The Power Of God's Love

Listen to the message

Series: Ministry of Reconciliation

Sun am 23rd October 2011 – Kobus Swart

2 Cor. 5:14-21; 1 Tim. 2:1-4; (Job 42:2); John 3:16; Matt. 22:34-40; Rom. 8:19-21, 26-39 (Msg);

Luke 14:16-24 (Msg); John 1:12; 2 Thess. 5:23

God is a person and He can choose how and in which expression He wants to manifest Himself. For example, He doesn’t just love – He is love.

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. The Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world. That means our sins have been forgiven long before we actually came to Him. We died in Him before the foundation of the world. Religion taught us that love is earned; you have to do something to be loved.

And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Christians still evaluate one another according to what the other does or does not do. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. Too often the non-Christian experiences the ministry of condemnation coming from the Christian. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:14-21).

God has a desire. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:3-4). No purpose of God can ever be thwarted or fall to the ground (Job 42:2).  This awareness should be implicit in the ministry of reconciliation. God so loved the world that whosoever believes in Him should not perish. Jesus takes the whole of the Old Testament law and the prophets and summarises them as follows: You shall love the Lord your God as He loves you, with all your strength, your soul and you mind. The second is like it, you shall love your neighbour as yourself (Matt. 22:34-40). Everything hangs on this one activity of (Agape) love.

We’ve been impregnated by the living Word. The longer we wait, the bigger we become, but there comes the time of birth. All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs… But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy. What we must remember is that God’s original plan for man, is still His ultimate intention! That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. We must all conform to the image of His son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. He is the first born, which means there are many to follow; He will bring many sons to glory!.This is describing God working out His desire to have all men come to the knowledge of the truth. We are on the way to hearing the Father’s voice, ‘this is My corporate Son in the earth!’

So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us (Rom. 8:19-21, 26-39).

Sadly, often the ‘invited guests’ are too busy with other things. Jesus further illustrates this in a parable: “Yes. For there was once a man who threw a great dinner party and invited many. When it was time for dinner, he sent out his servant to the invited guests, saying, ‘Come on in; the food’s on the table.’ “Then they all began to beg off, one after another making excuses. The first said, ‘I bought a piece of property and need to look it over. Send my regrets.’ “Another said, ‘I just bought five teams of oxen, and I really need to check them out. Send my regrets.’ “And yet another said, ‘I just got married and need to get home to my wife.’ “The servant reported back, ‘Master, I did what you commanded— and there’s still room.’ “The master said, ‘Then go to the country roads. Whoever you find, drag them in. I want my house full! Let me tell you, not one of those originally invited is going to get so much as a bite at my dinner party'” (Luke 14:16-24). This is God’s love in action; this is why He sent His Son.

One reason why people generally are no longer impressed by the gospel, is the way in which heaven is being preached as a way of escape out of this world. Our eschatology shapes our ethics; the way we see the future will determine how we live. Ethics is about how you live, how you order your life. The way we see heaven, shapes how we live now.

Yes, Jesus did confirm that heaven is a real place, a space. He explained heaven as a dimension in God; it’s another realm of existence where only God’s will is done. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:10). Can it be here on earth? Yes. The earth belongs to God! Jesus demonstrated that heaven and earth were united in Him. The way we see heaven will affect the way we spend our energies on earth. In the book of Revelation we are told we are going to rule and reign with Christ; that means to participate with Christ in the ordering of things on earth. What do we mean by “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”? Can you see heaven being polluted? A new heaven and new earth doesn’t mean the old earth is going to explode and God will re-create a new earth. God is going to make the earth new like you were made new when we were born again.

What needs to be included in this dialogue, however, is what the apostle Paul believed. There is a dimension of life, a realm beyond the one we currently inhabit, but these two realms are connected. You and I are not quite capable of defining what resurrection life and the redemption of our bodies actually means. The full and final manifestation of sonship includes the redemption of our bodies. In 2 Thess. 5:23 Paul says, “May you be saved, spirit, soul and body at the coming of our Lord Jesus.” We must not forget that death has also been conquered!

That is the attitude every Christian should have. There will be a generation that will shepherd history to its conclusion. Can we be that generation?