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Putting the Gospel on Display

Charlie Boyd - 9/30/2018

God has made us to live in loving relationships with each other. And that means, we have a mutual responsibility to genuinely love each other as if love is a debt that we owe to each other. We owe it to our children to love them so they feel loved. We owe it to our spouses to love them so they feel loved. But it doesn’t stop there. The Bible says we have a debt of love that we owe to everyone God puts in our lives.

Read Romans 13:8-10 …

In Romans 12-15, the apostle Paul writes to tell us what it looks like to put the Gospel on display in the church and in the world. In Romans 1-11, we see God’s love for us. And, in Romans 12-15, we see God’s love through us. Love for others is the natural outworking of the theology of the first 11 chapters. The main idea being—We put the Gospel on display in our world today when we put Jesus-style love on display. 

Contrary to popular belief, v.8—Owe no one anything but love—is not a reference to personal or business financial debt or borrowing money. The idea is this: Let no debt remain outstanding. Don’t carry debt that you can’t pay off when the note comes due. But the focus is really on love—Pay off your debts as they come due, except the one debt that can never fully be paid and that is to love one another.

First point—Pay your debt of love forward (13:8-10). …especially to people who are different from you. … The flip side of this idea of a “debt of love” might be something like: “Don’t live with an antagonistic spirit toward anyone.” …The absence of biblical love nullifies everything else I say or do. …God is more concerned that we treat people we disagree with within a spirit of love that he is in us proving who’s right and who’s wrong. …We are to pay our debt of love forward because this one command, Love your neighbor as yourself, fulfills the Law. Paul sums up all of the negative, “You shall not” commands in the one idea Love does not wrong to a neighbor. The flipside of that is—love seeks what’s best for a neighbor. And that idea comes from “Love your neighbor as yourself.“So the first way we put the Gospel on display is by paying the debt of love forward to everyone God puts in our lives. 

Read Romans 13:11-14 …

Second Point—Put on Christ (13:11-14) --meaning--Dress yourself in Jesus’ style. …The command to love does not just mean to be a good, moral, nice person. It means to put a Jesus-kind-of-love on display. In these verses Paul is saying—If you are going to love others—if you’re going to let love mark your life, now is the time to do it. Paul is saying—Knowing that our time here in this life is short, pay your debt of love forward to whoever God has put in your life by dressing yourself in Jesus-style love. And that will mean, you have to put off everything that’s incompatible with love. That’s the point of vv.11-2.

How do we put the Gospel on display in our world today? Let’s turn the answer around. Simple answer: We put on Christ. We dress ourselves in Jesus’ style of love and we pay our debt of love forward to everyone God puts in our lives.

And because the focus all through chapters 12-15 is on loving people who are different from us—people we may passionately disagree with—another way to say this is—(and this looks forward to chps 14-15—but put another way you could say—Putting the Gospel of display means loving people who believe and live differently from you while holding to beliefs and values that differ from them. …Who in your world—work, school, church, neighborhood—who in your world do you have serious disagreements with? God says above all, you owe them, love. What would it look like to put on a Jesus’ style of love as you interact with them this week?