Summary: The twelfth chapter of Romans opens with one of the most powerful exhortations in the New Testament, as we are urged to offer our bodies as living sacrifices to God, refusing to be conformed to the world, but instead being transformed by the renewing of o
Opening Statement: In my reading this week, I came across a funny story that sets up our theme today. His name was Bud. He was a factory worker with more than a slight resemblance to Archie Bunker. Every single day he’d come home sweaty and dirty. He’d go in the back door, grab an alcoholic beverage of choice from the frig, and plop himself down in front of the TV until his wife brought him supper.
One day as he was driving to work he happened across a Christian psychologist on the radio -- kinda’ of a local version of James Dobson. And something the commentator said stuck in his mind -- that love and marriage are about sacrifice.
And it hit him – no, convicted him – that he’d been expecting his wife to sacrifice for him but he’d never really sacrificed for her. It was as though a relational light bulb came on and he knew that he had to do something about it.
So he decided that he was going to surprise her the next day. Before coming home he showered and shaved. He went to the florist and bought flowers and instead of going in through the back door he went to the front and rang the bell.
When she answered the door he held out the flowers and said -- "Honey, they’re for you! I love you."
She looked at him, her mouth dropped open. Tears filled her eyes.
And she said, "I’ve had a terrible day. Billy broke his leg and I had to take him to the hospital. No sooner had I got home than the phone rang. It was your mother and she’s coming to visit for two weeks. I tried to do the wash but the machine broke and there’s water all over the basement floor. And now, you come home drunk!
Transition: Poor Bud. He somehow knew that the concept of love was wonderful. However, he soon discovered that love relationships are difficult and messy and we’re not very good at it by nature. There’s a lot of pain and disillusionment involved in opening your heart to another person and all the baggage from our past is many times pulled into our present relationships. But, let’s give Bud credit; he’d finally got the right idea! He was on the right path, at least as mapped out by our text this morning. True love manifests itself in sacrificial action. Love and sacrifice goes hand-in-hand with husbands and wives, with brother’s and sister’s, with teammates, with business partners, with God and humanity.
Title: Love and Sacrifice
Background: The twelfth chapter of Romans opens with one of the most powerful exhortations in the New Testament, as we are urged to offer our bodies as living sacrifices to God, refusing to be conformed to the world, but instead being transformed by the renewing of our minds (12:1,2). Then Paul proceeds to show us what a transformed life and a renewed mind look like. Paul fires off a volley of short, sharp injunctions with very little elaboration. They are like little biblical bullets that are to impact the reader. The common theme that connects these biblical bullets is love.
Quotation: John R. W. Stott, the English commentator, calls these bullets, “staccato imperatives” and each one adds a fresh ingredient to the apostle’s recipe for love.
Recitation: Romans 12:9 Love must be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil, cling to what is good. 12:10 Be devoted to one another with mutual love, showing eagerness in honoring one another. 12:11 Do not lag in zeal, be enthusiastic in spirit, serve the Lord. 12:12 Rejoice in hope, endure in suffering, persist in prayer. 12:13 Contribute to the needs of the saints, pursue hospitality. 12:14 Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse. 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 12:16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly. Do not be conceited. 12:17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil; consider what is good before all people. 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all people. 12:19 Do not avenge yourselves, dear friends, but give place to God’s wrath, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 12:20 Rather, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing this you will be heaping burning coals on his head. 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Key Word: Romans 12:9-21 answers the question, "What are some practical, everyday ways in which God expects us to exhibit love in our relationships?" Love is not just a feeling; it’s also a sacrificial action. This passage gives to us the “actions” of love in FOUR ATTENTION SHIFTS alternating from love and sacrifice as it relates to believers and love and sacrifice as it relates to non-believers. We will put the thought units together and deal with Love and Sacrifice in Christian Relationships (9-13, 15-16) and Love and Sacrifice in Non-Christian Relationships (14, 17-21). The first deals with how love looks in the family. The second deals with how love looks in the world.