Summary: God loves weak, wicked and wayward people just like you...and just like me.
God’s Timing is Perfect
Rev. Brian Bill
I love the honest answers kids give when they’re asked questions. Listen to these responses to the topic of love.
When asked why love happens between two people…
• “One of the people has freckles and so he finds somebody else who has freckles too.”
• “No one is sure why it happens, but I heard it has something to do with how you smell…That’s why perfume and deodorant are so popular.”
• “If you want to be loved by somebody who isn’t already in your family, it doesn’t hurt to be beautiful.”
When asked how to get someone to love you…
• “Tell them that you own a whole bunch of candy stores.”
• “Don’t do things like have smelly, green sneakers. You might get attention, but attention ain’t the same thing as love.”
This past Wednesday I taught the older boys in AWANA. In the midst of their squirming and punching and talking, I realized that I was just like they are when I was their age…if not worse. The only difference is that I wasn’t as deep as they are. Our topic was the importance of loving those who are near us and loving those who are difficult to be around. We all agreed that the toughest thing in the world is to love our sisters! Tune in to their responses when I asked them to tell me what they think about God’s love…
• “It’s a blessing.”
• “It’s everlasting.”
• “God loves sinners and believers.”
• “God loves aliens, if there are any.”
• “God’s love is not ordinary because He loves everybody.”
• And one boy responded with tears in his eyes: “You just can’t explain it.”
It is tough to explain God’s love, isn’t it? I have a renewed appreciation for those of you who serve in AWANA, in Sunday School, or in Promised Land. Bless you! Your ministry matters!
Last week we were reminded that we’ve all been enrolled in the school of suffering and are required to take four core classes: Reasons to Rejoice 101, Patient Perseverance 201, Christian Character 301 and Holy Spirit Hope 401. Because of the response to that message we have additional manuscripts and tapes available at the Resource Center and as always, all of our sermons are available in audio and text format at www.pontiacbible.org. You may want to give this sermon to someone you know who is suffering right now.
We pointed out that when we’re going through tough times, it’s easy to wonder if God really loves us. Romans 5:5 gives us an anchor to hold on to: “…God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” God’s love “has been poured out like a river and is continually being poured out moment-by-moment.” This morning we’re going to ponder the truths of Romans 5:6-8. This is one of the clearest passages in all of Scripture about God’s love for losers like us: “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Our Terrible Condition
This passage describes our plight. As we’ve been learning in Romans, we must first understand the bad news of our condition apart from Christ before we will embrace the good news. Or to say it another way: We won’t be moved by the limitlessness of God’s love until we grasp the depth of our depravity.
1. We were weak. Verse 6 says that we were “powerless.” To be “powerless” means that we can’t change our basic nature on our own. The King James Version says, “without strength.” This word was usually applied to the sick and feeble, to those who have been wiped out and weakened by some kind of disease. It’s also used in the moral sense to denote an inability with regard to any undertaking or duty. Our sin has made us spiritually sick. Specifically it means that we have no power to come up with a plan of justification on our own – left to ourselves, no one is able to do even one small thing to please God or achieve salvation. We are spiritually incapacitated. Incidentally, that’s why efforts to improve our society based on outward change ultimately don’t work. That’s also why “self-help” books don’t usually help. We cannot change our basic nature by self-effort because at our core we are self-centered and selfish. On top of that, we’re powerless in our strength to make lasting change.
2. We were wicked. The phrase “ungodly” in verse 6 means that we had no desire to change in the first place. We were not only helpless, but also vile and obnoxious. The word “ungodly” indicates that we were both irreverent and impious, and have deliberately withheld from God what is rightfully His. Romans 3:18: “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” It literally means that we have violated God’s standards. This word means that we live our lives as if God does not exist and so we worship ourselves. One commentator refers to the ungodly as “mighty in evil.” Turn back to Romans 1:18: “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men…”