Faithlife Sermons

The Way of Love

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True love stories never have endings. --Richard Bach
INTRO - It’s that time of year when lovers begin to think about buying candy and cards for that special someone. Some men will take to a knee and ask for a ladies hand in marriage. Couples well along in years will share special moments and smiles sewn in years of true love. Some will embrace and spend the day in one another’s arms. Even school children will exchange card with classmates noting that very special human quality. And that very special thing is love. Now when it comes to God’s love, do you know that nothing, no power, no darkness, no not anything can separate you from God’s amazing love.
EST - Our text today describes the unstoppable love God has for us in Christ.
ESS - Our message today notes how love and law mean something different to Jesus followers.
OSS - Later we’ll have opportunity to consider if we will be obedient to God’s law expressing love as empowered by the Spirit.
TRANS - Times, places, people, and cultures can change. However, God’s love and his command remain the same. Let’s travel to that time of the first century and hear about love through Paul’s letter to the Romans.

What does it say?

Romans 8:38–39 ESV
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

What does it mean?

Nonstop Love

Love is like the measles: We all have to go through it.

Love is not something to turn on and off.
True love does not know any other course except full and forward movement.
Consider our text in context of the three verses just prior:
Romans 8:35–37 ESV
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Did you catch the “to be slaughtered” part?
You see, when a person loves Jesus, there is a giving up of self even for death; yes, death.
Jesus himself describes great love this way:
John 15:13 ESV
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
Now that is love for a friend.
How much more a loving person will lie down for family, spouse, and for God himself?
Now consider that God’s love is even greater than what was described as the type of love a Jesus follower exhibits.
In our text Paul gives examples.
Nothing can block the love of God coming to us.
All ten of those things: death, live, angels, rulers, and so forth move out of the way for God’s love to make it’s way to us.
Let’s consider one of those things: death.
In Christ, death becomes a gain for the Christian:
Philippians 1:20 ESV
as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.
Yep, dead or alive is how Christ wants us; it appears, at least I thing, he wants you alive just now :-)
Do you know that not even the devil can get in the way of God’s love for you his child.
As a matter of fact, the devil pokes and prods become something God uses to cause us to focus all the more on him!
For example, consider how that worked for Paul:
2 Corinthians 12:7–10 ESV
So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Don’t Stop Love

Where does love originate?

A husband asked his wife, “Tell me, Dear, have you ever been in love before?”

She thought a moment and replied, “No, Darling. I once respected a man for his great intelligence. I admired another for his remarkable courage. I was captivated by yet another for his good looks and charm. But with you, well, how else could you explain it, except love?”

Seriously, for Jesus followers, how do we get love?
We do “owe” God, he is the source of real and lasting love.
However, we don’t owe in the sense of owing the bank or somebody something.
The Bible does call us “debtors”
Romans 8:12–13 ESV
So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Yet, we can’t possibly pay God for what he provides.
Being in debt to God carries the idea of living differently because of what God gives.
We trust in God, his Spirt, to give us the strength to go where he leads.
We “flesh out” this new life by living by God’s law.
Now, just as in “debt” to God needs some explanation, so does living under the law of God.
Jesus followers willingly obey this law which we call the law of love:
Romans 8:4 ESV
in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
We the new life given in a different way than we did when we only lived for ourselves:
Romans 13:8 ESV
Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
Today, we abide by the law of love owing what we have, who we are, and how we can show genuine compassion all to God.
We know Jesus wants us to love, even our enemies:
Matthew 5:44 ESV
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
All the work God does for good is intended to empower us to love others:
John 13:34 ESV
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
It is the cross of Jesus that makes all this possible.
Jesus lived to teach us the meaning of love dyeing to save us through his death on the cross.
You see, love risks everything for the sake of someone else.
Love makes sacrifices, suffers, and endures all for someone else.
Love will suffer, but it does not compare with the joy to come.
Romans 8:18 ESV
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

What does God want?

Spend these few years on earth loving others.
Eternity is where the true object of our love is glorified.
Our security is assured by God whose glory will one day light our new home with him in eternity.
Perhaps you know someone who feels separated from God’s love and needs to hear from you week?
How will God’s unstoppable love help you be brave to share your faith in Jesus this week?
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