Thesis:If "love" is going to be "unhypocritical", there is going to have to be a concerted determination to install fellow-believers in the soul's "Hall of the Honored".
Introduction:In our study last week we considered the apostle's insistence upon a genuine love and one of his "methods" for achieving it. If a person will get actively involved in establishing his/her attitudes toward "evil" and "good", a genuine love will be the result. Active involvement precludes simply adopting the prevalent attitudes and it precludes a lukewarm agreement with any standard. Good and evil are sharply divergent realities and intensely hostile toward each other. Human beings are being seduced by evil when they are told over and over that they must be "tolerant" of those whose values are opposite to their own.
Apparently, however, Paul did not feel that simply insisting upon aggressive involvement in the determination of who/what is truly valuable would get the job done because he continued with more instructions regarding how we are to "love" without hypocrisy.
This evening we are going to look into this continuing instruction.
I. Paul's Focus Upon the Church's "Love".
A. Genuine "love" requires a certain level of intensity.
1. At the heart of an "agape" that escapes "hypocrisy" is the reality of "exclusion".
a. It is impossible to "love" when alternatives do not exist.
1) In all of the settings of "love", there are two basic factors.
a) There is always a "lover" and a "beloved" (even when they are the same person).
b) There is always a "lover" and a "hated".
2) By definition, "love" is a selective action that requires alternatives.
b. It is impossible to "love" without hypocrisy when the chosen alternative ends up being the "lover".
1) The essence of "love" terminology implies the seeking of another's good.
2) Love of the self rather than another is the worst kind of hypocrisy.
2. At the heart of an "agape" that escapes "hypocrisy" is the reality of consistency in the face of the raising of the "cost".
a. At root, "agape" does not exist without hypocrisy where death to the self is not in-at-the-beginning.
b. If death to the self is in-at-the-beginning, it will make no difference to the "lover" how high the price of love rises because the cost is always to the self.
c. Thus, the level of "intensity" is unlimited.
3. The reason for Paul's terms of "violent antipathy" and "determined self-gluing" is that he understood this requirement of intensity.
B. Paul's movement from "agape" in 12:9 to "philos" in 12:10 indicates his understanding of this matter of intensity.
1. In 12:10 Paul deliberately chose two forms of a "philos" concept.
a. The "philostorgoi" is "philos" plus some form of tenderness being extended by a superior to an inferior.
b. The "philadelphia" is "philos" plus an equal sibling.
2. The point, however, is the meaning of "philos".
a. "Philos" is used when "agape" has moved into the regions of the "soul".
1) "Agape" (value assignment) operates in all realms.
2) "Philos" is "agape" when it has moved into the realm of the "soul" as manifest by emotional involvement.
b. The twin demands of "philos" boil down to one: establishing another in the "soul" in such a way that harmony will produce joy and discord will produce grief.
c. The issue of this "establishment" is a matter of "value" (agape) that has moved up the scale of intensity to the point of relatively significant emotion.
C. Paul's turn to "honor".
1. "Honor", like "agape", relates to the assignment of value to a person/thing.
2. The difference seems to be that "agape" is the root and "honor" is the resulting treatment, or "fruit".
3. The command is "lead the way".
a. The word is unique here in the New Testament.
b. The idea of the word is "to be a leader".
c. Paul's meaning is that each believer is to set the pattern for all others in dealing with fellow-believers as those who have been "honored" by God (Romans 9:21).