Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wednesday, December 12th

Today's passage from the Chronological Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Acts 20:4-23:35
Today's scripture focus is Romans 13:8-10

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

V8 is a segue between the two passages.  Yesterday's passage ended with the reminder that we need to pay our taxes and to pay off our debts (from the Bible it is clear that it is ok to borrow money and pay interest on business investments, but if you lend to someone because they need money to live, you are not to charge them interest - and in fact, it is even better to give in that situation instead of to lend).

But there is one debt that we are supposed to pay continually, that we will never be finished paying, and that is the debt of love.

Love is to be a distinguishing mark of a Christian.  And when we become a Christian we are given a godly capacity to love.

And love fulfills the law.

Yes, we may obey the law out of fear.  But we should obey the law out of love!

We shouldn't not commit adultery because we're afraid we're going to get caught, we should not commit adultery because we love our spouse.

We also shouldn't keep the law because we might get something out of it.

No, our motive in keeping the law should be love.

Let's take a quick look at the 10 Commandments from Exodus 20....

“You shall have no other gods before me.
“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to theLord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

You'll see that the commandments can be summarized by
Matthew 22
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

The first four commands cover our love for God and the last six deal with our love for our neighbour.
#1 - You shall have no other gods before me.     Love is loyal to God.
#2 - You shall not make for yourself an idol.     Love is faithful to God.
#3 - You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.     Love is reverent to God and would never curse or profane His name.
#4 - Remember the Sabbath.   Love is holy and sets itself apart for worship and devotion.

MacArthur sums it up.....
So you might say, then, that the first four of the Ten Commandments sum up the first and great commandment of Deuteronomy 6, quoted by the Lord in Matthew 22, and that is, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength." Now, listen to me. If I love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, and strength, am I gonna have to worry about these laws? Not really. Because if I love Him like that, I would never have any other God. I would never make any graven image. I would always obey Him. I would never take His name in vain, and I'd always remember that He is a holy God who is to be worshipped, right? So love fulfills all the law. It's just that simple.

The remaining 6 commandments are the ones Paul was specifically referring to and speak to love towards our fellow man.

#5 - Honour your Father and Mother.    Love is respectful to the authority of our parents.
#6 - You shall not murder.    Love is protective of all life created in the image of God.
#7 - You shall not commit adultery.   Love is pure.
#8 - You shall not steal.   Love is unselfish and it gives instead of takes.
#9 - You shall not give false testimony.    Love is truthful.
#10 - You shall not covet.       Love is content.

And that sums up the 2nd half of the Matthew passage to Love your neighbour as yourself.

What is God saying in the Ten Commandments? Saying two things. You ready for this? I'll sum up the whole law. "Love Me, love men." That's it. "Love Me, love men." That is the fullness of the law. On that hang all the law and the prophets. It's all right there in those two simple things. And, you know, I suppose when you look at the Bible and it's thick, and you see so much in there, and you wonder, "How can I keep the whole thing? How can I know what all the rules are?" It's very simple. Love God, love men, do what you want.
You say, "You're kidding." No, that's exactly what I mean. Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself, and just go do what you want. And believe me, if you're living in those conditions, what you want'll be exactly what God wants. That's how the law is fulfilled.'re not gonna kill anybody. You're not gonna defile anybody. You're not gonna steal from anybody....
Be as concerned about the comfort and the happiness and the peace and the joy of others as you are about your own, which is taken for granted. It's assumed. I mean whose face do you wash in the morning? Whose hair do you comb? Whose wardrobe do you buy? Whose comforts are you so concerned about? Well, in the same way that you have instincts towards self-preservation and self-comfort, you oughta treat others the same way. Pay as much attention to them as you do to yourself, so that you're always loving, loving, loving, loving, loving. Say, "Who's my neighbor?" Anybody who comes across your path. Anybody. And you say, "Well, that's hard to do." You have a new capacity for that, the love of Christ is shed abroad in your heart. Now, if you wanna know how that love acts, read 1 Corinthians 13, and it'll tell you how that love acts. It's all right there.
So the debt of love is an unpayable debt. You'll pay it all your life and never pay it up. And your debt is to keep on loving and keep on loving. And the discharge of that is simply toward your neighbor. That is anybody who comes across your path oughta feel your love. And that love means that you will fulfill the law. You'll never do to that neighbor anything harmful if you love...
love gives to the law the full measure of its fulfillment.
Now, listen, a Pharisee, a legalist, somebody keeping the law out of fear, or somebody keeping the law out of self-interest, can never really fulfill the law. Never fill up its intent. Legalism will never do that. You may restrain yourself from adultery, restrain yourself from murder and lying and coveting and all of that. You may restrain yourself from that because of fear or because of self-interest or wanting to appear religious, because of some legalism. That is not the fulfilling of the law. That's superficial. To fill it up, it has to come from love that is in you. Love that can be a reality because of the work of Jesus Christ.
And I believe it says in Matthew 5:17 that, "Jesus came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill the law." You can take that statement about Jesus fulfilling the law many ways. He fulfilled it by being its fulfillment prophetically. He fulfilled it by keeping it perfectly, and He fulfilled it by being the perfect expression of love. Every way that it could be fulfilled, He fulfilled it. So we're called to love, and, if we love, we fulfill the whole law. And that is our unique relationship to society....
We owe a debt, and the debt we owe is to love. It's possible, because we have a new capacity. We have been given a new command, and the new command is that we, in fact, do that. The design is that we may fulfill the law of God. What could never be done through the law, can be done through love provided in us by salvation, the work of the Spirit of God.
And, beloved, I would just say to you in closing our brief time in the Word tonight, that, if there's anything that, of necessity, needs to mark believers, it is the expression of love. 

Tomorrow's scripture focus: Romans 13:11-14
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Acts 24-26

1 comment:

Miriam said...

Awesome, awesome, awesome. I love this! Love Me, love men. It all comes back to our heart and our focus and our attitude.