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                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS"

                     To Bless And Curse Not (12:14)

INTRODUCTION

1. In Ro 12:1-2, we are called to...
   a. Present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God
   b. Be transformed by the renewing of our minds
   c. Prove (test, demonstrate) what is God's good, acceptable, and
      perfect will

2. Previous studies have examined how a transformed life includes such
   graces as...
   a. Love without hypocrisy, while abhorring what is evil - Ro 12:9
   b. Loving brethren with family affection, esteeming one another
      highly - Ro 12:10
   c. Serving the Lord diligently, with fervency of spirit - Ro 12:11
   d. Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, steadfast in prayer
      - Ro 12:12
   e. Having fellowship in the needs of the saints, pursing hospitality
      toward strangers - Ro 12:13

3. Another indication of transformation is how one responds to
   mistreatment:

   "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse." (Ro 12:14)

[This certainly goes against "human nature", which seeks to respond in
kind.  But as we consider what is revealed in the Bible regarding this
command, we might better understand why this is part of God's holy and
acceptable and perfect will for us.  Let's begin with...]

I. THE COMMAND DEFINED

   A. TO BLESS...
      1. The Greek word is eulogeo; as defined by Strong's:
         a. To praise, celebrate with praises
         b. To invoke blessings
      2. "The word bless here means to speak well of or to. Not to curse
         again, or to slander, but to speak of those things which we can
         commend in an enemy; or if there is nothing that we can
         commend, to say nothing about him." - Barnes
      3. "i.e., to pray for them, wish well to them" - Poole
      4. We find this command given by Christ and Peter - Mt 5:44; Lk 6:
         28; 1Pe 3:9
      -- Note that Paul gives the exhortation twice in our text; perhaps
         implying the challenge of this duty

   B. TO CURSE NOT...
      1. The Greek word for curse is kataraomai, which Strong's defines
         as "to curse, doom, imprecate evil upon"
      2. "... to implore a curse from God to rest on others; to pray
         that God would destroy them. In a larger sense still, it means
         to abuse by reproachful words; to calumniate; or to express
         one's self in a violent, profane, and outrageous manner."
         - Barnes
      3. "When he saith, curse not, he means, wish no evil to your
         enemies." - Poole
      -- "He who can obey this precept is a transformed man". - B. W.
         Johnson

[As challenging as this precept may seem, we have several examples to
show us it is possible...]

II. THE COMMAND DEPICTED

   A. IN THE CHARACTER OF JOB...
      1. Described by God as "a blameless and upright man" - Job 1:8
      2. Who claimed innocence in reference to cursing others - cf. Job
         31:29-30

   B. IN THE CRUCIFIXION OF JESUS...
      1. As He hung upon the cross, praying for those who crucified Him
         - Lk 23:34
      2. Though the object of abuse, mockery and blasphemy - Lk 23:
         35-39; cf. 1Pe 2:23

   C. IN THE CONDUCT OF CHRISTIANS...
      1. Such as Stephen, when he was being stoned - Ac 7:60
      2. Such as Paul and the apostles, who were often abused - 1Co 
         4:12

[So while the command may be difficult, we know it is possible to obey.
Why and how, then, should we seek to carry it out...?]

III. THE COMMAND DEPLOYED

   A. IT IS OUR CALLING...
      1. We have been called:
         a. To follow in Jesus' steps - 1Pe 2:21-23
         b. To bless, that we might inherit a blessing - 1Pe 3:9
      2. We have been called:
         a. To be partakers of the "divine nature" - 2Pe 1:2-4
         b. To be sons of our Father in heaven - Mt 5:44-45
      -- It may be "human nature" to respond to evil with evil, but we
         have a higher calling!

   B. IT IS NEEDED...
      1. At work, school
         a. When employers or fellow employees malign us
         b. When classmates make fun or otherwise hurt us
      2. At home
         a. When spouses say or do hurtful things to one another
         b. When sibling rivalry raises its ugly head
      3. With brethren - Jm 4:11; 1Pe 3:8-9
         a. When they say or write bad things about us
         b. When they malign or misrepresent us
      -- Not just when persecuted for Christ's sake, but whenever
         mistreated by others!

CONCLUSION

1. But what about the example of...
   a. Prophets like David and Elisha? - e.g., Ps 69:22,23; 2Ki 2:24
   b. Apostles like Paul? - e.g., Ac 8:20; 13:10,11; 23:3
   c. Christ Himself? - e.g., Mt 23:13-33

2. Perhaps Poole stated it best:  "These did it by a special vocation
   and instinct of the Spirit"...
   a. Such inspired men had the calling and the aid to administer God's
      wrath and judgment
   b. We have the calling to administer mercy, and to leave vengeance to
      God - cf. Ro 12:19

May we therefore pray that God enable us to faithfully carry out our
calling:

   "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse." (Ro 12:14)

   "not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the
   contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you
   may inherit a blessing."  (1Pe 3:9)

Who knows?  Perhaps by living such transformed lives, it may lead to the
transformation of others...!
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