Summary: Jesus showed us the greatest gift of love when he died on the cross for us.
The Ultimate Valentine's Gift
Text: Rom. 5:1-11
1. Illustration: If yesterday is like Valentine's Days of the past, over $1 billion was spent on chocolate, $1 billion on cards, and 218 million roses were sold in the pursuit of or in an attempt to demonstrate love. The Bible tells us that God sent the first Valentine. He showed what true love is. He demonstrated His love for you and me over 2000 years ago when He sent His One and Only Son to pay the price for your sins and mine. Listen, God didn’t just love you enough to tell you about it. He didn’t just love you enough that He settled for having it written in the clouds by angels in flaming chariots. He didn’t love you enough that He stopped at sending you a love note, or a card, or calling you, He loved you enough that He sent His Son Jesus Christ. You see, when it came to demonstrating love, FTD was not fragrant enough, chocolate was not sweet enough, and Hallmark couldn’t find the words to set you free.
2. When it comes to Valentine's gifts Jesus showed us...
a. The Perfect Gift
b. The Most Practical Gift
c. The Most Unexpected Gift
3. Let's stand together as we read Rom. 5:1-11
Proposition: Jesus showed us the greatest gift of love when he died on the cross for us.
Transition: The gift that Jesus gave us is...
I. The Perfect Gift (1-2).
A. Undeserved Privilege
1. How many of us, especially the men, at Valentine's Day are scratching out heads trying to think of the perfect gift to give our sweetheart? We know that if we don't get them something we're going to be in trouble. If we give them flowers it's going to cost us a small fortune because all the florists hike the price of flowers for that day. If we buy them chocolate's they're going to say we are trying to make them fat. So what's the perfect gift?
2. Paul points out that Jesus knew the perfect gift to give. He said, "Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us."
a. The phrase "made right" is a forensic term meaning “to make or establish as right, to judge” or “to execute justice” (The Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary – Delta-Epsilon).
b. It is usually translated "justified," and the best way to understand this term is "just as if I'd never sinned."
c. By accepting by faith what Jesus did for us on the cross it makes it as if we never sinned. Paul tells us the benefits of this being made right, and begins with the gift of peace.
d. What Paul says "peace" he is not talking about an inner sense of well being, rather he is talking about a restoration of relationship with God.
e. As a result of what Jesus has done we are no longer enemies of God and subject to his anger (Johnson, Full Life Biblical Commentary, 724).
f. We are now friends, and even better, members of his family.
3. Then Paul shows how precious and perfect this gift is when he says, "Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory."
a. As result of peace with God we also receive the gift of undeserved privilege, or grace.
b. The privilege or grace he is referring to is access to the presence of God.
c. For the Jew this would be understood as the heavy curtain in the sanctuary, that separated the people from the presence of God, had been opened.
d. For the Greek this would have suggested the royal court. A person could only gain access to the king through his favor or grace.
e. The favored person would be escorted in into the kings presence through the aid of a royal chamberlain.
f. It was Jesus who led us into the presence of God by his death on the cross. Consequently we are able to have access to God and we can look forward to joyfully sharing in his glory (Johnson, 724).
g. This perfect gift not only gives us undeserved privilege now, but also future glory to look forward to.
B. Gift of Grace
1. Illustration: A Sunday school teacher decided to have her young class memorize one of the most quoted passages in the Bible: Psalm 23. She gave the youngsters a month to learn the chapter. Little Rick was excited about the task, but he just couldn’t remember the Psalm. After much practice, he could barely get past the first line. On the day that the kids were scheduled to recite Psalm 23 in front of the congregation, Rickey was very nervous. When it was his turn, he stepped up to the microphone and said proudly, "The Lord is my Shepherd, and that’s all I need to know."