This is the sermon for Sunday, February 28th, 2010.

Practical Christianity part 4

Genuine Love.

Romans 12:9-13.

Romans 12:9-13 ESV – 9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

INTRODUCTION

This is the 4th sermon in our series, “Practical Christianity.”  We are looking at some important teachings that the Apostle Paul gives from Romans 12:1-15:13.

Last time we dealt with humility and the gifts of grace.  We saw that the true grace of God produces humility in its recipients; and with this grace comes gifts which produce diversity within the Body of Christ.

Today we will be preaching on what genuine love looks like.  Genuine love will be the basic theme for this sermon and the next one also.  Let’s begin.

Our love must be genuine.

Romans 12:9a ESV – Let love be genuine.

Some translations say, “Let love be without hypocrisy.” What is hypocrisy?  Well the Greek word hypocrites means, “to wear a face-mask.”  Actors in Roman plays and operas would often wear masks to play their parts.  Our love for one another should be genuine, not a mask that covers up our real intentions.

Why must our love be genuine?  Well, because of God’s mercy.  His love was genuine toward us while we were dead in trespasses of sin; and His love continues to be genuine toward us now as followers of Christ Jesus.

Our love can only be genuine if we are filled with the Father’s love.  Love should be the characteristic of believers because it is the very character of God.

John in his epistles has much to say about love.  Let’s look:

1 John 3:1a ESV – See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.

God has lavished (Modern English Bible) His love on us.

1 John 3:11 ESV – For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

Therefore believers should love one another.

1 John 4:7 ESV – Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

Our love comes from God.

1 John 4:8b ESV – God is love.

The ultimate genuineness of love:  God is love!

Now I believe the remainder of our text will show us what genuine love looks like.

Genuine love hates evil, but clings to the good.

Romans 12:9b ESV – Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.

Abhor:

  • Apostugeo (ap-os-toog-eh`-oh).
  • To detest utterly.

Green’s Literal Translation translates this, “in horror fleeing from evil.”

A great example of this is found in the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife.  She propositioned him and he fled.

When evil comes to us, don’t entertain the thought of it, but flee the very appearance of it.  So genuine love detests the evil opposed to God.

Genuine love also clings to the good.

Hold fast:

  • Kollao (kol-lah`-o).
  • To cling too, to be glued together.

Become glued to the good; what is good?  Well, love God and cling to Him; love your family; love your church.

Genuine love is affectionate and holds other believers in the highest respect.

Romans 12:10 ESV – Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

The Greek word for love here is “storge”.  It means, “family love.”  The NASB translates this, “be devoted to one another in brotherly love.”

This family type of love is expressed in each one of us by showing the other honor and respect.  In fact, according to the passage we are to “outdo one another in showing honor.”

Genuine love is not spiritually lazy, but spiritually fervent.

Romans 12:11 ESV – Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.

The word for fervent in Greek means, “to boil hot.”  The Modern Language Bible translates this verse, “never slacking in interest, serving the Lord, keeping spiritually aglow.”

Genuine love rejoices and is patient in prayer during tribulation.

Romans 12:12 ESV – Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Rejoice in Greek is, “a calm happiness.”  Hope in Greek means, “an expectation.”  Tribulation in Greek means, “affliction.”  Patience in Greek means, “persevering.”  Constant in Greek means, “being persistent.”

In other words, in the midst of our affliction, genuine love has a calm happiness as we are persistent in our prayers, continuing to persevere with expectation.

The reason why is because our hopes are completely bound up in the Lord.

Finally, genuine love contributes to other believer’s needs and is hospitable.

Romans 12:13 ESV – Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

This verse talks about meeting needs of fellow believers.  Genuine love, when able, tries to help other believers in their needs.

Genuine love seeks to practice hospitality.  Hospitality is a very strange word.  We get our English word hospital from the Greek.  In Greek it speaks of entertaining others.  I don’t think that the word hospitality is in this verse by accident.  Maybe you can’t give to meet a need of another believer; but you might be able to invite them to supper, coffee, a sporting event, a movie, or just some type of fun activity.  This can help to alleviate suffering sometimes.  Maybe all you can do is just visit them.  This can be a great help to those going through suffering.

A great example is one time when Josh was very little we had some great financial struggles.  We went to Lubbock Texas for the day just to get away.  We stopped by a place called, “The Discovery Zone.”  We wasn’t sure what the place was.  When we went in we saw that it was an eating place, with a huge playground for parents and little kids.  So we went and ate and Laura and I became like kids as we played and were entertain in the playground with Josh.  It was like a hospital for us; very therapeutic.

CONCLUSION

As we conclude, let your love of God and for one another be genuine.  Genuine love is not worked up in us, but it is birthed in us because of God’s mercies.

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