April 11, 2021
Deal here with time.
How long is Christ’s love with regard to time. It started before the foundation of the earth. It endures through our life time. It goes on forever after we die. He knew me and loved me before I was born. Surely his goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Christ’s love knew me when I was a child as I was growing up in a secular home, when my mouth was filthy and my heart was far from him. Christ has loved me in my marriage, my kids and family, my schooling, the people who have crossed my path, my health, my jobs.
Christ’s love follows me in my old age, as I get feeble, as I care for my ill wife, as he continues to teach me through his word and experiences.
Christ’s love surrounded me as I sat by Susy’s bedside as she slipped away into eternity. Christ’s love will surround me when I close my eyes for the last time. Oh that will be glorious because it will be fuller, not his love for me but my grasping of it and rejoicing in it. His love is eternal, never ending. Wow!
[[Romans 8. Nothing can separate me from the love of god in Christ Jesus my lord.]]
Oh, the length of it. Rejoice my friends in the love of Christ.
[[When we sing amazing grace, the last verse, here are the words I use, “when we’ve been there ten million years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise, than when we first begun.
Ten million years in that direction and that direction…no, longer than that..from eternity to eternity.]]
Oh, the length of it.
WIDE. It deals with everyone
How wide is the love of Christ? The love of Christ reaches from shore to shore, around the globe, to every tribe and nation, from the north pole to the south pole and all around the equator. The love of Christ stretches into prisons, into the armies of our enemies, into cultures we might consider disgusting. Christ’s love speaks languages that have yet to be translated or written down. It touches babies recently born or yet unborn and old minds riddled with dementia.” Good paragraph
Some scientists are searching for planets that might sustain human life. Those places might be light years from us, but even there the love of Christ seeks the lost and dies for sinners.
[[A missionary wrote, “I think the devil has made it his business to monopolize on three elements: noise, hurry, crowds. If he can keep us hearing radios, gossip, conversation, or even sermons, he is happy, but he will not allow quietness.” Maybe not, but Christ can speak his tenderness and care in the middle of racket and clamor as well as in the silence.]]
In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus said, “Go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. Note the word “all” repeated twice. “All nations” teaches us how wide the love of Christ is; “all that I have commanded you” teaches us how deep the love of Christ descends into our sinfulness to make us like him.
On the cross the thief pleaded, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” This man deserved to die. He was a thief and probably a murderer. “This day you will be with me in Paradise.”
Oh how wide the love of Christ. If his love can reach a thief and a murderer, then his love can certainly reach you.
How deep is the love of Christ? Love of Christ reaches into the depth of my soul? Down in the basement of my heart, it is dark, it is cold, it is humid, and there is a lot of stuff down there that has had time to rot and it doesn’t smell very good.
I believe I am made in the image of God. I believe that you are made in the image of God. To be truly human is to be like God, to be like Christ. When I do something that is wrong I might say, “I’m only human.” No, when I do something wrong I’m being inhuman. The image of God has been twisted, corrupted, damaged and distorted. Jesus said, “Out of the heart come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.” But that does not stop the love of Jesus. No matter how much evil is in my heart the love of Christ goes deeper. No matter how much I rebel against Christ, he is ready to throw his arms around me and hold me tight.
[[The love of Christ also reaches deep into my emotions. Now I have to admit I have not had a lot of emotional pain in my life. I grew up in a family where my mom and dad loved me. The extended family all got along. Probably Susy’s death in January was the worst for me. I was comforted by the hymn “Abide with me,” especially the words in the fourth verse. “I fear no foe, with thee at hand to bless; ills have no weight and tears no bitterness.” Oh, I felt the ills but they had no weight. They could not crush me; they could not crush her, because I was standing on a Rock; she was standing on Rock, even as she lay there she was standing. The rock is the love of Christ that reaches deep into our soul.]]
[[Emotional wrecks, Delphia. James 4:4. Hosea 11]]
There is no loss, no divorce, no betrayal, no persecution, no sadness, beyond the love of Christ.
In my ministry I have found one person in incredible emotional trauma, a lady involved in a motorcycle gang. Her husband was abusive to her, beat her up, but she could not get out of the gang.. Eventually he was arrested and put in jail, I’m not sure for what. She could not finance herself so she turned to prostitution. When he got out of prison he beat her up so bad that the gang allowed her to leave.
She found another motorcycle guy she was living with in Cody Wyoming. On his way to Casper a policeman pulled him over, he took out a gun and killed himself. He left a suicide note to her, “go to church, you need it.” She came to church; I visited her; she joined.
Some time later she wanted to have a baby. She went to Red Lodge, seduced a man at a bar, did not tell him her name and did not find out his name and got pregnant. We baptized the baby.
She left town and wrote me a letter a couple of years later. She wrote “thank you for your non-judgmental love; I met Jesus in your church, but why did you not tell me about the Holy Spirit.” Well that is a different question. The point is that the love of Christ dug deep into her sin and her emotional pain and lifted her out of it.
Oh the depth of the love of Christ!!! Oh the depth of it.
How high is the love of Christ? How would you measure its height?
I have climbed a mountain to 10,000 feet. The love of Christ is higher. I have flown an airplane 35000 feet in the air. The love of Christ is higher. I see the sun 8 light years away and the galaxies millions of light years away. The love of Christ is higher.
When I think of how high the love of Christ is I think of how far he came down to be with us as Emmanuel. (Emmanuel=”God with us”) .Jesus is the second person of the Trinity. Before he came to earth he lived eternally in a love triangle of Father, son and Holy spirit. Each one expresses perfect, holy, God-filled love for the others and each one receives perfect, holy, God-filled love from the others. God did not create the world so that he could have something or someone to love. There was already perfect fulfillment of that.
The love of Christ brought him from the heights of glory and the enjoyment of perfect love in heaven down to earth to take the form of a human, to live as a human, actually to be one of us. This is called the “incarnation,” where God who is pure spirit takes on human flesh and lives among us. This is what we celebrate at Christmas. Down into our crap.
[[In the process he shows us what it means to be human, truly human, how to live as a human being in perfect obedience and love to God unlike Adam. And he shows us how, by hearing the word of God and doing it. I used to believe and I still believe that Christ’s coming reveals to us who God is and what God is like, but he also came to show us what it means to be human, truly human.]]
He came down into our humanity. He also came down into our suffering. He died to redeem sinful human beings. He died in our place, tasting death for everyone. He suffered the wrath of God against sin so that we would not have to.
How high is the love of Christ? He came down from the highest glory and the most perfect holiness to us who are rebellious and stiff-necked and became sin for us so that we might be raised to glory and holiness. He took our sinfulness upon himself so that we might take his righteousness upon ourselves. 2 Cor.5:21 says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God.”
The incarnation, that is Christmas, brings Christ from heaven to earth. How high is that? The cross, that is redemption, takes Christ from earth to hell, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? How high is that?
He came down into our evil. I think of the cross of Christ and how it reveals the evil in humanity. The centurion who had a hundred soldiers under his command. He had crucified many. It was his job. It’s only my job. I have to do it. Pilate, his job was to establish justice in the land. He washed his hands off and said, “you take care of it. It’s not my job.” The religious leaders were jealous of Jesus ‘ popularity and they shouted “crucify.” The false witness who stories conflicted. The disciples who ran away. This is the evil Jesus came down into. This is the evil to which he said, “forgive them.”
Ladies and gentlemen, if you have never received the love of Jesus Christ into your heart. Do it this morning. “Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, calling for you and for me. See on the portals he’s waiting and watching, watching for you and for me. Come home, come home, you who are weary, come home. Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling, calling “oh sinner come home...” Oh sinner come home. Oh sufferer, come home, oh wanderer, come home. My arms are wide open. Come home.