Summary: God is crazy about you
A group of four-through eight-year-olds were asked: “What does love mean?” Their answers vary from the amusing to the profound.
Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.
Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.
Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.
When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.
Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.
When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.
When you tell someone something bad about yourself and you’re scared they won’t love you anymore. But then you get surprised because not only do they still love you, they love you even more.
Love is when mommy sees daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Denzel Washington.
Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.
Love cards, like Valentine’s cards, say stuff on them that we’d like to say ourselves, but we wouldn’t be caught dead saying.
There are two kinds of love: Our love. God’s love. But God makes both kinds of them.
Some great answers. I think some of them might understand love better than some of us!
Paul’s prayer that we read this morning reveals to us the wellspring from which the power and the glory of God –which we read about last week -- rise up in our midst. He prays that the Ephesians would grasp hold of something that would pave the way for God’s work among them. What is this amazing something Paul prays they would get hold of?
Here it is, “God loves you.” Are you disappointed? Were you hoping it was something new and different? After all, how many times have you heard “God loves you”? How many bumper stickers with smiley faces on them say, “Jesus loves you”? Simply hearing those words may touch you about as deeply as having someone say “God bless you” when you sneeze.
Why is it that when Paul talks about knowing God loves him, he is so excited he can hardly contain himself, but when we hear about it, we’re more tempted to yawn than to dance? Because we don’t really get it. We know it, but we don’t get it.
Paul is not praying that God’s people would know that God loves them, but that they would know God’s love. Did you hear the difference?
Do you know God’s love, or do you only know that God loves you?
I know that the molecular structure of water is a combination of 2 molecules of Hydrogen & 1 molecule of Oxygen. But that doesn’t do much for me on a blazing hot afternoon in August when I’ve worked hard outside and my throat is so parched that when I try to swallow I just feel like a dry ache. I could care less about H2O as a chemical formula. My understanding of water doesn’t quench my thirst. My need is not for deeper insights into the meaning of water. I don’t need knowledge about water, I need water. A long, tall glass of ice cold water. If you know that God loves you, but you don’t know His Love, it’s like someone who studies water without drinking it.
In verse 19, our version has Paul praying that we would “understand” how broad, long, high and deep Christ’s love is. But the word “understand” as it’s used here doesn’t mean “to gain a mental concept.” It means to grasp hold of. To “get it.”
Paul wants us “to know [God’s] love.” Even though he acknowledges that we aren’t capable of fully knowing it. Paul’s prayer is much like the quote I put in the bulletin this week. Paul wants God’s people to know that: God is crazy about them.
And while intellectual understanding of God’s love is not the same as experiencing of God’s love, it is a place to start. Taking the time to think about and meditate on God’s love is a way to begin to drive it downward into our hearts.
There are four dimensions of God’s love that Paul prays we might understand. As we consider them in our minds, may they also penetrate our hearts.
The first is the width of God’s love.
The width of God’s love may be the most obvious thing that distinguishes His love from human love. We love certain people but not others. We love certain types of people, but not others. Tomorrow is Martin Luther King day -- a day we remember a man who was murdered because he thought black people ought to be treated like human beings. What convinces people that the color of a person’s skin makes them more or less human?