For the Love of God - Romans 8:35-39 - Skip Heitzig
(SINGING) [VOCALIZING] That is why.
Would you turn in your Bibles to the book of Romans, chapter 8 for the final paragraph of this incredible eighth chapter of the book of Romans? When I was in high school, I remember getting a tract given to me by someone. I think I still have a copy of this tract, one of the probably most famous tracts ever called The Four Spiritual Laws. Anybody remember that tract?
So I was not a believer at the time. Person hands me the literature and gives me the first law, which says, God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. And I remember hearing those words, God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. I had a problem with that statement. I had two problems with that statement.
At the time, number 1, I didn't know if God was real. Number 2, if he was real, why would He love me? What makes Him want to love me? I didn't quite understand that concept, I guess a little bit like David in Psalm 8 when he said, what is man, that you are mindful of him?
But of since then, I have come to realize that there is, indeed, a God. Aren't you relieved that your pastor believes in God--
--and that He does love me and that His plan for me is, indeed, very, very wonderful, although a wonderful plan does not mean a trouble-free plan. It does not mean that it's painless or comfortable or that it's a life of ease. But it is wonderful, as God defines and knows what wonderful is.
To an unbeliever, the idea that God loves them-- it's not an easy concept for anyone. But understand that for an unbeliever, they don't quite understand that God loves them, because God isn't on their radar screen, let alone the love of God for them personally.
I want to read to you something I found on the internet from a person, who said, one time I was at the supermarket very depressed, but I don't think I was visibly sad. And this woman came up to me and said, can I tell you something? Jesus loves you.
I mention this example, because I wasn't even near a church. Last night, I was having problems. And I went out for a walk. And the same thing happened, except I was near a church. So there is at least a reasonable explanation. And then, this person says, is this just a normal thing?
Well, I read that. And people were responding. But I read that. And I thought, I think God's trying to get that person's attention. If you have two people in two entirely different situations, who didn't know each other walk up and say, Jesus loves you. Jesus loves you. I think that person needs to know that.
Jesus does love you, all of you, no matter who you are. I even saw a church sign that read, hey, hipster, Jesus loved you before you were cool.
Well, we come to the last paragraph of Romans chapter 8 beginning in verse 35. And this final paragraph of chapter 8 is a crescendo of all that He has spoken about. And it's a crescendo of God's love. Let's look at it together. "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or sword? As it is written, for your sake, we are killed all day long. We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
Yet, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him, who loved us, for I am persuaded that neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities nor powers nor things present nor things to come nor height nor depth nor any other created things shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord."
What an incredible paragraph. But there is a flow to it. There is a flow to this paragraph. And that's what I want you to get. Paul states a truth that we all know, or at least we all say that we know. But that truth is threatened by circumstances.
And when those circumstances happen to us, they make us doubt that truth that we say we know. So we need a vantage point to rise in our victory above those circumstances and come to a settled conviction of heart about that truth. That's this paragraph in a nutshell.
Now, if you'll look at the outline that I provided for you in the worship folder, you see how I put it. We have a principal. We face of peril. We need a perspective. We should be persuaded. Think of this sermon like a ladder. And each of these points is a rung on the ladder. And I'm going to take you, Paul is, step by step to experience God's love.
So let's begin with the first. We have a principle. Now, I want you to notice that in these four verses, three times Paul mentions God's love. That's his emphasis, God's love. Look at verse 35. "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" Verse 37-- "Yet in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him, who loved us." Verse 39-- "nor depth or height, depth, any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord."
Love, love, love-- God loves you. That's a prominent theme in the book of Romans. It's a prominent theme in the life of Paul. This is the background screen on Paul's computer. This is the default mode for Paul the Apostle. Romans 5, verse 5-- "The love of God has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit." Romans 5, verse 8-- "God demonstrates His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
This is Theology 101. This is the basic stuff. God loves you. John put it this way. 1 John 4:8-- "For God is love." In other words, that's part of the very core of His character. Some years back when a prominent theologian was visiting a seminary, he was very renown in his thinking and for his writing. And the seminary students were gathered around. And they said, Dr. So-and-So, of all the things you have ever thought about, what is the most profound or greatest thought you have ever had?
He thought about it a minute, lifted up his head, and smiled, and said, Jesus loves me. This I know, for the Bible tells me so. That's as profound as you can possibly get. God loves you. It's a theme of not just Romans. It's a theme of all of scripture that God has a deep love for the people that He created.
Did you know that DL Moody decided to-- he was so intrigued by this. He decided to trace every single reference in the Bible of the love of God and make a note of it. Now, this was in the day before computer programs or iPhones or iPads when you had to do it by hand with a concordance.
So he traced every single reference to the love of God in the scripture. And afterword, he said, there is no truth in the whole Bible that ought to affect us as much as the love of God. The Apostle John would agree with him. He put it this way. 1 John, chapter 3-- "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us or lavished on us." I've always loved the word "behold"-- such a Bible word, right? Behold. Nobody talks like that anymore. Behold, my car. You don't do that.
So whenever I read "behold," I kind of translate it. Check it out. Look at this. Consider this. Look at the kind of love that God has for us. In Jeremiah 31, God even said to Israel, "I have loved you with an everlasting love." By the way, that is why they are called the chosen people.
In Deuteronomy 7, God said, I didn't choose you, because you're greater than anybody else or more in number than anybody else, but because I have set my love on you. I've just made a sovereign choice to place my love on you-- reminds me of a T-shirt I saw one time that said, Jesus loves you. But I'm His favorite.
Each one of you could wear that T-shirt. Now, God's love is amazing. I know we sing "Amazing Grace." We could equally sing amazing love. And the reason God's love is amazing, because you hear that God loves you. It kind of goes in one ear and out the other, because we don't understand that God's love has to be balanced with other attributes of His. Here's what makes His love so amazing.
God's love is so amazing, because God is Holy. And because God is Holy, God is unapproachable. Think back to Mount Sinai when the children of Israel were camped at that mount. And God tells Moses, tell the children of Israel, do not come near the mountain, lest they die. Don't come near. Don't touch it. They were seeing the lightning-- or hearing the lightning, seeing the-- seeing the lightning, hearing the thunder on top of Mount Sinai. And they started coming closer. God say, don't come closer. Or you'll die. And so they were happy just to send Moses up and hear from God. And you tell us what God wants.
Think of Moses, who wanted to see the glory of God when Moses said, show me your glory. And God said, Mo, I can't show you My full glory. You'll be a crispy critter. You'll burn up, man. You'll die. Think of the vision of God in Isaiah, chapter 6 when he sees the Lord high and lifted up and the angelic beings saying, Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord. And Isaiah didn't go, awesome. He said, woe is me. Wow is You. Woe is me.
So in His Holiness, God is unapproachable. But in His love, God approaches us. Once again, in His Holiness, God is unapproachable. But in His love, God approaches us. Question how does God approach us? Answer is found in verse 39. Nor height nor depth nor any other created things shall be able to separate us-- here it is-- from the love of God, which is in what?
Christ Jesus, our Lord-- when Jesus came into the world, He said, if you have seen me, you have seen the Father. Jesus showed up, God incarnate, as if to say, now, you can see the love of God up close and personal. Jesus's whole life was a life of love. We don't have time to chase down many examples. But here's two.
Remember the conversation with the rich young ruler, who had questions? What must I do to inherit eternal life? I want to earn Heaven. And before Jesus gave him the answer, the Bible says, Jesus looked at him and loved him. I've always enjoyed that verse. He looked at him and loved him.
Another was at the Tomb of Lazarus, his buddy, who died. Jesus is standing in front of the tomb. And He's crying. Now, why is Jesus crying? Well, He missed him, you might say. No, He knows He's going to rise him-- raise him from the dead in, like, 60 seconds. But He's weeping. And the people notice that. And they said, look at how He loved him. Look at how He loved him.
Jesus never met anyone He didn't love. He loved Peter. He loved John. And he loved Judas. He loved the worst of sinners. And He loved the best of saints. And He loves everyone in between, whether you're a hipster and cool or uncool, because God knows the truth.
Billy Graham-- when he was alive, he would say two things at his events a lot. He would say, the Bible says. He always said that. But he often said, God loves you. And he'd say it so much. Somebody asked him, Dr. Graham, why do you always say, God loves you? He said this. If you knew-- if you really knew that God loves you, it would transform your life.
I believe that. Knowing that God loves us should cause great relief, joy, humility that God's plan includes me, because if His love for me is eternal-- and it is. He said, I've loved you with an everlasting love. That means He loved you before He put anything else here, before He started or created anything. It means His love is prehistoric, pre-fall of man, prenatal-- before you were born. It can't be taken away. And it can never end. That's eternal love. That's everlasting love. So that's the principle we have.
God loves us. But that principle has a problem. That principle gets challenged by the experiences of life. I'll continue to read. Who shall separate us or what shall separate us from the love of God-- could be translated either way-- shall tribulation or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or sword?
Now, those are pretty raunchy things, right? Those are seven experiences-- seven painful experiences. And when they happen or if they ever happen to us, they can move us away from the previous truth that we know about God, that God is love.
When the circumstances like these happen, they make a lot of us question the love of God. Ever found yourself in a circumstance that you didn't plan on, you don't like, makes you question God's love? It's very dark. It's inexplicable. And you're kind of thinking, oh, OK, God. So this is you loving me, because I'm not feeling the love?
One counselor said, when counseling people, who are suffering from anxiety and depression, I often hear them ask, does God even love me? I bet you've asked that question before. You could be tempted during any of these experiences to conclude that God is against you. God doesn't care about you. Or perhaps there is no God. He doesn't even exist.
Now, look at the first that He lists-- shall tribulation-- if you don't mind-- if you feel free to do this, write in the margin of your Bible the pressures of life. That's what this means. Tribulation could be translated, the pressures of life. The word means to be squeezed or placed under pressure. We all face this.
Job, who suffered immensely, said, man is born to trouble, as certainly as the sparks fly upward-- so the pressures of life, tribulation. Second on the list-- distress-- now, I'm particularly interested in this word, because the Greek word is [GREEK]. We get our word "stenosis" from that. And for years, I've had a severe spinal stenosis in my lower back. It means a narrow or confined place. It's the feeling of being hemmed in.
Anybody listening to this message, who's in a hospital room feels that way. If you're a prisoner in jail and this message comes to you, you feel hemmed in. You are hemmed in. Some people say, I feel hemmed in and imprisoned by my work. Some people feel that way in a marriage. I'm a prisoner in this relationship. Men, like Joseph or Daniel or Jeremiah or Paul the Apostle all had a period of incarceration in their lives, where they felt they were in distress, hemmed in.
Look at what's third on the list-- persecution. He's writing to a church in Rome, who is about to face some of the most severe persecution ever-- in fact, 200 years of persecution, two centuries of it. And then, we won't go through all of them. But notice the last four-- famine, nakedness, peril, sword.
You could go through all those individually. But I think it's safe to say that those four are the results of persecution. Whether you experience all are one of those things, it can make you wonder the truth that you say you believe in, that God loves you.
But notice the question. Who or what shall separate us from the love of Christ? Now, that word "separate," is the typical word Paul uses for a divorce in the Bible. What could bring distance between you and God? Is there anything that could divorce you from God's love? What could separate us from His love?
Now, he asked the question. But notice verse 36, how he answers the question. He says, as it is written, "For Your sake, we are killed all day long. We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." What does that mean? Well, he says, "as it is written," meaning he's quoting something from the Old Testament. And he is. He's quoting Psalm 44.
Psalm 44 was written by one of the sons of Korah. And Psalm 44 is about how we, the Jewish people, Your chosen people, the people You love-- You've given us a land. You put us in the land. But we're surrounded by enemies, who have persecuted us, killed us, taken us into captivity.
And so you might say, well, why is Paul quoting that verse to answer that question. Here's what he is saying. We shouldn't be surprised if we suffer for Christ, because God's people always have. That's their history. Jesus told His disciples, you're going to be hassled. You're going to be hated by nations for My name sake. If they hated Me, they're going to hate you. But then He said, rejoice, and be exceedingly glad, for so they persecuted the prophets, who were before you.
In other words, when you suffer persecution, you're not alone. You are standing with the best possible company, with the best lineup. When you are persecuted, you stand next to Moses, Jeremiah, Elijah, Daniel, Jesus. This is why historians carefully noted that when the early Christians, who were persecuted by the Roman Empire-- when they marched to their death, they often stood tall and counted it as an honor to do so.
The other day, I was reading the story of Ignatius, who was second or third bishop of Antioch in Syria. He died about 107, 108 AD. He was killed, martyred. And he was thrown to the wild beasts. That was his death, thrown to animals to chew him up. His last words were, nearer the sword than nearer to God, in the company with wild beasts, in the company with God.
In other words, he realized, these things don't separate me from God. They simply show that I am God's person. I'm God's-- one of God's people. So we have a principle. We face a peril that challenges the principle. So we need a perspective. And here's the perspective He gives us, verse 37.
"Yet, in all these things"-- all the things I just mentioned that challenge the principle, "in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him, who loved us." Now, in this verse, Paul is picturing us surrounded by these seven enemies. But we still come out on top as the winner, because we are more than conquerors-- more than conquerors-- three words in English.
Actually, it's only one word in the Greek. I want you to know this word. Sometimes I really get stoked on words. One word-- [GREEK] two words, [GREEK], put into one word-- hyper conqueror literally-- you're a hyper conqueror. You're a super conqueror. You're a over conquer. You know what Nike is, right-- the sports brand? That's-- we get that word from [GREEK], to fight a battle and win. You are a [GREEK] a hyper super conquer.
It's-- think of it this way. Think of it like having a car with a fuel-injected, turbo-charged V8 engine. You have power to spare. You can drive that car to the store to pick up groceries. But if you want, you can get 10 tickets on the way and 10 tickets on the way back--
--because you have so much power under that hood. You have power to spare. You are a super conquer. Now, I know you know this verse. It's a very common verse. It's a verse many Christians know. We're more than conquerors. I don't think it's understood, however. I think a lot of us think Paul is just saying, dude, let me pat you on the back and give you a positive confession. You're a superhero.
And it's-- do you remember the movie years ago, The Three Amigos? Remember that wonderfully theological film?
And the three amigos, these three actors from Hollywood get a letter from a guy named El Guapo. And he's a very infamous criminal. But they misunderstand the word-- we'll take a look. You'll see.
- Boys, I know showbiz. And something always turns up.
- Telegram for the three amigos.
- Three amigos, Hollywood, California-- you are very great.
100,000 pesos to come to Santa Poco. Put on a show stop, the infamous El Guapo.
- What does that mean-- infamous?
--Dusty, infamous is when you are more than famous. This man, El Guapo, is not just famous. He's infamous.
- 100,000 pesos to do a personal appearance with this guy, El Guapo, who is probably the biggest actor to ever come out of Mexico.
- Wow, the infamous-- infamous.
OK. So he has a basic misunderstanding of the word "infamous"-- more than famous. I feel we have this misunderstanding with "more than conquerors." And so I want to explain what "more than a conqueror" means. Let me give you my first take on it.
First of all, to be a conqueror, just a conqueror, is to rejoice when the battle is over. People, who fight battles-- they don't put their guard down. They fight through the battle. And if they win the battle, that's when they rejoice. More than a conqueror, a super conqueror rejoices in the midst of the battle before it's finished.
Years ago, a man visited a church in Connecticut. He wrote about it. He was a visitor. He had never been there. He was watching the congregation during the worship service. They all stood to sing the hallelujah chorus. And he noticed one woman out of the corner of his eye. She was deformed, crippled. Now, she had her crutches nearby. But she pushed herself up to stand and lift her arms as she sang hallelujah. Her hands were twisted, gnarled, and misshapen. But she raised them up. And she sang. And this visitor thought to himself, what makes a Christian sing in that condition?
The answer is, only one, who is more than a conqueror can sing in that condition-- sing before the battle is fully over. What I'm telling you is that when you are surrounded by pressures, you need to look to the very end to get you through now. So to be a conqueror is to rejoice when the battle is over. A super conquer does it in the midst of the battle.
Here's the second way to look at this. Conquests have casualties. We know that anybody, who fights a war has to understand that there are costs that you incur, not just financial costs, but blood. Soldiers get killed. Civilians get killed. If you think back to that famous battle in World War II at Omaha Beach in Normandy, D-Day, Americans lost in that battle 2,400 soldiers in that battle alone.
Now, they eventually conquered. But they lost a lot of soldiers, 2,400. So the question has been asked throughout history, was it worth it with that kind of cost? The answer is absolutely yes, because if we would've lost that battle, Hitler would have steamrolled the world.
OK. Keep that illustration in mind. Let's face it. We didn't conquer anything. We didn't conquer hell. We didn't conquer sin. We didn't conquer death. We are just piggybacking on the conqueror's victory at the cross, which means He fought the battle. He incurred the cost. We didn't lose anything in the battle, except impurities, bad habits, an old lifestyle. He's the conquer. We are more than conquerors. We're the beneficiaries of it.
And then, there's something else about this. Any temporal loss that we do suffer in any of these situations is far outweighed by the rewards that are given afterwards. Jesus, your Savior and mine, said this, no one, who has left homes-- brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, fields for Me and the gospel will fail to receive 100 times as much in this present age homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and fields, and with them persecution, and in the age to come, eternal life.
Paul the Apostle said something similar-- 2 Corinthians 4:17-- "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all-- more than conquerors. That's the perspective we need, which takes us up the ladder to the fourth and final rung, the top level.
And that is where that should lead us. We should be persuaded. Paul was. Look at verse 38. "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities nor powers nor things present nor things to come nor height nor depth," and just in case you may think he left something out, "nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord."
It's like he's scouring the universe for any contingency at all, any possibility that could separate us from God's love. He can't find one. And did you notice what he mentioned first in that? Death-- I'm persuaded that death can't do it. You know, death cannot separate you from God. It will unite you closer to Him. It will unite you to His immediate glory, because death's sting has been taken away. And we have a victory in death.
Remember what David said? He said, "Yea, though I walk"-- Psalm 23-- "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the"--
Shadow of death.
--shadow of death-- he didn't say the valley of death. Who's afraid of a shadow? Look out. There's a shadow. Well, it might be yours. Can the shadow of a dog bite you? Can the shadow of a knife kill you? Well, then, the shadow of death can't destroy you. It's just a shadow.
And as David would say, death is like walking through a valley. Yes, you go down. And yes, it looks dark. But you don't stay in it. You rise up on the other side. Spurgeon put it this way. Death is not the house. It's just the porch. It's not the goal. It is just the passage to the goal.
So Paul says, I am persuaded. It means I am fully convinced. I am absolutely sure. Question -- how could Paul be so sure? Well, because Paul experienced everything he mentioned except one-- death. But he's about to. Eventually, history tells us Paul was taken outside of Rome on the Appian Way. And they cut his head off. And that's what brought him immediately to Heaven.
Everything he writes about, he experienced, except death. But he will even experience that. When he wrote these words, "I am persuaded," he knew what it felt like to have the lash of the Roman whip on his back. He knew what it was like to lack food and water. He knew what it was like to be shipwrecked. He knew what it was like to languish in a prison. He knew what it was like to face scorn and mockery from the crowd. He knew what it was like to almost be stoned to death. And for someone to experience all of that and come out the other end and say, I still believe God loves me, that's worth listening to.
It's one thing if he's in an ivory tower and a seminary professor somewhere, who's never really experienced hardship and looks around at his library and says, you know, I'm persuaded God loves us. But it's another thing to say, I've gone through all of this hardship. And I've come out the other end to tell you nothing can separate us from God's love. That carries weight. Paul said that.
So here's the truth. God always loves you. But you don't always experience God's love. Or put another way, God always loves you. But you don't always feel God's love. You're not always feeling the love. Remember what-- you know, maybe you don't. But at the end-- maybe you do. But at the end of the New Testament before Revelation, there's a little book called the book of Jude.
At the end of the book of Jude, He writes this interesting statement. He says, keep yourselves in the love of God. Keep yourselves in the love of God. That doesn't mean keep yourself lovable. Aren't you glad--
--because people who know you well go, that's not possible.
I've watched him. He's not always lovable. So it's not like there's a condition to God's love. When he says keep yourselves in the love of God, He means keep yourself in a place, where you are experiencing God's love. The Living Bible clears it up. Stay within the boundaries, where the love of God can reach you.
So outside right now, I can see that it's sunny. If I went outside, tilted my face up, I would feel the warmth of the sun washing over my face. But even though it's sunny, I could block that enjoyable feeling by putting up an umbrella. Sun is still shining. But I'm not feeling it.
In the same manner, God always loves you. But you could put up an umbrella of doubt. You can put up an umbrella of self-pity. You can put up an umbrella of sin or of selfishness, an umbrella of jealousy, an umbrella of envy, or an umbrella of comparison with other people. Any of those things are sufficient to block out the experience of God's love in your life.
So Paul said, I am persuaded. My question in closing is, how convinced are you? Or let me rephrase this question in a more direct way. Is there anything at all that could happen to you that would keep you from loving or serving Jesus Christ?
Is there something in your head? I'll name a few. God forbid any of these would ever happen-- the death of a child. I hope that never happens. But I know for some, it has. Are you setting that as sort of the benchmark? God, if that ever happens, I will never trust You again or follow You or love You, or an accident that renders you permanently paralyzed or a spouse that walks out on you or losing your business or your wealth. How about a debilitating disease? How about even a clever argument from an unbeliever?
Now, the answer is, they might actually. The truth is any of those things could stop you from loving Him. But I want you to know they will never stop Him from loving you.
Nothing can separate us from His love.
So back to that opening illustration when I got that tract. They said, Skip, God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. That's true. But here's the problem. I love me. And I have a pretty wonderful plan for my own life. Thank you. That's the problem. God loves you and has His plan. But hey, I don't know if I want to have God mess with my life. I've got my own plans. If He keeps my plans, we're good. If He messes with my plans to impose His plan, I don't care if He calls it wonderful. I don't want to be a part of it.
Some that I am speaking to are even still angry that God took something from you. That's how you have it in your mind. You framed it that way. God took someone or something away that I deserve or I still should have. And I'm still angry that He's done that.
Well, there was a little girl. She wanted more than anything else to have a little necklace of pearls. She saw some at the dollar store. They were fake. They were imitation pearls. But she saved her allowance money. She saved her birthday money. And she finally bought that little necklace of fake pearls, put it around her. She wore it all the time. She could not imagine life without those pearls. She loved it that-- you know how little kids are? They-- it's forever.
Her daddy one night tucked her into bed and said, sweetie, do you know that daddy loves you? Yeah, daddy, I know that. And do you love your daddy? Yeah, I love you, daddy. Of course. And he said, can I have your necklace? She clutched it. Like, no.
And she offered him another one of her favorite toys. You know, it's like--
--could we make a deal here? Could you settle for that doll instead of my necklace? Well, he laughed and kissed her. And she went to sleep. But he did that week after week, asked her the same question at bedtime. Do you love me? Do you know daddy loves you?
And this went on until one night, he came in. She was ready for him. Do you know daddy loves you? Daddy, I know you love me. Do you love-- yeah, daddy, I love you. I know what you're going to ask. The necklace wasn't even on her neck. She had it in her hand. She started crying. Her hand had started trembling. Her voice started quivering. And she handed that necklace to her daddy. He took the necklace with one hand and in the other hand, had a blue velvet bag. Inside was a real pearl necklace to replace it.
You see that dad was just waiting for her to give up a trinket. So he could replace the trinket with a treasure. So I wonder if some of us are holding onto our dime store habits, if we're holding on to our selfish pleasures, our unhealthy relationships. We've become so attached to them. Our grip is so tight. And the question we need to answer is, do we trust His love?
Some of us with our own lives, we're holding on like this. We're not going to surrender our life, because I love me. And I have a wonderful plan for my life. And we're clutching on. Maybe hopefully today that grip is going to be loosened, as you say, I surrender. Take me. I want Your love and Your wonderful plan for my life.
Father, as we conclude this eighth chapter of this incredible letter of Paul, we are-- we're face to face with this great truth. God through Jesus Christ loves us. He loves us with an eternal love. You loved us before You made us. You've loved us even after all the stupid things we've done since we've been on Earth. And You will love us all the way to and through eternity.
But when bad things happen, when challenges to that principle come and we are tested by any of these things, the pressures of life, we get tempted to move away from what we know. So we need this perspective that as we imagine the end of the battle, we can rejoice right now, because we are super conquerors.
You paid the price. You incurred the loss. We get the benefits. Because of that, we can and should be absolutely sure and persuaded that no experience will separate Your love from us, never divorce You from us. You are committed. You are all in for us.
I pray, Lord, that if we're holding on to our little necklaces, we're clutching our trinkets, that we would let go to have Your treasure. As we come to a close, I want to ask you if you're here-- some of you need to do that. You have needed to for a long time. You have been resistant to His touch, His call on your life. You have put it off. You have said, maybe someday, but not now. You've held on to something or someone or just your own control.
And God is just saying, let go. I love you so much. Let the Father replace your trinket with His treasure. If you are willing to come to Jesus, you mean it, you want to surrender to him, you should do that if you haven't, whether this is the very first time to come to Christ, or you have wandered from him and need to come home. If you are willing to surrender now, would you raise your hand up in the air?
Our heads are bowed. Our eyes are closed. My eyes are open to acknowledge you. God bless you right there in the middle on the aisle. Anybody else? Raise that hand up high enough. So I can see right here in the front. Thank you for that-- in the balcony, a couple of you in the balcony. Thank you, guys-- appreciate it.
Anyone else? Put that hand up right over here, right over here, to my right, on my left. If you're outside, raise your hand up. There's a pastor out there, who will acknowledge you right there in that crowd. Father, I thank you. We thank you for every single hand, every life, every set of experiences. Nothing in these lives shock you.
And you are so willing to love and forgive and accept and wash over and make new. We pray, Lord, that you would do that and that those, who have made this commitment that we saw or that I saw would now have the strength to live for You, experience your love, feel your love in Jesus's name we pray. Amen.
Could I please have you stand to your feet? As we close this service, we're going to sing a final song. And I asked now if you raised your hand, I'm going to ask you to get up from where you're standing, find the nearest aisle. Come stand right up here in the front, where I'm going to lead you in a moment in a word of prayer, whether-- even if you're in the balcony, because I saw a few of you, come down those stairs. And let us celebrate with you as you give your life to Christ. If you're over on the sides--
--just come stand up in the front. Jesus called people publicly. We're going to rejoice with you as we call you publicly. Awesome.
(SINGING) Your love never fails.
How are you?
(SINGING) Never runs out on me. Your love never fails. Never runs out on me. Your love never fails me.
(SINGING) Never runs out on me.
(SINGING) Your love. It goes on and on it goes.
Step right on over.
(SINGING) And satisfies my soul.
Awesome, you guys. Good to see you.
(SINGING) Ever, ever have to be afraid.
Yes, yes, yes. Come on. Show them some love. Show them some encouragement. That's--
(SINGING) because Your love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on me. Your love never fails, never gives up.
His love never fails. It never gives up, never gives up on any of us. I'm about to pray with these, who have chosen to say yes to God's choice of them. Anybody else want to be in on that? Maybe God brought you for this moment. And you have watched moments like this in the past. And you have forestalled them. And it's going to feel really good when you just let go of that grip and let God take control of your life. Anybody else? Anyone-- anybody else at all? Come on up.
Feels so good-- so good.
So glad. So glad, you guys. Come on. Yeah.
(SINGING) Your love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on me.
That's so awesome.
(SINGING) Your love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on me.
Awesome. Welcome. OK. Good to see you guys. I'm going to lead you in a prayer. I'm going to pray it out loud. I'm going ask you to pray these words out loud after me. You say these words out loud. It's sort of like vows at a wedding, you know. We say them out loud.
And say it. But when you say it, mean it from your heart. You're talking to God. This is just a simple prayer. But let's pray. Say, Lord, I give you my life.
Lord, I give you my life.
I know I'm a sinner.
I know I'm a sinner.
I believe in Jesus.
I believe in Jesus.
I believe He died on the cross.
I believe He died on the cross.
That He shed His blood for me.
That He shed His blood for me.
And that He rose again from the dead.
And that He rose again from the dead.
I turn from my sin.
I turn from my sin.
I repent of it.
I repent of it.
I turn to Jesus.
I turn to Jesus.
As my Savior.
As my Savior.
And as my Lord.
And as my Lord.
It's in His name I pray.
It's in His name I pray.
Amen, you guys.
Hey, welcome to God's family. I'm so glad you did this. Don't go away. Can you see this guy right here with the beard? He's actually a nice guy.
He's an ex-Marine. So don't mess with him. But he's a pastor now. He's tame. So he's Pastor Antonio. He's married to Tam, who's not up here. But anyway, she's getting ready for the baptism, but would you follow Pastor Antonio right over here? Just follow him over here. We want to give you something. God bless you guys.
How will you put the truths that you learned into action in your life? Let us know. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And just a reminder, you can support this ministry with a financial gift at calvarynm.church/give. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Calvary Church.