Message Scripture:

“The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.” – Jeremiah 31:3 (KJV)

Introduction:

Greetings CLMNWA Family!  We are going to be one message closer to wrapping up this “Finding Your Way Back To God” series.  I’m excited to see what God is going to speak to us about in this message, and so I hope you’ll join me as we talk about one of the most important things we’ll ever come to understand.  The number one area people struggle in with their walk with God is truly believing that they are loved and valuable to God.  Most of the time the reason is we’re so focused on our sin and shortcomings that we believe that they separate us from His love.  I believe God is going to deal with some myths and wrong beliefs about His love for us, and so I think it’s time for me to get out of His way…and let Him talk to us about a truth that is never, ever-changing because HE is never-changing…and therefore His love never changes!

Let’s Worship The Lord:

As I was preparing to write this the Lord immediately brought to my mind Chris Tomlin’s “Jesus He Loves Me” as the perfect song to accompany this message.  So, I’m going to add that song to the message, and encourage you to listen to it as you are reading.

 – “Jesus He Loves Me” by Chris Tomlin

God Loves Me Deeply After All:

As I mentioned in the introduction the greatest area of struggle in the life of a believer isn’t sin, but it’s really believing and knowing that God the Father loves us with the everlasting love He says He does.  I believe one of the reasons Jesus’ ministry was so powerful is because He never wavered in His belief that He was loved by the Father, and if we want our lives to be as powerful as Jesus’ was then we have to get a place where we are convinced (like Paul writes) that there isn’t ANYTHING that can separate us from the love of God.

Listen, God loved us all so much that while we were yet sinners…He gave His life not only so that we could live with Him in eternity, but so that we could know right now today that He loves us with a love that never ends, never fails, never changes, and never dies.  We sing about it in so many of our songs today…including one of the most popular songs done by many artists today “Your Love Never Fails”.  Yet…we still have this doubt in our minds and hearts that God loves us.  I know it because I read it in your tweets and post and comments.  I see the lack of faith and belief that God loves you….and today’s message is about destroying those myths and getting us to understand that God doesn’t love us because of us or something we do or don’t do.  God loves us because God IS love…and therefore there is never anything in God’s heart for us other than true, authentic, genuine, everlasting, never-failing, perfect, and always unconditional love.

In the swirl of your new life with the Father, the next awakening may feel more like a step backward than a step forward. God is offering you something you want and need—a welcome home. But something inside you may want to resist. Being welcomed home by your heavenly Father and received into the family—no questions asked—may seem totally unrealistic for someone who has wandered so far and so long.

I know how hard it is to believe that this holy, sovereign, almighty God that created us could really love us as much as the Bible says He does, and I know from my own experience how hard it is to received that love when you look at your life through the lens of this perfect God.  This God that demanded that the letter of the law He gave Moses to be followed or it would bring death.  It’s hard to believe that all of the things we have done to offend God can simply be erased by accepting His Son’s sacrifice in our place, but that’s exactly what God did to prove His love for us.

Romans 5:8 (Amplified) says:  “But God clearly shows proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

God has clearly shown and proven His love for us because of the fact that while we were still sinners Jesus died for us.  The one verse in the Bible everyone knows is that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that whosoever would believe upon Him would have everlasting life.  God proved He was and is and always will be love by giving His life so that we could live ours with the blessed assurance that not only would we one day be with Him in Heaven for all of eternity, but so that we would have the assurance right here, right now today that He loves us with a love that is unbreakable, unfailing, unchanging, unconditional, and that is from everlasting to everlasting just like He is.  We know from many of my messages that God isn’t love because love is something God does or has…God is love because love is what God IS.  God IS Love…and therefore since He is never changing or failing…so is His love because…love IS God.  God IS Love…and therefore there is absolutely nothing we can do to separate ourselves from His love because He cannot separate Himself.

In order for God to stop loving us…He would have to stop being Himself.

I’m loving this message…how about you!?!  I feel like this message is going to really deal with some of the myths and doubts we have about God’s love for us.  If we can ever get to a place where we truly believe and KNOW in our hearts that God loves us…then we can finally reach that place of power that Jesus was the example for us.

We call this stage of your journey your awakening. At this point, we start by saying, “I don’t deserve this.” God’s acceptance is just too unbelievable. But what God says and does is so entirely of what we think we deserve that we are moved to the most amazing realization: “God loves me deeply after all.”

The sooner we get to the place that we understand that God’s love isn’t dependent upon our performance…the sooner we’ll get to that place that Jesus was at throughout His earthly ministry.  Jesus never once doubted or questioned the Father’s love for Him.  He KNEW He was God’s Son.  He KNEW God loved Him.  He KNEW that God’s love for Him wasn’t based upon what He did…but because Love is Who and What God IS.  There was never, ever a moment that Jesus questioned or doubted the Father’s love for Him…and He prayed that WE would know that also.

God loves us deeply after all.  He really DOES love us.  He really DOES love us in spite of who we are, what we’ve done, and what kind of life we have or are living. There really isn’t anything we can do or not do that would cause God not to love us.  Why?  Because God IS Love.  Not loving us is going against the very nature of God, my friends.  He can’t stop loving us because His love for us has nothing to do with us…it has nothing to do with our performance…His love for us is based upon WHO He is and WHAT He IS…and that is why no matter what we may feel about ourselves or think about our lives…He never…ever…has anything but love for us in His heart because love isn’t something He has or does…Love is Who God IS.

The only statement we make about God’s love that is true is the fact that we don’t deserve it, but that’s what grace is…we receive God’s unmerited favor, mercy, grace, and love…and again it has nothing to do with us and everything to do with Who HE IS.

You can see why we say that a spiritual tug of war accompanies our homecoming. We have one set of convictions about ourselves, and God has another. We look at our past filled with failure and shame, and he looks at who we are with love and compassion.

That’s why this awakening is a huge breakthrough. We are realizing, perhaps for the first time, that none of us deserve a second chance, none of us deserve to be forgiven, and we certainly don’t deserve to be loved unconditionally. But we are! You are! You don’t deserve it, but God gives it to you anyway.

One of my favorite songs on the radio right now is a song by a group called Sidewalk Prophets.  The song is called “You Love Me Anyway”, and the reason this song is so awesome (to me) is because it speaks to the fact that no matter who we are, where we come from, what we have done…God still loves us anyways.  It doesn’t matter if we’re like Judas or the soldiers pounding in the nails or the one spitting in His face or the one that mocks Him…He loves us anyways.  It doesn’t matter if we have been a three-time convicted felon or never broken the law.  No matter who we are or what we have done…God still loves us anyways…and if we could get that to travel that six to nine-inch journey from our heads to our hearts…then we would stop being so consumed with worry as to what it is we can do that would cause God not to love us anymore.

The answer to that question is a resounding NOTHING.

Do you know why we can’t lose God’s love…because we never had to do anything to get it.  He loved us before we were ever even born.  Friend…you are more beloved by the Father than anyone in this world.  Listen…my wife loves me with all of her heart, and I believe that my little girl does too…but neither of them love me more than God does…and while I love my wife and my daughter…I equally know and understand that God loves them more than I do.  There’s no one in this world that can or ever will love you more than God.  There is no one in this world that you are more valuable to than God.  You are the absolute joy of God’s heart…and He loves you with that unfailing, everlasting love that we sing about in church.

The thing is we need to get that from being a song we sing…to something we know in our hearts…and when we do that we will finally learn to start walking in the very power, authority, confidence, and assurance that Jesus walked the earth with…Amen!?!

If you’re like most of us, you know all about the soundtrack of shame. Shame whispers, “You don’t really matter” and “You are not lovable.” Shame shouts, “No more chances for you!” Shame brings self-condemnation, and when we first encounter grace, we find ourselves repeating, “I don’t deserve this.”

Listen.  Here’s some truth for all of us.  None of us deserve what Jesus did for us.  Not even the “best” of us.  The truth is even the “best” of us are still guilty of breaking God’s laws, and therefore having some reason they’re still undeserving of what Jesus did.  Every one of us deserves to face the wrath of God that Jesus faced, and every one of us deserves the sentence of death that Jesus endured for us because THAT is how God proves His love for us in that we were still in our sin…Jesus died in our place so that we could have His because that’s how much God loves us and desires to have a relationship with us.

Friends.  We all reach points where we are sure that we have finally separated ourselves from God’s love only to find that He’s still waiting on the porch of our lives for us to return to Him.  We all find ourselves in a place where we wonder how a holy, righteous God could love such sinful people, and the answer still remains to this day the reason God loves us is because that is Who and What God IS…Love.  He cannot deny Himself.  He cannot go against His own character.  So…He can’t not love us because He IS Love…and it doesn’t matter what we feel or think about ourselves…it only matters what the Word of God says…and the Word of God says that God loves us.

Listen.  My wife will occasionally ask me the “why do you love me?” question, and the truth of the matter is no matter how unromantic it sounds my answer is always the same.  I just do.  You see the moment we start saying “I love you because” the next thing out of your mouth is a condition.  So, if we say I love you because you are a great cook…what happens when the meals start getting burned and don’t taste all that great…there is a failed expectation and with a failed expectation comes the failure to meet the condition…and before you know it…there’s a reason why I don’t love you anymore.

You see, it may not sound romantic to tell someone “I love you just because I do”, but by doing that what you are doing is taking the burden of having to “earn” or “maintain” that love off the other person’s shoulders.  My wife doesn’t have to do anything to “earn” my love because she didn’t DO anything to earn it.  Let’s take it a step further.  By now, most of you know I have a daughter that’s now two years old.  My daughter has never had to do anything to earn my love…she had it before she even got here…and it was made even more intense when she arrived…and two years later I just told her the other day there isn’t anything she can do that would ever cause me to stop loving her…and the reason for that is because there isn’t anything she did that caused me to start loving her other than be born.

It’s the same between us and God.  There isn’t anything we can do to get God to stop loving us because there wasn’t anything we did to earn it in the first place.  The Bible says that He knew us before He even placed us in our mother’s womb.  He knew and loved us before He even allowed us to be conceived.  God loved you before you were even conceived.  Now, I know this is silly, but you didn’t have anything to do with being conceived.  You didn’t have anything to do with earning God’s love before He created you…so how is it that you think that just because you did something wrong that all of a sudden the God that loved you before you were even conceived would stop loving you based on something you did or didn’t do.  He never started loving you based on something you did or didn’t do.  He loved you because He loves you…and there isn’t any reason or condition attached to it other than…He just simply loves you.

So…no.  We don’t deserve it…but it was never our decision or choice to deserve God’s love.  Even as unbelievers God loved us while we were still living in our sin.  At no point has God ever not loved us…because He loved us before the foundations of the earth.  He loved us before time ever began.  He loved us before we were even thought of or conceived.  So…again I say there isn’t anything we can or cannot do to deserve His love…and therefore there isn’t anything we can do or cannot do to separate ourselves from it.

Isn’t it interesting that in all of the things Paul prayed over us he prayed that we would know the height, width, depth, and strength of God’s love for us!?!  Even Jesus prayed that we would KNOW the love of the Father.  That we would KNOW that we are ONE with Him just as He and the Father were one.  And…we all know that out of all the things Jesus said the world would know the disciples by He said the world would know His people by LOVE.  Why?  Because that’s how the world is supposed to recognize God.  God is love…and if we are created in the image of God and if we are His ambassadors in the earth…then the one thing all of the ambassadors for Christ ought to have and be willing to share with the world is that love of God that is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost.

Friends…we have the God-kind of love living on the inside of us because of the Holy Ghost.  What power we could have if we’d first recognize that the Father’s love for us is perfect, unconditional, and never failing…and recognize that same love is on the inside of each and every one of us through the Holy Ghost.  In other words, we can love others because He gives us the ability to love others by living on the inside of us in the Person of the Holy Ghost.

Well, let’s give the final point to this message and close. Amen!?!

Do not let your past mistakes and failures define you. That is the voice of shame. You aren’t what you’ve done or not done. You are not what’s been done to you. You are who God says you are. His child.

And He loves you with that everlasting, never changing, never failing, never conditional, and always perfect God-kind of love.  He agape’s you! Amen!?!

Let’s Pray:

Heavenly  Father, I invite You to make Yourself at home in my heart. Send my roots deep into the soil of Your marvelous love. Grant me the power to understand its scope—its width, length, height, and depth. Allow me the privilege of experiencing and recognizing that love every day. And Lord, as You teach me more about Your love for me, please fulfill the promise that accompanies a deeper understanding of this gift—fill me with the fullness of life and power that comes from You alone. In Jesus name, Amen!

Final Word from Pastor B:

Friends, isn’t it good to know that there isn’t anything we can do to deserve or earn God’s love!?!  I imagine many of us try to “earn” God’s love because we base our relationship with our Heavenly Father based upon how we relate to our earthly father.  But, I want you to know that no matter what your earthly father says or does there’s a Father that loves you more than anyone in this world…including your earthly daddy.  Our Heavenly Father loves us more than anyone or anything in this world…and there isn’t anything we can do to earn it, we can’t work for it, and there’s nothing we can do to deserve it or not…God just simply loves us because He does…and because of Love is Who HE IS…not what He has or does.

So…be encouraged beloved and know there is Someone that loves you more than anyone else in the world.  He gave His life to prove and show it.  He gave His life for you regardless of how pure or messy your life is…and He wants you to experience and know…and share that love with the world.  But…before you can share it…you have to believe it is there, you have to receive it…and then you can share the love of God that is shed abroad in YOUR heart by the Holy Ghost.

I have homework for you…but I don’t want you to answer these questions for me.  I want you to take them into your secret place with God…and ask Him to reveal the answers of these questions to you. Amen!?!  Here’s your homework:

Do you feel a spiritual tug of war going on inside you? If so, how would you describe it?

Thank you so much for joining me for the fourth message of this series.  I hope it’s helped you to understand and have a better grasp of the Father’s love for you.  Please join me one more time as we wrap up this series in the next and final message by talking about:  “Now THIS Is Living”.

Have a blessed day in the Lord & God Bless!

Blessings & Grace;

Pastor B

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