"THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS" An Exhortation To Diligent Service (12:11) INTRODUCTION 1. The twelfth chapter of Romans contains many exhortations pertaining to daily Christian living... a. E.g., to be transformed by the renewing of our minds - Ro 12:1-2 b. E.g., to utilize what abilities we have as members of the body - Ro 12:3-8 c. E.g., to love the brethren and hate what is evil - Ro 12:9-10 2. In our text (Ro 12:11), we find "An Exhortation To Diligent Service"... a. Contained within a triad of simple commands b. Which are worthy of careful examination 3. We might begin by asking: How is a Christian to act...? a. In his or her service to the Lord? b. In his or her business or job? 4. Sadly, the word "slothful" would apply to some Christians... a. Who do as little as they can while at work b. Who are similar in their service to the Lord [As we take a close look at our text, let's first ask...] I. WHAT DOES PAUL SAY? A. "NOT LAGGING IN DILIGENCE..." 1. The KJV translates it "not slothful in business" a. Which may give some the wrong impression b. Some may conclude the exhortation is limited to our jobs 2. The word "business" in Greek is spoude (from which we get the word "speed") and denotes "diligence, haste, earnestness" 3. The idea is that we should be diligent in all that we do
- cf. Ec 9:10 a. In secular work, yes - cf. Col 3:22-23 b. Also in the work of the Lord - cf. 1Co 15:58 4. Areas of spiritual labor in which we are to be diligent: a. In our efforts to enter the heavenly rest - He 4:11; 6:9-12 b. To found without spot, blameless - 2Pe 3:13-14 c. In our handling of the Word of God - 2Ti 2:15 d. In keeping our hearts pure - Pr 4:23; cf. Mk 7:21-23 e. Repenting of sins - 2Co 7:10-11 f. Developing Christ-like character - 2Pe 1:5-11 g. Keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace - Ep 4:1-6 B. "FERVENT IN SPIRIT..." 1. This defines the enthusiasm or attitude of mind to have as we labor 2. Some are diligent, but begrudgingly so 3. The word "fervent" is zeo and means "to bubble, boil" 4. Therefore we are to do our work heartedly - cf. Col 3:23 C. "SERVING THE LORD..." 1. This is the motivation behind enthusiastic labor 2. We are motivated by the fact it is the Lord we serve, even in secular work! - e.g., Ep 6:5-8 [Since it is the Lord we serve in both secular and spiritual work, we are to labor with enthusiasm and diligent effort. But let's now ask...] II. WHAT IS TOO OFTEN THE CASE? A. DILIGENT IN OUR OWN PURSUITS... 1. Physical necessity often prompts diligence in secular jobs 2. Heightened interest often prompts enthusiasm in personal hobbies B. SLOTHFUL IN THE LORD'S BUSINESS... -- Some examples of the contrast: 1. Some work 40 hours a week (and more) for physical needs, then balk at spending 4 hours a week in worship and Bible study! 2. Some get up early to work or play, yet complain about getting up even later on Sunday to worship God! 3. Some will watch TV an average of 14 hours per week, but can't find 3 hours a week to read the Bible! 4. Some will take courses at night to improve their skills, but aren't willing to attend gospel meetings or Bible studies! 5. Some can learn the stats for their favorite team, but say they can't memorize scripture! 6. Some let or even encourage their children to miss services for a sports event or school function, but not vice versa! 7. Some will make their children brush their teeth, make the bed, etc., but make them attend services...never! C. CONSEQUENCES OF SUCH SLOTH... 1. Apathetic in attitude and service to the Lord 2. Of little use to the Lord in His fight against Satan! [When such is the case, here's a third question to consider...] III. HOW DOES THE LORD FEEL? A. WE KNOW HOW JESUS FEELS... 1. He taught that those who put personal pursuits first would not enjoy heaven - Lk 14:15-24 2. He taught the danger of sloth in the parable of the talents - cf. Mt 25:24-30 3. He condemned the church of Laodicea for their lukewarmness
- Re 3:14-16 B. WE CAN IMAGINE HOW GOD FEELS... -- Lagging in diligence is: 1. A destructive hindrance to the work of His Son, who died for us - cf. Pr 18:9 2. An ungrateful response to the mercy of God, destined for God's wrath - cf. Ro 2:4-11 CONCLUSION 1. If after self-examination, we admit that we have been slothful in our service to the Lord, then the final question might be: WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT? 2. Some will probably do nothing... a. Being dull of hearing and hard of heart b. Continuing on as before 3. Some might make an effort... a. Because their hearts are still tender b. Yet soon grow weary and return to a service of sloth 4. My prayers is that all will make whatever changes are called for by Paul's exhortation... a. Those who have yet to serve the Lord, will begin a new life of faithful service! b. Those who have been lagging in diligence, will now give the Lord His due! Shall we not take to heart this exhortation of the apostle Paul...?