God Is For Us – We Are Loved
I am hoping that you remembered that Valentine’s Day was Thursday. If you didn’t maybe it’s not too late to take that special person out for dinner to express your love for them, but more and likely you really messed up if you forgot.
When I think of “love”, I think of the greatest love the world has ever known … the love of God. Turn with me to Ephesians 3:17-19
Ephesians 3:17-19 (NIV) 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
God’s love is DEEP! And, God’s love has nothing to do with you! Others may love you because:
· You’re cute, cuddly and adorable.
· You’re rich
· You’re fun to be around
· And you’re family HAVE to love you well maybe
One of my favorite cartoons is Charles Schultz “Peanuts,” and Charlie Brown and Lucy speak about human nature. The stories normally speak volumes about life. In one of those cartoons Lucy says to Charlie Brown “Sometimes, I feel we are not communicating: You, Charlie Brown, are a foul ball in the line drive of life. You’re often in the shadow of your own goal post. You’re a miscue. You’re 3 putts on the 18th green. You are a 7-10 split in the 10th frame. You have dropped a rod and reel in the lake of life. You’re a missed free throw. You’re a shanked 9-iron, a called 3rd strike, a bug on the windshield of life! Do you understand? Have I made myself clear?”
- There may be times when we feel like Charlie Brown. There may be some days when we feel that life itself is against us. And feel like a complete mess up – a 7 – 10 split in life. Maybe you feel like if you didn’t have bad luck you wouldn’t have any luck. Have you ever felt that you are always coming up short?
- There have been times in all our lives where we have even felt that God almighty was against us gaining success. We may have prayed for certain situation hoping that it is in His will for us to have it; and, later, when it flops, we just surmised that it wasn’t God’s will.
- Not necessarily
- It is just that type of thinking that Paul addresses in the last part of Romans 8. Listen as Carol reads from Romans 8:28-39.
Romans 8:28-39 (NIV)
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. 31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died--more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- Many of us have become our own worst enemies. Because of past failures and disappointments we are filled with doubts, anxieties, and phobias. Our fear paralyzes us and hinders our potential. It is this type of thinking that has hindered us and the church from achieving God’s vision in our lives. Paul tries to dispel this type of attitude.
- We play mind games with ourselves – conjuring up excuses that put ourselves down.
- We think that maybe God did want us to have a house or a car. Or maybe it was not meant for me to be married happily ever after.
- Maybe this is my cross to bear. (by the way that is pretty bad theology) Maybe I am always to be sick or poor or unsuccessful or _______________.
- Because certain things have not gone our way, we have assumed that God was working against us; keeping us from being happy or not attaining what we thought we deserved.
- In his book, “Releasing Your Potential,” Myles Monroe once said, “The poorest man in the world is the man without a dream. The most frustrated man in the world is man with a dream that never becomes a reality. Every individual regardless of race, culture, or class has a dream. We have a God given desire placed inside of us that drives and motivates us to take risks and confront challenges in everyday of our lives. We are not animalistic in our reasons for living. We do not live just to eat, sleep, and reproduce. No, what makes us higher than the beasts is our ability to dream and pursue our visions. We were created with purpose - to fill the earth, subdue it, and have dominion. We were created to be more than conquerors. We are destined to become rulers.
- Paul wrote we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. The Gospel may be summarized in four small words. GOD IS FOR US.
- Every Christian who desires to share the good news should know that all they have to tell a dying world is that short declarative sentence. GOD IS FOR US.
- No matter who you are. Regardless of what you have done. In spite of where you may be in your walk with him. You must know that God is on your side. You are not on the battlefield alone. God has your back. He is walking with you. He is talking to you. He is with you and with me. God is with us and for us. God Loves Us
We Still Have Value to God
Have you ever felt dirty, broken, or worthless? Everyone has. If I offered you a $20 bill, would you take it? What if I wadded it up and threw it on the ground—would you still want it? What if I stepped on it, kicked it, and even spit on it? Could you still go to the store and spend it?
The answer is yes. That bill has value because of what it is, not because of how it looks, where it's been, or what it's been used for. A crisp, clean $20 bill is worth the same amount as an ugly, older, more used one.
You may feel like you've been stepped on, beat up, or kicked around. You may feel dirty, unworthy, or useless. But be encouraged by the $20 bill—no matter what you've been through, you still have value to God!
- Here is the truth - CIRCUMSTANCES HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH GOD’S LOVE. When everything seems to be going wrong, God still loves you. When everything seems to be going right, God still loves you. If you want a gauge of God’s love … a yardstick to measure His love … don’t look at circumstances, look at the cross!
- “How could God love ME, when I’m so unworthy of His love?
- He sees my life … knows how I live … knows me inside and out … knows when I fail Him, and fail to live up to His love.
- We might reason that there’s too much sin in my life for God to love someone like me. So, how could God love ME?” Paul answers that with the next question.
- Romans 8:33 – “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.” Once God accepts us for who and what we are, and loves us anyhow … who else’s opinion matters?
- People might criticize us, condemn us, gossip about us, cheat us, find fault and nit-pick about us, even belittle us, and accuse us. But we must count on the fact that God loves us.
- Revelation 12:10 says that that’s exactly what Satan is doing right now before God. Satan is accusing us of all kinds of things. He has access to the throne and is indicting us all kinds of sin saying to God; “Look at Jay … did you see what he did today? … Did you hear what he said? … Did you tune in to those thoughts he had? And he calls himself a Christian … even a pastor at that! Shows you how much he loves you! And, after all you’ve done for him!”
- God looks at him and says … “I’m sorry, but I don’t see Jay.” Satan replies … “Right down there … you see him … right down there!” God answers … “Sorry, I didn’t see Jay. When I look at him, all I see is my Son, Jesus.”
- That is how much God loves us.
- Paul writes to the church in Colossae We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. (Colossians 1:28 NIV)
- His grace and love is presenting us as perfect in Christ.
- God loves us so much he doesn’t see our sins; all He sees is His Son – Jesus who justifies us.
- Here is one of my favorite verses: Jeremiah 31:34 (NIV) No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." God will not remember my sins if we are willing to accept His love and grace and follow Him. He won’t remember my sins – that is amazing.
- Psalm 103:12 (NIV) as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. – How far is that?
- Micah 7:19 (NIV) You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. – how deep is the sea?
- We are forgiven.
- God loves us so much that nobody else’s opinion matters but His. No one can sway God’s opinion of us. Romans 8:34 tells us that Jesus is at the right hand of God interceding for us. (Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died--more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us). Jesus is interceding on our behalf. He doesn’t lose cases.
- Paul writes “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?”(Romans 8:35). Now the biggie! If any of these things come your way … does it mean that God doesn’t love you? “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37 NIV). Nothing from the outside can drive a wedge between us and God’s love. Even our sins won’t separate us from God.
- Still not convinced? 8:38-39 – “38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Paul is convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt. None of the circumstances mentioned here, or any other circumstance (he just about covers them all), can separate us from God’s love.
- We have never lived a day, a minute, a second, when God didn’t love us.
- We may have hidden in shame from God, like Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden … but God still loves us.
- We may have deserted Him like the disciples, when they fled when Jesus was arrested … but God still loves us.
- We may have denied Him like Peter, when they asked him about his relationship with Jesus … but God still loves us.
- We may have doubted Him like Thomas … but God still loves us.
- In it all, through thick and thin, good times and bad times … God still loves us! We never leave His mind, His thoughts, or His sight. He sees the worst in us, and loves us anyhow. Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV) The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.
- When we sit at the bedside of a loved one who is racked with pain or disease … God still loves us.
- When we sit at the graveside after losing one who has touched our hearts and lives … God still loves us.
- When we weep because our financial burdens seem too heavy to bear … God still loves us.
- When we see our families torn apart or marriages heading for disaster … God still loves us.
- When our heart aches because of a great sin we’ve committed, and we feel that God could never forgive us … God still loves us. All we have to do is confess our sins - ask for forgiveness and God is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 (NIV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.)
- God is with us and for us. God loves you so much that he just can’t and won’t let you go. His love has a hold on you.
John 3:16 (NLT) “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
Max Lucado in A Gentle Thunder writes:
… one of the sweetest reasons God saved you is because he is fond of you. He likes having you around. He thinks you are the best thing to come down the pike in quite a while. If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. If he had a wallet, your photo would be in it. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning. Whenever you want to talk, he'll listen. He can live anywhere in the universe, and he chose your heart… Face it, friend. He's crazy about you!