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Diligent Service

Romans: Righteous Shall Live by Faith  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Christians should respond to God's Grace with diligent service.

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1. The twelfth chapter of Romans contains many exhortations pertaining to daily Christian living...
a. E.g., to be transformed by the renewing of our minds -
b. E.g., to utilize what abilities we have as members of the body -
. E.g., to love the brethren and hate what is evil -
2. In our text (), we find “An Exhortation To Diligent Service”...
Romans 12:11 ESV
11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
a. Contained within a triad of simple commands
b. Which are worthy of careful examination
3. We might begin by asking: How is a Christian to act...?
a. In his or her service to the Lord?
b. In his or her business or job?
4. Sadly, the word “slothful” would apply to some Christians...
a. Who do as little as they can while at work
b. Who are similar in their service to the Lord
[As we take a close look at our text, let’s first ask...]



1. The KJV translates it “not slothful in business”
a. Which may give some the wrong impression
b. Some may conclude the exhortation is limited to our jobs
2. The word “business” in Greek is spoude (from which we get the word “speed”) and denotes “diligence, haste, earnestness”
3. The idea is that we should be diligent in all that we do - cf.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 ESV
10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.
a. In secular work, yes - cf.
Colossians 3:22–23 ESV
22 Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,
. Also in the work of the Lord - cf.
Colossians 3:22–23b ESV
22 Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,
1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV
58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
4. Areas of spiritual labor in which we are to be diligent:
a. In our efforts to enter the heavenly rest - ;
b. To found without spot, blameless -
c. In our handling of the Word of God -
d. In keeping our hearts pure - ; cf.
e. Repenting of sins -
f. Developing Christ-like character -
g. Keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace -


1. This defines the enthusiasm or attitude of mind to have as we labor
2. Some are diligent, but begrudgingly so
3. The word “fervent” is zeo and means “to bubble, boil”
4. Therefore we are to do our work heartedly - cf.
The Epistle To The Romans 45
3. The word “fervent” is zeo and means “to bubble, boil” 4. Therefore we are to do our work heartedly - cf.


1. This is the motivation behind enthusiastic labor
2. We are motivated by the fact it is the Lord we serve, even in secular work! - e.g.,
Ephesians 6:5–8 ESV
5 Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, 6 not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free.
[Since it is the Lord we serve in both secular and spiritual work, we are to labor with enthusiasm and diligent effort. But let’s now ask...]



1. Physical necessity often prompts diligence in secular jobs
2. Heightened interest often prompts enthusiasm in personal hobbies


-- Some examples of the contrast:
1. Some work 40 hours a week (and more) for physical needs, then balk at spending 4 hours a week in worship and Bible study!
2. Some get up early to work or play, yet complain about getting up even later on Sunday to worship God!
3. Some will watch TV an average of 14 hours per week, but can’t find 3 hours a week to read the Bible!
4. Some will take courses at night to improve their skills, but aren’t willing to attend gospel meetings or Bible studies!
5. Some can learn the stats for their favorite team, but say they can’t memorize scripture!
6. Some let or even encourage their children to miss services for a sports event or school function, but not vice versa!
7. Some will make their children brush their teeth, make the bed, etc., but make them attend services...never!


1. Apathetic in attitude and service to the Lord
2. Of little use to the Lord in His fight against Satan!
[When such is the case, here’s a third question to consider...]



1. He taught that those who put personal pursuits first would not enjoy heaven -
Luke 14:15–24 ESV
15 When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 16 But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17 And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’ ”
2. He taught the danger of sloth in the parable of the talents - cf.
Matthew 25:24–30 ESV
24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
3. He condemned the church of Laodicea for their lukewarmness -
Revelation 3:14–16 ESV
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.


-- Lagging in diligence is:
1. A destructive hindrance to the work of His Son, who died for us - cf.
Proverbs 18:9 ESV
9 Whoever is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys.
2. An ungrateful response to the mercy of God, destined for God’s wrath - cf.
The Epistle To The Romans 46
1. If after self-examination, we admit that we have been slothful in our service to the Lord, then the final question might be:
2. Some will probably do nothing...
a. Being dull of hearing and hard of heart
b. Continuing on as before
3. Some might make an effort...
a. Because their hearts are still tender
b. Yet soon grow weary and return to a service of sloth
4. My prayers is that all will make whatever changes are called for by Paul’s exhortation...
a. Those who have yet to serve the Lord, will begin a new life of faithful service!
b. Those who have been lagging in diligence, will now give the Lord His due!
Shall we not take to heart this exhortation of the apostle Paul...?

Sermon Response

Hear - Believe - Confess - Repent - Be Baptized - Remain Faithful

Romans 10:17 ESV
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
Hebrews 11:7 ESV
By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
Hebrews 11:3 ESV
By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
Hebrews 10:17 ESV
then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”
Hebrews 11:6 ESV
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Matthew 10:32–33 ESV
So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
Luke 13:3 ESV
No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
Acts 2:38 ESV
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Revelation 2:10 ESV
Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.
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