Text: “Let love be without dissimulation (or hypocrisy ). . . Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality” (Romans 12:9-13).
Thought: Having dealt with the servitude of lovingness in the membership and stewardship of the church, Paul exhorts his readers to be real in their fellowship of love, and then outlines seven characteristics of this love:
Love Is Pure. “Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good” (v. 9). Pure love involves not only moral abhorrence, but moral adherence. Love can only become dynamic in the fellowship of the church, or in society at large, where these moral reactions are evident. This presupposes that a person has been converted, is walking in the light, and knows a life of daily communion with God.
Love Is Personal. “Be kindly affectioned one to another” (v. 10). If a person is born again he will “love the brethren” (I John 3:14); and Paul applies this thought here to press home the responsibility of personal love within the fellowship of the church. True love seeks out individuals and loves them personally. It is a love which gives recognition and honor to all persons.
Love Is Passionate. “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord” (v. 11). Passionate love has two essential elements: one is fervency and the other is faithfulness. A passionate Christian seeks the glory of God and the good of man in all his thinking and acting. He is mindful that he is “serving the Lord” and does so with a loyalty, which is unfailing and unflagging.
Love Is Positive. “Rejoicing in hope” (v. 12). Love is always optimistic. Whatever the circumstances, love looks through to the final triumph of the Lord Jesus when He comes back again. Indeed, this is a hope, which is lasting because it is grounded in the love of God.
Love Is Patient. “Patient in tribulation” (v. 12). In his song of love (I Cor. 13) Paul reminds us that love “beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Love never faileth.” So love is patient. In simple terms, patience is “endurance with enjoyment.” Even the endurance of the cross can be a joy when love is the motivating force.
Love Is Prayerful. “Continuing instant in prayer” (v. 12). Here the apostle links prayerfulness with steadfastness. His idea is that of “constant attention to the matter in hand.” It is only when people come together in prayer that the fellowship of love is strengthened and deepened.
Love Is Practical. “Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality” (v. 13). Christianity is a practical religion; therefore we are to exercise hospitality to lonely souls in a loveless world without grudging. This is the mind of Christ. This makes the fellowship of the church real and radiant.
Thrust: “Let all things be done by you in love” (I Cor. 16:14.)