The Law of Love

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English Service on January 17
messenger:pastor Jim Allison
Title: The Law of Love
Scripture: Romans13:8-14
message160117jim.mp3
MP3 オーディオファイル 18.3 MB

Romans 13:8-14

 

“The Law of Love”

 

Now that the holiday break is over, I want to return with you to the message series we began last year.  I’ll call it “God’s Word and Moral Issues in Today’s World.”  We’ve been learning what the Lord says to us in the Bible about war and peace, the environment, sanctity of life, and marriage.  I think we’ll continue for about two more messages.  In today’s, I want to focus not on one particular social problem but some teachings the Bible’s God gives us that link up with all the decisions and actions we take related to right and wrong.  Romans 13 doesn’t just tell us what we have to do and avoid doing.  More, it gives us a foundation for making wise choices with the motivation of love.

 

1. We make moral choices in our lives every day, from the things we choose to put in our minds from the media to the kinds of food we buy to the attitudes we take to the people around us.  The writer, Paul, has made maybe more than his share of mistakes in the past, and he knows how hard it can be to choose the right path when the world around us pulls us so hard to go another way.  Also, he comes out of an Old Testament background, so he and many of the people for whom he wrote the book of Romans are very aware of the many rules for living that God gives His people in the Law.  The Bible’s God has very high standards for His people.  

 

So it is remarkable that He writes in v. 8, “Those who love others have done everything the law requires.”  Then after listing some key moral teachings, he says you can put them all in one simple summary: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” (Leviticus 19:18).  It all comes back to love.  That sounds much like the theme of his famous words in I Corinthians 13, beginning with “Suppose I speak in the languages of human beings and of angels. If I don't have love, I am only a loud gong or a noisy cymbal.”  After going through that whole chapter, he then challenges his readers to arrange their lives in response to these teachings, to make love their aim, or “Follow the way of love” (I Corinthians 14:1).     

 

Is life that simple?  Yes, it’s that simple.  God makes His teaching that way because He wants all the world’s people to be able to understand and follow it.  You don’t have to have many years in school, special training, or great talent to know what love is.  In fact, lots of study and many life experiences can even get in the way sometimes.  Children can get this teaching better than adults at times.  It’s simple.  But it’s not easy, is it.  When we look at the way we struggle to get along with our family members, co-workers, maybe even our brothers and sisters in Christ at church, if we are honest, we know how difficult it is for us to follow the way of love.

 

For example, suppose I decide that I have sexual needs and my marriage partner is not meeting them, so that gives me the right to have a girlfriend on the side.  “I have the right to be happy,” my culture tells me, so even if I don’t seek out a relationship like that, when someone tempts me with a chance for it, I’m not strong enough to say no.  What’s wrong with that?  

 

2. Well, the Bible’s God does not just tell us, “That’s bad.  Don’t do it.”  He says it is wrong because it goes against His principle of love.  He loves my marriage partner no matter what and asked me to join Him in that love before we ever got married.  There is also the matter of the love I have received in the past from my partner, even if I can’t feel it now.  Love will not let me forget what I have received.  Real love will lead me to thanksgiving and an awareness of the debt I have to my partner.  In fact, “you can never pay back all the love you owe each other,” he tells us (v. 8).  Beyond even that, there is the matter of self-respect and a healthy love for yourself.  If I choose to break the law, “Do not commit adultery,” I can do some serious damage to my self-image and confidence.  That is not loving behavior toward myself, either.        

 

3. “Do not commit murder.”  Is anyone here this morning feeling tempted to kill someone?  (Please don’t raise your hand if perhaps you are.  I’m asking because I think you probably are not.)  But before we pass over this teaching, let’s recall that I John 3:15 tells us, “Those who hate their brothers and sisters are murderers.”  If you look at it that way, is there even one person here who has not committed murder in his or her heart at least once or twice?  Let’s take these words as one more reminder that we all live by grace.  

 

In the end, the unchanging love of God is all we have to hang on to.  Our ability to keep the Law through our careful choices and living as “good people” is just a dream, self-deception.  We often hear people talk about going to heaven after dying as if everyone will of course be there, except maybe for those who have done especially terrible things.  But that goes against the most basic teachings of the Bible’s God.  It says, “No one is right with God, no one at all” (Romans 3:10).  And Jesus said, “No one is good except God” (Mark 10:18).

 

So, you may be wondering, why would He give us laws in the first place if we were all going to fail to keep them?  It clearly is not so that we can look at His teachings, see how well we are keeping them, and feel self-satisfied.  Just the opposite, the Law shows us how far short we are falling and pushes us back to the God of love for help to live a truly good life.  In other words, God did not give us the Law in the first place just to keep score.  He did it to draw us into a deeper and stronger relationship of acceptance and trust with Himself.  Out of that relationship grows the power and wisdom to make wise moral choices.  Choosing to support life instead of taking life is simply one example.

 

“Do not steal.”  Well, of course, I’d never do that.  But if I want to download or stream songs or movies from the Internet, why should I pay for them when I can get them for free?  It’s nearly impossible for the people who make them or the police to check and see who’s using them, much less stop us.  If I like my friend’s CD, why worry about buying a new one when I can just borrow it and make a copy for myself?  

 

Jesus seems to answer that question when He says (v. 9), “Do not want what belongs to others.”  Why not?  Because it matters to Him who owns something.  Their rights to ownership matter because people are important to Him, so when we take something from them, we are taking something from God.  He stands with them, against us, when we do that.  That’s why Jesus gave us “the golden rule” of “Do to others as you want them to do to you” (Luke 6:31).  If the people who make those songs, movies, etc. give their OK, then that’s a whole different thing.  But if they don’t, Jesus’ Kingdom principle of the rights of owners stops us from having His OK to take something that does not belong to us.

 

That may seem like so basic a thing that it goes without saying.  But as someone noted, common knowledge is not common practice.  The Great Recession several years ago was caused in large part by great numbers of people—especially in my country—taking loans from banks and other lenders when both the borrowers and lenders knew there was no way they could pay back the money.  We need to go back to the basics of honesty and faith.  When we do, we can see that everyday things like paying your bills, forming a family budget, and carrying a national debt are at their core spiritual matters.  Christ’s followers live by letting God provide for our needs, not by meeting them ourselves.  He wants His people to have open hands, ready to receive from Him.  He does not want us to have grasping hands, ready to take something just because we think we can get away with it.  It is not His design for us to wring our hands with worry about having enough.  Being the people of God means taking our life from Him, with open hands and open hearts.  Again, it all goes back to the love of our Father, who loves to give.   

        

4. Finally, Paul shows us that when we learn to make our moral decisions on the basis of God’s love, it leads us to a different kind of joy.  If we don’t know how much our Father loves us, or if we don’t really believe it, we will likely try to receive our joy from other things.  In Bible times, like today, people were looking to wild parties, getting drunk, and sexual sins to find joy.  I spend a lot of my time, especially Mondays to Fridays, with university students.  Without knowing the love of God, many of them where I serve and around the world don’t know how to simply enjoy being with friends at a party.  If it’s not wild, it’s not fun.  Delicious food and drinks are not enough.  The drinks have to have enough alcohol to destroy a huge number of brain cells.  When they think of a “good” romantic relationship, what comes to mind is not always one that keeps sex inside the context of a marriage relationship with a lifetime commitment and deep understanding and trust of each other.  

 

Our God is certainly not against fun.  I’ve never read “Thou shalt not enjoy life” in the Bible.  In fact, God has greater joy than anyone, and He wants to teach us to be more like Him in that way.  But in order to receive that deep, lasting joy, we often have to be ready to say no to the cheaper, shallower, counterfeit types of joy that many people around us are in the habit of trying.  We will need to choose to be different at times if we are going to follow Christ.  But in the end, that is the path to joy because it is the path to the love of God.

 

So as we come to the end of the message time today, we pray.  Holy Father, loving God, you have told us that the really important thing to you is not our following rules or not following rules.  Your word says, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” (Galatians 5:6b).  So we ask you to give us greater faith and greater love.  Help us to know you better and learn to trust you more fully to meet our needs and guide all parts of our lives each day.  We know the word love from the Bible, but we still have not yet fully understood how deep and strong your love for us is.  Help us to know it, to know you, increasingly each day.  We make this our prayer because we know that as we grow deeper and deeper in love with you, we will come to love what is good and hate what is bad.  We will learn to choose what you are happy with and turn away from what you are not.  In that way we will learn to be more fully alive as human beings.  So in all the choices we make each day, give us your love as our wise and powerful guide.  We ask it in Christ’s name, amen.  

          

 

 

Scripture references:

 

Galatians 5:6

6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

 

Galatians 5:14

14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."

 

James 2:10

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.

 

Romans 13:8-14

8 Pay everything you owe. But you can never pay back all the love you owe each other. Those who love others have done everything the law requires. 9 Here are some commandments to think about. "Do not commit adultery." "Do not commit murder." "Do not steal." "Do not want what belongs to others."(Exodus 20:13-15,17; Deuteronomy 5:17-19,21) These and other commandments are all included in one rule. Here's what it is. "Love your neighbor as you love yourself."(Leviticus 19:18) 10 Love does not harm its neighbor. So love does everything the law requires. 11 When you do those things, keep in mind the times we are living in. The hour has come for you to wake up from your sleep. Our full salvation is closer now than it was when we first believed in Christ. 12 The dark night of evil is nearly over. The day of Christ's return is almost here. So let us get rid of the works of darkness. Let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us act as we should, like people living in the daytime. Have nothing to do with wild parties. Don't get drunk. Don't take part in sexual sins or evil conduct. Don't fight with each other. Don't be jealous of anyone. 14 Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ as your clothing. Don't think about how to satisfy what your sinful nature wants.

ローマ書 13:8-14

“愛という法律”

 

「主のみことばと現代の道徳」というテーマで、去年から続けているメッセージのシリーズです。戦争、環境、結婚など、いろいろなテーマについてお話してきましたが、

今日は特定の社会問題ではなく、聖書の神様が、私たちが正しい選択・良い行いをするために何を考えるべきに何を教えているか、に焦点を当てます。ローマ書13節を見てみると、そこには愛に基づいた賢い選択の仕方が書かれています。

 

1.パウロがローマ書で説く「日々の選択」

・私たちは何を食べるか、買うかなど、日々、様々な決断をします。

・私たちが人生の中でいろいろな選択をする上で、指針となる教え「愛を求 めること」がローマ書に見られます。 ・パウロ本人も、受け取り手であるローマに住む信者も、双方が旧約聖書に 通じ、律法のきびしさ、人生で(神様の御心に叶う正しい選択)を するむずかしさを熟知していました。 ・聖書の神がその民に求める行動基準は、大変高く、実現は難しいでしょう。

 

・ 8節「他の人を愛する者は、律法を完全に守っているのです」

・ パウロは、すべての律法は「あなたの隣人をあなた自身のように愛しなさい」レビ記19:18に要約される、と説きます。

・ コリント人への手紙13章にも「たとい、私が人の異言や、御使いの異言で話しても、愛がないなら、やかましいどらや、うるさいシンバルと同じです。」とあります。

・ パウロは、コリント人への手紙14章にある、「愛を追い求めなさい」つまりすべてにおいて愛を求めることを読者に要求しています。

 

シンプルですね。神様の教えはシンプルで、誰にもわかりやすくなっています。

でもシンプルとはいえ、常に愛をもって人と関るのは、簡単なことではありません。

 

聖書でいう愛の律法とは一体どういうことでしょう? 

例えばもしも私が、結婚相手の他に愛人を作りたいと思ったとしましょう。浮気をしたい人が誘惑に負けてしまいそうな時、現在の社会がそれを容認する時に、その何がいけないというのでしょうか?

 

2.愛による教え

聖書では、悪いことは「悪いからダメ」と言うだけではなく

神の愛の掟に反する、ゆえにいけない、と教えています。

先ほどの浮気の例では、例えば主に頂いたパートナーを傷つけ、結婚が壊れるだけでなく、自分で自分をリスペクトすることさえできなくなってしまいます。神様の愛から出た、人生、結婚、自分という者、すべてにダメージをこうむる結果となります。

(つまり神様が出されるルールには、我々自分自身を守るという役割もあるのです。)

神様は私の配偶者も愛しておられ、彼女から私が受け取った愛を無駄にせずに、愛情を持ってそれに報いるように教えています。

こういった愛情の関係、愛で借りを作らないという点において、8節では「だれに対しても、何の借りもあってはいけません。」と教えています。

またそういった愛を実行する時、それは健全なセルフイメージ(自己像)をもたらします。

 

3.誰にも守り通すことのできない律法

 

例えば、「殺してはいけない」という律法は第一ヨハネ3:15では「兄弟を憎む者はみな、人殺しです。」と教えています。

こうすると我々はみな罪人(一度は殺人を犯した者)となってしまい、完璧に律法を守れる「正しい人」なんて、幻想であることがわかります。

そうすると、我々は神の恵みと赦しによってのみ、あることがわかります。

『義人はいない、一人もいない』ローマ書3:10

『「尊い方は神の他にいません」とイエスは言った』マルコ10:18

つまり我々はすべて罪人でも、主の愛と許し、恵みによって生かされているのです。

 

律法は、私たちがいかに不完全で、神の愛を必要としてるか、を示し、

そしてそのことを理解し、主の愛に帰ることで真の素晴らしい人生を送るよう、説いています。

神の愛とその掟とは、

・ 素晴らしい人生を生きるため

・ 主に信頼し、主とより深い関係で生きるため

・ 賢く、愛に満ちた選択をするため

・ 他者を否定したり、殺すのではなく、生かすためにあるものです。

 

例えば「盗んではいけない」というルール。CDを買わずにダウンロードしてしまったりすることがなぜいけないのでしょう?

それは、神様にとって、人間の所有権というものが大切であるからです。

我々の持っているものはみな神様に与えられた、ということを信じるならば、

人のものを盗むということは、結局はそれを与えた神様から盗んでいる、ということになってしまうからではないでしょうか?

 

イエスが言った「むさぼるな(他人の者を欲しがってはいけない)」という戒めも

すべては「自分にしてもらいたいと望むとおり、人にもそのようにしなさい。」ルカ6:31に要約されます。

 

こうしてみると、盗まないだけではなく、例えばあるものでまかない、持っている範囲で予算を立て、正直に借金を返したり、国として借金を返済するということは、クリスチャンである場合、その者の大切な霊的な責任ということになります。

私たちは神様によって養われていると信じ、自分の力で生活の糧を得て、主に信頼して、日々の糧をいただく、そして不安になったり、物やお金にしがみつくよりも、その手も心も開いて、人に与える、これが神様の御心です。 

すべては神が下さった愛という教えに戻ります。

        

4.正しい選択、良い選択をした場合、それは喜びにつながる、とパウロは言っています。

 

神様の愛を知らない人、どんなに主に愛されているかを信じることができない人には、喜びとはむずかしいもので、神からくる愛よりは、自分で何かに幸せを見出して満たされようとしてしまいます。

例:学生のパーティーなどお酒が入らなければ楽しめない、良い恋愛には必ず性交渉がなくてはならない、など、現代は、恋愛や友情を聖書の教えに沿って楽しむこと、が難しくなっています

 

神様は決して喜びや楽しみをお嫌いなわけではありません。

聖書には「人生を楽しんではいけない」なんて書いてありません。むしろ、主はだれよりも大きな喜びを持っていらっしゃる方で、私たちがもっと主のようになって、その真の喜びと深い幸せをもって生きられるよう、願っておられます。

その素晴らしい喜びと幸せをいただくために、私たちは時に、この世が求めている薄っぺらくて、ニセモノの喜びや楽しみから遠ざかることも必要です。キリストに従う人々は時として世界に調子を合わせないことも必要になるからです。

しかし、そのような主の愛への道は、必ず真の幸せへの道に続きます。

 

ではメッセージの最後にお祈りします。

聖なる父、愛なる神様、

あなたは、大切なことはルールを守るとか守らないではなくて、「愛によって働く信仰だけが大事なのです。」(ガラテヤ人への手紙5:6b)と教えてくださっています。

ですから、より強い信仰と愛をお与ください。

あなたが私たちの日々必要なものを備えてくださることを信じる信仰をお与ください。全てにおいて主の導きを求めることができますように。

聖書にある愛を理解し、さらに日々益々あなたの愛を知り、あなたを知ることができますように。あなたの愛を知ることで、私たちが善いことを愛し、悪を憎めますように。あなたに喜ばれることを選び、あなたが喜ばないことから遠ざかることができるようになりますように。

それにより、人として益々豊かに生きられますように。

すべての選択においてあなたの愛を、私たちの知恵と力の元とできますように。

キリストの御名によって祈ります。

アーメン。