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Love: An Outstanding Debt!

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Reading: Romans 13:8-10; 1Corinthians 13:4-7
 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8 (NIV)

I.   An Outstanding Debt

     A.  Pay off all your Debts

           1.  Back up to verse 7:

                 a.  Taxes & revenue

                 b.  Respect and honor

           2.  What are our obligations toward people?

                 a.  We are obliged to recognize and honor the way God brings them into our lives.

                 b.  We are obliged to seek the good of those around us.

           3.  We must fulfill our obligations.

                 a.  More than the minimum installment.

                 b.  Pay off the whole debt.

     B.  Love is a debt that can’t be Paid Off

           1.  Husband to wife: “I told you I love you. If it changes I’ll let you know.”

                 a.  Love is not just an inner feeling.

                 b.  Love is not a relational “up-grade” that stays until replaced.

           2.  Love is a debt, or obligation.

                 a.  We owe God and people love.

                 b.  It is our duty (& joy!) to love each other

           3.  It cannot be fulfilled “Once and for all”

                 a.  This isn’t something we can be finished with.

                 b.  This is something we live in

                 c.  Something we nurture.

     C.  Keep paying with Interest

           1.  We are to love as a matter of principle.

                 a.  Of course we care for each other, we’re Christians!

                 b.  We are the people of the book, and the Book tells us to love.

           2.  But we can only pay on the interest ;-).

                 a.  We know that love is not and cannot be merely an obligation

                 b.  Love is love when it delights in loving

II.  God Expects love

     A.  Love fulfills the Commandments

           1.  This is such an astounding truth Paul says it 3 times in 3 verses.

                 a.  Paul’s Pharisee background told him that God wanted mere obedience

                 b.  God showed him that genuine love is what God wants.

           2.  As long as our love is genuine, the commandments take care of themselves.

                 a.  We will not commit adultery, murder, steal, covet, or lie, if we love.

                 b.  We don’t need the gazillion subtle rules of the Pharisees to please God.

                 c.  We only need love—really love.

     B.  God’s Will is that we love

           1.  The commandments tell us what not to do

                 a.  It isn’t enough not to do these things

                 b.  Kids will always find a way around rules that tell them what not to do.

           2.  What we are to do is love.

                 a.  This is what God always wanted.

                 b.  What is the loving thing to do?

     C.  Love is God rubbing off on us

           1.  Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7-8 (NIV)

III. Love does no Harm (v.10)

     A.  Love seeks to Build up

           1.  Love wants to build up, strengthen, and empower.

                 a.  The task of love is to help set free the person God created.

                 b.  To celebrate and encourage gifts, strengths, passions, and dreams.

           2.  . . .Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 1 Corinthians 8:1 (NIV)

                 a.  When the focus of our faith is head knowledge our heads swell.

                 b.  When the focus of our faith is loving, the Church gets built and strengthened.

     B.  Love Protects (1Cor.13:7)

           1.  Love looks out for what harm may come from outside and opposes the harm.

                 a.  Protect means to be a covering against danger.

                 b.  Love protects from needless hurt.

           2.  Love looks out for the harm that may come from my sinfulness and brokenness.

                 a.  Not all hurt comes from others.

                 b.  I will protect others from my temper, carelessness, selfishness, etc.

     C.  Love Lasts

           1.  Agape love is not a transient feeling

                 a.  Eros comes and goes.

                 b.  Philos is conditional.

                 c.  Agape is unconditional and permanent

           2.  Love sticks through thick and thin

                 a.  Since love isn’t a feel-good thing, hardship doesn’t diminish it.

                 b.  In fact when times are tough, love strengthens and deepens.

           3.  Love will outlast our lifetimes.

                 a.  A lot of things in life will pass away but Love won’t.

                 b.  We can never pay off this debt—we’ll be paying on it forever!

                 c.  You might as well find joy in each payment!

The Bottom Line:

Keep paying on your Debt of love. Celebrate each installment.

R/G#390 When Love Shines in v.1

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