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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Real Love

Let love be without hypocrisy.
Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.
Romans 12:9

What do Christians do? Christians love each another. At least, that’s what Jesus said in John 13:35. "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Love is the authenticating mark of real Christianity. By that I mean, the way you know you’ve been in the presence of real Christians – and not just people who pretend to know Jesus – is by the love they share for one another. The apostle John said the same thing in 1 John 4:7-8,

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

How important is it to have love for fellow believers? It’s so important that having such love is proof that you belong to Jesus and not having it shows that you don’t. That’s why Paul says that “love must be without hypocrisy”, that is, it must be genuine and unfaked. A fake love, like a pretend faith, does nothing. And that’s the point.

Real love – genuine Christian love – is active! It’s not just a feeling you get once in a while, it’s a motivation for ministry. It moves you to take action for the good of those you love. People who love one another share in each other’s burdens. They join together to fight the evil and confront the sins they know would bring harm to each other’s lives if left unchecked. By their actions they seek to bring good to one another, to meet each other’s real needs; and to heal each other’s hurts with the grace and compassion of Jesus.

May God fan such love into a flame in our fellowship here at Rockport!

Learning to love you for His sake!
Pastor Scott Lee

Sexual Sins

Flee immorality.
Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body,

but the immoral man sins against his own body.
1 Corinthians 6:18

Sin is sin. But not every sin destroys in the same way or carries the same consequences. Some sins are “worse” than others because of the destruction they bring into our lives, or the harm they cause other people. For example, if I get angry and shout an unkind word at my friend, Tom, that’s sin. I shouldn’t have done it. But if in my anger I shoot Tom in the head, that’s much worse! Now I’ve committed murder and the consequences for myself and others will be far more serious (especially for poor Tom!).

Contrary to what most think today, sexual immorality is that kind of serious sin that always brings devastating consequences. You play with fire, you will be burned. That’s true whether we’re talking about the man who views pornography, the young couple engaging in premarital sex, or those caught up in adultery and homosexuality, the result of all such sins is a form of spiritual suicide (see Romans 1:18-32)

Does that sound too harsh? Listen to what the apostle Paul said in 1 Thess 4:8. As he was urging fellow believers to stay clear of all immoral behavior he warned that the one “who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.” In other words, when you choose to engage in sexual sin, you choose to reject God! You show that you’d rather have the temporary thrill that titillates the body for a moment, at the expense of the infinite satisfaction that comes from the God who made your body and gave it to you so you could glorify and enjoy Him forever!

I think maybe that’s why 1 Cor 6:18 warns that such sins are “against” the body. It is taking what God made for our good – our sexuality – and using it as a weapon to reject Him and cheat ourselves of the ultimate satisfaction that can only come by embracing the purity of Christ (a purity that includes the joy of sexual experience in the confines of marriage). This past weekend at Rockport, we attempted to teach our men many of the basic Gospel principles for walking in the joy of biblical holiness. That’s not easy in a perverse culture like ours where temptations jump out from every dark corner. So pray for our men (and women) as we seek to be conformed to the beauty of Christ and to see our marriage and lives transformed into His image through grace.

Growing with you by His Holiness.

Pastor Scott Lee