In the current series, we are learning about love:
- Love is the heart of God.
- To love God is to imitate the heart of God.
- To love others is to encourage them to imitate the heart of God.
Key Passages: Matthew 9:9-13, 18-38; Romans 8:13-17, 31-39; Psalms 147:3
God’s heart is for you to experience a beautiful and amazing life overflowing with His love, yet many of us feel unlovable.
Love is more than just a feeling. God passionately desires that we would experience His love, peace, joy, patience, and kindness as evidence of His love for us. God’s heart is for you to experience a beautiful and amazing life overflowing with His love, yet many of us feel unlovable.
You may feel distant from God because of something you’ve done or something that you’ve experienced. Maybe you feel lonely, forgotten or that you haven’t received something that you’ve wanted for a long time. Or maybe you put on a happy face, but in your heart you don’t feel satisfied.
Yet God’s love is actually real and He sent his only Son to die for your sin. The Bible tells us that nothing can separate us from God’s love and that His love covers a multitude of sin (1 Peter 4:8), so why don’t we understand it? Why would we feel distant? God’s desire is for you to know and experience the depth of His love for you.
Do you feel unlovable?
I'M UNLOVABLE: God is unwilling or unable to express His heart towards me.
• He is unwilling because I’m undesirable.
• He is unable because my problem is insurmountable.
Do you have a correct view of God’s agape love for you? Or do you view Him as a Santa Clause figure?
Santa Clause Love
1. Conditional - I can earn or deserve it
If I do certain things or possess certain qualities, I will be loved.
2. Get what I want
I can negotiate with God. If I do ______________, God will give me ______________.
3. Bless me even if I reject Him
Agape Love - The Heart of God
God loves you - not because of who you are, but because of who He is. You can’t earn His love or lose it.
2. Get what I need
God loves you and wants tosustain you. His love isn’t based on your actions, good or bad. What you wantis not always good for you. Knowing you inside and out His love is always just.
God’s love is based on justice and transforms us into what He created us to be, not to fulfill our desires.
In our passage today from Matthew 9, it is important to understand the cultural context surrounding Matthew and Jesus. In this day, the religious were self-righteous, separated from everyone else. The clean were allowed to serve and participate in the temple, while the unclean were ostracized from the community.
As a Jew working as a tax collector for the Roman government, Matthew was considered corrupt, unclean, and outside of the sphere of God’s love. But he is no different from any of us. We are all sinners and God still loves us and reaches out to us.
As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:9-13
The word “Pharisee” meant “separated one.” These religious leaders were completely separated from the unlovable of their day, so as to preserve their righteousness. So naturally they wonder how Jesus can be associating with tax collectors and sinners.
But Jesus’ motives are clear. It doesn’t matter what they or we have done. Nothing about us can make us unlovable. Simply because of who He is, He still desires to sit with us, be with us, and love us.
He tells the Pharisees to “go learn what this means,” which is an important message for His followers today. Above all else that people know about you as a follower of Christ, they should know that you love them. This doesn’t mean you have to approve of their behavior, but we should be known for associating with and loving people around us, regardless of any action, position, or state that could make them seem unlovable.
1. God is willing to love you if only you would sit down with Him. (Matthew 9:9-13)
You may be going through religious motions without sensing His presence in your life and wondering if He really has a purpose for you. Can God really care for me and send people into my life to love and care for me unconditionally?
Jesus died for everybody and everything and His reach extends to you, no matter what.
2. God is able if only you would reach out and touch Jesus. (Matthew 9:20-22)
Many people won’t’ come to God because God hasn’t given them what they want after a long time of asking. That does not mean God doesn’t love them.
In Matthew 9:20-22, Jesus is approached by a woman who has been bleeding for twelve years. She has spent all she has in search of a cure. She is so desperate that she is willing to render the Holy Jesus unclean by touching his garment in the hopes of being healed. Sometimes God has to bring us to the end of ourselves, having spent everything in our power to get what we want or need, before we can learn to trust in His love and turn to Him.
Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.
You may not understand how or why, but God loves you. Nothing you can do or say can negatively impact His love. He has the power to transform, no matter what you bring to Him. No burden is too great.
So let the religious say what they will say. God wants you to come sit with him and receive his grace and mercy. Accept His offering!