God’s Love In Christ Jesus

Based on Romans 8:31-39

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 8:38-39  For I am persuaded that neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities now powers nor things present nor things to come nor height nor depth nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Dear fellow redeemed in Christ our Lord…  We have gathered here this evening to pray, to sing, to ask God’s help through our Lord Jesus Christ, and most importantly to receive from our Lord His message and words of comfort, certainty, and hope.  We do these things, dear friends, because, as we do each and every time we gather here in this place, it is appropriate to sing, pray, ask, and receive comfort from our Lord.

And tonight is certainly no different.  We gather here this night on the eve of a new year – a year that, if it is anything like the one we are leaving behind, promises to cause even more worry, more concern and more fear than has already been visited upon this nation and its people.

This past year was full of uncertainty, fear, more terror attacks, more natural disasters, more senseless crimes, and a political climate that caused folks on all sides to think and act in ways hardly seen before.  And, admit it or not, all these things – and more – are continually gnawing away at each one of us to some degree or another.

…Which brings us again to why we have gathered here tonight.  Dear friends in Christ, there is only one source from which comes the certain and perfect ability to deal with all of this.  That source is God’s Word and the peace that only He can give through His Son Jesus Christ who is the living Word of God.

The words of St. Paul from Romans 8 which were read earlier could easily have been written today and for this very life we live, for in these words we can see the fears that were being addressed.  Many of God’s people to whom Paul was writing this letter had concerns for their lives.  They were concerned about tribulation.  They were concerned about being in distress.  They were concerned about persecution for their faith.  They were worried about famines and starvation.  They were worried about not having enough clothes to wear.  They were worried about danger; they were worried about dying.  And how is any of that different than the things we also worry about?

And so there is only one thing to say tonight.  It is the same thing the Church has been saying for 6,000 years, and specifically the past 2,000 years.  There is a God, there is only one God, and despite what some are saying is powerful evidence to the contrary, He is still in control.  This one and only God who is known as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, created this world and still cares for it.  He created you, and He loves you with an everlasting love in His Son Jesus Christ.

Because God created you He is the only One who knows best how to lead you through this life all the way to the life of the world to come.  He knows all your fears; He knows the depth of those fears.  He knows all your anxieties.  He knows all your cares.  He knows all your wants, needs, and desires.

And He wants you to know tonight and every night in the new year to come that He has given you every reason not to fear.  God the Father Almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth, has sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ into the world to save sinners and give them the certainty of the forgiveness of their sins and eternal life in heaven with Jesus.

Jesus Christ came to this earth to do for you what you could not.  He came to live the perfect life God required of you, and He lived it in your place and for you.  Jesus Christ suffered both the physical and the spiritual pains which by reason of your sin you deserved to suffer, and He did it for you and in your place.  Jesus Christ died the most cruel death – your death – a death on a cross with spikes forced through His hands and feet, and He did it for you and in your place.

And then Jesus Christ rose from the dead for you and in your place so that by His death He destroyed death and hell and even the grave.  Jesus Christ, God’s one and only Son, the only name under heaven by which we must be saved, did all this simply and profoundly because He loves you; He loves you to death and back to life again.

Not because you deserve it.  Not because you have done anything to earn it.  Not even because of how nice you are or how many good works you have done.  No.  He loves you and has suffered, died, and risen again for you simply because He chose to love you and pay for your sins out of His great love and mercy.  And those who by God-given faith believe in Jesus for forgiveness and salvation have the sure and certain promise of life with Jesus both here in time and there in eternity.

And that eternal life in Jesus Christ is something that cannot be taken away.  That life is something that not even death can take from those who are truly His.  And there is nothing in all this world – not a bad economy, not wars, not terrorist attacks, not sickness, not disease, not fear, not even death – that can ever come between you and God’s love for you in Jesus.

Listen again to the Holy Spirit inspired words of St. Paul to those who were worried and trembling about the same things you are:

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

“Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect?  It is God who justifies.  Who is he that condemns?  It is Christ who died, and furthermore, is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God who also makes intercession for us.  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 now powers nor things present nor things to come nor height nor depth nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

These words are for you, just as Christ’s life, death, and resurrection are for you.  Be comforted, dear friends, no matter what your concerns are tonight.  Know that your God has loved you with an everlasting love in Christ, and there is nothing – I repeat, nothing – that can separate you from His love.  He is your peace.  He is your rock.  He is your deliverer, even in the face of fear, death, and destruction.

And that will never, ever change.

Come, now, and receive His love for you in the most intimate way in His own body and blood given and shed for you for the forgiveness of all your sins.   Here is God’s love for you in Christ.

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.