Summary: God's absolute love for us removed every barrier that keeps us from Him, and He calls us to love others by removing barriers.
Have you ever heard a preacher say something that made you wince about his correctness (kind of like fasting)? Well, I am going to say something to make you wince. I am going to say something about the love of God. Then, when you are picking up stones to stone me, I am going to tell you why I said it.
Ready? Do I have your attention? “The Love of God never saved anyone.”
How in the world can I say that? Because it is not the love of God that saves. It is Because of the love of God that He sent His Son (John 3:16), but it is the death, burial and resurrection of that Son that saves us by grace through faith.
If the love of God saved anyone, it would save everyone. If the love of God saved anyone, Jesus would not have had to suffer and die.
It was God’s love that sent Jesus to the cross. But the love of God could not satisfy the justice and holiness of God.
Tonight we are going to look at Absolute love, but we are not going to over-romanticize love. Love is the reason for our redemption, not the means of our salvation.
Despite the fact that love never saved anyone, without love, no one would be saved. So important is the Love of God that a very description, a definition of God is LOVE.
OK, put your rocks down. There will be no stoning today.
I. We were unlovable.
Eph 2:1-3 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-- 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
We could not have been more despicable to God. The scriptures call you dead. That has to be a shocking thought.
There was a woman in Kansas City named Bobbie Jo that lived on the streets. She worked as a prostitute when she could, but due to her life habits, she became too undesirable. She had nothing, no hope, no place to go, no food, no security, in a word, no life.
She went into a rescue mission looking for a meal. While she was there, another woman greeted her and showed her value. She served her a meal, spoke with her with interest, prayed with her. With the heart of God, this worker for the rescue mission ignored the valuelessness of this Bobbie Joe.
Later, when Bobbie Jo was in a van serving the homeless food, police officers stopped them. One of the police officers recognized Bobbie Jo, and said, “Hey, I thought you were dead.”
He went and got the other police officer who was amazed. The other officer recognized several women in the van and said, “I thought all of you were dead.” (Tim Smith Illustration: SermonCentral.com).
How startling it must be to someone to hear someone say, “I thought you were dead.” The angels in heaven, amazed at our salvation, probably say, “I thought he was dead. I thought she was dead.”
Why were we considered dead in heaven? Because (verse 2), we stopped checking in. We checked in to a different master. “…in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience”.
We stopped calling home. Our voice was absent in the halls of heaven for way too long. Our actions were too wicked to be viewable or recognized in heaven. We were, as far as heaven was concerned, dead, gone, and hopeless. “…the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”
We were dead because our only guide force, Satan’s forces, had control of our passions, desires and minds. We were sold out to spiritual wickedness with absolutely no hope and no value.
We are the Bobbie Jos of heaven. When no one seemed to care, when we had nothing to offer, when we were considered dead and gone, we were remembered.
II. He showed us love.
Eph 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved-- 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.