Are you sure Jesus loves you?

Jesus-Loves-You-

“Jesus loves you…”

“You need to have a relationship with Jesus…”

“Just trust God and everything will be fine…”

“Jesus friend of sinners…”

We’ve all heard these types of sayings and many more; maybe we’ve even said them.  They are all over Christian radio stations, especially from stations like K-Love.  It’s all about the love of Jesus and His “need” and His “desire” for them to seek a relationship with Him.  I want to plainly say I’m all about the love of Jesus, for He “IS” love (1 John 4:8), and we would not know love without Him (1 John 3:16).

I don’t want there to be any misunderstandings about my statements.  The greatest act of love ever committed was by Jesus Christ and any other is underwhelming by comparison.  He is the only place a repentant sinner can turn for grace and mercy.  But those that don’t understand that act and just how remarkable it was will never embrace what it fully means.

When evangelism techniques only discuss Jesus as standing at the door waiting for someone to decide to love Him it falls miserably short of what the Scripture teaches us.  There is methodology behind drawing a sinner to the Lord, but it begins with God’s Holiness and man’s sinfulness if the gospel is to be proclaimed accurately.

Let’s see what the Bible says about the sinner in the eyes of a “Holy God”.

Psalm 7:11-12 God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day.  If he does not turn back, He will sharpen His sword; He bends His bow and makes it ready.

This is an incredibly clear understanding of the status of man in the eyes of God.  Let’s dig into God’s warning for the unsaved and see how very different this is from some of those common statements from above.

God is just – Only God is capable of judging with perfect righteousness.  He knows all that is in man’s heart and despite His patience with all of man-kind there is coming a day when we all must give account of our lives (Hebrews 4:13) and justice will be served according to our deeds (Romans 2:6).

God is angry with the wicked – If any of your thoughts, words or deeds have ever fallen short of God’s perfect standard and Christ is not your Lord and Savior you are wicked and God is angry with you.  He does not “love” you in the way He loves those that turn to Him in faith.  God is patient and provides good things even to those at enmity with Him, for He provides all that we have.

The word angry – zâ‛am – to foam at the mouth, that is, to be enraged: – abhor, abominable, (be) angry, defy, (have) indignation.

Not exactly the message of most modern day evangelists, and preachers.

When we open the Bible and we read God’s Word we see a very common theme.  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” – Matthew 4:17.  This is how Jesus began His public ministry after He came out of the wilderness; He never sought to coddle the sinner in his sin, but to first draw him into seeing that he is in jeopardy because of his sin.

Repent – metanoeō – From G3326 and G3539; to think differently or afterwards, that is, reconsider (morally to feel compunction): – repent.

Repentance means to have a change of heart, which leads to a change of mind and a change of direction.  Paul calls this a “new creation”.  Jesus says you must be “born again” and Ezekiel says your “heart of stone will be replaced by a heart of flesh”.  These are Biblical truths that cannot be left out in our efforts to reach the lost.

Understanding that there is a newness of life and rejection of the life that once was enjoyed is now detestable.

1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Those that first repent will see their sin as a violation of God’s Holiness leading to a radically different life, broken over their rebellion against the One True God that gave them life.

When you share this Good News it’s important to represent God in all His Glory, including and especially His hatred of the ungodly, otherwise you bring a message of cheap grace.  Without repentance there will not be life change and that is the point at which we can share what true love is really all about.

Preach the Word today brothers and sisters…

 

Kevin

God is love

bw-cross

Recently I wrote a post about the wrath of God.  Scripture has clearly defined that God is angry with the wicked every day (Psalm 7:11).  Understand if you have not been morally perfect your entire life, you are wicked.   If you have not been redeemed by the blood of Christ and turned from your sin, you are wicked.  Wicked is not only Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Dr. Evil, or your favorite villain.

This is not an easy concept for the unregenerate to grasp.  “What wicked… evil… That’s not me… “

In order to be saved you must first understand this is you or it’s impossible to be saved.  Us reformed types are most often accused of being unloving and too dogmatic, too harsh about the things of God.

“Where’s the love man… “

I am as dogmatic about God’s love as I’m dogmatic about His wrath, about His wisdom, about His sovereignty or any of His attributes.  I want you to know that I believe with all my heart God is all these things wrapped into such an incredible being that we can’t even begin to comprehend His majesty.

God has given us the gift of His word to show us who He is.  So to deny any of these attributes or put more emphasis on one than the other is not presenting the full counsel of God.  The difference in emphasizing the wrath of God in preaching over the love of God is simply that sinful man cannot grasp love until he grasps his dire situation.

There is no doubt God is love, you can’t miss this if you tried.

Wayne Grudem – Systematic Theology [1994] Love.  God’s love means that God eternally gives of himself to others.  This definition understands love as self-giving for the benefit of others.  This attribute of God shows that it is part of his nature to give of himself in order to bring about blessing or good for others.

How does God give of Himself for others?

Romans 5:6-8 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.    

There’s a catch to this verse.  Who is the “us”?  Many want to claim this verse and verses like John 3:16 or Jeremiah 29:11 that God loves you and has a plan for you.  There are whole radio stations dedicated to this concept.  But to gain the benefit of the love you must know God.   Not a “god” of your own design but the One True God as defined by the Holy Scriptures.

You must understand you are helpless to save yourself.  Ephesians 2:1

You must believe in Jesus Christ.  Acts 16:31

You must be born again.  John 3:3

You must repent and turn from your sin.  Repentance is an ongoing act of turning away from your former life and embracing your new life in Christ.  Matthew 4:17

You must seek holiness.  1 Peter 1:16

You will then seek fellowship, growth and protection from the church.  Ephesians 4:11, Hebrews 13:17

That’s the “Gospel”, the “Good News”

Some may consider it unloving to tell someone they are separated from God because of their sin.  That separation will condemn them to hell upon their death if they don’t turn to Christ in faith.  That seems judgmental and unloving.

I couldn’t think of anything more unloving than to not tell them.

1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Kevin