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Message

Love Wins - Part 7, Love Won
Miles McPherson - March 27, 2016

Message Recap

In the current series, we are learning about love: 

1. Love is the heart of God.

2. To love God is to imitate the heart of God.

3. To love others is to encourage them to imitate the heart of God.

In the Love Wins series, we have defined love by the heart of God, His passion for you, and His desire for you to know Him. His love is so great that it drove Jesus to the cross to give us an opportunity to have our sins forgiven and have eternal life. However, knowing about God, but not knowing Him personally will do you no good. You actually need to receive the gift He offers.  

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 

Today’s scripture is about a man who doubted the resurrection of Jesus.

The Bible says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God - that means all of us. The penalty of sin is physical death and spiritual separation from God. The Bible tells us that sin must be paid for with a life and God knew that if we had to pay with our own lives, we’d be separated from Him forever. So His only Son died for us instead so that all of our sin would be paid for once and for all and death would be conquered on our behalf.

Some of you doubt God and whether He actually loves you. But there is no greater love than laying down one’s life. Jesus can’t do anything more to prove His love for you. There is no other Savior that has done for you what Jesus has done. The loving heavenly Father sent his Son to death for you. That’s how much the Father loves you.

So where are you in your beliefs? Are you holding God hostage now, claiming that unless something more happens you refuse to believe? Maybe you can relate to Jesus’ disciple, Thomas and learn that God’s love wins over all.

Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”  John 20:24-29

Love won by securing a place for your doubts.

Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” John 20:27

Some of you doubt God and whether He actually loves you. But there is no greater love than laying down one’s life. Jesus can’t do anything more to prove His love for you. There is no other Savior that has done for you what Jesus has done. The loving heavenly Father sent his Son to death for you. That’s how much the Father loves you.

Jesus encouraged Thomas not to wrestle with His doubt alone, but to come and see for himself. Don’t wrestle with your doubt alone; bring your doubt to God. He is our risen Savior, right here, alive in your midst, and all you have to do is reach out by faith and call to Him. He wants you to engage Him, touch Him, and invite Him in. Jesus’ death and resurrection won you that opportunity for personal connection.

Love won all of the arguments against Jesus' deity.

Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” John 20:27

Jesus claimed to be God many times through His words and deeds - forgiving sin, accepting worship, proclaiming to be Son of the Father, announcing his second coming on the clouds (prophesied in the book of Daniel) – these were things that only God could do. These proclamations were very upsetting to the religious leaders of His day. They accused Him of blasphemy and were appalled at His boldness. 

But Jesus also predicted His own torture, death, and resurrection on the third day. After Jesus died, the disciples were dismayed and frightened. They thought it was all over and they went into hiding for fear of their own lives. But Jesus really did rise from the dead and appear to them – how else could they have gone from complete fear to complete boldness in His deity, converting believers and proclaiming His Lordship even unto their own deaths?  

If Jesus loved you enough to die for your sin and He rose from the dead, that is all the proof needed. Many people have their own theories about life, death, faith, and God. But you shouldn't put your trust in eternity to your own made-up theories, to the ideas of even the smartest person you know, or to a god who is in the grave. Jesus’ tomb is empty, which validates everything He said. If he can keep that promise, then all His other promises are true as well.

Love won the opportunity to have a personal God by simply believing.

And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:28-29

Upon seeing the risen Jesus personally, Thomas let go of his doubt and proclaimed a new truth about this relationship  with Jesus. Jesus went from being the disciples’ teacher, leader, and friend to being their God. May you, too, discover the truth of the risen Jesus today, that He may become for you not just a religious figure or a good man or a prophet, but your personal Savior. 

All of us are going to die, and because sin is a spiritual offense, spiritual death is eternal separation from God, or what the Bible calls hell. God’s desire is that you would not be separated from Him, which is why He provided payment for your sin through the death of His only Son. But this amazing gift does you no good unless you choose to receive it.

God’s desire is to forgive and forget your sins and to be united with you for eternity. He has already paid the ransom and He is ready and willing, but you need to ask Him. The Bible says, “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). Bring your doubts to the Lord, find the proof of His love for you, and be saved!

Love Wins

This 7-part series examines what love is and how we can learn to express God’s love through our relationships. In this message, Pastor Miles discusses how the Resurrection gives us an opportunity to have a personal relationship with Jesus by believing in Him.

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