Today’s Scripture:  Romans 8:35

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Romans 8:35

Introduction:

Welcome to the first day of our new series from John Piper titled:  “The Fascinating Love of God“.  We want you to know that Jesus came into the world to save sinners.  And this is really good news. In this 3-day devotional, John Piper walks through key biblical texts to explain the fascinating love of God.

I believe that it’s extremely important to know as much as we can about the love God has for us.  The number one area that Christians struggle in the most is their personal walk with God, and the number one reason for this struggle is that most Christians don’t really know or believe that God truly does love them as they are.

So…we’re going to spend the next three days talking about the Love of God, and today we’re kicking it off with today’s message which is subtitled:  “Three Things to Learn in Romans 8:35”

Opening Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we thank You for leading us to this series about your fascinating love.  God, I ask You to show us that Fascinating, Extravagant love that You have for us.  Allow the blinders and scales of religion to fall from our eyes as Your Word teaches us the truth about Your love for us.  I ask that You would make Your love real to each reader…as well as myself…during this series.  Help us to learn more about Your Love, and help us to sense and feel and know Your Love.  Father, I ask that You would speak Your Love to us…that many for the first time may actually hear You speak to their hearts that You love them.

Father, I ask that You would anoint me with the Holy Spirit to preach and teach and write only of the oracles of You, and that You would supply me with that supernatural ability from the Holy Ghost to write clear, precise, and powerful messages that will pierce deep into the heart of every reader…and my heart as well.

I ask that You would be glorified through this series, and that You love would be made known to the nations…and felt in our lives and homes.  I ask finally that You would make my fingers as those of a pen of a ready writer…writing only that which You would have me to say…and I thank You for changed lives, transformed minds, challenged hearts, and renewed minds…and for fresh revelation of Your love for us.  I ask these things in Jesus’ name…Amen & Amen.

Praise & Worship:

Since we’re talking about the Love of God I can’t think of a better song then “Your Love Is Extravagant”.  I wish to God that I would’ve been able to record my friend Kevin Hammond‘s version of this song because I promise you it brought me to tears every time I heard him sing it, but I was able to find a version by the original artist Darrell Evans.  You might remember him for “Trading My Sorrows”.  However, here is his version of “Your Love Is Extravagant”.

 

 “Three Things to Learn in Romans 8:35”

Well, glory to God.  I am so thankful that you’re joining me for this series today.  We’re going to be talking about Three things that we can learn from Romans 8:35 about the Fascinating Love of God.  I really enjoyed the last series we did with John Piper, and I’m expecting this to be just as good…and I hope you enjoy it, learn from it, apply it, and are transformed by it.

As a side note, I would really appreciate your feedback.  I know it’s hard to believe, but when I get no response from messages it makes me wonder if I’m reaching anyone, and it would be encouraging to know if you’re being reached, helped, encouraged, or challenged by what we’re writing.  So, please feel free to let us know if you’re enjoying this series…it really does help to encourage me.  I was stunned to read a Facebook post by Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke basically saying the same thing, but I was also encouraged because if an Evangelist like him needs encouragement…then I understand it’s okay for me to need it some times too.  So, I would love to hear from you.

Now, on to the message.  As always, we’ll post John Piper’s writings, and then we’ll talk about it.  So without any further delays…let’s get into “Three Things to Learn in Romans 8:35”.

1. Christ is loving us now.

You know, it’s funny how when we’re going through school that we’ll meet someone, and promise to love them forever.  I can’t tell you how many times I thought that the person I was dating was the one that I was going to love forever.  Sad to say that I can’t even remember some of them now…and as always God knew better than I did about who was right for me.  Most of those relationships I wasn’t capable of even giving or expressing love because I can readily admit that I didn’t know what love was…and I also couldn’t give it because I didn’t have it in my heart to give.  I had changed, expectations changed, and eventually the relationship changed too.  How many of you know that one of the greatest things about Jesus is that He is not only still alive and loving us today, but He never changes.  In fact, we may often quote that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”, but not really know that it’s Bible…and it’s found in Hebrews 13:8 (KJV).

“A wife might say of her deceased husband: Nothing will separate me from his love. She might mean that the memory of his love will be sweet and powerful all her life. But that is not what Paul means here.

In Romans 8:34 it says plainly, “Christ Jesus is the one who died, more than that, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” The reason Paul can say that nothing will separate us from the love of Christ is because Christ is alive and is still loving us now.

He is at the right hand of God and is therefore ruling for us. And he is interceding for us, which means he is seeing to it that his finished work of redemption does in fact save us hour by hour and bring us safe to eternal joy. His love is not a memory. It is a moment-by-moment action by the omnipotent, living Son of God, to bring us to everlasting joy.” – written by John Piper

Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ because Jesus IS alive.  How many of you know that no matter how much a person who loved us that is no longer living…they can no longer love us once they’re gone?  I know that it gives comfort to believe, think, and say that certain loved ones are “watching over us”…but the truth is they’re not doing that at all.  Everyone of our loved ones that have passed away are either with Jesus or waiting to be judged by Jesus depending upon what they decided to do about accepting or rejecting Him as Lord and Savior while they were here.  If they’re with Jesus.  I promise you the only thing their eyes are gazing upon is the beautiful face of Jesus.  Jesus, however, IS very much alive, and He is very much loving us now.  He’s at the right hand of the Father ruling for and over us, interceding and praying for us on our behalf, and continuing the work of redemption within us.

I love this:  “His love is not a memory.  It is a moment-by-moment action by the Omnipotent, living Son of God, to bring us to everlasting joy.”  His love isn’t like the love of my late grandmother’s love…it’s not based in memory, but it’s based in the moments of the here and now.  What a Savior!  What a Lord!  What a God! What love!

2. This love of Christ is effective in protecting us from separation, and therefore is not a universal love for all, but a particular love for his people, those who, according to Romans 8:28, love God and are called according to his purpose.

“This is the love of Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her.” It is Christ’s love for the church, his bride. Christ has a love for all, and he has a special, saving, preserving love for his bride. You know you are part of that bride if you trust Christ. Anyone, no exceptions, anyone who trusts Christ can say, I am part of his bride, his church, his called and chosen ones, the ones who verse 35 says are kept and protected forever no matter what.” written by John Piper

If you’re a whosoever who has called upon the name of the Lord…this love is for you. It’s a particular love for His people. God does indeed love the whole world. He loved it so much that He sent Jesus as proof of His love for the world.

I love this because as a married man I understand this difference.  I do have a love in my heart for the world that I never had before, and I know that’s because the love of God is shed abroad in my heart by the Holy Ghost.  God loves the world, and little by little I find more of His love for the world invading my heart.  However, I have a much different love for my wife then I do the world, and I also have a much different love for those whom have personal relationships with me then I do for my next door neighbor.

There’s much more that can be said about this, and if you’d like to know more you can find it at this link here: Four Kinds of Love: Greek Words Agape, Phileo, Storge, Eros. I don’t have a lot of time to go into a long side journey about the different kinds of love, but there are three of them that are biblical, and the fourth is just good to know because it’s the romantic kind of love that I was talking about in regards to the different kind of love I have for my wife versus anyone else.

Therefore, I’m just saying that I can now relate and understand why God can love people who are truly His differently than those who are not.  I never really understood that before because my thought was that God loves everyone equally…and it’s true He does love the entire world…but I know I have a different level of intimacy with God than someone who doesn’t believe in Him at all.  That doesn’t mean God loves them any differently than He loves me.  It  just means that I’m more aware of His love than an unbeliever, but I learned something here.  See…that’s what this is all about…it’s all of us learning…even me.

I don’t know about anyone else, but the more I know about God’s love the more it helps me to be encouraged that this love is mine…and like Romans 8:35 says…there’s nothing that can separate me from it…except for my lack of knowledge of it.  I mean Paul prayed for the Philippians that they would know the height, depth, length, width, and measure of God’s love for them…it’s important to have true revelation of God’s love for us.

3. This omnipotent, effective, protecting love does not spare us from calamities in this life, but brings us safe to everlasting joy with God.

Here’s the answer for all of you who have the question of:  “If God loves the world so much how come there’s so much calamities, disasters, and devastating things going on in the world to believers and non-believers?”  Friends, God never promised that we’d never face trials, tests, persecution, calamity, heart ache, fire, and the like…He did, however, promise that if we would put our faith and trust in Him that not only would we not go through them alone, but that He would bring us through them stronger…and that, friends, is the essence of Romans 8:28.  God didn’t say that all things would “BE” good, but that all things would work together “FOR” good to those who love God and are called according to His purposes.

“Death will happen to us, but it will not separate us. So when Paul says in verse 35 that the “sword” will not separate us from the love of Christ, he means: even if we are killed we are not separated from the love of Christ.” written by John Piper

Listen, we cannot escape the birth pains of the world.  Everything that’s happening today is not just a result of the fall of man, but of a world that’s speeding towards that wondrous day when the trumpet sounds.  There’s a day coming when we’re going to meet up with Jesus and all those who have gone on to die with Jesus in their hearts, and the reason there’s such chaos and turmoil today is because we’re rapidly approaching that day.

We’re past the point of hoping that things will eventually get better.  We’re speeding towards end times events faster than ever before, and that’s why there’s so much hurt and pain in the earth.  The earth is moaning and groaning for the return of the King of kings and Lord of lords…and that’s why there’s so much happening today that seems beyond the control of God…but it’s not beyond His control.  In fact, He’s very much in control of everything that’s happening.  There’s nothing that’s going on that He doesn’t know about.

“So the sum of the matter in verse 35 is this: Jesus Christ is mightily loving his people with omnipotent, moment-by-moment love that does not always rescue us from calamity but preserves us for everlasting joy in his presence even through suffering and death.” written by John Piper

So, let this be of encouragement to you to know that there’s nothing, absolutely nothing that can or will separate you from the love of God.  It’s always available to us, and it’s there as our protection as well.  All of us who have called upon the name of the Lord are held corporately and individually in the very palm of God.  How many of you know, there’s not a safer place to be.  Considering the things He’s done with just His finger…I don’t know about you, but the picture I get when calamity seeks to come my way is God gently closing His fist around me.

In fact, that’s exactly the picture I get.  How many of you have ever had something small in the palm of your hand, and in order to keep it some times you have to clench your fist around it to keep it safe.  It is that very picture that I have of God’s protective love over us…clenching His fist so that even in the face of calamity or turmoil…we’re unharmed…and there’s no force in the world strong enough to break the grip God has upon His children.

I don’t know about you…but I just wrote myself happy.  What a magnificent picture of the God of the universe using just His fist to shield me.  When I look at it that way…it makes those problems that seem so big no longer seem quite as big…Amen!?!

Be A Doer…Not Just A Reader:

I don’t know if there’s going to be “homework” for every message, but I know there is for this message because I believe that if you really desire to understand and know more about love…that you may indeed want to check out this link…and do some further studies on your own time.

That link again is: Four Kinds of Love: Greek Words Agape, Phileo, Storge, Eros

Conclusion:

Like I said, I don’t know about you, but I just wrote myself happy.  Thinking about being enclosed in the hand of God is about as comforting a thought as I’ve had in quite some time…and with that…I believe I will close.

I hope you enjoy this series.  It’s short, but I believe it’s always good to take time to talk about the love of God.

“Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus..” 2 Timothy 2:1

Blessing & Grace to you
Bryan J. Kizer
Christlike Ministries NWA

TheKizerFamilyPicture_thumb.jpg