For Goodness' Sake

The Road Less Travelled  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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It seems the whole world has an idea of what the Church is supposed to look like - whether a Christian or not. This week, Paul give a general description of how we should look.



Women’s Retreat


Illustration: A four year old girl drew me this picture
Why? She wants to use her talents, she wants connection, she wants to participate
Kids need to be valued and appreciated, to know they matter to other people
Then, a guy in his 70’s gave me this picture the same day
Made me realize something:
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a little girl in preschool or a man approaching retirement
We all want to use our talents, we all want connection, we all want to participate
We all need to be valued and appreciated, to know we matter to other people
Made me start thinking: What am I doing to encourage the people in our church?
Do I thank people enough? Do I compliment people enough? Do I celebrate the victories?
I do try, but I don’t think it’s enough...
This week, a guy stopped in during the week
No agenda, no requests, no complaints
He said, “I just wanted to stop in and tell you you’re doing a good job.”
He’s not the only one to encourage me, just the most recent
I have found that if I’m told 1,000 times, “Great job Pastor Dan!”
One person can cancel them all with one, “You’re doing a terrible job.”
A balloon the size of this room can be deflated with a single tack
Sandy Kaplan: “I have a great distaste for people who always find something to complain about, because life is too short. If they took that same energy they use for complaining and finding fault, and instead put it toward something constructive, they could rebuild the world.”
So I encourage you to ask yourself the same question I asked myself:
“What am I doing to encourage the people in our church.”
YouVersion: For Goodness’ Sake
We’re in Romans 12:9-21
As you know by now, we’re on the Romans Road asking 4 questions:
Why do we need salvation?
Because we’re sinners, and sin leads to death
How did God provide salvation?
By sending His Son to die that death for us
How can we receive salvation?
By accepting the gift - we don’t earn it at all
What are the results of salvation?
Our relationship with God is restored - we have new life
We can spend eternity with Him
But there’s something we need to recognize
The results of salvation don’t begin when you die
The results begin here!
That new person, that new creation exists in you now
And you can begin living a little bit of heaven here and now
Not perfectly, your flesh still battles you here
But it starts shining through in amazing ways
This morning we’re going to look at a few signs in people where this change is taking place
Romans 12:9 (ESV)
9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.
Love is at the core of all we do
Can you be a Christian without love? Nope!
1 John 4:8 (ESV)
8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Let’s talk a little about love
At the core of our church is this phrase:
“We exist to make more and better disciples for Jesus Christ.”
So can we all agree that disciplemaking is what this church stands to accomplish?
Yes, right? And not just our church, every church!
The Great Commission says, “Go therefore and make...” what? DISCIPLES
We do that with the formula I introduced in our DISCIPLined series

(TW+K4) xD3

We spend TW, which is what? Time with...
K is for what? Kavanah...
D3 is what? Multiplication...
In K4, we have 4 things
Scripture, Prayerfulness, Loving Extravagantly, All of life is worship
We talked about the last one last week, so let’s take a step back...
Loving extravagantly - that’s interesting...
That is the very thing Paul begins with this week
Genuine LOVE
Watch this, Paul essentially jumps right into this idea of loving extravagantly:
Romans 12:10 (ESV)
10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
He begins simply by telling us to love our brothers...
If you’re a Christian, who is your brother?
You know, Jesus asked that exact question...
Matthew 12:46–50 (ESV)
46 While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. 48 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
It must have been so frustrating sometimes for the disciples...
Always these beautiful and deep lessons
You walk 50 miles to a city, find a room, control the crowds, constantly running
“Hey Jesus, Your mom and brothers are here.”
“Who are My mother and brothers?”
“I don’t know, I thought Your mom was that lady out there.”
“Maybe her kids were Your brothers?”
But Jesus has an important lesson to teach
The most important people to Him are more than just blood relations...
His greatest love is for people who do the will of his Father
What is His father’s will?
John 6:40 ESV
40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
So what do we call the people who look at the Son and believe in Him?
The Church...
So when Paul tells us to have brotherly love, he’s talking about how Christians love each other
To do that, he says, “Outdo one another in showing honor!”
We literally have permission to compete with each other in the arena of how we honor each other
I’d say that sounds pretty… extravagant - don’t you?!

The saved should love the Church extravagantly

I hope you’re loving each other extravagantly
Trying to honor the other person before they have a chance to honor you!
It’s actually hard to do
Not because the act of honoring is hard
Pat someone on the back and tell them “good job”
Recognize someone’s efforts openly in your Life Group
Ask someone for advice and tell them it’s because you respect their opinion
Honoring people, the action can be easy
The hard part comes because it means you have to stop thinking about yourself for a minute!
Paul adds more in verse 13:
Romans 12:13 (ESV)
13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
I constantly see the needs of the saints being addressed by individuals the church
Of course, the church as a whole does it
Our benevolence fund, missions fund, adoption fund...
But the individuals are amazing!
Kamil says, “Oh yeah, I sank some fence posts for a single lady who needed help.”
Larry says, “Yeah, I changed out the tie-rod ends for a family who had car trouble.”
Brenda says, “Oh, I went and cleaned a house for free because she just had a baby.”
When I had COVID 2 years ago it was almost everyday someone knocked on my door with food!
I know I’m naming specific people, but I’m trying to outdo them by showing them honor!
Honestly, I could stand up here for hours going row by row sharing stories of your kindness
Either to me or someone in the church...
Romans 12:11–13 (ESV)
11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
Zeal means, “Great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective.”
And the idea of “being fervent in spirit” could be translated, “keep your spirit boiling!”
Paul is telling us to be passionate and energetic as we serve the Lord!
When I coached sports, the lazy kids always bugged me...
I can’t run coach, my knee hurts
I can’t do push ups, I tore my shoulder
Then comes game time, “Put me in, Coach!”
Nope, don’t want to hurt your knee or your shoulder...
Don’t get me wrong, laziness is definitely something I battle
But that’s just the point! It’s a battle, not just a surrender...
When it comes to serving God, it takes discipline...
You can’t quit serving the first time someone is ungrateful
You can’t let your Bible sit there 24/7 and not pick it up
You can’t lose it on someone because they made a mistake
No, Paul says, REJOICE! Because our hope is secure
There is always reason to rejoice, but sometimes it takes work to remember
Paul says, execute PATIENCE in tribulation
Tribulation is going to happen - I’m sorry it’s true
Mankind has always fought to be more and more comfy
I should be able to eat as much as I want whenever I want and not get fat
I want to buy new things constantly that I don’t have to take care of
When it breaks I’ll trash it and buy a new one
I deserve to be whatever I want and everyone else has to bend around it
God doesn’t promise us absolute comfort
Instead, we know tribulation will come our way
And God wants our response to be what? Patience...
Paul says, pray CONSTANTLY
As in, don’t stop - run everything and every situation through a Godly awareness
Man, words like rejoice, patience and constantly cost a lot...
Yeah, what Paul is saying is this:

The saved should love God extravagantly

How much is too much to do for God?
Is giving up your paycheck too much?
Is giving up your home too much?
How about your safety, your freedom, your kids…?
Any one of those things could become what God asks you to give
Is God worth it to you - if He’s not I encourage you to pursue that
Put your heart in a place where God is worth everything to you
I’ll tell you this, you may be willing to give a lot...
But you can’t compete with what God has given you
His generosity and sacrifice will always beat outdo you
You cannot out-give God
Malachi 3:10 (ESV)
10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.
What I love there is God asks them to go first
And He leaves a guarantee - I’ll give you more in return
I believe this promise still stands - the hard thing is being willing to put God to the test
In this one area only, otherwise Scripture says not to put the Lord your God to the test...
So the reality is that we can never out-give God, but it can be fun to try
Romans 12:14–18 (ESV)
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
There’s a little bit of a mixture in this chunk
Paul talks about how to treat persecutors
Then he says, “one another” which implies the Church again
Then he comes back to “all”
We already know we are to love the church, but Paul adds another group to love here:

The saved should love the unsaved extravagantly

Paul is saying to love all people
The Church is supposed to receive a special kind of love
But we still love everyone else too
In fact, we love them so much we want them to become part of the Church!
How do we do that?
Well, we love those who are happy by rejoicing with them
We love those who are sad by mourning with them
We love them if they’re rich, popular or powerful
But we also them them when they are not
We try to make them look good, not just putting them down
And we strive for peace
It’s so hard to strive for peace with the unsaved
They believe things that are wrong
They teach things that are outrageous
They say we’re out of touch, we believe in fairy tales, and we cling to religion because we’re weak
Of course they do! They’re lost!
You can’t get angry at a lost person for not knowing where they are!
Paul tells us to live peaceably with 2 catches
Number one: If possible
That implies there are times when peace is not possible
But we should be searching for that possibility - not just jumping to call something impossible
“Not willing” and “not possible” are two different things
Number two: As it depends on you
This tells us we’re not in total control
There are times when you do everything you can to maintain the peace, but they won’t accept
If they’re not open to peace, you can’t control them
You can only do what you can do, but Paul encourages to to actually do it
That requires love - it’s a decision to pursue peace, even if they don’t deserve it
Now, Paul hits one more group:
Romans 12:19–21 (ESV)
19 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.” 20 To the contrary, “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.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Man, this is a hard one
Paul is actually saying this:

The saved should love their enemies extravagantly

No one wants to do that!
How do you feel about the idea of loving your enemy?
There are two false responses that might be running through your head right now:
I don’t really have any enemies...
My enemy is so bad I shouldn’t have to love them
Think for a second, “Who is your enemy?”
Really, picture them in your head. Can’t think of one? Let me help...
Do you hate your boss? Enemy.
Do you hate your spouse? Enemy.
Do you hate Kamala Harris or Ben Shapiro? Enemy.
Does your next door neighbor get on your nerves? Enemy.
Have you not spoken to your dad in years?
Does that girl at school like to pick on you?
Do you have an ex that you just can’t stand?
Put it this way: Anyone you find it very difficult to love is your enemy!
You could get revenge, avoid them, or even just hope they get hit by train...
BUT, God requires something better from us - LOVE
C.S. Lewis: “You cannot love a fellow creature fully till you love God. Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.”
Can you sit down and pray for your ex-husband?
Can you compliment your horrible boss?
Can you invite your critical mom to church?
Sure you can!
Listen to what Jesus says - no slide, just listen:
Matthew 5:38–47 ESV
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
It’s easy to love those you want to love
It’s hard to love those you don’t want to
We’re really good at making excuses
I can’t do this because they’re just going to blank...
They won’t let me because this or that...
I shouldn’t have to love them because they did whatever...
Sometimes there is truth in those things...
Love is scary, it costs us, it can be risky...
But it’s also the very thing God calls us to do
Illustration: I’ve told you guys the story of the guy who lived with us
He was participating in an affair with a married woman
I told him he had to leave - he got angry, threatened my family, stole my keys to the church
I pulled a gun on the UPS guy because I thought it was him...
Months later, at a gas station I saw his car - he worked there
The HS said, “You need to go in there and love him”
No way! I did my part! I did what was right and he threatened my family!
He stole my stuff, spread horribly false rumors, said crazy things to me
And I responded with nothing but kindness
He lived in our house for free and lied about going to school!
Why would I ever love him?!
But see, I know this guy who took way more than that
A guy who faced an illegal trial, was sentenced to death, was tortured and mocked...
Who was brutally murdered for telling the truth and being to kind to unacceptable people
Who didn’t have to go through with it, but chose to
Why? Because He loved the very species that put Him there
A guy who serves as my teacher, my example, my Savior and my King...
Essentially, the same guy who was saying to me, “Go in there and love him.”
I tell you, it was awkward - being the fourth person in line as he made eye-contact
He had about 3 minutes to process that I was there before we spoke
When I got there, I said, “Hey man, its really good to see you. How are you.”
By the end of the conversation, he apologized, said he missed us, and we had dinner plans
Paul talks about how love heaps coals on their head
I don’t think he’s saying, “Yeah, you really want to burn their hair off, be kind! That’ll get em!”
He’s saying, they will be burning with conviction
Some people need more coals or longer to burn than others
But they will never get there if you don’t try
Romans 12:18 ESV
18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Most people, including me at the time, would think my situation with that guy was impossible
But with love, it wasn’t
Church, God’s calling for us is to love everybody extravagantly
Each group may look different, but it’s all love
Sacrificing self for what is better for the other person
Not just being nice or giving them whatever they want
But doing what is best for them at the expense of yourself
THAT is love...
I challenge you all this week, and more than this week, to love
Love everybody!
Love God, and love Him by loving your family, your church and even your enemies...
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