SERMON BY THE REVEREND AMOS GEORGE MCCARTHY
8TH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, JULY 30, 2017.
TITLE: “The Love that Will Not Let You Go”
Text: Romans 8:31-39. 31. “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32. He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him for us all-How will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? 33. Who will bring any charge against those whom God have chosen? It is God who justifies. 34. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died-more than that, who was raised to life-is at the right hand of God, and is also interceding for us. 35. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36. As it is written: “for your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels, nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The story is told of a man, who sacrificed his son to save the lives of hundreds of people in Mississippi in 1957. Mr. John Griffiths worked tending the drawing bridge for a rail road. On this fateful day, he had taken his eight years old son Greg with him to work. Earlier on during the day, young Greg played in his father’s office. Like many young children, Greg asked many questions. Later during the day, a ship had come through and John opened the drawbridge. During this time, John realized that little Greg was not in the office. As he searched for his son, John came to the realization that his little boy had climbed on the gear of the drawbridge. John hurried outside to rescue the boy. The noise of a fast approaching passenger train and the ship drowned his voice and the boy could not hear him. Here, John was faced with the most difficult decision of his life: Saving his son would cost the train to derailed killing maybe everyone aboard; Closing the drawbridge would mean sacrificing his son. John pulled the lever of the drawbridge sacrificing his son. As the train passed by, John look at the faces of the passenger. Some of the passengers were reading, while others waved. All of the passengers were unaware of what had happened, or the sacrifice John had just made. John had to live that moment thousands of time. The sacrifice John made is reminiscent of the sacrifice God made by sacrificing Jesus Christ. God made the decision to sacrifice Jesus Christ to save billions from sins to eternal life. What great love God has for us sinners. And like the passengers on that train, many of us are unaware of the great love of God. Are you one of them this morning? Still so, while it is true that many disregard the great love of God towards us, God still make provisions for us to remain in His love. This morning we shall reflect together on the love which God provides for us. The Love that Will Not Let Us Go!!”
The Nature of God’s love.
The word love is one of the most used words in the Bible. It is used in many different contexts. To fully understand the word love, one must understand the context in which it is used. The first use of the word love in the NKJV of the Bible is in Genesis 22:2, when God instructed Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. It is used to show a father’s love for his only child. What is interesting here is that, one can draw a parallel from this narrative to God’s love for humankind in John 3:16, where God’s love for the world prompted Him to sacrifice His only son, Jesus Christ on the cross for our redemption. In the New International Version, NIV, the first mention of love is in Genesis 20:13, where Abraham mentions the reason for persuading Sarah to lie, “to show her love for him”. So one would easily misinterpret love to mean lying in order to show your love for someone. The word love can be difficult to conceptualize at times. At this point, one would raise the interrogative, what is the nature of God’s love? What does it means, when the Bible mentions, “For God so love the World?” What does it means when Paul points out that nothing would separate us from the love of God? It is in answer to Paul’s rhetorical question that I want to discuss the nature of God’s love. When my daughter was little and could not read, I thought her to recite 1 John 4:8, “God is Love,” as her memory verse for morning devotions, night prayers or any family prayer time. This is one of God’s attribute that transcends all barriers. This attribute of God knows no bound. This nature of God speaks to the fact that God love for humankind is without condition. This love is not depended on what man can do or cannot do, it comes from God directly. This simply means that God will never be in a position where humankind can never be loved by Jehovah God. God is unconditionally committed to the wellbeing of humankind. So Paul continues by emphasizing that there would be terrifying things that will come between us and God. Paul mentions hardships, sickness, and dangers seen and unseen. Paul talks about life and death not being able to separate us. We live in Christ and die in Christ. We are then raised with Christ to be nearer to God. None of these things can separate us from God because God loves us. I Corinthians 13 summarizes that God loves us in that God is patient and kind. God’s love is never haughty or selfish or rude. Because God loves us, all special gifts from him will someday come to an end, But his love for us goes on forever. That is why His love allows Jesus Christ to intercede for us actively. God’s love is a love that will not leave us, it continues till eternal life is made available to humankind. His love allows Christ to intercede for us.
Through the Love of God, Christ Intercedes for Us!
In the previous line of verse 34, Paul makes it clear that Jesus Christ who died on the cross continues His work on the cross through intercession. In 1 Timothy, Paul reminds us that “there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” By this, Paul is saying that Jesus Christ is serving as an advocate for humankind. Jesus stands before the face of God for us. Hebrews 9: 24. Jesus is serving as an advocate or parakletos as it is referred in the language. He is actively involved in our defense before Almighty God, against the charges of Satan that we can be no good to God. It is a priestly office that Christ is actively involved in. What made it possible for Christ intercession? Jesus Christ intercession before God was made possible only by the love of God. Because of God’s love, Jesus came and died for us. Paul mentions that in the verses before verse 34. God’s love allows great men of God in time past to stand before Him and intercede on behalf of others. Nehemiah’s prayer in Nehemiah 1:3-11 informs us that the children of Israel who survives the exile were greatly troubled and living in disgrace. But Nehemiah stood before God and acknowledge God for His greatness and a God who keeps His covenant of love with those who also love Him. In Exodus 32:31-32, Moses interceded for the sin of the people. Because of His love, God always answer positively for humankind to be redeem after intercession. Through this intercession, we have been made more than conquerors!
God’s Love Made Us Conquerors!
God’s love will never leave us. It has enabled us to be more than conquerors. When Paul talked about the things that will not separate us from God’s love, he mentioned terrible things like tribulations, distress, persecutions, famine, nakedness, the threat of danger, and the threat of murder. Joyce Meyer told a story about herself not experiencing or living a victorious Christian life, though she was a born again believer. She was not feeling any victory over the problems in her life. In this instance, she was not living fully for God or helping people. But as time went by, Sister Meyer study the word of God and developed a personal relationship to Christ. She began to understand what it meant to be more than conquerors. She realized that even before a problem came her way, she could overcome that problem through Christ Jesus. She made a wonderful conclusion, “In Christ, we are made right with God, we are His righteousness, and we have the power of Christ in us to live right.” As long as we as believers can look to the love of God, access that love, we will be victorious in all we do. God’s love for us is unconditional and everlasting, it enables Jesus to mediate before Him on our behalf, and as long as we access that love, we will be more than conquerors. GOD’S LOVE IS THE LOVE THAT WILL NEVER LET US GO!!!!!!!