Good Preaching

Today the sermon was on Romans 13:8-10  particularly verse 8, “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another.”  Here are some highlights from the application:

1. Don’t abuse your family. Do you swipe money or stuff from your parents (or siblings) and figure that it’s all in the family?

2. Just because you wouldn’t mind if someone swiped twenty out of your purse doesn’t mean they won’t mind if you swipe twenty out of theirs. So don’t abuse the Golden Rule. Just because you think you wouldn’t mind if they broke your lawnmower doesn’t mean that they won’t mind that you just broke theirs. Repair it and return it.

3. Words are free. The debtor should be chasing the lender, not the other way around. If you owe someone money, chase them down and tell them you will pay them as soon as you can. And keep chasing them down regularly to tell them you are working on it. In the world, the creditor always has to chase down the debtor.Christians should be known for their honesty.

4. Don’t abuse the passage of time. Just because you borrowed the money a long time ago doesn’t mean it is now paid. A poor memory is not the same thing as a good conscience.

5. Don’t measure your  neighbor’s love with the yardstick of your debts. His love is not your business. Your business is whether you are loving him and obeying God by taking care of your debts.

6. Don’t nickle and dime your friends to death. Kids do this. Can I borrow a quarter? A pencil? You must return what you borrow and not presume on the friendship. Your friends won’t like it. You will become known as a mooch.

7. Just because the person you owe has a nicer house or a nicer car than you do does not mean you don’t have to pay them. Physicians often only receive half the money owed them, and you don’t know whether they are having a hard time making payroll. Pay your bills regardless of what you think their needs may be. Their needs are not the point and not your business.

8. Don’t ask businessmen and women to mentor your kids for free just because we are all members of a tight-knit community. Don’t bring your sick kitty to the church potluck to ask the vet in the congregation for free advice.

9. How many of the books on your shelves (or dvd’s) belong to someone else? Return them. If you don’t, you are a thief.

10. If you break something you borrowed, replace it. Don’t return it broken and say, “Oh well, we’re friends, she won’t mind.” Enough with “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.” That’s not an excuse for not paying your bills.

All these things are ways in which we love one another. Love isn’t a sticky, gooey feeling. Love obeys God’s commands. Love replaces the broken object, love pays the bill, love returns the borrowed item.

Thomas Watson said that there are three things Christians tend to forget: their faults, their friends, and their instructions.

As you can see, this was a whopper of a sermon!

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9 thoughts on “Good Preaching

  1. Excellent! But regarding #7, if the physician has agreed to accept less in payment, that’s fine, wouldn’t you say? I always call and try to negotiate a discount, and I usually get it too. We don’t have health insurance, don’t overuse the medical system, and pay what we owe. Doctors and other medical providers routinely accept only what insurance companies say they will pay, but since I don’t have insurance, surely I’m allowed to ask for a similar discount, aren’t I?

    I’m not trying to pick a fight. I truly want to understand what the Bible teaches about such instances. :-)

  2. Dear womanofthehouse,
    Judging from your description, I would say you are just the kind physicians like, the kind who pay their bills. As far as negotiating a discount goes,if it’s a cheerful request made beforehand and not after the services are rendered, and if you don’t mind them saying no, then I see nothing wrong with it. If you try to negotiate after the fact, you have them over a barrel, and put them in an awkward position. Our hospital gives a discount to anyone who pays off the entire bill within twenty days (whatever is owed after the health insurance). However, that said, Christians are often too free with other people’s money. You see this when the attitude looks something like this: “Oh, this business has a little fish on the advertisement. I’ll go there because, since they are Christian brothers, I can ask for a discount.” It would be better to say something like this instead: “I’m going to go to this business because, since they are Christian brothers, I can pay them an extra ten percent!”

  3. it was a great sermon, I liked what he said about law being the river bed and love the river.

  4. I think the nickle-and-diming thing can go the other way, too. I grew up watching my mom and her best friend fuss over owing one another pennies — they were both scrupulous about making sure everything was paid back. “Don’t worry about it” was soundly ignored on both sides. I know it was all motivated by love — money was extremely tight for both of them, and neither wanted the other to have it any worse than she already had, but it seemed to me that they just took it a little too far sometimes. I think there’s a falling-into-the-other-ditch issue of not allowing each other to show little graces.

    A few weeks ago when a friend was driving me home from the hospital, she asked if I needed to get anything on the way. We stopped at a grocery store and she went in to grab ginger ale and graham crackers for me. I noticed later (once I was home and a little more awake and functional) that the receipt was for something like 34 cents more than the $5 I gave her. I just couldn’t bring myself to insult her kindness by trying to pay it back.

    Of course I wouldn’t do this all the time or with just anybody, but I think there’s a reasonable balance.

    P.S. Steve Wilkins has a chapter on this subject in Face to Face that’s substantively similar to Doug’s sermon. Just thought I’d plug the book for those who haven’t read it!

  5. Thanks for the clarification, Nancy. I just always figured that if a business agreed to a discount, then that was fine. Hospitals and doctors associated with them are especially open to giving discounts if asked. It never hurts to ask. :-)

  6. This is good preaching and as Watson says we so often forget instruction, so it is good to hear this over and over. It is not easy to do what is right and very easy to excuse our own mistakes while putting the cost on others.

    Thanks you.

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