walk in the word
Category: God’s Character, Problems, Spiritual Life
There was a time when I was pretty negative about Christmas. It just seemed like you were always spending money you didn’t have to buy people presents they didn’t need, and the whole thing was kind of a hassle. As a pastor I tried to get people to focus on Christ, but this big dude in a red suit blocked everybody’s view of the manger. Turn the calendar page to December and everybody got overfed, overtired, and overbooked. People were like, “Man, leave me alone about my commitment to Christ—I’m celebrating Christmas!”
But do you know what? I was so wrong about all of that. In the last few years I’ve begun to see how wonderful Christmas is. (Aren’t you glad I’m growing and changing too?)
So let me be the first to wish you, Merry Christmas! I’ve been looking forward to the series that’s beginning on the air called, “God’s Amazing Love for You.” Consider it one of your Christmas gifts! It’s all about how to know from God’s Word how much God loves you. Yes, He really does.
Let’s begin our study with this truth from 1 John 4:16:
“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us.” That’s our goal: “to know and to believe the love that God has for us.”
There are little treasures in those words. First, notice “We have come to know…” That just says that this whole thing about “knowing” the love of God happens through a process. It’s like, “There was a time in my life when I knew about the Lord, and maybe even knew Him as Savior, but I didn’t grasp the depth of His love for me. But then it happened. It’s taken some time, but I now believe…” See the process? More than just 2 + 2 = 4; more than just reciting the recipe for a Denver omelet, this kind of “knowing” says I’ve tasted the Denver omelet and it’s unbelievable!
For many years I have known that God is love, but it’s only been recently that I’ve come to understand that God loves me. Why does a 44-year-old man need to know that God loves him? Isn’t that just for kids? “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” Imagine how stunned I was to have God meet me in a powerful way and immerse me in the truth that He loves me! That’s what happened—and that’s why I’m so excited to tell you about that same love God has for you.
I know you may be thinking, “Yeah, God loves me. But God loves everybody, and I’m part of everybody.” Listen, God doesn’t love you like a football stadium full of people. He loves you personally.
Let me illustrate. Forget that you’re reading this—pretend instead that we’re talking face to face. I want to communicate this: (Fill your name in here:)________, do you know how much God loves you? The Bible says some things about that. Isaiah 49:16 says, “He has engraved you upon the palm of His hand.” Matthew 10:30 says that the hairs of your head are numbered. And the Lord tells you that He saves your tears in a bottle ( Psalm 56:8). In fact, let me speak over you what God says about you in Isaiah 43—receive it as the Lord speaking to you. He says, “Fear not, __________, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name. You are mine. When you pass through the waters I will be with you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned. For I am the Lord yourGod. Because you are precious in My eyes, and honored, and I love you.” That’s a message God has personally for you, _________. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done. It doesn’t matter what you have thought about yourself or what other people have said about you. I’m telling you what God says about you! You are honored, you are precious in His eyes, and He loves you! What a wonderful thing.
I’m going to share with you more next week about how that truth has impacted my life but for now, I simply and passionately proclaim God’s love to you. God loves you with an everlasting love that words fail to describe (Jeremiah 31:3).
I know that some of you “know” this in your head but not your heart. You have the information, but you don’t believe it. Other people try to believe but they don’t have the knowledge, and they get into some distorted, weird concept about God. Some of you can’t remember a time when you turned from your sin and embraced Christ by faith. Man, what are you waiting for?! You don’t know when you’ll have a better opportunity to embrace Christ by faith, as the lover of your soul, than right now—today. Step into the steadfast love of the Lord for each of His own children through faith in Christ.
Wherever you stand in this issue, ask God to show you His love and I believe He will reveal Himself to you in ways beyond your expectations. Receive 1 John 4:16 as our goal for this Christmas season: “We have come to know, and to believe, the love that God has for us.”
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