Summary: A sermon about why love’s got to do with everything, and why it should be the most precious, and old-fashion notion of all.
Tina Turner once asked a powerful question, one that became a hit song of the early- eighties. She asked, “What does love have to do with it?” Her song is replete with two, rhetorical questions: “What's love but a second hand emotion” and “Who needs a heart, when a heart can be broken?” When listening to her song, you can hear the agony in her voice; we can hear how her marriage to Ike Turner inflected pain, sorrow, and abuse, under the guise of what humanity deems as a sick kind of love.
Turner later told her story; one named after her song. The movie depicted the life of abuse she faced; and how she found the courage to break away in order to find — what she called — love’s “sweet old fashioned notion.”
Tina Turner’s song and movie echoed C. S. Lewis earlier sentiments about humanity’s sick love. Lewis said: "It is easier to be enthusiastic about humanity with a capital "H" than it is to love individual men and women, especially those who are uninteresting, exasperating, depraved, or otherwise unattractive. Loving everybody in general may be an excuse for loving nobody in particular.
Unfortunately, as humans, we’ve got that one down really well. However, that’s not the way God wants things. If God were to answer Turner’s infamous question; the same question humanity’s been asking for eons — he’d answer with this one, simple word: “everything.” Love’s got everything to do with it.
This morning, we’re going to look at why love’s got to do with everything, and why it should be the most precious, and old-fashion notion of all. Because, when we fail to truly understand God’s old-fashion notion of love, then we tend to fall into Satan’s sick trap of not loving each other at all, and instead moving through life coming up with excuse-after-excuse why others aren’t always worthy of our full love.
With that, let’s open our bibles to Romans 13:8–10 — this can be found on p.1765 of the pew bible. Let’s look at how Paul echoed Jesus and the earlier prophets, in terms the Bible deems as “the law of love.”
LOVE FORGIVES ALL
Let’s read VV8-10 together. READ VV 8-10. Paul starts out by talking about letting no debt remain outstanding. That’s interesting language. What Paul was getting at here was that God expects us to forgive others, as Jesus has already forgiven us.
The Apostle John wrote, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” What Paul was saying here, echoing the Apostle John, was that Jesus cancelled our debt on the Cross of Calvary. He cancelled our debts to sin — he outright forgave our debts —through love. God so loved us that he was willing to cancel our debt to sin by sending his Son Jesus to take on our sins for us. Ya know, that’s such good news.
Now, this word that Paul used here, in regard to canceling a debt, is the same one that Jesus used in the parable of the unmerciful servant. The Gospels record of the time when Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” After their dialogue, Jesus told the disciples this parable to illustrate how love cancels all debts to sin.
Jesus said, “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. “The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
Okay, so what the Apostle Paul was getting at here is that, because God so loved us and cancelled our debts on the cross of Calvary through the blood of Jesus Christ — thus cancelling our sin debts — then we too should cancel the sin debts of others. In other words, Love forgives all. Love looks past all grievances. Love puts aside the deeds of darkness and puts on the armor of light (as we heard in our Epistle for this morning).
Paul was simply saying, “True love forgives all, and doesn’t harm.” Using Tina Turner’s words, “love’s got everything do with it” — the it being how we’re to live and interact with one another. Let’s keep reading this verse and by pulling it apart a bit more.