I was gone last Sunday, so I missed Bob’s sermon, called: “Loving Your Neighbor” so I’ve just listened to it today. It’s worth listening to! While I was there I found out that besides listening online you can also download the sermons as a podcast. That’s good to know.
Here’s our passage from this past week:
12:14 Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse. 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 12:16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly. Do not be conceited. 12:17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil; consider what is good before all people. 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all people. 12:19 Do not avenge yourselves, dear friends, but give place to God’s wrath, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 12:20 Rather, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing this you will be heaping burning coals on his head. 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Bob mentioned that there are over 20 commands in this section. I hadn’t realized there were so many.
I thought it was good Bob brought the word anyone to our attention. We are not to pay back evil to anyone — no exceptions.
I love the wording of his summary application: “Yeild to the Holy Spirit’s work of empowering me to sincerely love.” It’s not something we can generate, but we can only love others as we surrender our lives to God. This is important because it keeps us from adopting a “works” mentallity about these things.
He mentioned something I had missed from verse 18 that to be at peace “as far as it depends on you” does not mean “peace at any cost.” We can’t sacrifice truth. Sometimes our convictions will cause others to be “at odds” with us. We must love these people in spite of that and do our part to live peaceably as much as possible.
He also addressed the “heaping burning coals on their heads” phrase, which I hadn’t touched on. This odd-to-us phrase is not about doing good as a way to spite others at all. Instead, it’s abiyt giving them a generous gift (in this case embers from your fire to help them start theirs), which they would carry on their heads back in biblical times.