The love of the Father allows us to flourish and it’s not until we choose to receive His love that we fully flourish in life! Love is not meant to be known, it is meant to be experienced.
Alright, hey, everybody, welcome back to Valley Creek Church. We are so glad that you’re here with us today. Whatever campus or location you may be at today, whether you’re in Denton, Lewisville, Flower Mound, the venue, in extension site, watching or listening online somewhere in the world, can we just welcome each other together for a moment? Wherever you are and whatever is happening in your life, we’re really glad that you’re here. You see, we’re in a series called flourish in life, and we’re going to just jump right in today. And what we’ve been talking about is that if we’ll just get rooted in Jesus, we will flourish in life. That God wants you to have an abundant, full, overflowing life in every way, shape and form. And he tells us that if we’ll just get rooted in Jesus we’ll flourish and life. And when we say get rooted in Jesus, what we’re talking about is just different layers of the soil, if you will. And what we’ve been going through in the series is just talking about these different layers or different ways that we get to build our lives upon Jesus.
And we started the first week and we said that we’re forgiven, that in Jesus you are completely forgiven and fully free. And then the second week, we talked about righteousness and we said that in Jesus you have been made right with God, it’s a big word that simply means you and God now forever have right standing a right relationship because of what Jesus has done. And then last week, we said that in Jesus you have the favor of God. In other words, God is supernaturally working on your behalf at all times because of what Jesus has done. And so what I want to do today is talk about the last soil. Next week I’m going to pull the whole series together and talk about really now what do you do with this in your life? And some weeks, I tried to teach you something, and other weeks I try to preach and inspire you to move. Some weeks I’m talking to your mind to try to change the way you think. Today I just want to talk to your heart. So here’s what I want to ask you to do. I want to ask you to posture and position yourself for the next few moments, that your heart might receive that which God wants to say to you, Holy Spirit, we invite you to come into this place and speak to us that we might have an encounter with you.
You see, I want to tell you a story that Jesus told. That one day there was a boy, a young man out in the field, and he was working hard like he had done a thousand times before that. He worked in his father’s field and he hated it. Every day he thought about wanting to be somewhere else. The sense of growing discontentment was continuing to grow inside of his heart. His friends had told them how amazing the world was. Every time he went to the market, he saw all the things of the world and they were attractive to him. And the more he looked at those things, the more he began to think about them The more he thought about them, the more the desire grew in his heart. The more the desire grew in his heart, the more it led him to have the courage to actually act on it. And so on this hot day, he’s tired of being out in this field, and he believes in his own mind that freedom is found, and being independent, not in submission to his father.
And so he rehearses this little speech in his mind, he gets the courage, he throws down the rake, today is the day, and he goes and he finds his father and he basically says, Dad, I wish you were dead. In fact, you’re dead to me. And so I want my inheritance and I want it now. And what is maybe the most fascinating thing of the entire story is how the father responds in that moment. He’s not angry, he doesn’t condemn, he doesn’t rebuke, he doesn’t yell. Tears streamed down his face and he divides up his inheritance and he gives it to his son. Why? Because love always allows choice. Love always allows free will. And so the boy takes his inheritance and he heads out and he gets his first taste of the world and oh does it taste good. Oh, he tastes it in. It’s as sweet as he thought it was going to be. And because he’s got this money, all of a sudden he’s got all these friends. Because when you got money to burn, it’s amazing how many friends all of a sudden you have.
And they all show up in his life, and they start partying, prostitutes, wild living. I mean, they go for it, and it’s so sweet at first, but it’s amazing how within just a few moments of getting down in here it becomes sour, it becomes bitter, it becomes like decay in his bones. And eventually he burns through the money, and surprise, all his friends leave because there’s no money left. He hits rock bottom, he’s desperate, he’s hungry. And so all he can do is hire himself out to a pig farmer and he’s out in this field feeding pigs and the pig food looks good to him. I would submit to you that you know you are in a bad place when pig food looks delicious. And he’s sitting there and he’s thinking to himself, this is crazy. Like my father’s servants live like kings compared to this. And he says to himself, I know I can’t be a son anymore because of what I did, but maybe, just maybe I could go home and I’ll make me like a servant in his kingdom. And so he rehearses this little speech to himself, and he says, I’ll go home and say this. I’ll say, father, I’ve sinned against heaven and you, I know I’m no longer worthy to be a son. Make me like one of your servants so I can survive.
Here’s that little speech, not because he’s sorry, but because he’s hungry. So for the second time he drops his rake in the field and turns and begins to head home. And while he’s heading home over here as the father, and every day and since that son has left, he’s gone out and he spent most of his day looking out on the horizon. For years, the father spends most of his day hoping, praying, wishing that today would be the day his son would crest over that rise. And on this day, he sees something off in the distance. And he rubs his eyes and he squints and he tries to get himself together, he looks again and he realizes it’s his son. So he grabs his robe and he starts running four minute miles from that house to that boy. And he gets to him, and he picks him up, and he swings him around, and he kisses him, and he smells him, and he smells like pigs. And he says, “Oh, I’m so glad you’re home.”
And he sets to the boy down, and the boy instantly goes into his little speech, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and you, and I’m no longer worthy to be called your son.” And he stopped him, because he refuses to empower the lie. And he looks at his servants. He says, go get a robe or ring, a sandals. killed the fattened calf, start the party because my son was dead and he is alive. He was lost, he’s now found. And they go in, they get this stuff, hang on, don’t get excited yet. They go in, they get all that stuff, and they give it to the boy, and he’s founded. Think of what they gave him, they gave him a robe. What’s a robe? The robe is there to cover his shame and his sin. It’s a picture of forgiveness that all of the failures of his past have now been covered. He puts a ring on his finger. What’s the ring represent? That him and the father are now in right standing. He carries the authority of his father’s kingdom once again, which proves that there is no distance between him and the father anymore.
And then they put sandals on his feet. What are sandals? Sandals help you get around and get you go in the places you got to go. In other words, he now has the favor of his father to go anywhere in the father’s kingdom. The father is working on his behalf. And while all that is awesome, that’s not what sets the boy free. It was the hug or the love of the father that allowed this boy to start flourishing for the first time in his life. You See, many of you are familiar with his story. And here’s what I would say to you. If the father came and gave the boy the robe, the ring, and the sandals and said, glad you’re home and went back in the house, the boy would have spent the rest of his life slaving in the field believing he was no longer worthy to be a son. He would have spent the rest of his life trying to earn his father’s love. It is the hug, it is the love of the father, the deepest root that allows the boy to flourish for the first time in his life. And I tell you that story because that’s us.
You see like that boy, you go out and you live your life. Like a thousand times before, and we get to these places where we despise our own life. We’re full of discontentment and bitterness and offense. And it’s like we can come to this belief that freedom is found in being on our own, not in submission to God. And so the problem is, as we look at all the things of the world, we sit there and we flip through Instagram and everybody’s life looks better than ours. And you watch Netflix and you think, man, I want that person’s life. And you see a friend who did something stupid but they’re telling you how awesome it is in the moment, and how good the cake tastes. But we forget how quickly it will become sour in your stomach. And so what do we do? We kind of take what we’ve got, we’re kind of done with God, and we had off, and it is sweet at first. Make no mistake about it. The world tastes really good when you start. But boy it become sour and bitter and decay really fast.
And we hit rock bottom and we think we can no longer have a relationship with God, but we’re so desperate, we need somebody to do something. So we think that kind of same thing, we think maybe we can just like have him help us out, but we know we’ll never be in this relationship with him. And as we start heading home, you always have to remember, even though you walk towards the father, the father is running towards you. And it is not our repentance that leads to his love, it’s his love that leads us to repentance. And he will come and he will pick you up and he was swing you around and say, “ I know you smell like pig slop but I love you.” And I am convinced that so many of us we receive the forgiveness, the righteousness and the favor God, but not his love. So many of us genuinely believe we’ve had a salvation experience with Jesus, we’ve been water baptized, we’ve been baptized in the Holy Spirit, but that’s about as far as we go. And so we spend our lives believing we’re not worthy to be beloved sons or daughters. We spend our lives slaving for God, trying to earn his love, when all the while he says, “I want to wrap you around with my love that you might for the first time in your life, flourish.
You see, home is not a place you go, it’s a love you receive. And until you receive the love of God in a profound way, you will never fully flourish in life. So that story is not a story about a boy, it’s a story about a father’s love. We in the church, we’ve blown that story for years. We always make it about the boy, it’s not about the boy, it is about the father’s love. And so here’s what I’m trying to tell you is that in Jesus you are fully loved. In Jesus, you are fully loved. Say I am loved. Say it again. Yeah, you are. It’s easy to say it’s hard to believe, isn’t it? Because like that boy we know where we’ve been, what we’ve done, what we’ve said, how we’ve acted. We know the pig pens that we’ve found ourselves in.
And yet Jeremiah 31:3 says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have drawn you with loving kindness.” You know what that means? There has never been one moment in your entire life when you have not been loved. You didn’t deserve it, you didn’t earn it. And it’s not because of what you do, it’s because of who he is. And maybe what’s the most profound thing of it all is the one who knows you best is the one who loves you most. You see, in God, you are fully known and yet fully loved. The one who knows everything about you is the one who completely loves you. The one who knows your failures, your flaws, your insecurities, your secrets, your brokenness, the stuff back here, yeah, that’s the person who shouts the loudest, I love you. And yet we don’t feel loved, do we? See if you can track with me on this for a second.
I think it’s easy for us to say, yeah, yeah, come to church, God loves you. And yet we don’t feel loved, do we? Why? I would submit to you that it’s because you can only be loved to the level you are known. I want you to track with me on this for a second. You can only be loved to the level you are known. Think about it in a relationship, how can you love me if you don’t really know me? How can you really love me. Like if I got all this stuff back here and you don’t know anything about it, I’ll never feel fully loved by you. Because what happens if I pull it out, I have no idea how you’re going to respond. So I live partially known, which means I live partially loved. So in most of the relationships in our life, back here are secrets and stories and a whole chapters of our lives that we refuse to share with the people around us because we think if I pull this out, you might reject me, you might be ashamed of me, you might leave me. So I will take my chances of being partially known and partially loved because I don’t know if I’m fully known if I will be fully loved.
Okay. Because that’s what we’ve experienced with people, that’s what we expect with God. We got this stuff back here and we think, if he knew — okay, I hate to break it to you, he already does. He knows it all. And yet, because we’ve never brought it out of the dark into the light, we don’t feel fully known by him. Therefore, we will never feel fully loved by him. We have never confessed our failures, our insecurities, our temptation, our brokenness, our pain, our concerns. We’ve never brought it out of the darkness into the light with God. He knows it all, but because we’ve never pulled it out and put it out here, we don’t feel fully known. Therefore, we will never feel fully loved. And so what God is inviting us to do is, he’s saying, “Hey, in Jesus, you’ve already been forgiven, you’ve already been made right with me. Why not take that stuff out of the dark and confess it to me that you might be free.” But here’s the reality, it takes faith to confess, doesn’t it?
It takes a whole lot of faith because all the sudden we’re sitting there and we’re thinking, ah, I don’t know that I want to take the chance. Maybe he’ll run me off instead of welcoming me home. Listen to me, confession invites the love of God into your life. It’s in that moment you’ll feel fully loved where you’ll find — or feel fully known, and then you’ll finally feel fully loved because love doesn’t hold your failures against you. Maybe we need to take a step of faith and like the boy in the story, say, father, I have sinned against heaven and earth, I am no longer; and he’ll stop you right there and say, I know, and I have never for one moment ever stopped loving you and he will wrap you up in his love. And for the first time, not only will you be loved, you will feel loved. Confession simply helps you discover what’s already yours. Does that make sense to you? Home is not a place you go, it’s a love you receive. And there is something about bringing the stuff out of the darkness that allows us to be known.
God doesn’t want you to live your life wondering if your loved, he wants you to be confident that you are. I mean, 1 John 4:16 says, “God is love.” That’s how he is. And if God is loved and everything he does is loving. So like 1 Corinthians 13, passage we read at weddings, it’s got nothing to do with weddings. You understand that right? Next time you’re at a wedding and they read that, be like, it’s not what it’s about. That’s what you can sit there, and think, that’s cool, that’s a nice little thing. But what is it about? It’s about the character and the nature of God. Listen, if he is love, 1 Corinthians 13, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. It is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. If God is love, then that is a declaration of who Jesus is in your life.
So listen to it again, Jesus is patient, and Jesus is kind. Jesus does not envy and he does not boast and he is not proud. Jesus is not rude and he is not self-seeking. Jesus is not easily angered. He keeps no record of wrongs. Jesus does not delight an evil, but rejoices with the truth. He always protects, he always trusts. He always hopes, he always perseveres. Jesus never fails. Does your view of God — does your view of God line up with that truth? Is that how you see him? And if Jesus lives inside of you, then that kind of love lives in you. See, here’s what you have to understand, love is the most powerful force in the universe. Ephesians chapter three, one of our theme verses for this whole year in this rooted stuff, says, “I pray that out of his glorious riches, he may strengthen you with power through his spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you being rooted and established in love.”
Remember, it’s not a theory, a feeling or a concept, he’s a person being rooted and established in Jesus, may have power together with all the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. And to know this love that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now, to him who is able to do a measurably more than we can even ask or imagine. So think about what he says here. He says, love is the deepest root. Out of everything in life, love is the deepest root. May you be rooted and established in love. And he says, “I pray that you would know how wide, how deep, how long, how high is the love of God.” What is that? It’s a reference to the four points of the cross. How wide, how long, how deep, and how high is the love of God.
And he says, “I pray that you would know this love that goes beyond knowledge.” In other words, he says, “Love is not meant to be known, it’s meant to be experienced.” It’s not a theory you understand, it’s a life that you live. And then you’ll be filled to the measure of the fullness of God. Oh, and by the way, he will do immeasurably more than you can even ask or imagine. In other words, if you’re rooted in love, God will do a measurably more in your marriage, your finances, your life, your calling, your destiny, than you can even begin to ask or imagine. Get rooted and established in love and you will flourish in life. The problem is we forget, we forget. Like, do you remember the story of Abraham and Isaac? He’s one of the heroes of the faith and Isaac is his beloved son. He has him when he’s a hundred, he’s the promise of God for his life. It’s his future, it’s his destiny.
And one day, God comes to Abraham and says, “Hey, Abraham, I want you to sacrifice your son, Isaac to me.” And what I think is so amazing is Abraham doesn’t hesitate. Says the next morning he gets up, chops up the wood, puts it on Isaac’s back. They go through a three day journey, go up on a hill. He puts him on the altar, and right as he is about, he’s got the fire and the knife in his hand, and right as about he has to sacrifice his son Isaac, the father speaks from heaven and said stop. He says, “Now I know that you love me because you have not withheld your one and only son from me.” That is not a story about Abraham and Isaac. That is a story about the father and Jesus. You see, the father did not hesitate to give his son Jesus for you. He put the wood of the cross on his back, took him up on a hill called Calvary. And the father took the knife and the fire, and took Jesus his life for you and lost him for three days. And three days later got him back. And now we know that he loves us because he has not withheld his one and only son from us.
1 John 3:16, “This is how we know what love is, that Jesus laid down his life for us.” You never have to question it again. Romans 8:32. “He who did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all. Will he not been in him give us all things if he gave you Jesus. He forever proved that he loves you once and for all. You see, I think the problem for a lot of us as here’s what we do, we spend so much time focused on our love for God when we should be looking at God’s love for us. This is the problem. Like, we try so hard, we come to church and we hear people, okay, love God, do better, try harder. Love God with all your cookie. Okay? How’s that working out for you? You’re looking at the wrong thing. Do you remember at the end of Jesus’ life, right? He says to the disciples, hey guys, I’m going to die, you’re all going to deny me. And Peter in a slick way that only Peter can do steps forward and says, not me.
He said, Geez, I don’t know what these Yahoos are going to do, but I know I will not deny you. What is he saying? He says I will always love you. And what happens? It’s like five minutes later, he denies Jesus three times to a servant girl. What Peter should have been doing, instead of stepping forward and talking about his love for God, he should have stepped forward and said, Jesus, I have no idea what I’m going to do, but I know you will never stop loving me. And maybe, just maybe, he wouldn’t have fallen. You see, it’s not about our love for God, it’s God’s love for us. This is why we say we’re a Jesus focused church. It means we’re focused more on what Jesus has done for us than on what we have to do for him. So 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because he first loved us.” Like you can’t give what you have yet to receive. So when you try to love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, guess what? Until you believe that he loves you with all your heart, mind, soul; with all his heart, mind, soul, it’s not going to happen. And that’s not just true in your relationship with God, that’s truth with your relationship with people.
Most of the relational chaos in your life is because you try to demand from people what you’re supposed to receive from God. And it’s not until you receive it from him that you are free to give it to him and to them. So 1 John 4:10 says, “This is love: not that we loved God but that he loved us.” Love is not what we do for Go, that’s what he has done for us. I mean, do you remember the kid’s song, Jesus loves me? This I know. You ever hear that? Okay. That is the deepest truth, the most profound revelation, and the most radical theology and all of the universe, Jesus loves you. Do you know? Do you know? Maybe you have forgotten, maybe you never heard, he loves you. And not only does he love you, he actually likes you. Like this is cool.
The only thing harder than believing that God loves you as believing that he likes you. That’s what I would think, don’t you think? Let me think about the son, not only does the father love him, he like likes him, he throws a party because he just wants to hang out with him. And the same is true when you, think about it. God created you, he redeemed you, he chose you, he wanted you. Ephesians 2:10. “You are God’s masterpiece created in Christ Jesus.” In other words, every artist loves their own art. I’ve never met an artist that hates their own art. Even if it’s ugly art, they’re like, have you seen my art? Do you know an artist? If you’re an artist, that’s okay, you should love your own art. We don’t always love your art, but we’re glad you do, right? Even if you’re dirty, even if you’re broken hill, clean you up. When you remember the story is the Zacchaeus, we little man, right, tax collectors, sinner, bad dude comes up in a tree because there’s so many people who can’t see Jesus. Jesus comes by and says, the Zacchaeus come down. What does he say? Because I want to go to your house today.
What? Jesus very easily could have said to Zacchaeus, “Um, hey bro, you’ve been living a rough life. I forgive you, I made you right with God, you have my favor, now go on your way. That would have been loving him, but he didn’t just love him, he liked him. He said, “Bro, let’s go and have lunch.” Jesus is a friend of sinners and tax collectors. So hear me, you can save somebody you don’t love, but you can’t be friends with somebody you don’t like. So Jesus calls you friend, that means he likes you. Like think about the disciples, it says Jesus called those he wanted. Mark 3, “Called those that he wanted, that they might be with him.” I think we’ve got the verse Mark 3. That they might be with him, okay. I’m just saying, you call people that you want because you like him. If Jesus like Peter, I’m just saying, he likes you. Enough said, Enough said. This is why Christianity is relationship, not religion.
Religion keeps distance, relationship brings close. Religion is all about — every religion of the world tells you what you have to do for God. Jesus came to tell us what God has done for us. Religion is our attempt to prove our love for God. Jesus came to prove God’s love for us. He came to bring you home because he actually likes you, and wants you to be home. Like in Luke 15, the story of the son and the father, Jesus tells three stories in a row. All right there together about loss things. He tells us that there is a shepherd who has a hundred sheep. One wanders off, and he goes and he gets it. And he finds it, and he carries it home and has a party. And then he tells us about a woman that has 10 coins and she loses one at her house so she lights a lamp and goes around the house until she finds it. And ask her friends over and have some party. And then he tells us the story about the father who went out to get his son who had been in the pig pen and brings a home and have a party. Okay. That’s a picture of the trinity. The father, the son, and the Holy Spirit. See, the shepherd is Jesus the son. The lamp in the story that the woman light is the Holy Spirit, he’s the fire of God. And then the father is the one who goes out and gets the son in the pig pen, which means all of God came for all of you.
All of God, all of him, not a part of him. All of him came for all of you because he actually likes you, because he made you. He likes you because you carry his image and his likeness. And what’s so fascinating is we’re so used to the story that the father goes to get the son who had been in the pig pen, but we forget that the father also later in the story goes out and gets the son that had been hanging out in the field of pride. See, there’s a second son in this story. There’s a second son who watches this whole thing happen, and when the party is happening, he’s out in the field and he figures out what’s going on. He is furious, and so it says, the father has to go and get him, find him. The father says, what’s up? He says, are you kidding me? He says, I spent all these years slaving in this field for you. I’ve never once disobeyed your orders. And when this son of yours, not my brother, when this son of yours who is taking your money and burned it with prostitutes and parties, you throw a party for him.
And in Luke 15:31, the father says, “My son, identity love, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.” But this brother, it’s how the father says back, this brother of yours came home, read it. We’re going to party. Here’s what fascinating, that boy was focused on what he had done for the father and not on what the father had done for him. All these years I’ve slaved for you, I’ve never disobeyed your, all these years I’ve — he was so focused on what he had done for the father, not on what the father had done for him. He had spent his life slaving, trying to earn what was already his, he was home, but he wasn’t at rest. Which reminds us that you can be surrounded by love and completely miss it. You can be home and yet completely lost.
Hear me. My great concern for people who hang out in church for years but never move forward in their relationship with Jesus is that they become like the older brother. My great concern for people that come to church week after week, year after year, month after month, whatever it is, for years, but never move forward. And in this receiving and giving love with God, you’ll become like the older brothers. How? Because you become full of pride. And what happens is this attitude starts to develop where all the sudden you start talking about what you’ve done for him. Alright? Are you kidding me? All these years, all these years I’ve been in church. I’ve served and I’ll give in money and I’ve invited people, and I haven’t done all the things that my friends did, and I told people when they were wrong to stop doing those things. I did all that stuff. And you know what? You never gave me the job I wanted or the marriage that I wanted or you didn’t do this in my life, you didn’t give me this stuff.
We become bitter and offended. And we become slaves working for God instead of beloved sons and daughters enjoying God. Here’s the problem. If you constantly hear about the love of God, but you refuse to receive it, it’s like coming in every week and getting a vaccine. It’s like getting a little shot of a vaccine in your body and you start to become immune to the love of God. You literally build a resistance to it because you’re like, yeah, yeah, heard it. Love of God, is not the deepest root, that’s dumb, tell us something else. And some of you, that’s the spirit you have right now. Why? Because you’ve gotten so many shots of vaccine without receiving it and moving forward. Your heart has become hard to the only thing that can set you free. So here’s the question, is that you? Are you more focused on what you have done for God or what he has done for you? Are you here today? Did you come here today to do something for Jesus or are you here today because of what Jesus has done for you?
When people come home from the pig pen, do you celebrate or do you judge and condemn? Are you trying to earn a love that already belongs to you? And I would submit to you, it’s harder to come home from the field of pride than it is to come home from the pig pen. But he came to get them both, so come home. Your heart was made to live in love. The truth is, is the world creates fearful spiritual orphans. Religion creates prideful spiritual slaves. Jesus came for free, beloved sons and daughters. How great. John 3:1, “How great is the love the father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God. This is why when Jesus gets baptized, he goes under, comes up, father says, this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. And it says, the heavens tear open. Listen, in Jesus, you are the fathers, beloved son or daughter in whom he is well pleased before you do anything right. Even after you do everything wrong, he likes you, he delights in you, he sings over you and you now live under an open heaven of love.
Which brings me to the last thing, and it’s simply this, love changes how you live. If you really believe it, and here it changes how you live, think about this. In my mind, I picture the boy, and I see the party going on and he’s inside and he’s seen and he’s dumbfounded. He feels the robe on his skin. He’s spinning the ring on his finger. It feels the sandals on his feet, and he can still smell the fragrance of the father from that hug. And he’s thinking, could this really be true? Can I tell you, I think a lot of you have sat here over the last few weeks and you’ve thought, could this really be true? See, love is the most powerful force in the universe. Love created the world, love Made Adam and eve, love gave them a second chance, love sent Jesus to die, love redeemed you, love chose you, love holds you together, and love changes you. Which is why Satan will do everything he can to keep you from believing that you are.
Right after Jesus has told, declared that he’s the beloved son, he’s let out into the desert and Satan comes to tempt him three times and three times. Satan says, if you are the son of God. The father just declared, he’s the beloved son. And then Satan tempts him and says, if you are the son of God, notice, he leaves out one word, beloved. It’s not a random oversight, it’s a strategic assault, because Satan knows, if you know you’re loved, you’re empowered to walk in victory. It really doesn’t matter all that much if you believe that you’re forgiven, if you believe that your righteous, if you believe that you have the favor of God, you won’t follow a fully flourish in life. So Satan is cool, he’s like, “You can know you’re a son or a daughter. You can know you’re right with God. You can even know you have the favor of God, he is terrified.” If you actually believe you are loved, why? Because love empowers you to live in victory.
Think about this, love empowers you or love makes you fearless. I’d just say like that, love makes you fearless. 1 John 4:18 there is no fear in love because love casts out fear. Life is full of fear, fear of loneliness, fear of death, fear of destruction, fear of pain, feel insignificant. I was full of fear, and yet the love of the father comes in and drives it aggressively out of our lives. So here’s the question, where right now are you afraid? That’s a place God is asking you to receive his love. And not only it makes you fearless, love makes you free. 1 John 215 says, “If anyone loves the world, the love of the father is not in them.” We read that and that thinks, if we want to go out and do our own life in the world, that means that we don’t love God. That’s not what it says. It says, “If anyone loves the world, the love of the father is not in them.” In other words, they have yet to receive God’s love for them, that’s why they’re going out and loving the things of the world.
Why? Because your heart was created for love. So until you receive the love of God, you will look for love in all the wrong places because you were made for it. It’s only in love where your heart is fully alive. The third thing is love makes you secure. When you receive the love of God, he tells you who you are, the world can never tell you who you’re not. You do not have to spend your life trying to get the world to say what the father already has, you are loved. It’s actually your identity. Think about how secure you become, it’s the deepest root now. No, no. The tree is all the way rooted down here, no matter what kind of storm comes in its life it will never topple over. Why? Because it’s strong and it’s secure. Insecurity is the byproduct of a loveless life. If you’re insecure in any area, it’s a byproduct of a loveless life.
And then the last thing is love gives you purpose. Christ’s love compels us is what the Bible says. When you’re rooted in love, all the sudden you want to give the love of God to the world. It gives you purpose. So if you’re not rooted in love, guess what? Your life is full of fear, is full of bondage. It’s full of insecurity and you feel purposeless. Love is not, what we do, it’s who he is and it changes how we live. When you receive the love of God, no longer do you have to live for love, you start living from love. And everything changes. You see, maybe it’s time to put some roots down and the love of God. I have no idea where you are, maybe you’re in the pig pen, maybe you’re in the field of pride, maybe you’re somewhere in between. But I know that he’s come to invite you home. And home is not a place, it’s a love that’s received.
Life is not about your sin, it’s about the father’s love. And giving you that love is a choice he has already made, so receiving it as a choice you now get to make. And so here’s what we’re going to do today is we’re actually going to give you a chance to receive it. So our ushers at all our campuses right now are going to get up, and they’re going to start passing out the elements of communion. And so for the next few moments, I would just ask that you just kind of set your stuff down, and sit still for a moment. And as the elements get to you, at whatever campus or location you might be at, this is for anyone and everyone who has put their faith in Jesus. It’s a picture of his broken body and his shed blood. And maybe you’ve never put your faith in Jesus. And so today as that gets to you, today might be your day to by faith, some of you it is your day, to by faith reach out and grab ahold and say, I receive not only forgiveness, righteousness, favor, I receive the love of God for the first time in my life.
And as you hold those elements for the next few moments, I don’t want you to think about love, I want you to experience love. I don’t want you to get lost in theory and conjecture. I want you to for a moment, open up your heart, and let the supernatural, unstoppable, everlasting, unending love of God fill your heart. Some of you have been in church for years, you’re saved, you’ve been baptized, you got the Holy Spirit, but you live a loveless life and that’s why you’re withering. This is your moment to let the love of God flow.