Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Genuine Love

Part 3 of Love in Action

Text: Romans 12:9-13




Let love be genuine (v. 13a). 


Gospel Transformation

The apostle Paul writes, “Present your bodies [to God] as a living sacrifice” (Rom. 12:1). He is urging the believers in Rome to give their lives completely to God, to say, “Here’s my life, God. It’s yours.”

How do we get to the point where that’s our desire?

What we need in our lives is not behaviour modification. What we need gospel transformation. What or who you love affects what you do.

Paul makes his appeal “by the mercies of God” (v. 1). He’s saying, “Think about your sinfulness. Think about the mercy and grace of God. Think about the gospel.”

Paul says, “Be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (v. 2). That’s how we’re transformed. It’s by thinking about the gospel more and loving God more. Then obedience becomes something we want to do.

So it’s not “I gotta be better.” It’s “I am so grateful for what God has done for me that I want to give my life to him.”


Living for the Applause

Paul writes, “Let love be genuine” (v. 13). These words really serve as a heading for what follows. Love is more than an emotion. Love shows up in what we do and say. We are to have the same kind of love that God has for us (i.e., a love that gives).

What’s the opposite of “genuine”? Fake. So Paul is saying, “Don’t appear to have love but actually have fake love.” What do we call this kind of person? A hypocrite. A hypocrite is like an actor who plays a part. An actor is usually very different from the character he/she plays.

Did Jesus encounter any hypocrites when he was on this earth? Yes. [Read Matthew 23:25-26.] It’s easy to be a hypocrite (e.g., being friendly to a person but then gossiping about that person).

A hypocrite lives for the applause. [Read Matthew 6:1-4.] Does God applaud the hypocrite? No. He’s not impressed. We are nothing if we don’t have genuine love. [Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-3.] 


How Are You Treating Christ?

How we treat the church is how we treat Christ. Do you believe that?

Do you remember what Jesus said to Paul (then Saul) on the way to Damascus? He said, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:4). Saul’s persecution of the church was a persecution of Jesus himself.

And Jesus also said, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it [i.e., an act of kindness] to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matt. 25:40). Our kindness to our brothers and sisters in Christ is kindness to Christ himself.

How are you treating the church (i.e., your brothers and sisters in Christ)? We say that we love Jesus, but then we do what grieves him.

Remember that we were not loved by God because we were lovely. Genuine love comes from the heart—a heart transformed by the gospel.

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