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Sermon #3323

Serving the Lord

A Sermon on Romans 12:11-12


Romans 12:11-12 ESV KJV
Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (ESV)

Sermon Description

In this sermon on Romans 12:11­–12 titled “Serving the Lord,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones preaches about the importance of serving the Lord with zeal. The Christian may be tempted to do things half-heartedly as they go from task to task. Dr. Lloyd-Jones preaches that this approach is second to demon possession in that the Christian has allowed the devil to influence their actions. Slothfulness, he expresses, can manifest itself in doing something half-heartedly. This lazy form of action is one way in which the devil corrupts God’s good creation. Similar to the body and mind, exercise of the Spirit is what promotes its health within the believer. The Christian must continually fan the flames of the Spirit within them. Before long, the sluggish Christian can become the diseased Christian who falls into sin easily and becomes entangled by it. Dr. Lloyd-Jones also preaches that when the Christian feels lethargic or sluggish, they must meditate on, read, and study the actions of God in His people. God will bring to fruition the seeds sown by the Christian. God’s people must be sure to keep fervent in spirit, which literally means that they must be “at the boiling point” in their hearts and in their passion for the Lord.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The apostle Paul is addressing practical Christian living in Romans 12.
  2. He begins by urging Christians to present their bodies as living sacrifices to God. This is our reasonable service.
  3. Christians should not conform to the world but be transformed by renewing their minds. This allows us to know God's will.
  4. Paul then discusses spiritual gifts and how we should use them to serve one another in the church.
  5. In verse 11, Paul tells Christians not to be slothful in zeal but to be fervent in spirit while serving the Lord.
  6. Slothfulness refers to laziness, slackness, and half-heartedness. There are many causes of slothfulness including temperament, the devil, discouragement, and trials.
  7. To overcome slothfulness, we must rouse ourselves. We can apply arguments to ourselves, realize the dangers of slothfulness, remember our duty to others as members of the body of Christ, and think of the work God has called us to.
  8. Being fervent in spirit refers to being energetic and enthusiastic. This is produced by the Holy Spirit in us, not our own efforts.
  9. To be fervent in spirit, we must stir up the gift of the Spirit in us. We can do this by raking the ashes (removing hindrances), ensuring the Spirit has air (praying), adding fuel (reading Scripture and about revivals), and remembering the Spirit in us is powerful.
  10. We must remember the work God has called us to, including being lights in the world and co-workers with God. Thinking of the lostness of humanity and the urgency of the times also stirs us up.
  11. William Chalmers Burns said "we must hurry" in light of the shortness of time and the state of the world. We must redeem the time and seize opportunities.
  12. The ultimate motive for overcoming slothfulness and being fervent in spirit is serving the Lord.

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.