Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

I Owe You

Although Romans 13:8-10 is not primarily warning about going into debt financially; avoiding financial debt is wise.  Proverbs 22:7 warns us “The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is servant to the lender.”  Let that truth sink deep into your mind and heart and let that principle guide you financially throughout your life.   

But the warning of Romans 13:8-10 is dealing with a debt far deeper than mere money.  The point of this text is  we all owe a debt of love to others and Romans1:14  reminds us of our debt as Christians of sharing the Gospel with the lost all around us.

WHY ARE WE TO LOVE OTHERS?

 

The answer to that question is because we owe it to them.  II Corinthians 5:14-15 reminds us that if we have received by faith the Gift of eternal life, we are obligated to share the Good News with others.

Picture a group of lost people thirsting and famishing in the intense heat as they wander lost in a desert.   Finally one person discovers a hidden oasis with trees and an abundant, unending spring of fresh water.  Immediately that person is obligated to share his good news with the rest.  How unthinkably selfish he would be to keep this good news to himself and refuse to share it with others.

How much greater is the debt of those of us who have heard the Good News of salvation and have received God’s Gift of eternal life.  We owe that Good News to those who have never heard it, beginning with our friends and neighbors and extending that good news to the whole world.

II Corinthians 5:14-15 teaches us that we as Christians are constrained by Christ’s love to us to share the Gospel with others.

People visit a church hoping to find love and acceptance by the people. They have every right to expect it. We can’t exist without love anymore than food.  Every visiting child and teenager, has a right to expect love and acceptance by his teacher and the kids in his class.  And yet in some churches there are cliques of young people and even adults who will not open their hearts to welcome and love strangers.  It’s normal and common for people after a Sunday School class or church service to gravitate to their friends when in reality we should be gravitating to the strangers first.   To do otherwise is selfish, thoughtless and sinful.

We all thrive on love and acceptance.  Thank God that we who have received Christ as our Saviour know the joy of  God’s acceptance and  to those of us who have discovered that relationship with God is given the challenge of II Corinthians 5:14-15 to share that Good News with others.

Every child deserves a teacher who loves him.  How selfish and evil is the teacher who carries their bad attitude over something that happened earlier and snaps with impatience and meanness at  their children who are observing them closely to see if there is any reality to Christianity. Read the severe warning in Matthew 18:5-10  to those who offend little children by snapping at them in anger when they should be showing them Christ’s love.   Yes, you can correct a disobedient or disruptive child in your class, but you owe it to love the children in your class, both obedient and disobedient.   If you honestly love them with Christ’s love, they will see it, even as you correct them.

Our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ reveals our true love for Christ.  See I John 4:7-8, 11, 20-21  and  II Peter 1:5-11 concerning this. 

I Corinthians 13:1-8 exposes us as NOTHING without love.  As preachers and teachers of children, youth or adults, we need to search our heart regarding our love or lack of love for those to whom we minister. If we lack that love we are worthless and do damage to the cause of Christ.

HOW DO WE GAIN THAT LOVE FOR OTHERS?

We gain that love for others by being genuinely converted to Christ. Read Romans 5:1-5.  For me it happened at the age of nine when I, a self-righteous son of missionaries,  heard and understood the Gospel for the first time.  I had heard it since I was a baby, but now I understood for the first time that I was a sinner, condemned to hell.  I understood that Jesus is God in human flesh  and that He lovingly and willingly endured death on a cross to shed His blood as a sacrifice for my sins.  I understood that if I would receive by faith Christ as my Saviour from sin,  God would forgive and save me from sin and sin’s consequences, Hell. 

I received Him that evening and God’s Holy Spirit came to dwell in my heart. That was seventy years ago. Though I did not become perfect, God imputed Christ’s perfection to my account and changed my heart. I have loved Christ ever since and my desire has been to share the Gospel with everyone.  Wherever I am, whatever I am doing, whether it is preaching from the pulpit,  walking down the street, eating in a restaurant, or visiting an amusement park or the zoo with my family,  I have always been aware that there are lost people all around me for whom my heart aches. I must love and find a way to share the Gospel with them.

If you are a Christian and desire that love for others, please take some time to read the following passages and  surrender your life to Christ. Romans 5:1-5,   12:1-10,   Galatians 5:22-26,  Ephesians 4:29-32,  and finally back to our text, Romans 13:8-10.

The masses of people are approaching the cliff of eternal destruction. See the picture in Ezekiel 22:30.  We as Christians are to stand at the edge of the cliff and warn the lost of that destruction.  God is looking for those who will make up the hedge to warn them of destruction and point them to Christ who alone can save.

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March 1, 2012 - Posted by | Romans

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