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Sermon #3331

Overcoming Evil

A Sermon on Romans 12:20-21


Romans 12:20-21 ESV KJV
To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (ESV)

Sermon Description

The Christian must ask themselves if they truly love those who desire to do them wrong and if it is enough to not return evil with evil. According to the apostle Paul in Romans 12:20–21, God requires much more from Christians. The return of evil with good raises the Christian perspective far above secular morality. It lifts it to the supernatural. How do Christians achieve such a supernatural response? In this sermon on Romans 12:20–21 titled “Overcoming Evil,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explores this question and others in his exposition of Romans. In addition to discerning the meaning of Paul’s citation of Proverbs 25:21–22, Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains why the principle of returning evil with good is essential. Dr. Lloyd-Jones puts Paul’s words in the broader context of the Bible’s teaching on spiritual warfare. Instead of overcoming evil by doing positive good, Christians allow themselves to be overcome by evil by retaliating. The key is to think of themselves less and put the situation in the proper perspective, understanding that life is more about the spiritual than the physical. The Christian commends the gospel and personally grows as they overcome evil with good. Heed the words of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones as he teaches on the Christian’s response to enemies.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. We must always put into the first position what happens to us as souls, not just as human beings and individuals. Everything in the life of the Christian must be subordinated to the interests of the soul.
  2. It isn't things in and of themselves that are important. It is what they do to us as souls. And it is the way in which they affect us as souls that matter.
  3. The Christian is not interested in these actions of the other person, whether it be an enemy or whatever he is who's doing you harm at the moment. The Christian is not interested in the actions in and of themselves so much as in the power that is behind them.
  4. We must never allow evil to conquer us or to overcome us. Doesn't matter what form it takes. The form is comparatively unimportant. It is the principle of evil. Never allow evil or sin of the devil to overcome you, says the apostle.
  5. We are to be more than conquerors. We never stop at the negative as christians more than conquerors.
  6. We've got to overcome evil with good. How do we do that? Well, he's already told us one of the best ways is if thine enemy hunger, feed him. If he thirst, give him drink. Whatever it is that he's in need of, go to him and relieve him in every way that you can.
  7. You overcome evil in yourself. By doing this, you get a victory over the old nature that is still left in you. Every time you do this, you don't respond to it. You're mortifying it.
  8. You overcome evil also in your adversary, this person who's acting to you, towards you as an enemy. You do him great good. If you behave in this way.
  9. You overcome evil in general, in itself, not only in yourself, his self, but in itself. Every time we live like this, we are defeating the enemy. We are getting a victory over him, as our Lord got victories over him, in the temptations, in the wilderness, and at many other points, supremely on the cross, on Calvary's hill.
  10. What is it that makes it possible? What is the secret of all this? This is glory. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
  11. No man can rise to this level unless he has a right view of himself.
  12. But he also has a right view of others, even of his enemies. The man who does him harm, he doesn't see him as a man. He sees him as a soul. He sees him as a lost soul.
  13. You also remind yourself that you are a soldier in a great warfare, that you're fighting the fight of faith, that you're wrestling against these principalities and powers.
  14. And then he realizes that being a soldier in this great battle, he must always fight in God's way and not in his own way.
  15. And finally, whatever men may do to you, whether they praise you or whether they hate you, whether they do, the various things that that hymn that we were singing describes. What's it matter? Keep your eye on the day of triumph that is coming, the crowning day that is coming by and by, the certainty of the victory.

The Book of Romans

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.