Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What Love

On Sunday, September 5 Tony Romano preached at Cornerstone. The message, "What Love" was from Ephesians 3:14-21. It was a wonderful, Christ-centered message. Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, the sermon was not recorded. Because the content (and delivery) of the message was so good I wanted to post what I could from Tony's message that morning.

Ephesians 3:14-21
What Love

There are all kinds of objections people can raise to question the goodness of God. And maybe the most common objection has to do with hell. In fact, people go so far as to say that hell is a massive problem for God – how can He be loving and send people to eternal punishment in fire? - If God is so good, why is there a hell? If you ask the wrong questions, you’ll get the wrong answers. The biggest “problem” is not hell – it is the cross – if there is anything in God’s Word that should make you stand up and say, “Hey, wait a second…” it is the cross, it is not hell – it is the fact that God put forward, by His own will, His perfectly innocent, completely glorious Son to bear my punishment

What would you do with a Judge who knowingly and willingly and deliberately punished an innocent man for a guilty man’s actions? How can a good and just and righteous God forgive sinners and wipe their account clean when they did NOTHING to earn it? How can He just pass over it? – and how can He do it every single day?

Well, He can pass over it because He provided a Lamb – because He is satisfied with the work of His Son on behalf of all who believe, every single last one – He is pleased, in Christ, to forgive sinners and make them His sons and daughters – every move God has ever made to save anyone is justified completely by the Cross

If anything shocks you, let it be the love He displayed for sinners at the Cross and proclaims even now to a lost and dying world in His precious Gospel. Don’t let it shock you or bother you that God is okay with being God – that He loves His name and His glory and that He is infinitely righteous and holy and that if you reject Him, if you do not bow before Him, you will bear your own guilt and be liable for your own debt. If anything causes you to step back in amazement and say, “how could this be…” let it be the Cross where the Son of Man was crucified and bore the punishment for millions when He did not deserve it – according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God. Ask “how could it be that a just, righteous, perfect, infinitely holy God could love me, a sinner when I know I do not deserve it?” – “How is it fair that a sinner gets heaven?!” Ask, “What love is this?” –

Read Ephesians 3:14-21

VV. 14-21
For THIS reason – what reason...BECAUSE HE HAS…
-blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing
-chose us in Him before the foundation of the world
-made us holy and blameless
-predestined us for adoption as sons
-given us redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins
-we have obtained an eternal inheritance
-we are sealed with the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of that inheritance
-He has placed all things in subjection to Christ
-when we were dead in trespasses and sins, God made us alive with Christ
-He has raised us up with Him, seated us in the heavenly places
-He will lavish His immeasurable grace on us in the coming ages
-He has saved us by grace through faith
-He has prepared us for good works
-brought us near by His blood
-and Jesus Himself is our peace
-access in one Spirit to the Father
-no longer strangers and aliens but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God
-Jesus is our Cornerstone
-we are being built together in Him as a dwelling place for God by His Spirit
-partakers of the promise in Jesus Christ
-through us, through this one new body, the manifold wisdom of God will now be made known
-because God has realized His eternal purpose in Christ…for THIS reason…
-the substance of the Gospel, its redemptive message accomplished once and for all in Christ, the mystery of God hidden for ages but now revealed in Him…this is the reason for Paul’s prayer – everything that God has done for us flows to us through the Gospel because in it, Jesus is revealed – and for THIS reason…

-v.14-15 - Paul BOWS his knees in prayer to the Father – the TRUE Father of all – the OWNER of heaven and earth, everything and every person that exists does so only because of Him
-v.16 - from the infinite RICHES of His GLORY comes a GRANT- not from but “according to”
-STRENGTHENED with POWER from the INSIDE – a foundation
-v.17 - SO THAT – there is a deliberate purpose
-that the DWELLING of Christ in your heart through faith is THE means of your being ROOTED and GROUNDED in love – believe it is true because it is true – you need no verification that He is there beyond His authoritative Word to you through the Gospel – I DWELL IN YOU
-therefore the basis of your ability to comprehend…, the source of the strength you need to do this – is not anything mystical or extra – it is the Gospel bought FACT that HE DWELLS IN YOU
-v.18-19 - by His presence you will KNOW what you cannot comprehend, you will KNOW what SURPASSES KNOWLEDGE – and that is the love of Christ – it is so vast and so deep that it cannot be fathomed – and yet, He desires to reveal it to you in full disclosure
-Jesus wants you to know how much He loves you – and I want you to know that He loves you much more than you love Him and this is the ground of your hope
-not so that it will terminate on your value, but as a means to being FILLED with the FULLNESS OF GOD (this is CHRIST in you)
-there is a POWER at work within you (v.16-17) – faith is the key to appropriating what Paul prays for here – this is so crucial - the key to obeying our God, to being the church, is to understand that we are loved by God – it is to believe and understand the Gospel through which we are filled with the fullness of God, with CHRIST by FAITH, not by works, not by promises and commitments, your flesh does not have the power to do and be what God has called you to do and be – think about this love
1:4b-5 – In LOVE He predestined us
2:4 – because of the great love with which He loved us
1 John 4:10 - In THIS is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.(the essence of love doesn’t come from you; it is from God demonstrated in Christ)
John 14:15 - If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
-LOVE is POWER (v.17-18) – it is through loving your Savior who loves you with an infinite, indestructible love that you will grasp the POWER you need to be the CHURCH
-it is through this love that we become the fullness of Him who is the fullness of all things (1:22-23) – in Him, the fullness of deity dwells bodily
-the love of God in Christ for you is the means by which we are empowered to be the church – the Gospel is the foundation of all we are and all we do
-what God means to accomplish in you is not dependent on the strength you provide or what you bring to the table – God works according to the power He placed from Him in you – the Potter is working the clay inside of you
-to which we respond, “I don’t see any evidence of that,” “I am weak,” “I struggle so much,” “how can I ever reach the fullness of what God desires for me?” - to which His response is v.20-21
-v.20-21 - somewhere far beyond what you could ever imagine God could do is where He will do in you – God is able to do “far….more….and abundantly” beyond it
-and to this One who is doing all the work – to Him be glory in the place where that work is to be done: the church
-to Him, to our Savior, throughout all the generations, every family, forever and ever – may His love for us result in the praise of His glorious name forever and ever and ever – God will make sure His Son’s Bride loves His Son forever – oh what a blessed marriage arrangement
-all of this flows from infinite love and mercy – the church is a body created by the love of God in Christ - He formed her out of nothing, He breathed life into her by His Holy Spirit, He bought her back from death and slavery when she wandered away from Him, He took her back and shaped her and works today to make her beautiful, and one day He will put an end to history so that He can be with her and she can be with Him forever
-what love is this? “God’s love for His people is as long as eternity past, so wide as to include all nations, so high as to ring praises from angels in heaven, and so deep as to cancel the claims of hell on our soul.” – Brian Chapell
-until we are gripped by the love God has for us in Christ, we cannot be the Church we must

-some of us come from dirty pasts – and do you know what? – it is okay, it is okay – He is not ashamed to be called your God – He is not ashamed of you – His Son bought your justification – at the Cross God reconciled all things for you – He owes no one an apology for bringing you into His house and giving you a seat at His table – Jesus has paid every penny for you - He is not ashamed of you because of the supremacy and the power of His Son – Zephaniah 3:19

-we needed God to love us in order to make us acceptable to Him, to bring us to Himself – He had to employ that love to SAVE us, to WASH us, and it began with predestination – it is a total work – the love of God shapes us and changes us – it is far more than unconditional; it is effective to make us into what He wants us to be

The love of God is greater far, than tongue or pen can ever tell
It goes beyond the highest star, and reaches to the lowest hell
The guilty pair, bowed down with care, God gave His Son to win
His erring child He reconciled, and pardoned from his sin

Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the skies of parchment made
Were every stalk on earth a quill, and every man a scribe by trade

To write the love of God above, would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky

O love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong! It shall forevermore endure
The saints' and angels' song

-how can this be? Because of Christ.

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