Teachings / Sermons
Romans 13 - What you owe and what you wear
What causes people to talk about the Christian faith?
by Peter Hamp-Adams
CHAPTER 13: 8 14
Before we consider these verses let’s first remind ourselves of some
points we have picked up on in the journey through this letter.
The letter written in about AD 57 has been extensively commentated on for
about 1800 years(!).
The church in Rome consists of small house churches , founded after
Pentecost. It seems not to have experienced signs and wonders to any
Its clear it has a Jewish Gentile mix. Its also clear that Jews live with huge
social tensions having been expelled from Rome in AD 19 and AD 50.
Origen, an early commentator, picks up on the main theme as being how
God’s Gospel takes account of Jews and Gentiles and brings them into
righteous relationship with himself and each other
A small verse in Romans 1, which we can link
in to Romans 13.
Don’t forget the letter is amazingly comprehensive it covers a huge tract of spiritual
land. And there are lots of precious stones hidden in the verses.
So, right in the beginning there is a verse which I want to link in to Chap 13. Its Chapter
1 vs 8.
In this verse Paul speaks about his thankfulness to God for the church in Rome. Here are
a couple of translations of the verse in question :
your faith is being reported all over the World
people everywhere in the World are talking about your faith ”
The question is what are people actually saying ? Is it a passing comment, like you and
me saying to our neighbour “ I have heard there are a number of Christians in Rome.” “I
have heard that too”, replies your neighbour”.
Or “I hear there are people in Rome who are followers of Jesus” , or “I hear they believe
that Jesus rose from the dead”
Is that all he is really saying? End of conversation?
What is Paul saying in verse 8 ?
The nature of the Gospel is that it is something which has an effect
on people, both on those who believe and those who don’t either
way its effects are visible . And it stands in contrast to society around
Here is a clue. Paul in Ephesians 1:15 says the following : “ ..ever since
I heard about your faith in Jesus Christ and your love for all the saints,
I have not stopped giving thanks for you….”
So the church in Rome had a visible LOVE impact and it was the
impact of love which stood out in a “dog eats dog” society its
affected the church and the pagans around them.
Do we have to do anything different?
NOW with that in mind
lets look at some
verses in CHAPTER 13
•“8. Don’t owe anything to anyone except the debt of mutual of
11. This is all the more important because you know what time it is.
The hour has come for you to wake up from sleep. ..
12. The night is nearly over, the day is almost here. So let’s put off the
works of darkness , and put on the armour of light..
14. Instead put on the Lord Jesus , the Messiah , and don’t make any
allowance for the flesh and its lusts.”
What shapes people’s lifestyle and habits?
The 24 x7 news ? Social media?
Clearly people follow what National leaders and World organisations
like WHO and IMF say and recommend?
Do people act rationally in the light of those information sources?
Do Christians have an advantage here ?
Yes. We understand that the World is not just “rambling on”. That there
is an end to all this. We understand the concepts of the KINGDOM
the RULE OF GOD and as we journey there, the “already and the not
yet” we live in an in between period of time.
And who and what in addition to the news do we have to guide us?
“The night is nearly over and the day is
Paul talks in the verses about “recognizing” the times we are living in.
Owing only the debt of love the reason the Church was so famous
and clearly that love affected not only the members it affected the
Consciously avoiding darkness and moving in the light.
So that we will live in peace even in difficult times( not the absence of
strife!!) and more people will be drawn to Christ.
Putting off and putting on? How do we do
This is a common Pauline expression but how does one “do it” .
Paul makes it clear that you and I need to have consciously done this
as preparation to love ( ie interact and face people)
PRACTICAL SUGGESTION “A”
read a portion of the gospels where
Jesus appears and read what he does and says. Pray, over it, asking
God “clothe me in him today”.
PRACTICAL SUGGESTION “B”
consider your baptism. What does it
mean. Your death and resurrection to a new life . That’s the life we
“step outside with”
Date Added: 2020-03-28
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