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Sermon: "Hate the Evil, Cling to the Good"-Romans 12:9b-c
The Apostle Paul
Hate What is Evil
If what we display will truly be Christ’s love, we will constantly be hating what is evil (verse 9 B).
Preliminary Comment: I need to point out that I believe a connection exists between “Let love be without hypocrisy” and “Abhor what is evil.” We could read these statements as separate exhortations, but I think we should understand them as interconnected ideas. In other words, in order to love without a mask, we must continually be hating what is evil.
Psalm 97:10 says, “You who love the LORD, hate evil.”
And Proverbs 8:13 reads, “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil.”
Let’s ask a few more questions. Do we truly hate the evil things we see in ourselves and in one another? Or have we become so accustomed to seeing bad habits and hearing bad words that we have become desensitized toward them and have even developed a toleration for them? One writer has said, “Our only security against sin is to be shocked by it.”
Let’s try some more Application and ask more questions:
Consider how this holy love operates on three levels:
As those who teach youngsters (either as professionals or as Sunday School teachers), are we being responsible to inform parents about “the good, the bad, and the ugly” behavior of their children? We should start off with the “good,” of course; however, we should not stop there. We must then give parents examples of bad behavior (bullying, lying, temper tantrums, selfishness) and not let the little urchins “get away with murder,” so to speak. We should seek to meet the needs of both the parents and the children by graciously exposing wrongdoing, not by closing a blind eye to it.
As those spiritually and morally concerned about general society, are we being responsible to act on these social and spiritual issues to some degree? Do we contribute any of our time and or money to rescue the unborn, to help unwed mothers, or to guide undisciplined children? In the religious realm, do we actively stand against false religion? Neglecting to share the gospel with those trapped in apostate churches does not show the love of Christ to them.
As those spiritually and morally concerned about our personal lives, are we being responsible to monitor what we watch on television or read on the Internet? How can we love as we ought to love when we willingly imbibe the world’s views on this subject?
Proverbs 6:16-19 reads:
“These six things the LORD hates: Yes, seven are an abomination to Him. A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.”
The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians: “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” In other words, we must not engage in or allow any activity that even begins to smack of something we know to be unholy. Paul writes elsewhere: “Flee immorality.”
Transition: (Not only must the love we show respond negatively against evil, but it must also positively draw strength from good things.)
Cling to the Good
If we would adequately show Christ’s love, we must join ourselves to the “good” (v. 9c)
We must stick (literally, glue/cement) ourselves to “things” that are inherently good.
[Paul wrote in Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”]
Examples: Do we listen to music with pleasant melodies and moral lyrics? Do we watch decent films, read uplifting literature, revel in the wonders of creation, and seek other pastimes that will build our mind and strengthen our spiritual walk?
We must meditate upon God’s word.
[Psalm 1:2: “. . . His delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.”]
When Christians do not regularly ingest the wholesome influences of useful products that feed their mind and soul, we become morally and spiritually weaker. Many professing believers neglect consistent Bible reading and study, and thus have little (if any) desire to learn biblical theology. Their lifestyle begins to resemble that of their neighbors who don’t claim to know God. A similar condition appears to have existed in the days of Amos, the prophet.
(Amos 8:11-12: “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord God, “that I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD. They shall wander from sea to sea and from north to east; they shall run to and fro seeking the word of the LORD, but shall not find it.”)
Amos prophesied of a future day in Israel when its people would have no faithful teacher or prophet to turn to for guidance on spiritual matters, because they disobeyed the LORD’s commandments.
Today in our own country, we find
* Widespread biblical illiteracy among professing Christians
* Shallow, ear-tickling teaching from the pulpit (2 Timothy 4:3—“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers, and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”)
* “Majoring on the minors”
1. “Christianizing America”: Seeking solutions to social problems through economic and political means; income redistribution (liberalism).
2. Instead of teaching solid doctrine and providing evangelism and discipleship training, some evangelical leaders stress building larger churches through the use of upbeat methodologies and entertainment.
3. Dabbling in Bible “trivia” takes the place of discussing life-changing truth in greater depth
To counteract the lies and filth that we hear and see every day, we need to allow the Scriptures to reprogram us (Romans 12:2). Daily study (or at least reading) of the Bible will wash our minds immediately and renew them over time.
[Ephesians 5: 26 says that Christ uses the Word of God to sanctify and cleanse His church.
John 17:17 reads: “Sanctify them (the apostles) by Your truth; your word is truth.”
Romans 12:2 reminds us that renewing our minds with the Word will enable us to prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.]
TS: (We first learned that those who show Christ-like love do so without hypocrisy. Second, we saw how true believers manifest hatred of evil as well as devotion to good.
Now then, let’s move on to verse ten. In terms of our showing the love of Christ, I believe a connection exists between verses nine and ten as it does between the constituent parts in verse nine.
© 2014 glynch1