Relationships are all important and so here the Apostle Paul defines the Christian’s relationship to God (v 1 – 2); to spiritual gifts (v 3 – 8); to fellow Christians (v 9 – 13) and to the world (v 14 – 21.) We are going to concentrate on the relationship of believer to believer based on the words – “BE DEVOTED TO ONE ANOTHER IN BROTHERLY LOVE” (Romans 12 v 10.)
The word used here to describe the love that is to exist between Christians is the word for family love (“Philadelphia”) typically the love of a parent for a child. It is this love that should unite the members of the church because they are a spiritual family with the same heavenly Father (Ephesians 3 v 15 & Mark 3 v 34 – 35.) But what does this love look like? Here are 9 components of such “brotherly love”:-
1 – Sincerity (v 9) – Unlike Judas (Luke 24 v 48) who was acting and pretending, our love is to be genuine and sincere, flowing from a loving heart.
2 – Single mindedness (v 9) – We are not to tolerate evil; we are to despise it, and to stick like glue to that which is good. This is not just something for our own lives, but we are to encourage it in the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
3 – Self abasement (v 10) – Unlike Diotrephes (3 John v 9) who always liked to be first, we are to think of others as above us and better than ourselves (Philippians 2 v 3); honouring those who have been created in God’s image (Genesis 1 v 26.)
4 – Service (v 11) – Unlike the church in Laodicea (Revelation 3 v 14 – 22) we are not to allow our enthusiasm to wane, but by continually being empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are to serve the Lord with a zeal that does not flag. By doing this we are also lovingly serving his people.
5 – Salvation (v 12) – When the present is a struggle, we are to joyfully and lovingly remind our brothers and sisters in Christ of the sure and certain hope of his return and of our future and final salvation in all its fullness (1 Peter 1 v 4 – 5.)
6 – Sufferance (v 12) –In the light of such a full future salvation that will last for all eternity, we are to lovingly encourage towards patient endurance in present affliction which is only momentary (Romans 8 v 18 & 37.)
7 – Supplication (v 12.) – Unlike the disciples who fell asleep on the job (Matthew 26 v 43) we are to remain wide awake and faithful in prayer for our fellow believers.
8 – Sharing – (v 13) – Unlike the rich fool (Luke 12 v 13 – 21) who was totally self centred, we are to lovingly share with those in the church who are in need, as we follow the example of the early church where the priority was not getting, but giving (Acts 4 v 32.)
9 – Sustaining – (v 13) – We are to lovingly sustain one another, not just spiritually, but also physically, as we open our homes to one another and practice hospitality (Acts 2 v 46 & 1 Peter 4 v 9.)
Challenge – Imagine this to be an examination and mark yourself on each of the above 9 points. Your score will tell you how lovingly devoted you are to your fellow Christians, as well as the areas that require some work!!
Theme: “Hopelessly devoted to you!”
Reading: Romans 12 v 1 – 13
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Chris Hughes