Summary: A message from Paul to the believers at Rome is just as much needed in the church today. This message deals with three vital principles for the church today ! How To Love, How To Live, How To Labor !
How To Love, Live, And Labor
Paul begins chapter 12 with an appeal to the believers at Rome to be a living sacrifice ! I heard a pastor several years ago make this statement or something similar to it.......Jesus Christ died for you ! Want you live for him ? Jesus wants us to be a living sacrifice ! He wants us to lay ourselves upon the altar and live a life that is holy, and acceptable unto God. Paul goes on further to say that believers are not to be conformed(fashioned) to the world, but we are to be transformed(changed). How ? Check this out ! Our minds have to be renewed ! The word renewed is defined as "renovated." Our understanding has to be changed ! Only the word of God can do this ! Paul continues by talking about the oneness of the body of Christ, and the gifts which are given to the members of the body, and how they are to be used ! Paul concludes chapter 12 with some principles that I believe need to be put to work in the life of every believer so that the body of Christ might function as the Lord intends.
I. Our Love Should Be Sincere ! 12:9
Paul says...."Let love be without dissimulation...." What is dissimulation ? It is hypocrisy ! Don’t be a hypocrite in the way you love people ! Are you being a hypocrite in your relationships ? Acting as though you love folks to their face, and yet talking about them, cutting them to shreds behind their back ! You put on a smiley face, and shake their hands, yet in your heart you’re holding a grudge as big as Stone Mtn. Folks, that is hypocrisy, and Paul says that we should love people sincerely....without hypocrisy !
If there is one thing sorely missing in the house of God, it is love for one another. Let us be reminded of the words of the Apostle John in
1John 3:10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
Notice also V14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
What do these words say about our relationship with the Lord ? Can we really have the right relationship with God, and have hatred in our hearts for believers ? We better do a check-up on ourselves !
a. Notice how we are to cherish one another !
"Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love;......"
b. Notice how we are to consider one another !
"...in honor preferring one another;
c. Notice how we are to contribute to one another ! 12:13
We are to consider our brothers and sisters in the Lord before we do ourselves ! We are to consider them more worthy than we are !
A high school girl wrote the following letter to a friend:
I attended your church yesterday. Although you had invited me, you were not there. I looked for you, hoping to sit with you. I sat alone. A stranger, I wanted to sit near the back of the church but those rows were all packed with regular attenders. An usher took me to the front. I felt as though I was on parade. During the singing of the hymns I was surprised to note that some of the church people weren’t singing. Between their sighs and yawns, they just stared into space. Three of the kids that I had respected on campus were whispering to one another throughout the whole service. Another girl was giggling. I really didn’t expect that in your church. The pastor’s sermon was very interesting, although some members of the choir didn’t seem to think so. They looked bored and restless. One kept smiling at someone in the conngregation. There were several people who left and then came back during the sermon. I thought, "How rude!" I could hear the constant shuffling of feet and doors opening and closing.
The pastor spoke about the reality of faith. The message got to me and I made up my mind to speak to someone about it after the service. But utter chaos reigned after the benediction. I said good morning to one couple, but their response was less than cordial. I looked for some teens with whom I could discuss the sermon, but they were all huddled in a corner talking about the newest music group.
My parents don’t go to church. I came alone yesterday hoping to find a place to truly worship and feel some love. I’m sorry, but I didn’t find it in your church. I won’t be back.