The world’s definition of love. It can be temporary(there only for good times. High divorce rate). It can be selfish (what can I get out of it?). It can be superficial and a little silly (my boys falling in love a lot). But what is true love? I believe true love is selfless, self-giving, and sacrificial. Parents have this love for their kids (sacrifice, want the best) Husbands and wives can have this love. Putting the other first and selflessly loving without the expectation of anything in return. But, we only have a glimpse of love. There is a love more powerful, deeper than we can imagine. And that is the love that God has for us. And that is what I want to talk about today.
Psa 13:5 (NIV) But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation
1. Something God can not do; fail. Failure is a flaw and God is flawless. God is perfect therefore His love is perfect. Unlike human love God's love will never fail you or let you down. We have all at one time or another been let down by someone we love, they failed us. But not so with God. Our Bible says His love is unfailing. Ps. 6:4 tells of God's unfailing love.
2. Rejoice. Why rejoice? We usually rejoice or take pride in the things we do. Awards we win, promotions, etc. We earned those and rejoice in them. But the salvation God gives us, we had nothing to do with that apart from faith (God planned salvation for us even before the universe was created because even before He made us, He loved us). We rejoice because God looked down on his sinful children and longed to save them, long to love them and be loved by them (this love of God and love for God is something that not even angels experience. God set His perfect love aside for imperfect people that by His love we can be saved and love Him.) But the gulf between man and God was too much. We are born with a sinful nature and that sin forever separates us from God. We are born with enmity with God. No matter what man tried to do he could not bridge that gap to God because a Holy God can not have sin in His presence. So God made a temporary way for sins to be forgiven. A temple was set up for Him and in that temple was the Holy of Holies. Once a year the chief priest entered the Holy of Holies and made sacrifice for the people for their sins. This was not a permanent solution to the sin problem. But God so loved the world that He Himself would bridge that gap and come to Earth in human form. Jesus came to be the ultimate sacrifice. The perfect Lamb without blemish slaughtered for a flawed and fallen people! Think about that! What love! What love we did not deserve. Even though we were born with enmity towards God He gave His Son as a sacrifice for our sins! Think about this. When Christ died on the cross our Bible says the veil to the Holy of Holies was ripped in two. This means no more was only the chief priest to have access to God's presence. But now, God's presence was open to all! What love!
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Notice again that this is God's doing. Not man's. Man lacks the ability to atone for sin. We are helpless in our sins in the face of a holy God. Only God can forgive sin and make us pure as snow. Also notice that God did this WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS! We didn't have to clean up ourselves, put on our best suit or dress. God saw us for who we are, a dirty sinner, yet He still loved us regardless and sent His son to die for us! We all have great value in God's eyes and He loves us with a love we can not fully understand for His love is boundless and endless! There was a time in my live when I did not love the Lord. In fact I did not think He existed and I did not want him to exist. I was running. Like the prodigal son I was stuck in the muck and mire of sin...and miserable. But God, through His love, saw a child of His in need and with the still small voice whispered to me, "Come home" What love! Instead of leaving me, instead of withdrawing from me because I denied Him, through His love he drew closer to me and through His love I was reconciled to him. We all know people who were hardened sinners, yet God's love broke through the hardness of their hearts and reconciled them to Him! What love!
Psa 23:6 (NIV) Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever
Ps. 23 is a familiar passage. It is one we hear at funerals and times of morning. But why? It's a psalm of praise to God who leads us through life. Look at verse 6. It says God's love will follow us all of our life. It's not a one shot deal. It's an eternal deal. Though at times we may seem alone and going through the storms of life. But you can rest assured you ARE NOT alone. Our Bible says God's love follows us always! When times are good, God's love follows us. When times are bad, God's love follows us. When we are healthy, sick, rich, or poor God's love follows us. Let's face it, God's love always follows us and we can not outrun it! How deep is the love of God? How wonderful is that love that will never forsake us? How awesome is the God that loves us so deeply, so purely, and forever. It confounds the mind when you really think about the love of God!
John 3:16 (NIV) "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Our Bible also says here that God so loved the world, (mankind). That means he loves everyone. White, black, male, female, young, old, king, or beggar on the street . No one is too good or to bad for God's love. In fact, we are all unworthy of God's love. We don’t deserve it. You can put on the most expensive outfit, the best jewelry but yet we are still filthy rags when it comes to the holiness of God. But in spite of being unworthy...God sees the worth we have as beings created in His image. He so loved us that He wants fellowship with us and He sent His Son to die for us. Think about that. The king of glory, beaten and killed like a common criminal. Yet he did it for you. 2000 years ago when He was on that cross He was dying for you and for me. What love He has for us to willingly lay down His precious life! No other religion, no self help book, no guru can offer that. Only Christ can and He did...He did it for you!
Rom 5:5 (NIV) And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
This is an amazing verse. Think about it. God pours out His love to us through the Holy Spirit…AND THE HOLY SPIRIT dwells within us! Amazing! This is something that not even the prophets and patriarchs of old experienced…God dwelling within them. No longer is God’s temple made by human hands, but it with made with God’s hands…our bodies are now the temple of God. The same God that created the universe with just a word, the same God that set the Earth into being, the same God that parted the sea, that appeared in a burning bush, Whose voice is like thunder, the almighty, all powerful, everlasting eternal God…dwells within us. No longer does man have to rely on one person to make sacrifice once a year for sins. When Christ died and the veil in the temple was ripped in two, God was saying “Come to me” “Have free access to me. I will be your God and you will be my people and I will dwell within you and through the Blood of Christ your sin stained soul can be made pure and whole and we can live together not just in this life but for all eternity!” That is simply amazing! That is amazing love. That is powerful love. That is the love of God for us…that will never ever fail us.
If there is anyone here who has not trusted Christ for salvation do so. For those who are saved by Christ our souls should be filled with ever lasting joy for the love that God has for us.