I haven’t posted one of my Dad’s sermons in a long time. So I’d thought I’d post one today. It is entitled, “God’s expectation of us.” He preached it October 10th, 2004 in the church he pastored before passing away, First Assembly of God, Dumas Texas.
GOD’S EXPECTATION OF US
Romans 12:9-21 NIV – 9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 20 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
INTRODUCTION: It is evident within my text that a great deal is expected from the child of God by the Almighty. I dare say that most Christians do not expect as much of themselves as God does. It is easy for you and I to excuse ourselves, and justify ourselves for some of our failings; however, the fact remains that God expects a great deal from us as His children. We, as His people, are His representatives in this world, and we must exhibit the godly characteristics of the One that we are serving.
Even the world within which we live expects more from us than what it does of the rest of the world. People in the world can lie and cheat, and deceive, and people just kind of expect it, but they are appalled when the ethics and standards of Christians are no greater than that of the world’s. And you know what, I believe God is appalled also when our ethics and standards of living is no greater than that of the world within which we live.
Very early in the course of human history, God revealed that His people were to live by a higher standard of ethics than the rest of the world lived by. Deuteronomy 25:15 NIV – You must have accurate and honest weights and measures, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. It is obvious here what God expected.
The ethics of the world is, “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth,” but the child of God must live by a higher standard than this. Jesus said, “Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” How many of you know that’s hard to do? According to Scripture, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.” Needless to say, it’s not easy to do this. Jesus said, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that you might be the children of your Father, which is in heaven.” It really takes strength of character to do what the Lord says here. “Loving your enemies, blessing them that curse you, praying for those that despitefully use you” is not easy. When someone despitefully uses us it normally brings out the baser instincts in us. Most of us if we were stuck by someone would not turn the other cheek, but again, most would probably revert to our baser instincts of revenge. Most of us would react in such a way that says, “You hurt me, and I will get even, and I will hurt you twice as bad.” While Paul says, “If you enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.” But friend, I wonder how many of us as believers have the ability to do this?
Friend, God’s expectation of us is that we have the strength and character not to give in to our baser instincts. When we are mistreated and hurt, God expects us to rise above the mistreatment and hurt, and display the character and love of Christ.
But how can we, who are but human, display such strength of Character like that of Christ?
First off, we can do it only as we possess the love of Christ in our hearts.
Such love is sincere and unbiased. In fact, Paul said in our text, “Love must be sincere, or without dissimulation (KJV).” Which means to me that we are not to be discriminate in the way that we love others. We are not to be biased, prejudiced, or selective to whom we express our love. But unfortunately, I think that we sometimes are. We will love those who love us, we will love those that we click with, and we will love those that we are compatible with. We will love those with whom we have things in common with, and who treat us in a kind and loving way.
But friend, the Lord is calling upon us to love those whom are impossible to love apart of the love of Christ, which loves such people in and through us. Our love, as followers of Christ, should be much greater than the love the world possesses or even displays.
Secondly, the Lord through Paul said that He expects us to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.
Romans 12:12 NIV – Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
What kind of hope did the Lord say that we were to be joyful in? I believe the hope that Jesus said that we were to have is the hope of eternal life. He expects us not to lose sight of our eternal goal, and that is to be with Jesus for eternity.
Next, Paul let’s us know that the Lord expects us to be patient in affliction.
What is patience? Patience is actually perseverance. And church without spiritual perseverance we will never arrive at our heavenly home.
Luke 21:19 NKJV – By your patience possess your souls.
Or in other words, “By your patience stand firm, and persevere, for by standing firm you will gain your life.”
The Lord expects you and I in the midst of our troubles and discouragements to remain strong and steadfast. For this is the only way that you can be assured of being victorious and of reaching your heavenly destination one day.
Finally, the Lord expects you and I to be faithful in prayer.
Prayer is our lifeline to God.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 NKJV – pray without ceasing. In the NLT it reads, Keep on praying. In the NIV it reads, Pray continually.
It is imperative that we stay connected to our lifeline with the Lord or else we will never finish the race that we are on. The Lord expects us to pray without ceasing, or to pray continually. Are we living up to our expectations in prayer?
CONCLUSION: So what does the Lord expect of us? He expects us to love like He loves; He expects us to keep alive the joy of our hope that one day we will live with Him; He expects us to persevere no matter how difficult the going gets from time to time; and He expects us to pray continually. I wonder, are we living up to His expectations of us? And these are only a few of the expectations He has for us. You may think that you can’t, but friend, you can.