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Summary: A sermon for the 11th Sunday after Pentecost Proper 12

11th Sunday after Pentecost

Proper 12

Lectionary 17

Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

Romans 8:26-39

God’s Special Love

35* Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36* As it is written, "For thy sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered."

37* No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

38* For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,

39* nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.RSV

This morning, my sermon is going to be a little different, than usual. It is going to evolve around four pictures of God’s love. Each picture will point to a different aspect of God’s love. For as you can see my the title of this sermon, I believe that God’s love is a very special love.

It is a love that is sometimes difficult for us to understand, a love that is difficult for us to accept, a love that is difficult for us to imagine, a love that never leaves us, a love that surrounds us in a very unique and special way. So for us to get a handle, or some kind of understanding about what Paul is speaking about in our second lesson, where Paul wrote those famous words about God’s love,

as we read:

35* Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36* As it is written, "For thy sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered."

37* No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

38* For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,

39* nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.RSV

we will approach this topic in a unique way.

I would like you to picture yourself standing before the throne of God, in his law court. God is the judge, Satan is the prosecutor, and you are the defendant waiting to be tried for the things you did or did not do in this life. Satan then calls witness after witness against you and your head sinks low in shame as you remember some of the things you have done, and some of the things you should have done but didn’t do. Satan calls before you all those people you gossiped about, those people you thought were different than you, so you couldn’t accept them. Satan calls before you hungry boy who needed food, but you were to busy to pay attention, to busy with you own needs, your own interests, your own little world.

Then comes a lonely widow that you were to busy to visit. The parade of witnesses goes on and on. Finally, all of your sins of omission and commission have been vividly exposed before the court and you are wishing you could crawl into a hole somewhere, and hide.

God asks you if you have anything to say on your own behalf. For a brief moment you think of all of the excuses you might be able to give on your behavior, but then you realize how futile that would be before God. You swallow hard and begin shaking your head, "No God I don’t have anything to say on my behalf."

Just then the counsel for the defense, Jesus Christ, stands up and approaches the bench. He makes this one simple statement: "This one trusted in me. I have paid the penalty for his sins."

Without further comment the judge announces your acquittal and you walk out of the court into God’s everlasting kingdom.

This first picture shows us the love that Jesus has for us in that He paid the price for our sins. Jesus went to the cross for our sins, those sins that we committed and those things we should have done, but didn’t.

Another picture of God’s love is seen in the following:

A wife had a husband who had an alcoholic problem. He finally realized his problem, went to treatment, then came back to his wife asking for forgiveness, asking for a second chance to make a better life for them and their children.

She didn’t know what to do, so she went to her pastor.

She said, "My family, my friends all tell me I would be a fool to let him come back. What should I do?"

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