Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:1-11)
Steve was Christian and a powerful business owner. One day, while coming back from lunch, a panhandler asked him for a buck. Steve had a nudge from the Lord and so he took the man, Bill, to lunch. While Bill was eating, Steve called the office and cleared his calendar for the rest of the day. After lunch he took Bill to a spa where Bill got a bath and a shave and haircut. Next, he took him to a department store and bought him two suits, and some casual clothes, accessories and shoes. Then he rented an apartment for Bill. For two weeks he had him come into Steve’s company and work with Steve’s personnel to determine his skills and to polish his language. After that, he arranged for several interviews. Bill was hired at a living salary.
Steve went on vacation. A week or so after Steve returned, he saw Bill on the street. He greeted him in passing, but Bill ignored him. Steve stopped, turned back and caught up to him, “Bill, how are you?’ Bill just looked at Steve.
“Bill, Bill, I’m Steve. I’m the one who bought that suit. I’m the one who got you the apartment, and helped you get a job.”
Bill replied, “And what have you done for me recently?”
Sometimes, that is the way Christians treat our wonderful Savior. He has done so very much for them, but they begin to take all His bountiful gifts for granted, and then complain to Him about inconveniences in their lives.
Let’s look at Romans 5 to see what our loving Lord has done for us
Here are magnificent proofs of Jesus’ love for us. We have a majestic God Who is our Father, but He is not an absentee Father. No, no! He is a hugging-you-to-his-breast Father. He is a holding-you-in-His-lap Father. He is the Father that gets down on the floor with you and plays your games. The Father’s love is manifested in His Presence in your life.
The Apostle John recorded in the 15th, 16th and 17th Chapters of his Gospel the endearing terms Jesus expressed in describing God’s love for you.
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:9-13)
We have seen the greatness of God’s love in the detail of what Jesus did for us. Now we will look at the intimacy of love Jesus has towards us.
Here are excerpts from John’s three chapters, 15, 16 & 17:
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. (John 15:9)
You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. (John 15:14-16)
… for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. (John 16:27)
Jesus addressed His Father and ours,
I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:15-24)
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. (John 15:9)
I shake my head in wonder at the impact of this truth. Jesus, our Lord loves us to the same degree that the Father loves Jesus. That is a love that is beyond all our understanding. We cannot conceive of that magnitude of love. Nevertheless, that is the magnitude of love that Almighty God loves us!
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)
The height of human love is the surrender of one’s life to save a friend. No greater gift can one give another. When we consider the worth of the life of the Son of God, his surrender of life for You and for me is a stupendously great gift. God prizes us so greatly that He surrendered His Son and Jesus honors us so dearly that He gave up His life for each one of us.
I have called you friends; (John 15:15)
Jesus in love, elevates us from creatures. He elevates us from servants to friends. He treats us as equals, regardless of our humble state. We are His creations. We are like clay pots that a potter makes on a wheel. And yet the Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, has elevated us to be His friends. Why? Because He loves us!
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide… (John 15:16)
We who are needy, if we were able to see the love that is in Jesus, we would frantically reach out for it. Instead, Jesus chose us before we were aware of Him, or His love. He loved us first! Our Lord cherishes us and wants us to be fruitful, knowing that for us a fruitful life is a far more fulfilling life. However, bearing fruit is not possible without the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence.
“I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.” (John 17:15)
We are under assault by Satan. We are God’s magnificent creation and the enemy of our souls wants to ruin us. As soon as we accept Jesus, the Father could have taken us home to keep us safe from the depredations that the enemy brings into our lives. But the love of God has important work for us here. So, we remain under the enemy’s threat, but protected by the Love of the Father.
“And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.” (John 17:19)
Jesus loves us, but our sins separate us from God, preventing us from receiving His love; therefore, Jesus uses His sanctification to cover us. He cleanses us from sin by His blood. He gives us the Spirit of Truth to convince us of sin, so that we would be humble and open to receive the Spirit’s sanctifying work and the Love of God.
Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word; (John 17:20)
Behold the love of God for you! He knew 2,000 years ago that He would create you; therefore, He came to earth, chose to be crucified for you. He also called Peter, John, Paul and the others to testify to the Risen Lord in such ways that you in this day could know the One and only Savior. His love for you and me was planned well ahead of time!
“that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one” (John 17:21)
The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are one in loving one another. They want their creation, mankind, to not only experience that unity of love with God, but also with one another. Jesus wants us to experience the unity of love that is in the Trinity. God’s love is a fountain that distributes bountifully to all who become lovers of God.
… loved them even as you loved me. (John 17:23)
Can we stretch our conception around that truth? God, Almighty Father, the infinitely righteous One, not only loves us, who are insignificant, powerless, and unrighteous (His loving us at all is miraculous in itself), but the Father loves us to the enormous extent of His love for His only begotten Son.
Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, (John 17:24)
Jesus wants us to be with Him for eternity! Guests and family that we love, after a few days, we are ready to have them go home. Christ’s love is endless. He wants us, He eagerly desires us to be with Him in God’s Kingdom for eternity!
My friends and my brothers and sisters let us love Jesus. Let us open our hearts to embrace His love for us. Let us set aside our inhibitions and tell Jesus how much we love Him. The Scriptures give a summary description of the love we should have for God:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deuteronomy 6:5)
We are to love Him with all our being – body, soul and spirit. That requires all our conscious moments of attention on God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, expressing our love in thanksgiving and praise of His glory.
Brother Lawrence, a monk of the 17th century, chose to keep God in his consciousness all the time, every day, regardless of what he was doing. He disciplined himself and achieved living in the Presence of God. His book, Practice the Presence of God, is a Christian classic.
Oh, dear sisters and brothers, right here in this fellowship allow Jesus to come into your heart. It is not just a spiritual experience, let Jesus fill you with His love and your whole person will become enthralled with the love of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Out of gratitude for all He has done, let your love for Jesus flow out of your heart and mouth and express how much you love him.
I will pray and those who are moved to express their love can in the pause that follows tell the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit of their love for Him.
My loving Father, we have deep affection for You. Help us to express what we honestly feel toward You.
Jesus, we love you for your great love in sacrificing Your life that we might live with You for eternity.
Holy Spirit, You have come to dwell in our spirits. You are ripening the fruit of love in our hearts.
Gracious God lead us to spread Your love abroad, blessing all we meet. To the glory of Jesus our Savior and Lord. Amen.