SERIES: Heart & Soul: A Study through Romans
MESSAGE: Unrivaled Love
SPEAKER: Skip Heitzig
SCRIPTURE: Romans 5:6-11

MESSAGE SUMMARY
Modern wisdom continually tells us, “Love is a verb,” rather than a sentimental feeling. Love is a commitment that involves action. For the first time in the letter to the Romans, Paul introduced the word love and a very singular kind of love—God’s love for us. Wanting to show how secure we are in this salvation, he described the greatest demonstration of love—its proof, its provision, and its product.

STUDY GUIDE
Connect Recap Notes: August 25, 2019
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "Unrivaled Love"
Text: Romans 5:6-11

Path

Modern wisdom continually tells us, "Love is a verb," rather than a sentimental feeling. Love is a commitment that involves action. For the first time in the letter to the Romans, the apostle Paul introduced the word love and a very singular kind of love—God's love for us. Wanting to show how secure we are in this salvation, Paul describes the greatest demonstration of love—its proof, its provision, and its product.

  1. The Proof of God's Love (vv. 6-8)
    1. His Gift Was Sacrificial (vv. 6-8)
    2. His Gift Was Unconditional (v. 6)
    3. His Gift Was Incomparable (vv. 7-8)
  2. The Provision of God's Love (vv. 9-10)
    1. Jesus' Death Saved Us from God's Wrath (v. 9)
    2. Jesus' Life Saved Us from Our Ruin (v. 10)
  3. The Product of God's Love (v. 11)
Points

The Proof of God's Love (vv. 6-8)The Provision of God's Love (vv. 9-10)The Product of God's Love (v. 11)Practice

Connect Up: God is love (see 1 John 4:7-21), but that does not mean He is without justice (leading to wrath). God's love is both caring and just, making us perfect and complete like Him (see Matthew 5:48). Theologically, the unified character of God is called simplicity (i.e., without parts, indivisible). Why is it important to discuss both love and justice in relation to a unified understanding of God's character? Why does God punish evil, yet love the evildoer? How can both be true?

Connect In: How should the love/justice dynamic work in harmony within the church? Here are some areas to ponder:Connect Out: Using the concept of joy as a springboard, how could you implement the quote Pastor Skip gave from Thomas Aquinas to describe why people pursue carnal things in life? Why are people seeking joy apart from God, and why does that joy fail them? How can you weave true joy (the result of our salvation from wrath and ruin through Christ) as a talking point in sharing the gospel? Because of the power of joy, why is it important for Christians to exude joy when witnessing? What does our joy look like? How is it different from happiness?

DETAILED NOTES
"Unrivaled Love"
Romans 5:6-11

  1. Introduction
    1. True love is what people search for in life
      1. People want to be loved and to love
      2. Google provides over two billion results for true love, including:
        1. Advertisements on how to find true love
        2. Hit songs that talk about true love
        3. Articles about how to ensure that you'll find true love
        4. Explanations as to what true love is all about
    2. True love has been discussed, pondered, argued, and debated for centuries
      1. Some have become cynical
        1. Nobody can find true love
        2. Love is just a result of chemicals in the brain; it's a physiological response
      2. Others are hopeless romantics
        1. They believe they'll find a soulmate who is compatible with them in every way
        2. They believe they will have an endless romance as the sun sets over their white picket fence
    3. We live in a fallen world
      1. Our world is filled with broken and imperfect people
      2. Any relationship can fail at some point, because when broken, imperfect people love other broken, imperfect people, their love is imperfect
      3. However, God's love is in a different category altogether
        1. 1 John 3:1
        2. What foreign kind of love is this?
    4. The last word in Romans 4 is justification
      1. To be justified means to be declared righteous
      2. God declares that you are now right with Him, simply because you believe in what Jesus did for you
        1. He declares you right with Him and then treats you as such
        2. As a result of justification, we have peace with God, access to God, hope in the glory of the future, and purpose in all the trials of this life
    5. The first time the word love is used in the book of Romans is in 5:5
      1. Paul presented the wrath of God and the grace of God
      2. When you receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, you enter a lifelong relationship with God
      3. The second use of the word love is in verse 8
        1. God demonstrated His love toward us
        2. Paul introduced God's love, then pointed to the cross as the greatest example and act of love
    6. The overwhelming truth of the gospel is that God loves broken, imperfect people
      1. "No truth in the whole Bible ought to affect us as the love of God" —Dwight L. Moody
      2. Love is an essential part of God's character
        1. That does not mean that God doesn't hate
        2. Proverbs 6:16-19
      3. 1 John 4:8
      4. Paul discussed justification by faith, then he gave us God's motive for it all: love
  2. The Proof of God's Love (vv. 6-8)
    1. His Gift Was Sacrificial (vv. 6-8)
      1. The proof of love is always in the gift; what is love willing to give?
      2. God gave His Son, and His Son gave His life
        1. John 3:16
        2. Galatians 2:20
      3. Love is willing to give
          1. Love is willing to make a sacrifice
          2. Love is never passive or silent
          3. Love is always active and willing to act
      4. One of the reasons many marriages deteriorate is because couples stop giving to each other
        1. They stop giving their interest, time, energy, or care
        2. The marriage relationship deteriorates into a legal, formal relationship where those feelings disappear because giving stops
      5. For God, love was a verb, and He gave His very best: His only Son
      6. For Jesus, love was a verb
        1. He gave His life
        2. John 10:18
        3. Jesus was a true King searching for what He could give
          1. Matthew 20:28
          2. The proof of God's love is that the gift given was a sacrificial gift
    2. His Gift Was Unconditional (v. 6)
      1. "Without strength" (v. 6) means hopeless, powerless
        1. We had no ability to improve our condition, no capability to help ourselves, because we were spiritually dead
        2. Ephesians 2:1-2
        3. Before salvation, you were the walking dead—insensate to spiritual things
      2. "In due time" (v. 6)
        1. Galatians 4:4
        2. Our God, at the right time, sent His Son to save those who were in a helpless, hopeless, powerless condition; this is the style of God's love
          1. God loves the prodigal when they run away and wallow in the muck and mire of their own sin
          2. Jesus loves the prostitute
          3. Jesus loves the drug dealer and the drug user
          4. God hates what they're doing, but He loves the person (see Mark 10:21)
    3. His Gift Was Incomparable (vv. 7-8)
      1. In these two verses, Paul compared divine love to human love in order to show the vast difference between the way people love and the way God loves us
        1. Human love is almost always based on the attractiveness of the object that is loved
          1. If the object is more attractive, there's more love; if the object is less attractive, there's less love
          2. Human love is object-oriented, based upon the value, worth, status, or beauty of that object
          3. We are also inclined to love people who love us (see Luke 6:32)
        2. Our mistake is that we often attribute human love to God
          1. We think that God must love those who love Him, or that His love depends on how good we are
          2. "If God loved us because we loved Him, He would love us only so long as we love Him, and on that condition; and then our salvation would depend on the constancy of our treacherous hearts" —Charles Hodge
        3. God's love is not like human love; it is subject-oriented, not object-oriented
          1. Love is part of His nature, completely independent of the beauty, attractiveness, and value of the object
          2. God's love is completely dependent on the character of the subject giving the love
          3. It's unusual, from a human perspective, to love and sacrifice for a scoundrel, villain, rascal, cheat, or thief, but God is so inclined (see Luke 5:32)
  3. The Provision of God's Love (vv. 9-10)
    1. Jesus' Death Saved Us from God's Wrath (v. 9)
      1. Paul introduced the wrath of God in Romans 1:18, then unleashed for three chapters, describing the wrath of God and the condition of humanity
        1. This is the wrath that we're saved from
        2. For those who believe in Jesus, God's wrath is not an issue; a believer never has to worry about God's wrath
        3. John 5:24
      2. For you and I who trust in Jesus Christ simply, authentically, and wholeheartedly, God's wrath will never be an issue
        1. But that's not true for everybody (see John 3:36)
        2. The Bible divides all of humanity into two camps:
          1. Those who believe in Jesus—those who have escaped God's wrath
          2. Those who do not believe—those who will one day encounter God's wrath
        3. For believers, though, wrath is not an issue
          1. 1 Thessalonians 1:10
          2. God's wrath has been removed because Jesus took the brunt of it
          3. All the wrath of God was allowed to be poured into and on the body of Jesus so that when He died for you and me, God's wrath was satisfied in that sacrifice
    2. Jesus' Life Saves Us from Our Ruin (v. 10)
      1. Verse 10 is one of the strongest promises in the New Testament: we will be kept by God
        1. Paul argued from greater to lesser, both logically and theologically
          1. If the dying Savior reconciled us to God, then surely a living Savior will keep us reconciled to God
          2. If God can bring a sinner to heaven, then surely God can keep a saint while on the earth
          3. If our sin couldn't keep Him from loving us before we were saved, can anything keep us from His love now that we are saved?
          4. If our sin was not a barrier to the beginning of salvation, then how can our sin ever be a barrier at the completion of our salvation?
        2. God always finishes what He starts
          1. Hebrews 12:2
          2. Philippians 1:6
          3. Our safety depends on God's nature, not our own, just like your salvation didn't depend on your character and nature, but on God's
      2. Jesus not only pardons you; He preserves you
        1. John 17:15
        2. 2 Timothy 1:12
        3. He heals your soul, and He can keep your soul
  4. The Product of God's Love (v. 11)
    1. What does this love of God do in us?
      1. Authentic joy is the result of experiencing that true love
        1. Joy is what the world is missing, and joy is what the gospel produces
        2. Every person wants to be happy
        3. "No man can live without joy. That is why one who is deprived of spiritual joy goes over to carnal pleasures" —Thomas Aquinas
        4. Whenever you see someone trying to fill up their life with sensual, carnal, worldly pleasures, it's because they haven't found what they're looking for: a true sense of spiritual joy
      2. One of the first signs that a person is right with God is joy
        1. Luke 2:10
        2. Acts 13:48
        3. Acts 8:8
    2. The joy that God offers is not the joy that the car dealership promises
      1. God is not interested in just putting a temporary smile on your face
      2. He wants to deposit real joy, hope, and love in your heart
      3. The effect of true love is true joy, and Jesus is the author of both
  5. Conclusion
    1. God knows exactly what you need and sent a Savior
      1. He sent someone who demonstrated His love for you in His sacrifice
      2. He loves you at your worst so that He can take you at your worst and turn you into His best
    2. True love is when you discover that God in heaven, your Creator, who did all of this, thought that you were worth it
      1. When you realize that God thought you were worth all of this, you experience true love like you've never experienced it before
      2. You'll never find this love on a human level; it might be good, and it might come close, but it will be nothing like this
      3. God's great love is sacrificial, unconditional, and incomparable and provides salvation from wrath, and salvation for you, forever
Figures referenced: Thomas Aquinas, Stephen Covey, Corporal Jason Dunham, James Harrison, Charles Hodge, James Earl Jones, Dwight L. Moody

Cross references: Proverbs 6:16-19; Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:21; Luke 2:10; 5:32; 6:32; John 3:16, 36; 5:24; 10:18; 17:15; Acts 8:8; 13:48; Romans 1:18; 4:25; 5:5; Galatians 2:20; 4:4; Ephesians 2:1-2; Philippians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 2 Timothy 1:12; Hebrews 12:2; 1 John 3:1; 4:8

Topic: the love of God

Keywords: believe, character, incomparable, joy, love, nature, sacrificial, salvation, true, unconditional, wrath


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