As I continue to challenge all of us to walk in the joy, peace and love God has for us I know it may be a challenge for some to understand what each of those are….

This week in we’re going to take a look at a few principles found in Romans 12 that describe the marks of a true Christian. The intent of looking at this passage is not to condemn or lead you to comparison. Instead, let Paul’s teaching fill you with a deep longing to wholeheartedly pursue the life God intends for you. Ask God to help you see yourself as he sees you, to see the grace he’s placed upon your life by the blood of Jesus so that you might walk more fully in the power and anointing of the Spirit. May you discover God’s grace and perspective this week as you examine your life in light of this powerful passage of Scripture.

Romans 12:9,10

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them (let your love be real/genuine). Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.

As I did a rewrite on my teaching last week something triggered in me a different way of looking at love.

As I continue to watch our culture I see a lot of pretending to love, pretending to have genuine care and affection but I don’t think the world really understands real love so I think we need to talk about it together today.

Last week I mentioned that God is joy, it is not a fleeting feeling like happiness that depends on the circumstances of life but instead on the person of God.

As men and women of God, God is challenging us to really love! Never being fake or phony

  • Genuine love is who God is and comes from God – it is what drove Jesus through his life, death, and resurrection. It is also why God created us
  • Genuine love started the advance of the gospel, leading to the salvation of billions. The world tirelessly searches for genuine love. I shared at Easter that this message was not proliferated by military force, political power, it was only by love that the Gospel was advanced
  •  Genuine love that is meant to set you and me apart as disciples of Jesus. 

1 John 4:7-11

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.

Jesus said it this way….John 13:35

“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

How do we love? How can we love others the way we need too?

John answers that question in 1 John 4

He says if we do not love it is because we do not know God

That might seem a bit offensive to some….how can you say I don’t know God, I have been going to church my whole life….or something like that

John answers that question for us too…

10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins

John is telling us that understanding that Jesus laid down his life for us so we might have eternal life is part of understanding God

We are all destined for hell….

Romans 5:8,9

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation.

Apart from coming into relationship with God we all were destined for hell. Our good works, our hard work none of it can earn us a spot in heaven. Even the saints of old could not enter into heaven apart from Jesus.

Jesus gave his life for all of our sin. God is perfect and there had to be a sin bearer to stand in the gap for your sin and my sin.

Here is the way Paul put it Colossians 2:13,14

You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.

Now that is real love

We need to remember the price that was paid for us…he saw us from the beginning of time

Ephesians 1:4

“even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.”

He is outside of time and yet he saw us, in our hopelessness, unable to have relationship with him because of sin

What does this have to do with possessing and living real love?

If we understand how much we are loved by the Father, the cost the Son paid for us (his own life) then we should see the value in His great love for us 

I mentioned last week that the fruit of the Spirit is…

Galatians 5:22

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace…”

We know just like joy, that we can live love because the Holy Spirit is in us. Hopefully this makes it easier to love understanding the price that was paid and knowing love is something that is in us, if we will but recognize it because the Holy Spirit is in us

If we grasp this one way to grow in love is to give it away, to use the little or great of our understanding to touch the lives of others….Jesus challenged us to apply this love to everything and everyone

John 13:34, Jesus says, 

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”

Do you realize the sacrifice and love the Father has for you and his great love how can we not love?

I know lots of things get in the way…we become afraid, we become angry, we become prideful, we become insecure but if we keep coming back to the cross we are reminded of his great love.

God designed you to give and receive love. Love is your highest calling. If we understand God’s genuine love for us it is easy for our love to be genuine

The Bible is clear about God’s plan for you. God intends to pour his love out over you to the level of overflowing, enabling others to get a glimpse of his vast love for them through your life.

So, how can you be a person who shows genuine love to those around you? 

What does a life lived for love look like?

If we understand God’s great love for us then easy to breathe….take a breath and allow him to simply love us more.

I challenge people all of the time to pray this simple prayer

“God show me how much you love me and help me to love you more!”

If we grasp the concept of his love for us through the cross then in order to love others we can wait on him to pour the love into us that we need every day to love others. Take time to allow this to happen every day, we tend to leak because of all the trash that hits us all of the stuff that wants to suck the love of God out of us.

The disciples could only love each other because they had experienced firsthand the incredible love of Jesus. You will not be able to love genuinely if you aren’t receiving God’s love for yourself. You must take time every day to simply encounter the love of your heavenly Father. 

Keeping it real every day?

1. Spend time receiving God’s love for you. Ask him to make his nearness known to you. Let his presence fill up the places of your heart that need a fresh encounter with him.

Ephesians 3:14-19

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

2. Ask God to give you a fresh revelation of how he sees you. Ask him to mold and shape you into the person he would have you be. Allow his love to transform your heart. As you pray the prayer I mentioned earlier you will get a daily reminder of how he loves you

3. Now ask the Holy Spirit to help you show genuine love to others. Who around you needs to be genuinely loved by you today? Who needs to be shown honor and respect? Let the love that you’ve received fill you with the desire and power to love others well.

John 13:34

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”

You can come today and someone would be glad to pray this with you