"ho allelon agapao"

Finding Authentic Christianity  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:06:22
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Do we show Love to EVERYONE?

Look at Romans 12:9
Romans 12:9 NIV
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
And now… Romans 12:21
Romans 12:21 NIV
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Paul uses the same word for “Good” in each of these verses…
He begins and ends this passage with “agathos” — “good value...”
This is the same word used by Jesus in Mark 10:18, when He asks:
Mark 10:18 NIV
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.
What is the only thing that is “of good value”?
Last week… We talked about Paul telling us to “Overcome “evil” — “those things of no value to Christian Love” — with what?
— God —
— God is Love! —
1 Peter 4:8 NIV
8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
God’s Mercy and Grace cover a multitude of sins… because God is Love!
The proof is in this: “While we were still sinners… While we were still lost… broken… fumbling our way through this word… Trying to figure it all out… God sent Christ into this world… into our lives…
Rom 5:8
Romans 5:8 NIV
8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
God’s Love encompasses His Mercy and Grace…
(There’s a whole other sermon that could come out of this… )
Remember last week: “Let Christian Love be without hypocrisy, hate what is of no value to Christian Love, and cling to God.” — Rom. 12:9, emphasis mine
“Holding to God’s Love… embracing it… living in and through it… allowing it to live in and through us… is ALL that matters!” — the Apostle Paul
Look at what he says:
— “be devoted to brotherly love”
— “be eager to serve others”
— “share with people in need”
— “bless, care for, love others… including you enemies”
— “don’t take revenge”
— “don’t be prideful, conceited, arrogant...”
“Overcome evil with good” (12:21)
How? How do we overcome evil with good?!
— Love —
Love conquers ALL!
Because God is Love!
So… Let me ask you this: “How does Rom. 13:1-7 fit with that?”
How does Romans 13:1-7 fit with what Paul is talking about? It almost seems to be another subject…
— We submit to the authorities and government over us out of Love for God.
— This is the same thing Paul told husbands and wives in Ephesians 5.
You see… Paul has never left his primary theme!
Showing Love to others is the very basis of the Christian Life!
But… It is easy for us to substitute “idols” for Love!
Look at Romans 13:8-10
Romans 13:8–10 NIV
8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Paul says, “Let no debt remain unpaid, EXCEPT the debt of loving one another…”
Then he says that we are no longer bound by the Law… because Love fulfills the Law.
Think about that for a minute…
Look at the Ten Commandments:
Exodus 20:3–17 (NIV)
3 “You shall have no other gods before me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.
5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,
6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
7 “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.
11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
If we are living in Christian Love, are we going to do those things? If we truly “Love others” are we going to do anything to hurt them?
— NO! —
Therefore, Love fulfills the Law!
This is the same thing Jesus said in Mt 22:37-40
Matthew 22:37–40 NIV
37 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
and in Mt 5:17, He said:
Matthew 5:17 NIV
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
For both Paul and Jesus, “Love” — “Agape” — is a non-negotiable!
1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Speaking of Paul’s words in Romans 13, Wiersbe states: “Paul enlarged the circle of responsibility by including other people besides government officials.”
You do realize why Paul did that, right?
— We have a tendency to create our little circles of Love… And we fit into them only those people who fit…
But Paul says, “NO!!! Love everyone… especially those you struggle to Love! Widen your circle...”
“Love one another” isn’t a suggestion…
“Love one another” is THE basic principle guiding the Christian Life.
John 13:34 NIV
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
Many people believe that “Love one another” refers solely to other Christians… or to the church in Rome specifically…
But… that doesn’t “jive” with Christ’s command to “Love your neighbor as yourself,” (which Paul just repeated), or Christ’s teaching in the Parable of the Good Samaritan…
Paul is reminding the Church that we are to Love… but not just other Christians…
We are to “agapao” — “to show Love to” — everyone we encounter.
— not just in an abstract, disconnected way…
— not just as an “outreach” method…
— but to love EVERYONE we meet on a day to day basis… in-spite of their faults!
So… How do we do that?
Romans 13:11–12 NIV
11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Paul says, “Start by remembering your salvation.”
He goes on to say:
“live honorably” ALL THE TIME.
— not in “partying” and “drunkenness”
— not in “debauchery” and “licentiousness”
— not in “quarreling” and “jealousy”
But… Rom 13:14
Romans 13:14 NIV
14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
Do you know what he is saying?!
Put on Holiness!!!!
He says: “Clothe yourself in the Lord Jesus”
1 John 4:16 NIV
16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
Let me tell you… Jesus = God = Love
So when Paul tells us to “put on Jesus”… He is telling us to “put on Love”.
Agape is a noun that we wear… and a verb that we share…
“Agapao” - “to show Love” = Holiness = Love
Holiness and Love are one and the same!!!!
We cannot live in holiness without living in the Love that God has place within us…
I don’t want you to think that this is just Paul… or just me… so look at 1 Jn 4:16-19.
1 John 4:16–19 NIV
16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 19 We love because he first loved us.
Is that not the same thing Paul just said?!?!
Romans 13:11–12 NIV
11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
It is time for us to “wake up” and start “living out” our salvation in Love.
We have a choice to make:
“Will we embrace our salvation… will we embrace Holiness?”
— or —
“Will we embrace the ‘idols’ of this world?”
I want you to see something…
Jeremiah 51:17–19 NIV
17 “Everyone is senseless and without knowledge; every goldsmith is shamed by his idols. The images he makes are a fraud; they have no breath in them. 18 They are worthless, the objects of mockery; when their judgment comes, they will perish. 19 He who is the Portion of Jacob is not like these, for he is the Maker of all things, including the people of his inheritance— the Lord Almighty is his name.
Jeremiah says, “All humankind turns out to be stupid, without knowledge.”
— “da hat” — “understanding, wisdom… knowledge of moral standards...”
Where do we find knowledge? Where do we find wisdom?
— God —
Jeremiah’s point is that we are lost without God… because we will trade His agape “Love” for the limited, false Love of this world!
— Think about it… How often do we trade our holiness for the world’s idea of Love… or a misunderstood and misguided idea of what Love looks like within the Church?
You know what I’m talking about… “Love = acceptance of sin”… “Love means demeaning, demoting, and oppressing/suppressing the worldly ‘privileged class’ for the sake of the (worldly defined) ‘oppressed and downtrodden’”…
All so we can feel better about ourselves and “fulfill our Christian duty.”
But… look at Paul’s words:
Romans 13:14 NIV
14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
Are we embracing Christ’s Love… or worldly idols?
Let me tell you — The “Law”… Faith… Piety… Christian ideologies and theology… can become “idols”… amen?
That’s what “legalism” is! (explain)
Romans 14:1–5 NIV
1 Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand. 5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.
Paul addresses this very issue, and he says, “Who are you to judge? Let go of your idol and accept everyone! Because...”
— (break it down as you read) —
Romans 14:8–12 NIV
8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written: “ ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’ ” 12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.
What is the account we will give?
— (big screen illus.) That’s not it!!!!
Scripture says that Pastors… teachers… ministers… will be held to a “higher standard” because…
Can I tell you?
We are ALL responsible… We will ALL give an account of what we do with the Love God has given us!
Remember… Mt 25:40
Matthew 25:40 NIV
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
This is why Paul tells us to “Be transformed by the renewing of your minds” (Rom 12:1).
and to “put on the armor of light” (13:12) by “clothing yourselves in Jesus” (13:14).
We are accountable to how we Love!
We cannot “put on” holiness while we are holding onto the world!
We cannot embrace True Christianity if we are not engaged in reaching people for Jesus!
That requires that we let go of our “golden images” and embrace “Love”!
“ho allelon agapao”
We are to “show love to everyone”!!!
— Not worldly, legalistic, limited Love… But the unconditional “agape” of God!!!
Are you embracing Love… or “golden images”?
We cannot find Authentic Christianity while we are trying to hold on to those “idols”… those worldly ideas… that give us comfort and control…
They WILL prevent us from being God’s Holy People… because they mislead us… they bind us up in sin…
This is why the Prophet Joshua told the Israelites: “Choose this day whom you will serve.” (Joshua 24:15)
This is why Christ Himself tells us that we must HATE everything about our worldly life or we can’t follow Him!
We have been given a chance at true life… that is a life lived, not for ourselves, but for the sake of others…
Will we embrace it?!
or… Will we allow the “laws” we have created in our minds hold us back?
What “laws” are holding you back?
What “idols” have control of your life?
What do you need freedom from… so that you can embrace your salvation?
“Putting on Christ” begins right here… right now… at the altar…
(altar call)
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