This Is Love
By Bobby Blakey on December 24, 2022
This Is Love
By Bobby Blakey on December 24, 2022
Well, we want to welcome every one of you. Thank you so much for being here with us today, especially anybody this is your first time at our church you're visiting from far away, can we give them a warm welcome here? Thank you for coming and celebrating Jesus. With us. We also want to give a welcome to those who didn't make it here in the room. They're over in the overflow, can we give them a round of applause? Let them know we love you over in the overflow chairs over there. Anybody who's home sick, welcome. We want to talk about the most profound truth, this will not be a waste of anyone's time, I just want to put three simple words up on the screen. God loves you. That's what we're here to talk about. And I wonder if I asked you to write out a definition, what does it mean that God loves you? In your bulletin that you got when you came in, there is a handout there. And on that blank piece of paper, I wonder what your definition would be. What does it mean? This is a phrase that gets thrown around. We've heard it before. God loves you. But what does that mean? How do you know what it means that God loves? You? See, there's two reasons we want to really talk about this one is unfortunately, this idea of the love of God has become a cliche. In our culture, even in our churches, people act like God loves me. Yeah, I know. God loves me like it's not that big of a deal even that God loves me. And we use the word love in a very, like ordinary way. When we when we like something, but we really like something we'll just upgrade liking something to loving something. Like we all learn this on the playground in elementary school. I don't know if you knew any of those kids would be like, do you like this? Do you like this person? Do you like this person? Do you like this? Oh, really? And did anybody ever meet one of those playground bullies before when you were growing up? Like do you like this? Do you like this? And finally, you cave in? And you're like, yes, I like it. Why don't you marry it then? Right? We've all heard this before. Right? Okay, well, I Yes, I like it. But that doesn't mean I love it. Right? I mean, it's kind of like, do you like cheeseburgers? Do you love cheeseburgers? Do you love In-N-0ut cheeseburgers? And all God's people said? So, I mean, this is the modern day logic. You love cheeseburgers. God is love. Therefore, God is In-N-0ut cheeseburgers, right? I mean, this is how it works. We use the word love in this very casual, almost superficial way that I love anything that is kind of I feel sentimental about anything I like a lot. And we're going to put that definition how we use the word, we're going to now put that to be God likes me a lot, God will accept me for who I am, God will tolerate near or God will he'll show me favoritism or God feels a sentimental way towards me. That's not what it means that God loves you. So, we need to rescue this phrase, from being a cliche. And we need to get to the real meaning. Another reason I really want to talk about this with all of you here today is all my brothers and sisters, everybody here who believes in Jesus.
We just read in Ephesians chapter 3, this last week that the love of God is beyond our comprehension. So, if you tell me you know that God loves you, what we read in Ephesians three, is Paul was praying for those people that they would be able to comprehend the love that God has for us, the height of it, the depth of it, the breadth, the width of it. So even if you do think, well, I know that God loves me, there is more to this than what you know. And we were doing this thing here together as a church. We're trying to read through the New Testament in 52 weeks. We call it scripture of the day, we're reading Ephesians. And this is what we read this week. This was Ephesians chapter three, verse 18, may you be able to comprehend with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
That's my prayer. For all of you who believe in Jesus, I want you to know the love that surpasses knowledge wants you to be filled up with that. This Christmas. One of the great hymns of the Christian faith is this hymn called the love of God. And it says the love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell it goes beyond the highest star and reaches to the lowest hell could we with ink the oceans fill and we're the skies of parchment made where every stock on Earth a quill and every man a scribe by trade to write the love of God above would drain the oceans dry, nor could the scroll contain the whole Will those stretched from sky to sky? Oh, love of God, how rich and pure, how measureless and strong, it shall forevermore endure the saints and angels song. Hey, I've got good news of great joy that God loves you. And I want to invite you to open your Bible and turn with me to Romans 5:6-8, one of the best definitions you're ever going to find of what it means that God loves you. So, this is our passage, we're studying the book of Romans at our church. And this is the passage that God has us on this Christmas Eve, I could not think of a better passage for us all to open our Bibles and study together. So out of respect for God's word, I'm going to ask if we would all stand up for the public reading of Scripture. And I'm going to ask, if you don't have a Bible with you, it is on that handout, the verses we're about to study together, they are on that handout right there. I'm actually going to start in Romans, chapter 5:5, where we left off last week, and then I'm going to read through verse 8, Romans 5, verses 5-8.
“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.”
So we don't get to decide what it means that God loves us. God is showing us, he is making it known to us what it means that he loves us. So, if you do want to take some notes, as we go through this passage together, let's start with this for point number one: Make sure you have the Bible's definition of God's love. Make sure you have the Bible's definition of God's love. We have to let God tell us how he loves us. So, and he is showing it here. This is a very important word you might have heard it before that God here in verse eight, God “demonstrates” his love for us. God “proves” his love for us. And I wonder when I asked you what does it mean that God loves you? Did you say that Jesus died for my sin, because in the Bible, that is the definition of God's love. It is not some positive feeling that God has about you. It is the fact the action that our Father in heaven sent his one and only Son Jesus here on earth to be born as a baby on Christmas. And Jesus came to seek and save us. He came to die for us, because we are sinners, and we desperately needed Jesus to be our Savior.
That's what it means that God loves you. And it's defined right here. It's shown to us, it's made known to us. So, a good definition. I remember one time, people came to confront me and they said, Why don't you talk more about God's love, you should be telling more people about God's love. And I was like, what's your definition of God's love? And they didn't have a good answer to that. And I shared with them, Romans 5:8, and then they realized why I was talking about sin and Jesus dying for us, because that is how God shows his love for us. So, make sure that your idea of what it means that God loves you matches what Romans 5:8 shows you, demonstrates to you, proves to you. This word here in the Greek language for shows us in Romans five eight is very similar to a word used in First John chapter four. So, if you've got your Bible, turn with me to 1 John 4, this is another good scripture, another good definition of what it means that God loves us. In fact, this is the passage that gets quoted all of the time, because it says God is love. And so, people refer to this as sometimes like love is the only thing that God is, well, what does it mean that God is love? Look at 3 John 4. It will start there in verse 7, 1 John 4:7, it says, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
Now those three words God is love, they get pulled out of these verses, and they get used all by themselves. But look what it goes on to say in verse 9, this is the definition of what it means that God is love. In this, the love of God was made manifest among us, or in this, this is how the love of God was shown. This is how you can know God loves you. God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. There it is. What is the definition of God's love? It's Christmas. It's God sending his Son Jesus to save us. Look at verse 10. In this is love, not that we've loved God that that's not how it starts. We don't start out by loving God. No, he took the initiative, but that he loved us. And he sent his son Jesus or his son it says he sent his son wait for it. What's it going to get to? To be the propitiation for our, what does it say there everybody? See, whenever the Bible wants to define God's love, it's going to include two things, the sacrifice of Jesus, and your sin. Those are essential in any right definition of God's love. You've got to get to the fact that he sent Jesus to die for you, and you needed Jesus to die for you because of your sin. This is love, the propitiation. What it means is God is not just going to accept everybody. That's not the definition of God's love. God actually has wrath. He has a righteous anger. He is not okay with sin. He's going to judge sin, but he loves us. So, he sends his one and only Son Jesus, and Jesus dies in our place, he pays for our sin. Jesus is the propitiation, he satisfies God's wrath. And now God is not angry with us, because he loved us when he sent Jesus to die for our sins. See. So, we got two passages that are trying to define for us what it means that God loves you. And the definition they give is him sending Jesus to die in your place, because God and you had a problem. You were in sin, God, he does not tolerate sin, but God loved you. And so, he sent Jesus to pay for your sin. So, you could enter into a right relationship, so he could adopt you, and he could be your father, and you could be his child, one of the beloved one of the disciples that are truly loved by God and his Son, Jesus. So that is what it means. If you're ever having a conversation without God loves you. What do you mean by that? The answer is, you mean he sent Jesus on Christmas to die for us on Good Friday to rise on Easter? Because we needed a savior for our sins? Can I get an amen on Christmas Eve of anybody about that? We got to redeem the cliche, we got to bring back the real definition. God is love one of the most pulled out of context phrases. Well, it goes on to say there in verse 9, if you can look at it with me again. “In this, the love of God was made manifest among us.” So, the reason Christmas is such a big deal is not because of what it's become in our culture. The reason Christmas resonates the reason Christmas seems like it has some kind of meaning behind it is because it does, God is showing you that He loves you, in the fact that his son is born for you on Christmas morning. That's why Christmas is a big deal. Because it is a way that we can see it is a way that God made known his love God show but God he shows his love for us.
Go back to Romans chapter five. Now that we've got this definition of God's love, let's study this a little bit deeper, three, three verses. Maybe some of you have yet to really receive God's love and to believe in Jesus dying for you. We're so glad you're here with us. And I'm talking to many of you. You already have God's love in your hearts. I'm not teaching you something new. I'm just hopefully renewing, hopefully stirring you up. Hopefully reminding you. Yeah, God does love me. Yeah, this is how he showed his love for me. And so let's get into these three verses here. And notice it says For while we were still weak at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. And then it says one will scarcely die for a righteous person, though perhaps for a good person No one would dare even to die. But God shows His love for us and that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Now when I just read those three verses, there was one word that showed up four times there in English. Okay? When you think about God's love, you have to think about Jesus, the Christ, the Holy and anointed one, the sacrifice of God, he died, it says it in verse six, Christ died. It talks in two different times in verse seven about who would you actually die for, and then in verse eight, it ends with Christ died for us. Now we're reading here in English translation of something that was originally written in Greek. And when I was reading this and studying this in the original Greek language, it stood out to me something I'd never known about this passage before, all three of these famous verses Romans, 5:67, and 8, all three of those verses in the Greek they all end with died, died, died. So if you were reading it, there's a clear point. There's, it's like, when you repeat something three times you are trying to make a point. Like, hey, you know, God loves you. God's love is in your hearts. You want to know how you know God loves Die, die, die. That's how you know. It cost God his one and only Son, it cost Jesus his life. Jesus has proven God's love for you, when he paid for your sin with his blood, when he sacrificed his body, Jesus die, die, die. That's what this passage is saying. Three different times, to make a point. And again, this is another cliche, God loves you. Oh, great. How did he love you? Well, Jesus died for you. People say that so casually. So flippantly, you ask somebody here, who lost a loved one, their parent, their spouse, their child, you ask them, if they feel the absence of that person that they loved this Christmas, and how much they miss them. If you really know someone who dies, you will never take that casually the rest of your life. You will always feel a weight and a heaviness, it will mean something to you that that person actually died. What does it mean to you that Jesus came to die for you? That's what this is saying. He died.Do you get it, he died? Think about who would you be willing to die for? Who would you be willing to die for? I mean, it was a try to think it through Is there anybody you would willingly lay down their life? Somebody, somebody needs some kind of transplant, some kind of heart transplant today, where there they would live, but you would lose your life? Are you willing to give what you've got to them so that they can live? Well, the person, somebody you don't know, see, you're probably not laying down your life for a complete stranger. But maybe if it was your family member, maybe if it was somebody you were close to, maybe if it was somebody you really respected. Somebody that you thought was a righteous person, that's what it gets to here, maybe one of us would be willing to give our heart even if we died, so that somebody else could live if we thought they were a good person, if we thought they were somebody really worth it to us that I would die for this person, because they're so valuable to me, they're so worth it to me. See, this is what's amazing is Jesus died for us when we were weak, Jesus died for us. When we were against God, Jesus died for us not when we were righteous, or good or close to him, or really loved him, or were a part of His family. Jesus died for us while we were still sinners. See, this is a kind of profound love that we can't compare to cheeseburgers if you get what I mean. This is a kind of profound love that, that we don't even naturally understand. Because we're not willing to lay down our lives for for much less, not just people we don't know, but people who are against us, people who are enemies, we're not willing to die in their place. And that's what Jesus was willing to do for you that God's love is made manifest. It's shown to us in that Christ died.
Let's get this down for point number two, if you're taking notes: You need to see Jesus was born to die for you. See, Jesus was born to die for you. The birth of Jesus that we're here to celebrate is such a unique thing. It's such a one of a kind, kind of a thing. I mean, when we are born, we're growing up. We're trying to figure life out. We're trying to figure out how to walk and talk who our parents are, and our whole Life we're trying to figure out what's our purpose? What's our meaning? Why are we here? What is the point of this? Is it to make myself feel good? Is it to do good for others? What is the reason that I'm alive? We're trying to figure it out as we live. Do you realize that Jesus in a unique way, he knew the reason that he was going to be born before he was born? See, we were all born we didn't really have a choice in the matter. We were all born. See, Jesus is willing to humble himself to be born as a baby, even though he is the Son of God who reigns in heaven, and glorious splendor, he is willing to wrap be wrapped in flesh, and be born as a baby and laid in the manger. And from day one, Jesus knew that he was alive to die. See, this is opposite. We're trying to figure out why we're alive. And we're trying to not think about death, Jesus, he was alive for the purpose of death. It says in the classic Christmas Carol, hark, the Herald Angels Sing, he was born, that man no more may die born to raise the sons of earth born to give them second birth. Like he knew from the moment he was born, he had a mission that he was coming to accomplish. And the mission is that Jesus was going to live the perfect life, he was going to obey all the commands that you didn't obey, he was going to say no to all the temptations that you gave into and then this perfectly righteous life that Jesus lived, he was going to lay down for you, a stranger, a sinner, an enemy of God, somebody who didn't even know him yet who wasn't even born yet he was going to die for you. See that? Do you feel that in any real way? Does it get past the surface for you? The whole reason, you can have good news of great joy, the whole reason that you can have a life where you know God, and you can have the hope of heaven when you die. The whole reason that you can be saved in your soul is because Jesus was born to die for you. Can you see it? Do you feel? What does it mean? That today, we're here to celebrate someone being born, and this person actually with a real body in space and time died and he cried out in agony, and he had you on his mind when he did it. That's a profound truth. That is often on the surface. Like, like, we're celebrating Christmas, we're giving gifts we're hanging out with family who's planning on crying this Christmas not because we're missing somebody who's planning on crying this Christmas, not because we've had a rough year, or we feel alone who's planning on crying this Christmas because somebody actually loved me enough to die for me when I wasn't worth dying for. See, that's what it what it should bring us to. You do know somebody who died. And he did it for you.
Go to Luke 19. With me, this is what it looks like when a sinner realizes that Jesus came to save them. There's a story here in Luke 19. One of my favorite stories of Jesus is in Luke 19. One to 10 It's the story of the week little man, Zach he is anybody heard of this guy? This guy that's been bullied in so many evangelical churches that everybody's singing about Zacchaeus that wee little man was he? What kind of bullying languages that no man wants to be called? We are little the only guys you can call little are the guys who are obviously huge and big. Then you can say Little John or little Joel or you can refer to those guys as the little guy. Right? When they when they're like a mountain of a man. You can't look at a dude that's actually a smaller size dude and say, What's up wee little man, that's not going to fly. That's when we teach our kids to sing. That's what I was taught anyways, I'm one of the bullies of Zacchaeus. Right. And I reaped what I saw and I got what I deserved, I guess because I was a late bloomer in life. Okay, reaching this average height that I reached, this was a big achievement for me in my life. Okay. I when I played high school football, if you can believe it, I was on the high school football team. And I remember picture day and we lined up and they said, Get in the order from the tallest to the shortest for the photographer. And so all the bros are like lining up who and I just keep moving on down. I was the last dude, I was the smallest guy on the football team. People were like, excited when they lined up across from me because now they could really hit somebody. You know what I mean? They knew they had an advantage or the whole team knew they had an advantage. The whole team delighted in my smallness, right? And so Zacchaeus He's famous for being a wee little man. I remember one day I was so discouraged by getting knocked down continually on the football field that I said to my dad at the dinner table that night, dad, I'm thinking about quitting football. And he said, No, you're not. And that was the end of the conversation at the Blakey house. So, we're going to read the story here of the wee little man Zacchaeus. This is Luke 19, verse 1, he entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, look at this. “There's a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich”. And this guy wants to come see Jesus. He would have come early on Christmas Eve, I would imagine. He was seeking to see who Jesus was. But on account of the crowd, he could not because he was small in stature. Do you notice the Bible has the best way to say things that can often come across his impolite instead of just saying, dude, you're short, right? The Bible says No, bro, you're small in stature, right? And so he, he climbed up a sycamore tree because the Lord he wanted to see right, he ran on ahead. And he climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him. So, this guy is so inductee, and Jesus, a grown man is climbing a tree to look over the crowd, because he can't see over the crowd. And he wants to see Jesus. And when Jesus came to that place, I love this. He looked up and said to him, Zacchaeus, hurry and come down. For I must stay at your house today. See, this is the way that it works. We think, wow, I'll go to church, I'll hear about Jesus, or I'll go to church because so and so keeps inviting me or I'll all be there on Christmas Eve, because it's Christmas Eve all I'll show some respect. And yeah, I'll go listen to that message. And then we show up at church and we realize, Oh, I'm not the one seeking Jesus, Jesus is the one inviting himself over to my house. You realize who the real seeker is in this story. It's not Zacchaeus. It's like, Jesus is on a mission for Zacchaeus. And he says, I'm going over your house. And so Zacchaeus hurried and came down. And he was he received him joyfully. And look, the crowd, when they saw it, they all grumbled, because everybody knew the kind of man Zacchaeus was, he has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner. Zacchaeus, he had a bad reputation, because he's a tax collector, which means he's taking money from the Jews to give it to the Romans. That's like being a trader. And also, as it's going to become clear that he is he was taken way more taxes than he should have been taken. He was taking something that was unjust amount of taxes that he was taking. There's Zacchaeus, the trader who's always ripping us off, and Jesus is inviting himself over to that guy's house. I see the crowd, they were like, That's not where I expected Jesus to celebrate. And, look, what happens is that he has stood, and he said to the Lord, behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it four fold. I mean, he's going to give away right now, half of everything he's got a year about people given 10%, how about 50% Boom, there's that key is given half of everything he's got. And then if you were supposed to pay 250, or whatever you were supposed to pay in taxes, he rips you off maybe 250. More than that. Well, now he's going to give you back 1000 Because he's giving you back four times what he ripped you off. I mean, this guy. This is a radical change of mind in the in the life of Zacchaeus. And Jesus said to him, today, salvation has come to this house, since he also is the son of Abraham. Here's what it looks like verse 10, for the Son of Man came to seek and save the last. See, maybe some people here today. You just came because he thought, yeah, I'll see what's going on at church or my, my friend just won't leave me alone. So, I'll go to church. Maybe you came to see. And now you realize that Jesus came for you. He came to seek and to save those who are lost. So what I had to do on that football team, was I had to embrace when my dad was not going to let me quit the team. I had to embrace being the shortest guy on the team. So, I just, you knocked me down. I'm going to be the first guy to get up I that's who I am. I am the smallest guy on the team. And eventually, I became like the team mascot, right? Eventually, like, the other players are like at the end of the game, if we were down by a lot, or we were winning by a lot. I didn't play in games, but at the end of the game, the players you could hear him saying, Coach, you got to put Blakey and put Blakey in right? And even the fans would start shouting, or they would say My nickname was Rebel because I was so unreal a rebel and they would all shout Reb. It was like a scene from the movie Rudy in my life is what it was. And then I got in the game. came and I was in for one play. And I'm looking around like, what do I do out here, right? And I go, and I hit a guy as hard as I possibly can. And I'm like, Yeah, I'm in a game, right? We watch it on film. The next day, I hit a guy as hard as I can, we're watching it in slow motion over and over to everyone's delight. I hit the guy as hard as I can, the guy doesn't even flinch. The guy doesn't even move. Hey, let's see that one more time in Slomo, right. So, he had to just embrace it.
See, I'm short, I'm small, I don't measure up to the standard. That's what Zacchaeus was willing to embrace. When he met Jesus, Zacchaeus was willing to say, You know what, I'm a sinner. You know what, I need Jesus to come over to my house, because I've been ripping people off. And I've been in it for the money, I've been in it for myself, I've been a greedy person, the love of money has led me to all kinds of evil, I have actually taken from people and put them in harm for myself. See, he's embracing it. This, here's a man, not just seeing, wow, Jesus is coming over. But for the first time, maybe in his entire lives that key is, is seeing what a wee little man he actually is. He's seeing something that all of us have to have our eyes open to see that all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Every single one of us is a short person. Because we don't live up to the standard that God has for us. And Zacchaeus, there was a day that he was able to see that there was a day that he was able to say that to Jesus. And Jesus wanted you to know that on that day, it wasn't because Zacchaeus was seeking out Jesus. It was because Jesus came, He was born on Christmas. And he came on this earth on a mission to search for you, to rescue you to find your soul, and to save you because you were lost. And you needed Jesus to come. So we're learning what this means that God loves us. It's actually this very powerful, profound thing, because God sent His one and only Son Jesus, and Jesus was willing to die for us. And so, wow, look who God is that he would send his only Son, wow, look who Jesus is that he would die for us. But this is the thing that makes it seem so weighty. So meaningful is when I start to see that I desperately needed God to love me. And I needed Jesus to die for me. Because if I didn't get someone to come and save me, I was going to die because of my sin. It was either Jesus, or it was me.
Go back to Romans 5:6-8. Hopefully, we've seen the emphasis that Jesus died, died, died. It's at the end of every verse. But one of the things that gets twisted at this point in churches all over America, and people who are calling themselves Christians, is they start to think that God loves me. And Jesus died for me, because I have value, because I'm worth it. Because look at me, I must be somebody, somebody that's worthy of esteem. That's why God loves me. And that's why Jesus died for me because I must have some value that I bring to God and Jesus. But that's not what our passage teaches us. That's not what the Bible is saying. Look what it actually says. It says in Romans 5:6, “while we were still weak,” I mean, you could translate that “while we were without strength.” See, we were in a situation of helplessness. We weren't, it's not that Jesus came because look what we have to offer. It's actually teaching us that Jesus came because we had nothing to offer. See, this is again, where this doesn't fit with our definition of love. Because usually the people you love are the people who love you. You the reason you might even be married is because you found out this person liked you. And once you found out that they liked you, you decided that was very attractive of them to like you in such a way. And you decided to like them back. Yeah, I highly doubt anybody here in the way we're doing it in America. You willingly married someone that you didn't like, or you didn't think like you, your kids like you, they don't have a choice to like you. It's going to be really hard for them not to like you. Alright, some of you guys are really friendly to me, and I like you because you're friendly to me. See, our definition of love is like you scratch my back. I scratch your back. And so, we think well, God loves me, and Jesus died for me. So, it must be some kind of reciprocal thing where they're getting something out of me. No, no, no, that's not what it's saying here is saying, no you there was no reason for God to love you. There was no reason for Jesus to die for you. You were weak. In fact, look at what it says next, “at the right time at this right time in God's perfect plan when the fullness of time came,” what we remember hearing Christmas and Good Friday and Easter the life of Jesus, at this right time Christ died for the… who does it say? They're not the people who had something to offer to God, not the people who were right with God. Bunch of weak people who couldn't help themselves, who weren't able to get right with God, who were actually in a rebellion against God. And that's what we've learned so far in Romans is that God has wrath against all ungodliness. And we were the ungodly. This is who I mean, in Romans 5:8 in our definition, it wants to make it very clear. I mean, this passage, it's putting in these different words, to describe it to us while we were still, this is what love looks like. This is why Christ died for us. “While we were still” say it with me, everybody, what are we? Sinners, sinners, I'm short. I’ve fallen short of God's glory. God had a standard that he wanted me to live. I have not lived up to the standard that God had for me. God created me in his image, God gave me everything I've ever received was a gift. And I wasn't even thankful I didn't even do what God wanted me to. I was weak, I wasn't able to do it. Even if I tried, I was ungodly. I actually did many things that I know God didn't want me to do. I was a sinner, I missed the mark, I fell short of the glory of God. It goes on to say in verse 10. Go down to Romans 5:10. “For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son. It's not even like we had nothing to offer. It's like we were living our life opposed to God and his ways.
See, this is a kind of love that we don't really know about. Where you go, and you find the person who committed a crime against you, you find the person who stabbed you in the back, you find the person who betrayed you, who was against you. And you go to them, and you love them, not because they have anything to offer you, just because you want to love. That's who our God is. That's why Jesus died for you. Don't make it like, oh, it's about me. No, no, it wasn't based on who you were. And see, this is where you have to humble yourself, you have to acknowledge, you have to make a confession. To make a confession means that God says something and you agree with it. That's what a confession is. And what God says is, you're a sinner, you're an enemy, you were weak, and you were ungodly. And he, because of his great love with which he loved us, he decided to send his son, and Jesus was willing to die for you, not because of anything to do with you, just because they have love. And so when you actually confess that you are a sinner, that's when you can rightly understand what it means that God loves me. And Jesus died for me, because I was a sinner who desperately needed a Savior.
Let's get that down for point number three: You need to confess you're a sinner who needs a savior. That's how we were all born. We were all born into sin. And this is something we learned this year going through the book of Romans. And in fact, I was overwhelmed with how convincing Paul's case was back in Romans 3:10-18. Can everybody turn back to Romans 3:10-18? This was such a helpful passage. And God used this passage to open eyes so that people could see they were a sinner, and they needed Jesus for the first time in their lives. Because we have an inclination to think of ourselves as the good guy, to think of ourselves as a good person. In fact, many other people tell us, we are good people. And the standard we often used to describe if we're good people are not as we compare ourselves to other people, we compare ourselves to our enemies, to criminals, to people we can tell have done something wrong. And we say I haven't done that. If they're evil, and I haven't done that, therefore, I am good. But this passage teaches us a different way to think. It says here in Romans 3:10, and this quotes from all over the Hebrew Bible that Paul puts together here. It says, “as it is written: None is righteous. No, not one. No one understands no one seeks for God.” Do you see what it's saying here? “All have turned aside together; they have become worthless. No one does good not even,” not even you, “not even one.” You see now in Romans 5, what he's saying, hey, would you die for a righteous person? Like, would you. if someone was a good person? Would you die for them? See, he's making a comparison. Maybe scarcely, but possibly, someone would be willing to trade their life, if they thought the other person was of such a value of such a worth, that they were righteous or good. Maybe someone would lay down their life for that person. But that's not what Jesus did for us. We weren't righteous, we weren't good. No one is righteous, no one is good. See, this is a kind of love that goes beyond anything natural. This is a supernatural, unconditional kind of love, where God decided to send his son and Jesus was willing to die for you, just because they chose to love you, not because of you. Because this is when you can start to understand that you’re short is when you compare yourself, not to other people, how do I measure up to them, but when you start comparing yourself to God, that's when you see who you really are. When you look at a God who is holy, who is just, who does everything right. And then you start seeing what he says, and you start comparing that to yourself. Now you're going to have an accurate picture of yourself. You can't go to the mirror of the word and say, hey, how do I compare to other people? You got to go to the mirror of the Word and say, God, how do I compare to you and you're going to see that you're a wee little man compared to the holy God in heaven, that you're a sinner. And yet Jesus wants to still come over to your house. See, and, and one of the things… look what it goes to in Romans 3:13, this was so powerful. It says, “Their throat is an open grave.” See, you might not think you've done anything that bad, you might think you're pretty good. You care about other people. But what about the things that you say? It's like, death is coming out of their mouth. It's like lies are coming out of their tongues. It's like they're speaking like snakes. It's like they got poison. Something that tears down, that's rotten, that cuts that makes people sick. “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” Are you telling me that you've never said something that you can tell, as soon as you said it, it crushed the person you said it to? I've never thrown any sticks or any stones? Yeah, but have you spoken things that hurt people? Have you said things so that you would have a feeling of life while you took it from somebody else? See, we will be judged for every careless word. And the point of Jesus saying that is we all can understand that we do have careless words. In fact, I can honestly tell you, the people I've heard the most in my life are the people I'm going to celebrate Christmas with. Because I've said things that I shouldn't have said to them, things that did not give life, that did not build up, that did not communicate the grace of God, things that were about me, things that elevated me above them, things that weren't even true, but they made me feel good when I said them. See, that's what it's saying here. That's a universal human experience. Everybody here is told the lie. Everybody's hurt somebody by the words that you've said. Where do those words come from? from your goodness from your righteousness? It goes on in Romans 3:15. It says, “their feet are swift to shed blood and their paths are ruined and misery, the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God, before their eyes.” It's saying, hey, just look back at the consequences of your life. Look back at all the things you've done and all the Christmases that you've been graced with, look back at the consequences. There's never been anything in your life that produced an ugly consequence. That looking back on it, you wish you hadn't done this, or you hadn't chosen to be there with that person? See, it's saying, can you see the destruction that your own actions have caused throughout your life? Or their broken relationships? Are there Christmases and times that we would think of joy and celebration, but they were not that way because of you because of your actions? See, it's in comparing yourself to God. Think about what you've said, look at the consequences of what you've done. Can you confess, can you make the good confession before God and before your family? And can you turn yourself in that, yes, I am a sinner, and I needed God to love me, and I needed Jesus to die for me or I was going to die in my sins. That's why I celebrate Christmas, because it means something to me. Because, if Jesus came to save sinners, I was one of those people. And I needed him to save me. That's why I'm here on Christmas Eve. Because I didn't come to see Jesus. I wasn't seeking after God. No, he came to seek after me. He's the one with the love, and the goodness and the righteousness, not me. See now when you can really understand that God loves you. And that Jesus died for you. And you feel it because it means something. Because if he didn't do that for you, you're busted. You're judged forever. You're going to die in your sin, you got nothing to celebrate. You don't have good news of great joy. You got sure and impending doom, see, when you see yourself as a sinner, and you hear the angel say, hey, there's born a savior. That's something you want to hear. That's something you want to take to heart. That's something you want to go tell that on the mountain, you want to let the world know you want to sing along with the angels. Hey, God loves me. And he was willing to send his Son to die for me, even me, a sinner, a short person. And one of the things that's become acceptable now in our culture, one of the things I hear people saying is, hey, it's Christmas time or holiday time. And there's this phrase now, right? Do you celebrate? Have you heard people talking like that? Do you choose to celebrate? What holiday do you celebrate?
So, we live in a world where people can think that because they don't believe they're a sinner, they're actually not a sinner. We got facts, we got truth. We got a whole lifetime of tape that we could rewind. Everything you've done has been written down in a book. You can believe and you can celebrate whatever you want. The fact is that God loved you and he sent Jesus to die for you and you desperately needed it because you are a sinner. Those are the facts. Whether you choose to believe them or not. And I tell you, I choose to celebrate Jesus Christ. I do celebrate Jesus. That's the theme of my life. In fact, what Jesus did when he came in, he was born, and he lived a righteous life, and he died in my place. His life has now become my life. So yes, I celebrate Jesus.
Go to 2 Corinthians chapter 5. Here's an example of what it should mean for us that God loved us, that Jesus died for us. That we were sinners, and we desperately needed a Savior, this is not something we should be remembering on one day out of the year. It says here in 2 Corinthians 5:14, it says, “the love of Christ controls us, or the love of Christ compels us. It's like I'm all stirred up on the inside, I'm shook up over this. All right, I'm like a carbonated beverage. You shake me up, I'm going to explode. You start telling me about how God loves me, you start getting me to think about how Jesus, some guy, he didn't even know some guy who was his enemy, some short guy, he died for that guy, he died for me, a sinner that I'm loved by a father in heaven. And I've got the proof that Jesus died on that cross to pay for my sins. See, this is compelling to me. This is controlling to me. This is now an overriding motivation of why I'm not just going to celebrate Christmas, I'm going to celebrate Jesus every single day of the year. It says here, that “the love of Christ controls us.” Because we have concluded this, this is what we've come to see and understand. Here. It says that “one has died for all, therefore all have died.” And he died for all that those who live might no longer live for themselves. But for him, who for their sake, died and was raised. Saying the love of Christ is so compelling, it's so powerful, that you should stop living for yourself in your sin, and you should see the gift that you've been given in Jesus, and you should now live your life for him because he died for you. He was raised to give you a new life.
See, we've started this tradition. We started at the men's retreat last year, we make a whole new kind of Christmas list now here at Compass HP. And if you've never made a list like this, I want to encourage you people make Christmas lists. I mean, this is how Christmas has become, this is corporate America here everybody. What would you like me to get you for Christmas? Could you please write it down on the list? Could you please actually just send me the link. Thank you very much. This is where we're at. I'm not going to consider you and what I should give you. Why don't you just shorten the whole thing? Tell me what you want, I'll get it for you. See, I want you to make a Christmas list. If you've never done this before a Christmas list, that's not here's what I want for Christmas, a Christmas list, that's actually, here's what I need for Christmas. And what I need is I said this, and I did this, and I shouldn't have gone there. And I shouldn't have done that thing. And I need all of this to be paid for. And when you find out that the list of the most wretched things you've ever done, got paid for by God's one and only Son, Jesus, who came on a search and rescue mission to pay for you. See, that's compelling, that's controlling, that makes you want to live your whole life, not for yourself, but for the one who died for you. Because he died for all. And that's why we're here to say, Merry Christmas, let's pray.
Father in heaven, we really need to hear this, whether we're hearing it for the first time, or whether we're hearing it for the 40th time. We need to hear that you showed your love for us. And that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Father, I pray that we leave here understanding all three of those things that you are a loving God, and that Jesus really did have to go through a brutal and painful death. Not only that he had to face your wrath for our sin as our propitiation, he had to satisfy your anger for what we had done, so that we could receive your love. And we really did have sin that needed to be paid for, we really did have a long Christmas list. We were on the wrong side of the Christmas list. And Jesus paid it for us. Father, I pray that you will stir us up that you will shake us up. I pray that the love of Christ will compel us. I pray that we would celebrate Christmas with tears, that we would remember the one who was born for one purpose to die, so that we could live and let us take this good news. And let us enjoy this great joy. And let us sing along with the angels that there was born a baby, was laid in a manger and he was Christ the Lord, and he came because God loved me. He came to die for me, he came because I was a sinner. And let us all say here together, Glory to the newborn king glory be forevermore to Jesus, our Savior and our Lord. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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