Summary: This sermon is about going the distance in loving God with all of our hearts, soul, strength and minds and loving our neighbors as we love ourselves, until the last day.
LIVING RIGHT TILL THE LAST DAY
Text: Romans 13:8-14
There is no such thing as people who made their success all by themselves. Every success we have or have had or will have has usually come in part from the support and encouragement of others in the background. Quite a number of books have been authored, by authors who dedicated their book to a loved one in one way or another. In his book "How To Stay Alive As Long As You Live", Robert H. Spain acknowledges his wife and the wonderful support she is for him: "To my wife, Syble, a faithful companion in ministry". (Nashville: Dimensions For Living, 1992). Watch almost any awards show for actors and or musicians and you will see how many of the actors and musicians will make a speech in accepting their award, while thanking a list of people who had a part in their success. Even though we are not authors of books, composers, musicians or actors, we are all debtors to others who had a part in our success in one way or another.
Paul calls us to remember those that we are indebted to as well as understanding the present time. There is an old saying that goes like this, "There is no time like the present". Paul is saying to us that there is no time like the present to live right because we do not have forever in this lifetime. That is why Paul tells us to remember lovingly those that we are indebted to while we re here. Paul is telling us to get life right, wake up and stay awake while living right and remember that our salvation is always nearer with each passing moment. Consider what Paul says in Philippians 2:12-13: "Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed ---not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence---continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and act according to his good pleasure" (NIV). Jesus calls us to salvation to a life that is fulfilling and abundant in the here-and-now (John 10:10). We must do our part in our relationship with the Savior, by living as He would have us to live so that we are striving to live a life in harmony with His will until the day when our salvation will be realized and completed in life in the hereafter.
WE ARE CALLED TO BE LOVING BECAUSE OF WHO WE ARE.
We are our brother’s keeper. We are all the keepers of our fellow brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ. We are accountable to each other. We encourage and motivate each other. As brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ, we are disciples who are indebted to each other because of how we have each played a part in the successes of the other. And because of who we are and Jesus’ commandment that we love one another so that others will know that we are His disciples by our love (John 13:34-35) we have an awesome responsibility. Our responsibility is that we encourage each other as we all press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Jesus Christ (Philipians 3:14 NIV paraphrased).
We bear one another’s burdens. The chances are that all of us have seen a picture or a sculpture of the "Praying Hands". There is a true story about two people who were loving and willing to bear each other’s burdens.
"You are familiar with Albrecht Durer’s famous painting "The Praying Hands," but do you know the story behind it? The painting was inspired by the sacrificial, loving acts of a friend. Durer and an older friend were struggling to make a go as artists. Recognizing Durer’s talent, the older man took a job to provide for both of them until Durer could complete his art studies. The work was labor, but he did it gladly for his friend. Finally, Durer made a sale. The money was enough to care for both of them for several months. Now his older friend could resume his painting, but the older man’s hands had become so stiff from the hard labor that he was unable to paint.
One day when Durer returned home, he found his friend in prayer, his work-worn hands folded reverently. Durer painted a picture of these hands, capturing them for ages to come as a memorial to the love and sacrifice of his older friend." (Frank Morgan, Jr. Keys To Unlock Yourself. Nashville : Braodman Press, 1985, pp. 75-76). Durer’s friend was a friend who went the extra mile in friendship. No one will argue that he lovingly went the distance for his friend Durer.