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Aug 12, 2018

Do Good

Do Good

Passage: Romans 12:9-20

Speaker: Pastor Chris Riedel

Series: 3 Simple Rules

Category: Love, kindness

Keywords: kindness, love

In everything you are, and everything you do......do good.

"Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 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'. To the contrary, 'if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by doing so you will heap burning coals on his head.' Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

 

-Romans 12:15-21

Devotional

When looking for direction on John Wesley's second of his "Three Simple Rules" to do good, Romans 12 seems a fine place to start. This is where I see God asking us to be active in living out our Christianity. We're effectively given a "to do list". As I was contemplating this verse I was reminded of a quote I had written down from a Bible Study I did years ago. 

When, because of your faith, your life too becomes perceptibly different; when your reactions are quite opposite to what the situation seems to call for and your activities can no longer be explained in terms of your personality that is when your neighborhood will sit up and take notice. In the eyes of the world, it is not our relationship with Jesus Christ that counts, it is our resemblance to Him.” – Ray Stedman in The Queen and I, quoted by Chuck Swindoll 

This is an important reminder for me, especially, since I do a lot of writing and talking about Jesus - my relationship with Him, the ways I see Him working in my life, and the ways I see His grace and mercy, love and forgiveness all around me. There is certainly nothing wrong with that . . . at least I hope not. It is my prayer that those words and sharing of Scripture and my walk with Him point people to Jesus. And yet, Romans 12 and Stedman's quote remind me that I better walk the walk as much as I talk the talk. 

People in the world who are hurting or in need or who just don't know about Jesus might not - at least at the outset - give a hoot about my personal relationship with Christ. What they care about is the fruit that it might bear. This is not to devalue the relationship. As Pastor Chris often reminds us, fostering that relationship leads to the understanding that we are loved, valued, and forgiven forever and unconditionally. When that happens our lives will become a grateful response to that grace. And hopefully what that response looks like will be all of those actions listed in Romans 12. 

If we only use our words and our appearance to try to introduce a broken community to the hope of Jesus, we're likely going to strike out. Our resemblance to Him is not in how well we quote Him. It is not in the fact that I might be able to sing a hymn or two or recite the Apostle's Creed without looking up at the words on the screens in the church. 

Our resemblance comes from when we actually do all those things in Romans 12. If we can actually live out loud, in addition to talking out loud, we will surely be on the path to doing good. 

Prayer:

Holy, gracious Lord. Help us to remember that our focus on our relationship with You can lead us to the goal of making disciples for Jesus Christ. Lead us to make our lives a grateful response to that relationship, so that we resemble our Lord, not in our words only, but also in the ways we become His hands and feet for our community. Amen.

Written by Jennifer Skinner, member of Arcola Church and a Texan (Texas Longhorn to be specific!) living in beautiful Virginia with her very patient, funny husband, and three very impatient, funny boys/ball players. She is also a blogger, The View From Behind Home Plate, who writes about finding extraordinary grace and blessings among the cleats and dirt and testosterone that fill her ordinary days.