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Summary: Ray Stedman tells about a boy who was in the army. He was a Christian and had formed the habit of praying beside his bed before he went to sleep. He kept up this practice in the army, but he became an object of mockery and ridicule to the entire barracks.

INTRODUCTION

Opening Statement: Ray Stedman tells about a boy who was in the army. He was a Christian and had formed the habit of praying beside his bed before he went to sleep. He kept up this practice in the army, but he became an object of mockery and ridicule to the entire barracks. One night he knelt to pray after a long, weary march. As he was praying, one of his tormentors took off his muddy boots and threw them at the boy, one at a time, hitting him on each side of his head. The Christian said nothing about it, and just took the boots and put them beside the bed and continued to pray. But the next morning, when the other man woke up, he found his boots sitting beside his bed, all shined and polished. Love won. That led, after a time, to that man becoming a Christian.

Transition: Last week, I talked to you about letting love win. I continue this theme today.

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. Last week, we extended the parameters of love into an exciting, life-changing 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: It is clearly unmistakable 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.

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?" Love is more than a feeling; it’s also a sacrifice of actions. And in the spirit of Romans 12:1,2, I want you to think of these actions as a “sacrifice” or “a living sacrifice.”

OUTLINE

Love and Sacrifice in Christian Relationships (9-13)

Love is sincere and honest with the truth. (9)

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