To Die for Love
To Die for Love
I was in High School the first time I read it. It was my introduction to Shakespeare. I was broken into iambic pentameter and made up words. And I read the five wonderful acts of Romeo and Juliet. Two star-crossed lovers, Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet from families at wars with each other, who, *SPOILER ALERT*, die for the love that they have. When I think of Romeo and Juliet, I think of a love story. Even though it ends in tragedy, it is a story where love is more important than life. It’s a great piece of literature. But the themes are ripped off from a better book called the Bible. The love story that is recorded in the Bible isn’t a teenage romance. It isn’t just drama. But there is a love that your God has for you that Shakespeare couldn’t even comprehend without a deeper knowledge of God.
Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
This week we will see that your God died for love.
Weddings are a very joyous time. They can be a lot of work, a lot of stress leading up to the big day if you are going to do a large wedding. And during the whole wedding process probably just short of one million decisions are made. Where is the wedding going to be held, what are you going to eat, what kind of side are you going to have, where everyone is going to sit, what is everyone going to drink, where is everyone going to stay, what color flowers are going to be used, what is the dress going to look like, what are the suits going to look like, what song…. and I could go on for a while longer. All of those things are the celebration of the wedding service. They are a celebration not just of the love that two people have for each other, but they are a celebration of a promise that two people make to each other.
Two people who love each other already, join their hands and in front of God and witnesses promise to their spouse that they will love and cherish that other person in sickness and in health, until the day that they die. Its a celebration of the promise made. The promise is a demonstration of the love, but you celebrate the promise. And all of that is modeled after the love that your God has for you. God demonstrated his own for you in this, while we were still sinners Christ died for us.
I won’t say it is easy, but it is much easier to love people that we like and who like us. It’s easy to love your friends who are always there for you. It’s easy to love your spouse when you are just getting along clicking on all cylinders when it just feels crazy that you are finishing each other's sandwiches. That is when love is fun and effortless. Head over heels, swept away by happiness.
When God chose to die for you because he loved you. You were still a sinner. You are still a sinner now. But you didn’t know God 2000 years ago. You weren’t a believer. Each one of us when we are born, is a sinner. The Bible says surely I was sinful from birth sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Well, that’s everyone. Everyone is sinful from birth. Born into a sinful world with a sinful mind. And we know from God’s word, that the sinful mind is hostile to God, it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.
Verse 9 says, For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
Enemies of God. Sinners. Hostile to God. That doesn’t sound like a very good relationship. I don’t know too many people that marry their enemy. It is the exact opposite of the loving relationships that we celebrate in a wedding reception. Because it is different. It’s to model relationship. It’s the example. It’s what we shoot for with every relationship that we have in this world. It is something that is not natural to our sinful hostile hating nature. It is something from God that is better. To chose to love. To love someone that doesn’t deserve it from you. To love someone that does not cause you to benefit from that relationship. To love someone based only on your choice and your actions rather than theirs, that is the love that God has for you. He says.
Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might dare to die?
Your God didn’t just enter a life long relationship with you. He didn’t just promise to take care of you in sickness and in health, in riches and poverty, for as long as he lives. And he did that. He lived every day of his life for you. 33 years of his life was spent being perfect. He never broke the law. He worked at that 24 hours a day seven days a week until the day that he died so that he could pass on to you the inheritance of heaven. But it’s not just the life that he gave for you; it’s also the fact that he chose to die for you. There was a debt that you owed because of your sin, and he paid it for you. He died for you.
When we realize the depth that our God gives to us, it is embarrassing how much he gives to us and how little we give back in this relationship. He does everything. He gives us everything. He takes care of us. He has promised to be there for us in our lives and also to save us from eternal death. He shows mercy to us for all of the times that we don’t show that love back to him. And we don’t just get mercy, but we also receive grace.
For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
Being justified by God, declared not guilty in his sight, and being part of an evangelical Lutheran church, a church that proclaims to you time and time again, the Gospel message of God’s great love to you, sometimes we might get bit complacent in realizing really what God has done for us. There is nothing wrong with being engulfed by the Gospel message and just wrapped up in the warmth and love that your God gives to you. But reflecting on where we came from can help us realize the true depth of God’s love for us. Every sin that we commit from the great big ones that society would agree, you should not have done that, to the little bitty sins that we commit in our thoughts, all of them should end our relationship with God. All of them make us unfaithful to the committed relationship that we should be in with our Savior to receive the blessings that he gives to us. But Jesus’ death on the cross pays for all of that. Through his death on the cross and resurrection from the grave, you have full assurance that your God accepts you as his own. He loves you, and he will continue to take you back into his loving arms time and time again. There is never a sin that is too great for him to forgive. That is what his death does for you. That is what his death did for you while you were an enemy of God. Now being close to God. Now being God’s friend without any baggage of sins between you, just think how much closer the risen Lord can bring you closer to him. His death brought you together into a perfect relationship. Now he lives and reign with God the Father and is interceding for you guiding you and this world to lead you to your eternal home. He will never give up on you.
It’s like getting pulled over doing 30 miles over the speed limit with expired registration while not wearing your seat belt. The police officer comes to your window. You know you deserve at least one ticket for what you have done, but when he hands you back your license and registration he not only tells you there is no ticket because he has shown you incredible mercy, he also says why don’t you take this $100 Amazon gift card on top of it.
It’s not just mercy that God gives you. It isn’t just I won’t punish you even though you deserve it. Your God also gives you more than what you deserve. He has not only taken away your sin he also gives you ever lasting life. This is the type of relationship that we all want to be a part of. Someone that loves us unconditionally and is willing to sacrifice for us, and is willing to forgive us. And all of you have that with your God. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be any struggles in our life.
Even to the Romans, who Paul is explaining this wonderful love, and this wonderful relationship that they have he says.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
They were in this perfect relationship with God, but they were still suffering. Not from God, but from the pressures of this world, from the actions of other people who by nature show hatred to God and others through there lives. This world is full of greedy people who are all looking out for themselves. What is best for me. What will make me better? What will make my life more convenient or enjoyable? And sometimes getting hurt by those people, puts a strain on our relationships. It strains the relationships that we have with our families, our friends, and it can strain the relationship that we have with our God. When things don’t go well, there are times when we start to look around trying to blame everyone else for not doing more to help us out of our current situation.
Love comes from God. Perfect love comes from a perfect God. Even in times of difficulty we can look and see the blessing, that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope. We sometimes grow through pain. Sometimes blessings that God gives to us hurt. Sometimes they take works. But when we rely on the relationship that we have with our God. When we take him at his word that he is working with us and for us for our good. When we know how much he loves and cares for us. When our hope is not a wish but a battle born trust in our God. We will never be put to shame. Because our God will never let us down.
Romeo and Juliet is a story of two teenagers who loved each other so much that they gave up their lives for each other, their love didn’t last, it didn’t persevere, it didn’t conquer anything. It ended with them. The love that you God has for you will never relent. It will never let you down. It is the model that we have in our relationships, and it is one that we constantly need to be reminded of. Your God lived and lives because he loves you, he died because he loved you. God help us reflect that love back to him and back to everyone else. Amen.