Summary: This message explains the Chrisitan's debt of sharing the Gospel with an unbelieving world.
ROMANS 1: 14-15
OUR DEBT TO THE WORLD
In Psalm 116 (1-2) the Psalmist says "I love the Lord, because He hears my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live." Then for the next seventeen verses he recounts God's goodness to him and all that God has done for him. In verse 12 he asks the question "What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me?" Then in verses 13 and 14 he answers his own question. "I shall lift up the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord. I shall pay my vows to the Lord, oh may it be in the presence of all His people." The question "What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me?" is born out of a sense of indebtedness to God, a sense of thanksgiving to God for His goodness and numerous blessings He gives us. We are debtors to God for His goodness. We owe God a debt of gratitude that can never be paid fully.
We are not only debtors to the Lord God, but we are debtors to Jesus Christ. 1st Corinthians 6: 19-20 says "... do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body." 1st John 3:16 says, "We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." 2nd Corinthians 8:9 says, "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich."
Every spiritual blessing that we have, every benefit that we have in the Christian life is because of what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross. We cannot repay that debt. Isaac Watts said it: "Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a present far too small." Were we to attempt to repay Jesus, we could not do it. We owe a debt that cannot be paid.
In addition we are debtors to countless number of brothers and sisters in Christ who walked before us and establish our faith and practice. We are indebted to our friends, family, and loved ones. I personally owe a debt to the many men and women who sit in this congregation this evening. I owe a debt to those who introduced me to Jesus, that nurtured me, that loved me, that taught me. I owe a debt to teachers who helped me understand spiritual truth. I owe a debt to my Christian family. I am a debtor to the men and women who have touched my life. All of us are debtors. None of us is self made. There is no place for pride in any one of us. There is no such thing as a self made person. We are debtors.
But the thrust of this text that I read to you does not deal with our debt to God, or to the Lord Jesus Christ, or even to the ones who have influenced our lives. This text has to do with our debt to an unbelieving world (CIT).
I. The State of His Obligation
II. The Scope of His Obligation
III. The Substance of His Obligation
IV. The Shared Obligation.
V. The Submission of His Obligation
The Apostle states, "I am debtor" ( µ "to assume a debt"). There are two possible ways to be in debt. The first is to borrow from someone. The second is to be given something for someone. For example, if I were to borrow $1000 from you I would be in your debt until I paid it back. Equally, if a friend of yours were to give me $1000 to give to you, I would be in your debt until I gave it to you. In the first case I am in debt by borrowing, in the later case I am in your debt because I was entrusted with $1000 intended for you.
It is in this last sense that Paul is in debt. Jesus Christ had entrusted him with the Gospel. The Romans and the world had a spiritual need that only the Gospel could relieve. Paul had the kind of obligation a person has to someone whose house is on fire or who is drowning. When someone is in great danger and we are able to help, we are under obligation to do what we can to save him. Because the people of the world face spiritual death and Paul had received the message of life he was obligated to help rescue them.