Imagine, for a moment, a brick wall. This wall can be built by placing each brick in the perfect position, according to where and how other bricks are placed, using mortar to hold them together. This wall can be used to illustrate the community of God’s church. Each brick can represent one of God’s children holding his or her place in relation to others within the same community. Each person is undoubtedly connected to those around him or her, and if not properly connected, the stability of the larger community becomes slightly fractured. According to God Word, what might one community under God to look like? Does it simply match the characteristics of a brick wall, or is it living and breathing and moving? Are we as strong of a community as we could be?
Paul, after describing to the believers in Rome that each person should use the talents that he or she has been blessed with to serve God, begins to describe how those within the Church, or the one community under Christ, should relate to one another and to outsiders,
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil, hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all” (Romans 12:9-17).
Very first, we must realize that real love is a must. Without love, a true community cannot exist. Please look with me again in verse 9, “Let love be genuine.” Popular society has done a fantastic job tarnishing the very idea of love, and some of us have bought into it. In fact, I am realizing more and more that genuine love is fading to the point where it is difficult to know. Just how can we know if we have a genuine love? How can we know that we have a genuine love toward God, and how can we know that we have a genuine love toward our brothers and sisters in Christ?
Here is my proposition. We know that we experience a genuine love when we simply cannot hold in the feeling that we have! God, at the origination of our universe, created everything in existence. We can read about it in Genesis 1 and 2. In 2:16, God gives man, His prized creation, one command. Why? I believe God loved Adam and desired for Adam to love Him in return. God, having created everything, knew that man could not genuinely love without choosing that love. So, God created choice. If God, having man in mind from the origination of the universe, it is possible that everything in creation is a result of God’s love, which seems to be central to His character. Our very universe, and our own existence is a result of genuine love, which God had and did not hold in!
We also notice in this particular verse that Paul commands the believers in Rome to love. If we, as believers can be commanded to love, is love not then a choice, not depending on but causing a feeling! We are not bound by our feelings!
… continued in audio!