Summary: It would be interesting to revisit Gomer later in life? What does love look like when it reaches maturity? We saw what sin can do, but what does love look like when it is complete? What does life become when love has captured it? How many positive chan

Message preached by Scotty Killingsworth to the Evergreen congregation Sunday morning September 22, 2002

Love creates the heart of a servant from Philippians chapter one

Last Sunday we discovered through the life situation of Hosea that you may break God’s heart, but you can’t make him stop loving you. Oh, I wish Hosea could write an epilogue to his story and tell us what life was like with Gomer following the drama of the auction. Did the Synagogue people ever learn to love and accept her? Did Hosea’s unfailing love work to redeem the wayward wife? Did she become faithful? Did she learn to love the Lord with all her heart? I want to believe love changed her.

It would be interesting to revisit Gomer later in life? What does love look like when it reaches maturity? We saw what sin can do, but what does love look like when it is complete? What does life become when love has captured it? How many positive changes can unfailing love make?

Today I want to make the case that when unfailing love captures our lives it changes us.

The story of Hosea ends without these details, but in the life of another Biblical character we see what unfailing love can produce. The Gomer of today’s story is a man. He is a radical fundamentalist hell-bent on reeking havoc on anyone or any group of people who dare break with his tradition. What a surprise love has in store for him. Unlike Gomer, we will be able to see how love renovated him entirely.

Today I want us to see what the unstoppable love of Jesus can produce in our lives through the example of Saul the high-ranking Pharisee who becomes Paul the Apostle. I hope you will join me as we slip into his shoes for a moment and look through the eyes of a heart that has been captured by love. Come with me as we live in his skin and witness how his radical fundamentalism was turned into unbreakable love.

Paul is confined by chains, but his love can’t be stopped. When cursed, he blesses in return. When mistreated, he does to his tormentors what he would have them do to him. When struck on the face he doesn’t hit back or swear but stands humbly offering the other cheek. His pride has been captured by the love of Jesus. His mission is clear. His message is redemption and forgiveness. Love is turning a prison into a chapel. His love is the gossip of the palace guard. Love has broken down many walls and barriers.

His young colleagues on the outside have found new boldness as they preach the good news of Jesus. Paul’s confinement has given them the courage in their preaching. Every heart in the vicinity is open to hear what people say who love Jesus at risk to their freedom. There is an air of expectancy all around as more and more people confess faith in Jesus. Those who come to Christ become instant evangelists who in turn tell their friends and kin about a love that changes people forever.

He who has been forgiven little loves little. This terse little statement describes the self-righteous person perfectly. This sad person rejects treatment by the Great Physician because they believe they are spiritually healthy an need nothing further. The self-righteous have reserved their love for themselves. No one else deserves their love. The only way to be loved by the self-righteous is to somehow add to their hypocrisy. Love that is turned inwardly eventually becomes sours and putrefies. Love turned outwardly blooms and produces infinite fruit.

When love is radically received it is radically given. Redeeming and unfailing love changes people

So today we want to deal with the question, How does unfailing love change people?

The first thing Paul tells us is that it ends your isolation and separation Phil 1:3-11

3I thank my God every time I remember you. 4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, . . . 7It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. 8God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

Love lets you have a seat at the table of life. Unfailing love picks you to play on the team. Love allows you to be in the center of the family picture. Love ends your isolation and separation.

I have this haunting picture of street children with noses pressed against windows of restaurants watching families eat together. The scene only heightens their despair and deepens their hunger. They only dream of belonging. They hope to someday be part of a family.

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