Summary: Let us be a people of increasing commitment to sharing the love of God with one another and sharing the love of Christ without walls.
Love Without Walls, Romans 12:9-21
An escaped prisoner in the Civil War wandered for many days and nights, seeking the Union lines. At last, in the dusk of the early twilight, he came to a camp which he supposed belonged to the Confederates. Before he knew it he was surrounded by the pickets and captured, to be hurried back to prison, as he thought. But what was his surprise and joy, on looking a little closer, to find that it was the Union blue, and not the Confederate gray, that the soldiers wore!
He had been captured by his friends. When he thought that his friends were far away they were all around him. Oh, wanderer, and fugitive from God, lift up your eyes; the hosts of your friends surround you! God is near you. Jesus Christ is by your side. The Holy Spirit is hovering over you. The opening of your spiritual eyes will reveal it all.
This morning the primary theme or thesis of this sermon is simply this: “The love of God, the love of Christ in us, knows no walls.” We have been created to love recklessly, with abandon, just as God, in Christ, has loved us, uncontrollably and with reckless abandon.
As the Church of Christ, our primary mission, our main objective, is of course to love one another. Galatians 5:13 says, “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” (KJV) 1 Peter 1:22 says, “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.” (KJV)
Our primary mission in the Church is to love one another radically, faithfully, freely in liberty, corporately, just as Christ has loved each one of us individually. In the very first verse of today’s Scripture reading the Apostle Paul says, “Let love be genuine.” I like the way that the King James Version says it even better though, rather than affirming the positive notion of letting love be genuine, the King James says, “Let love be without dissimulation,” that is, let love be without hypocrisy.
While more modern translations affirm positive genuineness of the love of Christ, the King James sticks with the original negative clause, by implication of course, love that is without hypocrisy will of course be genuine.
I’d like to focus for a few moments on what it means for love to be without hypocrisy. That is a very interesting concept. What does love have to do with hypocrisy? Here is what the Webster’s dictionary of 1828 says about hypocrisy.
“Simulation; a feigning to be what one is not; or dissimulation, a concealment of one’s real character or motives. More generally, hypocrisy is simulation, or the assuming of a false appearance of virtue or religion; a deceitful show of a good character, in morals or religion; a counterfeiting of religion. Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Luke 12. Simulation; deceitful appearance; false pretence. Hypocrisy is the necessary burden of villainy.”