Summary: A sermon on 3 kinds of debt from Romans 13:8-10 (Some material taken from Jack Cottrell's commentary on Romans; Last point taken from Randall Toms at: http://stpaulsbr.wordpress.com/2010/04/20/the-debt-of-love-we-owe-a-sermon/)
A man called the police and reported that all of his wife’s credit cards had been stolen. Then he added, "But don’t look too hard for the thief. He’s charging less than my wife ever did."
A man was once boasting to an acquaintance, "We have a whole room full of furniture from France that goes back to Louis the 14th." "That’s nothing," replied the other man. "We’ve got a whole house full of furniture from Sears that all goes back on the first."
Today we are talking about debt. What does it mean to be in debt? It is the state of owing something, esp. money, or of being under an obligation.
Earl Wilson: “Today, there are three kinds of people: the have’s, the have-not’s, and the have-not-paid-for-what-they-have’s.”
Thesis: From Romans 13:8-10 let’s talk about 3 kinds of debt
From Romans 13:7 Paul has been talking about paying taxes and revenue to the government. This naturally goes into how a Christian needs to pay what he owes to creditors. It is a poor witness when a Christian does not take care of his financial obligations, pay his debts.
Vs. 8- “Owe nothing to anyone” NASB. Does this verse forbid going into debt? Does it rule out car loans, house mortgages, and credit cards? No, other Scriptures show that borrowing and lending on reasonable terms is not prohibited. The point is that when we enter into a loan agreement, the payments must be given promptly and honestly and in accordance with the terms of the contract. NIV says it best- “Let no debt remain outstanding”
Debt is a big problem in America both in the government, in families and with individuals. Harold and Mary Hunt were over $100,000 in debt. They paid it off in 13 years. First 5 pieces of advice Mary Hunt gives:
Wait. See something we have to own? Wait- we might realize we don’t need it after all.
Track spending. Know where the money is going. Make a budget and stick to it.
Pay cash. For day to day needs use cash only. Keep the plastic for emergencies and the checkbook for bills. Dave Ramsey “Debt is dumb. Cash is king.”
Never keep it all. Giving is the best antidote for greed. It will change how we think about- and spend- money. Aim to give away 10%, always, and more if we can.
Never spend it all. Afraid of running out of money? Save 10% of income. The fears will fade
Mary Hunt says this, “With no debt, I feel like there’s a lot more room for love.” How can we live out this instruction if we are so worried about our debts? Romans 12:13- Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Spencer W. Kimball: “Love people, not things; use things, not people. ”
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another- Vs. 8
By saying we should have no unpaid debts except to love one another, Paul says that love itself is a debt, in the sense of an obligation; he is also saying that this debt can never be completely paid off. Even though we can never completely pay it off, we should be making every effort to be faithful to this obligation.
for he who loves his fellow-man has fulfilled the law- Vs. 8. How can this be? The one who loves (sacrificial love, agape) will do the things required by the law regarding relationships with his fellow man. The law is simply the expression of true, godly love. This applies even to negative commandments such as those in vs. 9.
If we love our neighbor, we will not commit adultery with his wife. If we love our neighbor, we will not murder him. If we love our neighbor we will not covet his possessions or anything he has to the point of stealing from him. The last 6 commandments in the 10 commandments deal with relationships with our neighbors.
Vs. 10- Loving actions to others and law keeping are the same thing; they are but two sides of the same coin. Love your neighbor as yourself- vs. 9- is a general commandment; all these other commandments are just the specific ways in which this is expressed.
Love our neighbor as ourselves comes from Leviticus 19:18 and this probably meant one’s fellow Israelite; but Christ’s parable of the Good Samaritan definitely gives it a more universal scope. Our love should include all human beings like personal enemies (Romans 12) and government officials (Romans 13) but Jesus said this to his disciples. ““A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”” John 13:34, 35