Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Love of God

 This message was preached by Colin  D cruz on the 9th of June at Word of Grace Church. You can download or listen to the audio mp3 by clicking here

Life is tough for most people. Unending bills, battling with health, relationship problems, misunderstandings between friends and relatives, legal requirements – taxes, paperwork etc., challenges and pressure at the work place to perform and do the impossible, delays in answers to prayer, etc, etc.
But in the midst of the storms of life, what is your anchor that will keep you safe and help safe and keep you from sinking? Is it your endurance, your strength, your intelligence, your personal contacts, your bank balance, your family?

I want to take us to scripture this morning  that will show what will take us to our final destination.
I want us to look this morning to the one sure thing that will keep you safe and rooted amidst  the hurricanes of life and will take you safely to our final port of call heaven.
That one sure thing is Not our faith or our love for God but GODS LOVE FOR  YOU.

Lets turn this morning to the letter of Jude, a short letter tucked in the back of the Bible between 3 John and Revelation, only 25 verses.
Author: Is the half brother of our Lord Jesus.
Judas – English form “Jude” which translates the Hebrew name “Judah”. 

Called

That  small word called has huge meaning and implication. Call refers to salvation and those who responded to it.
 There is a general call like in Matt 11:28 . Not all who listen to the general call, respond. It often goes unheeded and rejected. Jude is not speaking about God’s general invitation to sinners (Mt 11:28

Rather he is speaking of God’s special call. This call is an internal call made by God himself through which He awakens the human will and imparts spiritual life – enabling once dead sinners to embrace the gospel by faith (Jn 5:21, Acts 16:14, Eph 2:5)

It is what Christ referred to when he said “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” Jn 6:44
Most frequent one word descriptions of Christians –i.e Called.

Our statement of faith i.e called does not mean we are morally or intellectual superior to others . For many years you could not see but now you see. So don’t bagger your friends and relatives saying “why can’t you see?”

What was your state before He called you ?
Eph 2 – dead in our transgressions (not responsive). You were spiritually dead. Not only that you were hostile to God –  but you were humanly incapable of altering the condition of our heart. Your conversion did not start or originate with you. It was not initiated by you. It started with God touching us and drawing s to Jesus.

We often think we responded to the gospel and when you think of it in isolation, glory comes to you. But when you think about and realize that God was at work in you, you realize the grace of God upon your life. It’s like Lazarus who was dead and could do nothing till Jesus spoke the words and life came into his body. It’s the same with us.

Therefore we cannot convert anyone – we can pray, share the gospel but all that is of no effect unless the Father touches their heart. This has implication s for life. For example who you marry. Choosing a marriage partner – only believers
2 Cor 6:14 Don’t be unequally yoked with an unbeliever whether marriage , business
1 Cor 7:16 How do you know you will save your wife/husband.
1 Cor 7:39 She if free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord.

Then some have had dramatic conversions, some as a child but every one has this in common i.e we were called
Every Christian has this calling in common. Dramatic as Paul’s or simple like Lydias (the Lord opened her heart as Paul was preaching) Each and every conversion is dramatic. Greatest miracle one can experience in our lifetime.
Acts 9: Sauls conversion (dramatic)
Acts 16: Lydias conversion (quiet) Simple conversion, nothing dramatic. She had gone to pray. She was religious but not a beliver. She hears Paul and the Lord touches her heart.
Both are equally miracles of God. Both were called by God. None of us can do it on our own.

Why did he call You?

Have you thought of that? When you go for a job you need to qualify at different rounds of interviews? But why did God call you? You may say, I am a smart guy, intelligent, good, handsome, I can be useful etc. Banish those thoughts! We didn’t deserve anything. All our righteous acts are like filthy rags.
 Jude tells us “who are loved by God the Father”

Why does He love us?  Divine motivation.  Because he loved you. Behind the call of God is the love of God the Father. Be clear we don't deserve it. This should fill our hears with gratitude. There is no place for grumbling but thanks.

Sometimes we have moments of doubt and despair and we think “Does God really  love me?” we look at the challenges we face – health, marriage, work, childlessness. And you may think is He withholding his love? Lets have a right view of God. HE does not love you because you had a quiet time or you are good. He loves you because He loves you. Isn’t that reassuring?

When we think of God the Father we can think of him as tolerating you or is very disappointed in you and eager to discipline you. If you are uncertain it will find its way and affect every area of your life.It will affect your reading scripture, prayer (how we approach him.). You will be looking inward all the time vulnerable to introspection, condemnation, hesitant to commune with the father, not growing in your knowledge of the father love, vulnerable to despair, and a distinct absence of joy in your life. The reason they don’t have joy is because they are looking at their own performance or other people’s performance.
Jude want s to communicate to us that the Father loves you personally.

Jude wants the original recipients to have a proper view of God the Father and to receive fresh assurance and his love and receive fresh assurance of his love.

Loved by God the Father

He called and summoned sinners like you and me through proclamation of the gospel, as an expression of  his electing love determined before the creation of the world. This call took place in your life because he loved you personally, he loved your particularly.
Called by God because he loved you and chose u with full enthusiasm. It is his will that you be convinced of his love. Every Christian can say I am loved by my father. Every Christians can say that but not every Christian does say that.

There is to be a degree of certainty. You are loved by the father. Where you look for that certainty can make all the difference. Don’t look within yourself for the reason for that love. Don’t look there you will not find it.

So don’t come to God based on your recent performance but come to God based on the righteous in Jesus.

Kept for Jesus Christ.

We are all on a spiritual journey where we are becoming more and more like Jesus. In heaven we will be transformed to be perfect and sinless. If you are truly called and loved by God you will surely be kept. This  is a massive assurance. Many authors call this the preservation of the saints.

What massive assurance this must have been for the original recipients.  Influenced by false teachers and false teaching hat have infiltrated the church. They might wonder will I make it. Those whom the Father has called he loves and those he calls he will keep. They see the adverse effect of some doubting and some participating and some advocating. Wonder will I make it. Jude writes   Protect and preserve them from all dangers – doctrinal and circumstantial. Influence and effect of sin.
Faithfulness of God to protect and preserve.

You finishing the race does not depend on yrou effort but on God keeping you till the end. Some of us think its my effort – I’ll pray, fast etc. there is a role we play but Salvation begins and ends with God. Jesus will keep you till the end.
V24

 What are we to do ?Will we make it to the end ?

V24 To him who is able to keep you from falling  and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy. – to the only God our savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore. Amen.
Keep you from falling, kept for Jesus Christ.
One day we will die and stand before the throne  of God. What is the assurance of heaven. This is our assurance. Jesus is  without fault. In the OT the priest didn’t look at the person but at the lamb to make sure it was perfect. For us God does not look at us but at the perfect lamb Jesus who is our sin bearer.
We don’t need to be afraid when we come into God’s presence anymore. Jude is telling us Jesus will help us to come into God’s presence with great joy. Why? Because its not what you have done or not,  but what Jesus has done.
Jude is so amazed that he breaks out into worship. That’s why the gospel is good news it speaks about the forgiveness of man.
Jude ends with something we need to do.

What?

V20 But you dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.  Keep yourselves in the God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. We need to study the word and pray. Both are important.
We are called to hold to keep ourselves in the love of God. God will not let you go no matter what trials we may face.

Our salvation is sure. God loves us. God has a wonderful plan or your life from now till eternity. So lets believe and encourage one another with these words. Will God change his mind? Human love is weak. But God’s love is unchanging. We are blessed because God loves us, cares for us.

Word of Grace Church is a spirit filled (charismatic), evangelical  ( Born- again) English speaking church that preaches from the Bible as God's inspired Word of life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to  put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service.