The greatest love story ever told is found in the beginning of the Bible. This is the story of God’s love.
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GOD’S LOVE STORY
Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”
God is the inventor of life. He created the world.
Genesis 1:2 says, “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”
In the beginning, even when the world was a formless mass of empty darkness, God was there. His Spirit was hovering over the waters.
Today your life may be dark and empty. Know this, God is with you even in your darkest hour.
Genesis 1:3 continues, “And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.”
God then brought light into darkness.
And he can bring light into your darkest situation!
God then made the world. He made the mountains, rivers, seas. He flung the stars into space. God made the animals, insects, birds, and bees.
He brought colors into the world. God made something beautiful out of nothing.
And God can make something beautiful out of your life, no matter what has happened or where you find yourself today.
God then made man. God made man in his image and likeness.
Genesis 1:26 says, “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
The first people he made were Adam and Eve.
Why did God make man?
To rule the earth. Yes.
But God wanted a close relationship with his people.
Adam and Eve had a close walk with God. They often spent time with God.
But tragedy struck. The enemy came. His sole mission was to destroy the relationship that man had with God.
Adam and Eve were tempted and fell into sin.
Genesis 3:7 says, “At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness.”
Not only did their sin fill them with shame. But it caused them to hide from God.
Genesis 3:8 says, “… the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So, they hid from the Lord God among the trees.”
Sin causes us to hide from God. Are you hiding from Him?
Sin caused a spiritual death. Adam and Eve were cut off from God’s best.
This is where the love story begins…
But there is still good news. If you look at the rest of the Bible, it shows a picture of a loving God wanting to restore this broken relationship between God and sinful man.
God is holy and therefore cannot mix with sin. He is also a just God and therefore cannot let sin go unpunished.
The climax of this great love story happens at the cross.
God set up a plan to make a way for sinful man to be restored in relationship to God.
Man was cut off from God because of sin. And because God is just, He had to punish sin.
So, in order to show love and justice, God chose to send his one and only son, Jesus, to the cross, to pay the full price for sin. This way, the price of sin could be paid for, and mankind could come back into a relationship with God.
On the cross, Jesus took the full punishment for our sin. He took the fall for us, and He paid the full price so that we can be restored into a relationship with God.
Let me give you an example to illustrate what Jesus did:
Let’s say, I was caught speeding. The traffic officer gives me a fine that I must pay for my offence. I therefore need to pay the fine to clear my record. However, let’s say my brother pays the full fine on my behalf – then I am let off the hook. I would be free, as he would have paid the fine for me.
Let’s say I committed a crime and had to go to jail, but once again my brother steps in, and took the rap for me. My brother would then go to jail for my crime. He would be the one charged, and I would go free. This would not be fair! It would be an undeserved free gift.
Well, that is exactly what Jesus did for you and me. He paid the price for our sins.
God put laws in place. We broke them. This left us guilty, cut-off from God, with our eternity at risk. But on the cross Jesus took our place, and because of his finished work, we can be set free and made right with God. This is grace. It is God’s undeserved favor.
I do not deserve it. I cannot earn it. It is free.
GOD’S FREE GIFT
God’s love is free. You cannot work your way closer to God. You cannot buy his favour.
God’s grace is his free gift to you. But it is not cheap! It cost Jesus his life on the cross. He shed his blood for our forgiveness.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”
God saved you by his grace. We can’t earn it. It is not a reward. We don’t deserve it, and we can’t take credit for this. It is a free gift from God. We did absolutely nothing to earn God’s love. We were born into sin. Our sin cut us off from God. But Jesus Christ still died for us.
Romans 5:6-7 says, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.”
Romans 5:8 continues, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
THE GOOD NEWS
Romans 3:23 makes it clear that “all have sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.”
We were cut off from God due to sin, but God made a way for you and I to come back into a relationship with God.
Romans 3:24-25 continues, “Yet God, in his gracious kindness, declares us not guilty in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. “For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.”
We were cut off from God because of sin. We had no way of getting back to God. But God so dearly wanted to have a relationship with us, so He sent Jesus to rescue us. And the good news is that Jesus is our saviour!
Do you see the good news! What love! What underserved mercy! This is underserved grace and kindness!
No matter who you are, no matter where you have been, or what you have done, God made a way for you to come back into a close relationship with Him.
Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Sin leads to death, but God offers us the free gift of eternal life.
God’s love is unconditional. In other words, it has no conditions or strings attached. We cannot earn God’s love. We don’t deserve it. It is a free gift from God. Without God’s gift, we would be separated from God for all eternity.
God offers you and I the free gift of eternal life.
GOD LOVES THOSE WHO HAVE LOST THEIR WAY
Jesus shared a story that shows the love of God.
Luke 15:11 says, “A man had two sons. The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons. A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve.”
This young man got into all sorts of sin. He lived it up and ended up bankrupt. According to the story this young man squandered his money and prostituted his life. He basically got mixed up in the wrong crowd and got into all types of sin.
The son eventually ran out of money. He was left empty, and he hit rock bottom.
Luke 15:17 it says, “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger!”
He continued, “I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”
This young broken man set off towards home, rehearsing his repentant words that he would tell his father.
“Dad, I know I have messed up. I know I am no longer a part of the family, but please take me back as a servant in your home.”
In Luke15:20 it continues, “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming.”
Now I want you to see the love of the father.
Every day this father probably looked out over the valley, hoping that his lost wayward son would return home. While he was looking out, in the distance, he saw his lost son walking up the road towards the family estate.
In Luke15:20 it continues “Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.”
The Bible says that the father was filled with love and compassion, and he ran to embrace his lost broken son.
In Bible times, fathers did not run! It was not the “right thing to do”. But this father was so desperate to welcome his lost son home, that he ran to meet him. And when he met his son, he just threw his arms around his lost son and held him tight.
I can hear the father saying, “Oh my boy, my child, it is so good to have you back.”
The son was not expecting this act of kindness. After all, he had brought shame on his family. He had messed up and blown his father’s wealth and had shipwrecked his life.
The son was not expecting mercy. He was not expecting his father to just accept him back. He had messed up. The son was probably expecting his father to scream at him and tell him that he was good for nothing!
In Luke 15:21 the son cried to his dad, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.”
The lost son knew the condition of his heart. He only wanted a job. He knew he had blown it and that he was not fit or worthy to be welcomed back as a son.
But look at the love of this desperate father.
In Luke 15:22 it says, “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.”
This dad was quick to overlook his son’s sins. He was just so happy to have his lost son back, he just wanted to start over with his son.
The father told his servant to prepare a party to celebrate the return of his lost son. He requested that “a new ring he put on his son’s finger”, signifying that this was his son and a full member of the family.
This son did not deserve his father’s love, but the father lavished his underserved grace and kindness on his son.
The father said “My son was lost, but now he is found. We need to celebrate!”
Now, Jesus shared his story to illustrate the love of the Father. The prodigal son, with all his issues and messed up life, is a picture of you and me.
Just like this prodigal son, we are unworthy and underserving of God’s love. Just like this young man, we have sinned and were left cut off and hopeless.
But in the story, we see the mercy and grace and the undeserved love and kindness of The Father.
No matter who you are, or what you have done, The Father loves you and is waiting for you to return home!
The father loves you. He is looking out for you. He is waiting for you.
God the Father saw that we were separated from Him, so He sent Jesus to pay the price and make a way for you and I, so that we can be restored back into His family.
In Luke 19:10, Jesus said, “For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”
Jesus told another story to show God’s love for the lost.
In Luke 15:4-7 Jesus said, “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.”
Jesus continued, “In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!”
Are you lost? Then come back home. The Father is waiting for you. Jesus is calling you to come back home!
1 Corinthians 13:5-7 says, “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way, it is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love never fails.”
In Mark 12:30-31, Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
God calls us to love people, and He calls you and I to love Him with OUR EVERYTHING.
But because of sin, we couldn’t love God fully. We messed it up.
So, do you know what God did?
John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world (YOU) that he gave his one and only Son (JESUS), that whoever believes (FAITH) in him shall not perish (HELL) but have eternal life.”
God loves you so much that He set up a plan. He sent His beloved Son to pay the full price on the cross, so that we could be set free and be restore to God’s family.
Jesus didn’t come to condemn you. Out of love, He came to save you.
John 3:17 continues, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
We couldn’t love God fully, so God sent Jesus. And Jesus went all the way. He loved us with his whole heart, soul, strength, and mind.
John 15:13 says “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
And that is exactly what Jesus did for you and me.
1 John 4:10 says “This is real love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
Real love is not based on our performance. It is based on Jesus’ love.
We could not love Jesus will all our hearts, soul, strength and might, so Jesus gave HIS ALL for us. He shed his blood on the cross as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
GOD’S LOVE HAS NO LIMITS
Ephesians 3:18-19 says, “And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”
God’s love is without limits. It reaches from the highest heaven to the deepest ocean. It spreads from the east to the west.
See the cross …
W I D E
God’s love has no limits. He loves you.
NOTHING CAN SEPARATE YOU FROM GOD’S LOVE
I also need to tell you that today you can know God and that God has promised that nothing, absolutely nothing can separate us from His love because of the finished work of Jesus.
Romans 8:31 says “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
Romans 8:35 says “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”
Nothing can separate us from God’s love.
Romans 8:37 says, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
Romans 8:38-39 says, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 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.”
I pray that you will experience a fresh revelation of God’s love that He has for you.
His love is real. It cannot be earned, and it is undeserved.
If you have lost your way, it is time to come home. You can know God’s mercy, his forgiveness, His abundant grace, and his kindness.
All you need to do is call on Jesus.
Romans 10:13 says “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.”
Today God wants to rescue you. You can know real love. You can know God’s love. He wants to do life with you. He wants to do to walk the journey of life with you, starting today and right on into eternity.
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