Summary: Perhaps on Friday of this past week, you assured your valentine that you would climb high mountains to be near them; swim wide oceans to sit at their feet; cross burning deserts in the heat of day in order to sing love songs to them in the moonlight. But


Opening Statement: Perhaps on Friday of this past week, you assured your valentine that you would climb high mountains to be near them; swim wide oceans to sit at their feet; cross burning deserts in the heat of day in order to sing love songs to them in the moonlight. But somehow on Saturday, when you were asked to help with the dishes, your energy level sank, and no amount of poetry could revive the gusto of the day before.

Illustration: There’s an article that traces the tendency that occurs in marriage to drift from a height of bliss into the humdrum of routine attitudes. Called The Seven Ages of the Married Cold, this article reveals the reaction of a husband to his wife’s colds during seven years of marriage.

This is the first year: "Sugar dumpling, I’m worried about my baby girl. You’ve got a bad sniffle and there’s no telling about these things with all this strep around. I’m putting you in the hospital this afternoon for a general checkup and a good rest. I know the food’s lousy but I’ll bring your meals in from the Sherman House. I’ve already got it arranged with the floor superintendent."

Second year: "Listen, darling, I don’t like the sound of that cough and I’ve called Doc Glasser to rush over here. Now you go to bed like a good girl, please? Just for papa."

Third year: "Maybe you’d better lie down, honey; nothing like a little rest when you feel ill. I’ll bring you something to eat. Have we got any soup?"

Fourth year: "Look dear, be sensible. After you feed the kids and get the dishes washed, you’d better hit the sack."

Fifth year: "Why don’t you get yourself a couple of aspirin?"

Sixth year: "If you’d just gargle or something, instead of sitting around barking like a seal!"

Seventh year: "For Pete’s sake, stop sneezing! Whatcha trying to do, gimme pneumonia?"

Transition: True love manifests itself in sacrificial action. Love and sacrifice go 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: Love is not just a feeling; it’s also a sacrificial action. Romans 12:9-21 answers the question, "What are some practical, everyday ways in which God expects us to exhibit love in our relationships?"

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.

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