Summary: Part 3 of this series focuses on verse nine of Romans chapter 12.
A Living Sacrifice To God
This is part three of my series “A Living Sacrifice to God.” To date we have covered verses one through eight where we find the Apostle Paul begging the Christians at Rome to present their physical bodies to God as a living and holy sacrifice. This is done through the renewing of the minds. When we renew our minds we no longer accept the world’s view of sin which is that man cannot stop using their physical bodies as instruments of sin. When we renew our minds we are able to truly decide that our bodies belongs to God and therefore whatever we do with them will be pleasing to Him. In these verses we also find that we are all in need of one another. There is no one that is so high and mighty that they do not need other people in their life. To fulfill the work of God in any place, people must work together and recognize that all gifts are given by God to be used for the edification of the body and to bring others to Christ. There is no gift that is given that is to be used to edify the person having the gift. Although we all may worship God differently, when we come together as one body, all of our gifts are needed in order for the body of Christ’s needs to be filled. This morning we will continue with verse nine. Romans 12:9 say;
“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.” (Romans 12:9)
Hmmmmmm. “Let love be without hypocrisy!” Why do you think it was necessary for Paul to tell Christians to let their love be without hypocrisy? How is it possible that a Christian can love someone and be a hypocrite with that love? Should love not be the cornerstone of our faith walk? Didn’t everything that Jesus taught center on love and yet Paul is telling Christians to let our love be without hypocrisy. Well I must tell you that if you examine what is happening in the world today among Christians you can easily understand why Paul had to tell the Christians in Rome how to love one another.
Have you ever heard the words “I love you” from someone you really believed to be your friend only to find out later that this same person talked about you behind your back to others? Have you ever caught someone that you thought loved you doing something that went against the very idea of loving a person and when they were caught they told you, “But I really do love you”? When you confronted the person, did they sincerely apologize or did they play it off as no big deal? Did they own up to their mistake, or transfer the blame to you? If you have ever been in either of these situations then you have experienced love with hypocrisy. If you have experienced this then you know how hurtful it is when a “so-called” friend behaves this way. Their actions show their hypocrisy which is deeply disturbing. As you think about this, consider the times when you may have been the person to show hypocrisy. If you have ever been on both sides of this one you know what it’s like to be hurt as well as being the one doing the hurting. As you may have guessed, this type of behavior should never be associated with a Christian.
As we look at this verse, let’s begin by examining the word love. The New Testament was written in Greek and it is important to understand that while the English language has just one word to describe the concept of love, the Greeks had four. The first word in the Greek language for love was eros. This was the Greek word to describe sexual love and it’s where we get the word erotic. This word referred to sensual, carnal impulses to satisfy the sexual desires of the flesh. Eros is not a “giving type of love” as it denotes a sexual demand. It is not a love that seeks to give or please someone else, but a carnal love that seeks the fulfillment of its own desires. It is a self-seeking, self-satisfying and self-pleasing type of love. And sadly this love is present in the Church as sin! The second word for love in the Greek was the word stergo which primary depicts the love that exists between family members. This word denotes devotion. This word was used in Second Timothy 3:3 in the negative sense as a warning that the day would come when the principle sign of the end times would be the deterioration of the family and traditional family values. We are witnessing the deterioration of the family now. The third word for love in the Greek is phileo which describes affection, such as the affection felt between a boyfriend and a girlfriend or that shared between two close friends. It carries the idea of two or more persons who feel compatible, well-matched, well-suited and complementary to each other. While this word also describes friendship it does not represent the fullness of love as defined within the fourth word.