Summary: The cross is the greatest demonstration of God’s love. Extent - eternity, Depth seen in his agony, and scope is for all humanity.

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The Passion: No Greater Love Than This

Luke 23:32-36

Hope Community Church

Bro. Chris Hill

February 29, 2004

Reality shows seem to have taken over TV. One of the most popular themes seems to be to see what people will endure for fame or fortune. Shows such as Fear Factor require people to endure performing tasks that would sicken or frighten most people away. One of my favorite shows is Survivor. My interest is in how relationships are formed and broken and the ethical positions of the players. The current All-Star Survivor pits popular players and winners from previous shows against each other. In their bid for a million dollars, the contestants have endured starvation, thirst, shark bites, raging storms, and millions of insect bites without anything to repel the insects of soothe the bites. It seems that some people will endure great pain and suffering for a million dollars. I wonder how many would play if it would cost them their lives. How much would they be willing to endure if the award was only $1000.00.

Jesus was willing to endure great pain and suffering, even death, not for any personal gain, but out of love for you and me.

I. Jesus’ prayer at the beginning of his crucifixion. Father forgive them because they don’t know what they’re doing.

A. The Greek uses the imperfect elegen

1. This indicates repetition of the prayer

2. It was probably said over and over, with each hammer blow, at each insult, and when the jarring thud as the crucifix hit the bottom of the hole.

B. Of whom was Jesus speaking?

1. Those who tried him

2. Those who beat him

3. Those who nailed him

4. Those who ridiculed him

5. Thos whose sin drove him to the cross – you and me

C. Why did he pray?

1. He loves us

2. Many did not realize exactly who was being crucified – God

D. We love him because he first loved us (1 John 4:19)

II. The depth of his love is shown in the agony.

A. Crucifixion is a horrible death.

B. He was beaten and ridiculed

C. The depth of his love goes beyond your deepest need

1. No sin is too great to be forgiven – 1 John 4:10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

2. No hurt is too painful to be soothed

3. No heart is too hard to be softened

III. The extent of his love is eternity

A. His love was the reason for creation

1. God wanted to share his love with man

2. Man’s natural inclination is to love

B. Hebrews spoke of unending love

1. Jer 31:3 The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.

2. Psalm 25:6 6 Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old

3. Deut 7:8-9 But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands

C. The NT specifically show his love to be eternal (John 3:16)

D. At the cross a historical event has eternal implications

1. Only your life span limits when you can respond to God

2. Make your decision now

E. In the Survivor show alliances are forged and broken for many reasons. The sad part is that many of the players knowingly make alliances that they have already determined to break at a certain time or when a certain event takes place. Human love almost always requires a return. Without a return the love is lost or retracted. This is not the way with God’s love for us.

IV. The scope of his love includes all people

A. His love has always been for the whole world – Abraham was to be the father of many nations and light unto the world

B. In heaven there is neither Greek nor Jew, neither male nor female …

C. His love is for the unlovable

1. Luke 6:32 "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even `sinners’ love those who love them.”

2. Luke 6:27-8 "But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

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