Learning to Love Right 2

14 August 2022 AM – Romans 12:9-10 – Rom22 – Scott Childs
Introduction: Perhaps you have heard the poem, “To live above with the saints we love, Oh, that will be glory! But to live below with the saints we know? Now that’s a different story!” This is sad, but often true.
Christians are to be loving people. God wants you and me to have sacrificial love, cherishing love, and sibling love toward one another. Each of us ought to have these three kinds of love in our lives.
Transition: Last week, in Romans 12:9 we examined agape love. This morning, in Romans 12:10, we will examine two more kinds of love as well as instructions to help us learn to love right.
1.        We must love one another as brothers.
a.         There are two kinds of love mentioned in v.10.
1)         The phrase “be kindly affectioned” translates a family affectionate kind of love.
a)         This is the only time it is found in the Bible.
b)         It is a compound word. The first half is philos (being friendly). The second half is storge (cherishing one’s kindred, especially parents or children). Together, they express an affectionate, friendly, tender, family love. A. T. Robertson defines it as mutual love of parents and children. Vincent says it, denotes peculiarly a natural affection, a sentiment innate and peculiar to men as men, as distinguished from the love of desire, called out by circumstance. Ed Wheat adds, “Storge could be described as a comfortable old-shoe relationship comprised of natural affection and a sense of belonging to each other.” Love Life, p. 65
c)         Therefore, we see that to be kindly affectioned is to have an inborn, natural, affection as the mutual love between parents and children. Rogers says, “It denotes the delicate affections mutually rendered by those who cherish one another with natural affection, as the innate love of a mother, or as the love between a man and wife, or as parents and children, brothers and sisters.” LEGNT
2)         The second phrase “brotherly love” is the word philadelphia, specifically describing the love between brothers and sisters. While many brothers and sisters do not love each other at all, those reared in a happy, godly home ought naturally to love each other.
a)         We find this word five times in the NT, used similarly (1Th 4:9; Heb 13:1; 1Pe 1:22; 2Pe 1:7).
b)         While siblings do not always hug and kiss each other, it is normal for them to defend each other if an outsider threatens. They loyally stand by each other.
c)         Of all people, Christians ought to strive diligently to love their biological siblings, even if they are unbelievers and unlovable. Bitterness in your heart toward one of your siblings is sin. God will hold you accountable if you do not make things right with your siblings.
d)         We cannot force others to love us, but we must love them still and make sure that we have done nothing to hinder their love for us.
3)         Using these two kinds of love together, God is challenging Christians, moved by an inborn, natural, family affection, then to love each other as siblings love each other. Christians are loyally to stand by each other when opposed.
4)         Barnes states, “Christians should have similar feelings toward each other, as belonging to the same family, and as united in the same principles and interests.”
5)         Poole adds, “Christians ought to have such affection one to another, as parents have to their children, and as all creatures have to their young.”
b.         This love is to be reciprocal.
1)         The phrase “one to another” is reciprocal. That means it goes both ways. I am to love you this way, and you are to love me this way.
2)         Just as you did not choose your biological siblings, so you did not choose your spiritual siblings. Some Christians will be easier to love than others will. You are to treat them with family affection in brotherly love. You are to cherish one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.
3)         “Some members may be less loveable than others, but we are to make no distinctions. The same love must be demonstrated towards all, even the unlovely.” Peter Pett
4)         Writing to the persecuted church at Thessalonica, Paul wrote, (1 Thessalonians 4:9) “But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.” In this verse, we find both philadelphia and agape love. Because of spiritual brotherly love, Christians are to love with sacrificial love to meet the needs of those cherished.
5)         Peter wrote a similar charge to his persecuted readers. (1 Peter 1:22) “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:” Here again, we find both sincere philadelphia brotherly love leading to agape sacrificial love motivated by a passionate pure heart. In times of persecution and hardship, Christians must bond together in brotherly love, ministering to one another in sacrificial love.
6)         Just before his execution, Peter again reminded us of the importance of both philadelphia brotherly love and agape sacrificial love. In the list of seven qualities that we need to be partakers of the divine nature, the crowning two qualities are brotherly love and sacrificial love. (2 Peter 1:7) “And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
7)         Read Romans 12:10 again.
2.        We must lead in honouring one another.
a.         Let me clarify the last phrase.
1)         We must examine the word translated “preferring”.
a)         The English word “preferring” has several meanings. The first is, “Like better; value more highly”. Often, this definition comes to mind first. Another definition, less used, is to “promote over another” or “advancing to a higher station.” This second definition is the way Paul uses it in our text.
b)         The Greek word literally means to go before or to lead.
2)         The phrase “in honour preferring one another” literally means leading one another in showing honour or going before one another in showing honour.
b.         Here then is our duty
1)         We must affectionately love one another with brotherly love, leading the way in honouring others. We should not need to be prodded to honour others with love. Paul conveyed this idea in Philippians 2:3. “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
2)         How ought we to do this? Here are some examples. Respect the aged, honour parents (Eph 6:2), care for widows (1Ti 5:3), care for preachers (1Ti 5:17), honour those deserving honour (Ro 13:7), honour masters (employers) (1Ti 6:1), giving honour unto your wife (1Pe 3:7), honour all men and the king (1Pe 2:17).
3)         While this list includes honouring deserving unbelievers, lovingly honouring brothers and sisters in Christ is to be a priority in our lives.
Conclusion: As believers, we are privileged to be part of a Christian family. Other true Christians are our brothers and sisters in Christ. In learning to love right, we are to have agape sacrificial love for God and our neighbours, but we are to have an inborn, natural, family affection, to love fellow-Christians as siblings love each other. We are to honour them rather than seeking our own honour.
If your love for fellow-Christians is not up to God’s standard, ask the Lord to do a work in your heart and to help you improve.
Song: Blest Be the Tie that Binds 187