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Gospel-centered Living - Rom. 12:9-21

Romans   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  50:21
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Yesterday, our family went on a bike ride to the Linton park. One of our neighbor girls was over and brought her bike and came with us. On the way, we were passing right by another families home from our church and reached out to see if their daughter wanted to join us on the adventure.
A few minutes after we got their, the VanHorns showed up and all the girls had a great time.
While on that trip, Erica informed us of a recent painting she made modeled after a Bob Ross painting she found.
Bob Ross was that unique artist who had the TV Show from the mid 80s to the mid 90s called “The Joy of Painting.” You will remember his happy little trees and pet squirrel - Pea-pod. Bob had a boisterous afro but a mellow personality.
Well just before we left to head back home for the evening, we told Erica to have her parents send us a picture of this painting. And sure enough, a little while later, I got a text from Eric with the original and Erica’s happy little replica.
And although she did a fantastic job, much better than most could do, it wasn’t quite the same. And here’s why.
You see, when an artist makes a painting, it is typically along the lines of their style. The brush strokes, color palette, and perspective techniques usually coincide with other works the artist has done. But it’s not just the techniques that lend to the originator, but the signature in the corner.
For Bob Ross it was often, if not always, his last name written in red.
You see, when an artist paints, he/she signifies with a marking who it belongs to.
The same goes with God.
When God created the world, He signed each part to point back to Himself.
And friend, you are no different.
Romans 1 speaks of God’s handiwork being clearly marked, pointing us back to Him.
All of Creation, including you, screams that we are not a mistake. We are not a happenstance of molecules dancing to fate. We are intelligently designed and there is evidence all around us, if we choose to see it.
Think with me for a minute. Your senses are intricately designed. From the delicate parts of the eye that work together to produce sight, to the inner workings of your ear that make it possible to hear. The infinite receptors in your fingertips that send the signals of pain to your brain and back in a milisecond so you don’t burn your hand too long on the stove. To the blessing and curse of scent that is connected somehow to your tastebuds.
Take flavor for instance. What is it? It is our bodies’ identifier of what is on or inside something we put in our mouths. Sometimes our nose picks up on it, so that we know it would be good to taste or not, but your tongue is so designed to help identify what something is. When you bite into a banana, you don’t expect it to taste like a different fruit. Unless it was cut up and put into a fruit salad where it has marinated and taken in the flavor of something around it. Likewise, when you bite into a Hershey Kiss, you expect the taste of chocolate, unless it’s been sitting in a bag of Mints and has taken on the flavor of chocolate mint.
Charles Spurgeon wrote about the flavor of Christianity and how it should identify what we are.
He said, “Oh, that you and I might get into the very heart of the Word of God, and get that Word into ourselves! As I have seen the silkworm eat into the leaf, and consume it, so ought we to do with the Word of the Lord—not crawl over its surface, but eat right into it till we have taken it into our inmost parts. It is idle merely to let the eye glance over the words, or to recollect the poetical expressions, or the historic facts; but it is blessed to eat into the very soul of the Bible until, at last, you come to talk in Scriptural language, and your very style is fashioned upon Scripture models, and, what is better still, your spirit is flavored with the words of the Lord.”
And this flavoring of Christianity is exactly what we find in our passage today.
Just as God identifies Himself upon and within all of His Creation, even more so, those who have responded to the grace He has extended through redemption should permeate His character.
In a nutshell, those who know God personally, and have soaked in His presence, should be flavored so.
If you have joined us on this Romans journey to this point, you will remember that Paul is building his case on how our beliefs determine our behaviors. And what we allow to grow inwardly will manifest themselves outwardly.
And when it comes to living out our faith, as outlined so far in Romans 12, those who offer everything to God, renewing their minds in His Word, and using His giftings for His glory and the edification of the church, will find that He changes them more and more into His image.
Pastor Mark Vroegop up at College Park Church in Carmel says, “A Christian mindset is supposed to create attitudes, actions, and responses that are uniquely Christ-like.”
In other words, if you say you are a follower of Christ, it should be evident in your attitude and actions.
And that is what Paul outlines for us in Romans 12:9-21.
Depending on the translation you use, many of you will find a sub-heading above Romans 12:9 that says something like: “Behave like a Christian”, or “Marks of a True Christian” or maybe “Christian Ethics” . These subheadings, although not inspired like the text you will soon read, help identify a theme over the following verses. And the unifying theme is Christianity and what that looks like in day to day life.
Now as we walk through the next several verses here in Romans 12, there is a unique style used that is quite hard to outline homiletically. Typically, I like to divide our passage into two to four points to easily remember the passage. However, I didn’t this week.
As you study this today and go home and study it some more, a helpful technique I picked up from Pastor Vroegop is to view this passage as a set of ingredients that work together to heighten the flavor of what Christians are to be.
So don’t become overwhelmed, but allow the Spirit of God to use the Word of God to encourage you, to convict you, to change you into a more fully-flavored version of God for His glory.
My dad has a killer macaroni and cheese recipe that he has shared with very few individuals. In fact, not many people know the ingredients, techniques, and especially the secret ingredient. However, my wife does.
And if Heidi was going to make dad’s macaroni and cheese for us today, it would be important that each part was present.
If I promoted this dish and built up it’s awesome reputation, yet we came to the table and opened the lid to that 9x13 pan and found a dish of boiled noodles without the cheese sauce, we would be disappointed! In fact, the dish is at its best, when all of the ingredients are at work together, complimenting each other ever so harmoniously. Each ingredient elevates the overall experience to what I know to be Dad’s macaroni and cheese.
So this list of Paul’s is meant to be extensive, but not exhausting. It is not to be viewed as a list of things to do to merit God’s favor, but as a product of His favor. This list is not to be approached with independence and grit, figuring it out on our own, but with dependence on God’s grace to work out His character in us and through us as we sit and soak in Him.
And that is why we have titled this sermon, “Gospel-centered Living.” It is when our lives are centered on and around the truths of the Gospel, that we may live the way Paul calls us to here. And the potential of a community of believers really taking this practical passage seriously and applying its truth is boundless.
And we see that, beginning in v. 9.
As Paul begins to answer the question, “How should Christ-followers live?”, he begins with:
1. Sincerely (v. 9a)
Romans 12:9a NKJV
9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
To dwell above, with saints in love, That will indeed be glory; To dwell below with saints we know, Well, that’s a different story!
2. Purely (v. 9b)
Romans 12:9b NKJV
9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
3. Affectionately (v. 10)
Romans 12:10 NKJV
10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
4. Passionately (v. 11)
Romans 12:11 NKJV
11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
5. Faithfully (v. 12)
Romans 12:12 NKJV
12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;
6. Generously (v. 13)
Romans 12:13 NKJV
13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
7. Graciously (v. 14)
Romans 12:14 NKJV
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
8. Empathetically (v. 15)
Romans 12:15 NKJV
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
9. Cooperatively (v. 16a)
Romans 12:16a NKJV
16 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.
10. Humbly (v. 16b)
Romans 12:16b NKJV
16 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.
11. Kindly (v. 17)
Romans 12:17 NKJV
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.
12. Peaceably (v. 18)
Romans 12:18 NKJV
18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
13. Trustfully (v. 19)
Romans 12:19 NKJV
19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
14. Mercifully (v. 20)
Romans 12:20 NKJV
20 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.”
15. Intentionally (v. 21)
Romans 12:21 NKJV
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Weekly Focus
As I savor the Savior I will favor His flavor.
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