Summary: This section of Romans continues to expound upon the love, responsibilities, and the lives of Followers of Christ while in this world: This study specifically addresses "brotherly love".
“HEALTHY COMPETITION” Romans 12:10
An editorial was written in response to a book entitled, “American Averages”. In it, the author described the average sermon. He claimed that the average sermon was 22.3 minutes long. If the sermon was shorter than 20 minutes, the listeners did not think they were getting their money’s worth; if the sermon was longer than 30 minutes, they may want a refund. (from article, “Defying the Law of Averages,” by Rev. Joel Boot) But from a pastor’s ECONOMICAL view point, if the sermon is longer than 30 minutes, the pastor deserves overtime pay!
But anyway…last week we looked at Romans 12:9 “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” If YOU have been given “agape, self-sacrificing Christ- love, it will be “without wax” (that’s the Latin meaning of “sincere”): It will be genuine and not melt away when things around you become heated. It will be “true-faced” love which others can count on because it is the kind of Love that Christ has given to you. When Jesus looked down from the cross in all His suffering, He prayed: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
It is Love that is “without a mask”, without HYPOCRISY. It will not SAY one thing, and DO another. God’s great Love was unmasked on the Cross. He DID what He promised to do: HE DIED to provide gracious and merciful forgiveness for you and He arose so that you would have NEW LIFE and HIS LOVE…starting now….and lasting FOREVER!
Four “Greek” Loves
Briefly look at the four types of love which were used in the Greek language. 1. “EROS” is the physical, sensual love which is to be practiced only between a husband and wife in the context of marriage. This Greek word for love is not actually used in the New Testament.
2. “AGAPE” is selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love. It is used a couple of hundred times in various forms in the NT. John 3:16 tells us: "For God so loved (agapao) the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
Today we look at Romans 12:10: “Be DEVOTED to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor.”(or give preference to one another above yourselves.) In this verse, two other Greek words for “LOVE” are used:
“PHILIA” means “close friendship”, like a brother. A “Philos” was actually one of the bridegroom's friends who on the groom’s behalf asked the hand of the bride”, in other words, the “BEST MAN”- the closest friend or brother. (Brotherly love: “Philadelphia”)
The fourth is “STORGE”, or the love within a family. You cherish your family. So in Romans 12:9-10 we have the three types of love mentioned in the NT, but the greatest of these is “agape”.
3 Qualities of Christian Living and LOVING: Be Devoted !
We are going to look at 3 Qualities of Christian Living and LOVING: “Be DEVOTED to one another.” Be Devoted! “DEVOTED” is the compound word philo-storgos: It includes “philia”, the Love of a friend or “the Best Man”, and the love and affection between family members, “STORGE” of a family. It is that special affection shared between members of God's family – people born-again, divinely adopted by God, and serving the same heavenly Father TOGETHER. 2 Corinthians 5:14 says: “For the love (agape) of Christ controls us,(we are glued to that love) having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died.”
Now there are very few biological families that are actually “FUNCTIONAL”; most are “DYSFUNCTIONAL” in some way, but that is not God’s Will for the family. God’s Will is that there would be devoted love and affection between family-members. Did you ever have a “black sheep” of the family, always going in the opposite direction of the rest of the family? Maybe you WERE the black sheep? How did that work out for the rest? Not well. The GOAL is perfect unity and love, DEVOTION, and YOUR DEVOTION to that goal WOULD BE EXTREMELY Beneficial and HELPFUL to the rest of the Body. This is not a scriptural suggestion, but a Spirit-breathed expression of the Will of Christ for the Body for which He gave His blood: Be devoted to one another.
Be Devoted in Brotherly Love.
Secondly: “Be DEVOTED to one another in brotherly love.” The word is philadelphia, or BROTHERLY LOVE. Here the word for LOVE (philos) is combined with the word for “Brother” (adelphos). In 1 Thessalonians 4:9 it speaks so clearly: “Now as to the love of the brethren,(philadelphia) you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love (agape) one another.” Do you realize what God is telling us? If you have received God’s “agape” Love in Christ, you WILL be devoted to your brothers AND sisters in Christ. You will be devoted to “Philadelphia” (brotherly love) and to Family Love.