Summary: The Love of Christ-followers represents the Love of the Savior.
The Core Character of the Church
“Perhaps you've seen this Peanuts cartoon: Linus announces to his cranky sister, Lucy, that he's going to be a doctor. "You, a doctor?" she asks. "How can you be a doctor? You don't love mankind." Linus replies, "I do too love mankind. It's people I can't stand." (From a sermon by Dennis Davidson, The Elements of Love, 6/14/2010)
I have actually heard a version of this cartoon in our community. I’m sure you have, too. It goes something like this: “I get along better with animals than I do people.” I guess to paraphrase the Peanuts cartoon, Linus might be a better animal doctor than a people doctor!
The Biblical fact remains, we are commanded to love God and our neighbors as ourselves and today we are going to concentrate on the truth directed to the Church with is found in Romans 12: 9: “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” (“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.”NAS)
We are going to have a quick (David Platt-type) update of Romans 12:1-8. Verse 1 began: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.”
The Love of God is revealed
A. The Love of God has been revealed In His GREAT and Rich Mercy in Election. God chooses to save some through Christ and the Gospel of Grace, instead of destroying every sinful human being. This PERFECT, HOLY, Righteous, Loving God of the UNIVERSE has chosen to save sinners through the LIFE AND DEATH of the Lord Jesus Christ, BY FAITH, not works: RICH MERCY to the undeserving!!!!!!!
B. That RICH Mercy has been given and received in Christ to the Church, whom God has drawn to the Cross of Christ and by His Spirit they are bound together by ONE LORD, ONE FAITH, ONE BAPTISM by His Spirit to be the Body of Christ, The Church, the Bride of Christ. The TRUE CHURCH are those who have been saved by the Sacrificial, Substitutional Life and Death of Christ which they have received in God’s Love and Mercy!
C. As if that isn’t enough even More Mercy from God is revealed in Spiritual Gifts Given to the Church for edification and for Loving each other and building each other up to be strong in their walk with God. There is strength in the Church because of the Gifts given to each member. Secondly, these gifts are given to bring glory and honor to the Giver. The glory is due to God Alone, because of His Great Mercy!!!
The Nature of the Love of Christ in the Church
We are going to take a few minutes to look at The Nature of the Love of Christ which is REVEALED in the Church. What is the Core Characteristic which is found in the Church? It is the LOVE of God in Christ: It is God’s LOVE.
1. This Love must be SINCERE. We often sign our letters with the word “SINCERELY”. What does it mean to be “SINCERE”? It is used in our text to describe the type of LOVE that Christians are supposed to reveal: It is Christian Love that is “without wax”.
In Latin, the words “sine cera” meant without wax. Two different ancient examples have been cited to explain the word “sincere. One was of the Greek’s attempt to make some false-marble statues out of wax which they offered to the Romans as tribute: These fake wax models promptly melted in the warm sun because they were NOT “sincere”. They were NOT genuine.
The second was of another attempt to betray or deceive: Dishonest Greek and Roman sculptors and makers of pottery would often cover flaws in their work with wax to deceive the viewer and to increase the value. Supposedly, the wax would soften in the sun and reveal the dishonest work. Often, craftsmen of integrity would proudly present their wares in the public market place, and they would be marked on the bottom: “SINE CERA” (without WAX).
Because God IS LOVE (Greek:” agape”1 John 4:8), LOVE is not a quality that God has refined; It is God’s very essence. It is the way that God exists. It is not “eros” love (shallow erotic or sensual love). His love is not a “feeling”, although when His Love comes into your being it will definitely CHANGE and effect your emotions. His Love is certainly more constant and abiding than ‘Philos’ , which consists of an earthly love that is found through bonding together with friends, marriages and family ties. “Philos” love is imperfect when placed in comparison to Agape love.