Summary: “To know me is to love me” is true when combined with commitment. Feelings follow commitment the same way the train follows the engine. The more you know someone (your brothers and sisters in Christ) the more you will feel the tender affections that God i
We have been talking for 11 weeks about “being the family of God.”
My question for you today is are you beginning to see yourself and the people around you in this room as family?
The bible declares us as family, not only as the “family of God” but family “to one another.”
It is a fact, an unchangeable truth that every one of us in this room who belong to Jesus Christ belong to one another as family. And as such, we are to learn how to act like family.
Today’s sermon will deal with the indispensable first steps we need to take for ordering our lives so that we might live and act like the family of God. I’d like to walk you through three related passages of scripture that address our conduct toward one another .
Romans 12: 10 NAS: Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor (reverence);
The word for "be devoted" refers to a special kind of love. This is the only place in the New Testament that this word is used, but it’s not a rare word outside the bible.
The Greek word means to have "tender affection” and is used in to describe family affection. It signifies the tender affection which a mother has for her child. (paint a picture with a mother)
One commentator translates this as “Feel the tenderest affection towards each other, and delight to feel it.”
This is both a command to act and to feel an emotion.
Christians are commanded to demonstrate "demonstrate tender affection toward each other in family love."
1 Peter 1:22, “Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart.”
Again, we have a command to love one another earnestly with all our hearts.
It is possible only because we have been cleansed by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In Philippians 1:8 Paul says to the church, “For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.”.
In the first two passages we hear Paul exhorting and commanding the church family to express tender affection and love for one another from the bottom of their hearts.
In this passage, Paul uses a word that demonstrates his own love in a way that ought to make us sit up and take notice.
He uses the word “Splagchnon” for affection. The word is an odd one because it refers to the "intestines" or "inner organs."
Doesn’t this translation sound weird? “how I long for you all with the bowels of Christ Jesus”?
The bowels were regarded by the Jews as the seat of the tender affections, esp. kindness, benevolence, compassion; and our heart.
The idea is: I long for you and love you not just with an act of will power but with deep and tender affections. In other words, “I miss you. I am homesick or lovesick for you.”
Paul is expressing his love for his brothers and sisters in Christ, his love and affections for the family of God.
Now here is the point behind all of this.
The bible commands us to love one another.
You have probably heard it said here or at a wedding that love isn’t just a feeling, it is a commitment. Right?
That is true. It is important for us to remember the truth when the feelings fade but the commitment remains.
But we cannot ignore the fact that love consists also of feelings.
And that is part of the problem! It is both feelings and commitment.
And if so, how can we be commanded to feel something?
Is it really possible for me to command my emotions and my feelings?
Here in Romans 12:10 where Paul tells us to demonstrate tender affection toward each other in family love." , we are commanded to FEEL love for one another.
We are literally commanded to feel emotions for one another.
How can God do that?
We know it is God’s will for us to do right actions to one another as His children and to demonstrate sacrificial love.
But God’s will for His family is even bigger than that, He desires that we feel a certain way toward one another.
He tells us to do things like
"Love each other with brotherly affection."
"Open your hearts wide to each other."
"Feel for each other a kind of tender affection and longing that would naturally be expressed in a holy kiss of love."”
In other words, God is commanding what we ought to feel –
He doesn’t just command our actions to be right, but He actually commands us to feel certain things.
I know that this is tough truth to embrace, because modern psychology has taught us that our feelings are neutral, neither right or wrong.