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Love Without Hypocrisy

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New Year New Challenges  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  56:51
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Hypocritical love is one of the most disgusting things we will ever see. To fake love or pretend it is real when it isn't, flies in the face of true Christianity. This message explores what love looks like in everyday life.

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Introduction

Rapunzel is a fairy tale about a girl whose hair has magical abilities.
This girl is kidnapped by an evil woman who uses the magic in Rapunzel’s hair to keep her young.
Back in 2010 Disney made a film adaptation of this fairy tale called “Tangled.”
After the movie came out there was discussion about it on social media.
People we talking about what they liked and didn’t like about the movie.
As I was idly reading through comments I ran across one that was very insightful.
You see, the evil woman in the movie pretended to be Rapunzel’s mother.
She locked Rapunzel in a tower and told her to stay there for her safety.
When she would leave to go get supplies, Rapunzel, thinking this is her mother, would tell her she loved her.
The evil woman would reply with the words “I love you.”
What this person commented on in the post I read was how every time she said “I love you” it was Rapunzel’s hair she was looking at.
This woman pretended to have love for Rapunzel, but it was a hypocritical love.
Hypocritical love is one of the most disgusting things we will ever see.
If we say that we love someone, it is imperative that our actions back up that claim.
Scripture commands us to be like Christ.
Scripture also reveals that God loves the world.
If we are to be like our Savior, we too must love others.
A love without hypocrisy requires three things of us.
#1. To love without hypocrisy…

1. Make Your Love Active vv. 9-13

This deals with how we love.
We could sum this point up by saying true love cares.
When we care for others we do what is best for them.
Scripture is not ambiguous about what our attitude is to be toward others.
Look with me at Philippians 2:3.
Philippians 2:3
Philippians 2:3 NKJV
3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
This is the attitude that we are to have.
This is the attitude of love.
What Paul does for us in these verses is spell out what exactly that means.
We need to have a love that does something.
In these verses we find 5 descriptions of active love.
Description #1…

a. Active love is focused v. 9

Romans 12:9 NKJV
9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
Without Hypocrisy – ἀνυπόκριτος (anypokritos) without hypocrisy; genuine. unhypocritical adjs. — not pretended; sincerely felt or expressed. Predicate adjective, nominative, singular, feminine.
Without Hypocrisy – ἀνυπόκριτος (anypokritos)
We want to be genuine in our love.
We do not want to be insincere or fake in our love.
To that end we hate evil and cling to good.
This has all the force of an imperative command.
If something is morally objectionable, we categorically reject it.
This needs to be our automatic reaction to evil.
If something is good, we cling to it.
We attach ourselves to what is good.
Good here is the opposite of evil.
Evil is what’s morally objectionable.
Good is what’s morally excellent.
This presupposes the ability to tell the difference.
Where is evil and good described for us?
God’s Word, the Bible.
Paul issues a command here.
Let love be without hypocrisy. Hate what is evil, cling to what is good.
In the rest of the chapter he explains what that kind of love looks like.
Genuine love seeks what is good.
Let me ask some questions here.
Are we faking our love?
Is our love for God genuine?
Love for family?
Spouse?
Friends?
Children?
Where is our focus?
The Christian life is to be all about Christ.
Is my life and yours all about Jesus?
Active love is focused on what is good. Active love hates evil, but clings to what is good.
Active love is focused.
Description #2…

b. Active love is selfless v. 10

Romans 12:10 NKJV
10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
The focus of this verse is “one another.”
This deals with how we treat one another in the body of Christ.
There are three categories.
Kindness.
Brotherly love.
Giving preference to one another.
Kindly affectionate is the idea of loving one another like family.
One another points to this being in the realm of the body of Christ.
We are supposed to love one another like family.
This is further emphasized by the phrase, with brotherly love.
Most of us are okay with what has been said up to this point.
Then Paul has to meddle.
“In honor giving preference to one another.”
Honor is the idea of value or price.
Preference is to esteem more highly.
This command is for all those who have been redeemed by the grace of God.
We are saved.
When we look at others we are to see them as having a high value.
Because of their high value we are to esteem them more highly than we do ourselves.
Where this should be most evident is in our closest relationships.
We are called to be selfless.
If you have children, you put their needs ahead of yours.
What does that mean?
For us this week it looked like constant interruptions as we potty trained Roo. We paused workouts, ate cold food, and got very little accomplished at home. Why? Because his need to be potty trained came first.
That’s just one example.
If you are married, your spouse comes first.
That means that if they need to talk, you put your phone down and talk. If they need intimacy, you give it to them. You communicate needs to one another. You give each other the benefit of the doubt.
In our friendships this means we are not takers. Every relationship is built off both giving and taking. It needs to go both ways.
There is much more we could say here but I trust that those examples are clear enough for the Lord to give further direction.
Selfless love is modeled after Christ.
His love was pretty selfless.
If we are wondering if we have done enough in loving selflessly, we compare our love to that of Christ. I think we all know we will come up short.
We can always love better and it seems to me that valentine’s day is a good time to remember that.
Active love is focused.
Active love is selfless.
Description #3…

c. Active love is service v. 11

Romans 12:11 NKJV
11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
This deals with our service to the Lord.
Our service is, first of all, to be diligent.
Diligent
We are not to be lazy or reluctant but eager to accomplish the task!
That is what diligence is.
Diligence is an eagerness to do whatever we can in the service of our Savior.
Are we diligent?
We are next called to serve fervently.
Fervent
We are to be excited and enthusiastic to serve.
The word here was used of boiling water.
We are to bubble over with enthusiasm for service!
Are we serving one another with enthusiasm?
Finally we are called here to serve the Lord.
Service
There are many ways and opportunities for us to serve.
In this context Paul has been talking about loving one another.
If we say we love God, we love others.
If we say we love God, we serve Him and others.
Love for our spouse, family and friends is service to the Lord.
To love without hypocrisy we serve faithfully.
Love is an action word.
We are to be eager and enthusiastic in our service.
Active love is focused.
Active love is selfless.
Active love is service.
Description #4…

d. Active love is disciplined v. 12

Romans 12:12 NKJV
12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;
How we respond in difficult times reveals much about our character.
The spiritual disciplines we have built into our lives will carry us through the hard times.
There are three directives here.
Rejoice in hope.
The idea here is not that we are rejoicing because everything is going well.
We are rejoicing in the confident expectation that God will keep His promises.
Our hope is not in this life.
Our hope is in the life to come.
Our hope is in the return of Christ.
Our hope is what causes us to rejoice.
Nothing can change the promises of God and it is in those promises that we have anchored our hope.
Patient in tribulation.
We endure when times are hard.
Even when there is physical, mental, social, or economic pressure, we endure.
We trust and wait patiently for the Lord to step in.
There are going to be hard times.
Paul told Timothy that in 2 Timothy 3:12.
2 Timothy 3:12
2 Timothy 3:12 NKJV
12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
Suffering is guaranteed. How we endure it is what matters.
It is possible to patiently endure tribulation when we depend on the Lord.
No matter what we face, bad or good, we pray.
Steadfast prayer is prayer that continues and perseveres even when the answer we want doesn’t come.
Steadfast prayer requires devoted perseverance.
Do we pray like that? Or are we casual?
James tells us that it is the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man that accomplishes much (Jas. 5:16).
This kind of prayer life requires discipline.
It requires discipline to endure tribulation, discipline to rejoice in our hope of glory.
Are we disciplined in our love?
To love like Christ requires discipline.
We have to work at it.
Will we?
We have to work to love our spouse when they are not very lovely.
When family wounds us, we must discipline ourselves to love them anyway.
When our children misbehave, love them.
When church people are unkind, love them.
Be disciplined in love.
Active love is focused.
Active love is selfless.
Active love is service.
Active love is disciplined.
Description #5…

e. Active love is practical v. 13

Romans 12:13 NKJV
13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
Two responsibilities here.
First, meet needs.
A need is anything that is necessary but lacking.
When we are able to do so we are to give to those that are lacking.
This requires two things of us.
First, we must be aware of the need.
Second, we must be willing and able to meet it.
Beloved, we cannot be aware of needs if we are not engaging with one another.
We must be sharing needs for others to be aware of them.
We must build relationships with each other so that there is a context in which needs can be shared.
There needs to be vulnerability and openness in the body of Christ.
Once we know of a need, we must be willing to meet it.
This is addressed in James 2:15-16.
James 2:15-16
James 2:15–16 NKJV
15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?
This is the person who wants to sound spiritual, but not actually do anything.
Solomon puts it this way in Proverbs 3:27-28.
Proverbs 3:27-28
Proverbs 3:27–28 NKJV
27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in the power of your hand to do so. 28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back, And tomorrow I will give it, When you have it with you.
If you have the ability to meet a need, meet it.
Love meets practical needs.
Those in the body of Christ should be cared for by the body of Christ.
The verse ends by calling us to be given to hospitality.
This word given describes an action that we are devoted to. It is something that we pursue.
Pursue hospitality.
Welcome guests or strangers.
Hospitality does not necessarily require the opening of our home, though it should include that.
We can show hospitality through taking people out to eat etc.
What is in force here is the attitude behind it.
Are we welcoming to others?
Do we go out of our way to make people comfortable and feel welcomed?
Learn of, and meet practical needs.
Build relationships with others and meet their needs as you are able.
This is for all of us.
Maybe you aren’t able to meet needs, but you can have people into your home.
This is a command.
Let’s do it.
Active love is focused.
Active love is selfless.
Active love is service.
Active love is disciplined.
Active love is practical.
Three requirements to love without hypocrisy.
To love without hypocrisy requirest that we make our love active.
#2. To love without hypocrisy…

2. Make Your Love Endure vv. 14-16

This deals with when we love.
There is a scene that has played out in countless Hollywood movies.
Someone thinks they are friends with a person, so they approach them in public only to be rejected, ignored, or ridiculed.
There are some who only love others when it is convenient to do so.
That is not our command as believers.
We are to love always.
Our love is based on the reality that Christ loves us, therefore our love is not fickle or fleeting.
Our love endures.
What does it mean to have a love that endures?
The next few verses explain what enduring love does.
First…

a. Enduring love sees the big picture v. 14

Romans 12:14 NKJV
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Does this feel impossible to anyone else?
Someone is actively persecuting us, and we are told to bless them.
Bless – εὐλογέω (eulogeō) bless; praise. to bless (favor) v. — to invoke (or enact) divine favor, often implying a positive disposition or kind actions toward the recipient. Finite verb, present, active, imperative, second person, plural.
Bless – εὐλογέω (eulogeō)
We get our word eulogy from this Greek word.
When we do a eulogy for someone, we are essentially crafting the story of their life using all the best parts.
We are to focus on the good in someone who persecutes us.
We are to bless them, praise them, and show them kindness.
Let me just say it. That this is an impossible command.
It is impossible to do this in our own strength!
We need the grace and power of Christ given through the Holy Spirit to bless our persecutors!
This verse forbids us to cures those who persecute us.
We are not to wish harm on them.
Having this attitude toward our persecutors is important for several reasons.
In Romans 2 Paul tells us that it is the goodness of God that leads us to repentance.
We want to live our lives in such a way that we make people curious about the gospel.
The second reason we treat our persecutors well is because we do not know the future.
Think of Paul.
The one persecuting you today could be a brother in Christ tomorrow.
That is the big picture!
We don’t know what the future holds. We don’t know how God may use our response to draw someone to Himself!
Treat even those who oppose you with kindness and love.
God is always at work. He is always drawing people to Himself.
He will use us in that process as we bless those who persecute us.
Stephen is a great example of this in Acts 7.
Enduring love sees the big picture.
Secondly…

b. Enduring love is present v. 15

Romans 12:15 NKJV
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
If we would have a love that endures, we must have a love that feels.
We must have a love that is present in the moment no matter what is going on.
We must not only feel what we feel, but feel with others.
We dare not invalidate the feelings of others.
If someone is rejoicing, join them!
If they are weeping, grieve with them.
This is what the body of Christ is supposed to do.
Again, this means we need to have relationships with one another so that we know when someone is rejoicing or weeping.
Share what is going on in your life!
Open up to one another.
When your brother or sister in Christ has a victory, celebrate with them!
This goes for our other categories as well.
Rejoice with your friends.
Rejoice with your children.
Rejoice with your spouse.
When someone is hurting, when they mourn, grieve with them.
I come from a family of reactionary criers.
If you cry, chances are, we will cry too.
That is what the body of Christ is supposed to do.
Weep with those who weep.
When your friend comes to you in sorrow, don’t tell them to get over it. Weep with them!
When your children are crying and frustrated, identify with that sorrow.
Don’t send a kid to their room the second they cry.
Teach them to work through their emotions.
This is something Jess and I are learning.
We’re bad at it.
Neither one of us deal well with crying.
We’re learning how to teach our children to express themselves in positive ways.
We are learning to know our own emotions and those of our children.
It is a process.
When your spouse is grieving, join them.
Don’t hide from them!
Weep with those who weep.
Love joins in the expression of feelings.
This is hard work!
It is emotionally draining.
But it is vital.
Enduring love sees the big picture.
Enduring love is present.
Thirdly…

c. Enduring love pursues v. 16

Romans 12:16 NKJV
16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
There are three pursuits in this verse.
First we are commanded to…
Pursue unity
If this was something that came naturally, we wouldn’t need a command telling us to do it.
Unity is not automatic in the body of Christ. It must be pursued.
How?
That’s what Paul is dealing with here.
We need to be of the same mind toward one another.
How do you think about your brothers and sisters in Christ?
How we think about one another can kill unity before it ever starts.
With that in mind there are two other pursuits.
We must be…
Pursue humility in relationships
“Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble.”
Paul is telling us not to be arrogant. That’s what this is saying.
Christians are to be the opposite of arrogant. We are to be humble.
The word translated “associate” here is a powerful one.
Associate – συναπάγω (synapagō) lead away with; accommodate. to accommodate oneself v. — to make oneself compatible with (another). Verb, present, passive, participle with imperative force, plural, nominative, masculine.
Associate – συναπάγω (synapagō)
We are to accommodate ourselves, make ourselves compatible with, those in a lower station than we are.
There should never be any class system in Christianity!
We accommodate ourselves to others!
We are not arrogant.
Finally, we are commanded to be…
Pursue humility in self-evaluation
“Do not be wise in your own opinion.”
We are not to think of ourselves as the be-all and end-all of knowledge.
We are not to think of ourselves as a big deal.
Humility is about having a realistic view of self coupled with an understanding of the grace of God in our lives.
A love that endures pursues unity thorough humility and a proper view of self.
True love is humble.
When I walk into a room, I am not the most important person present.
We must prioritize others.
This goes for friends, family, children, and spouses.
Enduring love sees the big picture.
Enduring love is present.
Enduring love pursues.
Three requirements to love without hypocrisy.
#1 To love without hypocrisy requirest that we make our love active.
#2. To love without hypocrisy requires that our love endures.
#3. To love without hypocrisy…

3. Make Your Love Personal vv. 17-21

This deals with who we love.
How clear are we on who we’re suppose to love as Christians?
There is a story that I love told by Mike Adkins about a man in his town who changed his life.
The story is “A Man Called Norman.” There’s a video and podcast put out by focus on the family where Mike tells the story. It is powerful.
The basic idea is that we are called to love the unlovely.
And when we do, incredible things happen.
Jesus was very clear about who we are to love.
Go to Matthew 5:43-48.
Matthew 5:43-48
Matthew 5:43–48 NKJV
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
It’s almost like Paul and Jesus had the same idea!
Of course they did!
As followers of Jesus Christ our love is to be personal.
What does that mean?
Paul ends this chapter with four truths about personal love.
Truth #1…

a. Personal love desires peace vv. 17-18

Romans 12:17 NKJV
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.
Romans 12:18 NKJV
18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
These verses are broad in application.
Repay no one evil for evil.
It is never acceptable for the child of God to do evil.
The circumstances do not matter.
It doesn’t matter what has been done to you.
It doesn’t matter how much someone “deserves” it.
Never repay evil in kind.
Instead.
Seek and pursue good things.
To “have regard for” something means that we plan and prepare for it.
We are to plan and prepare good things for all men.
We don’t plot evil, we don’t seek revenge, we plan and prepare to do good.
We desire peace.
That’s where Paul goes in v. 18. Once again…
“If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”
As far as it depends on you, live at peace.
This is another impossible task.
That’s why there are so many qualifiers.
If it is possible.
Sometimes it isn’t. But we can only determine that if we have tried everything in our power to be at peace.
This can mean eating humble pie.
It can mean yielding our rights and privileges.
We don’t like to do that.
Yet this is what love demands.
Be at peace with all men.
Where should this start?
#1 - In the home.
Is there peace in our homes?
If not. What will we do this week to pursue it?
Is there something we need to forgive without being asked?
Is there something we need to ask forgiveness for?
We must seek peace with our children, our spouse, our siblings, our parents.
#2 - In the body of Christ.
Are we at peace with the body of Christ?
Will we forgive that brother or sister?
Will we seek forgiveness?
#3 - In all other relationships.
Be at peace with all men.
For peace to happen it must be pursued.
Be humble. Pursue peace.
Four truths about personal love.
#1. Personal love desires peace.
#2…

b. Personal love trusts God v. 19

Romans 12:19 NKJV
19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
When someone does me wrong, it is in that moment that my faith is tested.
I must trust what God has said in His Word and I must let go of my anger and resentment.
Faith is required to let go of vengeance and choose peace.
We must trust that God is going to avenge us far better than we ever could ourselves.