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”.