The Motivation Behind the Motivational Gifts
Ro 12:9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
Having just finished that portion of Romans that deals with spiritual gifts, it is interesting to note that wherever spiritual gifts are mentioned in the Bible.....love is not far away. 1 Peter :4:8 says, “above all things have fervent love for one another.” Then in v10 he speaks of ministering to one another with the gifts that has been given to us.
In Eph. 4:7-11 we read of spiritual gifts, and in v15 we are admonished to speak the truth in love.
In 1 Corinthians 12 we read of spiritual gifts and that chapter is followed by the “love” chapter of the Bible. And here in Romans we too, move from gifts to love.
What does that tell you? It tells me that as wonderful as these gifts are, if they are not applied in love, or if love is lacking in our midst, then they are nothing! What does this love look like? We begin in v9:
Ro 12:9 Let love be without hypocrisy. The term love here is “agape.” Let’s refresh our mind a bit about agape love. Agape love is not governed by giving someone what they desire, rather it is giving what is needed.
For example, God so loved (agaped) the world that He gave.....not what man wanted, man wanted a king, a conqueror to overthrow the tyranny of Rome, but God gave us what we needed.
Our need was forgiveness, we needed to be saved from our sins! And God met that need without hypocrisy! His love for the world was unfeigned, it was backed up with action. If you don’t believe that, then you need to take a long hard look at the cross.
To love without “need” in mind is really not love at all, it is simply self-serving. To love without action is hypocrisy, it is feigned love. It is useless. For instance, to put someone on the dole, on welfare and keep them there does not meet their real need of being able to provide for themselves and their family with dignity. That is not love.
Similarly, to wink at sin and not point it out to others is not really love, it is not agape at all. It’s giving them what they want to hear, but not what they need to hear. And it just leads the sinner further down the road of pain and misery.
Next week, we are having a guest speaker from F.I.S.C. This is a non-profit agency that seeks to help people get their financial houses in order. Some of you need to hear what they have to say, because you have financial difficulties. You consistently find yourselves running out of money before you run out of month.
You have money management problems that are keeping you from tithing. The Bible says you are robbing God, that’s not a good thing. You NEED to stop doing that. So in the spirit of agape love, we are bringing F.I.S.C. in to speak. I hope you will hear them out.
They likely won’t be telling you want you want to hear, but they will be telling you in love and in a non-judgmental way what you need to do to begin to rectify your situation.
Love without hypocrisy. Seek to give people what they need, not necessarily what they want. And back up that love with action!
“Abhor what is evil.” - The word abhor means to detest utterly, that is to the utmost! It is to detest with horror. Personally, I abhor liver. When mom used to put it on my plate, I literally would shiver. I called it my “liver shiver.”
That’s what evil should do to us. It should send shivers up and down our spine. It should take our breath away! But please note an interesting phenomena in our world today.
We are becoming insensitive to evil. Daily doses of the 6 o’clock news and the continuous barrage of the effects of evil as portrayed on CNN, Fox, News, and MSNBC have dulled our senses in this matter of evil.
We buy violent video games for our children and watch violent movies without even flinching. We see so much violence and evil and it’s effects, that we become indifferent to it, and instead of being horrified by it, we develop a gruesome and unwholesome curiosity about it.
We all seem to have that inward desire to chase the fire truck don’t we? And oh the disappointment when we find out it was only a cat in a tree.
Many times instead of being horrified by evil, we seek to explain it away and excuse the perpetrators actions because of something that happened in their past. Well it may explain it, but it never excuses it!
Or we may ignore evil because it’s the politically correct thing to do, or it has become an accepted mode of behavior in society. An example of such behavior in the Bible is Herod marrying his brother’s wife. John the Baptist condemned him for it and it cost him his head.
Today, we barely blink an eye at such an adulterous arrangement. We wink at divorce even though the Bible says that God hates it! Mal 2:16 "For the LORD God of Israel says That He hates divorce, “ What kind of agape love are we showing when we suggest divorce as an option to someone?
What kind of a chill goes down your spine when someone mentions the “d” word? Likely none because we have been so conditioned by the world and the church to accept it!
Do you react with horror to the news that someone’s son or a daughter is living with their boyfriend or girlfriend? The Bible calls this fornication and those who practice it will not inherit the kingdom of God unless they change their ways! That should be horrifying to us!
1Co 6:9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,
10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
I ask you, has evil changed? Has God’s attitude toward these behaviors changed? What has changed? ......Our attitude toward these things.
Look at Proverbs 6:16-19: Pr 6:16 These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood,
18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.
If we claim to have God living in us, if we are temples of the Holy Spirit, then we ought to hate these things too! God hates or abhors, these things. They send shudders down His spine, He is horrified by them: Are you horrified by the pride in your life? Does a chill go down your spine when someone is gossiped about over the backyard fence or around the water cooler?
Jas 4:11 Do not be talking against each other, brothers. He who is talking against a brother and condemning his brothers is talking against the Law and condemning the Law.
Gossip is evil! Abhor it!
Do you cover your mouth in shock at the news that 1.3 million babies annually, , 3000 a day are aborted in our country, legally! Very few professing Christians have shown an abhorrence toward this evil act. Life chains and marches for life are ill-attended. Very few people are at the clinics, trying to prevent the death of innocent babies.
Rather it has become an accepted part of our culture. A personal choice. A sacred Supreme Court decision and no one seems to be horrified by it at all!
If we were really horrified about these things, wouldn’t we say something? Wouldn’t we do something to stop them? Don’t be hypocritical with your love! Rather give people what they need....the truth! Abhor evil! Detest it! Be horrified by it! And remember, oh yes remember, especially if you who have participated in any of these evil acts......
Although God hates these things, He still forgives those who repent and turn to Him through Jesus Christ. He forgives the repentant perpetrators and the apathetic alike. Remember 9/11? Remember how rightly horrified you were on that day? That should be our attitude toward all sin and evil. The sin and evil in our lives, and sin and evil in the lives of our brothers and sisters, and the sin and evil in this world.
When we are properly horrified by evil, it will give new punch and power when we pray in the Lord’s prayer, “deliver us from evil!”.
“Cling to what is good” Now, we can’t just go around abhorring what is evil. We can’t walk around in shock all day. We must look for alternatives. Cling, the word in the Greek means “glue” Glue yourself to what is good. But what is good?
For starters....the Lord is good. Be glued to God by committing your life to Jesus Christ. The psalmist says, ” But it is good for me to draw near to God; Ps 73:28.
Ps 92:1 It is good to give thanks to the LORD, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
Do you want to know what is good? Read Matthew 5 thru 7 as Jesus spells out kingdom living for us.
Read the entire Book of Proverbs. 31 chapters, one for each day of the month and learn what is good.
1Ti 5:4 But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God.
1Ti 2:1 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
Children are good! They are a gift from God! Ps 127:3 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Glue yourself to these things! Get a concordance and look at the word good, look at the word “blessed” . See what God defines as goodness and blessedness and then glue yourself to it! As Paul wrote the Thessalonians:
1Th 5:21 Test all things; hold fast what is good.
In other words if you want to know whether something is good or not, run it through the sieve of Scripture, if it passes that test....glue yourself to it. If it passes the test of evil......abhor it!
As far as good goes, Micah flat out tells us in Micah 6:8, “it is good to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. (NKJV)
Paul has set a very tall order before us. Love without hypocrisy, in all sincerity giving people what they need instead of what they desire.
Be horrified at every evil!
And glue yourself to all that is good.
There is not one of us capable of doing any of this in our flesh.
Just try loving without meeting needs. You’ll be nothing but a noisy self-serving, hollow bell.
“Oh listen to my words and hear how caring I am.”
Jas 2:15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food,
16 and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?
Is this agape love or hypocrisy?
Or just try abhorring all evil without clinging to good. You will become a vengeful, judgemental, zealot incapable of love and mercy.
Or just try gluing yourself to what is good and ignoring or tolerating evil. You will be of no use to anyone.
What’s the answer? The answer is realizing Ro 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.
The answer is knowing Php 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
We cannot do any of these things without the Spirt of Christ, the Holy Spirit performing them in us. It is only when the Holy Spirit rises above our old man and is in control of us that we will be able to love naturally, rightfully and without hypocrisy.
It is only when we see sin and evil as our holy God sees it, that we will be able to abhor it.
And it is only as the Holy Spirit leads us to goodness that we will desire to be glued to it.
All that we have done here today is shown you a problem. A problem that should cause you and I to cry out, “men and brethren, what shall we do? What shall we do about our hypocritical love? What shall we do about our insensitivity to evil? What shall we do about our reluctance to attach ourselves to what is good.?
I would only suggest that each of us begin to pray. Pray that God would get a hold of us and shake us to our very foundations. Pray that He would speak to us loud and clear through His Word about what is evil, what is good, and what is love, and as He speaks to us, that we would be moved in fervent prayer.
Prayer that asks Him to take over in our lives. “O God, forgive me for my hypocrisy, forgive me for my acceptance of evil, and my abhorrence of what is good! O God, give me your mind, give me your heart, help me to see things Your way instead of the muddled way of the world. God give me Your passion. I don’t want to conjure up love, hatred of evil, or love of good in my flesh. I want it from Your heart and Your heart alone! O Holy Spirit come and fill this void in my life! Fill me with Your love! That I may love without hypocrisy. Fill me with your holiness! That I may abhor evil as You do. And fill me with Your goodness, so that I may cling to it. In Jesus name, Amen.