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Overcoming Evil with Good

Romans 12:9-21, Proverbs 25:11-22, Andrew Love, October 29, 2017

Sermon Notes:


  • Continuing a theme from last week:
    • v13 - Distributing to the saints
    • v14 - The attitude of love
  • Taking up a theme of blessing your enemies
    • Many think that Christians are
      judgmental, hard, narrow and look down on others
    • Scripture says we are to love our enemies and bless those who persecute us
    • We will stand up but not act in the way the world acts
    • We do not respond when people say terrible things about us
  • v17-21
    • Example of Spurgeon and his neighbour's dog
      • This story captures the spirit of the passage
    • v17 - repay no evil
    • v18 - live at peace
    • v19 - no retribution or revenge
    • v20 - show love to your enemy
    • v21 - do not become by evil
  • Overview:
    • No revenge
    • Be at peace with all men
    • Overcoming evil with good

No revenge (v17)

  • An Old Testament Scripture: an eye for any eye
    • A Jewish Judicial Punishment ...
    • But people were applying this personally and taking revenge
    • Consider Jesus word's
  • People think it is more manly for people to respond with violence
    • We are called to be soldiers of love: with weapons of meekness, gentleness and love
    • Control your temper and respond with grace is a far more difficult battle
    • Lev 19:18 - no personal revenge
  • Revenge never does a good thing
    • Example of personal revenge in the Old Testament (and its consequences)
    • Remember a bee
    • The New Testament cites examples of those Christians who would be persecuted
    • 1 Pet 2:23, 3:19
    • 1 Thess 5:15
    • Some circumstances can be very difficult ...
      • Examples
      • There should be appropriate civil/criminal justice
      • ... but there should not be a call for personal revenge
    • Quote from Thomas Fuller
  • God does judge all unrepentant people
    • Beloved, do not avenge yourselves (v19)
    • God will not be mocked
    • Prov 20:22
    • We are not to defend ourselves but leave room for God to defend us
    • On the last day all wrongs will be righted
    • Example of David
  • Let us never be involved in revenge

Be at peace with all men (v18)

  • Some people like a quarrel and fight
    • Some people would seek to draw you into their conflict
    • Quote from Ray Steadman
    • Do not get involved in the strife of others
  • Actively pursue peace
    • Example of Christian Soldier
    • We can build bridges, extend a loving hand, show people kindness
    • Quote from John McArthur
    • Prov 12:20
    • 1 Pet 3:11
    • Prov 15:1
    • Prov 25:15
    • Fire does not quench fire
  • "Blessed are the peacemakers, these shall be called the children of God" - Jesus Christ

Overcoming evil with good

  • Not just to avoid evil but be good
  • Prov 25:21-22 cf v20
  • How much mercy have we received?
    • Have we received an abundance of mercy?
      • Should we not show mercy?
    • Should we not walk as Christ walked?
    • Should we not live as Christ lived?
  • Heaping coals
    • Some say it is to shame others
    • Some say it is for judgment - e.g. John Piper (cf Ps 140:9-10)
    • Not clear what the right interpretation is
    • God is calling us to overcome evil with God and never to have a revengeful spirit
    • Example of Sailors and the dear man
  • What happens when evil begins to master us?
    • The regret we have for harsh words
    • The heaviness of a bitter heart
    • The pain we can suffer for inflicting pain on others
  • What honour we gain when we return a curse with a blessing

Closing Remarks

  • An outworking of v1-2
  • Col - "put on the bond of love"
  • We need the love of God to enable us

About Andrew Love: Pastor at Tabor Church

Sermon Passage:
Other sermons:
Earlier: Same day: Later:
« The Radical Christian Life None My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me? »

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