SMARTALK - hope for today

Love Actually

June 30, 2022 SMARTALK Season 1 Episode 3
SMARTALK - hope for today
Love Actually
Show Notes Transcript

Love is love, is easy to say but harder to do.  But Love Actually,  couldn't be clearer than what we see in Romans Chapter 12 verses 9 to 16.
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 Music: Achaidh Cheide - Celtic by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.



Romans chapter 12 verses 9- 16 Love Actually

Introduction: These words spit out like machine-gun fire- the scroll is running out! But it was a recognized style of exhortation - the medium is part of the message- machine gun fire of commands- to startle us into activity and obedience. 

He wants a healthy church. He knows there have been issues between different factions. He needs a united base for the mission launch to Spain. So this part is how following Christ leads to every relationship in our lives being transformed. Meeting him is like throwing a huge stone into a calm pond, and giant ripples circle out to the very edges of the pond. 

So far we have seen our relationship with God (painting on our canvas) last week our relationship with our own self (knowing what gifts are in the box), and now our relationship with one another comes even more clearly into the fore. 

1.     It’s all about love. Not everyone in life is easy to love! This stresses the actions more than feelings. What you do that counts. Agape love of God for 11 chapters in this letter, but now we focus on how it’s to be reflected in our lives. 

Question- can love be insincere? Not really, otherwise, it’s not love. But the pretense to love others is easy. It’s like those moments in a movie (Love Actually) where the wife discovers a gift in her husband’s jacket pocket but on Christmas day she gets something for the kitchen. While the attractive young secretary in his office gets the diamond bracelet. Love is insincere, compromised, and dying. Now if spouses can play games like that in the close context of marriage and family life, how much easier to act within the church where the relationships are by nature not so deep, where time spent together is much less- you won’t need to win an Oscar to pretend!  

So let us pursue sincerity- that pre-supposes a level of trust that takes time to build. Then once you have that connection you can pull someone your way if they need to be challenged. Pressure, different opinions, and conflict will all reveal the fault lines. Evil in this context is anything that would seek to split the church, compromise her calling to reflect Christ in his purity. But if love is sincere none of these things will break the fellowship of this group of people. Instead, we will CLING- used of the sexual embrace - so cling to the good. Who doesn’t want to be part of such a community? 

Now – we are to be DEVOTED to this. Used of family relationships now extended to the church. Here also is a simple but often forgotten key- like trying to get through a locked door we forget there is a spare key under the plant pot by the door. It’s called- honor v.10- The love for one another is centered on our common value to Christ, we see one another as he sees us- loved and valued so much as to give himself up for us. To honor one another means first seeing their value IN Christ, to Christ. Then you sense the calling to reflect that. In practice what does it look like? Dishonor- doesn’t respect or show respect- instead, listen well. Be practical, respect various opinions, and disagree openly and respectfully. Take time to understand and get the full picture. Be slow to get angry etc. dishonor- teens mouth off to their moms- as if they or their advice had no value. 

above yourselves….I am this…so I won’t speak to you or hang out with you or talk much to you…but honoring someone is to respectfully listen, be willing to learn from them, to be willing to receive their help and expertise. Or as it is today- a particular celebration – honor MOTHERS on Mother’s day- involves- time, gifts, and expressions of appreciation. That doesn’t mean you are pretending mom was perfect. But it’s acknowledging the mountain of work she has done to get you to where you are today. 

2. The Internal Resources to Love: to love others takes big internal reserves. You need to be well-stocked on the inside, like a food bank feeding those in need. Otherwise, we face being drained. Every needy person can be like a nail piercing bottled water- leaks everywhere. Three patches to plug the leaks…

Burn v.11 keeping zeal out of the cooler- it’s meant to be hot. Keep- takes effort over a lifetime. What will your Zeal look like in your 20’s- 50s-80s?  Negative example in King Solomon. Put Positively - the pursuit of Christ. SPIRITUAL FERVOR – with regard to the spirit- boiling- kettle on the boil- bubbling over- for this IS the key to everything- eg sharing your faith- bubbles over! Are you on the boil? Lukewarm? Cold? Watch out the fire can be fed with trials and suffering…

In order to do that…John PIPER says - fight for your joy. That Means to be reflective -talk yourself out of darker moods, focus on who you are IN Christ, place all of life in light of God on the throne. 

Bear: Patience in affliction – hard to know what to do when life is hard. But sometimes it’s not doing, not running away, not panicking, not looking for exits. But being patient- closely linked to hope- they are joined at the hip. The fastest way for suffering to pass is to accept it. How? Because trust in God’s purposes behind allowing it…he only permits if blessing can come from it. 

Beg: Then the third of the three amigos-faithful in prayer. Because prayer can be unfaithful- mouthing empty words like a husband going through the motions talking to his wife while his head is elsewhere. But faithful- accepts that prayer is like hard work- you need to keep at it. 

3. The Practice of Love

Use your Home: v.13 share what- what God has given it’s all his it’s on loan- much easier to give to those in need. First the church- but also to all in need. It May not be money- may be experience, time, or practical help. But be willing to receive these things. In the ancient Roman cultural people needed then- no five-star hotels- it can be tiring but worth it! Nothing fancy- ask people to bring a dish and enjoy each other’s company. Use your home, because God has already prepared a place for you in his. And it cost him. 

Use your Words: v.14- when there is a bit of grit in the works- bless. Think of Jesus’ own example. Silence before judgments and beatings. 

Use your Heart: then walk alongside- good days and on the bad days. Sensitivity to others’ feelings: Prov.27:14- If anyone loudly blesses their neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse.


Peace: then we are on a firm footing to fulfill v.16 harmony-Think the same thing towards one another.[1] Do you see that between red and blue? Black and white? But that is a reflection of God – amongst us. 

Humility: Finally- internal grit that might stop this- pride- inflation last week. Refusal to associate- beautiful when you see it- Mackay/Paisley/Katie. 

Absence of Pride: Pride versus conceit?? Difference? Pride- a high- place of God. Conceit = x be wise in your own eyes. 

Conclusion: only Christ has loved perfectly like this. You and I haven’t. We have failed, will fail. Therefore turn to him now and ask forgiveness and the power of his Spirit of Love – only as we are spiritually transformed by placing our trust explicitly in Christ can we find the power to live like this. 

[1] John R. W. Stott, The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World, The Bible Speaks Today (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 333.