Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.– Romans 12:9
In Paul’s own commentary on Romans 12 we’ve been consulting (1 Corinthians 12), he ends the discourse on spiritual gifts in the church by expounding upon an attitude which he describes as a “more excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31). This more excellent way is charity. The English word for charity comes from a word meaning “dear.” The English word “charity” may arguably be the word signifying the most passionate and real form of love in our English language. “Charity” means that you love someone to the point of valuing them above yourself or caring for their needs above your own. This is the same definition we can use for the Greek word, “agape,” which is the word translated “charity” in 1 Corinthians 12 and “love” in Romans 12:9.
Just as Paul closes the discourse on spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12 with love, he concludes the topic of spiritual gifts and roles in the church in Romans 12 with love. Spiritual gifts are useless and vain without love. Prophecy, teaching, exhortation, and ministering serve no purpose unless true, genuine, spiritual love is their fuel.
We’ll examine three facets of love which should be characteristic of every member in the church. Let’s search our hearts to see if the love we THINK we have meets these qualifications.
- Be REAL in Your Love
- Be PURE in Your Love
- Be FERVENT in Your Love
Today we will look at the first characteristic our love should have.
Be REAL in Your Love
“Let love be without dissimulation.”
The prefix dis– in this word means “completely” or “utterly.” A simulation is an imitation or fake representation. Thus, “dissimulation” means to be utterly fake. The Greek word translated here as “without dissimulation” is translated “without hypocrisy” in James 3:17 when describing the wisdom from above and “unfeigned” in 1 Peter 1:22 when describing the love that results from obeying the truth through the Spirit.
Love for the brethren should be without hypocrisy – without falseness or deceit. This love should be REAL. John the Beloved knew what real love was. He was the closest to Jesus in the upper room as he lovingly leaned upon the breast of his Lord. And although we know God loves the whole world (John 3:16), John was specially singled out as the object of Jesus’ love as John was titled the disciple “whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7; 21:20). I used to think that he was called this because he was loved more than the rest of the disciples, but it may just be that John understood the love of God more than the rest. He calls himself that in his own book. It could be that John just deeply grasped the reality the Jesus loved HIM – a sinner unworthy of the love of Jesus. Jesus actually loved HIM. Regardless of why he was called the Beloved, John knew some things about love. So how does John the Beloved say we should love? “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18). This world loves in WORD. We are to love in DEED and TRUTH! Love should be an ACTION. Love should be TRUE. The World claims it has a love for people and a respect for people, but they have murdered over 50 million babies since 1973. The world TALKS about the love and respect they have for humanity when they care more about their own lusts and desires than banning alcohol when alcohol-related deaths are the third leading preventable cause of death. This false love is disgusting. It is repulsive. It is a shame that it can also be found in possibly every single church.
Don’t you tell someone you are praying for them when you aren’t. Don’t you tell someone in the church you love them if you aren’t willing to put their needs above your own. Lost people can CARE about others. Only a true Born-Again Believer can LOVE others in godly sincerity (1 John 4:7). It actually takes a work of God in your heart to TRULY care about the needs of others and place others above yourself. This love will NEVER fail in the church (1 Corinthians 13:8). Do you claim to love the young people in your church? Well, did you pray for them this morning? Do you want this real, genuine love to be characteristic of your life? You can have it. Allow the Lord to work in your heart. It’ll take loving yourself less.
Jesus and others and you
What a wonderful way to spell joy.
Jesus and others and you
in the life of each girl and each boy.
“J” is for Jesus for He has first place,
“O” is for others you meet face to face,
“Y” is for you, in whatever you do,
Put yourself last and spell JOY.