Thoughts from Pete’s Message December 22, 2017

Outrageous Love

At Christmas what’s on peoples’ mind? The world is looking for peace, love, comfort and joy.

The scripture says, Jesus did not come to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved. When Jesus comes into a person’s life, they are born-again with new life. There are many types of love in this world. However, there is only one true love that will set a man free. “”Agape” is the unconditional, eternal, never ending love of God. This true love of God is not because of who we are but because of who he is. Loving kindness and tender mercy is the nature of God himself.

Men are often sin-conscious. They believe that they will never be good enough to enter into the presence of a Holy God. Most people think that heaven is for those who’ve done enough good deeds to enter in. Paul said, some may dare to die for a righteous man. However, Jesus said, “there is none good…no not one.” The love of God will make a way where there is no way. Salvation is the gift of God, not because we’re good enough but because his son Jesus Christ is good enough…only Jesus the perfect lamb of God can pay our debt of sin.

The agape love of God is radical, spontaneous, dangerous, and outrageous. A radical love goes to extreme measures to restore the Lord’s grace and mercy which will expose the corrupt state of worldly affairs. It is said that absolute Power in the hands of men will corrupt absolutely. However, Jesus Christ himself represented God’s absolute power. Contrary to worldly power, Jesus humbled himself and became of no reputation and took upon himself the form of a bond servant…one who serves from a heart of love. He carried this love to his death upon the cross as the offering for our sins.

God looks into the heart of a man, not just his actions. He’s interested in the motive behind the action. Men act from a heart that has been wounded by the affairs of this world. However, the love of God begins with a grateful heart.

The love of God is amazing, astounding, and jaw dropping. It exceeds description. It’s spontaneous and is shed abroad by the Holy Spirit. It transcends the bounds of earthly reason and logic. Jesus said, if you abide in me and I abide in you you shall bear much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing.

According to Psalm 1, the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly is like a tree that is planted by the stream of living waters, his leaf shall not wither and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. This man is blessed by giving to others from a heart of unconditional love. He doesn’t resent and seek retribution. Rather, his heart says, “what can I do to bless others?” When we abide in Him, the fruit of the spirit will squeeze out when we’re pressed by pain and trials of this world.

The love of God is illogical according to the world’s perspective. However, the world’s definition of success is different from God’s definition of success. The world says, in order to get ahead, I have to put you down. It’s dangerous to follow Jesus Christ when the world says it’s “politically correct” to persecute and despitefully use Christians. However, it’s even more dangerous to succumb to the standards of the world. In our culture, it’s becoming more dangerous to proclaim the truth of the Word of God and to stand on biblical principles. The love of God is a dangerous love. It’s putting our faith in the Lord as our provider instead of the world’s promise of power, prestige, and material riches.

Joy does not depend on our circumstances. As Suzan often said, Joy is not the absence of pain. Rather joy is the presence of the Lord. Joy springs from a heart of dangerous, illogical, radical and outrageous love. This is the love that our Lord had for us… For Christ came not to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. This is the radical love of God…. For he who was without sin became the perfect sin sacrifice on our behalf that we may be made the righteousness of God in him.

The greatest gift this Christmas season, is to give away the message of the good news of the saving grace of God through Jesus Christ our lord. For now abideth faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

May God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ,