Philippians 2:14-16 Questions

14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.

1. What is so sinful about “grumbling” and “disputing”? Why would Paul say to avoid these things in order to be blameless and innocent?

2.  Is being blameless and innocent better than getting your own way? If so, why do we have such a hard time not grumbling or disputing?

3.  Describe the ways our society is “crooked and twisted.”

4. How are “children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation” similar to “lights in the world”?

5. What does it mean to “hold fast to the word of life”?

6.  How does holding fast to the word of life help us avoid complaining and bickering and become shining lights for God?

7.  Who in your life has encouraged you to persevere in faith?


Romans 12:12-13 Put it into Practice

  1. In what way did God comfort, challenge, or correct you today?
  2. If you took one step toward Jesus, what would it look like?
  3. Why do Christians need to be reminded to rejoice in hope?
  4. What is the difference between being grateful for something and putting your hope in something?
  5. What is the specific content of our hope? We rejoice in hope because…
  6. How can you grow in your appreciation of God’s promises?
  7. Explain the connection between rejoicing in hope, being steadfast in tribulation, and being constant in prayer. How should this look in your life?
  8. Why does prayer require humility and a sense of God’s willingness to answer?
  9. How are you contributing to the needs of the saints?
  10. To whom do you want to show hospitality? What is your plan to do it?

Serve the Lord; Romans 12:11


Text: Romans 12:11                                                   Date: 5/13/2018

Main Point: Being lukewarm is not acceptable.

Revelation 3:14-19

14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. 15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.

We obviously do not want to be lukewarm. At one level, being lukewarm is nasty. Lukewarm chili is no good because it won’t melt the cheese. On a hot summer day, lukewarm water is hard to swallow. Warm water reminds me of saliva and I instinctually want to spit it out. Cold water is refreshing and hot water is cleansing; lukewarm water is good for nothing. Guys, Jesus said if we are like that, if we are lukewarm, he’s going to spit us out. That is not a good thing. If God is a hobby that we piddle around with when we have time, then we are in trouble.

What solution does Jesus offer? Stop trusting your material wealth. Just because you have clothes to wear, food to eat, and money for tomorrow doesn’t mean we are ok. We are not ok. We are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. We need Jesus’ gold; not the world’s gold. We need Jesus’ clothes; not the world’s clothes. We need Jesus to heal our eyes. We need Jesus to reprove and correct us. We need Jesus to discipline us and restore us. We need to repent of our sin and be zealous for what is good.

Be zealous. Jesus commands us to be zealous (Rev 3:19). Peter commands us to make every effort to grow in the faith (2 Peter 1:5). Paul commands us to be diligent; do not be slothful in zeal. This is a big deal. Jesus commands zeal. The Holy Spirit, through Peter and Paul, commands zeal. If we lack zeal, Jesus is going to spit us out. Being lukewarm is not acceptable. Be fervent in spirit.

I want to try to be very practical with you today. This is one of those sermons that is more like a discipleship conversation we might have over lunch or a cup of coffee. I want to explain the Word to you and help apply the Word to your situation in such a way that you see what it looks like to follow Jesus. But I also want to teach and apply the Word in such a way that you learn how to teach and apply the Word. What I am doing here should serve as a model for you as you seek to make disciples.

Let’s get back into the Word; Romans 12:9-13

I. Don’t be a sloth

  • What does it mean to be slothful in zeal?

I have noticed that the sloth is getting a lot of positive publicity these days. Now I will admit, I’m a little slow on this observation. The Wall Street Journal[1] and Time Magazine[2] have written pieces on the popularity of the sloth. One of the explanations for the popularity of the sloth is our busy pace and obsession with productivity. We are a culture, a people, who want to slow down and be a sloth for a minute, a day, maybe a month. Maybe you are here this morning feeling overworked and overwhelmed. Then you hear Jesus, Peter, and Paul say, “Be zealous! Don’t be slothful! What are you doing you slacker, sitting there listening to a sermon when you should be working?”

Our culture doesn’t have a biblical worldview much less a biblical vocabulary. There is a world of difference between sinful sloth and biblical rest. According to God, resting is good but being slothful is bad. Let me show you the two main types of sloth which must be avoided. There is the lazy sloth and the scared sloth.

The lazy sloth shows up in the book of Proverbs. Proverbs 6:6 says, “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.” The Greek translation of the Old Testament uses the same word for sloth. Go to the ant, O slothful; consider her ways, and be wise.” Then Proverbs 6:9, “How long will you lie there, O slothful? When will you arise from your sleep?” The lazy sloth is the guy who won’t work. The lazy sloth is the girl who just wants to lie around all summer. God tells us to go to the ant. Consider that little lady and be wise. She works simply, she works steadily, she works carefully. The ant is not distracted by the nuclear deal with the Iranians. She knows her role and she plays her role. Do your job. Use your gift. Get to work.

The second type of sloth is the scared sloth. The lazy sloth doesn’t want to do anything but the scared sloth is afraid to do anything. In the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, the one talent servant says, “Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.” The master replies, “You wicked and slothful servant!”  The servant was scared to fail. The master spit the servant out of his mouth.

Ok, so now we have a more biblical understanding of sloth. Sloth is not doing what should be done because you are lazy or afraid. What’s the expectation in Romans 12:11? Do not be slothful in zeal. We saw zeal recently in Romans 12:8. The one who leads should lead with zeal. Zeal is energy and diligence and eagerness. Think about that child who is so excited about the first day of school. There is energy; she can hardly sleep or sit still. There is diligence; she has her school supplies in her back pack in the car two weeks before the first day. There is an eagerness; she desperately wants school to start. It’s going to be glorious. She is like the ant! Then comes the month of May and the ant has become the sloth. Zeal has turned to sloth. She can’t get out of bed, she can’t find her backpack, and she despises the thought of one more week.

Galatians 6:9 says, “let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Don’t grow weary of doing good. Don’t become slothful in well-doing. Do not be slothful in zeal.

Concerning the will of God, concerning your spiritual gift, concerning your service of the Lord, do not get lazy or fizzle out. Don’t let fear of failure or the weariness of the work cause you to give up. Stay in the game and go full speed. That’s the biblical explanation. Now, let’s get practical.

  • How can we avoid being slothful in zeal?

Here’s the simple answer- work hard and rest well. Work hard and rest well. If we aren’t working hard then we are being slothful. Maybe we’re lazy. Maybe we’re afraid. Maybe we don’t know what to do. Maybe we are doing the wrong things. Instead of listening to God and doing what he wants us to do, we are afraid of what our friends and family think and so we do what they want us to do. Instead, work hard at God’s things and graciously say no to other things. Work hard doing God’s things and rest well.

Some of us here today are experiencing a decrease in zeal because we will not rest. The God who tells us to work is the God who tells us to rest. The surefire way to become slothful in zeal is to overcommit yourself with things you shouldn’t be doing. Another zeal-killer is stressing yourself out with fear over past poor performance. I have to do more. I have to do better. I have to keep it together. I have to make it right. I can’t slow down. I am the god that my family depends on and I must therefore deliver like God.

To the ladies here today who are worn out by the idol of motherhood, please listen to Jesus. Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Mt 11:28-30).

Yes, this is justification. Moms, you are chosen, holy, loved, righteous, and accepted in Christ. You can’t be any more chosen, holy, loved, righteous, or accepted. Your mothering is not going to make you more lovely in God’s economy. Stop trying to validate yourself. Go to Jesus. He will make you righteous and he will give you rest. Yes, this is freedom from approval seeking but it is also the freedom of serving the Lord.

To whom do we present our bodies? Do we present our bodies to the world and work hard to meet its standards of success or beauty? No. Do we let our children call the shots? No. We present ourselves to God. We serve the Lord. Spending time with God in the Word and prayer gives us the freedom to say no to what we need to say no to in order that we can say yes to the things we need to say yes to.

Why do we not do AWANA through the summer? We need to rest. Why did Jesus take his disciples out into the wilderness away from people? They needed to rest. Why has God given us the Sabbath? So, we can rest. Why are you weary? Why are you slothful in zeal? It’s because you aren’t resting. Maybe you’ve taken on too much and you can’t rest. Maybe you are neglecting time with Jesus in his word and prayer, so you are like that garden hose with a kink in it. Of course, you aren’t fervent in spirit, the supply has been cut off by your busy-ness. We don’t need more sloth. We need more rest. Resting well will cause us to boil

II. Boil

We have to go faster now.

  • What does it mean to be fervent in spirit?

To be fervent literally means to boil. Instead of a sloth hanging from a tree we are to boil in spirit. When we meet Apollos in Acts 18:25, we are told that he was fervent in spirit. The debate is whether we are commanded to be fervent in spirit or fervent in the Spirit. Is this a discussion of the Spirit of God, or a discussion of the spirit of a man? I think it’s both. The spirit of a man will boil by the power of the Spirit of God within. When your spirit is filled with the Spirit of God then you will be on fire. Don’t be slothful in zeal, boil in the spirit. Be eager, be energetic, be diligent. So, how do we do that?

  • How can we be fervent in spirit?

Here is the simple answer that needs some explanation. The way to be fervent in spirit is to not quench the Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:19 puts it plainly, “Do not quench the Spirit.” How do we do that? How do we quench the Spirit? One of the most common ways I quench the Spirit is by resisting his work of convicting me of my sin (John 16:8). When the Spirit, through the Word, shows me my error and I try to brush off that conviction, or rationalize my sin, then I always quench the Spirit. When I should say no to some commitment, but I say yes, that can be quenching the Spirit. When I should say yes to some commitment, but I say no, that can be quenching the Spirit.

Positively, if we want to be fervent in spirit then we must follow the Spirit’s lead. Romans 8:14 tells us, “All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” If we are led by the Spirit of God to do the will of God the Father then we should expect the Spirit’s help. This miracle of strength poured in becoming strength poured out is seen most clearly in Isaiah 58. God says, “Is this not the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?”

Now, that just wears me out reading about it; that’s a lot of work! But listen, let’s go on, “Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rearguard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” To put it another way, Jesus said his food is to do his Father’s will and accomplish his Father’s work (John 4:34).

It is interesting that in Isaiah 58 we are called to work, and we also have the summons to rest. We need to Sabbath. We need to refocus on God and be recharged by Him. If you want to be fervent in spirit you must work hard by the Spirit’s leading, your Father’s will is your food, and you must rest well by the Spirit’s leading.

Here is the overarching command that brings it together.

III. Serve Jesus

Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.

  • What does it mean to serve the Lord?

The most difficult and helpful complimentary passage for serving the Lord is Ephesians 6:5-8. Turn over to Ephesians 6 and let’s read it.

While it is true that 1st century slavery was not identical to 19th century slavery, still, to be a slave is to be controlled by another. Masters should be obeyed as if you are obeying Christ. Instead of trying to do just enough to get by or look busy, you should do your work as a servant of Christ. Verse 7 is the connection. A slaves’s service to his master should be done as if he is serving the Lord. Your work in the field can be work unto the Lord. Your work keeping the books can be work unto the Lord. Your work in the control room, courtroom, operating room, restroom, or school room can be unto the Lord and therefore food to you and good for others.

Serving the Lord is the awareness that what you are doing is being done with Christ. He is the vine, right? You are the branch? Apart from him you can do nothing. Apart from Christ all our working and all your mothering are nothing. What does it mean to serve the Lord? It is doing the will of your Father, according to the righteousness of Christ, and by the power of the Holy Spirit.

  • What does it look like to serve the Lord?

Let’s get gloriously mundane. Thursday afternoon I got wrapped up in reading and talking about a controversy. The time, thirty minutes to an hour, drained me. I didn’t want to work. I didn’t want to write or think. I knew I had to get my head on straight, so I went to our Psalm for Thursday, Psalm 57, I prayed through the Psalm and was energized to work. What changed? By reading and responding to news, I was serving myself and it drained me. When I repented and chose to serve the Lord it energized me. Doing what God called me to do, instead of what my flesh wanted to do, gave me strength. We often think serving the Lord has to be big, like changing the world. But Jesus said, “For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward” (Mk 9:41). A cup of water, what does that cost? How hard was that? Even a cup of water, given because of Christ, brings a reward. Serve the Lord! Making a bowl of cereal can become an act of service to Christ. This is a call to repentance. Start serving the Lord. Do the simple things God has created you to do. Do not be slothful in zeal. Boil in spirit.

Moms, the Lord has called you to be mom. Do not be slothful, boil in the spirit, serve the Lord. Give the cup of water, peanut butter sandwich, word of correction, and word of encouragement because of Christ and there will be a reward. Mom, we need you to be mom. And mom, we need you to rest. Come to Jesus today. He will forgive you. He will sustain you. He will give you strength for the work and he will give you wisdom so you can rest well. We don’t need sloths. We need well rested, hardworking, Christ exalting moms.

Men, this is a call for us to pray for the moms in this church. Older women, this is a call for you to pray for the moms in this church. Church, this is a call for us to pray for spiritual mothers who will raise up and mentor the younger women of this body. Whoever you are, wherever you are, we need you to not be slothful. We need you to boil in spirit. We need you to and serve the Lord. Let’s go after the Father’s will together. Let’s give everything to God for his good purposes.



[1] [1]


Talk About Philippians 2:12-13

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

  1. Do you have the reputation of being obedient?  Are you obedient even when nobody is present?
  2. If “work out your own salvation” is related to the humble love and unity commanded earlier in the chapter, how is that different than believing in salvation by works? (See Eph. 2:8–10)
  3. Discuss what it means to do something with “fear and trembling.”
  4. Are we capable of being willing and humble servants of our own accord?  Explain.
  5. How does verse 13 encourage us to depend on God?
  6. How does verse 13 give us the confidence to live the Christian life?
  7. Can you find references to obedience, integrity, and humility in these verses?  Give some examples of obedience, integrity, and humility in your life.

Put It into Practice; Romans 12:11

  1. In what way did God comfort, challenge, or correct you today?
  2. If you took one step toward becoming more like Jesus what would it look like?
  3. Why do we need to constantly be told to be zealous?
  4. Where are you tempted to be lukewarm in your love toward, or obedience to God?
  5. What are the two types of biblical sloth? Which are you tempted to be like?
  6. In life, where are you tempted to give into weariness? How can you become fervent in spirit? What in you, or around you, needs to change?
  7. The solution to sloth is to work hard and rest well. How are you doing on these two counts; working hard and resting well?
  8. Do you have clarity concerning what the Lord wants you to? Or, are you letting the people around you fill you day with their things? Is God leading your everyday living?
  9. In what ways are you quenching the Spirit? 1 Thessalonians 5:19
  10. What do you think  needs to happen so that you can be fervent in spirit?
  11. Serving the Lord is doing the will of your Father, according to the righteousness of Christ, and by the power of the Spirit. Where do you see this playing out in your life? Where should it be playing out?

Love One Another; Romans 12:9-10

Text: Romans 12:9-10                                                            Date: 5/6/2018

Main Point: Genuine loves hates evil and holds fast to good.

Growing up, one of the things you didn’t want to be was a poser. If you were a little more country, you didn’t want to be a K-mart cowboy. A poser was often someone who has trying to look like a skater but didn’t skate. A K-mart cowboy was a person trying to look like a cowboy but couldn’t milk a cow, ride a horse, a haul hay. There is a well established rule that we should be genuine. Skaters skate. Cowboys work cows. Christians love. Writing in Romans 12:9, the Apostle Paul tells us to let love be genuine. Don’t be a hypocrite or a poser; love the church like family. Be affectionate toward one another with purity. Hate the evil within and cling to the good we see. The call to us today is to love one another with a genuine love that hates evil and holds fast to the good.

Read Romans 12:9-21

With his usual clarity, John Stott summarizes these verses. “Without doubt agapē-love now dominates the scene. So far in Romans all references to agapē have been to the love of God—demonstrated on the cross (5:8), poured into our hearts (5:5) and doggedly refusing to let us go (8:35, 39). But now Paul focuses on agapē as the essence of Christian discipleship. Romans 12–15 are a sustained exhortation to let love govern and shape all our relationships. Soon Paul will write about love for our enemies (12:17–21), but first he portrays it pervading the Christian community (12:9–16). This is clear from his use of the words ‘one another’ (three times in verses 10 and 16), ‘brotherly love’ (10) and ‘God’s people’ (13).[1]

The apostle Paul has been teaching about spiritual gifts. As you consider your gift and this church, remember this,

I. Love is absolutely necessary

Now, there is a world of difference between saying, “love is absolutely necessary” and “all we need is love.” The popular pleasure driven idea of “all we need is love” says it doesn’t matter if we can pay the bills or buy groceries, we are just going to hold hands and stare into one another’s eyes. The biblical Spirit-and-truth driven idea of love says doing good to one another requires love. The spiritual gifts are not enough. We must use our gifts for the good of one another and with a whole lot of love.

Here is the requirement for each member

  • Every member must put on love (Col 3:14)

Romans 12:9 says, “Let love be genuine.” Let love be without hypocrisy. Hypocritical or ingenuine love is made evident in Judas who betrayed Jesus with a kiss in order to gain 30 pieces of silver. We make a spectacle of the church when we love it because it provides a platform for our gifts. I love you because I get to preach to you. I love you because I get to sing to you. I love you because I get to teach you. I love you because I get to serve you, lead you, or encourage you. This is hypocrisy! When we live this way we don’t love the church, we only love our gifts.

Let love be genuine. Choose, by faith, to put on love. Colossians 3:12-14 says, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”

Each worship gathering is a family reunion where we renew our love for one another by actively serving and building one another up. This love is radical, sacrificial, and not of this world. So where does it come from? Where do we get this love? Romans 5:5, “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Our experience of the redeeming love of God is the product of the Holy Spirit in us. Our ability to love the people of God is the product of the Holy Spirit in us. So, one of the most helpful things you can do before getting out of the car each Sunday is stop and pray, “Holy Spirit, help me love these people well today.”

I confess, you cannot love me well on your own. I will give you reasons to despise me. Don’t fake it. Pray for the Spirit to cause the love of God to overflow through you to me. I cannot love you well on my own. You will give me reasons to despise you. I must not fake it. I pray the Spirit causes the love of God to overflow through me to you. What is the requirement for each member? Every member must put on love and

  • To love is to hate

Just as our culture thinks “all we need is love,” so also our culture thinks if you love someone you have to totally support everything that person is doing. I’m trying to work it into my thick skull: often in our community, to speak any word of disagreement, much less to bring a correction, is often interpreted as hate. The coworker, neighbor, or family member that you disagree with, likely thinks you hate him. The coworker, neighbor, or family member that seeks your support will likely think you hate her if you don’t give it. We Christians are called by God to show our neighbors a better way

  • Genuine love necessarily hates evil

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Again, listen to John Stott, “Love is discerning. It is so passionately devoted to the beloved object that it hates every evil which is incompatible with his or her highest welfare” (330).

To hate is to be repulsed or disgusted by something. The word occurs only here in the New Testament. It’s a compound word that means hate that is amplified. We are to experience ramped up hatred toward what is evil.

The question that lies before us is, what is evil? What should we be repulsed by? Should we conform to the world’s standards of what is disgusting? No, do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. As we test our loves and hates by the word of God we will be able to figure out what is good, acceptable, and perfect. So, God defines for us what is evil. Our fallen instinct is to define good and evil for ourselves.

Let’s apply this biblical command and try to keep it simple, let’s use the 10 commandments as the standard for evil. We must be repulsed by the worship of anything other than God. We should abhor idols. We should hate the misuse, the degrading of God’s name. We should be repulsed by Sabbath-breaking. We should abhor the disrespect of parents. We should hate murder. We should be repulsed by adultery. We should abhor stealing. We should hate lying. We should be repulsed by envy and coveting.

These evils drag us away from life and joy in God. These evils will kill us, steal from us, and destroy us. May we hate such awful masters.

Now, think for a moment about the music, movies, and games you enjoy. Do these choices help you hate evil and support  the good? Church, do not be conformed to this world but be transformed, be like Jesus, by renewing your minds. Test these things. Are these songs, these shows, and these games in agreement with the good, pleasing, and acceptable will of God? Are you conforming to the world or being transformed into the image of Christ?

I’m not encouraging you to be a prude. Romans 14:17, “ the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Instead of being prudes, I want you to think of your love like a fire. Putting God’s good things on the fire of your love will fuel the fire. Putting the world’s evil things on the fire of your love is like putting water on the fire. Our goal is not to simply avoid the bad. Our goal is to love and cling to the good. In order for love to be genuine you must hate evil and hold fast to good.

  • Genuine love hates evil and holds fast to the good

Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good

Too many of us stop at “abhor what is evil.” We just walk around hating all the time. That’s wrong. That’s sin. That’s evil. That’s repulsive. That’s disgusting. That’s being lopsided. Don’t be lopsided. Our hatred of evil must be matched by our support of the good. We must hold fast to the good. Holding fast is what a husband does when he leaves his father and mother and holds fast to his wife (Mt 19:5). Clinging is what a person does who joins a church (Acts 5:13). Holding fast is what that sticky red clay does to your shoes after it rains. The dust clings to our feet (Luke 10:11).

Love latches on to, holds fast to, and clings to the good. Again, where do you get your definition of the good? Does your definition of good agree with the world or with the Word?

What does the Word say is good? God is good (Mt 19:17). The law is good (Rom 7:12). The will of God is good (Rom 12:2). In fact, the letter to the Romans was written so that we would be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil (Rom 16:19). Church, we are not given the liberty to choose one side of the coin. It’s not enough to simply cling to the good. It is not enough to simply abhor what is evil. We must combine love for the good with hatred for the evil. This is genuine love.

And this love is often incomprehensible to the world. To love your child by hating the evil and clinging to the good appears destructive, condemnatory, judgmental, even abusive. To be fair, often the world thinks what we are doing is destructive, condemnatory, judgmental, and abusive because it is destructive, condemnatory, judgmental, and abusive. We are shouting about evil when we should be teaching our children to turn away from evil. We are affirming the good in our confessions and with our words but not actively joyfully and sacrificially seeking to build up the good.

The most loving thing you can do for me is to simultaneously and passionately hate the evil you see and support the good you see. The most loving thing I can do for you is to simultaneously and passionately hate the evil I see and support the good I see. Let’s talk now about

II. How to be a helpful member of the body

So here you are, you have this gift and the rest of us have gifts. What should we do about it? Look at verse 10, “Love one another with brotherly affection.”

  • Love these people like family

It is important to note that there is a whole lot of affection going on in this phrase. Mom and dad, your PDA meter should be should be reading level orange here. KJV says, “be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love.” Kindly means, of the same kind, it’s the base for kinfolk or just your kin. God wants his children to treat one another like family; with the affection of kinfolk. Affection should be pulsing through the body; the holy affection of a father for his child or a mother for her child. There should be parent-child love in the body, but that doesn’t go far enough. You should add brotherly love to the parent-child love. Love one another with brotherly love, with philadephia. This phila root is important for the application of the gospel in the end of Romans. Love one another in verse 10 starts with phila. Brotherly love starts with phila in verse 10. Show hospitality in 12:13 is another phila word. Greet one another with a holy kiss in 16:16: kiss is another phila word.

The most helpful thing you can do is love these people. Here is a very practical and simple way to love better. Email Lynn your picture or get him to take your picture for the directory. Then, using a paper directory or the app, pray for 2-3 members a day. Read their names before you do your Bible reading and whatever comes up that would be appropriate, pray it. Grow in love by praying for your brothers and sisters.

Here’s something else you can do

  • Make room for others

Romans 12:10 says, “Outdo one another in showing honor” or, “in honor give preference to one another.” We’ve been memorizing Philippians 2 and verse 3 says, “do nothing from rivalry or conceit but in humility consider others more significant than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3, we should be counting others as more important or thinking about others as more significant. This does not look like Eeyore moping around with nothing to offer. Everyone’s better than me. I have the worst gift. I’m the biggest loser. That is not right. Instead, it looks like every member making room for the sprouting gifts of others. The best prophet should be encouraging other prophets. The best server should be encouraging others to serve. The best teacher should encourage others to teach. The person with the gift of exhortation should be exhorting others to exhort. The person with the gift of generosity should let others pay. Show honor to others by making room for their gifts.

We also show honor by being grateful for every gift no matter it’s size. Person A is more gifted at leading than Person B. Show honor to Person B when he leads. Person A is more gifted to show mercy than Person B. Show honor when Person B shows up and gives you mercy. We are in danger of making the church a body that only honors the highest level of giftedness. Instead, make room for others. In honor show preference to one another. Seek to outdo one another in building up your brothers and sisters so that they use their gifts.

Our first simple step was pray for 2-3 members every day. Here is our second simple step.

  • Learn how to constantly say, “Thank you.”

The most basic way we hold fast to the good we see in others is by saying, “Thank you.” Now, even a broken clock is right twice a day! Thank the clock for those two minutes. Despise the other 1,438 minutes but celebrate and honor the two that are right. We see this in the Apostle Paul as he honors the broken clock that is the church at Corinth. Look at this church, what are the two minutes we are getting right? Look at your neighbors and coworkers, what are the two minutes that they are getting right? Look at your spouse and children, what the two minutes they are getting right? Learn to say, “Thank you” for the smallest of things.

Romans 12:10 says, “Outdo one another in showing honor.” Think about one another according to honor. In honor, give preference to one another. Hate the evil in your brothers and sisters while humbly showing them honor for the good. We desperately need the Holy Spirit so we can love like this. None of us is this smart, this spiritual, this loving, or wise. We need the Spirit. Pray for the Holy Spirit to increase your love.

Let’s close like this. How is your love? Is your love genuine or is it hypocritical? Do you love this church, these members, because you can build them up or do you exploit this church because it builds you up? Repent of hypocrisy and by faith put on love.

How is your hatred for evil? Do you have a category, a biblical understanding of what it looks like to hate evil? Is your hatred for evil matched by support for the good?

When you think of this gathering do you roll your eyes or do you engage your heart? If you are struggling to love people who aren’t like you then pray for God to pour more of his love into your heart by the Holy Spirit. Confess your lack of love and pray for God’s help to love. Then look for ways to show honor. Make room for others. Encourage others to put their gifts to work. And say thank you.

I’m calling an audible on our last hymn. I want us to express our gratitude to God and to one another. I want us to sing “The Family of God.” The words are simple. I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God. I’ve been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood! Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod; For I’m part of the family, the family of God.” If you want to join this family, if you want to become a member of this church, come forward and let’s talk. Let’s stand and sing together.

[1] Stott, John. The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series) (p. 330).

Romans 12:9-10 Put It into Practice

  1. In what way did God comfort, challenge, or correct you today?
  2. Why do the spiritual gifts require love to be operative?
  3. Read Colossians 3:12-14. How can you encourage this type of love in this church?
  4. Why must genuine love hate evil?
  5. Where is the evil in you? What would it look like for your brothers and sisters to lovingly hate that evil?
  6. Why must genuine love cling to what is good?
  7. Where do you see good in your brothers and sisters? How can you encourage them?
  8. “The most loving thing you can do for me is to simultaneously and passionately hate the evil you see and support the good you see. The most loving thing I can do for you is to simultaneously and passionately hate the evil I see and support the good I see.” How should this work? How can it go wrong?
  9. What are some practical ways you can show love to your brothers and sisters?