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Intro: What comes to mind when you hear the word, “Urgent?” It can be an unpleasant word that is associated with tragedy. Most of us would rather not receive an urgent phone call because it might mean that someone we love is hurt or in trouble. Then there are Urgent Care services that remind us how fragile we are. If you have a job with deadlines, then everything becomes urgent as you near the deadline.
-Maybe you’ve heard the phrase, the tyranny of the urgent. In fact, a guy named Charles Hummel wrote a book by that name. The book is a simple introduction to time management using the following four steps: decide what's important, discover how one's time is now being spent, budget the hours and follow through. Sounds simple.
-The problem most of us face is that many of the things that are truly most important in our lives do not appear to be urgent. However, there are dozens of things in life that scream “URGENT!” when they really aren’t that important (certain phone calls, various appointments, your favorite show that you don’t want to miss, that moment when you realize you forgot it was your wife’s birthday – okay… Urgent! Important! Possibly a matter of national security!)
-Most of us would probably be quick to say that loving and serving God is very important. But again, we often fail to view it as urgent; therefore, we fail to act on it, because the other voices and demands of life crowd it out.
-Paul brings a sense of urgency to our spiritual life in the text today. He wants to jar his readers out of their complacency and spur them on to following Jesus wholeheartedly. So let’s join him in Romans 13:8 and see for ourselves the urgency of living every moment of every day for the glory of God!
1. Make Up (8-10)
Romans 13:8-10 8Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, "You shall not commit adultery," "You shall not murder," "You shall not steal," "You shall not bear false witness," "You shall not covet," and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
-If you recall the setting of the book of Romans, the Jews were highly concerned about the lack of Torah observance among the Gentile Christians. The Roman church had been in the hands of Gentile Christians for a period of about 5 years, during which no Jews were allowed in the city of Rome. Since they had returned to Rome a few years earlier, the Jews had been seeking to reestablish the same core values and honor for the Torah that had been in the Roman church earlier. But during the 5-year absence of the Jews, the Gentile believers had discovered that they could honor Jesus without all the Jewish customs and traditions. So, there was a constant struggle between the Jewish way of following Jesus and the non-Jewish way.
-So Paul again seeks to reconcile the two groups. He tries to show the Jews that loving one another is the best Torah Observance you can do! You might get a lot of details right about the Law, but if you aren’t loving the people God loves, then you are missing the most important ingredient.
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