Summary: Maybe the reason we love our sin more than we love our God is that we don’t really understand how much our God loves us! Paul describes God's love as wide, long, high, and deep. Each of these words will help us grasp more of God's love for us.
Getting Your Hands Around God’s Love
Ever wonder why it’s so hard to live the way you know God wants you to? You have that one little temptation that keeps getting you, no matter how hard you try? You feel like you could have written Romans 7, where Paul says, “I don’t do what I ought to do, and I do what I ought NOT to do ... What a wretched creature I am!” It’s really hard to follow God sometimes, isn’t it?
I’m going to propose today that the reason we love our sin more than we love our God is that, maybe, we don’t really understand how much our God... loves...us! Could that be true? Consider the example of rebellious teens. The reason they push those curfews and hang around the wrong kids and make bad decisions is because they don’t really get how much their parents love them. In healthy homes, the parents just want their kids to be safe and to grow into healthy adults. They only want the best for their kids. But the kids don’t see that, because they really don’t know how much their parents love them.
If it’s true in our relationships with each other, maybe it’s true for us and God. So today, we’re going to focus on an impossible task: getting our hands around God’s love. Paul’s already told us it’s impossible, because he describes God’s love in verse 19 as “this love that surpasses knowledge.” No matter how hard we try, we won’t get it fully. We won’t understand it all. But he prays in verse 18 that we might grasp more of it. So let’s try to grasp more of it today, as we think about this love that is wide and long and high and deep. I want to focus in on each of those words as we try to wrap our hands around the love of God. First,
God’s love is...
1. Wide – all-encompassing
When I think about God’s love being “wide,” I think of it as all-encompassing. God has enough love for you and for me. God has enough love for blacks and whites and browns and yellows and everything in between. God has enough love for rich and poor, and even for middle class. God has enough love for Americans, and Europeans, and Africans, and Asians. God has enough love for conservatives and liberals. God has enough love even for terrorists. Right here at home, God has enough love for that family member of yours who stirs trouble everywhere they go. God has enough love for that staff member that does not meet up to your expectations. God has enough love for that medical provider who misdiagnosed you. God’s love is all-encompassing. No one is left out.
2 Peter 3:9 tells us, “The Lord ... is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” That’s why he is waiting before sending Christ back in judgment. God wants everyone to come back to their creator. John 3:16 starts off, “For God so loved the ... world!” God loves everyone.
We know that, but did you also know that God’s love for YOU is all-encompassing as well? He loves you, warts and all. If you look up unconditional love in the dictionary, God’s picture is there. Romans 5:8: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” That’s pretty amazing, right? Don’t try to clean yourself up to come to God. Come as you are! He already knows your deepest darkest secrets anyway, and he still loves you.
For each of these words, I’ve put an action statement on your outline. When you consider how WIDE God’s love is, then...
Apply: Pass along God’s love to others; you’ll never run out.
If God loves that other person, then you should love them, too. That’s it. Period. Love people because they carry the image of God. Love people because God loves them. God’s love is wide, and God’s love is...
2. Long - all-seeing
God can see long-range. God knows how things turn out. And you don’t. I don’t. All we see is short-range. We’re near-sighted; God is far-sighted. God knows the rest of the story. God’s love permeates your whole life, from beginning to end. Your creator was there with you when you were born, and he will be there with you when you die. You cannot escape God’s love. In Romans 8:38-39, Paul writes, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Your future is secure in God’s love. So our action point is: