Summary: There is nothing in all creation that can separate us from God’s love for us in Christ Jesus.
In medieval times there was a monk who announced to his listeners that he would be preaching the following Sunday evening on the “Love of God.” The following Sunday, as the shadows fell and the light ceased to come in through the cathedral windows, the congregation gathered. In the darkness of the altar, the monk lit a candle and carried it to the cross where a likeness of Jesus hung. First of all, the monk illumined the crown of thorns, next, the two wounded hands, then the marks of the spear wound. In the hush that fell, he blew out the candle and left the chancel. His sermon was finished.
Although my sermon this morning won’t be quite that short we will focus on the love of God. In fact in the text the Apostle Paul talks to us about God’s love – the kind of love that was shown to us through the death of his Son, Jesus. Paul encourages us to Cling to Christ’s Love. We are to cling to Christ’s love because that love will never cease. We cling to that love because it gives us the victory.
The words of God through the Apostle Paul are pure gospel. They are the good news of a Savior from sin and a Savior’s love that knows no boundaries. These words are good news for those who believe in Christ. Our God gives us some incredible assurance in these four verses.
He tells us to cling to Christ’s love because it will never cease. Nothing and nobody can keep Christ’s love away from us – even when we face suffering in our daily lives. Just look at the list of circumstances that Paul identifies to prove this point.
What about trouble and hardship? Can those things separate us from Christ’s love? What about when terrorists attack our country? Or when we’re faced with challenges at work or school? Are these proofs that Christ has stopped loving us?
How about when we’re persecuted for our faith? As people who believe in a loving, gracious, and caring God persecution can be hard to handle. It can be hard to understand. After all persecution seems like punishment for believing the truth! When you face persecution have you ever wondered if God still loves you?
What about the prospect of facing dire poverty? As the Dow Jones Industrial Average skidded to its second worst one-week point loss in history do we wonder if God is out to get us? If we should lose a job in this time of economic turbulence – would that be proof that our Savior has abandoned us?
What if we had been on board those hijacked airliners on September 11th or faced certain death in fiery inferno the World Trade Center or the Pentagon? If we would ever face grim death in such a violent way would that be evidence that God no longer cares about us?
What about when it comes to living with the pain of a serious disease or the pain of losing a loved one? If those troubles would come into our lives are they indicative that God is no longer with us?
What about now, as we face an uncertain future against shadowy enemies? The threat of prolonged battle looms on the horizon. Threats of counter attack and the Taliban’s promise to torture anyone caught as a prisoner of war cause our hearts to sink. Does our trust in Christ’s love for us sink as well?
What if we would be called upon to defend our country on the front lines of battle? Will Jesus be there us? Is there a place that I could go where God would not be? What if it’s a dangerous situation where my enemies are all around me, can I be confident that God will be there with me – with his loving arms wrapped around me?
Just in case he’s missed something Paul asks if there is anything in all creation that can keep God’s love away from us. Is there anyone who can cause Christ to stop loving us?
Paul’s answer is beautiful isn’t it? It’s simple, it’s decisive, it’s correct! Is there anything or anyone in the whole universe that can keep Jesus from loving us? No! Not a chance – it can’t happen. God’s love for us is enduring, it’s effective, and it’s assured.
What tremendous comfort in this time of uncertainty. What joy that assurance brings. What strength is ours because the love of Christ is always with us! Though we walk in danger all the way – our shepherd is and always will be with us! No matter what trials or difficulties we might face we can be confident that our Savior is actually using those times to draw us closer to his side. During this time of national crisis he is teaching each one of us to rely on him at all times and in all situations.