THE LOVE OF GOD
The last two years have been a watershed for all of us. None of us has ever lived through a pandemic. This experience has changed us in more ways than we realize and admit.
Some were single and are now married. Others were double and became single because of separation through death or divorce.
For others, you had a hard look at your career path and decided to change course.
Others have experienced a crisis of faith where they questioned their faith or even why believe in God. Others drifted away from Him or drew closer to Him. Crises show us who we really are!!
Now that we are walking out of the Pandemic,
we need to re-look at some things and what or who are we anchored in. In Zechariah 2
2 [a]Then I looked up, and there before me was a man with a measuring line in his hand. 2 I asked, ‘Where are you going?’
He answered me, ‘To measure Jerusalem, to find out how wide and how long it is.’
6 So he said to me, ‘This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty.
7 ‘What are you, mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel, you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone (Plumbline) to shouts of “God bless it! God bless it!”’
In this new Era we will see a shift from the measuring line to the Plumb Line. There has never been a better season to this than now. What does this mean? Success is not about numbers but rather how we are building. Rather, are we building well? Is our foundation built upon Jesus and His word?
In the next few weeks, we are going to take you through the vision and values of Word of Grace. Every church has a vision statement. We have ours – Enjoying God, Making Friends, Changing lives. We value wisdom found in the word of God, we value loving one another by building authentic grace-filled communities and we want to leave a legacy of lasting impact on people whether you are here for one month or 10 years!
I am going to take a step back before Colin and the other speaker unpack our vision over the next few weeks.
EVERYTHING STARTS AND IS BUILT FROM THIS CORNERSTONE – JESUS.
Our walk of faith begins in this truth, and it rests on this truth – Jesus loves us with an everlasting love. Before we can even worship God we need to understand and remind ourselves and preach the Gospel to ourselves daily. This keeps us thankful, humble and patient in our interactions with others because we are aware of our own frailties, and this helps us be patient and long-suffering.
Rom 5:8 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
John 15:9 9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.
What an amazing truth that God loves us!
For some faith in God has been an interaction with an angry God, a distant God, or a hard-to-please God.
WHY DOES GOD LOVE US?
Firstly, because God is love.
16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 1John 4:16
It’s not that He is loving. The very essence of His being is LOVE.
God created us for love. He chose to love us. Love does not exist in isolation. For love to be expressed it requires an object. We have done nothing to earn or deserve it.
We were created to be objects of His love. Then sin corrupted our hearts and broke our relationship with God, and we became objects of His wrath. Rom 9:22
We are told that before we could do anything – some translations say “while we were still powerless” Christ died for us. Before we could do anything good or bad. Rom 5:8
It’s one thing to say God loves His creation, God loves the world, God loves people and a whole different thing when you say, know and experience the truth that God loves you!!
As we all know sin entered the human race through one senseless act of disobedience. 18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. Rom 5:18
We feel like God why did you give Adam and Eve a choice. Why that second tree?
Because for love to be true, it requires a choice. We must choose to love God. That is the responsibility of freedom. Love is demonstrated in action: through words and actions not just thoughts. Love is – it a verb, a doing word.
Salvation came through the obedience of the perfect son do Adam – Jesus. He paid for the sins that we could never pay for. He gave us Mercy on the cross – He took our sin upon himself – and thereby did not give us the punishment we deserved. He could have stopped there – but then he lavishes us with His Grace – giving us what we do not deserve.
From here on the goal of our faith is to become more and more like Jesus: to be restored to our full identity as sons and daughters and walk in the good of that.
He has also blessed us with all the spiritual blessings in Christ.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Eph 1:3
If we remain in Him Jesus tells us that we will bear much fruit that will last, and we can ask for anything and He will give it to us.
This is amazing grace!
We cannot fully appreciate grace until we understand His rich mercy. Ask the Holy Spirit to refresh your understanding of this truth once again so you will be able to worship Him with all your heart mind soul and strength. The woman who anointed Jesus (Luke 7:47) understood this that is why Jesus said of her
47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven – as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.’
“The one who is forgiven much loves much. She understood the depth of what Jesus did for her.
We need to understand that we need the Holy Spirit to live a grace-empowered life, or we will try and work out our sanctification in the flesh.
HOW ARE WE LOVED?
As the father as love me so have, I loved you! John 15:9
How did the Father love Jesus – completely. How does Jesus love us? In the same way!!
3 The Lord appeared to us in the past,[a] saying:
‘I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
Today my plea to you is this – you may know about the love of God, you may sing about the love of God, and you could even explain the love of God to someone else. What I am asking you to do is to go deeper. Experience the love of God.
First, recognize that He has already demonstrated His love for you – by dying in your place!
Begin to recognize His hand of grace upon your life every single day. And it starts by cultivating a thankful heart. Start giving thanks in everything and watch how your thoughts slowly drift towards worship and adoration of Jesus.
It is from a place of knowing that you are loved unconditionally, eternally, and completely that you can be a secure child of God. You will find rest in your identity as a child of God who has access to all the riches of heaven and from that place, you will love and serve God.
If not, you will serve and do things to gain attention, position, prominence, and approval from people and God. And this is a terrible way to live.
WHAT IS OUR RESPONSE?
We love Him back – Does God need our love? NO. We don’t love God because He is needy, a narcissist, because He is insecure, He needs our love. It is what you do in a relationship. We were created to have fellowship with God. Jesus died so that we could once again have a relationship with God. That is how important developing a relationship with God is!! Not so that now we can come up with our big list of “give me this and that.”
Knowing the love of God makes us secure sons and faithful in service. We will want to live to please our Lord and Master. We will want to find out why God chose us out of billions and what is our purpose here on Earth and seek to fulfil it.
Our love for God will make us want to be more like His son Jesus – to listen to and obey His voice.
We will delight in the things that bring God joy.
Our affections and desires will change. Our heart will beat for the same things that are on God’s heart and so will ask in accordance with His will and therefore see prayers being answered.
All this starts with knowing how much God loves you!
In these two years wherever you have been in your faith journey – we are still a work in progress.
If you have been walking faithfully, there is so much more.
If you have been stagnant allow your heart to be ignited by reminding yourself to the hope to which you have been called
If you have drifted – Jesus woes us back to him in loving kindness. His loving kindness leads us to repentance. Rom 2:3-4
What is repentance? – changing the way you believe, think, feel and act. It is not beating yourself up. It is not regret. It is godly conviction knowing we have grieved the heart of God and no fear of being punished.
So wherever you are in your journey we stand at the crossroads of our past and future opportunities that Grace gives us.
Let us allow the love of God to flood and drench our hearts this morning.
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. Word of Grace is a part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.