Faithlife Sermons

Overcome Evil with Good

Flashback: Remembering the Work of the Cross   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  27:43
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Intro

Week 5 of 6
Series looking at what it means to “be a living sacrifice” as Paul lays out in Romans 12
Romans 12:1–2 CSB
Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
Romans 12:17–21 CSB
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Give careful thought to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes. If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for God’s wrath, because it is written, Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord. But If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink. For in so doing you will be heaping fiery coals on his head. Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.

Context

I love revenge movies
Especially westerns
Tombstone
“It’s a reckoning”
It taps into something primal in us.
We like revenge. We like seeing those that we deem worthy of it to suffer.
Paul continues to instruct believers in the way they should treat others,
including fellow believers and those outside the Christian faith.
All of us are wounded by the words and actions of others.
We have been lied about, falsely accused, betrayed, abused, belittled, and so forth.
Sometimes it is done by people who didn’t mean to, while others viciously do evil against us.
Paul instructs us in how to respond to such people in the light of the life of Jesus.
There are multiple flashbacks into the life of Jesus that demonstrate how he did not repay the evil done to him with something cruel to others.
Perhaps one of the most vivid flashbacks of Jesus returning good to those who did evil to him is seen on the cross.
As Jesus hung on the cross, people mocked him, accused him, beat him, scoffed at him, and did many other horrible things. Still, Jesus (who could have righteously destroyed them all for evil and sin) did something astonishing—he prayed for them: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
There are 5 points that can be brought out from these verses in Romans. SHowing us how God wants us to handle hurtful situations caused by others.

Point the First

First, do no evil.
v. 17
It is never the will of God that when a person inflicts evil on us that we inflict evil to them in return, whether evil actions, evil words, evil gossip, etc.
Instead, Paul says to “be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone” (Romans 12:17).
“be careful” means “to think about something ahead of time, with the implication that one can then respond appropriately”
Proactive versus reactive
Rather than reacting in the flesh by saying or doing the first thing that enters our minds, we need to give careful thought to the way we respond to those who hurt us.
Also, our response needs to be right and honorable.
The world is watching!

Point the Second

Second, do all you can to live peacefully with everyone.
v. 18
All - meaning everything
peacefully - biblical peace is not negative peace (absence of conflict) but a positive peace (a presence of justice and righteousness, meaning the presnece of right relationship)
Everyone - not just beleivers
Even those that are persecuting you
Even those that, as an example, put Jesus on the cross
To begin living in peace with others, we must forgive those who offend us and do evil to us, just as Jesus did.
(Ephesians 4:32).
Ephesians 4:32 CSB
And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.
We are to forgive others in the same manner that God has forgiven us in Jesus.
Also, to live peacefully, we need to seek reconciliation. Reconciliation requires two parties, whereas forgiving a person only involves yourself.
Reconciliation may not be possible at the present time. Thus, Paul instructs us to live at peace as far as it is possible.

Point the third

Third, do not exact revenge on others.
v. 19
Rather than seeking to take action into our own hands and reenact revenge on a person, we are to entrust the situation and person to God and allow God to make all things right.
This is part of what it means to be a Christian,
Surrendered to God.
Trusting him to work all things together
When a Christian attempts to take things into his or her own hands, they are implying that they don’t trust God to take care of the situation and to take care of them.
The place quoted here is Deut 32:35
Deuteronomy 32:35 CSB
Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay. In time their foot will slip, for their day of disaster is near, and their doom is coming quickly.”

Point the Fourth

Fourth, bless those who cause you pain.
v. 20
Paul is quoting from scripture here, but not Deut,
Rather Proverbs
Rather than only seeking to put off our hurt and then live in neutral concerning those who do evil to us, Paul admonishes us to not only put off revenge and the desire to do harm but to also to put on doing good.
This principle comes straight from Jesus’s life and teachings
(Luke 6:27–29).
Luke 6:27–29 CSB
“But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also. And if anyone takes away your coat, don’t hold back your shirt either.
In Paul’s instructions, he quotes from Proverbs 25:21–22 by stating, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head” (Romans 12:20).
Coals
Think of the purification of Isaiah 6
Coal is used to purifiy Isaiah
Presence of God/refining fire
when used metaphorically in the OT, the words ‘coals’ and ‘fire’ usually refer to God’s awesome presence, and especially to his judgment. Paul may then view our giving of food and water to the enemy to be means by which—if such actions do not lead to repentance—the enemy’s guilt before the Lord will be increased, leading in turn to an increase in the severity of his or her judgment.
Paul, of course, would not mean, on this view, that we are to act kindly toward our enemy with the purpose of making his or her judgment more severe. Paul would simply be noting that our good actions can have this result

Point the Fifth

Fifth, we overcome evil in this world by doing good.
v. 21
This command might seem like an impossible task—and as we saw earlier in this series, God wants our actions to be sincere.
Whenever evil is committed against us, and we submit our lives to God, he will take us on a journey of healing that allows us to overcome the evil done to us with good.

Conclusion

In the movie Les Misérables, the primary character Jon Valjean stole silver serving dishes from a bishop who showed him hospitality. When Valjean is detained by the police, who accuse him of stealing, the bishop arrives and gives him additional silver pieces, hoping that Valjean will make a choice to change his life
Bad things are going to be done to us.
That is a reality and consequence of living in a world of sin.
There are two ways to respond.
The way of the world - revenge, anger, pettiness, repaying evil for evil
The way fo the Cross
Rather than seeking some form of revenge, we overcome the evil in the world by doing good to those who hurt and wound us.
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