Summary: Message 31 in our journey through John's gospel. This message continues an exploration of what it means to truly love one another. It takes specific examples of true love from Romans 12.
Pastor David Welch
“Love Romans Style” Romans 12
The twelfth chapter of Romans follows eleven chapters of direct teaching on the work of Christ and the unfolding merciful plan of God to restore both Jew and Gentile alike to fellowship with Him. In light of these great truths, Paul encourages a course of practical responses fitting one who truly comprehends the magnitude of the marvelous mercies of God.
RESPONSE ONE – present your bodies a living sacrifice
RESPONSE TWO – renew your thinking
RESPONSE THREE – properly use your gifting in Christ
RESPONSE FOUR –love one another without hypocrisy
Paul calls us to love without hypocrisy. Paul provides the details of this unhypocritical love in the following 12 verses and I think possibly through the next two chapters. Hypocritical love is when I say that I love someone, and even THINK I love someone, and yet fail to display any of the attributes or actions of true sacrificial love. If I say that I really love, and yet few of the daily attitudes and actions detailed in this chapter flow from my life, I only deceive myself. Paul used the same word for “love” here as we find in 1 Corinthians 13.
HYPOCRISY (Geek -- hupokritos) An actor on stage, to impersonate anyone, to play a part, to simulate, feign or pretend
Paul follows his admonition to love with a string of 12 “ing” words each intended to expand our understanding of “unhypocritical love” or genuine love. Paul then adds more specifics regarding the nature of unhypocritical love that broaden even more our understanding of how genuine love functions in real life.
Each phrase develops our understanding of what unhypocritical love does.
"Abhors whatever is evil"
Paul selects a term for evil that indicates a deliberate defiance of the moral law for personal gain, without regard to the pain or suffering brought to others by it; selfish greed often with mean and criminal intentions; the active outworking of an inherent evil. In this context, it is used to describe any evil actions that hurt and destroy people and relationships.
“ABHOR “ an expressed hatred, a demonstrated disgust or dislike, to experience a horror of something.
Genuine love feels disgust for those things that are evil and hurtful in God's eyes; especially those things that hurt the very people made in God's image. We struggle in our day with the natural human tendency to adapt to our surroundings and grow accustomed to evil by continual passive exposure to it. Evil attitudes, actions and philosophies bombard our senses almost daily. They often slip right past our God-given defenses because of the medium in which they are clothed and effectively dull our senses
We cannot discern what is evil and what is good on our own. We must rely on special revelation from the Creator.
God left us a standard -- the absolute written word to guide us.
God sent an example -- the perfect God/Man to model it for us.
God grants an inner witness or conscience -- the Holy Spirit to illumine us.
As we practice what GOD calls good, we our senses become trained to discern good and evil. Our actions become the actions of Jesus and therefore the actions of love.
"Clings to whatever is good"
Here Paul presents the flip side of "abhorring whatever is evil". We sin both by doing what God prohibits and not doing what God prescribes. Genuine love abhors evil and clings to the good.
GOOD-- that which is inwardly good, that which provides benefit, that which brings genuinely good effect, that which is practically and morally good
CLING - to glue to, to cement, to join or fasten together firmly
In our relationship with people, there must be a continual disgust for what is grim and hurtful and a concrete devotion to the things good and helpful. Abhorring whatever is evil and clinging to whatever is good requires that we resist responses in relationships that dampen the relationship and cling to those responses that develop deeper relationship.
• Resisting withdrawal of my affection and gestures of love when hurt
• Curbing my cutting, critical tongue
• Resetting the angry tone of voice that resonates rejection
• Speaking when I am tempted to punish by my silence
• Keeping silent when I am tempted to punish by my speaking
• Offering specific effective encouragement to keep going
• Looking for opportunities to express genuine praise
• Remembering to continually recognize a job well done
• Caring enough to risk sharing the truth in genuine, unselfish love
• Making a call that says, "I really care enough to take the time"
• Sending a card that reminds, "I'm thinking of you"
• Prayer that follows all the way through someone's difficult times.