날짜: 2018년 4월 22일
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올리브연합감리교회 김배선 목사
20180422 Sunday worship preaching
Romans 13:8-14 “Love and Discipline”
From Romans Chapter 12, we will continue to learn more about how Christians should live in this world.
As God’s people who are called according to his purpose, we need to pay close attention on how we are living in our daily lives.
Last Sunday we talked about obedience and honesty.
Today, I would like to share about two more things.
It is about love and discipline.
At first glance, these two concepts seem to be in contrast with each other; when we think of love, we have a feeling of peace, forgiveness and compassion, however, when we think about discipline, we feel something challenging.
In the Bible, Jesus often combined and emphasized two conflicting ideas into one.
In Matthews 10:16 Jesus told the disciples to be “shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”
Here, Jesus suggested these two conflicting ideas and said that they both need to be the characteristics of Christians.
According to Jesus, we need to be pure as doves and decisive as snakes at the same time.
Having both characteristics will make us an effective Christian.
Pastor Lloyd Johns, who has a huge influence on Christianity once said to other pastors,
“Please be like lion when preaching, but like a sheep when you are not. Please love a soul unconditionally but also be cool head when guiding a soul…”
It means that pastors need the characteristics of both the lion and sheep at the same time to be effective.
They need to speak with fire on the pulpit with conviction, but they also need to be kind and humble like sheep, once they step down from the pulpit.
This story is not just applied to the pastors, but rather to all Christians.
A Christian needs to be like a tough warrior when he is fighting evil and sin, but he also needs to be able to cry with others and for other souls.
Today, let me repeat, we are talking about love and discipline.
First let’s look at verse 8 to 10, where Paul is talking about how to love.
“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law.”
All these verses can be summed up in one word.
That is to love others.
If you love someone, you would not cheat, hurt, abuse or violate that person.
You will not steal from the person you love.
There seems to be so many laws in the bible, but love includes and encompasses them all; that’s why Paul says love is fulfillment of the law.
Yes, love is the basis for all commandments; it is the most crucial piece of the bible.
If you lack love, there would be nothing left in Christianity.
Only love can give you peace and fulfillment.
People can seem like they have everything they need, but may still feel empty on the inside.
That is because there is no love in their minds.
If you lack love, all the money, honor and power you have mean nothing and your heart will be hallow.
And you will continue to struggle in life trying to fill that heart with something.
A while ago in my past, I used to visit an orphanage in Seoul on a regular basis.
That Orphanage was pretty famous and well supported.
The orphans here were better fed and dressed than the children from average family households whom had moms and dads.
However, when you meet them in person, their faces seemed unhappy.
I believe it was because they weren’t loved as they should have been.
What’s important is not how you dress or what you eat.
It is about how much you’re being loved.
The fact of matter is, we can’t live without being loved.
When you’re loved, you feel alive and confident.
When you’re not loved, you feel insufficient.
St. Augustine once said, “Love God alone with all your heart, and do whatever you wish with the rest.”
If you love God, you will obey his commandments.
If you love God, you can’t leave from his fellowship.
If you love God, you will devote yourself for his service.
Yes, love is the centerpiece of them all, and to all our problems and questions.
After Jesus resurrected from death, he asked Peter three times, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
Peter answered, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
After Jesus confirmed Peter’s heart for him, he commanded Peter to “feed my sheep.”
Peter’s love for Jesus was enough for him to commission Peter.
Jesus made it plain and simple, “all I require of you is to love me”.
Then how can we love?
Let’s look at ways to love.
If you look at verse 8, it said “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”
The main point of this verse is not about being in debt, but it is about love, if you flip this around, he is basically saying to live by being in debt of love.
In other words, Christians need to owe as much debt as possible in terms of love.
There are two types of people in this world.
First, people who love.
Second, people who do not give or receive love.
The second type of person likes to rely on no one, owe no one and wants to live by himself, saying “I will not give or receive love from no one, I’m self-reliant and on my own, I won’t give or receive anything from anyone”
People who say such things are very proud people.
In John 13, when Jesus was about to wash Peter’s feet, Peter refused and said “Lord you shall never wash my feet.”
Then, Jesus responded “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
What does this mean?
If you don’t receive Jesus’ love, you have nothing to do with Jesus.
How can we define Christians?
Are Christians believers of Jesus Christ?
Are Christians those who love Jesus Christ?
Yes, this is all correct; however, before we are people who love Jesus, we are people who are loved by Jesus first.
Why have we become Christians?
It is because we received Jesus’ love.
Jesus’ love prompt us to go out to the world, preach his gospel and share his love.
In Romans 1:14, Paul identified himself as someone who are owed and obligated.
He was obligated in grace and in love.
He received so much love from Jesus and experienced amazing grace from him.
Jesus’ love and grace were the driving power behind Paul’s missions.
Paul was able to endure persecution and hardships because he was forgiven and loved so much.
Because Paul was forgiven in such amazing circumstances, he was deeply touched by God’s love and his gratitude drove him into action.
We owe God the same gratitude Paul owed.
We were once sinners, but forgiven.
Begotten as children of God by his amazing grace.
We also need to live like we are obligated and owed in love and grace.
Remember that a person who doesn’t want to give or receive love is the most proud man on this earth.
I want to share another story with you, a woman lost two legs due to a car accident.
She told her husband to leave her and find a new life.
Her husband was mad at her for even saying that.
Confessed his unchanging love to her and said that he will be there for her through it all.
However, not long after, this woman committed suicide because she didn’t want to be a burden.
I think she didn’t truly love her husband and that she was a very selfish woman.
Because she didn’t know how to receive love and she didn’t think about the pain and hurt her family would go through.
It is important to give love but also to receive love.
Without humility we can never receive love.
Pride usually gets in the way, and people don’t want to feel like they need someone.
Christians should be different.
We need to be able to receive love from others and to feel vulnerable at times.
And we also need to ask for help, and ask to be loved.
This kind of person will experience God’s grace and live life through God’s power.
I want all of you be able to give love but also to receive love.
Second thing in this passage I want to share and discuss is that we need to discipline ourselves.
Let’s look at verse 11 and 14
“And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.”
In verse 11, Paul says, “the hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber.”
This can also mean that there are so many temptations in this world to prompt us to be in slumber.