Sunday, September 14, 2014

Paul's Epistles Part 32 – Love Fulfills the Law

Paul's Epistles
Part 32 – Love Fulfills the Law
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

We are going to look at the Epistles of Paul in this series of sermons. Paul has explained in the last few verses that God's mercy is great, and He forgives all who call on the name of the Lord.

The last couple weeks we looked at Paul explaining how, in light of God's mercy he has just explained; we should be Living Sacrifices, Honoring Authority.

This week we will take a look at Paul telling us how the Law is fulfilled by 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.”  10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

                   I.            LET NO DEBT REMAIN OUTSTANDING
a.      "Owe no man anything"
                                                                         i.      Previous verses speak of what a Christian "owes" to the Honored Authority who is serving the Lord in their public office.
1.      vs. 6 "This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor."

                                                                      ii.      Romans 13:8 begins with telling us what we "owe" brothers, or fellow Christians.
1.      This carries the thought that we do not "owe" our brothers in Christ the same obedience that is owed to civil rulers.

b.     Except to love one another.
                                                                         i.      This is the only requirement between believers.
                                                                      ii.      What this means is, we are all equal, and do not rule over each other as followers of Christ.

                                                                   iii.      We are to govern our own actions, words, choices, all in view of the Holy Scripture.

                                                                     iv.      If we stray from the teaching, it IS the responsibility of a fellow follower of Christ to try and bring us back!
1.      James 5:19-20 "19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins."

                                                                        v.      If a Brother or Sister (Christian) wanders from the Truth (scripture or Christ), you become a "SINNER" or lose your relationship with God.

                                                                     vi.      If that "SINNER" turns (or "repents") from the error of their way, they will be saved from DEATH and forgiven of a multitude of sins.

                                                                  vii.      What death? Do they still die?  YES, but they will be saved from the SECOND DEATH! Eternal punishment for being out of relationship with God!

c.      Love one another!
                                                                         i.      Love is an ACTION

I Corinthians 13
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith (in Christ), hope (Salvation) and love (How we behave). But the greatest of these is love.

               II.            WHOEVER LOVES HAS FULFILLED THE LAW
a.      What is love? I Corinthians 13

b.     When we BEHAVE in this manner, we are fulfilling the Law
                                                                         i.      Earlier in this chapter Paul tells us to obey the laws of the land set forth by those in power whom serve Him.

                                                                      ii.      This is our CIVIC DUTY.

                                                                   iii.      Now Paul is telling us we have a public duty to others as well.

                                                                     iv.      First, vs 8 tells us to love other believers.

                                                                        v.      Secondly, vs 10 tells us to love our neighbor (unsaved)

c.      Two covenants, Love and Law
                                                                         i.      You will be judged by one on judgment day.

                                                                      ii.      Either by the Law if you do not have Christ

                                                                   iii.      Or by Love if you have Christ

                                                                     iv.      One will forgive, the other condemn.

                                                                        v.      Living by the Spirit, in Christ, showing love, is greater than the condemnation of the Law.

            III.            LOVE DOES NO HARM TO A NEIGHBOR
a.      This has nothing to do with defending yourself
                                                                         i.      There are many scriptures throughout the Bible that tell us we are to defend ourselves and our families.

                                                                      ii.      When Jesus was arrested, He corrected Peter for being the "aggressor" and attacking a soldier, cutting off his ear. Luke 22:47-52
1.      We are not to be the violent or the aggressor.

                                                                   iii.      However, we are to defend ourselves and loved ones.
1.      In the same chapter, just after they took communion and Jesus began to prepare them for His being taken into custody for crucifixion, verses 33-38, Peter proclaims he will go to death for Christ.

2.      Jesus says in verse 35, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”

“Nothing,” they answered.

36 He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. 37 It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”

38 The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”
“That’s enough!” he replied.

a.      There was a time Jesus was with them they did not need the sword, but Jesus knew, after He departed, the evil powers in the world would try to destroy them because they would spread the Truth of Christ.

b.     The sword was the "Assault Weapon": of the day.

c.      And Jesus told them to get one to protect themselves.

d.     And if they didn't have one, sell something and get one.

e.      Turning the other cheek does not mean allow someone to rob and kill you. It means walk away if you can. Sometimes in life it is just words that attack us, or someone trying to start something, if you can walk away, do so. But do not allow yourself to be robbed or your family to be attacked or killed...that is just plain rediculous.

3.      Not to be aggressive, not for attacking, not to be violent...but for protection.
a.      Because if a believer is killed, that is one less believer who is sharing the saving gospel message of Jesus Christ.

b.     Love does no harm to a neighbor
                                                                         i.      We live and treat others in love.

                                                                      ii.      But we must protect ourselves.

                                                                   iii.      Jesus tells us to.

c.      Like the good Samaritan
                                                                         i.      Are we looking out for those who we can help and show love to?

                                                                      ii.      Do you love others according to I Corinthians 13?

                                                                   iii.      Loving others as you love yourself.
1.      Do you love yourself?

Honor our leaders whom serve God and His will in office, honoring their laws and authority as they serve God. Love your brothers and neighbors as yourself, according to the definition of love found in I Corinthians 13, and you will have fulfilled the Law.

However, to love others, you must first love yourself.
The amount of bondage that results from self-rejection, self-hatred, unwillingness to forgive oneself and so forth is shocking. Below are just a few of the symptoms:
- Self-rejection; not accepting yourself, always beating up on yourself, not happy with the person that God made you, etc.
- Self-hatred; hating the person who God made in you, considering yourself ugly, dumb, clumsy, etc.
- Unforgiveness or bitterness; when a person continues to hold things against themselves, such as something in their past that was embarrassing, gross, or that they are still ashamed of (even after repentance).
- Being hard on oneself; always beating up on yourself mentally, physically, emotionally, etc. Always seeing yourself as worthless, or pushing to reach irrational goals just to feel good about yourself.
- Low self-esteem; always seeing yourself as a failure, or less than those around you.
- Ashamed of yourself; refusing to forgive yourself from something in your past.
- Feeling ugly or stupid; seeing yourself as ugly, worthless, stupid, no good for nothing, etc.
The list can go on and on.
You need to remember;

Genesis 1:26, "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth."

Psalms 139:14, "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well."

You need to forgive yourself;
Hebrews 12:15, "Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled."

Isaiah 43:25, "I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins."

God's Word says that He has actually removed our sins from us! If we continually beat up on ourselves, it's known as false guilt, and is a tool of the enemy to pull us down. If we still associate ourselves with our sinful past, then we need to change the way we see things... why? Because the way we are thinking does not line up with what God's Word has to say.
Psalms 103:12, "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us."
When we associate ourselves with our past failures, after God's Word has assured us that they have been removed from us... then do you realize that you aren't really believing what God's Word is saying? It's time that we make that choice to forgive ourselves, and then align our thinking with what God's Word has to say. If God says it's removed from us, then we need to take Him for His Word, and believe what it has to say!

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!

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