Summary: We don’t have to do anything to earn God’s love. God loves us because we belong to Him. This was the final sermon in a series called That’s Outrageous.
Romans 5: 1-8
We are living in a society that rewards success and punishes failure. From a very early age we are taught and conditioned to make good grades, to do well, to succeed, and to achieve. ---Those who do well are often the recipients of rewards, opportunities and privileges.--While often those who do not, find themselves spiraling in patterns of despair and despondency for not cutting the mustard.--The reality is that there are winners and there are losers in our world.--So much so that it is equally important for us to teach our children how to lose with dignity as it is to win with humility.
Because the truth of the matter is that none of us wins all of the time. And so we find that in a world that celebrates success, that there are many people who are starved for the acclamation and attention they have not received. These sadly end up looking for love in all the wrong places. Perhaps you are here today, and you can testify that the church was not your first stop. --Maybe you have been to a whole lot of places in search of what only God can provide. Before you made it to the Lord’s house some of us can testify today, I was looking for love in a liquor bottle or a crack pipe. --Before you made it to the Lord’s house today some of us can probably testify I was looking for love on Baltimore Street. --- Uh oh, the pastor is not supposed to know about Baltimore Street.
Some of us can testify I was looking for love in a drug needle. I was looking for love in the streets, or I was looking for love in the sheets. I was looking for love in the club, down in New Orleans we used to say the smaller the club, the bigger the party. --Somebody over there said you know what Pastor I was looking for love with my so called friends.
They used to have a song that had a verse which said everybody loves a winner but when you lose you lose alone. I mean it is easy isn’t to love a Tiger Woods, a Michael Jordan, or the team that always seems to win?
This is why this passage in the 5th Chapter of Paul’s letter to the Christians in Rome is so OUTRAGEOUS. While we were yet sinners ---Christ died for us. --Which says that while it may be true that everybody loves a winner, it is equally true that only Jesus loves a sinner. And that is Good News this morning for somebody. Because the holidays are here and while some of us are going through the stress and strain of how will I get these things for these children to make them happy? I wish I had some real people in this place who could testify that some of us are going through a different kind of stress and a different kind of strain. --- Because pastor, the holidays mean that I have to deal with my family. Where are the real people at? And the truth about dealing with the family for some of us at holiday time means that Pastor, sometimes there is nobody who can be meaner to me than the folks in my own family. ---There is nobody who can act uglier with me than some of the folks in my own family.
---- There is nobody who can be harder on me, and remind me of all that I was supposed to be according to them than the folks in my own family. --------You know sometimes we can hold our own family to unfair and unrealistic expectations. But I want to tell somebody who is here today --- feeling like you didn’t live up to some one else’s expectations. You don’t have to be a 10 ---you don’t have to a knock out ----- you don’t have to be America’s next top model --- you don’t have to be perfect ----you don’t have to be the sharpest knife in the drawer ----for God to love you. God loves you today. Do you know that God loves so much that before you made it here, before you decided to start coming to church, before you decided it was time to get yourself together, before you got tired of playing the games and keeping up with the joneses, Jesus died for you.
While you were still in the streets Jesus died for you. While you were still doing stuff you had NO business doing Jesus died for you. --- I wish I had some real folks in this place who didn’t mind shouting right now because you can say I am not supposed to be here today.