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Summary: When we present ourselves as a living sacrifice to God, we join the fellowship of those who choose to focus upon loving God and loving others. How to love can be confusing. We need some hands on principles about Biblical love. Biblical Love does not ju

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The Debt of Love

(Romans 13:8-14)

1. Newspaper columnist and minister George Crane tells of a wife who came into his office full of hatred toward her husband. "I do not only want to get rid of him, I want to get even. Before I divorce him, I want to hurt him as much as he has me."

Dr. Crane suggested an ingenious plan "Go home and act as if you really love your husband. Tell him how much he means to you. Praise him for every decent trait. Go out of your way to be as kind, considerate, and generous as possible. Spare no efforts to please him, to enjoy him. Make him believe you love him. After you’ve convinced him of your undying love and that you cannot live without him, then drop the bomb. Tell him that your’re getting a divorce. That will really hurt him." With revenge in her eyes, she smiled and exclaimed, "Beautiful, beautiful. Will he ever be surprised!" And she did it with enthusiasm. Acting "as if." For two months she showed love, kindness, listening, giving, reinforcing, sharing. When she didn’t return, Crane called. "Are you ready now to go through with the divorce?"

"Divorce?" she exclaimed. "Never! I discovered I really do love him." Her actions had changed her feelings. Motion resulted in emotion. The ability to love is established not so much by fervent promise as often repeated deeds.

J. Allan Petersen.

2. Romantic love, however, is very different from loving our children, brothers and sisters in Christ, neighbors, and enemies.

3. Although we fail sometimes in loving our spouses or children, we have an idea of what that sort of love should look like.

4. But when it comes to loving our fellow Christians in our church family, many of us do not have a clue. And few of us put much thought into the matter.

5. Not to worry. The Bible gives us plenty of help in learning to love others within a particular church family.

MAIN IDEA: When we present ourselves as a living sacrifice to God, we join the fellowship of those who choose to focus upon loving God and loving others. How to love can be confusing. We need some hands on principles about Biblical love.

Biblical Love does not just happen; it has to be nurtured.

I. Debt INTERFERES with Loving People (8a)

There was a man who had a unique way of paying bills. He was overextended and couldn’t pay all of them every month. One month, one of his creditors called him and demanded payment on a certain account. He said, "Look, the way I pay my bills is to put them all in a hat and pull five of them out. Now if you don’t quit bugging me, next month I won’t even put you in the hat!" (Source: Sermon Central)

1. When we are in debt, our ATTENTION is focused upon paying our bills. Our TIME, ENERGY, and FINANCES are bound.

2. When we are in debt, our potential for GENEROSITY has been reduced.

3. When we are in debt, the STRESS changes our lifestyle and disposition, straining our marriages and other relationships.

· Proverbs 22:7, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”

· The principle: the freer you are, the more spiritual dexterity you have: 1 Corinthians 7:21, “Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you--although if you can gain your freedom, do so.”


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