God's Love

September 3, 2012   Romans 5:6- 12   God’s Love 

    This text and scripture shows us the greatness of God’s love and compares it to human love.   I think in human terms we would say that the greatest act of love is for someone to die to save others and Jesus did that.  .  It can be easy to say I love you.   For some that does not mean much.  Did you hear about the guy who says to his girlfriend, “I’d climb the highest mountain for you, “I’d swim the deepest ocean, “I’d give my very life for you “She says, “Oh, honey, that’s so wonderful.   But what I really need is for you to help me clean up the garage on Saturday.”  And he says, “Are you kidding?   Now you’re just trying to take advantage of me!”   That is the depth of many folks love today.   Maybe some would say the greatest love is to give your child’s life to save another.  That is what God did.    Jesus dies in our place.   He came in the fullness of time to do what we cannot do for ourselves.   He paid the price for our sin.   In and through Adam we all sinned.   Scripture tells us that there are none that seek God.   We are self centered.   We do not love God with all our heart mind soul and strength and our neighbor as ourselves.   We were without God in the world.   We were without hope in the world.   The soul that sins it shall die but then Jesus came and dies for us all.  Outside of God man really does not know what love is.   In and of ourselves we cannot love others.   Can you really love at all times your spouse?   Can you at all times really love your child?    Our love fails.   In the New Testament, there are three primary words for love:  - Eros is­ romantic love, Phileo ­is brotherly love Philadelphia is the city of brotherly love, and Agape ­ unconditional love.   God loves with agape love. 

       When you think about it, God’s love is the only reason we exist.    His power created creation and His love is the why.      Love demands an object.   Love has an object to it.   We don’t love nothingness or emptiness.   Love has an object.    ­You and I are that focus of God’s affection.    Non Christians are the focus of God’s love.   Love flows from Him as a pure river of grace and mercy without detracting in any way from His holiness and righteousness.    As we understand and experience His love, we find that this attribute is a doorway to knowing God intimately.   Many people have trouble feeling God’s love.   If life is not perfect for them God gets the blame.  It is all his fault in their mind but God created a perfect place for us in the beginning with Adam and Eve.   Mankind blew it.   We made a mess and God sent his son to clean it up at least for those that will receive Him.  .  And God has created a perfect place for those that want to know him and receive him when we leave this world.   It will be perfect for eternity. 

    Scripture is very plain about God’s love.    1 John 3:1: “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God!    And that is what we are!”  Are you excited about being a child of God?  Psalm 63:3: “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.”  Our culture today is primarily focused on romantic or brotherly love ­ but God’s love is agape, the purest, deepest and most unconditional kind of love.    If you were to do a search for the word “love” in the Bible, you would come up with 100’sof references.    Zephaniah 3:17: “The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save.     He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”  

       There is no reason for God to love us.    You are not a naturally lovable person ­ and neither am I.     Sin has infected our lives so much that it has distorted even the parts we think are beautiful.    Sin “uglyfies” everything it touches.   And so, there is no reason for God to love us, except this: That’s the kind of God He is.    He loves us because God is love and He can’t help loving us even when we are His enemies.    His love is greater than our sin ­ and He loves us in spite of our sin.   God is holy, holy, holy.   If he was only holy he would have nothing to do with us.   People tend to like people who are like they are.   Holiness and sin do not mix.  God is also love.   He is also compassionate.   He is also the God of mercy.   There is really no reason for Him to love us but it is his nature to love and to bless and to give. 

    Verse 7 tells us that very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man.   Who would you die for?   And it is easy to say something when we are just sitting here thinking about it.   It is another thing if we are really facing death     During the war in Vietnam, a young West Point graduate was sent over to lead a group of new recruits into battle. He did his job well, trying his best to keep his from ambush and death.   But one night when they had been under attack, he was unable to get just one of his men to safety.   The soldier left behind had been severely wounded.   From their trenches, the young lieutenant and his men could hear him in his pain. They all knew any attempt to save him – even if it was successful -- would almost certainly mean death for the would-be rescuer.  Eventually the young lieutenant crawled out of hiding toward the dying man. He got to him safely but was killed before he could save himself.   After the rescued man returned to the States, the lieutenant’s parents heard that he was in their vicinity.   Wanting to know this young man whose life was spared at such a great cost to them, they invited him to dinner.    When their honored guest arrived, he was obviously drunk.   He was rowdy and obnoxious.   He told off-color jokes and showed no gratitude for the sacrifice of the man who died to save him.   The grieving parents did the best they could to make the man’s visit worthwhile, but their efforts went unrewarded.   Their guest finally left.  As the dad closed the door behind him, the mother collapsed in tears and cried, "To think that our precious son had to die for somebody like that."   That’s what Jesus did.

     It’s easy to say “I’d die for you,” when we’re pretty sure we won’t ever be called upon to fulfill our vow. Would you die for the most disgusting kind of person you can think of?   Who would you be willing to die on a cross for?  Jesus died for those people.   While you and I may not love them Jesus loves them.     His love is far greater than mine.    But even greater than the pain of the physical death on a cross is the spiritual suffering that Jesus took upon himself.   God allowed sin to be put on him.  Holiness became sin – who can comprehend it?   The wages of sin is death and yes Jesus dies.     He who knew no sin took sin upon himself that we may have life.   Jesus dies for you and for me.   Jesus died for the people that you know.   Jesus dies so that anyone can know him and have the gift of life even eternal life.  

  Winston Churchill was honoring members of the Royal Air Force who had guarded England in WW II.   Recounting their brave service, he declared, "Never in the history of mankind have so many owed so much too so few."    A similar sentiment appears on a memorial plaque in Bastogne, Belgium, where raged the famous Battle of the Bulge, one of the bloodiest conflicts of World War II.    The inscription, in honor of the U. S. 101st Airborne Division, reads: "Seldom has so much American blood been shed in the course of a single action.    Oh, Lord, help us to remember!"  Of course we could mention Iwo Jima and other battles.     These are fitting and well-deserved tributes to the courageous men and women who sacrificed so much in battle.    Well we can look at people and all that they have given.   But we also need to think about God and about Jesus Christ.   But there is One whose selfless sacrifice resulted in even greater benefits for mankind.    Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became a man.    As the sinless One, He died on a cross and shed His blood to pay for the sins of the entire world.     In so doing, He guaranteed our freedom - freedom from the penalty, power, and someday even the presence of sin.     Of Christ it can be said: Never in the history of mankind have so many owed so much to one Man.   Yes, His was the greatest sacrifice.    Lord, help us to remember!    

       Caleb Wilde shares that he would never forget the first time a group of Christians gave a chapel service to about 50 juvenile sex offenders. They were a crew of 14 to 19 year olds from all over the East Coast who had been charged with a serious sexual crime.   How would you speak to a group of kids like that?   Any ideas?    He was given the opportunity to share with them for about 15 minutes and although he knew going into this chapel service with others  he was going to be the main speaker.    He didn’t want to prepare a message full of statements.   It was supposed to be a smaller group and it was to be interactive so he prepared a number of questions rather than preach to them.   That was probably a good idea.   The first question he asked was this: “How many of you have been seriously hurt by others in your lives?” They all raised their hands.   Then he asked them, “How many of you have wanted to hurt others in the same way you’ve been hurt?”    It was the same response all of them raised their hands.    Some of them blurted out, “I want to hurt them worse.”  They had been over powered and exploited and hurt and they in turn had hurt others.   That is kind of a natural response.   In closing, Caleb asked them, “If you had the power to hurt those who hurt you, what would you do?”   God could have got revenge.   God could have brought man up on charges of sin right away.   But God had mercy and God sent his son.   Jesus on the cross prays Father forgive them.  

     The world is burning today friends.   The world is burning with hatred today.   The world is burning with anger today.  The world is burning with lust today.   The world is burning with pride and arrogance today.   The world is burning with fear today.  The world is burning with abuse today.   This country is saturated with pleasure and self gratification and at the same time starvation.   There are the rich in the world who would not lift their tiny finger to help the starving millions of people.   The world is burning today.  There are millions of battered and starving children in the world today.  Why is the world burning?   Well we could ask where is the church?   What is the church doing?   What are we doing?  We are chasing our jobs.   The church is chasing their kids to ball games and activities and the world burns.   It is easy for many people to find an excuse not to go to church.   The church, - Christians are not showing the world the love of God.    The world is burning today because it does not know the love of God.   It does not know the love of God.    The world does not appreciate the love of God and billions of people do not believe that God loves them.   Love for some is kill those who do not believe like you do.   Jesus said they will persecute you thinking that they are doing God a favor.   The world is burning today because it does not have its eyes on the cross.  Do you think that God was wrong when he said there are none that are righteous and there is no one who seeks God?  The world is so far from God.   God wants every one of us to be a part of His compassionate heart to the world. 

     The world does not understand the love of God.   The world has redefined the word love.  It is like the boy who said I will climb the highest mountain for you but don’t ask me to give you my Saturday.    It has been said that there is no attribute of God that has been so badly misunderstood as God’s love. Here’s a very common ­ but wrong take on God’s love:  God’s love means that everyone will go to heaven. All roads lead to heaven.   Or he is a pretty good guy and God will just invite him in.   If you attend secular weddings and funerals from time to time you will get a sense that people feel that their loved one is OK.    He or she is looking down from heaven.   I have heard those words recently.   Ask them how they know that?   Many non-Christians have the idea that when they get to the gates of heaven, God will smile and say, “Oh, you’ve been a pretty good person, come on in.” This is the heresy of universalism ­sounds attractive; it’s completely at odds with what the Bible teaches. Only those who put their complete faith and trust in Christ will be saved.   Jesus died for us.   His sacrifice was perfect.   God is one who determines who goes into His heaven.   God accepts his son sacrifice.   Jesus was sinless and took the sin of the world upon him so that God perfectness could be in us and through Jesus we are saved.  .