Summary: This sermon looks at how wide, long, high and deep the love of God is. The point being that God’s love is vast! We need to know that and experience it.
The Vastness of God’s Love
2/13/05, a.m. service
Ridgeway Assembly of God
Pastor Greg Tabor
Read: Ephesians 3:14-19
I agree with John MacArthur’s statement: “I do not think that breadth and length and height and depth represent four specific types or categories of love but simply suggest its vastness and completeness” (MacArthur’s New Testament Commentary: Ephesians. Copyright © 1986 by The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. Electronic Edition STEP Files Copyright © 1997). As he and other commentators have done as well, we will now take a look at love this morning from these different dimensions just to see how really vast His love truly is and what that means for us.
I. How Wide?
God loves everyone.
Read: John 3:16-17 NIV
Read: Galatians 3:28 NIV
God does not reserve His love for a specific class of people. Race, gender, and social status all lose their place when it comes to one’s standing before God. God loves all men.
Read: 2 Peter 3:9
God loves all men equally and desires that all men come to know Him. You and I on the other hand show many times the extent of our love by our harsh treatment of other races and folks from different socio-economic backgrounds. While Christ is saying ‘love your neighbor,’ we ask in our prejudice, ‘Who is my neighbor?’ We don’t like the response when Christ points to the Samaritan. The Samaritan was to the Jew someone unworthy of respect. The feelings were mutual. But our passage tonight reminds us that God is not exclusive, and neither should we be. In fact we are to be rooted and grounded in love. God’s love should be at the core of our Christian faith and should overflow into all we do. In our treatment of others, remember, God loved you despite you and we should do the same to others.
II. How Long?
What is the length of His love? From eternity to eternity.
Romans 8:38 tells me that neither the present nor the future can separate me from God’s love. I do not have to worry about it running out. The Bible also tells me that God is love. In another place we are told that Jesus is the same today, yesterday and forever. God doesn’t change. His love for us doesn’t change. We don’t have to worry about God’s love running out. Maybe today He’ll love me, but what about tomorrow? Or ‘I believe He used to love me, but what about now?’
Through Jeremiah the prophet God told the nation of Israel:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love” – Jeremiah 31:3 NIV
What does that word everlasting mean? The Hebrew word means ‘long duration, antiquity, futurity’ according to the New American Standard Hebrew Dictionary. In other words, God loves you forever. And friend, God loves you forever. He wants you to experience that love with Him forever.
While people in hell will not experience a relationship with God, I cannot help but think God’s love will not be absent from them in the sense that they will know deeply and be tormented excruciatingly forever by the realization that God loves them and they rejected Him. Hell will be a prison and a reminder of all they could have had in God and all they have lost without Him.
But for those who put their faith in Christ, God’s love will be a reality to be experienced from now through forever.
III. How High?
“Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens…” Psalm 36:5 NIV
We’ve sung that song quite frequently.
While I’m sure there are differences in opinions as to what this might mean, and while we may not be able to discern it completely, the truth is that it surely helps to encompass the overall meaning that God’s love is vast. However, I do like what MacArthur states concerning this dimension.
“We can see love’s height in God’s having “blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (1:3) and in His raising us up and seating us “with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus” (2:6).” (MacArthur’s New Testament Commentary: Ephesians. Copyright © 1986 by The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. Electronic Edition STEP Files Copyright © 1997).).
It is limitless and we experience it when we are saved and setup with Him in the heavenly places. Spiritually speaking, you and I are no longer lowly earth dwellers, but we are citizens of heaven. This is only made possible by the great love of God, the heights of which I do believe we have only just begun to experience.
IV. How Deep?
Perhaps depth refers to God’s love being with us through even the most difficult of situations. That definitely is true. He said He would never leave us nor forsake us.