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The most radical thing we can say: YOU ARE LOVED BY GOD

Read Ephesians 1:4-5; John 14:1-21, I john 4:8, and John 3:16-17

Here is some thoughts I have been scribbling down as I prepared sermons for the next two Sundays, based on John 14:1-21.  It will really be ONE sermon with two movements.  Here’s the title (and the movements):  LOVED BY GOD – LOVING GOD

i John 4:8 says, “GOD IS LOVE.”  John 3:16-17 teaches that we are all LOVED BY GOD (“God so loved the world!”)

Yet while we confess this, affirm this, and declare this with great passion, we too often find ourselves trying to quantify and calculate this good news. 

“God loves me WHEN.” 

“God loves me IF.” 

“God loves me MORE as I am doing this or that.” 

That puts the love of God under our control, rather than challenging us to become submissive to the love of God.  If we get to determine when God loves us, how God loves us, and the extent to which God loves us – then who’s in charge of God’s love?  We are!  In a strange way, even when we are thinking ourselves unworthy of God’s love, we are actually usurping God’s authority and decision to love us anyways.

It’s time for us to realise that there are no IFS, ANDS, or BUTS attached to God’s love for us..  When we get this through or thick skulls, then our lifestyles, our ministry, and even our churches will finally start to experience a spiritual revolution. 

There is nothing – and I mean NO-THING more powerful that the realization that we are loved by God, a priori to any action or confession or belief on our part.  Yet that is exactly what the scriptures affirm.  (Read Paul’s words in Ephesians 1:4-8)

The problem is that our society communicates is so many other ways that we are insufficient or unworthy of such love.  What is the template for most advertising?  Most advertisements tell us that something is missing in our lives.  Most advertisements tell us that we are insufficient in some way.  Then they offer us some new product that can make up the difference. 

We even hear that sort of thing in our church talk.  Oh, sure, “YOU ARE LOVED BY GOD.”  We say it like we mean it, but we still teach that something is missing spiritually in our lives.  We are told that we need to get right with God.  Of course, that puts all the responsibility on me/us.  Being right with God is MY work, MY effort, MY action. 

Thankfully, the professors of religion have a list of things so we can be “right” with God.  Engage in this prayer plan, read this many verses daily, give tithes and offerings, feed the hungry, help the poor, evangelize the lost, participate in various gatherings and events.   They teach us that when you do all these things, you will show yourself worthy of God’s love.  NO!  Doing these things to not make us worthy of God’s love! 

Let me say it again:  God’s love FOR YOU is an a priori reality. 

 God’s desire for you | God’s plan for your life has always been (from before the world was even made) that you be adopted into his own family through Jesus Christ. (see Paul’s words in Ephesian 1:4-5 again)

Now don’t get me wrong, doing all those religious things I mentioned are not bad things to be doing.  In fact, I highly recommend them.  I just don’t recommend them as a means of “getting right with God.”  Rightness with God is God’s work.  Rightness with God is a matter of grace.  Rightness with God is a gift from God that is ours because we are LOV E BY GOD and adopted into his family by grace. 

We can respond to this love! 

We can appropriate this grace by faith, as the scripture says. 

We can let the reality of this love wash over us and sink down into every crevasse of our being until is becomes a part of our daily life experiences. 

But we can’t earn it, achieve it, or obtain it by any action of our own.  We are LOVED BY GOD because it is the nature of God to love. 

Rest in the awareness of this love and have a great day.

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