Good morning family and welcome home!
Today, Pastor Julia and I are starting a 21 day fast to pray and to ask God to increase His presence and favor in our lives and in our world. As I think about fasting and what I hope to see as a result is right in line with today’s message.
My Big Idea for today is that like the Romans, Paul needed to remind the Roman church of some of the basics of our faith, the condition of our love and the fruit of our faith. My prayer today is that by hearing this message together we can come to a place of refreshing with God that He would renew our strength in this new year. If you have your Bibles today you can join me as we turn to, you guessed it Romans Chapter 12 starting at verse 9.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.Romans 12:9-13
In order to help me share with you today, I have separated my thoughts into 3 sections or points. Let’s take a look at my first point.
Love Must Be Sincere
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.Romans 12:9-10
Our love must be sincere. Our love for God and for others. It seems really simple, but nevertheless, we struggle. We struggle for 2 reasons, 1) were selfish, and 2) because most of us are not aware that we have an actual gauge, if you will, that will help us monitor our love output. The basis for all love is God. God is love.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.1 John 4:7-10
Jesus told us that we demonstrate our love for him by keeping his commands.
Here is where the rubber meets the road. The word that’s used here in the Greek for sincere is better as “not hypocritical” Not like an actor playing a role. If we possess the love of God and we allow it to flow through us… We will hate what is evil. The Greek word there is one of violent hatred toward evil. And cling to what is good. The word here from the Greek denotes a tenacious attachment.
1 Corinthians 6 uses the same word in the context of a lover in the way that one might cling.
And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.2 John 6
We will hate sin We will be repulsed by our evil deeds. (Our past). And we will cling to what is good. We will gravitate to things that are good. We will desire to be more like Christ.
Just like in our cars we look at the dash and we can monitor our speed. When we walk in the love of God we can gauge our speed by the fruit we produce. The fruit is what comes out of us and we can decide how we are doing by this…
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.Romans 12:10
If we are not devoted to one another in love. We might want to ask God for help. If we cannot honor others above ourselves, we might want to turn around and head right back into the prayer closet. We must be devoted in brotherly love. We can correct our path of travel by seeing our response to things and people around us. Lately, like many of you I have been struggling with some stuff happening in our world. And when I get a little funky, I got to get myself in His presence. I’ve got to ask for his forgiveness. I’ve got ask for His divine help. I’ve got to humble myself. My love must be sincere. I’ve got go and ask forgiveness to whoever I’ve hurt. Not like a play actor, but sincere. Considering others as better.
Let’s move to my next point.
We Must Be Spiritual Fervent
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.Romans 12:11
Never lacking in zeal—the Greek word used here denotes like “don’t be lazy”. In all your efforts concerning your spiritual well-being, don’t be lazy. One writer says it like this, “Paul is thinking of the “informed worship” to which every believer is called. Another way to say it might be to set on fire your spiritual fervor. This is the manner in which we are called.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.Deuteronomy 6:4-9
There was a time a Christian would be humiliated it they were caught somewhere without their Bible, now not so much. Other places a whole village would share one Bible. They would separate into sections, so everyone would have a piece of it. They would memorize it. They are fervent. Prisoners in other nations would hide a little piece of a page because it was all they had to encourage them. It was all they had, but it was all they needed. Church, I’m afraid, that in light of all this stuff going on that we have gotten lazy in our relationship with God and we must repent our sin of complacency. We Must Be Spiritually Fervent
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,Philippians 2:12
It’s not a set it & forget it! We’ve got to work it out every day, dying to ourselves and clothing ourselves in His righteousness, fervently
Be Joyful In Hope
If you have hope then you really have something, don’t you? But not just hope for the sake of hope, right? But hope in Christ Jesus. When you are right with God you have hope. And it’s very special. Hope in Jesus brings Joy.
These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.1 Peter 1:7-9
All of these things come together. Are you noticing a pattern? Sincere Love, Spiritual fervor, Joyful hope
I’m going to close here. Let me ask you this, When was the last time you woke up and looked in the mirror and thought, Praise God, I’m alive. Can I remind you today, that you are not alone? Can I remind you today that God loves you? Can I remind you today that in these scriptures is a roadmap to life and life abundantly? In your relationships… In your marriage… In your private state of mind/being. God is here for you and he has placed you here in a church family that you can lean on. Jesus loves you and He wants you to experience His Joy
Would you open our hearts today.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16
Jesus, He’s the Son of the living God, and we can receive from Him today His Righteousness, His purpose and His calling. Will you call on him today? Your salvation/forgiveness is just one prayer away. Will you trust in his ability to do what He said He would do? Will you believe today? Many of you need a fresh touch from God today. Is there some form of unbelief or a fracture of trust as it relates to God in your life today? God wants to redeem and restore those areas of your life? He wants to restore Joy and hope for you today.
You’re hearing this now and the Holy Spirit has brought someone or something to mind. He wants to speak life into this today. He wants to bring healing in this area today. There are areas of deep regret when it comes to your relationship with God and you have rejected Christ as your savior …It’s not too late
It’s not too late to humble yourself before him today, hold out your arms and open your hands to receive from him today. Will you say yes to Jesus, today? Will you bow your heads with me? Some of you already know the Lord, but maybe he’s put something on your heart that you need to deal with, you need to ask his forgiveness today. If that’s you will you just acknowledge that to him today. This is just you and God here. Now someone here may not have that relationship with Jesus and today you’ve felt him tugging at your heart, you’ve been hurt, and you’re guarded, I know. Jesus is here and wants set things right in your life.
If you’ll say Pastor, I want Jesus to be my Lord and savior. Remember, it’s just you and God here. Will you pray with me today, We’ll pray here as a family and you can repeat after me.
Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner. I ask you today for your forgiveness. I believe that you died for my sins and on that 3rd day, you rose from the dead. I ask you to come into my heart today. I trust and follow you as my Lord and savior. Guide me and help me to do your will. In Jesus’ name Amen.
“‘“The Lord bless youNumbers 6:24-26
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’