Summary: Paul tells us that there are four dimensions to Christ’s love that we need to not only perceive but to comprehend. These can't be understood naturally but require the Holy Spirit to illuminate our eyes to be able to grasp the wonder of Christ’s love.
Knowing His Love
As humans we can only visualize the world around us in three dimensions. Our nervous systems are equipped to conjure images in merely three dimensions. We can visualize height, width, and depth. It is difficult for us to imagine a fourth dimension. Mathematicians and scientists are working on ways for us to visualize objects four dimensionally. Paul tells us that there are four dimensions to Christ’s love that we need to not only perceive but to comprehend. These can not be understood naturally but require the Holy Spirit to illuminate our eyes for us to be able to grasp the wonder of Christ’s love. May God open our eyes this morning as we consider the breadth, depth, length and height of Christ’s love.
I. The Breadth of Christ’s love
A. The breadth of Christ’s love is as expansive as the world’s circumference
B. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world That He gave His only Begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
C. The most common meaning for world in the Gospel of John is the created and fallen totality of mankind. It is the great mass of fallen humanity that needs salvation. It is you and I. - copied
D. Christ loves even the unlovely.
E. 1 John 4:10 “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
F. Get a hold on this truth. Jesus Christ loves those who hate Him. He loves those who purposefully jeer and mock Him, those who despise Him. Christ reaches out in love to the objectionable, the obnoxious, unlovely; to those people whom most people pay no attention to. He loves the outcast, the downtrodden, the unwanted, the unimportant, the overlooked and forgotten, and the unloved.
G. Ephesians 5:2 “And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”
H. I have heard of a story of a visitor who was supposed to be a resident of heaven, who spent some time with a family on earth. The people of this family noticed that whenever this heavenly visitor went abroad he seemed to find even in the lowliest and most repulsive men and women something that was exceedingly attractive and toward which his heart went out. Upon asking him what it was that caused him to love these seemingly unlovely persons, he answered, "I have spent all of my time with Jesus, and love him with all my heart and soul. I have been with him so much that I have come to know the demeanor of his form and the look of his eye and almost every one of his gestures; and as I looked at these people that seemed to you so repulsive I could detect in every one of them some gesture or some expression of the face or voice that reminded me of Jesus, and I could not help loving them." – Chapman
II. The Length of Christ’s love
A. Jeremiah 31:3 “The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness I have drawn you’.”
B. The length of Christ’s love extends from eternity to eternity. Christ’s love is boundless and eternal. Nothing you do can cause Him to love you more. Likewise nothing you do can cause Him to love you less. There is only one way to respond to this His love - walking in it.
C. 1 John 1:7-9 “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
D. He loves us even when we stumble or fall, when we fail to live up to His expectations for us. There is no end to His love.
E. Georgia Tech played the University of California in the 1929 Rose Bowl. In the game a player recovered a fumble, but became confused and ran the wrong way. A teammate tackled him just before he would have scored a touchdown against his own team. At halftime all of the players went into the dressing room and sat down, wondering what the coach would say. This young man sat by himself; put a towel over his head, and cried. When the team was ready to go back onto the field for the second half, the coach stunned the team when he announced that the same players who had started the first half would start the second. All of the players left the dressing room except for this young man. He would not budge. The coach looked back as he called him again, and saw that his cheeks were wet with tears. The player said, "Coach, I can't do it. I've ruined you. I've disgraced the University. I can't face that crowd in the stadium again." Then the coach put his hand on the player's shoulder and said, "Get up and go back in. The game is only half over." When I think of that story, deep inside I say, "What a coach!" When I read the story of Jonah [in the Bible], and the stories of thousands like him, I say, "To think that God would give me another chance!" – Billy Graham