Summary: Even at our worst, God loves us.
Tonight, we are going to be talking about a love you can experience. Opening question: What do you mean when you say, “I love you”? Our central thought, or central truth for tonight is this: Even at our worst, God loves us.
We may not admit it, but we’ve seen those talk shows. A well-known host grips a microphone three inches from the face of a disheveled Juliet. She cries as she confesses the excruciating pain caused by her boyfriend. Mr. Romeo sits one chair over with a smug grin. The audience heckles and hisses when he so much as breathes.
The host proceeds with probing questions: “So, this young man has been dating 3 other girls while also dating you? One of those girls is your older sister? One is your best friend? Even now, he refuses to cut off these competing romantic interests?” To all these questions, the girls nods her head in ashamed agreement.
The host asks what we all wonder: “So why are you still seeing him?” With a bowed head, she utters, “He says he loves me.” Clearly, this pitiful girl is confused. Her view of love is distorted, and sadly, many people today share in her misunderstanding.
What does love look like? Romans 5 looks at this and reviews the good news of God’s undeniable love. God says that He loves you and He has proven it with action.
READ Romans 5:6-8. Jesus left the beautiful realms of heaven and entered into time and space here on earth to put heaven’s love on display. These verses declare that God loves every single person. So, what evidence do we have to support this wild notion that God loves us?
1. Love realized in the present. God’s Holy Spirit in our lives gives internal proof for God’s love. The Spirit’s ongoing ministry whispers God’s love in the ear day by day. “God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Rom. 5:5)
2. Love rooted in the past. The love of God is more than sentiment. Objective, historical evidence of God’s love presents itself in the cross of Christ. Jesus put Himself in harm’s way and endured the incredible pain of the crucifixion. This clearly shows the immensity of God’s love.
We hear stories of soldiers who fall on grenades to secure the lives of their comrades. As we listen, our eyes well up with tears. We tune into news reports showing firemen rushing into flaming buildings and collapsing towers and we are speechless. Costly sacrifice is riveting.
The Apostle Paul makes it clear that these kinds of heroic acts sometimes happen on earth, but when they do, the person usually dies for the sake of someone he or she respects. But God demonstrates His kind of love in this: Jesus died for His assassins. He died for the disrespectful. Who does something like this? Only God.
On March 21, 1981, a would-be assassin fired six bullets at President Ronald Reagan. A mound of men suddenly surrounded the president the instant his life was threatened. Each man was ready to die for his leader.
What is stunning about our predicament is Jesus died for us when we had nothing good to offer. We weren’t exceptional leaders, but cruel rebels. Even so, He rushed to the scene and saved us. His motivation was love.
How does it feel to you when you reconnect with someone—someone you had an argument with or a fight with that separated you? READ Romans 5:9-11.
Being estranged from a loved one is agonizing. Reconciliation is restoration of friendly relationships where previously resentment and estrangement reigned.
? A dad erupts in anger one day in the kitchen and a cold war ensues with his daughter.
? A brother disagrees with the handling of the family estate and refuses to join the party at Christmas.
? A marriage, once marked by passion and romance, cools to a dull domestic partnership.
Our world is well-supplied with separated people. A massive, invisible wall also separates us from God. The death of Jesus destroyed the wall our sin had built. When Jesus died, the sun’s light was snuffed out like a candle, and inky darkness fell over the land, and the curtain in the temple was torn in two. Think about the significance of the split drape.
The temple in Jerusalem was the hub of Jewish religion. With no magic eraser to blot out the past, the best they could do was to demonstrate their desire for a do over. The offering of blood was the sobering way to do this. Animal blood was shed constantly at the temple. On one day each year, known as the Day of Atonement, the high priest would venture past the curtain into the holy of holies. This inner sanctum was the territory no man could tread. And then the death of Jesus destroyed the entire system.