Summary: Love, Sincerity, devotion, joy
LOVE THAT IS SINCERE
Romans 12: 9-21 (p789) March 24, 2013
I know I’ve shared this with many of you, and some of our biblical scholars and studiers know this already…but during the first century pottery was absolutely essential has everyday life….you cooked with it, you carried water in it, you stored things in it…pottery was so prevalent in every family, and every location its one of the largest discoveries when archeologist dig…pieces and portions of pottery are found in abundance.
Pottery merchants had a steady flow of customers…supply and demand was in their favor. The market place was as you’d imagine…a place of ruckus haggling…sellers and buyers arguing over prices, deals being made products begin exchanged…
There are a couple of words you might have heard….One was “Tetelestai”…it’s the word that means “Paid in full”, “Your bill is paid completely.”
But at the potters booth you might have seen, and heard the word…..”Sine Cera”, “without Wax”…dishonest merchants would try to hide the cracks in cheap or detective pottery with WAX…in order to pass it off as being worth more than it actually was…Quality products were often stamped or labeled “Sine Cera” to show they hadn’t been doctored. Somewhat like we label products today “100% pure”…or “All Natural”…Paul is telling us…love in this way…let your love be real, genuine…pure!
The Greek word translated “Sincere” is “Anupokritos”…the last part of that word is what we translate as “Hypocrite”…the Greek word literally means one who wears a mask”…like someone in a play or in the theatre…the word in our text means “Without Hypocrisy”, “Paul is saying real believers should love without a mask…Our love should be real, not pretend…Our love should have no hidden agenda or motive.
I BECAUSE WE ARE MUCH BETTER AT PRETENDING THAN ACTUFALLY LOVING.
(v10) says “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves”
You know why we’re better at pretending than actually loving…? Real love takes time. Devotion can’t be accomplished with a handshake and a smile on Sunday…
Devotion and honor are strong words….In Acts 2 the earliest Christians “Devoted” themselves to “The apostles teaching, and to the fellowship to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Verse 44 says, “All the believers were together and had everything in common…verse 45 says, “They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts… (No way…on their hearts…No mask covering their hearts)
Almost all biblical scholars believe “ The first breaking of bread refers to communion, the Lord’s Supper” Acts 20:7 say, “On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. So, the earliest Christian…Devoted, committed themselves to “Learning what Jesus taught, creating a connection with other believers, remembering the Lord’s death until He comes back, and praying together…but on the heels of those essentials is a picture that goes beyond the walls…they ate together, laughed together, shared life together openly and joyfully…In a nutshell they had experienced salvation…forgiveness…rebirth…renewal…there was a sense of Aw…and God was doing miraculous things…Romans 12: 9-21 was being lived out in Jerusalem…and because of that…God added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Christianity wasn’t something they did on the weekend, or occasionally…their devotion to Christ and following him wasn’t a part of their lives…it was their lives….Love, purity, unselfishness, spiritual excitement, services, forgiveness, meekness, peace, sacrifice…The Holy Spirit is actively at work.
But be aware…Satan is the God of pretending….he is the God of the wax and the God of the mask…He loves to substitute lies for truth, pills for joy…a handshake and a smile for real connection…listen….
Acts 4:32-5:11 (p 761)
They are united in focus and purpose…The apostles share their testimony’s about a resurrected Jesus…Much grace is upon them…(It’s all about Grace) Commitment to this cause brought extreme sacrifices…Joseph, “Barnabas” sold a field…brought what he made and surrendered it for the Apostles to use…Sincere, Sacrificial, unselfish…LOVE.
So Ananias and Sapphira, together…as a unit…sold a piece of property…. (Maybe they got a lot more than expected.”)…and they pretended before Peter, the other Apostles, the church, and before God…that they gave it all…”They didn’t just lie to me…they lied to God”
And the consequence is “Death”…for both…because they pretended to do something that wasn’t the truth, and they said it was, before God. “Why such severe consequences…consequences that caused “Great fear to siege the Church?’ Could it be that God was protecting the early church from wearing WAX or a mask? That his people aren’t about what appears to be real, but they are about what is real!!!
And for each of us who are born again, spirit filled, and lead followers of Jesus that should be a “Gilt check”. This happened after the resurrection…after the gift of the Holy Spirit, after Pentecost…in the midst of a spiritual revival bigger than anything the world has ever seen…The New Covenant of Grace has surpassed the Old Covenant of the Law…But pretending to God, lying to the Holy Spirit…had some immediate consequences…