Summary: Purpose of Sermon: To explore the meaning of honoring Christian brothers and sisters and to encourage the congregation to select someone that they can honor before the day is done.
Honorable ~ Honoring One Another
Scripture Text: Romans 12.9-13
It’s nothing new to expect that a person would-act according to a code-of-conduct. For-example… the investment-banker, turned-swindler – Bernie Madoff – …broke a code-of-conduct. And-now… he’s going to spend the rest of his life behind-bars. We have certain-expectations of those who handle our money.
Over the last-nine-months, we’ve hear-about NFL players and their run-ins with the law. NFL players have been convicted of running a dog-fighting ring, …or DUI manslaughter, …or carrying an unregistered weapon, and shooting-himself in the leg! ~ …these-guys are facing major repercussions from the NFL league commissioner! Why? Because the NFL has some expectations about how their-players conduct themselves in public.
In your own-family, …there were expectations engrained-in-you from a very-early-age. For example, …some families impress on their members to make-good on their work-obligations. Such-that, even rebellious-teen-agers who lived on-the-wild-side, …there were many nights when I would come home not-long before sun-up; …but, got themselves out of bed, in-time to get the morning chores done. It didn’t matter how they felt! “Mom-and-Dad” had-taught them that their family was dependable!
I’ll-bet that it wouldn’t take-you-long to-come-up-with some-things that your family impressed-on-you. They are things-that your family prizes.
That’s kinda-what this sermon-series is all-about: …What’s it mean to be a church family? What’s a church to be like? Does Scripture give us any-help, when it comes to defining characteristics?
And-in-fact, …it does. Actually, …a whole-lot! We’ve-already-seen, …the members of a church-family are to be forgiving toward one-another; …we’re to be missional-and-purposeful; …our attitudes, goals, and hearts are to be Christlike; …and we’re to be a holy-people.
Over-the-course of the last-few-weeks, …we’ve heard a common-theme that has been running through each of the characteristics: …and that-theme is: love. Love is like the kettle that all the ingredients go-into, and come-out-of. Love is the glue that holds it all together. Love is what shapes each-and-every characteristic; …and love plays a huge-role in today’s passage!
I. What Are You Full Of?
In verses 9-and-10, there is a great emphasis on love. As-a-matter-of-fact, …this paragraph begins with:
“Love must be sincere.”
It must be genuine, …authentic, …true-blue. Genuine-love does not spring from a divided-heart; …that’s why it powerfully shapes the way-we-are with each other.
The Greek word here is: agape. Agape-love is a sacrificial, …self-giving, …carry-your-cross and pour-yourself-out ‘cause the other-person needs-what-you-have-to-offer, kinda-love! Agape-love is whole-hearted. It’s undivided. And-that’s-why Scripture tells us that this love must be sincere. If it’s not genuine, …if it’s not sincere, …if it’s not whole-hearted, …then it’s not agape-love! Let your love be sincere.
But an interesting thing happens as we follow the train-of-thought from “Let your love be sincere”, …moving on to verse 10 we find one-way to apply this to daily-living. In the NIV, it reads this-way:
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.”
But, in-the-Greek, if you translated it word-for-word, you’d get this:
“In brotherly-love to one another, love-warmly…”
Now… the reason this is interesting is two-fold: First, notice that in-the-Greek “love” is mentioned twice. Now, in English, we think that’s wordy. It’s repetitive. Our English-teachers in high-school taught us not to write-like-that. But ~ in Greek, it’s perfectly acceptable. As-a-matter-of-fact, …this is how you draw-attention to the main-idea that you wanna-get-across! Repeating a word or-phrase is a way of sounding a siren and-saying: “Pay-attention-here! “This is important!” And-so, …we should perk-up-our-ears, …and sit-on-the-edge of our-seats, …and listen-closely because three-times in two-short-verses, …three-times we are told to love!
The second reason why this is all-so-interesting is that the Greek-words for ‘love’ in verse 10 are not the same as the word in verse 9. In verse 9, it was agape. In verse 10, the words are phileo. Now… You might-be-thinkin’, “Hey… it’s all ‘Greek’ to-me!” And I understand that… But, before you-check-out ~ …let me tell-you that the Greek-word phileo has snuck into the English vocabulary! This-is-the-word that stands-behind the name of one of our most-famous cities: Philadelphia. And what is the motto, …or the nickname for Philadelphia?
It’s the city of brotherly-love. That’s-what the Greek-word, phileo means: brotherly-love. Family-love. The kind of love that families share with one another. Through thick-and-thin; …in good-times-and-bad; …in it for the long-haul: brotherly-love.
So, it’s important for us to see the flow-of-thought. Scripture says that our agape-love must be genuine-and-sincere. How do we do that? What would that-kind-of-love look-like? ~ Well, for-starters, …it means that we show brotherly-love for one another within the family of God!
Are you like me?... Sometimes I’m-a-little-slow. Sometimes the Lord needs to whack-me-upside-the-head to get my attention. It may-leave-me a little-dazed, …but-at-least I know that I need to listen-up and look-around!
That’s-kinda what-He’s-doing, here in Romans-chapter-12! He keeps hammerin’-away at this ‘love’-thing. He wants us to get-this. It’s important. More important than other-things that may-hold-our-attention, …or tickle-our-fancy, …or bind-our-hearts. Love. Agape-love. Sacrificial, self-giving love. This is the kind of love that God’s people are to-have, to-possess, to-be-filled-with, and-to-give. One-of-the-ways that agape-love gets put-into-practice is in the relationships within the church-family. Brotherly-love. Family-love.