How to Win Fights

Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  46:44
0 ratings
Romans 12:14–21 NKJV
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
How to Win Fights
Conflict is inevitable! Would you be surprised to find out that God actually warns you not to lose fights with others?
Romans 12:21 NKJV
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
these two phrases give us the key to winning conflicts.
Notice carefully: you are not allowed to lose and you are not allowed to surrender
You must not allow another’s sin to overcome you
You must not lose this battle!
You may not retreat
You many not surrender, give up, throw in the towel
You may not wimp out
You may not allow their evil to prevail over you
You may not allow their sin to provoke you to sin against them
How do you know if you are losing the battle? Answer: If you respond with gossip, withdrawal, slander, name calling, pouting, temper tantrums, threatening, or abuse.
God is not only interested in whether you win or lose; He is concerned with how you play the game (or fight the fight in this case).
You will only overcome evil with good. What does that look like? How do we do it?
Here is a 5 step battle plan for overcoming evil.

1. Remember Christ’s Command - vs. 14-16

Bless your opponents - vs. 14
Luke 6:27–29 NKJV
“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either.
Luke 6:31–35 NKJV
And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.
Don’t be self-absorbed - vs. 15
do the circumstances of others move you?
have you considered their situation?
You are not better than them - vs. 16
we can see how important this mindset is and how different it is from the world
God is not urging you to just agree with your opponent; he’s calling you to remember we are all equal
in conflict, associate with the humble not the haughty

2. Plan Your Response - vs. 17

Responding with evil is forbidden
1 Peter 3:9 NKJV
not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.
1 Thessalonians 5:15 NKJV
See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.
“Have regard for good things in the sight of all men” NKJV
“Provide things honest in the sight of all men” KJV
“respecting what is good in the sight of all men” LSB
BDAG “to give careful thought to, take thought for, take into consideration, have regard for”
also used in the context of handing finances with integrity
2 Corinthians 8:21 NKJV
providing honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.
The idea is that we would handle conflict thoughtfully not impulsively. This seem term is also used in the sense of “to think beforehand.”
So what’s your plan? How are you planning to respond to evil? How will you respond to temptation? Are you ready for the conflict?

3. Pursue Peace - vs. 18

Christians ought to be able to live together in peace
Ephesians 4:3 NKJV
endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
However, you can’t always live at peace with unbelievers
even in marriage –
1 Corinthians 7:15 NKJV
But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace.
You must seek peace even when they do not
Hebrews 12:14 NKJV
Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:
Others may not be at peace with you b/c you are not at peace with God Up until now, I have let you assume that you are always right when there is a conflict, but now you must ask yourself:
Have I provoked them to evil?
Have I caused problems by a sinful response?
How I made it worse by delaying resolution?
Matthew 5:23–24 NKJV
Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Peace is the Goal

4. Revenge is Not an Option - vs. 19

You do not have the authority
It belongs to the Lord alone!
You do not have the ability
Only God knows all of the facts and has the wisdom to make proper judgment

5. Overcome with Good - vs. 20-21

Meet their needs in love
Romans 12:14 NKJV
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Matthew 5:44 NKJV
But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
Romans Explanation of the Text

The enigmatic imagery of heaping coals of fire on the enemy’s head supplies the reason why (γάρ) believers should show kindness to their enemies. The most straightforward reading of the statement is that one actually harms one’s enemies by “lovingly” meeting their needs. It is difficult to imagine, however, that this is the right meaning of this maxim either in Proverbs or in Paul. “The book of Proverbs,” says Bruce Waltke, “rejects any form of personal revenge (17:13; 20:22; 24:17, 18),” leaving it instead to God. Paul, for his part, started the ethical admonitions of 12:9–21 with the unambiguous command, “Let love be without pretense” (v. 9), and then urged his readers to “bless” their persecutors (v. 14). It would be odd indeed if Paul now brought this section to a close by advising believers to use pretension of love as a means of luring their enemies into a fiery trap of eschatological judgment.

Perhaps, then, Paul is simply nuancing slightly the idea of 12:19 by encouraging believers to leave the judgment of their enemies’ evil deeds to God. This interpretation has the great advantage of taking “fiery coals on [the] head” as an image of God’s judgment, which is the way the expression tends to be used in other ancient Jewish literature (e.g., Ps 140:9–10; 2 Esd 16:53). Here in 12:20, however, it is not God who piles fiery coals on the enemy’s head but the believer who does this by means of kindness.

It seems likely, then, that Paul refers not to the eschatological judgment of God but to the present effect of the believer’s kindness on an enemy. Precisely what effect Paul has in mind is not clear from the image. A number of interpreters down through the centuries have understood the statement as a reference to the burning shame an enemy feels when treated with kindness by those whom he or she has mistreated.63 It is unnecessary, however, to be so specific, and it may be best to admit that we do not know precisely what the imagery means. Paul’s basic point, however, is clear, and Lagrange has described it succinctly: “ ‘To have burning coals on the head’ constitutes a most painful situation, and a situation that is easy to exit, if one wants to. The idea is that the enemy would feel defeated by such generosity and disposed to better sentiments.”

If you find it hard to love someone, try loving them as your neighbor. If even that seems too hard for you, then love them as an enemy. The point is, whether you do so an enemy, neighbor, or spouse, you have no choice as a Christian but to love them and overcome evil with good.
Romans 12:21 NKJV
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
When you try to overcome evil with evil, you do something worse than lose the fight against your enemy. You lose the fight against evil.
This is the real battle - not conquering an evil person, but conquering evil itself.
Go home today and draw up some battle plans to ensure you always win the fight against sin!
Application Questions:
How can we avoid being wise in our own opinion?
How can we determine when it is right to fight for our rights and when we should just accept being wronged?
Why is revenge a bad option in personal conflicts?
What are specific ways you could do good for unbelievers you know?
What are some examples of overcoming evil with good?
To fight or not to fight?
We are told from an early age that fighting is bad. Would you be surprised to find out that God actually warns you not to lose fights? Romans 12:14-21 is our text for this Sunday. Verse 12 is the key to fighting well. Read it and think about how to win fights before you come tomorrow!
PS - Don’t forget that we will be voting on merging with Arcadia Bible Church tomorrow!
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more