Loving the Church, Loving the World

An exposition of Romans 12:9-21. romansThis message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, April 18, 2010.

It sounds easy enough but boy is it ever difficult.  I mean when you look at it on paper you say, “Sure, that’s right.”  Putting it into practice is the problem.  Standing up here on sitting in a class room it is easy to say, “We need to love others.”  No one is going to disagree with that.  No one is going to say, “No.  I think we need some good old fashion hate!”  The problem is when I put a face to the statement.  The Bible is clear I do not have the luxury of choosing who I love.  In fact I’m told to love my neighbor as myself.  And the context tells me my neighbor is anyone in need.  The Bible says I’m to love the body of Christ, the church.  But folks at church are not always lovable.  The worst thing is the Bible says I’m to love my enemies.  Now that is just ridiculous.  “Well pastor I’d rather die than do that.”  That’s good because you’re going to have to die if you are going to do it.  We’ve been considering the life we’ve been called to as the people of God.  “Wait!  There are demands?  Obligations?  I thought I just prayed the prayer and I was good to go.”  No, faith in Christ is the beginning of a journey.  It is the start of a brand new life.  A life lived in obedience to the law of Christ.  A life of progressive holiness that will end in glory.  The road is often difficult.  There are steep climbs and deep valleys.  There is sunshine and rain.  It is not a life for the faint of heart but it is the life we’ve been called to.  Our text this morning is found in the 12th chapter of Romans.

Text: Romans 12:9-21

Paul began this section by saying, “present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God.”  This is not a “one time” offering but rather a continual offering.  It is a daily dying to ourselves and our agenda and choosing to live for Christ.  Verse 3 and following then outlines what that means.  It means that we see ourselves as we really are in light of Christ.  We see ourselves vitally and dynamically connected to others and are willing to give ourselves in service for God’s glory and the good of His church.  This morning’s text takes that a bit further.

In the text before us we discover that…

Thesis: The life transformed by the Spirit of God passionately loves the Church and profoundly loves the world.

Wait a minute.  Doesn’t the Bible say you cannot love God and love the world?  Doesn’t the Bible say you are either the friend of God or the friend of the world but not both?  How can you say love the church and love the world?

Well, let’s look at the text. There are two things I want to point out as we make our way through this passage.

  1. The transformed life devoutly and devotedly loves the Church.  (12:9-13)
  2. The transformed life astonishingly and profoundly loves the world.  (12:14-21)

Loving the Church and loving the world go together.  They are the demands of the life we’ve been called to.  If Romans 12:1-2 are true – this is the result.  Lives renewed and transformed so act.  By God’s grace and for His glory.

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