glory

What’s your response when you’re mistreated?

We don’t live for ourselves. We live for a higher purpose. We live for God’s glory. Paul told the Corinthians, “Why not rather suffer wrong?” (1 Cor. 6:7).

Think about what God has done for you. Jesus came to earth to be mistreated.

There is no greater way to show that we are the followers of Christ—and that the gospel has made a difference in our lives—than seeking the good of others even when they mistreat us.

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