Sermon for the 11th Sunday after Pentecost August 5, 2018
Text: Romans 8:35-39 3 Year Series A 18:2079
Theme: Separated from God’s Love? Never!
Can love die? Without Christ it can. The Bible says: “In the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (Tm.3:1-4). People will betray and hate each other. The love of most will grow cold (Mt.24). Can love die? Yes, it can; and without Christ it will.
Look what’s happening to marriage today. Over half of today’s marriages end in divorce. And the disastrous end of second marriages is even higher. Why? Couples don’t love each other. People may cite other causes, but the ultimate reason of separation comes down to the lack of love. “In-love people” can endure any hardship together. Love is like glue; it cements our lives together.
Our text speaks of love, God’s love for us. Even more, it speaks of how His love works for us and affects us every day. God’s love is great. It will never die; it will never leave us, not even in the worst of times. When troubles and hardships come, people may leave. Will God? Can we be separated from His Love? Never!
I. Not by trouble.
God’s love never dies; it never quits. Like the psalmist says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever” (106:1). God’s love does not quit; it will not die. Is that difficult to believe, especially when the troubles of life overtake you?
Unexpectedly, you could find yourself lying in a hospital bed; you could find yourself standing in a soup line; you could find yourself ridiculed, threatened, or attacked. Troubles of all shapes and sizes come our way they squeeze and press us hard. Paul says that we face them all day long. We’re like sheep headed to the slaughterhouse. There’s no way out for those sheep.
For example, you could leave this building today, think that you are just going home to a nice Sunday dinner, and find yourself in a crippling or even fatal accident on the way. We face death every day. The only reason it does not come to us yet is because the gracious hand of God holds it back – for now.
When such things happen, we can easily be tempted to ask “Why? What have I done to deserve this? Have I done something that makes God angry with me? Has His love for me died?”
But the person who looks at love from God’s point of view, realizes that such questions are foolish ones. The troubles that haunt us in life do not come from God; they come from us.
When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they opened the lid of Pandora’s box that allowed the pests of pain, plague, and poverty out into the world and into our lives. All our troubles are the direct result of the sin that infected the world from that time onward.
What did God say would be the result of their disobedience? To Eve He said, “Because you have done this…with pain you will give birth to children.” To Adam He said, “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it. It will produce thorns and thistles…and by the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground” (Gn.3). All our troubles are the result of sin.
And because we are sinners living in a sinful world we go through trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, times of want and nakedness, when we barely have enough to get by. There are times of danger and even the sword may come when our lives are threatened by death. Things will happen in a fallen world. We go through troubles. And the cause is not God, but our sin.
Yet, like a close friend, an ally, a protector, God steps into our lives to help. It took more than a simple pain pill to overcome it all. It took Christ, God’s dearly loved Son, and His blood to cover us (1 Jn.1:7). The Father gave up His own beloved Son for us all.
Paul writes that in Christ, God has first of all justified us to Himself. He’s declared us not guilty, even though we had sinned. Because of that no one can condemn you, no person, not the devil, not even your own conscience. Why not? Because Christ Jesus died for all; Christ Jesus rose to life for all; Christ Jesus now sits at God’s right hand and always steps in between you and God saying, “Father, you must forgive them for I have paid the price for sin.”
In Christ sin is taken care of. With your eyes on Him it cannot separate you from God’s love. And if sin, the root trouble of all, cannot separate us from God’s love, then no other trouble can either. Separated from God’s Love? Not by troubles. Never!….
II. ….Nor by death.
Are you afraid to die? Many people are. Some put on a false front and pretend that death doesn’t bother them, but when one sees the end of life approaching, it shows in the anxious looks on faces.
Actually, we can understand why many fear death, can’t we? We fear the unknown. Aren’t you a bit hesitant to go somewhere or do something with which you are not familiar? We tend to fear the unknown, and what greater unknown is there than death? None of us has gone through it yet. There is only one person who can tell us what it’s like because he has come through it and conquered it. That is Christ. And what has Christ told us?
He told us that He not only died for our sin, but that He also rose again for our justification. He promised, “Because I live, you shall live also.” In Him God has defeated death. If it is true that in Him God has defeated death for us, and if it is true that God’s love endures forever, then we need not be afraid of it. With Paul we can exclaim in a jubilant way, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1Co.15).
From this side of eternity, death looks like a shadow that blocks the light of God’s love. In reality it is the door through which we enter the bright daylight of God’s perfect heaven. We need not fear the dark because God’s love has filled our lives with heaven’s light. We still must pass through death. But with our eyes on Christ, we go through death’s door only to enter eternity’s light. Separated from God’s love? Not by trouble, nor by death. Never!
III. Not by angels or demons.
Oh, if you’ve got that conviction, dear friend, you make the devil so mad, because he wants nothing more than to throw you into great confusion and fear over this. That’s his delight. In it he hopes to disrupt your relationship with God and separate you from Him. The devil would like nothing more than to separate us from the love of God. So, he works to ensnare us so that he can add us to his numbers – to his numbers of evil angels and demons. His eyes, dear friend, are always upon you, desiring to make you fall.
But have no fear. If your eyes are on Christ, not the devil, nor his angels nor demons can do anything to you. He is like a chained dog that can’t get to you. But, there are times that such a dog looks cute to us. We may think that we would like to pet him. Beware!
A mad dog can rip you to pieces. And so will Satan. But with Christ in your life he can’t. Why not? Because Christ has already defeated him. The Bible declares, “Having disarmed the powers and authorities, (Jesus)…triumphed over them by the cross” (Col.2:15). Christ’s deed is done, the victory’s won. One little word fells Satan. That word is “Christ.” Cling to Christ! Resist the devil, standing firm in faith and he must flee from you (1Pt.5:9).
Separated from God’s Love? – not by trouble, not by death, not even by angels or demons. Never!
IV. Not by time or space.
Boy, dear friend, if you aren’t convinced by now that God loves you and won’t let anything come in-between you and Him, what will convince you? Well, perhaps you are convinced for now. But what will happen over time? Will God’s promise hold true? After all, with the passing of time, things change in our lives, don’t they?
Could they change with God, too?
No! Never! …for “He is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hb.13). He does not change like shifting shadows (Ja.1:17). And the passing of time has not changed God’s attitude towards you. Nor can you go any place where you would be outside the reach of God’s love. No! The Psalmist wrote, “If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast” (139:8f). God is everywhere. And where He is, so is His redeeming love seeking the best for you as He knows it to be.
No time, no space can come between us. Never! In fact, God goes further by saying, “nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us,”
V. Not by anything – absolutely nothing.
Isn’t it great to have that type of all-inclusive assurance? And you’ve got it, dear friend, just like Paul did in our text, for the same Savior that promised these things to him in faith is your Savior too. Nothing, absolutely nothing can separate God in His love for“““ you. The only thing that can is your refusal to believe what He has said is true. He doesn’t change; His love won’t diminish; His promise won’t be less. He is God! Separated from God’s Love? Never! God grant it to us in faith for Jesus’ sake. Amen.