Here is a brief summary of Sunday morning’s sermon. It’s intended for those who want to review the material, rather than to be read as an article.
Romans 12:13-16 E.S.V.
“Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 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 conceited.”
We have been asking how our lives can be a praise song to God, and this Sunday morning we came to Romans 12:13-16. Here are the seven ways in which God calls us to “go beyond nice” and in so doing live praise song lives.
- Go beyond nice in helping needy Christians. “Contribute to the needs of the saints” Love will be concerned to meet the real needs of the members of the fellowship of believers. We see this in the pattern of the early church. (Acts 2:45 and 4:34) We are right to share God’s concern for the poor in general, but must remember that we are especially called to show concern for God’s family. Gal 6:10 speaks for itself.
- Go beyond nice in showing hospitality. While “nice” does dinner parties, love turns a home into a regional headquarters for the building of the kingdom. The early church had to be prepared to show hospitality to people who they had never even met. This hospitality did not choose its guests. Today there may be less of a neeed, but is there less of an opportunity to show love in this way?
- Go beyond nice by blessing those who curse you. This does not mean saying ‘bless you’ through gritted teeth! The way to really less someone is to pray for God’s blessing on them. Here is a call to ask for God to pour down his blessing on those who hate and revile God’s children.
- Go beyond nice by rejoicing with those who rejoice, and weeping with those who weep. There is a danger that envy or a competitive spirit leads us to reverse this!
- Go beyond nice by living in harmony. The NASB has “Be of the same mind to one another.” Niceness tends to do is keep people arms length. Niceness tends to avoid issues rather than confront them. Niceness smiles while the heart rages, but that kind of niceness cannot build community.
Go beyond nice by refusing top be stuck up or proud. Pride is one of the great breakers of community. To be specific it’s wounded pride that makes it hard to apologize or to ask for forgiveness. It’s wounded pride that so often resists reconciliation.
- Go beyond nice when you make friends. The Message paraphrases this “make friends with nobodies.” We need to ask ourselves who Jesus’ friends were, and hear the call to be people who make friends with misfits, nobodies, oddballs, sinners, the difficult to love – Because Jesus did.
- Go beyond nice in refusing to be wise in your own estimation. Loving humility will be aware of it’s own limitations.
The truth is that when we come to verses like these, we are reminded of our need to be changed from the inside.