Christian Love (Romans #21)

Christian Love


Text: Romans 12:9-18

Presenting your body as a living sacrifice doesn’t always look like dying a martyr’s death. So Paul explains what putting your flesh on the altar is going to look like in these day-to-day relationships. These are the ways you don’t let the flesh get the advantage of a good thing. These are ways you offer your body a living sacrifice and make sure your flesh is on the altar. 

Specifically, everything can be summed up in loving God and loving your brother. These next few verses are very similar to the famous love chapter in 1 Corinthians 13.

God’s love is actual love (vs 9)

  • It’s not love in compliments, in love in reality.
  • A Christian doesn’t pretend love, but loves in reality. It’s authentic.

God’s love hates evil and embraces good (vs 9)

  • Love has elements of hate. It’s hating the evil that destroys the good.
  • In a congregation, it’s hating the backbiting that destroys encouragement.
  • In a congregation, it’s hating the self-righteousness that doesn’t care who it destroys.
  • This is mentioned because if you think you’re part of the body of Christ, but you’re acting like a cancer cell destroying other parts of the body, don’t expect the body to treat you like you’re part of it. If you pretend to be part of the body but are cancerous as a cancer to the body because your behavior is bad or you won’t get a grip on your evil mouth, then you have no right to demand the body treat you well.
  • So a Christian’s love, like God’s love, has these elements of hating attitudes and spirits that pervert the good things God has created.

God’s affection is given in kindness like family (vs 10)

  • Christianity truly is the family of God. Jesus said if you follow me, you’ll have hundreds of mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers.
  • The way you offer your body a living sacrifice here is you sacrifice for other Christians
  • Preferring one another
    • We’re not in competition. There aren’t 144,000 openings for righteous people that God is trying to fill. And you aren’t God’s favorite neither are you going to be. Jesus Christ is.
    • Before I ask what I need I ask what they need.
    • Before I run them down with my mouth I ask how I’d like it if the shoe was on the other foot. But we’re all so self-righteous. Anything we say against them is because they’re wicked and we’re righteous so it’s all justified. (That’s sarcasm.)
  • A Christian’s love is given in kindness and treating fellow members of the body as family.

God’s love rejoices in the opportunity to do good (vs 11)

  • A Christian’s love rejoices in the opportunity to do good.
  • You can’t make others the reason you don’t love. Love is how you serve the LORD.

God’s love has a glorious future (vs 12)

  • Christians can love because these things that hinder love are temporary and we know that.
  • Continuing in prayer means you can seek the LORD’s help in these times. Do you have trouble loving? Ask for help. Continue in prayer.

God’s love is giving (vs 13)

  • A true Christian is generous because they carry God’s love with them.
  • On the positive side, distributing to the necessity of the saints. We’re given some great guidelines on how a congregation is to distribute its resources.
    • Paul talks about taking care of certain widows in Timothy.
    • The early churches made regular distributions to each other depending on who was being persecuted or not.
    • Paul talks about family taking care of their own family first. He says even the world understands this concept.
    • James says if you know to do good but don’t you’re just a sinner.

God’s love blesses the outsider (vs 14)

  • This is how anyone becomes a Christian. You start outside the camp, but kindness is shown and you learn to come to Christ. It’s interesting because persecution that comes from the outside is more tolerable than a cancer on the inside.
  • This may have to do with individuals working for the state or the government. Or it may have to do with individuals who hate Christianity.
  • God’s love blesses its persecutors therefore a Christian is a blessing to their persecutors.
  • Paul blessed his persecutors by bringing Jesus Christ to the Jews who hated Christ. When Paul was hauled into a Jewish court and beaten at the command of the priest Paul said I wish you weren’t the priest because I’m not supposed to curse you but I sure want to.

God’s love empathizes (vs 15)

  • Weeping with those who weep and rejoicing with those who rejoice. Some people are in the middle of bitterness and others are in the middle of pure joy.
  • This is so tough sometimes in the ministry. You deal with heartache and death in the morning and at lunch, you rejoice with someone celebrating. The range of emotions within 12 hours is exhausting. I’ll just say, you better be able to get away and take a break.
  • But this is a general Christian instruction. This isn’t even for a pastor. It’s just a Christian instruction. The idea is to be able to be empathetic and sympathetic.

God’s love unifies (vs 16)

  • If you think you’re the one condescending to show grace, you’re part of the problem. You know that arrogant mindset. Let me do this person a favor by trying to understand them. No. Why don’t you do yourself a favor and listen? All I can say is, if you think you’re the one condescending to accommodate someone, you’re part of the cancer in the body. You have way too high a view of yourself.
  • Try to understand so you can be of the same mind. Christianity isn’t a competition. And it isn’t about how many problems you can point out in the world and in someone else.
  • A Christian’s love isn’t high-minded.

God’s love isn’t evil (vs 17)

  • Because they cuss you that means you cuss them. Wrong attitude. That isn’t the Spirit of God. That isn’t presenting your body a living sacrifice. That’s carnal.
  • Do what’s right regardless of what other people do. That’s Christianity. That’s the love of God.

God’s love is peaceful (vs 18)

  • Living at peace is not always possible, but that’s not an excuse to do wrong.
  • Study the things that make for peace.
  • Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: You ought to study things that make for peace like your life depends on it. But if you’ve already crossed out this verse because it’s too meaty for you, Paul said this is the calling in Ephesians 4:1-3, which we’ll read.
  • Then Jesus said this, Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God (Matthew 5:9). Before you say that’s to Jews blah blah blah, Jesus said CHILDREN OF GOD. Do you call yourself a child of God? The real question is does God call you His child?
  • God’s love is peaceful, but under the guise of “loving truth” some people have made God’s love very divisive. But it’s actually not God’s love, it’s just self-righteousness.
  • A Christian’s love is like God’s love, it loves peace.

Christian Love