We have studied the responsibility of –
I. Dutiful subjects. Tonight we turn to –
II. Devoted friends Romans 13:8-10
A. Fulfill financial obligations. Romans 13:8a We are under obligation to God and the lender to fulfil contract paying principle and interest.
As we have noted, the citizen is indebted to the government, but also –
1. The borrower is indebted to the creditor. Notice the desperation indebtedness can create –
Nehemiah 5:2-5 For there were that said, We, our sons, and our daughters, are many: therefore we take up corn for them, that we may eat, and live. Some also there were that said, We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards, and houses, that we might buy corn, because of the dearth. There were also that said, We have borrowed money for the king’s tribute, and that upon our lands and vineyards. Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children: and, lo, we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and some of our daughters are brought unto bondage already: neither is it in our power to redeem them; for other men have our lands and vineyards.
God ordained the release of debt to protect the people from unscrupulous citizens –
Leviticus 25:39-41 And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant: But as an hired servant, and as a sojourner, he shall be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of jubile: And then shall he depart from thee, both he and his children with him, and shall return unto his own family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return.
Indebtedness is at times necessary, but we must be very careful in the planning and use of our finances.
2. The employer is indebted to the employee.
James wrote of those who do not pay their rightful debts –
James 5:4 Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.
Referring to God’s standard in the Law –
Deuteronomy 24:14-15 Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates: At his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the LORD, and it be sin unto thee.
Financial indebtedness may lead to ill will. The following indebtedness leads to good will –
B. Fulfill love’s obligations. Romans 13:8b – 10 Under obligation to God an eternal debt.
Paul reminded them of the Commandments. The commands listed in verse 9 are based on the commands that we are to have no other Gods before Him and that we worship only Him –
Exodus 20:1-11 And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Paul wrote of submission to authority in verses 1 through 7 which we do when we are submitted to Him. When we love Him above all things, we are also ready to love those around us.
Matthew 22:36-40 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
We will note four things about this love. It is –
1. Inexplicable. Why would you love me/them?
a. Peter’s response –
Luke 5:8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.
b. Pharisee’s response –
Mark 2:16-17 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
This love is understood only when we know that it must be –
John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
3. International. “Go ye into all the world…”
Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
4. Infinite. Begins at salvation and continues eternally.
1 Corinthians 13:8 “Charity never fails…”.
Should we consider the obligations before us in the light of duty or devotion?
Let’s illustrate this with the account of Jesus resting in the home of Martha of Bethany. In this household we are introduced to Lazarus, Martha, and Mary. Lazarus of course was the man that became sick unto death and Jesus called him back to life. Martha and Mary were very typical sisters.
They were alike in many ways – Remember following the death of Lazarus, Martha met Jesus as he approached the town, and then Mary went out to meet Him. They both said exactly the same thing “ Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.…”.
They were quite different in other ways. As Jesus was in the house, Martha is in the kitchen preparing a meal for the guest. Mary was in the room, sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to the Word being taught. Both were serving the Lord, one out of duty, one out of devotion. If Martha had been serving out of devotion, her labour would have been full of joy. She could have been serving in devotion, just thinking how each thing she did was for her Saviour.
Martha’s service had become about her and how she looked in the ministry. She wanted her sister to come and serve her as she served the Lord.
When we love God, everything we do will be satisfying. Do you think Martha enjoyed the meal? It had become bitter to her.
“If ye love me, keep my commandments” Is our labour duty or devotion, a blessing or is it bitter?
We never pay off our debt to love to God and to one another!