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Summary: He was a high school senior that was really messing his life up. He was being disrespectful to his parents, staying out late at night, and making poor grades in his classes. At this point in his life, he was hanging out with all the wrong people. But one

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INTRODUCTION

Opening Statement: He was a high school senior that was really messing his life up. He was being disrespectful to his parents, staying out late at night, and making poor grades in his classes. At this point in his life, he was hanging out with all the wrong people. But one thing that he loved to do was cross-country running. He was a good runner. In one particularly important race, he found himself in a two-man struggle with his rival high school’s top runner, when suddenly, unexpectedly; he tripped and went down hard. While struggling to catch his breath, he felt someone trying to help him up. It was his opponent and star competitor. His opponent managed to help him to begin running again, but instead of his competitor and rescuer pulling away in the race, they finished together that day, stride for stride.

Transition: It was this act of love and kindness on the cross-country course that turned him from his life’s path of destruction. Love won.

Theme: 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. Today, we extend the parameters of love into an area that includes your enemies, your opponents, your competitors and those who set themselves up as your antagonist for whatever reason.

Title: Love and Sacrifice

Text: Romans 12:9-21

Notation: Some have noted in this passage the “actions” of love in TWO ATTENTION SHIFTS alternating from love and sacrifice as it relates to believers and love and sacrifice as it relates to non-believers: Love and Sacrifice in Christian Relationships (9-13) and Love and Sacrifice in Non-Christian Relationships (14-21). The first deals with how love looks in the Christian family. The second deals with how love looks in the world outside of the family.

Love and Sacrifice in Christian Relationships (9-13)

•Love is sincere and honest with the truth. (9)•Love gives preference to other believers. (10)•Love relishes Christian service. (11)•Love responds positively to trials. (12)•Love practices generosity and hospitality. (13)

Love and Sacrifice in Non-Christian Relationships (14-21)

•Love reacts positively to persecution. (14) • Love empathizes with a fellow-believer and especially an enemy. (15) • Love shows special regard in relationships and for the down-and-out. (16) •Love refuses to react in kind to evil. (17-18)•Love rejects all motives of revenge. (19-21)

Observation: While this “attention shift” may be debatable, what is clearly an unmistakable point is that three times in this passage the apostle stressed the fact that you are not to return evil for evil. And this point applies to those within the family, but especially those outside of the family because so much is at stake with those on the outside and their perception of the Christian faith. In Verses 14, 17, and 21 he underscores the fact that the major way we express love in the world is by not reacting in vengeance when we are mistreated by the world. We’ve got to give our enemies to God. When we sacrifice our lives, we sacrifice our right to settle the score.


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