If you can tick all these boxes, then you are a renewed creation. You can feel quite smug and settle down for a quite snooze if on the other hand you are like me and you can’t tick all the box’s or most or even some, then maybe as we look at this passage, we may all learn something that can help us.
But first lets pray, Open our ears, O Lord, to hear your word and know your voice.
Speak to our hearts and strengthen our wills, that we may have soft hearts and open ears for your word. And Lord, may my words be your words not my own, Amen
So how can we do what Paul is asking, Please open your Bibles and let’s look at Romans chapter 12 verse 9, and those first four words — Love must be sincere. So our Bible the NIV says Love must be sincere, now as I am sure some of you know that in the Greek that this part of the Bible was written there were four words for love in Greek—agape, philos, eros, and storge. Agape is a high form of love, often used to describe God’s love for people. Paul is using it here to describe what our love for each other and our God, our God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit should be. And again the Greek for sincere is —be not hypocritical.
Other Bible translations put it like this
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them.
Let love be genuine.
Let love be without hypocrisy.
be not deceitful in your love,
Let your love be perfectly sincere.
There are some other translations, but I could not get my tongue around some of the words.
Genuine agape is love without a selfish agenda—love that seeks what is good for the one we love. Much of what the world calls love is self-serving. What can I get out of it, it may not be a conscious thought but if we are honest its there. Consider how much romantic love is concerned with fulfilling one’s personal needs.
Paul lists love first among the thirteen desired behaviours, and love is more than first among equals. Because God is love, Jesus said in John 13:34-35 – 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Love sets the tone, and the other dozen desired behaviours grow out of love, they are natural expressions of love.
Paul is making this point because we learn from an early age how to pretend we care for someone, when we actually don’t. For example:
We speak well of someone when they are present, but when we leave we criticise them.
We tell someone to give us a call “anytime”, but when we see there number come up on the phone, we ignore it.
We say: “no child should go hungry”, yet we don’t donate to the food bank or another such cause.
We tell our children not to behave a certain way, yet when they are not looking we carry out that behaviour.
We smile at someone while they are talking, but we really aren’t listening.
We say we are Christians but we do not follow Christ we do not believe that Jesus is God, that He is one with God, and that He was sent here for our salvation. In John 10:30, the Apostle John quotes Jesus as saying, “I and the Father are one.”
So we need to start we love, God the Father, God The Son and God the Holy Spirit loves each one of us in Jesus said in John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
God is love, 1. Love began with God when he created the world and us. Without Him, there would be no love in the world because it came from Him.
2. God’s primary nature is to love as shown by His rescue plan for us through His Son Jesus Christ. The cross of Jesus is the greatest demonstration of God’s love for us.
3. God’s saving work of grace in the heart of the sinner is the true source of love. God sent his Holy Spirit to us to transform us and make us new in love.
4. God’s greatest commandment for us is to love the Lord and to love one another. God calls us to be the love in our world that He created us to be.
The Apostle John said 1 John 3:1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.
Does the world know you through your sincere love of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit and through your love of others not just some but of all.
Ok we are not even out of our first verse yet but lets look at our reading from Romans chapter 12 verse 9, and the next four words – Hate what is evil; simple hate what is evil, but who’s definition of evil yours mine or God’s, we all know the answer God’s. We cannot take joy in evil. We must hold on tightly to the things that are good. Paul is calling for a total commitment to what is good and a total rejection to what is evil. If something happens to someone who you consider bad what is your response Good you deserved it, I must admit, it is sometimes mine, but that is not what we are called to do it is not the people we are called to be remember what Jesus said on the cross, in Luke 23:34, we read “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”
We need to consider something very important. Real love does not love everything. We are commanded to hate evil. For love to be genuine then we must not love everything. We cannot love everything people do. We cannot love the decisions people make.
There is evil and there a good. There is right and there is wrong. We do not make what is right and wrong. Just because we call something good, “evil,” or call something evil, “good,” does not make it that. There is an objective standard that defines what is evil and what is good. God’s standard. We are to love good and hate evil.
Ok so we are still in our first verse yet but lets look at our reading from Romans chapter 12 verse 9, and the last five words – cling to what is good.
What is good, God is God, when I was in India every where we went to teach or preach we would say God is Good and the response would come back all the time, this was India and real poverty no food no roof no anything but love. God is good and we should be good to all people, some even in church’s can be rude and not good and if someone hurts you in or outside church cling to what is good, cling to the teachings of Jesus, Good is to be shown to people. Do Good by doing. This is a call for acts of kindness toward others. Do good things for each other. We all too often are consumed with ourselves and thinking about what people are doing for us. Such thinking destroys love and community among God’s people. We need to think about how we can show kindness and love to others we need to ask God for opportunities to express that love and kindness.
Well I surprised myself that was a lot to say on just 13 words, now lets look at our reading from Romans chapter 12 verse 10, Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves. For those of us who are married we may recognise what Paul is saying hear be devoted to everyone in the family of God honour each other above ourselves, in our culture today that is a big ask, but others above ourselves,
As Christians we are to love one another and be devoted to each other as members of the same family. We should consider each other over our own interests and give preference and honour to our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. There should be no quarrelling or factions between us, and we should consider how to build and encourage each other continually in the Lord. This image of God’s family is what we are to portray to the world; united, loving, caring and devoted to one another. Is that you is that why you come to church to meet with your Christian brothers and sisters or is it like a club.
And in verse 11 we read 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord.
Never be lacking in enthusiasm, are you keen to read the bible to meet with God’s people, the other day I had a really busy day out of the house early and not back until after ten that night, but it was a great day spent with great Christians who love the Lord and who had real enthusiasm for God people who had that spiritual passion, in serving the Lord. Paul is saying that is what we should be like, we should be full of enthusiasm, and passion to serve God and you are never to old to serve Him if your body is weak then you can pray. Pray is the most important thing without pray nothing is possible for any Christin mission.
And in verse 12 we read – Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Be joyful in hope, possibly not the greatest of British attributes
Dr. Michael Youssef said ‘Why was the Apostle Paul so upbeat … His hope was anchored in refusing to doubt God’s oath and God’s covenant that He made with His own blood.
When we are faced with times of trouble, trials, and hardships, what does Satan do? He comes to us and says, “Does God really love you? If He loves you, then why are you suffering while your neighbour — who has no regard for God, who doesn’t trust in God, who knows nothing about God — is a picture of health and prosperity? Does God really love you?”
At that moment, you have two options. Option No. 1 is to hold a pity party and to get angry with God. But then you have option No. 2. You can say to the devil: “Devil, when you and your followers are frying in hell, I will be in a heavenly body. …Devil, when you and your followers are gnashing your teeth, I am going to be at an eternal party.” So, Paul is saying don’t worry be patient and pray, there we have it again pra, it’s the way you communicate with God through prayer.
And in verse 13 we read Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. We are back to things like the food bank, but it is also sharing all we have our prayer time, share with the Lords people who are in need and be hospitable, be open be giving invite people in share what you have with your brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s strange but true some of the most hospitable people are the poor, if there is a collection for something go to a poor area and they will give what they can’t afford, don’t do to a well-off area. We all need to ask our selves are be hospitable people do we give to the Lords people that are in need.
And verse 14 to 16 we read Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Jesus said love in Matthew 5:43-4543 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour [a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven.
Have you ever done it blessed someone who persecuted you, a lovely lady once told me it was what I should do and I told her that hell would freezer over first, but God the Holy Spirit was on my case and I did pray a blessing on them and I told that person that I had said a pray for God to bless them and she said did you feel anything and I had to admit I felt better for it, I blessed someone who persecuted me and I felt better for it, God know what He is doing and we are to be what my nan would say is to be nice we are to celebrate with others, that might be hard if it is Tottenham wining something but on the other hand that’s not likely to happen, we are to be with those who are mourning to be with others in the hard times, we are to love our neighbour and to be humble, are you humble, when you are telling someone something is it all about you and the god of I. Be humble and love everyone.
And verses 17 to 21 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[b] says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.
In short love your neighbour as yourself, forgive them as we are forgiven by our Father, be kind be generous be loving be a renewed creation in Christ Jesus, because God the Farther God the Son and God the Holy Spirit loves you and me, all He ask’s is that you love Him with your whole heart and souls and body and this other stuff will come. Remember God was willing to die for you and me. What is our response. Amen