Summary: Our relationship to other Christians (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: email@example.com)
Session 3: Our relationship to other Christians
Reading: Romans chapter 12 verse 9-13.
• High in the Andes mountains is an enormous statue of Christ;
• Known as El Cristo de los Andes (The Christ of the Andes).
• It sits right on the border dividing Argentina from Chile,
• As long as the statue stands; The nations have pledged there will be peace between them.
• And so "Christ of the Andes" stands 14,000 feet above sea level,
• With one hand holding a cross and the other hand held up as though providing a blessing.
• Ironically, shortly after the statue was erected as a symbol of mutual peace,
• Controversy and bitterness broke out,
• The statue of Christ faced Argentina, and so had its back turned towards Chile.
• So the people of Chile were not very pleased!
• The tension was defused by a Chilean journalist;
• Who humorously concluded it was only right that the statue face this way,
• For "the people of Argentina need more watching over than the Chileans."
Some of us Christians need more watching over than others!
• If we are honest we have the same attitude as Christ;
• And therefore we don’t behave in a way that pleases Christ!
• Ill: Remember the words of Jesus himself when he said;
• “It would be by our ???????? that all men know that we are his disciples!”
Now Verse 9: starts with the word ‘LOVE’
Question: What is love?
• Poster: "It is a warm puppy".
• Johnny Rotten: "Is 2 minutes 52 seconds of squishing noises".
• Dramatist Samuel Daniel: "A sickness full of woes".
• Humorist: Jerome J Jerome: "Like the measles, everybody catches it sometime".
• Coca Cola advert: "Love makes the world go round".
• Film Love Story: "Love is never having to say your sorry".
• Bard of Avon Shakespeare: "Love is blind,"
• Beatles: "All you need is love" …..and then they broke up!
When talking about God’s love for us and our love for each other:
• Christians stole an old word that was not in common use;
• And made it central in their preaching about God’s love and our love for each other.
• In Greek it is the word ‘Agape’.
• A type of love that is different:
• ‘Agape’ love has to do with the mind not just the heart,
• “Agape” love is not simply an emotion or feeling.
• It is a principle by which we deliberately live.
Quote Bible commentator James Montgomery Boyce:
"Love is not some mushy emotion that embraces all, forgives all, forgets all, and requires nothing.........
In fact, you will notice at once in our text Paul does not even define love.
He passes immediately to how love functions".
• New Testament love has to do with the will:
• In Romans chapter 12 Paul makes it quite clear that Christian love leads to action!
• Christian love is deliberate and it is purposeful,
• Christian love glorifies God and ministers to other people.
Now having spoken about spiritual gifts:
• We are given the opportunity to use those gifts,
• Remember that they are Quote: “Tools to build with, not toys to play with or weapons to fight with!”
• Ill: 1 Corinthians chapter 13 (great love chapter)
• Is given in exactly the same context (spiritual gifts for building up the body of Christ).
God gifts his people so that they can demonstrate the type of love mentioned:
• In the Church (The next 5 verses):
• In the world (Rest of the chapter).
• Verse 9-14 mention the type of love God requires from us,
• It is not a human love, but a Godly love.
• As well as the gifts of the Holy Spirit, we very much need the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
• Galatians chapter 5 verse 22:
22But the fruit (singular) of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Love is the circulatory (cir-cu-la-t-ory) system of the spiritual body.
Which enables all the members to function healthy.
As I have said several times already, the love of God is different to human love:
• Human love is often mutualistic:
• I.e. We respond to the responder, we are kind to the kind, warm to the warm,
• And those who are not that way,
• We turn them off (and yet they are the ones who need loving the most).
• God’s love is different:
• 'Agape' love, unconditional love.
Quote: W.E. Vine. Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words:
"Christian love, whether exercised toward the brethren,
Or towards men generally,
Is not an impulse from the feelings,