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Sermon Notes

Main Verses: (Mark 12:30-31, Romans 13:8-10)

Introduction to We Are the Body of Christ

We go to church. We know people at church. And we know some things about church. But what is Church? The answers may surprise some. Last week we looked at the behavior of the early church in Acts 2 to discern how it was defined. We saw that this body of believers was:

  • Powerful in action (the miracle of tongues, 2:1-8)
    • Global in scope (all nations were present, 2:9-11)
    • Scriptural in its source of authority (Scripture was used to explain God’s work 2:16-21, 25-28, 34-35)
    • Focused on salvation (3000 people were saved that day, 2:41)
    • Serious about making disciples (Luke describes how the church shaped up believers 2:42-47)

Today we will see how the church used a particular method or approach in its ministry. All of its work was covered in a sacrificial kind of love. This loving attitude was taught and exemplified by Christ, Himself. And then, this approach was adopted by the church in the first century. Paul explains what that looks like at the local church level.  

Common Observation:

The English term “love” has such a broad spectrum of meaning that without proper qualification, it can be difficult to discern what one means by this word. This is not a problem in the language of the New Testament when it comes to the word love because it has distinct words that help separate the meaning.

Key Definition:

Greek Terms for Love

philia (φιλία; friendship, love)

storge (στοργή; natural affection),

Eros (ἔρως) sexual attraction, but does not appear in the New Testament

Christ commanded us with the following verb:

agapeo (ἀγαπάω) to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly. The term is used more for high regard than affection or love in a social or moral sense. In some cases, it is used in the caring of children.

Christ’s command to love has little to do with human emotion and more to do with a caring devotion.

You are not commanded to feel a certain way. But you are commanded to act in a certain way.

You don’t need to like people, but you are commanded to love them.

Key Points

Paul takes this cue from Christ and leads the Church at Rome to embrace this caring devotion.

  1. Paul teaches about our relation to the governing authorities (Romans 13:1-7)
  2. Paul teaches about our relation to each other and love is the main theme:
    • Owe love only (vs 8) – Origen pg 812
    • This love toward others is so powerful it fulfills the OT law.
      • specific individuals
      • different individuals
      • Paul expounds on this in a earlier part of the letter (12:9, 14, 17)
  3. How do I begin to apply this (13:10)?
    • Do no harm (κακός) meaning that which is troublesome, injurious, pernicious, destructive, or harmful


List some ways that you interact with the other (heteros) in your community.

Think carefully:

  • Are you doing any harm to the “other”?
  • Are you showing a caring devotion to the “other”?

Discussion Questions


  1. Pastor Rusty points out in this message that sacrificial love is to be the church’s motivation. He says, “This loving attitude was taught, and exemplified by Christ Himself.” Think through some of the stories in the gospels (Matthew through John) where Jesus demonstrated His deep love for others.
  2. We also learn in this message that the confusion we face today about love was not there in the early days of the church because there were four words for love. Three of these words appear in the New Testament: Philia describes the love between friends, Storge is the word for natural affection, and Agape speaks of a deeper godly love which could be described as sacrificial. Think through your relationships and ask yourself which of the three loves best describes each one.
  3. Pastor Rusty says love has little to do with human emotion but everything to do with caring devotion. He points out that we are not required to feel a certain way, but we are commanded to act lovingly. How might viewing love as an action instead of emotion change the way we show love to others?
  4. The Apostle Paul makes the point that the love God calls for fulfills the Old Testament law. Think about that and write a paragraph expressing that truth in your own words.
  5. Pastor Rusty observes that Romans 13:10 says, “Love does no harm to its neighbor.” What things might we inadvertently do that could hurt our neighbor?


List four ways you currently interact with your neighbors or those around you:

1. ________________________  2. _______________________

3. ________________________  4. _______________________

Which of these four are harming your neighbors? Which ones are demonstrating sacrificial love?

If you have hurt your neighbor, make it a point to ask for forgiveness this week.

List four ways you believe God wants you to love your neighbor.

   1. ________________________  2. _______________________

   3. ________________________  4. _______________________

Ask God to help you to love your neighbors better as you implement your list.