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The Epistle to the Romans  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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This lesson on Romans 12:9-21, was taught on Sunday, January 22, 2023 by Pastor Dick Bickings at New Life Bible Fellowship Church, Millsboro, DE.



We saw from last week that our existence as a transformed child of God is not to remain in a static state of awareness but that we are to Serve God As Members of One Body. We do this by the use of our spiritual gifts which are given for the edification of the body, and is to be done with zeal and joy. This morning we will look at some of Pauls’s Miscellaneous Exhortations that will help us in our life in the body, carrying out our activities with regard to one another.

Text: Romans 12:9-21

Romans 12:9–21 ESV
9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 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. 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. 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.
Note that in this section there are 15 present tense, active voice, participle mood verbs which demonstrates an ongoing activity that is to be the norm for every Christian.


1. Concerning love, good and evil (9)

Let Love (agape) be genuine (anupokritos) - without hypocrisy
Abhor (apostugeo - [pre, act, par]) what is evil - have a horror of
hold fast (kollao - [pre, act, par]) to what is good - to glue

2. Loving and honoring brethren (10)

Love (philostorgos [adj]- loving dearly; being devoted) one another with brotherly affection (philadelphia) - love befitting the relationship between siblings
Outdo (proegeomai [pre, mid, par] - esteem more highly) one another in showing honor – To allow others to lead

3. Fervent in our service (11)

Do not be slothful in zeal - excited fervor to do something
be fervent (zeo [pre, act, par] - to boil with heat, be hot) in spirit (one’s emotional disposition)English Standard Version (Chapter 12)
serve (douleuo - to serve as a bondslave) the Lord -

4. Rejoicing, patient, prayerful (12)

Rejoice (chairo [pre, act, par] - be glad) in hope - to rejoice exceedingly in what is coming
patient (hupomeno [pre, act, par]) in tribulation - to remain, abide, not recede or flee, with future hope in mind.
be constant (proskartereo [pre, act, par] - be devoted to) in prayer - to be steadfastly attentive unto prayer, as we are patient in tribulation, and rejoicing in hope.

5. Caring for saints (13)

Contribute (koinoneo [pre, act, par] - share in) to the needs of the saints - communion or fellowship with
seek to (diako [pre, act, par] - pursue) show hospitality (philoxenia ) - welcoming guest or strangers

6. Blessing our enemies (14)

Bless (eulogeo [pre, act, imp] - to invoke divine favor) those who persecute you
bless (eulogeo [pre, act, imp] - to invoke divine favor) and do not curse (kataraomai [pre, act, imp] - to invoke divine harm or evil) them
Note that Paul has to command us twice to bless so that we get the point.

7. Sharing joys and sorrows (15)

Rejoice (chairo [pre, act, inf]) with those who rejoice (chairo [pre, act, par]) - rejoice with the rejoicing ones
weep (klaio [pre, act, inf])with those who weep (klaio [pre, act, par]) - weep with the weeping ones

8. Humble in our relations together (16)

Live in harmony (phroneo [pre, act, par] - to dispose the mind in a certain way) with one another - agreed together, cherish the same views
Do not be haughty (phroneo [pre, act, par] - to dispose the mind in a certain way), but associate (synapago [pre, pas, par] - to make oneself compatible with) with the lowly - to yield or submit one’s self to lowly things, conditions, employments: not to evade their power
Note that Live in harmony, and Do not be haughty, are exactly the same Greek word, including tense, voice, and mood. They work together in conjunction with the context, which is that we are to live harmoniously with our brothers and sisters in Christ, not elevating ourselves above them but recognizing our unique oneness in Christ.
Up to this point, we have essentially talked about the activities that are necessary among the saints, Paul transitions here to show us our actions among the unregenerate.


1. Do not repay with evil, be mindful of what is good (17)

repay (apodidomi [pre, act, par] - reward or punish) no one evil for evil
give thought (pronoeo [pre, act, par] - to provide and take measures in preparation for) to do what is honorable in the sight of all - Do not allow your deeds to discredit your spiritual heritage

2. If possible, be at peace (18)

The qualifier:
If possible - capable of happening
so far as it depends on you - with the ability that has been afforded you
live peaceably (eireneuo [pre, act, par] - keep the peace) with all

3. Give place to the wrath of God (19)

Revenge is God’s just task!
for it is written,
Deuteronomy 32:35 ESV
35 Vengeance is mine, and recompense, for the time when their foot shall slip; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and their doom comes swiftly.’

4. Overcome evil by responding with good (20-21)

To the contrary,
Give your enemy his needs ( food and drink)
heap burning coals on his head - Burning coals is quoted from Prov. 25:21–22; two interpretations:
Most interpreters think Paul is teaching that the Christian is to do good to people so that they will feel ashamed and repent, and that sense is possible.
But in the OT “burning coals” always represent punishment (2 Sam. 22:13; Ps. 11:6; 18:8, 12–13; 140:10), so another interpretation is that Paul is repeating the thought of Rom. 12:19: Christians are to do good to wrongdoers, recognizing that God will punish them on the last day if they refuse to repent. Overcoming evil with good will ordinarily include acts of kindness toward evildoers, but it may sometimes also include the “good” (13:4) of the civil government stopping evil through the use of superior force (military or police), as Paul explains in 13:3–4.
By doing the above, we overcome evil with good (21)
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