We Were Made For Love
We Were Made for Love
1 John 1:3
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
We’re trying to talk these mornings in a very down to earth way about why we are alive and how that works out in our everyday life. We’re trying to avoid a whole lot of the religious phrases or the religious games we get into and just trying to say it to each other like it is. I hope that as we get into it we’ll be able to have questions after the sermons and that might help you as much as even the presentation does.
Why are you alive? If you’re like me and like the rest of us, there have come moments in your life when you’ve wondered, “What on earth is all this in aid of? Why all this agony? Why all these years spent? Why are we here at all?” and often some of us, when we get into that kind of thinking, get scared and decide we’d better not think that way otherwise we’ll go bonkers and so we don’t think too much more and we try to get wrapped up in everyday life again.
But it has a way of continually recurring to us especially when disasters and difficulties come into our lives. We wonder what’s the point of all this? I have been working and I have tried to build things and now it’s all fallen apart. What is the point of it? I know some here that have suffered in their own families. You work with your sons and daughters — you try to make it work and then things happen. The thing flies apart and you wondered deeply why? Why am I here at all? Things don’t seem to be working out the way I hoped.
We’re all in those situations where it just doesn’t seem to be working. I don’t want to bring tears to your eyes and I want to avoid them in my own eyes but Susan is the dear girl who was here for years and died of cancer last week. I got a letter from Serge last week.
He and Susan had Rachael, their youngest child. She is a dear little girl who is five years old. Serge said to me, “Rachael says different things everyday. She gets up late a few mornings for school and says, ‘I don’t believe I can live without my mommy.’” Most of us have hit those spots with our own dads or moms at some time, and you just don’t know how you will go on.
So it’s in that context that I am asking you, why are we alive? There are a lot of things that sure don’t seem to go right in this world and there are a lot of things that don’t seem to turn out the way we thought they were meant to turn out. So that’s the question, loved ones. You remember we answered it, if you’d like to look at it and just center our thoughts. It’s in 1 John 1:3. Even though it’s put formally it is the real reason. John is speaking and he is telling this is why we’re telling you about things.
1 John 1:3, “That which we have seen and heard (that’s of Jesus and of his life and his Resurrection) we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” That’s the purpose of it all — so that you may have fellowship with us and our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. God made you because he wants you to be his friend forever.
You can think of all kinds of things about yourself — how unimportant you are or how little you are or how unlikable you are. But God your Creator made you because he wants to have your friendship. He
wants you to live with him forever. That’s why he made you. He wants to live with you forever, he wants to love you and he wants you to love him. The reason an awful lot of these things are happening in this world is that you can’t have people loving each other who don’t have free wills.
In other words, if God had made us all unable to do anything but love him, he would have had a pack of robots and there would be no love or no freshness or no life in what we call Heaven — what is really going to be the expanse of the universe. There’s a vast universe out there. You can see the incompleteness of this pitiful little world we have.
When you look out at the vastness of the universe, (it’s there for some reason) and of course the reason is that God has a whole heaven out there that he is getting us ready for. Yet he wants a group of people who are free to love or free not to love. That way, there’s a possibility of love. Brothers and sisters, I need to bring that before you again. Do you see that plainly?
If I get the machine gunners up here and the Irish gunmen at the backdoors and I say, “Okay, you’re all going to love me, okay? If anyone decides otherwise, that’s the end.” You can see there’ll be no love in this room. There won’t be because you will say, “Well, we have to love you. We can’t do anything else. We don’t have a choice.” That’s why God gave us free will. He said, “I made you to love me and I am putting you on this earth so that you can decide whether you’re going to love me or not. That’s why I have put you here. That’s why I even gave strength to the same Roman soldiers that put nails in my Son’s hands. I am a fanatic on free will. I’ll go to any lengths for free will because it’s only with free will that people can love.”
And so that’s why God made us. He watches you all down through the years of your life — you turn this way and that way — you know how it goes. And he watches, watches, watches, trying gently to draw you into love of him. He’s hoping by the end of this life that you will begin to see that he is the only one really worth loving. He is the only true friend that you have and he is the only dear father you have.
You remember I said a few Sundays ago — I don’t know how your dads were, or how your moms were. Some were good dads, and some bad moms – or we think they’re bad. Some were good moms and then some not so good dads. But we all know what a father is like, what a perfect father is like. We all have a clear idea of what a perfect father is like.
Now God made you because he is your Father and he wants you to choose to be his son, to choose to be his daughter. You are free loved ones. You’re free. You’re free not to do that if you want and that’s why God has made us. He made us to enjoy his love and that’s why he made us like himself. You remember that strange and interesting verse that gives you a glimpse into Heaven before human beings were made. It’s back in Genesis 1:26 and it gives you an insight which God obviously revealed in a miraculous way to Moses when he wrote Genesis. It gives you an insight into what was happening before mankind was created.
Genesis 1:26, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man.’” It’s nice to think, “Let us”. God turned around to Jesus who was with him from before the creation of the world and he says, “My Son, let us make man in our image.” That’s why God made you in His image. That’s why you are the kind of person you are. You were made like God so that you could understand God and so that He could understand you. So, you are different.
That’s why the whole tendency of the modern world to say “you’re a nothing” is wrong. That’s the
real objection to the evolution theory. There’s evolution within the species that’s obvious but the whole insult to God is saying you’re just a glorified ape. You are made in God’s image. You are like God. You’re made like Him. You’re a break from the animal kingdom. You are different from the animal kingdom. You’re actually not only different from the animal kingdom, you are different from all the rest of us in this room.
You have squirrely little thoughts that none of the rest of us have. You have funny little ways to twitch your nose. You smile a funny way, you say things a funny way. They’re funny to us because they’re not like the way we do it. They are different and you’re different from everybody else in this room. Then think for a minute that you’re different from everybody else in Minneapolis. You’re different from everybody else in Minnesota and that’s only four million. But you’re different from the other 250 million in America. It’s amazing but you’re also different from the other five billion on this planet. You’re different. You’re different from everybody who has ever lived and you’re different from everybody who will ever live. That’s why you are unique. You’re a version of God’s character that nobody else is. God made you like Himself. Now, that’s why you’ve read that verse about the way God made us, in Genesis 2:7.
Genesis 2:7, “Then the Lord formed man of dust from the ground.” So he took dust and made our bodies and breathed into his nostrils. That’s the way God puts it because mankind was in its childhood and that’s the way he understands it. “God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” It wasn’t just air. It was ‘ruwach’. It was spirit. God breathed into us his own Spirit and then the Spirit mixed with the body — like you put instant coffee into water and the result is a third substance.
So he breathed into us a spirit and man became a living being. But the Hebrew word is ‘nephesh’ and the King James Version is a better translation — “Man became a living soul.” And so God took dust from the ground and made our bodies and then breathed into our bodies, His Spirit — His spirit life that makes Him alive at this moment and that actually makes us alive. Then the spirit and the body mixed together and produced our soul.
So you remember the way we’ve said it, we’ve said that we were made really just for God’s own love. That’s why He made us — just to enjoy His love. He made us like himself with a spirit like him. You remember last day, I tried to remind you what spirit was because we all get spooky about it and wonder about ghost stories and all kinds of things. Your spirit is you, yourself. What a man is when he is alone or what a woman is when she is alone, that he is and no more.
The spirit is what you are apart from your wife, apart from your children, and apart from your mom and dad. Your spirit is what you are yourself. It’s your very own self. It’s you. It’s you yourself. That’s your spirit. God gave you a spirit because he is spirit himself. Then he put around your spirit (like two overcoats) your body and your soul. So really we are almost three little overcoats. The outside overcoat is the body and the inside is your soul — which is actually the psychological part of you — it’s your mind and your emotions. Finally, your inside part is your spirit.
God made us that way because He wanted us to have the attributes that he himself has. So those are called in theology the indestructible attributes of God. Everybody has a spirit, soul and body. Some people have very alive bodies and maybe they are the guys that play football. Some have very live souls and maybe they are the “Einsteins” or the artists. And some have very live spirits — they can be good spirits or they can be bad spirits.
There are some spiritualists and people who engage in Middle Eastern religions that have very live
spirits. They are alive to the evil spiritual world not the good spiritual world. You can at times be very spiritual and at times very physical and at times very mental. God made us like that — every one of us. Everybody in this room has a body, a soul and a spirit. Your soul may be more or less dead, your body may be more or less dead, and even your spirit. But every one of us has those indestructible attributes.
But God didn’t give us the inner qualities that make life with Him not only bearable but also enjoyable. He did not give us His own blessedness or happiness. He didn’t give us His own love. He didn’t give us His own liberty of action and free will to do freely what we wanted to do independent of actually what we chose. He didn’t make us in that way perfect like Himself. He gave us these attributes and then He said, “Now I want you to choose the inner spirit that makes me, me. I want you to choose that. If you don’t want to choose that, that’s okay but I give you the attributes, the capacities that I have and then you can decide to receive my character into you or you can decide to reject it.”
And he said, “Really the way I want you to do it is — I want you to trust me. I know why I’ve put you here. I’ve put some of you here to be artists. I put some of you here to be carpenters. I have put some of you here to be secretaries. I have put some of you here to be thinkers and mathematicians. I put some of you here to be housewives. I have put some of you here to be mothers. I have a plan for all of you. Now, actually I want you to get to know me and follow my directions for your life and as you walk hand in hand with me, you’ll begin to know what you should do in this life and I will begin to give you my own character. You will become more and more like me.”
You know the way a husband and wife, who travel a long time together, start looking like each other, start thinking like each other and smiling like each other. It’s kind of embarrassing, isn’t it? It’s embarrassing when you see your children doing things, but it’s embarrassing when you see each other doing things that you never did before. Because when you travel together you become like each other. That was the Father’s plan.
That was His plan – that we would live off his love. That’s the way we put it. With His love, we would sense all the things that love brings. Love brings some obvious things with it. If you know that the Father loves you with all his heart, then you have a great sense of security in him because he owns the cattle on a thousand hills. If he loves you, he’s certainly going to look after you whatever the economics of the country are like. So, love brings a great sense of security.
You know it you husbands and wives. It’s so good when you have somebody who loves you, isn’t it? It’s so good. It’s interesting — when you lie in their arms you just feel safe. It’s just so good to feel safe. Or you remember with your dads or moms — when they put you to bed, you just felt safe. You felt they would protect you from all the evils outside. You felt that they would supply your food and they would supply your clothes.
Things come from love that we need. It gives you a great sense of your own importance. You remember how your dad used to make you feel important, and your mom? It’s amazing. I mean we make our children feel really important because they are dear to us. It’s a pity that sometimes they’re so dear to us at the beginning and then we get used to them and they don’t continue to be dear to us. But love tends to give a person a sense of value and a sense of worth. And that was God’s plan for us.
Even the little beggar that is dying today of starvation on the streets of Bombay, with no parents,
no children and no relatives — even that little beggar, that old wizened man — would know that his Father noticed him, had numbered the hairs of his head, cared about him and that he was one of the most important people in the world. That’s God’s plan for us. And then in that love we would have a great sense of completeness, happiness and satisfaction.
That was God’s plan and here’s the way we put it. It might help you to see it more clearly. (Pastor O’Neill shows a visual). It would work like that — God’s love would give us this sense of security. We’d know that he cared for us, and that he was looking out for us. That love would come into our own spirits, go out through our minds and emotions, out through our bodies and out to the world. We’d fill the world with a sense of safety and security. We would be givers. We wouldn’t be takers but we would be givers.
We’d have a sense of significance, importance, and a sense of value in God’s eyes. We wouldn’t be trying to get everybody else to make us important. We would be actually free to love other people freely because we wouldn’t need anything from them. We would be getting it from God. It transforms a marriage because you’re not always looking to the other person for something. You are filled with satisfaction yourself so you’re giving to them.
That’s the same with happiness. We wouldn’t be looking out and saying, “Can I get a better vacation, or can I get a job that will be a fun job?” You’d be happy in God just being with him, just walking through the world with him beside you. And you’d begin to give to the world. That was the Father’s plan for us. Here’s the way God put it loved ones. In Genesis 2:9, he put it in simple terms because in the early years of mankind, that’s the way we understood things. We hadn’t got all sophisticated like we have today.
Genesis 2:9, “And out of the ground the LORD God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden.” And that’s what it was. It was the tree of life — it’s another name for God’s love or for his Spirit. We were meant to live off the life of God. But God also put in the garden the tree you see and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And so, that was the Father’s plan for us.
Now, what happened was, we men and women decided this world seems to have all we need. It has trees that we can cut down and make into furniture. We can create houses for ourselves. It has crops that we can grow and get food from. It seems to have some rapids in the rivers that we can ride and get some thrills from. It looks to me as if we can get everything from this world that we need without trusting our God — without depending upon Him. That’s really what we did.
We determined that we could be like God without God’s love and life and spirit coming through us. We could be like God in that we could rule over the world and do what we wanted with it. So instead of living off the love of God, we began to try to live off the love of the world. We began to operate in exactly the opposite way to what God had intended. We needed security and we decided if we had land, then we’d have security — so let’s get as much land as we can. Later on, it was stocks and shares. After that it was gold.
If we can get these things, we’ll have security. These things were not at all wrong in themselves. It’s not wrong to have stocks and shares. It’s not wrong to have land. It’s not wrong to have cars. But we didn’t use them the way they were meant to be used. We used them to substitute for God. We stopped linking ourselves with the Father at all. We began to live the life we wanted to live and do what we wanted to do. We had to substitute something for the security that we used to get from His
We were okay when we were kids because we got security from our dads and moms. But when we parted from them, we lacked any sense of security. Then you remember that we tried to get a good education. Why? It wasn’t so that we’d understand things better. It wasn’t so that we’d have more satisfaction and understanding of God’s will. It was so that we’d get a good job. That’s why. So many of us did degrees for one purpose — so that we’d get the best result in money. That wasn’t the purpose of the education at all. But that’s what we used it for.
Then, with our jobs — so many of us stopped doing the jobs that we were made to do. We stopped doing the jobs that we enjoyed doing and we traded in for a job that gets us the security, food, shelter and clothing that we need. We began to depend utterly on things.
It was worse with our sense of self-worth. We all began to feel very much abandoned. Why? Because we did not know the one significant other in the whole universe. We didn’t know him and we weren’t sure that he knew us. We had a fair idea that what we were was one little cipher in the midst of five billion other little ciphers. Yet we felt we were important. Do you see the parity of it –the irony of it?
You are unique! There is nobody like you in the whole world. There isn’t. But nobody else seems to know it. That’s the killer — nobody else seems to treat you as unique, do they? Why? Because they’re sitting next to you and they think, “Well, I’m unique too!” We all think we’re unique. We’re all so busy trying to prove to everybody else that we’re unique that we haven’t time to show anybody else that they’re unique.
Actually we are unique — but the only one who will give us a real sense of our uniqueness is our Father. He is the only one that really knows how unique we are. But once we lost contact with him, we began to sense a need for importance and significance and so we began to look to people. You know the way it goes. We just make monkeys of ourselves. We’ll do anything to get somebody else to laugh at our jokes, we will.
We’ll do anything to get them to praise our housekeeping. We’ll do anything to get other people to make us think we’re the “fellow in the big picture” — we’re THE person, the leading actor, the important one. And so we’re all the time trying to suck from each other a sense of importance and significance.
It works tragedy in the home. It just is torture. The husband is trying to get it from the wife, the wife is trying to get it from the husband, the children are trying to get it from both of them and we’re all trying to get it from each other. We’re sucking, sucking, sucking from each other and nobody is giving, giving, giving because the depths of our needs for significance are infinite.
No human being can give you the sense of significance that you want. Because finally, who talks about John Wayne? Maybe when you see one of the old movies, but after that – nobody. Who even mentions Bing Crosby? It suddenly comes home to your heart, “If these guys are forgotten, what about me who haven’t a fraction of their fame?” You see, inside every one of us, there’s an appetite for significance and self-worth that the world cannot fill. But that’s the position we get ourselves into.
It’s the same with the happiness thing. We feel that there should be more to life than this. It
can’t be work, work, work all the time. There must be something more to it. Of course, we would be utterly satisfied with work if we had this kind of remarkable relationship with our Father in Heaven. We would be utterly satisfied to work like a slave night and day if we had that happiness with Him. But we lack that.
So, of course we say to ourselves, “Well, what? All right, maybe if I retire at fifty. Maybe if I retire, okay.” Then you find Florida filled with all of us who have retired and thought heaven was waiting for us. But it’s agony, because it’s just more of the same — only worse. So we get into terrible frustration. Loved ones that’s what the fall is.
When you talk about the fall of man, that’s what the fall is. It’s eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It’s not just eating of the fruit of a tree. It’s eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It’s mankind saying, “Let’s not trust our God.”
We know what is good and we know what is evil ourselves. Let’s set up the things that are good. It’s good to get oranges off that tree because you can make juice with it. It’s good to dam up that river because this is flood time. So we began to list a whole lot of laws. This is good to do and this is evil to do. If you think positively, it will work this way. If you think negatively, it will work that way.
We began to depend on our own knowledge of right and wrong in order to make the world supply us with what we thought was all that God supplied us with — security and significance and happiness. Of course that wasn’t it at all. What we need is not those things. What we need is love. Those are only results of love. What we need desperately is love. That’s why Howard Hughes dies in the luxury penthouse of a hotel with kleenex stuck on his fingers, emaciated and dying of malnutrition. He was one of the richest men on earth. Finally it wasn’t riches he needed and it’s not riches or security we need — it’s love. It’s not even our wife’s love or our mother’s love. It’s the love of our Maker. You know you were made for that.
There’s something inside you that let’s you know you were made for that. What we have done is to begin to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and to live by that knowledge. In other words, we chose to live by knowledge instead of by friendship with God. So, what has happened is, the whole system has backed up. That’s what the fall is. We’re living off the world instead of off God. This is what the sinful nature is. (Pastor O’Neill shows a visual).
Life should have come this way, but in fact, it’s going back up that way. We’re trying to suck from the world the love, the security, the significance and the happiness that we were meant to get from God. And so our whole nature is working the wrong way. Haven’t you tried to trust God at times? Especially when things have gone wrong in your life — a financial disaster, something bad on your vacation, the death of your mom or dad — and you’ve thrown your hands up and said, “Everything is finished!” Then you trusted God for about a day or two days and you know what happens, the nature takes over again.
The old sinful nature — your body works, your soul works and your spirit doesn’t work. That has taken over again and you’ve slipped back into that. And so you cry out again and again, “The good that I would, I cannot do.” How often have you tried to stop worrying about your bank account? How often have you tried to stop worrying about the finances? You know you do, you try. We talk about trusting God for our finances and you try to trust Him. But you find yourself slipping back into,
“Well, two from four leaves two and three from six leaves three. Yes I have that amount left and I have this amount to pay next week.” You slip into it because it’s the nature. Your sinful nature won’t let you trust God.
Loved ones, that’s why the event occurred that is described in Genesis 3:24. It’s the one that provides that title for Steinbeck’s novel you remember. Genesis 3:24, “He (God) drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.”
What does it mean? God saw that he had made us eternal. He had made us in a position where we could take of the tree of life if we wanted to and we could take of the Holy Spirit. We could continue to live forever and if He allowed us to do that with this nature (that we have developed), we would turn the whole universe into a hell.
We would fly from planet to planet or from Milky Way to Milky Way, from solar system to solar system and we would suck the whole world into pleasing us and doing what we wanted. If five billion of us got into the universe doing that soon the universe would be absolute anarchy and chaos filled with selfish people who were trying to get from the universe what they could only get from their Maker. So God, to protect the universe and indeed to protect us, cut us off from the Holy Spirit. He withdrew the Holy Spirit from us so that our own spirit actually died. That’s what happened.
Our own spirits actually died. That’s why many of us have no spirit. From time to time Jeanie Dixons and spiritualists seem to have a live spirit but it’s a live spirit to the evil spirits in the universe. It isn’t alive to God’s spirit. For most of us, our spirit is dead completely. For most of us if we try to find ourselves, we can’t. Some of us say that. “I can’t find myself.” We can’t find ourselves because we’ve lost ourselves becoming clowns — pleasing people or trying to satisfy our own needs. We are now slaves to the world so that we hardly can remember who we are.
Sometimes late at night in bed you think, “What have I become?” Some of us can’t even ask that. Some of us just say, “Who am I? Who am I? What would I really be like if I could be what I wanted to be?” That’s why we say our spirits are dead. We’ve lost the sense of our own identity — of who we are because we no longer have contact with our Father and we operate from our bodies up through our souls. That’s the way we live.
When do our emotions go up? When we’ve had a nice meal. Our tummy feels comfortable, so our emotions go up and we say, “I feel happy.” Or the sun shines and the spring comes early to Minnesota. So, “Whoopee, I feel great!” But if it is rainy and cold and snowy I feel down. So we’re at the mercy of circumstances. We’re like little puppets that are played with. It’s the same with our bosses. They smile at us so we are pleased and we have a wonderful day. It’s so dumb. The boss will die in a couple of years and I don’t know where our happiness will be then.
We’re like little animals that are utterly dominated by the outside physical world. That’s why so many of us come into times of darkness and despair. When there’s an atmosphere in Europe of the Russians with so many missiles poised our way and the Americans with so many missiles poised that way, you gradually begin to realize that even with the healthy three thousand miles between them and us some of them could come over this way. And so some of our society begins to fear. There’s a fear that begins to move soulishly through us all. At times we waken up in the mornings with an inexplicable sense of fear and eminent disaster. We don’t know why. It’s because we’re living in the body or we’re living in the soul. So we’re utterly dominated because we’re living from the outside
in and not from the inside out.
And what do we do? We try the power of positive thinking. We try to make ourselves act right, but we can’t. Our nature is determined because we’ve inherited it from millions of forefathers. We’ve been operating this way for thousands of years. So the whole nature of the race is built into us now. From time to time we can act against it. But usually it acts upon us. Throughout the Old Testament days, God did not show what He has done. Throughout the Old Testament days, He simply did what we asked for. We asked for knowledge – the knowledge of good and evil — so He gave us the law.
He said, “If you were living right, you would have no other gods before me. If you were living right, you would not covet. If you’re living right, and trusting me, you would not kill. You would not murder. You would not envy. You would not commit adultery.” He gave us more knowledge of good and evil so that we would know more and more that there was something wrong. There was something wrong with the way we were living. But God Himself did something to remedy this. He is the only who has done it and is able to do it.
He crucified that nature. That’s what the Bible says. It calls it our old self — the old self that works that way. Our old self was crucified with Christ so that the body of sin, or the body that was used by sin, would be destroyed and we would no longer be enslaved to sin. (Sin is just independence of God.) That’s what God did. He crucified us in Christ.
Now loved ones, it’s silly for you to make a whole deal about God being able to crucify us all. God in fact, crucified us all before we were made. That’s what the Bible says. The Bible says that we were crucified in Christ even before we were made. I’ll show you where it says that and then explain it to you. It’s easy to explain in the light of our old Cray computer and his mainframes. It’s Revelation 13:8.
Revelation 13:8-9, “And all who dwell on earth will worship it, every one whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain.” I’ve explained several times before, the Greek order is not that order. It’s the order that the King James Version uses and the order of the Greek is, “Everyone whose name has not been written in the book of life of the lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world.” That adverbial phrase of time modifies the verb slain. “That was slain before the foundation of the world.”
In other words, Jesus the lamb was slain before the foundation of the world. Now you find that again in 1 Peter 1:20. “He was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake.” A Cray mainframe — even one of our silly computers that we little human beings can manufacture, is able to take into consideration all your characteristics, all the nature of your mom and dad, your birth, your schooling, your abilities, your education, and all the economic conditions that will happen 20 years hence in your life. Even a Cray mainframe is able to work out the permutations and the possibilities of the things that you may do. Probably it is able pretty clearly to forecast what you will do, in the light of your free will and the contingent events in your life.
In other words loved ones, it is not difficult at all to see that the infinite God who made this whole universe is well able to look ahead and to see the things that you and I will do and to provide an answer for that even before He created us. And that’s when we were crucified with Christ. If you say to me, “Why are we living the life that we’re living?” We’re living it because God gave us the freedom to do it. He provided the deliverance for us in Jesus’ death, the complete
transformation of our natures and then He let us live out the kind of life our sinful nature would live when we exercised our free will.
In other words, we are a lucky, lucky people. Our God has loved us so much but He has allowed us to live the way we’ve chosen to live for these years and for these generations. Yet in his great graciousness, he has provided a deliverance for us, a completely different character, a new life and a new personality that we can receive by faith when we are at last good and ready. Except loved ones, it can only be during this lifetime.
You have to choose it during this lifetime. Sooner or later, you have to decide whether you will continue to live with this sinful nature that governs your life or whether you will enter into the deliverance that God has given you in His Son Jesus. Loved ones, there is no reason, why you for one more moment should live under the burden and the compunction and compulsion of that sinful nature. There isn’t. There is no reason why you should toss in bed one more night with a nervous stomach because you’re worried and anxious.
There isn’t any reason why you should once more lose your temper with your loved one because your sinful nature is depending on her or him treating you a certain way. There isn’t. That has been crucified in Christ and the moment you believe that and start acting in the light of that, that moment God’s life and love will begin to pour through your personality and will begin to express itself through you. You will begin to live again the way you are meant to live. Like that. (Pastor shows a visual).
Now, that’s what the Father has done for us. I’d like next Sunday to share with you the Gospel that has too often been shared with us. We’ll look at why so many of us are not living it, yet calling ourselves Christian. But you don’t need to wait for that. You can act today. Let us pray.
Dear Father, we don’t understand every detail but we do see enough similarity between your Word’s diagnosis of our situation and our own actual experience to realize that these things are true and that this is the way it is. Lord we don’t understand all the details about our death with Jesus but we certainly see that it’s reasonable to believe that you are able to do that. Most of all Father, we see that your Word is right in the other details and so we have great cause to believe that it’s right in this detail also. We have in fact been crucified with Christ and our sinful nature has been changed. It is therefore reasonable for us to do what your Word says, “reckon also yourself to be dead indeed unto sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” We are to be dead to what the world can give us from this day on and only depend on what you will give us.
Father, we know that each of us can determine this day whether we will live off the love of the world or whether we will live off your love. Lord we see that we are free to do it because of what you’ve done to us in Jesus. So dear Holy Spirit, will you reveal to us whatever of our sinful nature we have not been willing to let go of, so that we may let it go and reckon it to be dead in Christ to the love that the world can give us. From this day on we depend only on your love dear Father. Your love will be the only thing in existence after this world is over.
Lord we thank you for this day and for your good news. And now the grace of our Lord Jesus and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with each one of us now and evermore. Amen.