After taking a few weeks off from the Practical Christianity series, we are getting back to it Sunday, April 11th, 2010. Here’s the sermon notes.
Practical Christianity part 7
Love is fulfilling
Romans 13:8-10 HCSB – 8 Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments: You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet, and if there is any other commandment—all are summed up by this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Love, therefore, is the fulfillment of the law.
This is the 7th sermon in our series, “Practical Christianity.” We are looking at the passage of Romans 12:1 – 15:13.
Last time we looked at what our attitude should be towards our government and those in authority over us.
Now we are going to look at the subject of, “Love is fulfilling.” When I say “fulfilling” I’m not talking about love fulfilling something in us; but the purpose of the love of God birthed in our hearts. Let’s begin.
The only debt we owe each other is love.
Romans 13:8a HCSB – Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another…
Charles Hodge in his commentary translates this portion of verse 8 this way: “acquit yourselves of all obligations except love, which is a debt that is always owed.” William Newell says this in his commentary concerning this portion of the verse: “When you pay up all your dues, whether private debts or public, you have only one constant obligation before you – to love one another.”
In verse 7 we saw that it is our responsibility to payback our debts; whether they be taxes, revenue, respect, or honor. And as Christians, to the best of our ability, we should endeavor to do this.
But there is a debt we will never be able to pay in full; and that is the debt of love. We are to love one another, in word and deed because that is our Lord’s command for His disciples.
John 13:34-35 HCSB – 34 “I give you a new commandment: love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Why is it important for believers to love each other? Well our next point answers this question.
Love is the fulfillment of the Law.
Romans 12:8b-10 HCSB – 8 for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments: You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet, and if there is any other commandment—all are summed up by this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Love, therefore, is the fulfillment of the law.
Legalists like sticking to the letter of the Law. But Paul, and in the Gospels Jesus as well, both refer to the spirit of the Law.
I can try to keep the 10 commandments to the best of my ability, but I will not be faultless in my obedience; I will fall short,. Christ Jesus has fulfilled the Law fully – He loved both God and His neighbor perfectly. And if I focus on loving God, and loving both the believer and non-believer – and trust in Christ righteousness as the only way that I can see the law fulfilled – the law that I cannot keep is fulfilled in spirit.
The Geneva Bible (a translation before the KJV) says this in its study notes concerning this passage: “The whole Law commands nothing else but that we love God and our neighbor.”
Let’s look at the Law for a few moments and share some insights.
Exodus 20:3-17 HCSB – 3 Do not have other gods besides Me. 4 Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. 5 You must not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the fathers’ sin, to the third and fourth [generations] of those who hate Me, 6 but showing faithful love to a thousand [generations] of those who love Me and keep My commands. 7 Do not misuse the name of the LORD your God, because the LORD will punish anyone who misuses His name. 8 Remember to dedicate the Sabbath day: 9 You are to labor six days and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. You must not do any work—you, your son or daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the foreigner who is within your gates. 11 For the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and everything in them in six days; then He rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and declared it holy. 12 Honor your father and your mother so that you may have a long life in the land that the LORD your God is giving you. 13 Do not murder. 14 Do not commit adultery. 15 Do not steal.
- No other gods (love for God).
- No idols (love for God).
- Not taking God’s name in vain (love for God).
- Sabbath Day (love for God).
- Honor parents (love neighbor/love for God).
- Don’t murder (love neighbor).
- Don’t commit adultery (love neighbor).
- Don’t steal (love neighbor).
- Don’t lie about others (love neighbor).
- Don’t covet (love neighbor).
By my count there are four maybe five commands fulfilled when we love God, and six maybe five fulfilled when we love one another and others.
That’s what love is fulfilling is all about; fulfilling the Law. And thanks be to God that the Law is fulfilled; not through me keeping it perfectly, but through Christ and His perfect obedience.
As believers in Christ – we obey a new Law; the Law of love. This law supersedes the 10 commandments because it fulfills them. Let’s allow God’s love to move us to loving Him and others.