Faithlife Sermons

God's Radical Love

Flashback: Remembering the Work of the Cross -   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  31:11
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Intro

Second Sunday of a 6 part series in which we are examining the command to be “a living sacrifice,” to live our lives in light of what it is that God has done for us through Christ.
Mainly in the later half of Romans 12 and a little of 13.
Go ahead and turn to Romans 12 if you have your bibles
Last week looked at the first two verses of chapter 12:
Romans 12:1-2
Romans 12:1–2 CSB
Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
This week we are moving ahead.
Romans 12:9–11 CSB
Let love be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good. Love one another deeply as brothers and sisters. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lack diligence in zeal; be fervent in the Spirit; serve the Lord.

Context

As we are really beginning to explore this subsection of Paul’s letter to the Romans, it is important to remember where we are and what is going on in the book.
As we mentioned last week, Romans is a unique Pauline letter in that it was written to a church that Paul didn’t know
Never been to Rome.
In fact this is pretty much how he begins the letter
Romans 1:13-15
Romans 1:13–15 CSB
Now I don’t want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I often planned to come to you (but was prevented until now) in order that I might have a fruitful ministry among you, just as I have had among the rest of the Gentiles. I am obligated both to Greeks and barbarians, both to the wise and the foolish. So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.
But he did know certain members of the church in Rome.
Romans 16:3-16
Romans 16:3–16 CSB
Give my greetings to Prisca and Aquila, my coworkers in Christ Jesus, who risked their own necks for my life. Not only do I thank them, but so do all the Gentile churches. Greet also the church that meets in their home. Greet my dear friend Epaenetus, who is the first convert to Christ from Asia. Greet Mary, who has worked very hard for you. Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews and fellow prisoners. They are noteworthy in the eyes of the apostles, and they were also in Christ before me. Greet Ampliatus, my dear friend in the Lord. Greet Urbanus, our coworker in Christ, and my dear friend Stachys. Greet Apelles, who is approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the household of Aristobulus. Greet Herodion, my fellow Jew. Greet those who belong to the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord. Greet Tryphaena and Tryphosa, who have worked hard in the Lord. Greet my dear friend Persis, who has worked very hard in the Lord. Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; also his mother—and mine. Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers and sisters who are with them. Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send you greetings.
Paul spends the first part of the letter laying out basic Christian doctrine, the basic expressions of our Christian faith and belief.
Paul is often accused of caring more for theology than application
But this turn that we are seeing from doctrine to application, from theology to ethics, if you will, shows us that Paul is absolutley concerned with application, how we are to live.
But Paul also understands that unless we get the first part right, the application is going to be impossible for us.
If we are a people that can’t even follow the laws of our state, how are we to have any hope of keeping to Jesus’ teaching on the Sermon on the Mount?
But through and by grace we are saved and in that salvation we can respond to God’s mercy and grace in how we live out how that grace and mercy has been shown to us.
This is what Paul is getting at in the verses that we looked at last week
Romans 12:1-2
Romans 12:1–2 CSB
Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
Because of God’s mercy, we are able to, and should, present ourselves as a living sacrifice.
But what does that look like?

First Principle - Love!

One fo the last things that we see Jesus do before he goes to the cross is this: insittutes a new convenant, washes thier feet, and encourages them with many words.
John 15:12-13
John 15:12–13 CSB
“This is my command: Love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends.
This is how Christ loved us: he laid down his life for us, as a sacrifice.
But we are unable to truly love in the way Christ loved us until we know the love that God has for us.
1 John 4:19
1 John 4:19 CSB
We love because he first loved us.

What is Love

We can have the wrong idea about what love is. We can think that love is the squishy feeling you get when you look up across the lunch room in the 7th grade and see that really cute boy.
or that it is about a total and uncritical acceptance of everything another person does.
When it comes to God, many, maybe even most, Christians will say “I know that God loves me.”
But don’t really know what that means
We are seeing this surge in prosperity gospel heresy in which people are saying that we can measure God’s love for us by how “blessed” we are
how much money in the bank account
if we got that front row parking spot
The danger of this is that when the bad times come we then think that God has removed His love from us.
“If God really loved me then he would do __________”
We think that God’s love for us makes him our genie to do whatever we want.
Story about rain storm parking from when I was a kid
This mentality is dangerous because
it gives us a distorted veiw of our relationship with god
We think that he is serving us and not we him
Can lead us to think that we can “earn” God’s love
It totally distorts our view of GOd’s radical Love for us.
Again, let’s “flash back” to the cross
The deomonstarion of God’s radical, loyal love for us is not prove by our circumstances!
NO! God’s love for us, for you and for me, for today, for right this moment is found in the cross of Jesus
Romans 5:8
Rather than change our circumstances, rather than grow our bank account, rather than give us the parking spot, rather than following our every whim, Jesus came to change US. And there is nothing, nothing that can seperate us from the Love of GOd.
Romans 8:38-39

How do we respond?

When someone loves us, it is only right for us to have a repsonse, isn’t it?
So given God’s great mercy and love for us in the sending of Jesus, Paul builds in Jesus’ command to love one another
First, be sincere
To to be fake or pretend.
Chirst’s love for us, the love that kept him on that cross for us, was genuine. Onl genuine love, the most genuine love, could do that.
And so we must love one another with that some genuineness
This call to genuine love is followed by a call to “detest evil and cling to what is good.”
Genuine love can only exist if is oriented to what is good and true. Genuine love can not exist if it supports evil.
“Paul is suggesting…not a directionless emotion or something that can only be felt and not expressed. Love is not genuine when it leads a person to do something evil or to avoid doing what is right — as defined by God in his Word.” Douglas Moo
Be devoted
This isn’t a nice exchange of pleasantries on Sunday morning.
This is much deeper than that
How was Christ devoted to us?
Went to the Cros
both “devoted” and “love” here are built on the Greek stem of philo
“brotherly”
This is a familial devotion
We are part of an extended family, a family bought, joined, and sealed by Christs blood.
A family that is created at such cost should demand a fierce and totally loyal love and concern for one another.
Finally, we are to honor on another
“Outdo one another in showing honor”
this isn’t just a mundane respect
A call to to place a high value on each other.
The ways of the world, the ways that we are not to be conformed to, make it easy to point out the dirt in people’s lives.
Have whole magazines about it in the news stands
SOCIAL MEDIA!!
But honoring each other is to see thier value, worth, and identiy not as an adversary, not as a failure, not as a anything other than as a Child of God for whom Christ died.
We should seek to tear people down, but to build them up, to encourage them, to edify them, to call out the “gold” in them.
When we know and believe that God loves us, and what the really means, we can display genuine love and honor to others.
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