INTRO.- ILL.- I went to the Suddenlink Cable TV office recently to change our subscription. The lady behind the counter and I were discussing TV programs and I told her that I watched Lifetime movies with my wife. She said, “YOU DO?!” as in debelief.
The she said that whenever the Cubs were playing ball on TV that she was non-existent in her home. She said, “When the Cubs are playing my husband doesn’t even know I’m alive.”
It’s obvious that her husband is a Cubs’ lover!
We’ve often heard someone say, “I just love baseball.” Or perhaps some other sport. And often in reference to a material thing or an activity. “I just love my house, my car, my clothes, my whatever....”
Well, we know that’s not real love. It may a good feeling for something material, but what happens when that material thing breaks down or that sports team doesn’t perform well??? That’s when our love may go out the window.
ILL.- It’s like what has happened to the Toyota car company. They have recalled 8.1 million of cars because of an accelerator problem. And this may cause a lot of Toyota lovers to lose some of their love for their cars.
Likewise, if your ball team doesn’t perform well, WELL, WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THEM THEN? Is this what love is? We know it’s not. No, we know that love deals with people relationships.
ILL.- Someone said: We often love things and use people, when we should use things and love people. Do material things mean more to us than people? If so, something is dreadfully wrong with our hearts.
You can LIKE things but you must LOVE people. And genuine love for others is somewhat life-changing.
ILL.- (This is an old story but it makes a good point) Aleida Huissen, 78, of Rotterdam, Netherlands, has been smoking for 50 years. And for 50 years she has been trying to give up her harmful habit. But she has not been successful—that is, until recently.
She has now given up cigarettes, cigars, and pipes. The secret? Leo Jansen, 79, proposed marriage last year, but refused to go through with the wedding until Aleida gave up smoking. Says Aleida now: “Will power never was enough to get me off the tobacco habit. But love did it.” HOW CUTE IS THAT?
I’m glad that love did it for that lady. Love is powerful, especially, if it is genuine and from the Lord. And true love is from the Lord.
Much of the love that we see on TV, etc. may be nothing but a form of lust except when it deals with genuine giving.
ILL.- E.C. McKenzie wrote: The loneliest place in the world is the human heart when love is absent.
PROP.- Regardless of what the world calls love and thinks about love, we must consider what God says about love.
1- Love is a continuing debt
2- Love is a command of God
3- Love is a completion of the law
I. LOVE IS A CONTINUING DEBT
8Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.
ILL.- A tour guide was showing a tourist around Washington, D. C. The guide pointed out the place where George Washington supposedly threw a dollar across the Potomac River.
"That’s impossible," said the tourist. "No one could throw a coin that far!" "You have to remember," answered the guide. "A dollar went a lot farther in those days."
It does seem like our money doesn’t go as far as it used to.
Let no debt remain outstanding. What’s the meaning? It means to pay your bills. If you do anything at all in this life you will get some bills. But if you are faithful in paying your bills you will have no outstanding debs.
It used to be that people didn’t buy anything on credit except for a house or a car, but nowadays, it seems like almost anything and everything is bought on credit and that’s not good. Generally, that makes for a great debt, which some people will never be able to pay. But here’s an exception to that rule.
ILL.- Couple pay off $46,000 in debt, throw party, April 2009. For Sherrie Muldoon, the credit card debt was $46,244. But the relief she felt after paying it off was priceless. So much so that the Colorado resident and her husband threw a party for friends and family after mailing off the final check. The event at a community center featured a cake decorated with the debt amount in green icing, CNN television affiliate KUSA reported.
The couple had been paying the debt for three years and seven months, Muldoon told CNN, adding that the last payment they made recently was for $1,500. "When we mailed that last check ... I sat down in the car, I looked over to my husband and I just burst out into tears," she said.
And the article stated that the typical American household with at least one credit card has nearly $10,700 in credit card debt, according to CardWeb.com. The average interest rate runs in the mid- to high teens, according to the Web site.
Muldoon said the soaring costs of their nine credit cards left them with two options: Either file for bankruptcy or make a drastic lifestyle change.
They opted for the latter, she told KUSA. "We changed everything ... to bare-bones minimum," Muldoon told CNN. "Basically, if it wasn’t essential to support life, we didn’t do it."
What a great story! And wouldn’t it be great if all people could pay their credit card debt off like those folks did? Wouldn’t it be great to be out of debt??? Amen?
But there is one debt that you’ll never pay off and that’s the debt of love! You may be the richest person in the world but you’ll still owe people the debt of love until the day you die.
God put us here to love one another, to love our neighbors as ourselves. And we should love them anyway we can, as often as possible and as long as ever.
ILL.- Don’t you get tired of taking out the trash, cleaning bathrooms, toilet stools, scrubbing tile floors, doing laundry?
Yes, there are some things that get awfully old after a period of time, however, demonstrating love to others should not be one of those chores! PLEASE KEEP ON LOVING OTHERS. Love people every chance you get and for that, you will have no regrets. We will regret loving too little, but never too much!
II. LOVE IS A COMMAND OF GOD
9The 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."
God’s command. Do we always do what God commands?
ILL.- A Presbyterian and a Baptist minister were discussing baptism. After a beautiful dissertation on the subject by the Baptist minister, the Presbyterian minister asked if the Baptist considered a person baptized if he was immersed in water up to his chin. “No,” said the Baptist. “Is he considered baptized if he is immersed up to his nose?” asked the Presbyterian. Again the Baptist’s answer was “No.”
“Well, if you immerse him up to his eyebrows do you consider him baptized?” queried the Presbyterian.
“You don’t seem to understand,” said the Baptist. “He must be immersed completely in water—until his head is covered.”
“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you all along,” said the Presbyterian, “it’s only a little water on the top of the head that counts.”
I do believe in baptism and it should rightfully be done by immersion. It’s what the word means.
Romans 6:3-4 “Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
Acts 2:38 “Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Baptism is a command of God. In fact, it’s a command of the Godhead: It’s to be done in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It’s only command in the Bible that is to be done in the name of the Godhead, but for the life of me, I don’t know why people argue about having to be baptized.
Many people believe in the Lord Jesus Christ but they don’t want to be obey Him in baptism. NOW, WHY IS THIS SUCH A BIG DEAL? It’s a big deal because it is a command of God and it’s an act of obedient surrender.
But listen, it is also ONLY A ONE TIME DEAL! You are only baptized into Christ one time! That makes baptism an easy command to follow compared to many other commands God has given us! And one is the command to love others. THAT’S NOT A ONE TIME DEAL! And it’s a lot harder to love others than it is to be baptized.
ILL.- General Montgomery, a professed Christian, revealed basic principles of obedience which should govern us as people under the great Captain of our salvation. When he came into command in North Africa, to rescue the allied forces, General Montgomery expected his commands to be carried out. He said, “Orders no longer formed the basis for discussion, but for action.”
ILL.- Thomas a Kempis wrote: Instant obedience is the only kind of obedience there is; delayed obedience is disobedience.
John 13:34 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you MUST love one another.”
III. LOVE IS A COMPLETION OF THE LAW
10Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
ILL.- A little girl said to her friend: "I’m never having kids. I hear they take nine months to download."
ILL.- Two kids were talking to one another. One said, "I’m really worried. My dad works twelve hours a day to give me a nice home and good food. My mom spends the whole day cleaning and cooking for me. I’m worried sick!"
The other kid said, "What have you got to worry about? Sounds to me like you’ve got it made!" The first kid said, "What if they try to escape?"
Kids do have it made whether they realize it or not! They may realize this once they get out and away from home. But once they are gone, are they ever really gone?
Is the job of raising kids, helping our kids really ever over? In a sense, parenting is a job that is never done. We continue to help our children anyway we can and even when they’re grown.
But it’s nice when we feel like we have completed something in life, isn’t it? It’s nice to finish a task. A job well done. Or perhaps the greatest thing you can do for the Lord.
10Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Or love the completion of the law.
ILL.- My sermon study has been my salvation. It’s good. It’s very good. I enjoy it immensely. I enjoy studying God’s Word. I enjoy preparing messages that hopefully will honor God and bless you. But it’s not everything. It’s not the finale of what I do. I can put the “icing on the cake” by serving others.
My Christian life is even better or is enhanced or is completed when I go to the nursing home and demonstrate love to those widow ladies who have few visitors. Study is good but I can “top it off” when I demonstrate what I have studied in the book. And so with you.
James 1:27 “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
ILL.- Preacher Gene McCoy’s daughter, Heidi McCoy went to Haiti to help save the suffering and dying. That’s icing on the cake. That’s the fulfillment of completion of God’s law.
And thats what Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy of Memphis did by adopting Michael Oher and giving him a home and an education. That’s love in action! That’s the fulfillment of God’s law!
John 13:35 “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
ILL.- As an aged Christian lay dying in Edinburgh, a friend called to say farewell. “I have just had three other visitors,” said the dying man, “and with two of them I parted; but the third I shall keep with me forever.”
“Who are they?” “The first was Faith, and I said, ‘Goodbye, Faith! I thank God for your company ever since I first trusted Christ; but now I am going where faith is lost in sight.’
“Then came Hope. ‘Farewell, Hope!’ I cried. ‘You have helped me in many an hour of battle and distress, but now I shall not need you, for I am going where hope passes into fruition.’
Last of all came Love. ‘Love,’ said I, ‘you have indeed been my friend; you have linked me with God and with my fellow men; you have comforted and gladdened all my pilgrimage. But I cannot leave you behind; you must come with me through the gates, into the city of God, for love is perfected in heaven.’ ”
Love is indeed the greatest of these! Love for God and love for others. And love is the life we must live. It’s never-ending. It’s a command from God. And it’s the completion of God’s work in our lives.