“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)
Do you feel loved this morning? Are you feeling like you are a lovable person? And do you know that you are loved? If you are like me, you may not always feel loved. And most of the time, you might not feel like you are a lovable person. And yes, if I think hard and long, I know that I am loved. Why is this the case? God loves us. God loves us even when we are broken. And scripture this morning tells us that God proves God’s love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. Let’s pause here for a moment. Does God have to prove to us anything at all? And how does Christ’s death prove God’s love? And Christ died for us while we were still sinners?
It is indeed difficult to keep our minds and hearts at the level of accepting, feeling, and knowing God’s love all the time. But know this, friends. Christ’s death is for all. It’s not just for you or just for me. It’s not just for our church, or even our nation. It’s for everyone. Also, Christ’s death is for all time. Not just for those who knew and believed in the living Jesus Christ. Not just for the disciples, but for all, for all generations. Friends, God loves. God loves us.
Now, what is the connection between God’s love and Christ’s death? What would anyone’s death prove about anyone else’s love unless the one who died, did so because of love? To prove God’s love, God and Christ has to be one. The heart of Christ, dying for us while we were still sinners, is the revelation of the heart of God. What Christ did, God did in God’s beloved Son.
On a personal note, for each of us, let’s take a moment now to take a short quiz about God’s love. How do you know that God loves you? List three things that provide evidence to prove that God loves you.
This quiz is not to be graded. But I did want to give us an opportunity to write three personal reasons that we know that God loves each of us. Let me share my answers. Your answers are going to be different and I would not be surprised by that. If you don’t have reasons to believe that God loves you, let this scripture in Romans 5 marinate in your heart and mind.
- I know that God loves me because the Bible tells me so. Christ’s dying for us, while we were sinners, that proves God’s love. It really does. If God had said follow my commandments, then I will love you, I would have earned God’s love. But God tells us God loved us while we were sinners. The way you walked in and sat down this morning wherever you are reading this message, God loves you as you are right this very moment where you are.
- I also know that God loves me from my personal history. I got depressed in my twenties and then again in my thirties, I had a persistent depression episode. In all those moments, when I felt utterly alone, I felt God’s presence. God was with me every step of my darkest journey. I did not see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I kept going through, working my way through the dark tunnel of depression. And with the help of doctors, therapists, medicine, friends, and family, I am here sharing God’s love with you all. For this, I know God loves me.
- But the proof of God’s love is also this. There are things I feel called to do because of God’s love. I feel God’s love, I know God loves me, and I see it in my life. And that compels me to want to share God’s love with others. That makes me want to tell others that God loves them too. And this is also how I know God loves me, because God’s love over flows out of me, inspiring me to share the love with others!
Unfortunately, some people don’t feel loved at all. And some people feel love, but only have felt and experienced conditional love that is dependent on our acting in a certain way. But God’s love is different, friends. God loves. That’s all. God’s love is not dependent on you or me. Why does God love you? Or me? God loves because God loves.
This means that God’s love is something we can count on. Let that sink in. You didn’t earn God’s love. You can’t “unearn” the love you did not earn. Isn’t that something? I believe I heard that from a sermon preached by Pastor Tim Keller. Furthermore, nothing can separate us from God’s love.
“38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39).
Nothing. Neither death, nor life, nor the present or the future. Nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus!
When we have the love of God, it’s like having your refrigerator stocked full of food. Or like having a million dollars in your bank. But I like the analogy of the refrigerator better so let me stick to that example. When you know your refrigerator is over flowing with food, when you come across someone who is hungry, you can spare some food you have in your refrigerator. And if there is something especially good, you might want to share it with others as well. Because, this refrigerator is special. The funny thing about God’s love is that it doesn’t get depleted! I mean, like if you were to give food away from your refrigerator, it just gets stocked up right away, again and again. So why wouldn’t you share God’s love with others? Why wouldn’t you love the way God loves you? Care for others the way God cares for you?
But the truth is, often times, we ourselves forget that God loves us in times of happiness and also in times of sorrow. There are times when we simply forget that God loves us. We may forget, disbelieve, doubt, or even deny that God is holding us when we are grieving. Or that God rejoices with us when in times of joy. So how can we share with others if we ourselves have forgotten that God loves us? So, let me remind each of us about God’s love, once again, using the scripture.
“8But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
The one who is loving and dying here is the same person. God proves God’s love for us in that while we were still sinners God died for us. That is what the scripture is telling us! Again, if one person loves and another person dies, that does not prove the love of anyone. The one who loves is the one who dies, then it shows that the one who loved died because of the love. But notice this. God did not die in response to our love. God’s act of love, dying, was initiated by God’s love for us.
So, how would you share God’s love with others? When in doubt, look to Jesus.
“35Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness.36When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.37Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;38therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’” (Matthew 9:35-38).
Jesus did not stay home. Jesus went about all the cities and villages. He taught and proclaimed the good news of the kingdom. He cured every disease and every sickness, having compassion for them and led them as they were harassed and helpless. When in doubt how to share the good news and you don’t know what to say, don’t worry. Do not worry how you are to speak or what you are to say:
“19When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time;20for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” (Matthew 10:19-20)
It is not you who speak. What you are to say will be given to you at that time: it is the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. And when in doubt about what to say, again, don’t worry. Just be yourself. Have you heard of this phase: Actions speak louder than words? If you live in a way that is true to who you are, that is, as a child of God, then your actions, your life will speak even louder than words you can say that God loves you and that you love others.
Last Sunday’s message was a difficult sermon to preach, as I am sure it might have been a difficult one to read and hear. This Sunday, the message is also important and necessary for us to hear. God loves you. Full stop. Not because of anything you are doing, have done or will do. God loves you.
Let us Pray – God of the prophets and apostles, you greeted old Abraham and Sarah with news of wonder and life. Send us into the world to preach good news, as Jesus did, heal the sick, resist evil, and bring the outcast home. Amen.