Saturday, November 28, 2020

The Love of God


Greetings Everyone! Welcome, our friends in Canada, Switzerland, Brazil, the Philippines, and around the world, including, of course, the United States of America. It’s great to be with you once again for the Church of Jesus Christ Online Ministries located in Spring Hill, Florida. I’m your host Leonard V. Johnson.

Friends, let’s go right into the message today – I want to ask you the question, How great is God’s love for the people of the earth!? Does God truly love us!? Does He truly love you and me!?

Does God love us like we love our spouse or our children or even ourselves!?

Indeed there are times when we begin to wonder whether God really loves us at all. Now, maybe this has happened to you. I think this place of bewilderment is not rare. Surely we all have doubts about the level of God’s love and His concern for each one of us – whether He truly cares about our life, our problems, our worries, our fears, our health, happiness, and perhaps the anxiety we have about our safety, our job, and our future.

Is God just simply angry all the time at us!? Is God judging us – all the time!? Does He only see the bad things in our life – all the time!?

We, as human beings, are indeed guilty of mostly only seeing the negative side of situations in our life – as well as in other people. Is this the way God looks upon us!? Does God see the glass half empty or half full!? And, are we NEVER just quite good enough for God!?

So, turn with me if you will to the beginning of the Holy Bible – Genesis the 1st chapter.

Verse 26 – “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’”

So, notice verse 27 – “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

God created human beings in His image – male and female. So, the very shape of our bodies carries with it some of the glory and persona of God. Do we think about this when we walk around in the “tent” that we live in!?

Also, Genesis chapter 2 and verse 7 tells us that we have God’s breath within us. Because God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” giving him life. And, because of this, we are connected to God forever.

However, often we are like the reckless child that tells his parents – ‘Oh, you don’t care about me!’ But what are the parents thinking!? They’re thinking all the way back to the conception, the pregnancy, the care that the mother took to get to full term, the anticipation, the preparation, and ultimately the delivery. The dedication, the care, and the coddling. The worry and often sleepless nights – only to have the child stand there and say, ‘You don’t care about me!’?

The parents realize at that point that the child is never going to truly understand the kind of love you have for them until the day that they have a child of their own.

Within my wallet, I have an old faded, and a well-worn picture of my daughter Jessica at six-months-old. She certainly at that age had no idea what was going to happen to her – of the responsibility and how she would feel until she had a child of her own. And we seem to be this way with God and will sometimes look upon Him and say, ‘Oh, do You truly love me!?’ And certainly, He looks upon us and says, ‘Seriously!?’

Friends, I’d like us to turn to the Book of Isaiah. It’s remarkable that this great prophet of God – the messianic prophet – we will often think of as an old wise gray-headed and bearded patriarch. But through his writings, you can find golden nuggets which tells us that this great man had much experience with family – even in his own life.

In Isaiah chapter 41

Verse 8 – “’ But you, Israel, …’” – this is God speaking to Israel. “ … ‘are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, The descendants of Abraham My friend.’” – going all the way back to when He selected Israel.

Verse 9 – “’ You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, And called from its farthest regions, And said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away.’”

Verse 10 – “’ Fear not, for I AM with you; Be not dismayed, for I AM your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’”

Here, God is reaching out to Israel and encouraging them and letting them know, ‘I have not abandoned you.’

So, God is appearing to say, ‘asking such a question of Me is truly foolish.’

After bringing us through the birth, He isn’t going to abortus or throw us away.

In Isaiah chapter 43

Verse 1 – “But now, thus says the LORD, who created you O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.’”

God said, ‘your name isn’t going to be called anymore Jacob, but ISRAEL.’ He named them. The name has a shocking meaning – “He will rule as God.”

Indeed it is true that Almighty God knows us by name – each and every one of us. You know how we know that!? In the Book of Psalm, it says that God calls the stars in the heavens all by name – Psalm 147:4. And, in the Book of Luke, our Lord and Savior says, “’ But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore.’” Truly, when a sparrow falls to the ground He knows about it! What about you!? Jesus says, “’ you are of more value than many sparrows.’” He knows our situation and just what is happening in our life. Friends, the proof is before us!

Let’s turn now to Isaiah chapter 44

Verse 1 – “’ Yet hear now, O Jacob My servant, And ISRAEL whom I have chosen. 2) Thus says the LORD who made you And formed you from the womb, who will help you: ‘Fear not, O Jacob My servant; And you, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.’” – again, twice in two verses He said, ‘I chose you!’ Of which I have underlined for emphasis. And He certainly is saying this to each of us – TODAY!

Verse 21 – “’ Remember these, O Jacob, And Israel, for you are My servant; I have formed you, you are My servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by Me!’”

And friends – look at this! Verse 22 – “’ I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, And like a cloud, your sins. RETURN TO ME, for I have redeemed you.’” – it’s like redemption for us, even though God did realize that sometime in our life we would become imprisoned by sin, He is willing to go down to the prison and bail us out! And, as I state in the sermon “One God – One Mediator” - do you truly understand what this means!? It means that your life was forfeited – you were on death row having had the death penalty hanging over your head! And Jesus went down and paid the penalty. He redeems us!

Verse 23 – “Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done it! Shout, you lower parts of the earth; Break forth into singing, you mountains, O forest, and every tree in it! For the LORD has redeemed Jacob, And glorified Himself in Israel.”

Friends – indeed we can place our own name here and our own lives in this very thought and in these verses here!

Let’s turn now to Isaiah chapter 49

As you’re turning there, I ask – what about all the terrible things that our child(ren) has done!? You know, when we have children, as I spoke of earlier, and they make mistakes – and they oftentimes make huge mistakes – what do we do with our own children!? Do we just cast them aside!? Do we disown them – just because they made a huge mistake!? Well, God is actually willing to overlook, even in our lives, the terrible things that we’ve done and forgiven us of the mistakes we’ve made. And friends, this is extremely important! As a parent does with their own children – God a thousand times over does that for each and every one of us!

Verse 13 – “Sing, O heavens! Be joyful, O earth! And break out in singing, O mountains! For the LORD has comforted His people, And will have mercy on His afflicted.”

Verse 14 – “But Zion said, …” – and this is you and me. “ … ‘The LORD has forsaken me, And my Lord has forgotten me.’”

Many will say – ‘O I’ve done so many bad things in my life, God doesn’t care about me anymore!’ Well, look at what Almighty God says –

Verse 15 – “’ Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I WILL NOT FORGET YOU.’”

Sadly, there are mothers who do ‘forget their nursing child.’ But, I’m sure the majority of us truly has, or had, a mother that never forgets, or forgot – and who, even when you were older always looked at you as if you were still a young child. God is comparing Himself to a mother caring for her child – see Psalm 103:13; Matthew 7:11.

Verse 16 – “’ See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; …’”

Friends, what a beautiful thought – our LORD leaning down at the bank of the Euphrates River, scooping up a handful of clay and forming it into a human body, breathing into the nostrils of Adam the breath of life. He looked at that human being and – that human being was unlike any other creature upon the earth of which He had created. God had created and ‘let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind’ – the ‘beast of the earth according to its kind.’ And, God saw that it was good. He had ‘let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let the birds fly above the earth.’ And, God saw that it was good. He had created all the plant life, the mountains, the streams, and rivers – but, even all of this would be subjugated unto this new creation – Adam. This human being who had the ability within himself to someday become a son. Now that truly is something special!

This human being had within his brain the ability to create, to design, and the ability to calculate problems – far above any other beasts of the field. Far above Neanderthals, which are not of the human genome.

And yet, like the great many space science television programs that are replete around the world, they’ll say, “In those early days, lightning and ultraviolet light from the Sun were breaking apart the simple hydrogen-rich molecules of the primitive atmosphere, the fragments spontaneously recombining into more and more complex molecules. The products of this early chemistry were dissolved in the oceans, forming a kind of organic soup of gradually increasing complexity, until one day, QUITE BY ACCIDENT, a molecule arose …” 1 They’ll say, ‘There is no God!’

Well, let’s move on here to – what about all the things which make us afraid!?

Let’s go over to Isaiah chapter 51

And here reading from the New English Bible (NEB), Verse 12 – “’ I, I Myself, Am He that comforts you. Why then fear man, man who must die, man frail as grass? WHY HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN THE LORD YOUR MAKER, who stretched out the skies and founded the earth? Why are you continually afraid, all the day long, why dread the fury of oppressors ready to destroy you? …’”

But look at verse 15 – transferring back to the New King James Version (NKJV) – “’ But I AM the LORD your God, Who divided the sea whose waves roared – The LORD of hosts [meaning, an army, divisions of angels] is His name. 16) And I have put My words in your mouth; I have covered you with the shadow of My hand, That I may plant the heavens, …’”

“That I may plant the heavens!” Now, when I read what Almighty God says here – I can’t help but think of the Voyager I spacecraft which was launched in 1977, which encountered the planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, and then in August 2012 becoming officially the first human-made object to reach into interstellar space – and as of 2015, over 12 BILLION miles away from Earth! And, I can’t help but think of the July 14th, 2015 New Horizons launch, which made its historic flight to the Pluto system! The dwarf planet and her five moons being some 3 BILLION miles from the Sun! And friends, God surely tells us just what His plans are for the heavens – for when He says, ‘that I may plant the heavens,’ this is a statement that is looking far out there into the future of His universe. When human beings will explore – with ever greater ability – the extent of outer space itself! Eventually, even reaching our closest galaxy – the Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy – some 25,000 light-years away!

Is this God’s plan, eventually, to populate His universe!? It certainly indicates this, that He is going to ‘plant the heavens!’

“ … ‘Lay the foundations of the earth, And say to Zion, ‘You are My people.’”

Friends, God has an awesome plan for us!

Let’s turn to Isaiah chapter 54

Verse 4 – “’ Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; For you will forget the shame of your youth, And will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore.’”

Now, it’s as if God is comparing the relationship we have with Him as to the perfect marriage – as He continues – verse 5 – “’ For your Maker is your husband, The LORD of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; HE IS CALLED THE GOD OF THE WHOLE EARTH.’”

Verse 6 – “’ For the LORD has called you Like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, Like a youthful wife when you were refused,’ Says your God. 7) ‘For a mere moment I have forsaken you, But with great mercies I will gather you.’” – speaking of something yet future.

Verse 8 – “’ With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,’ Says the LORD, your Redeemer.”

So, here we’re seeing Scripture which speaks of Almighty God’s plan to regather and reconnect with His people.

Over in Isaiah the 63rd chapter

Verse 7 – “I will mention the lovingkindness of the LORD And the praises of the LORD, According to ALL THAT THE LORD HAS BESTOWED ON US, …”

Now, think – when you read this verse – what God has done for the nations of the United States of America and the United Kingdom and her Commonwealth of nations! For our people, since her inception – “ … And the great goodness toward the house of Israel, …” – friends, we certainly have a blessed land! We’ve had relative peace, prosperity, and blessings beyond comprehension as a people. A great influx of technology, industry, and wealth – and of course this land, the United States, as well as the United Kingdom – of Britain, which includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part, as well as Ireland and the many smaller islands, Scotland, and Wales – has some of the most beautiful places you will ever lay your eyes upon! God has done all of that for ISRAEL!

“ … Which He has bestowed on them according to His mercies, According to the multitude of His lovingkindnesses.”

We – every one of us – should absolutely marvel at the provision which God has given us as nations. We are so blessed. And, we take for granted the enormity of the blessings which we have – compared to human civilizations down through history – we shine as a beacon upon a hill for all to see!

Friends, let’s turn over into the New Testament, to the Book of Luke the 15th chapter, mentioning something which our Lord Jesus Christ said.

Verse 2 – “And the Pharisees and the scribes complained, saying, ‘This Man receives sinners and eats with them.’”

And Jesus spoke this parable to them – verse 4 – “’ What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?’

Verse 5 – “’ And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6) And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ 7) I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.’

Now, sadly, as it was with the Pharisees and the scribes of Jesus’ day, a great many – including many within the churches of God – continues to structure their religious system to exalt the self-righteous and exclude anyone who does not live up to their arbitrary standards. Instead, teaching such things like, ‘I can’t imagine what it would have been like having grown up in a Protestant household!’ (See cf. Luke 18:10-12). That remark to me is self-righteous and self-centered. And can easily alienate a person – of which God is calling – who was brought up within a Protestant household. We can certainly glean a proper understanding of this parable from our Lord Jesus Christ’s own brother, the apostle James. It’s in James chapter 5, verses 19 and 20

“Brethren, if anyone among you …” – especially someone who was sent by God to you! “ … wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20) let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul [a life] from death and cover a multitude of sins.”

So, I say to you – if you are indeed serving and following Jesus Christ, and if you indeed believe that someone among your church group has ‘wandered from the truth’ – shouldn’t YOU do everything within your power to help that person!? Especially if you are claiming to be a shepherd!? Or, like what has been done to me – and I sadly say, a few times – just throw that person away into the ocean with a millstone around their neck!? But instead many of you – and many of you from and in the churches of God – continue to think of self instead of others.

But I digress. Well, we do certainly have God’s love!

Let’s now turn to the Book of John the 14th chapter.

Verse 21 –“’ He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.’

Verse 23 – “ … ‘If ANYONE loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.’ – so, God moves into our “tabernacle” which we have – our body.

Let’s look at a very proof of Almighty God’s love – turn with me to the Book of Romans the 5th chapter.

Verse 5 – “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit [which] was given to us.” – God the Father and His Son come into us and make Their abode.

Verse 6 – “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7) For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.”

And I’ve seen films in which soldiers in a war would actually help save the life of one of their brothers, in any way possible. Every once in a while there is another human being who will die for another human being –

Verse 8 – “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Indeed, God is the personification of true love. And friends, as it happened to me, it too can happen to you - once while I was meditating Almighty God allowed me to feel just a small portion of the love that He has for me, and in my mind whispered, ‘I cannot let you feel all the love I have for you because your physical body wouldn’t be able to handle it.’ And the very next day being baptized and hands laid upon me. Scripture says, ‘Perfect love casts out fear.’ And, it also says that ‘love covers a multitude of sins.’

Let’s turn now to Romans chapter 8

Verse 28 – “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29) For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

Verse 30 – “Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. 31) What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” – a most wonderful thought, isn’t it!?

Verse 32 – “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us ALL, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? – now, what did God the Father give His Son!? Everything! He gives Him all of the heavens!

Almighty God the Father gave His Son also one of the farthest known galaxies ever spotted – the young galaxy A2744_YD4 some 12.3 BILLION light years away! Is not God going to give us that glory at some point!? If He was willing to give up His Son for us all – is He not willing to give us all things with Jesus Christ!? Cf. Romans 8:17.

Verse 33 – “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34) Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.”

Friends, every day when we make a mistake and sin, and we get down upon our knees and repent and say, “O’ dear Father, dear Brother, I am terribly sorry for the sins of which I have committed today! And, it’s possible that I’ll commit the same sins again tomorrow, but will You please forgive me today!?” And, our Mediator is sitting there next to God the Father making intercession for us – our High Priest – saying, ‘I understand what it’s like being within that human “tent,” and the terrible temptations which come along. Please forgive him, Father.’ And God does forgive us.

Verse 35 – “WHO shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation [troubles within our life], or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”

Verse 36 – “As it is written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ 37) Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”

Verse 38 – “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39) nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

And with that my friends, I close today.

God be with you always. □


AP., Neanderthals Not Human Ancestors, CBS News, 26 Jan. 2004. Retrieved 24, Nov. 2020.
1) Sagan, C., Cosmos. Random House, New York, © 1980, pp. 30.

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