Lectionary Year A
September 8, 2002

Romans 13:8-14
Contemporary Address

Step VI - Contemporary Address

A. Goals

(JFC) Possibly a sermon from this lection can help people deal with the tensions between the Old Testament's emphasis on the Law and the New testament's use of love.

B. Describing the Audience

(JFC) Such a sermon might go well for any congregation struggling with ancient religions' impact on their/our wondering how to live by New Testament principles but not in isolation from our neighbors, especially those living other religions' traditions.
C. (JFC) Sermon, entitled for this working draft, "Living Christian Love Today"

Time to wake up, the Apostle says. Night is over, day is dawning and it's time for us to awake. He puts this alarm in the context of Salvation's availability for us and it's up to us to be ready to get in touch with it and to take advantage of it. So, let's do it. This Epistle lesson advises us to get on with God's gifts and our responsible use of them.

I. God's Gifts

A. God gives the Ten Commandments for us to have guidelines, ground rules and reference points for us to discover in undeniable ways how we sin. . . .
B. God gives us Divine Love, with which to love us and in such abundance we can naturally love ourselves and even others as well. See Deuteronomy 23:5, 30:6. What contemporary and/or classical "love story" best shows this kind of love?

II. Jesus

A. Jesus of Nazareth, the human Jesus who lived a human life in Galilee in the first century demonstrated how it is best to live, best for God, best for ourselves and others. B. Jesus Christ is the Risen and ever Living Savior who is with us forever, Luke 1:33, etc. He is God's greatest gifts to us, as undeserving as we are.

III. Treating Neighbors

A. Paul spells out good manners for believers to execute, by which to live appropriately, "conducting ourselves becomingly," the RSV translates it.
B. Paul claims that love does no wrong and it fulfills the Law, too. The movie, Pay It Forward, might be an apt illustration here. See Step V, part C, above.

God gives us gifts galore for which our thanks can be lived out as we behave appropriately, in response to God and the Divine Word, especially as Paul says.

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