God's Love: The Secret To My New Beginnings
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: Ephesians 1:4 and Romans 8: 31-39
Sunday 9th November 2014
Last week, we started a new series, The Immeasurable Riches of God’s Love with a message that was titled ‘God Loves Me’. We understood that God loved us even before He made the world and that we were chosen in Christ to be holy and without fault in His sight. We understood the grace of God as an expression of the love of God and that everything that God has made available to us in Christ Jesus is on the basis of His love. His promises are based on His love for us and therefore our victory and success in life is predicated upon our understanding of that love. We learned that similarly our faith is built upon God’s love the degree to which we know that God loves us is the degree that we are able to walk in faith. We understood that God’s love for us is everlasting and irrevocable and that God is with us.
We looked at the benefits of knowing God’s love which includes an increase in the quality of life, positioning us to win in the battles of life, increasing our confidence that things will work for us, giving a sense of a hopeful future, turbo-charging our faith, a greater intimacy with God and helping us to love others.
The proof of God’s love for us is found in the sacrifice of His Son; not because of our feelings, not the state of our bank accounts but simply in the truth that He did not withhold His Son from us. Today, we are going to focus further on the nature of God’s love as being the secret to our new beginning. Understanding God’s love brings us inevitably into a new beginning, a place of liberty, the place of another chance. Notice, I did not say that God is the God of a second chance as His love cannot be quantified or limited, it is inexhaustible and radical. God is calling us to embrace the revelation of His love. There is a yearning from heaven calling the Church of Jesus to understand this most important, but neglected aspect of God’s nature. Many of us have a very limited and distorted understanding of God. We understand Him only in relation to the truth that He judges; Yes, He is a just God but we, on the whole have failed to understand that God’s judgment was placed on Jesus on the cross. In John 12:32, Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” This is a reference to the judgment for sin that would be put on Him on the cross as Isaiah, in Chapter 53:6 prophesied ‘…All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.’
We have seldom approached God on the basis of His love; we have more likely, seen Him as an angry God waiting for us to fail so that he can swiftly club us over the head. In order to know God intimately, we must know His disposition towards us and approach Him on that basis. The disposition that God has towards us is one of love. This is so much more than head knowledge; it is something that must be entrenched and deeply rooted in the fabric of your being, deep within your spirit. This was the prayer that Paul prayed in Ephesians 3:17 that we may be rooted and grounded in the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. You can only grow in love when you are rooted in love and you can only bear the fruit of love when your root is connected to the love that is in Christ. It must be our highest goal in life to be rooted and grounded in the love of God. The love of God cannot be known through human knowledge; it must be received on the basis of the finished work of Christ. This is the finished work that qualifies us to receive all things, not grudgingly or in a miserly or beggarly manner, but that which entitles us to freely have all things. It is in His love that we have our healing, deliverance, victory and prosperity. As we approach the end of this year and the beginning of 2015, in full assurance of God’s love. This is not defined by the acquisition or lack of material things; it is only based on the finished works of Christ. Because of His love for you, you can be assured that your future will be glorious and bright.
In Psalm 30 we see David’s narration of his experience of the love of God; God had lifted him up, healed him, delivered him from death and therefore he was assured that even though weeping endured for a night, joy would come in the morning and in the ultimate expression of the transformational nature of God’s love, his mourning had been turned into dancing. I declare that the night season of your life is over; there shall be no more weeping. It’s a new season and a new day!
Notwithstanding the variety of backgrounds from which we come, I can say with a fair degree of certainty, that all of us have suffered from some sort of rejection. We have all blown it and as a result, people have written us off. God however has never and will never write us off. We have all done things that did not please God and we have all failed Him. We have messed up and sinned. The bible makes it clear that whilst we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. God’s love for us goes beyond our mess. His love for us is deeper than our ability to mess up. He specializes in giving us a new beginning and another chance.
There is something about God’s love that we must comprehend if we will fulfill our destiny. In this life which is punctuated with ups and downs, pain and glory, joy and sorrow, God’s love for us is liberating, not burdensome. In order to navigate successfully through the terrain of life, you have to find a position that is not defined by the circumstances which you face. I am talking about a position which is not defined in human terms, a position that is not defined by mountains, pain or in fact, pleasure; a position that is purely defined by God’s love. From this vantage point, it becomes easier to surrender to the process because you are not intimidated by it. We all want the product but we do not want the process that is necessary to produce the product. When we are rooted firmly in God’s love, we have the strength to rise up and face challenging circumstances and can ride the storms of life because we know that they are only temporary. You know that you will not be left alone; you know that you are coming out in triumph. The finishing line is your focus; strength is renewed in His love.
God describes himself as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Many of us find it easy to relate to God as the God of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham was the father of faith who was prepared to sacrifice his son at God’s command, so great was his confidence in God. We all want to walk in his shoes as he redefined the way to attain right-standing with God. Similarly, Isaac, like his father was a great man of faith who obeyed God’s instruction and prospered greatly. I struggle however to understand God’s willingness to be identified as the God of Jacob. Jacob was a self-confessed habitual cheat. God is not ashamed to identify with you in your mess. The world wants to identify with you in your success but God’s grace stoops low to identify with you in your failure. God’s love qualified Jacob and the same love qualifies you. There are many ‘Jacobs’ in the body of Christ. God has not written you off; He loves you, unconditionally.
In Genesis 32, God wrestled with Jacob and he was forced to own up to who he really was. To his credit, he was honest with God. In the modern church, we have many actors putting on Oscar-winning performances even with God about who they really are. “What’s your name?” he was asked. Having confessed his name Jacob, a reflection of his crooked, cheating and swindling character, he was told, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel’. You may have done wrong but God has forgiven you and changed your name. Whatever you have done, know that God’s love for you is unchanging; God qualified Jacob. This is the mystery of God’s love.
An unforgettable illustration of God‘s great love for us is found in the account of the prophet Hosea and Gomer. In this account, Hosea typifies God, his name meaning salvation and Gomer, typifies us. God instructed the prophet to marry Gomer, a prostitute and so Hosea took her and made her his wife and had three children with her. That is exactly what God did for us; we, whom were created for His glory chased after money, success and sexual gratification. He went and got us, redeemed us to himself and gave us the garment of salvation. He gave us His riches and honour and made us kings and queens. The account reveals that notwithstanding Hosea’s love for her, Gomer left the family home for prostitution again. She was about to be sold when at God’s instruction, Hosea bought her back again and restored her to himself. This is a clear example of how God, through Christ, went after us. He washed us, gave us a new name, made us part of His family, gave us an inheritance and presented us to Himself without wrinkle or spot. God in His love will never leave you, regardless of whether you abandon His love. God will never turn His back on us as He is the God of another chance. No recriminations; no accusations; no guilt and no condemnation. You may have been plagued by your past, but I have good news for you: you have another chance in God through Christ. He is looking for you, searching for you; come into His embrace today.
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