Veterans Day Message 2023

I was blessed and honored to speak at our schools Veterans Day Program. Here is my manuscript:


Good morning and thank you for allowing me the privilege of speaking here this morning.

First, a definition I read this week of what Veterans Day is.

“Veterans Day is a day to honor and thank All American Veterans, living and dead, for their service and sacrifice to their country.”

So, before and above all else this morning, Veterans, Thank you. Thank you for your service, your sacrifice and everything you have done and stand for. Today is for you. This country sets aside one day of recognition for a lifetime of freedom.

And I say this, not solely because it is Veterans Day, but because it is personally important to me. I have a long line of family members all the way back to before the Civil War who have fought and served in the United States military. My wife’s family is even more prolific in the men serving in the military. This is not theoretical for us, but the appreciation we have is one that we live and think of every day.

To the Veterans I want to spend a few moments this morning on what you have done and what you have stood for.

By serving, Veterans have embodied and exhibited numerous biblical principles that were first modeled perfectly by Jesus Christ.

In Johns Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples, Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

          A Veterans job is that he is laying his life on the line to protect the freedoms of those back home and to protect the freedom of their country. And this is not a death wish, this is not wanting to die. One of the lines from the Toby Keith song, American Soldier says it well, “I don’t want to die for you, but if dying’s asked of me, I’ll bear that cross with honor, cause freedom don’t come cheap.”

There is that willingness to do what needs to be done. Someone has to do it mindset.

And if a people, if a country wants to be and to stay free, yes, someone does need to do the job. Whether or not one has seen combat, the decision has been made, A veteran says, I will do what needs to be done.


The Apostle Paul writes in his letter the church in Phillipi, “but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”

The action of the Veteran lives this idea out. Your whole job is putting others ahead of yourself. It is putting Americans, your country men ahead of yourself. You are doing the job, making the sacrifices that others are, sometimes unwilling and sometimes unable to. A veteran puts others freedoms and lives ahead of their own.

Veterans have epitomized the biblical call to live a life in service to others. And the service you have lived, the sacrifices you have made, all of it is worthy of honor and respect and of course, thanksgiving, whether those back home are grateful or not.

I also know, you have scars, memories, wounds that no one else is able to see. That none of the rest of us can begin to understand. I know because those very things have affected people I’ve known and loved, even people I never got to meet because they couldn’t handle the things they carried with them.

America loves heroes. We love the stories of victory in battle and the warriors coming back with crowds waving and cheering, the aptly named, Heroes welcome. Unfortunately, not all are able to come back. And for those who do, often times, it seems the internal wounds are tougher to live with than the physical wounds.

If you are carrying around those heavy burdens of what was experienced, please reach out. Please find someone to talk to, please find a person who understands. And allow them to help you unload these burdens and heal these scars. It’s not fair that you have had to carry that and there are many of us who don’t take it for granted.

Ultimately, Jesus is the one who can best ease those burdens. The last scripture Ill mention is Matthew 11:28-30 where Jesus says:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”




And while we owe our spiritual freedom and eternal life to Jesus, we, as Americans owe our freedom and way of life to the Veterans who have dedicated their lives to service and sacrifice, and who have put their life in the lines to allow America to be America.

To the rest of us, we can’t practically have a parade every day, but if that man is wearing a Korea or a Vietnam hat, we can acknowledge them, thank them and let them ahead of us in line.


I’m going to finish with a poem, author unknown about the debt we owe to veterans.

It is the Veteran, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the Veteran, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Veteran, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Veteran, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble.

It is the Veteran, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Veteran, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.

It is the Veteran, who salutes the Flag,

It is the Veteran, who serves under the Flag,

To be buried by the flag,

So the protester can burn the flag.

-Author Unknown



Thank you. Let’s Pray:


Pastor Casey

John 15:12-13

2 Timothy 1:8-18: Pauls call to Faithfullness and Service (with presentation about Caring For Women Pregnancy Resource Center)

In addition to the sermon as normal, we had a guest speaker/presentation as well. This Sunday was Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. We had Penny Derosier, the Executive Director of Caring For Women, our local Pregnancy Resource Center. So First, you will hear her presentation, and then you will hear the sermon. Thanks guys!


2 Timothy 1:8-18
Life in the Local Church
Paul’s Call to Faithfulness & Service

Good Morning! Grab your Bibles and turn with me to 2 Timothy, chapter 1. We are continuing our series through 1 & 2 Timothy, that we are calling “Life in the Local Church.”
This letter, 2 Timothy, is to be Paul’s last letter we have record of before his death, historically attributed to the Caesar Nero, somewhere around 64 AD. Paul knows that the end of his life is near, he knows that his time is short. He is imprisoned in Rome, Awaiting trial, alone. And while he is looking forward to going home to be with the LORD, he knows that this work is not quite done yet, not with this letter still to be written. Not with this information still to be passed on to Timothy, to the church at Ephesus and to us.
Paul, of course, misses Timothy. He wants to see Timothy before he is gone. Later in the letter, he will ask Timothy to come to him in Rome. In the meantime, he urges Timothy to be faithful to the calling from God that Timothy has received. He exhorts Timothy to use the gifts that God has given Him, just as each one of us, as Christians have bee given gifts by God to be used for God. And Paul tells Timothy to do so with discernment, power, love and self-control. Timothy is to speak and act the truth in love.
So, let’s go ahead and read this week’s passage, 2 Timothy chapter 1, verses 8 through 18. I will be reading out of the English Standard Version, that is my preferred translation. I do encourage you to find your preferred translation, to have it with you here on Sunday Mornings and to follow along in the text as we go through it. 2 Timothy 1:8-18, Paul writes the very Words of God, inspired, inerrant, infallible, breathed out by the Holy Spirit, saying.

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me— may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that day!—and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.

Thus says the Word of God. Amen.

The section we are looking at this morning starts off with Paul writing the word, Therefore. And so it is connecting what we saw last week with what we are reading this week. This is specifically in reference to Paul telling Timothy that we do not have a spirit of fear, and Timothy not using the gifts that God has entrusted him with, at least not to the extent that he is supposed to be.
Paul says, do not be ashamed. He gives us two specific things that we should not be ashamed of. There are things we should feel shame for. Our sin should shame us. It should shame us into repentance and turning away from trusting in our so-called goodness, our so-called righteousness and turn instead to Christs righteousness.
But these two things should not shame us. First, do not be ashamed of the testimony of the LORD, in other words, of the Gospel. When people find out you believe the Gospel, the true, biblical Gospel, people will say a lot of things. People will say that you are brainwashed, that your parents forced it on to you. People will say that there are many paths, that the Gospel is not exclusive. People will say that it is a crutch, that only weak people need it. People will say that you are just going along with the majority culture. People will say that the Gospel is ignorant, intolerant and archaic. People will say that only uneducated people will believe that. People will say that the morals of the Bible are wrong. People will say a lot of things.

People are wrong.

Paul famously writes in Romans 1:16, For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,. Do not be ashamed of the testimony of the LORD, for He is the one who saves, who forgives, who justifies and who glorifies.
And second, Paul tells Timothy, do not be ashamed of me. Paul was imprisoned, for the very Gospel that he is not ashamed of and that he tells us not to be ashamed of, but he is in prison. Many would be ashamed to be associated with Paul at that point. Many were in fact, we will see a few examples of this in a few verses, in the section we read this morning.
And think about that. Does that really seem far fetched to us if we think about it honestly? If a friend of ours gets arrested, say he gets arrested, as some have in Britain for example, of preaching the Gospel on the street, in public and being arrested for hate speech. How many of us would try to distance ourselves from the entire situation? Its easy to say, NO, not me!
Peter said the same thing! We see in Luke 22, this dialogue between Jesus and Peter, starting in verse 31:
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.”
Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.”

Its so easy to say, “Not me, Never, I will never be ashamed!” And hopefully that’s true, but it takes more than just saying it. Instead of being ashamed, Paul says, share in the suffering that is for the Gospel. Paul was imprisoned because of the Gospel. He was imprisoned because he was being faithful to the call.
Now, he is telling us, telling Timothy, to be faithful to the call. When faithful to the call, there will be suffering. Through our faithfulness to the call, and more accurately, through Gods faithfulness we can persevere and share in the suffering.
This is not to say that we are to seek out suffering, as if it were penance. But through the power of God, we can submit to and stand tall through the suffering. We see in Acts 5:41, speaking of the Apostles when they were released from being jail for preaching the gospel, scriptures say, then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.

And it is the power of God who saved us and call us to a holy calling. This is our sanctification. That is what he called us to. To be conformed to the image of his son, Romans 8:29. To repent of our sins. To submit in faith to his complete and total authority. To live in faith. To grow in wisdom and knowledge. To grow in the fruits of the spirit and to live a holy and quiet life.
None of this is by our own works, as Paul says here, and as he says often in his letters, our regeneration is initiated by God, by the calling of the Holy Spirits and it precedes our faith. Our faith is in response to his calling.
And He calls us, not because of anything that we have done or will do, but because of his purpose and grace Paul says. We did not do anything to make Him think we were good enough. He did not see anything in us and then decide to save us. He did not see that we would “accept him” and then decide to save us.
He decides to save those whom He saves based on His purposes and His grace. Nothing else. We didn’t earn His love. He chose to love us. He chose us. He chose to love us, to save us, because He chose to do so. We didn’t earn it, we are chosen. And He determined this grace that he gives us and the grace of Christ Jesus before time began, from the beginning.
God’s grace: appointed and determined before time began. Manifested in the incarnation, in the life of Christ Jesus, truly God and yet, truly man. God became man, born a human baby, lived a perfect life, fulfilled the covenant of works that Adam broke on all our behalf. Gods grace manifested through the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.
He abolished death, defeating it by being raised from the dead by God the Father. He brought life, through the forgiveness of sin. By the shedding of his blood, he paid the wages of sin, wages he didn’t owe, because he had no sin. Wages that we couldn’t pay because we are sinful.
And this is the Gospel. That Christ fulfilled the Covenant of Works so that we may be included in the Covenant of Grace. Paul writes in Romans 5:8 & 9: but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.

This is the Gospel of which Paul was called. This is the Gospel of which Paul was appointed a preacher, a teacher, and an Apostle. That Gospel and that call are why Paul is imprisoned. Because Paul; was faithful to the Word of God and because he was faithful and followed through with the call that God gave him.
We see this happening today throughout the world. We see nations, governments telling people that it is illegal to be a Christian. We have many more that are saying it is illegal to proselytize, to evangelize, to share the Bible or the Gospel with any one within that country. We see the worldwide culture moving towards it being illegal to speak or preach against other religions, worldviews or behaviors and therefore illegal to speak or preach what the Bible says is true. That’s not here yet in America, but make no mistake, they are trying, and it is coming.
Paul says, that for all of that, he says, I am not ashamed. He says, I know in whom I have believed. The one who is called Faithful and true (Rev. 19:11). The Alpha and the Omega (Rev. 22:13). He is the King of Kings and the LORD of Lords (Rev 19:16).
And He will guard what he has entrusted to us, namely, our salvation. Our regeneration, our justification and the glorification that is yet to come. All of it is a gift from God from his own purposes and grace and all of it is firmly held in Jesus hands. He will guard it until that day of judgment, and he will not let go of those who are His, as in righteousness he judges and makes war. (Rev 19:11)

Paul tells Timothy, follow the pattern. Do what you have been taught and what you have seen to be true. James 1:22 says to be doers of the word, not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. It is not just about sitting here and hearing what I am telling you, hearing what the Word of God says, but we need to follow and obey it as well.
Paul was a sound and faithful teacher. His words were trustworthy. Paul spoke with and in faith. He spoke with and in truth. He encourages us to listen and learn and obey and live with our faith in and to the truth of Jesus Christ.
And the Holy Spirit will help guard the truth in us. He will guard the sound doctrine, the deposit entrusted to us. God says in Ezekiel that he will turn our hearts of stone to hearts of flesh. The Bible says that the law is no longer written on tablets of stone but written on our hearts. Now, we know of course, that Jeremiah tells us we cannot trust our own heart, not in and of itself. The heart is deceitful above all things, he says. But we can trust the LORD, we can trust the Holy Spirit to seal the truth in our hearts and to, as Paul says here, dwell in us and guard that deposit within us.
Charles Spurgeon writes: This is what we need. If the Holy Spirit is in us, we shall never trifle with the truth. He is the lover and revealer of truth, and we shall press the doctrines of the Word of God and the Word of God itself, nearer and nearer to our hearts in proportion as the Holy Spirit dwells in us.

Seek the truth as you read and learn Gods Word. Seek not to confirm your thoughts, ideas and beliefs, but for the very Word of God to reveal the truth in you and to you. That the very Word of God would change you and mold you. That the Holy Spirit would guide you in truth and would direct your knowledge and build your discernment of what is true and what is lie.
When you know the truth, when it is revealed to you, do not be ashamed of it. Do not be ashamed of the Bible. Do not be ashamed of the Gospel. Do not be ashamed of Jesus, his teachings, his life or his death on the cross. Do not be ashamed of his resurrection or his calling He has placed on you. Do not be ashamed of being faithful.
You belong to Christ. He who is faithful and true. He calls us to be like Him. We are made in his image. We are called to grow more and more like Him. We are called to be faithful as Christ is faithful.

Paul shows and names a few examples of both faithfulness and unfaithfulness. Some decided that they were indeed ashamed of Paul and his imprisonment. Some decided to leave Paul and his company. They cut ties with him, disavowed him, probably said things like, “We always knew there was something about him. Something just seemed off…”
Paul mentions Asia, that all who were there, turned away from him. Asia was then, what we know now of as Turkey and that region. Ephesus was the main city, one of the main powers in that region at the time. Paul was emphasizing to Timothy that many backs in the Ephesian church had turned their back on him as well.
Chief amongst those who left him and were unfaithful to him were Phygelus and Hermogenes. Likely these two are named specifically because their abandonment, their disloyalty was so heartbreaking and so devastating to Paul. It was likely that he depended on them. And then they were gone.
As you go through hard times, as you go through difficult situations, people will fall away. They will leave your side. Friends will leave, turn away, abandon you. Sometimes it will be unintentional, and they won’t even realize they are doing it. Sometimes it will be very intentional, very purposeful. Sometimes we will be those friends.
We are not perfect friends. Our closest friends are not perfect either. I continue to think back to Jesus closest friends. Jesus, the man who was perfect. The man who would have been the best friend a person could have. And his three closest friends continually let him down. Peter, James and John, the three who joined Jesus up on the Mount of Transfiguration, who saw Moses and Elijah, couldn’t stay awake for a short period of time when Jesus was praying in the garden of Gethsemane, sweating blood. His closest friends, his disciples scattered when he was arrested, tried and crucified. Peter denied him three times. Only John, bringing Mary, Jesus mom, only he came back and was at the foot of the cross as he died.
We will not be perfect, faithful and loyal friends. We will let our friends down at various points. There will be friends of ours will let us down, will not be perfect, faithful or loyal at all times. We cannot expect to be treated better than Jesus himself was treated.
But some will people do remain faithful. Onesiphorus was faithful. He often refreshed Paul and was not ashamed of his prison chains. Onesiphorus not only stayed faithful to Paul, but when he got to Rome, he actively and vigorously sought out Paul. He went above and beyond what was expected in order to show Paul he was loved and supported.
Onesiphorus is to be an example to us. He showed his faith in Christ by his works, by his actions. He showed his faith in Christ by his obedience, his loyalty, his faithfulness. Onesiphorus will hear on the last day, “Well Done, Good and Faithfull servant.” The LORD will grant him mercy on that day. Onesiphorus will be saved from judgment and will be with the LORD in eternity future.
Heres the thing. Character shows through. Good, bad or indifferent, character shows through. Paul points out that Timothy knows the character of Onesiphorus and all that he did in service to the LORD in Ephesus.
People will see your character. And it will be a testament to where your faith and where your trust truly lies. Now, its true that people who don’t know Christ can be good, moral, high character people. But what is that a testament of. Nothing else but Gods common grace.
Those of us who do know the LORD, or more accurate to my own experiences, who have come to know the LORD later, whatever our character was, good or bad, it will improve through our sanctification. It wont always happen instantly, at least not on the outside, not visibly.
I was thinking recently about my own growth and sanctification. When I became a Christian, thinks changed and started changing on the inside immediately. And some things probably changed on the outside, in terms of my behavior and what not. But since I was a good, nice, moral guy there wasn’t the immediate, drastic shift that all could see. I was thinking back to the things that really have changed in me and the ones that mark right now the difference in who I was then and who I am now, those didn’t start visibly changing for a couple of years.
So, it wont always show right away on the outside, but God is growing you, that you may be conformed to the image of his son. His chose you. He loves you. He saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace.

To God be the glory, the honor and all praises. Amen.

Let’s Pray.

Romans 12:9-13, Living the Christian Life, part 1

Romans 12:9-13

Living the Christian Life

(Editors Note: I have been creating a bulletin insert recently, listing the scripture references that I use in the sermon that morning. Its kind of a quick, Go-to guide that you can either refer back to or follow along with. I am going to try to add it to the manuscript as it gets posted moving forward. My ultimate Hope is that it comes through as the podcast notes on iTunes and is a usable resource here on the blog.)

Romans 12:9-13

Romans 12:1-8

Romans 7

John 14:15

Galatians 5:22&23

James 2:14-26

1 John 4:19

John 13:35

1 Timothy 1:5

Matthew 5:43-48

Romans 5:8

Romans 1:32

1 Thessalonians 5:21&22

Mark 10:18

Psalm 119:105

Romans 10:17

Genesis 1

Phillipians 4:8&9

Hebrews 13:1

Romans 12:18

1 Peter 4:8

Phillipians 2:3

Good Morning! Go ahead and grab your Bibles and turn with me to Romans chapter 12. If you do not have or own a Bible, please help yourself to one from the back table as our gift to you.

We continue through the section of Romans this morning where Paul is teaching, or commanding on the practical living out of the theological truths he has laid out in Romans chapters 1-11.

And Paul makes a few things clear as he goes into this section of his letter. First, in the first two verse, he shows that the application of what we read earlier in the letter can only come with a transformed heart and mind, which can only be given by God. Second, as we looked at last week, that the basis for all of our actions, all of our works, all of our life that we are living for God should be based on love.

And so in verses 3-8, which we looked at last week, Paul showed how we should be serving and using our gifts to love God, love the Church and to love one another.

And then here in the 5 verses we will look at this morning, Paul gives, kind of a bullet point list of things that we are to do in showing our transformed hearts and love for God.

Lets go ahead and read Romans 12, verses 9-13. I will be reading out of the English Standard version. Paul writes:

 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit,[g] serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

These here are 13 commands that Paul gives to true believers. These are d-signs, or fruit that show the transformed heart that God has given us. And that leads to something I want us to remember. We cannot expect people who don’t know God, who don’t know his commands, who don’t have a transformed heart to show the signs the Paul lays out here of a person who is a follower of Christ.

The standard in regards to judgment is the same, don’t get me wrong. We will all be judged by the same standard. However, Paul talks in Romans 7, how he would not have know what sin was if he had not known the law. We cannot meet someone and expect that they will be following the law if they do not know the law or if they do not know the one who is the reason to follow the law. Instead, what we need to do is show them what the law is, why it needs to be followed and who is the reason for following it. As we remind ourselves each and every week, we follow the law, not to earn salvation, not to show that we are a good person. We cannot follow the law enough to do either of those things. Instead we follow the law because we have been delivered from the consequences of not following the law and we have had grace and mercy poured out on us. Jesus tells us, If you love me, follow my commands. (John 14:15)

And so what Paul lists here are 13 physical, visible evidences of what true saving faith looks like. He gives a list, a very different list, but with the same baseline idea, in Galatians 5. There, he lists the fruit of the spirit. The list there is more characteristics or qualities that we will see progression with when we are walking and growing with the spirit. This list here in Romans 12 is more of the activities and actions that we can look and see progress as we walk and grow with the Holy Spirit.

And again, Paul has given us, like an addition problem, how we get to these actions. We have the Why we need to be saved, plus who it is that saves us, plus how we are saved, equals what we do after we are saved. Good, clear Biblical theology necessarily leads to good, clear biblical application. Remember what James says in his letter, that so-called faith, if not accompanied by physical evidence of that faith, what he calls works, then it is truly no faith at all. That faith is dead. (James 2:14-26)

So we are going to briefly look at these 13 things Paul lists and make sure we understand what is expected of us as followers of Christ.

First, Let Love Be Genuine. The NASB translates it, Let Love be without hypocrisy. And the greek uses the root word from which we get hypocrite. Originally, it was used for actors who would wear masks for their different roles and the parts they play. The point is that we should not be playing a role. We should not “act” loving towards one another, but actually love them. Let your love be sincere. Not superficial.

Casting Crowns have a song called, Stained Glass Masquerade. The point of the song is that there is a church culture that is killing us. We come in, and we put up walls and we fake our way through, hiding our love, hiding our pain, hiding our lives. We ask, “How are you doing?” and we don’t listen to the answer. Our someone asks us, “How are you?” and, no matter what we are going through, no matter how we are feeling, no matter the truth, we say, “Fine.” Dont be Fine. “Fine,” is an answer that kills relationships, kills families and would eventually kill a church. Don’t be fine, be honest and open.

Pour into each other so that they are willing and feel safe to open up and be honest. Be honest and sincere first, so that others see and can reciprocate. We are here as a family, One body in Christ. We are not a social club or a gathering of strangers. We are a family. We are to love God and love each other God first loved us. (1 John 4:19) They will know we are Christians by our love. (John 13:35)

Heres the other thing. People, each and every one of us, its incredibly difficult to see the hypocrisy in our own hearts and in our own actions. But we can see it in others very easily. And they can see it in us. If our love is not true and sincere, people will know. Either the person we are interacting with, or the people observing us, or, more likely, both. That kind of fake love is what causes people to not want to come to church. That idea that we need to be all buttoned up, that we need to be on top of out game to come to church. And if not then we need to look the part, act the role.

It also affects more than our personal interactions with each other. If we, purposely or not, are putting out the message that we need to be ok in order to come in Sunday mornings, that expands outward to another wrong idea. This idea that goes around in our communities that we need to clean ourselves up in order for God to accept us and to love us. People think this because that’s what they see from us.

Heres something we need to constantly remember, People who don’t know God get their ideas and beliefs about what God is like and what he expects by watching those of us who say we know God. You ever wonder how culture, how TVs movies and such get such wrong impressions and ideas about what Christianity is, about what the Bible says and means? It’s because they watch us Christians and how we act and what we show them.

So People, if they see us showing insincere lover, if they see us showing conditional love, if they see us being fake with each other, they are going to assume that they will not be accepted or lived until they look just like us. This, again, is that idea that we all need to be the same. They will all look-alike, have the same personalities, same interests, same preferences, and all that. Its simply not true.

Paul writes in 1 Timothy 1:5:  The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Paul is going to re-emphasize this with a similar but different command in the next verse, saying to Love each other with brotherly affection. We will come back to the differences in those two similar sayings after finishing up verse 9.

But first, lets finish up this command. Paul’s point here is repeating commands from Jesus. During the Sermon on the Mount, recorded in Matthew chapter 5, verses 43-48, Jesus said:

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers,[i] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

One of Jesus’ points throughout the Sermon on the Mount is that we, as Christians, as followers of Christ, we don’t get to take the easy way. We don’t get to be just like everyone else. We know that we are held to a standard, as we mentioned earlier, and we know it, unlike unbelievers who either do not realize or do not recognize the standard that they will be held to. And the common sense, human mind natural will of people is to love those who love you and hate those who hate you. Without the Holy Spirit renewing our mind, that just feels right and it is instinctive. But that’s not what we are called to and it’s not what Gods standard is.

Gods standard is to love even those who are not lovable. To love even those who are not worthy of love. To love even those who we can find no reason to love. Because, guess what? Thats what God did to us. We were not lovable. We were not worthy of love. There was no reason for him to love us. And yet, as Paul wrote earlier in this letter, Romans 5:8,  but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Let that love be genuine, without hypocrisy. Let us not just play a role, to act a part, to pretend to love But let it be genuine.

Now, command number two, continuing in verse 9, Paul says, abhor what is evil. This word, abhor, is an interesting word. It is defined as “to have a horror of,” or “to detest utterly.” Thats a very strong statement. God standard, his perfect standard, what he says is good. And not only good, but perfectly good. He sets that standard. And so what goes against or falls short of that standard is, by definition, not good. And not like it’s on a spectrum and it’s just not as good. It’s not good, there is no good in it. It is evil. And it is called sin. Anything that goes against what God says or falls short if his holy standard is sin. And God calls it evil.

Do you believe that about sin? About all sin? Do you abhor sin? Do you think it is all evil? Or is some sin, just sort of ok? Do you think of ALL sin as evil? Even YOUR sins? Even the little sins? Even the sins that you don’t think will hurt any one? Even the sins that you don’t think any one will find out about? Even the sins that you don’t think are sins? Even the sins that you justify?

It’s all still sin. And Its all evil.

RC Sproul, in his classic book, The Holiness of God, describes sin in this way:

Sin is cosmic treason. Sin is treason against a perfectly pure Sovereign. It is an act of supreme ingratitude toward the One to whom we owe everything, to the One who has given us life itself. Have you ever considered the deeper implications of the slightest sin, of the most minute peccadillo? What are we saying to our Creator when we disobey Him at the slightest point? We are saying no to the righteousness of God. We are saying, “God, Your law is not good. My judgement is better than Yours. Your authority does not apply to me. I am above and beyond Your jurisdiction. I have the right to do what I want to do, not what You command me to do.”

Sin is evil. We are to abhor sin, to be horrified by it, to utterly detest it. Most especially, the sin that’s in us, the sins that we ourselves commit. Its real easy to hate the sins of others, especially if they are different sins than we struggle with. But its a lot harder to abhor the sins that we commit and struggle with. And even the sins of others, we don’t hate until God gets ahold if us. The last part of Romans 1 shows this. We are not going to read through it, except for 1 verse, verse 32, which reads:  Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

The only way for us to understand the power and magnitude of sin, even little sin, or even what sin is, is for God to reveal it to us. Romans 1 also mentions that we all know the truth but we suppress it. God lifts the veil from our eyes and with a transformed heart, the Holy Spirit can reveal the truth of our sin to us and, as we grow in repentance and sanctification, we then grow in our hatred for sin and in our view of God grows higher. And the reverse is true too, as our view of God grows higher, our hatred and abhorrence for sin grows as well.

Third, as we detest utterly evil and sin, we Hold Fast to what is good, the last command in verse 9. The word in the King James is cleave to what is good, meaning to stick like adhesive tape, to be welded or cemented together.

Again, this is not simply to like good, or to enjoy good things, but to cling, to cleave, to be inseparable from that which is good. Paul writes to the church at Thessolonica, and tells them,  but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.

It is the absence of evil that is good. And the absence of good that is evil. And yet, good is such an ambiguous word, especially in English. But this is the word the Jesus used when he said, in Mark 10:18, No one is good except God alone.

God alone is Good. We are to cleave to, to cling fast to what is Good. So he hold fast to God, to Jesus Christ his son. He grab hold of him with all we have and learn from him, the one who is good, what is good.

And we have his recorded word to us to guide us. We are going through Psalm 119 in our scripture reading here in Sunday Mornings. We are a number of weeks away, but we will read in verse 105, the psalmist writes  Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.

We know what is good because God tells us. We have Gods Word. We have what he tells us. We have his good and perfect standard right here in our hands. As we grow in him, as we walk in Christ, we read his Word, we will grow in wisdom and knowledge. As we grow in Wisdom and knowledge, we will learn more about what is good and what is evil. We will learn what is sin and what is right. We will progress in learning about the theology and the application of the Bible.

Salvation comes through repentance and belief, that’s what faith is. The faith that is given to us by God through grace and received by the hearing of the Word. (Rom 10:17) Thats what salvation entails. Correct and perfect theology is not required for salvation. Immediately living a sinless and perfect life is, because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, not required for salvation It would be if we did not have Jesus. But those things are not required for the moment of salvation ot occur.

The aftereffects of salvation however, will cause us to grow in those areas. We will learn more about what the truth of Gods Word says and means. To use an example I have used before; For me, I was saved and I still believed in evolution and whats called the Day Age Theory or gap theory. Those are two theories about the creation account in Genesis that try to reconcile the creation account with what todays science says is true. But as I grow, as I read the Bible, as I become sanctified and grow in wisdom and knowledge, I came to see and believe in 6 literal day creation account just as it is plainly read in Genesis 1. Is that required for you to become a Christian? No. Do I think it’s highly likely that, if you are a Christian for long enough, actively reading the bible and following God that you will come to see and believe this? I do.

The same goes for our life and our actions. Are we to immediately, upon salvation, to know everything we do that is sin and to immediately stop it cold turkey? God will convict you of your sin. Some of it he will do immediately, some may not happen immediately.

Now, I want to be careful here. Some things the Bible is crystal clear and very strong on. For example, if you are sleeping with your boyfriend or girlfriend, and you get saved, you need to stop that immediately. There is not grey area, there is no ambiguity there. Scripture is clear on sexual sin and the devastating effects that it will have. But again, using my experiences as an example. I was a smoker when I got saved. It was a number of years, three years , I think, before God convicted me to quit. Now, it’s also possible, likely probable that he was convicting me of that earlier and I was able to suppress it, but again, this shows the growth that we are to be having in our walks and in our lives over time with Jesus Christ and his word.

We grow in sanctification, we become purer and holier. As we grow, we learn more about our sins and we have a heart to sop sinning. We have a desire to hold fast to what is good, even when it goes against our natural desires and instincts. We become transformed by the renewing of our minds.

Paul writes in Philippians 4:8&9:  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned[e] and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Keep your minds on the things of God. Learn the things of God. Practice the things of God. This is how you hold fast to what is good.

The last one we are going to look at this morning, is the one I mentioned earlier this morning. Number 4 in the list of evidences and commands of a Christian Life is to Love one another with brotherly affection.

As I said, this one especially touches on what we looked at a lot last week. And it sounds very similar to the first one we saw this morning, Let love be genuine. But this one is focused, not one how you and I treat and act towards everybody, but specifically how you and I treat and act to you and I. This is how we are to be with each other, our church family, fellow members of the body of Christ.

We are to pray for each other and with each other. This is vital to our body growing together. We are to serve each other and alongside each other. What better way to get to know someone than to work right along side them. We are to genuinely, sincerely and without hypocrisy, love each other. Hebrews 13:1 reads: Let brotherly love continue.

Again, I want to emphasize what this does not mean. This does not mean that we are all going to be best friends. You can love people with out be close friends with them. This does not mean that we will not end up doing something that will grate on or hurt someone else in here. Unfortunately, due to sin in this world, that’s inevitable. This does not mean that we will or even should have the same talents, callings or personalities. We are all different.

But we who are in christ are one family, one body. And We are to go out of our way to make things right with each other if we happen to sin against another, or even if we didn’t but we hurt someone anyway. Remember Jesus says that we are to leave our offering on the altar and go and make amends with our brothers before coming back and continuing our offering.

Sometimes, sometimes, it doesn’t even matter if you were right in your words or actions or if the other person is right in their hurt. We will get into this a little more later in this chapter, but Pul says in this chapter, Romans 12, verse 18: If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Now, this is not the immediate context of verse 18, but it does fit together. And in this context, we should be doing more than living peaceably with each other. We should be actively making things right, treating each other as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. 1 Peter 4:8, Peter writes:  Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

If we all are quick to forgive and even quicker to apologize, then we will treat each other as family, loving each other with brotherly affection. We will actually touch quickly on the last phrase in verse 10, command number 5. Paul says to Out do one another with honor. And this could easily be combined with “love one another with brotherly affection,” But again, tis just a slightly different angle.

Paul writes in Philippians 2:3,  Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Jesus was much more than this, but he was also our example. He told his disciples in Matthew 20:28 that he did not come to be served, but to serve. And that’s how we are to show love to each other. And that’s Paul’s big point in all of this. Love. And not just feeling love, but acting on it. And not acting a role, but with genuineness and sincerity.

Ligon Duncan sums these two verses up this way:

Paul is interested in showing you what Christian love looks like in order to move you to display that kind of Christian love. Not simply to stand back and admire, “Oh, that’s what love looks like,” and not only simple to aspire to it, “I’d like to be like that some day,” but actually to act that way, especially in the context of the church, the communion of the saints.

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

Lets Pray.