As already mentioned, Romans 12 marks a shift in focus in the book of Romans.
Paul’s focus is now the church … the new faith community God is building.
God has saved us for a powerful purpose … to reach a broken world with His love.
This purpose will only be achieved, however, as the church learns to function as the family of God.

Functioning requires us to recognise our gifts and be prepared to use them, both in the church and the community.
But it also requires us to ensure an important ingredient is present in our lives.

Romans 12:9-21

Vs. 9 “Love must be sincere”
“sincere” = genuine, not feigned, not put on or an act.

What should sincere love look like?
John 13:34-35 “A new commandment … love one another … as I have loved you. By this all men WILL KNOW that you are my disciples”
Love is the proof of WHO WE ARE & WHO JESUS IS.

Vs. 10-21 Paul now shows how this love should be expressed:
Genuine love will be expressed
1. Through family Vs 10
2. In our practical spirituality Vs 11-13
3. In our relationships with those who hurt us Vs 14-21

1. Genuine love in the church family

Vs. 10 “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love”

The kind of love referred to here is that of parents for children … brothers for sisters … a family.
How does a family love?

Family is a bond.
It is not dependent on feelings … it just is!
The blood relationship of family is strong.
No–one messes with family.
Parents hate hearing their kids criticised.
Brothers & sisters stick up for one another.
Family reaches out and cares for one another.
Family protects strongly.
There is no bond stronger than the family.
You touch my family … you touch me!!!!
We don’t always get on with family members … there are disagreements, friction from time to time … but a healthy family works through those & loves through them.

Genuine love sees the church as family.
Genuine love is connected … genuine love hangs in there … genuine love really cares for the body.

John 13:35 “by THIS all men will KNOW you are my disciples, if you love ONE ANOTHER”
When the world sees the church functioning as REAL FAMILY it says something!

Vs. 10 “Honour one another above yourselves”

This can only work if we make a decision.
The decision to honour!
To put others first!
It is no longer about ME but now about us!
How will my actions affect you?
What impact will my words have on you?
How will my attitudes affect you?
Genuine love asks those questions.

2. Genuine love outworked in practical spirituality

Vs. 11-13
Genuine love must also affect our relationship with God, within the family.

Vs. 11 “Never lacking in zeal” (KJV says “not slothful in business”)
Genuine Christianity is not lazy Christianity.
It gives its best … in every aspect of church life … worship, service, relationships.
Genuine love understands that EVERYTHING I DO affects my family.
My responsibility is to be the kind of person who inspires my family members to higher ground!

2 Thessalonians 3:9 “We did this … in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow.”

Such a lifestyle is shown through:

a. Service: “serving the Lord” … I am here for HIM not myself.
All I do I do to serve Him & His Kingdom.
I live to advance the kingdom!

b. Attitude: “joyful in hope” … an upward look that looks beyond myself to the hope before me.
A positive mindset! An attitude to life THAT INSPIRES!

c. Right response in hardship: “Patient in affliction”
The Greek brings out the idea of “standing firm … immovable” in the midst of hard circumstances.
Genuine love is proven in the fire!
How do we react when life goes wrong for us?
How do we respond when things don’t go our way?

d. Faithful in prayer: Genuine love is outworked in a strong prayer life.
Prayer is given a high priority … individual and corporate prayer.
In prayer we maintain our relationship of trust in our God.
Prayer says: “I need you!” “Your cause matters to me!”

e. Caring for others: Vs. 13 “Share with God’s people … practice hospitality”
Hospitality is a forgotten art.
We need to rekindle caring for others.
Connection & caring is at the heart of family.
Do we know one another?
Do we know the needs around us?
Do we do anything about those needs?
Do we visit?
Do we know one another’s stories?

The church needs to be the most caring people on the planet.
Only as we genuinely LOVE will people see God in us!


It is vital that our new life is outworked in community.
As we learn to LOVE ONE ANOTHER, only then will God’s love be seen by those in the community.
Paul shows us that genuine love is expressed in family.
It is also expressed through practical spirituality.