Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Love Breaks Our Hearts

The idea of "love" vs. "hate" comes up often in the conversations here at this blog. What's more, the sometimes fierce, ideological debates often appear to not ever resolve any differences. When such battles begin, usually the opposition draws a line in the sand and no matter what happens within the conversation, that line will never be crossed.

The question comes to mind, then, is that a good thing? Or a bad thing? It probably depends upon several factors.

However, in this post I'd like to focus in on what the Bible teaches us that we can know about God's love.

As a backdrop, I'd like to discuss a few lines about "love" from the movie, Moonstruck. Remember the plot of that story? Cher and Nicholas Cage had the starring roles. With her wedding to a close friend, Johnnie, just weeks away, she meets and falls hopelessly in love with - his younger brother, Ronnie (Cage). Recall the dialogue that went on between the two of them when they realized that they wanted to be together. This meant that "Loretta" (played by Cher) would have to tell "Johnnie" that she's not in love with him, but with his brother!

Remember the scene where Ronnie tells her (paraphrased here) that love "is not something perfect, but it's there because we're not perfect either," and that "we are meant to love the wrong people," and that "love breaks our hearts"?

"Loretta, I love you," he pleads. "Not like they told you love is, and I didn't know this either, but love don't make things nice - it ruins everything. It breaks your heart. It makes things a mess."
"We aren't here to make things perfect. The snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect. Not us. Not us! We are here to ruin ourselves and to break our hearts and love the wrong people and die."

As far as romantice love is concerned, Cage's lines are rated as one of the best dialogues of the eighties. But how poignant are those words! It gave us permission to be passionate and flawed. We laughed, we cried, we sighed and experienced joy while watching this movie. Kinda like life...wouldn't you agree?

But that just describes the "romantic" type of love. There is another kind of love...called "agape" love which is far beyond the scope of romantic love. It's the love that God has for mankind and that we, as His children can have for Him.

Unlike each one of us (meaning, we are all passionate and flawed), Jesus Christ was, is and always will be passionate and flawless towards us. His love is a perfect love. His love proceeds from the Father's love.

[The following includes notes from David Jeremiah's sermon on Sunday]

The Father's love was shown through giving us His Son. God told us His infinite love for us. He told us in a way that we couldn't miss His love for us. He gave the costly gift of His Son. God's love was no longer abstract, it is concrete.

1 John 3:16 - Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren.

In chapter 4, we read 3 times that God sent His Son for us.

1 John 4:9 - In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

1 John 4:10 - Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.

1 John 4:14 - And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son [to be] the Saviour of the world.

We only love Him because He first loved us. (1 John 4:9)

Sending His Son to be the "propitiation for our sins" tells us that no greater gift of God is conceivable or given. God is love and He is Spirit.

How can we demonstrate our love back to God?

2 Corinthians 9:15 - Thanks [be] unto God for his unspeakable gift.

Romans 8:32 - He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

We can realize the dynamics of the Trinity when the Gospel is realized, accepted and indwelled within the heart of the believer. But non-believers often can't (or refuse to) understand and comprehend this dynamic. It is my hope that this post might help sway the skeptic toward faith in Jesus Christ. (I know, I know...always the optimist! One can hope, can't one??)

Back to God's gift of His Son. Think about this. Do you have children? I do. I have two. I am challenged by the thought of how could I give my two children the way God gave His Son? It's unimaginable to me. Not something I'd ever want to think about.

How about you?

There was a story about a farming family and the dad took a part time job operating a drawbridge that allows trains to travel over a gorge. One day, the man's son climbed up the train track that was to be lowered. The man didn't see him until he had already started lowering the bridge for the safety of the passengers in the oncoming train. It was too late to save both his son and all the passengers on that train. What would you have done? Save the life of your son or hundreds of people?

I know what God did.

I was on that "train"!

Without that sacrifice, I would have died.

1 John 4:14 - And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son [to be] the Saviour of the world.

1 John 4:9 - He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

1 John 3:5 - And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.

1 John 4:10 - Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.

1 John 1:7 - But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

1 John 2:2 - And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [the sins of] the whole world.

God not only sent His Son, He sent a Savior. When God the Son came into this world, His death was worth every single person's life of all those who would believe!

God is love!

He demonstrated this by sending His Son, our Savior, into the world!

What should we do in return?

1 John 4:11 - Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

Now, everyone is gonna squirm at these next questions. (I did!)

Are there difficult people in your life?

Are they high maintenance?

Don't want to love them?

How are we to love someone who is unlovable?

What's your answer??

My answer is He loved unlovable me!

I can love people through God's love for me!

This is the way you love people who drive you crazy!

If God so loved us - we ought to love others.

This is our obligation, fellow believers. No one who goes to the foot of the cross can (or should) escape it!

How do we love our brothers and sisters in Christ? How do we love them as they are and pray for them?

Romans 5:7-8

Rom 5:7
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

Rom 5:8
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

While we were yet sinners; which means that we were at enmity against Him!

Think about it. There wasn't anything in us for God to love. We didn't deserve it. We can't earn it.

We are to love others who don't deserve it too. We are to reach out to those who are unlovable.

What does this mean?

It means that out of the reservoir of God's love for me, I am set free to love others. It is a sacrificial kind of love

John 3:16-18

Jhn 3:16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Jhn 3:17
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Jhn 3:18
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

We are to love them in deed and in truth!

When it comes to sharing the gospel message, some of what "Ronnie" in Moonstruck said is true. When sin entered the world and "made things a mess," we realize the bad news of our spiritual condition. We cannot save our own souls from the consequences of "the ruining of ourselves;" that being, the consequences of sin.

Originally, we were not meant to physically die. But when sin entered the world, the punishment for not obeying God resulted in death.

But there is hope!

The love that broke the heart of God when He sent His Son to die for our sins is reflected in the fact that the love of Christ dying on the cross breaks our hearts too!

But it doesn't end tragically.

Our hearts breaking in this way means the restoration of what was lost at the Fall of man. Our repentance for sin and acceptance of Jesus' sacrifice for that sin reconciles us unto God the Father...now and for all eternity!

Jesus told us in Mar 8:36, " For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? "

Jesus also said that his kingdom is "not of this world."

Jhn 18:36 - Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

He warns us what can keep people from entering into faith in him and his kingdom:

Mar 4:19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.

Jesus specifically mentioned "lust." Isn't it true that lust is one of the frequent types of sin that keep people in bondage and away from God's truth? What are the "lusts of other things" that Jesus is referring to?

Jhn 8:44
Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Rom 1:24
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

Eph 2:3
Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

1Pe 4:2
That he no longer should live the rest of [his] time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

2Pe 2:18
For when they speak great swelling [words] of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, [through much] wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.

2Ti 2:22
Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

2Ti 3:6
For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,

Jam 4:1
From whence [come] wars and fightings among you? [come they] not hence, [even] of your lusts that war in your members?

1Pe 4:3
For the time past of [our] life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:

Jud 1:16
These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling [words], having men's persons in admiration because of advantage.

God's Word is truth. Jesus said of the Father in Jhn 17:17 "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."

And when we know the word of truth, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit:

Eph 1:13 In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Jam 2:5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?

1Pe 3:15
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

1Pe 3:16
Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

1Pe 3:17
For [it is] better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

The truth is, we have a choice. The choice of our lifetime. We can choose the agape love of God through accepting Christ's sacrificial death at the cross for our sin and live for all eternity with Him, or die with our own sins on our own souls and live eternally without Him.

The choice is yours.

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