Enter Into Love

Have You Ever Wondered, Do You Doubt God's Love For You

Dan Franklin
Dec 18, 2022    43m
Do you doubt God's love for you? By studying Galatians 4, we learn about two love gifts from God that prove his love for us, he gave us his Son, and he gave us his Spirit. Join us as we learn how to enter into the love that God has given us. Video recorded at Upland, California.

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Intro: [00:00:00] Hey there. Thanks so much for checking out one of our messages here at Life Bible Fellowship Church. And we know there are two great ways you can connect with us. You can visit our website at LBF.church to learn more about all of our ministries and what we believe. And also, you can subscribe to us on YouTube to make sure that you don't miss one of our future videos.

Paul: [00:00:19] Good morning. We're the Seawright family, my name's Paul, and we'll be reading the Advent Scriptures for love. Lamentations chapter three verses 22 through 24, "Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

Ashlynn: [00:00:55] My name is Ashlynn and I'm going to be reading First Corinthians 13:4-7, "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

Isaiah: [00:01:19] Hi, my name is Isaiah, I'm going to be reading John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Unknown: [00:01:32] And now, this fourth Sunday in Advent, we light the love candle, remembering that Jesus is God's ultimate gift of love to us.

Rich Shores: [00:01:41] Well, good morning, church, welcome to worship this morning. My name is Rich Shores, and I am involved with the local ministry partner FrontSight Military Outreach. And if you don't know anything about them, we serve military veterans, military outreach. But if you're a veteran here today and have been seeking something similar, we do a Bible study every Tuesday evening. I can give you more information if you would want to meet me out at next steps after worship. We have some postcards out there, so certainly keep that in mind if you're looking for something like that. We also minister to first responders too, just to keep that in mind. So I would like to invite you all to stand with me as we read this morning's scripture for our sermon. So I'll be reading Galatians 4:1-7, "What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. 3So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces a of the world. 4But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. b 6Because you are his Sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, c Father.” 7So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir." This is God's Word. You may be seated.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:37] Hey, man. Thank you, Rich. Good morning church family. Do you guys believe we are one week away from Christmas? Some of you just panicked a little bit in your mind when I said that.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:50] So a bunch of years ago, there was a Super Bowl commercial, and the Super Bowl commercial was sort of a spoof on that movie Castaway with Tom Hanks, where he gets stranded on an island for a bunch of years. And so the commercial was for FedEx, and here's how it went. A guy comes to a door with the FedEx package in his arm, he's got a long, scraggly beard, and a woman opens the door, and he says, I was stranded on a desert island for years and this package was with me the whole time. And as soon as I was rescued and got back, I determined that I would deliver it to you because I work for FedEx. And he hands it to her, and she says, oh, my gosh, that's so meaningful, I'm so thankful that you would do that. Thank you so much for delivering this. And he turns around to leave and then he turns back to her, and he says, just out of curiosity, could you show me what was in the box? And she says, oh, not much, all that's in here is a satellite phone, a GPS locator, some fishing gear, and some seeds to plant for food. So, you know, just normal stuff, and then she shuts the door in his face. And it's a hilarious commercial, of course, because you're looking at this and you're just saying, oh, my goodness, you were stranded on the island, if you would have just opened the package, how different things would have been, how much more quickly you would have been rescued, and how much better your life would have been while you were there.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:15] That's a little bit like what we've been talking about during this Advent season as we've been walking through this series called Enter into Christmas. Ever since the first week of this series, what we've been talking about is, all right, there are these classic themes of Advent that we talk about that came along with Jesus when he came, that we talk about hope and peace and joy, and today talking about love. And we've been saying we want to enter into those, we don't just want to talk about them, we don't just want to have the package or the present with us, we want to open it up, we want to enter into these.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:49] And so starting three weeks ago, we talked about entering into the hope that God has given us through Jesus. The hope is the confident expectation that better days are ahead, and not just because we have wishful thinking, but because God has made promises. So we want to enter into that hope, not just talk about it, but really embrace it. And we want to enter into peace, knowing that we live in a broken world with all kinds of problems, and Jesus came into a broken world to bring deliverance for us. And so as we deal with anxiety within and as we deal with conflicts outside of ourselves, we want to enter into that peace and have that be a reality in our lives. And last week we talked about entering into joy, and not just the momentary joy like when you open presents, or when you have a great meal, or when you have a great family gathering, or if your team wins a big game. But yeah, sorry, Dwayne, Colts fan down here. If you're a sports fan, you know how he's feeling today. But a joy that's lasting, a joy that doesn't just come quickly and then leave us because as we learned last week, it's a joy based on something that God did. It's a joy, it's good news, as the angel said, "It's the good news of great joy because a Savior has been born." We want to enter into that joy and have that be our consistent reality.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:14] And today, we're talking about entering into love. That in Jesus, we have received the love gift from God. And I know I don't need to spend a lot of time up here convincing you that love is good and that we want love. We all want love, it's a constant subject that we talk about, we listen to it in our songs, we see movies about it, we read books about it, and we write poetry about it. We know that we need love and we know that we all crave love in our lives. And one of the tricky things about love is that you might feel like you have it, but then the next moment you're not sure you still have it. We feel in constant flux. It's like the old joke between a husband and a wife, where the wife says, I need you to say those three words, I need you to say, I love you. And the husband says, I said it to you when we got married, I'll let you know if anything has changed. And every wife in here knows that's not cutting it, that that's not good enough. And really, in the end, it's not just a husband and wife thing, it's all of us saying, all right, there might be a point in our lives where we felt like we had love from other people or maybe even from God, but we're not sure we still have it. It feels very fragile and we're constantly wondering if that love is still with us. And so we've got to ask the question, all right, when it comes to love, how do we know we have it? How do we recognize when we have love? And whether or not we want to admit it, one of the main ways that we recognize that we have love is by how much it is costing the person who's loving us to love us. How much does love cost?

Dan Franklin: [00:08:55] Once again, we're not going to want to admit this, but this is one of the ways we judge the presents that we receive. You're not supposed to, but we all kind of want to check the price tag, because if somebody gives you a gift that you really wanted and you're like, this is so nice, thanks for giving this to me. And they said, yeah, it was on the bargain rack, $1.99 You say, well, it's still nice, but you're not going to be as amazed because it didn't cost them a lot. But if you find out that it costs them deep research, they had to find out where to get it, where they spend a lot of money on it, or they just spent a lot of time creating something for you, suddenly that love feels more real. We judge our love, and we recognize love by seeing how much it cost the giver. And so what we're going to get to do this morning as we walk through our passage that Rich just read for us, is we are going to get to see not one, but two love gifts from God that both connect to Christmas, to love gifts from God that prove his love for us, and then we're also going to talk about how we enter into that love that he's given us.

Dan Franklin: [00:10:03] So if you have a Bible, you can make sure you've turned to Galatians chapter 4. We're going to go into detail, we're going to go through verses 4 through 7. You heard Rich read verses 1 through 7, so I'll allude back to verses 1 through 3 as a little bit of background for this. But in verses 4 and 5, we get God's first love gift to us, and the love gift that God gives to us is his Son. So here's what verses 4 and 5 say, "But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship." And so there's a bunch of things set in these verses, but right at the center of it, right in the middle of it, is that statement God sent his Son. This is Christmas, Christmas is when we celebrate that God sent his Son. And there's a lot bound up in the idea of God sending his Son, because it goes back to the idea that the one true God, the one God who has spoken everything into creation has always been Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That he's not a one isolated God, that he's a community of persons, that there's love within himself because the Father loves the Son and the Son loves the Spirit and the Spirit loves the Father, and there's a bond of love. And we get this message that the Father sent the Son, God sent his Son, that is his love gift to us.

Dan Franklin: [00:11:35] When did God send his Son? When the set time had fully come, according to Paul, that's when God sent his Son. And there are people who are scholars who talk about this and kind of theorize, what does this mean? What does it mean that the arrival of Jesus was when the set time had fully come? And some people say, well, it was because of travel, travel was suddenly more accessible at that time. So the message of Jesus could go out more freely and communication was a little bit more available, and people were starting to discern between languages, and how to get the word out. And all of that may be true, it's possible that that went into it, but Paul doesn't spell that out. He doesn't say when the set time fully came, and by that, I mean roads were really good. He just says when the set time fully had come. And there's something else that Paul said similarly in another letter that I think may connect to the deeper thing behind this. It's in Romans chapter 5 verse 6, Paul says, "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly." And you can see a similarity here, Romans 5:6, "At just the right time." Galatians 4:4, "When the set time had fully come." And I love this because in Romans 5, here's what it means that it was just the right time. He came at just the right time because we were powerless, we were weak, we were sinners, we were ungodly. we were desperate and needy, and it was just the right time for a Savior to show up. You know when Jesus came? At just the right time, at the time set by the Father.

Dan Franklin: [00:13:26] And I just want to say this real briefly before moving on. Some of you right now might be waiting on God for something, maybe something really specific, that you feel like this is something that God has promised. It's not just me thinking God should do this, I've read in the Scripture that he's going to do this, that he's going to give me wisdom that I've been praying for, and I still feel like I don't have. Or that he's going to complete the good work he started in me, and I'm still waiting for that to happen. If you're waiting on God right now because of the great sacrifice that he made in sending his Son, you get to move forward with confidence that God always answers prayer, and God always moves at just the right time. God sent his Son.

Dan Franklin: [00:14:06] And Paul tells us how God sent his Son, "God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law." And the born of a woman, this probably isn't a reference to the virgin birth, although it's kind of tied up within this. This is simply a statement that when Jesus showed up, he didn't just sort of hover down from heaven as a 30-year-old man, he was born of a woman, he came into the world the way that normal people come into the world, through birth. And it points to him taking on our full humanity. Does anybody here have a favorite Christmas song that you've been listening to a lot? At least some of you do. One of my favorite Christmas songs is, Do You Hear What I Hear? And here's my favorite line in the song, my favorite line in the song is, "A child, a child, shivers in the cold, let us bring him silver and gold." And I love the image, in all of our serene nativity sets that we all set up and look at, that we get the reminder that Jesus, at some point in his life, would have shivered in the cold because he had taken on full humanity. I don't know how many of you are reading through the Gospel of John in our Bible reading plan right now. But man, if you read through the Gospels, you get constant reminders that Jesus was fully human, Jesus got hungry, and Jesus got thirsty. And in John chapter 4, we read that Jesus got tired. Is anybody tired right now? Are any of you guys, just like I've been running around shopping, and we had too many Christmas parties and I didn't get enough sleep, and you're frantic about something, or you're stressed about the family all getting together? If you right now just feel like I'm just tired, and not even just physically, just sort of mentally and emotionally. I'm tired, I'm fatigued. Jesus knows what that's like because Jesus was tired, and Jesus got frustrated because people let him down, and Jesus got abandoned, and many of us know what that feels like. Jesus also knows what grief feels like because he wept at the funeral of his friend Lazarus, even when he knew he was going to go up and get him up from the grave, he still wept with grief. And for some of you, this year has been a year of grief, and this is the first Christmas when you're experiencing fresh grief. And I want you to know, Jesus, the Son of God, was born of a woman, and he knows every ounce of grief and stress and fear and difficulty that we feel. God sent his Son, born of a woman.

Dan Franklin: [00:16:52] And then he also says, "Born under the law." And real briefly, here's what's going on here. What's going on here is a reference back to an analogy Paul was given in verses 1 through 3. And the analogy is a little bit hard for us to get because it's different than our culture, but what he's talking about is inheritance. And he says, all right, there can be a household where there's a son that stands to inherit everything in the household, but when he doesn't yet have his inheritance, he looks basically like the other household servants, he doesn't have any of his inheritance yet. And he says he gets the inheritance at the time set by the Father, so that's even another part of this analogy, the Father sets the time and then he comes into his inheritance. But until that time, he's under guardians and people are teaching him and training them and preparing him to come into that inheritance. And Paul says that's what the law is, the law was given to the Jews. And Paul also says in Romans 2, that even though the Gentiles didn't get the full law that the Jews got, God put the law on all of our hearts. We all know what's right and what's wrong, and that's why even if you get somebody that has no religious background, they're still things they feel bad about. That's what it's like to be born under the law, that God tells us what's right and wrong, but we don't have any way of fixing ourselves because we just keep failing. It's a guardian, it teaches us and prepares us for the Savior to come.

Dan Franklin: [00:18:16] And so Jesus entered into a world that was still under the law. And now look at verse five, it tells us why Jesus came. He came to a world under the law, "To redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship." Jesus showed up not just to be born, not just to teach us, and not just to tell us the truth, he came to redeem us. And to redeem means to buy back something, and it was usually used when referring to slaves. So a slave is under a master, but somebody could come and pay their slave price and set them free. Jesus came and paid our slave price and set us free. And I already mentioned earlier, you can tell how much somebody loves you by how much their love costs them. Do you know what Jesus' love cost him? It cost him his life. Because Jesus not only got hungry and thirsty and tired and frustrated, Jesus got tortured and put to death. We know the love of God because Jesus was willing to pay the greatest cost. God sent his beloved Son. Jesus died on the cross, of course, we know Jesus rose victorious, and that goes into the last part where it says that Jesus not only redeemed us, but he redeemed us, that we might receive adoption to sonship. When you think of slavery, even in our own country's history, of course, we had the Emancipation Proclamation where slaves were set free. And then once the Emancipation Proclamation came in, the slaves were set free, and problems were over for black people in our country, right? That was just like, perfect. No, no, no, that's not what happened at all. Because even if there hadn't have been still active discrimination, which there was, it still would have been a whole bunch of people set free without property, many of them without education, without connections, without networking, and we're basically told, hey, you're free, go figure it out. So we might look at this and be like, is that what Jesus did? Jesus is like, hey, you're under the power of Satan, you're under slavery to sin, you have all these bad habits, you have all this Spiritual darkness. I'm going to set you free, I'm going to forgive all your sins, and now you guys go figure it out. And we read that's not what happened at all, we were set free so that we could be adopted into the family of God so that we could be sons and daughters. So that we could have God as a Father, and as a Father who not only never fails, but a father who never dies and so he will be with us forever.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:59] Look at what the Apostle John says about this in First John chapter 3 verse 1. He says, "See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! I love so many things about this verse. First of all, I love that he starts by saying, see, just like look over here, look at this, look at the great love that the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called Children of God. And just in case somebody is thinking, well, we're called children of God, but are we? He says, that's what we are. We're not just called children of God, we really are children in his family forever. We were given adoption to sonship because of all that Jesus did for us when he paid our ultimate slave price, we're in his family forever.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:46] And you know, we've talked about this, this is God's love. But let's pause for a minute and talk about the big question for this whole series, and that's how do we enter into this? For some of you that this isn't new, you feel like, all right, I've heard this, I kind of get this, maybe a part of you believes this, maybe the whole of you believes this, but you're not living in the constant reality of God's love. And I don't want to overly simplify, but what I want to say is the way that we enter into this, the way that we experience the love of God is through faith. It's through believing that what God has said is true, even when we don't necessarily feel like it's true. So if there's anybody here, if any of you here and you're not a believer in Jesus and you're hearing this and you're thinking, all right, how do I experience the love of God? It's not through baptism, which we love baptism here, we love baptism because it shows a physical demonstration of dying to our sins and coming alive again through Jesus. It's not through a ritual like communion, even though we're going to do communion later and it will be awesome because it's a way to remember what Jesus has done for us. It's not by making a vow to say, I'm going to do better, or I'm going to live better, or I'm going to obey better. We enter into the family of God, and we enter into his love, by faith, by trusting him, by trusting that what he has done for us is real, by trusting that his death on the cross really brings forgiveness of sins, and by trusting him with our whole lives. And we are like, alright, God, I trust you with my money, I trust you with my future, I trust you with my career, I trust you with my relationships, I trust that your way will lead me forward. We enter into his love by entrusting ourselves to him. And those of us in here who are believers, what I want to let you know is the way that you live daily and entering into his love is exactly the same, it is through faith and just through trusting that God's love is real, even when you don't feel for sure like it is. We're going to return to that a little bit more later in talking about what we do when we read in the Bible that God loves us, but we don't feel like it's true.

Dan Franklin: [00:24:02] And here's one of the other things going on here, we could look at this and be like, all right, this is great, God wanted to show his love for us, he sent his Son. But here we are in 2022, we all lived way too late to experience the arrival of his Son and his 30 years here on Earth. We're like, all right, that's great that God sent his Son, but he's not here now, we're not with him in Bethlehem. And all right, so Jesus has promised to return, so we're going to be with him at that point, but we're not with him now, we're living in this in-between.

Dan Franklin: [00:24:31] So it's great that God sent a love gift, he's not here with us, what do we do about it right now? And I'm so glad you asked because I want to introduce you to the second love gift of God, and that is his Spirit. God has given us the gift of his Son, and he's given us the gift of his Spirit. Here's what he says in verses 6 and 7, "Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, c Father.” 7So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir."

Dan Franklin: [00:25:14] And you can see it right there, in verse 4, we have the big statement, the big central statement, God sent his Son. In verse 6, we have the big statement, God sent the Spirit of his Son. God sent his Son, and that's what we celebrate at Christmas. But how about at Christmas we also celebrate that because God sent his Son and made us his sons, that we get the Holy Spirit. And that's who he's talking about here, I already talked about a God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not the force from Star Wars, some of us just think of that and we're like, all right, there's this impersonal force, or this conscience that God sends us, that that kind of guides us and leads us and gives us power. That's not what the Holy Spirit is, the Holy Spirit is not a what, the Holy Spirit is a who. The Holy Spirit comes to dwell, according to Paul here, in our hearts, he has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts. The Spirit is somebody who teaches the Spirit is somebody who grieves. the Spirit is somebody who instructs, the Spirit is God himself dwelling inside of us.

Dan Franklin: [00:26:24] And we get so much in the New Testament about what the Spirit does for us, and we find out that the Spirit gives us all gifts. So if you're a believer in Jesus, you have a spiritual gift that's meant to be used for his church and for the mission of God. Because of the Holy Spirit, you can understand what the Bible says because the Spirit illuminates you and helps the truths of God come to rest on your heart and make sense. The Spirit empowers you, when you're meant to bear witness before others, He empowers you. The Spirit strengthens you to win the victory against sin so that you're not stuck in the same habits as before, but you see growth, like the fruit of the Spirit that he talks about in the next chapter of Galatians. the Spirit does all of those things, but I want you to notice, Paul zeroes in on one specific thing that the Spirit does, he says, "The Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” He's picking up still on the adoption idea and look at what he says because he follows it up in verse 7. He says, "So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir." He is still zeroing in and focused on saying, do you really want to know God's love that he's lavished on you? He has made you his child. He has brought you into the family. And if you're in the family of God, you are an heir. We're in God's will. Now, God is never going to die, but we still stand to inherit everything that he has for us. That means you, if you're a believer in Jesus, you stand to inherit eternal life. You stand to inherit forgiveness of sins. You stand to inherit a new resurrected body that will never get old or tired or fade. Can I get an amen on that one? You stand to inherit a new resurrected earth that is made right. As beautiful as the Earth is right now, one day it will be made fully right. You stand to inherit all this because you are in God's family.

Dan Franklin: [00:28:24] But do you always feel like a child of God? For most of us, the reality is no, we don't always feel like it. So look at what he says the Spirit does. Back in verse 6, he says, "The Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”. And Abba is just the Aramaic term for Father. It's probably the term that Jesus used in his life. So when he spoke the Lord's Prayer to his disciples, this is probably what he said, our Abba, who is in heaven. It's a familiar term, you can almost hear the word papa in there if you listen to it. "The Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”. Here's what's going on, Paul is saying, I know that there are times that your inner self is saying there's no way God loves you, there's no way you're his child, there's no way that's a reality. We know what you did, we know what you've done, we know what you haven't done, and there's no way that you belong to God, and that's why we have the Spirit.

Dan Franklin: [00:29:23] In fact, I want to take a pause here and just have us have an opportunity to take this in. I want to ask a hard question. The hard question is, when do you doubt God's love for you? And I think that's the question behind what's going on here with the Apostle Paul. He is saying there are times that our inner person is saying there's no way, there's no way that God loves you. Maybe some of you aren't Christians, and really the main reason you're not a Christian is you're like, you don't know what I've done, there's no way. I could never be welcomed in, there's no way God could love me. Maybe at one point, he did love me, like when I was really, really young and I hadn't done very much yet. But at this point, there's no way that God loves me. I want you just to pause and think, when do you doubt God's love for you?

Dan Franklin: [00:30:11] And I'll give a couple of examples from my life. I think probably you'll find these familiar. But one of the main times that I doubt God's love for me is when I've just screwed up in a way that I absolutely knew I shouldn't screw up. Those are low points, right? When you're just like I promised I would never do this again, I promised I'd never say that again, I promised I'd never fall back into that pattern, and you just feel so low. And the thought that God loves you just feels like the furthest thing away. You're like, no way, maybe tolerate, maybe. Maybe God is like, it's okay, I'm not going to crush you, but the idea that God would love us, that he would see us and be deeply committed to us, that he would have affection for us when we failed is a hard pill to swallow, and some of you are there right now this morning. You're like, I'm not going to point anybody out, don't worry. But some of you are like, yeah, just this morning, like, yeah, just yesterday, I screwed up, I'm so ashamed, I'm so frustrated that I did this again. And the idea that God loves you just feels like a far cry. And part of what I hope happens this morning is you're able to walk away confident in God's love for you because the Holy Spirit is inside of you right now saying, no, no, no, that's your Father, that's your Abba.

Dan Franklin: [00:31:33] But I'll share another time that I have doubts about God's love for me, and this is one that some of you will relate to and some of you may not. I feel doubts about God's love for me when I've screwed up. But I also feel doubts about God's love for me when I'm struck by how absolutely unremarkable I am. You know, I don't know if this is because I'm a middle child, I don't know what all the things that go into it. But I've always felt this way, I've always felt like, yeah, I just sort of blend into the middle somewhere. And I had this experience when I was in my twenties, it still is etched into my mind. One of the times, one of the most vivid times that I felt like I really experienced God's love, that I really entered into His love for me in a powerful way. It was at a friend's bachelor party, and it was a Christian bachelor party, so don't worry. But we were all at a beach house and we were hanging out and we'd played cards and listened to music and had a great night together, and then we were all crashing there for the night. So it was like 3 a.m., I'm laying on a couch with a blanket over me and I couldn't quite get to sleep. And here's what was going through my mind, I was thinking about all my friends, this group of friends that I was hanging out with, that I'd known since high school, and what was going through my mind was there was something about each of them that made them remarkable. I was sort of like, I don't know if you've ever done this, but I was like, that's the funny one, that's the smart one, that one's the good leader, that one's really good with people, that one's, you know, the really talented one. And I could go through, for each one of them, and say, this is why I'm so glad that he was here, this is what sort of makes him stand out. And I got back to myself, and I was like, I've got nothing. I was just like, I'm here, I'm okay, but there's nothing that makes me remarkable. And there was this flood of insecurity that just came over me, like, why do I even matter? Why do they even care that I'm here? Why does anybody even care that I'm around? And it was in that moment laying down on a couch with a blanket over me at 3 a.m. that I felt one of the most real senses of God's love for me than I've ever felt. I felt just showered in God's affection and love. And here's what I want to say, some of you are like, this sounds really gushy. Like, this sounds really just like what's going on, super emotional. If you know me, you know, that's not really my M.O., that's not me. Yeah, Loren's laughing right now, that's not really sort of how I function, that I'm constantly looking for the gushy moment. That deep sense, that deep conviction of God's love and affection for me was not based on a momentary thing, saying, hey, everything lined up right and the feelings all aligned. I felt that deep sense of God's love for me because I felt a deep conviction, I'm actually going to believe everything that he said in the Bible. I'm actually going to believe, in this moment, that God has seen me at my lowest point and God is seeing me when I'm lost and God has seen me when I'm wandering, and that I'm fearfully and wonderfully made by God, I'm actually going to believe all this and I'm going to believe the truth that I see in the Bible that God right now is looking at me with deep affection and love and that he will never leave me and never forsake me. Some of you right now are like, yeah, I don't know what it would feel like to think of myself as not very remarkable.

Dan Franklin: [00:34:56] Some of you are like, I haven't struggled with that. And I'm just going to throw this out here, if some of you are like, yeah, when I hear about the love of God, it's nice and I believe it. But why wouldn't God love me? Honestly, you just kind of feel like you've grown up in a culture of self-love and that's been talked about a lot, so you're like, well, why wouldn't God love me? It's just a natural thing to do, I've been told all my life I should love myself, so it makes sense that God would love me too. And I just want to say this real briefly, self-love is pure garbage, self-love is empty and worthless. And here's why it's empty, and I think at the end of the day, we kind of know that it is because when you're like, nobody else loves me, but I love me. All right, enjoy that. Like we all know that's not where we want to be living. And also, I want you to think about this, if you say, hey, it doesn't matter what anybody thinks about me, if I love me, that's enough. Who appointed you the judge? Also, you know yourself, do you really trust your judgment that much? I don't trust mine that much. You'd be like, hey, everybody else in the world thinks this, God may think this, but I know I'm a pretty good guy. I don't trust my judgment that much; self-love is dust and ashes. And so if you're right now saying like, no, I kind of feel like I get it, I get why God loves me. You need to go back to verse 5 which says the way that God loved you is he had to redeem you out of slavery to sin and death. You need to go back into the valley and realize that God has brought you up to the mountain peak, but you weren't born there. And then you can really enter into the love of God.

Dan Franklin: [00:36:36] But this is what I love, some of you really resonate with the story I just told. And you're like, yeah, I feel that way regularly. I feel like, why does God even pay attention to me? I'm not famous, I'm not super talented, I'm not super attractive, and I don't know what stands out about me. What I want you to know is that in those moments, the Holy Spirit is inside of your heart, whispering to you, sometimes not whispering because the whisper is not loud enough, sometimes shouting to us, God is your Father. God sent his Son for you. God loves you profoundly, and his love for you is not based on what you've done, his love for you is based on who he is. And that's why God's love for you is never going to be broken. Thank God that he has sent us his Spirit. Can I get an amen on that, too? Amen.

Dan Franklin: [00:37:24] Right now, we celebrate that Jesus has come, we wait for Jesus to come back, but we have the Spirit solidifying within ourselves, telling us the thing that we might think in our heads, but we don't feel in our hearts, and that's that we belong to God. And what I want you to know is this, if right now you're like, man, I want more of that. Like I do believe, I believe that God loved me, it's hard to believe sometimes. But man, I want to live in the more constant reality, I want to live in just the more regular, constant reality that God loves me, and I'm confident about that and I'm secure in that. What I want to say is this, there's a lot in the Bible that tells us to walk by the Spirit. And there are a lot of things involved in it, but what it basically means is to obey what the Holy Spirit is calling you to do. Just in a daily way, walk with him, yield your will to his, read what he says in the Bible, and do what he calls you to do. Right now, if you're saying I don't remember the last time I felt like God loved me, there may be a number of things that go into this, but I'm just going to throw out, if you're saying I don't remember the last time that God loved me and you're also saying, I don't remember the last time I treated God like he was terribly important to me, there's a connection there. If you really want to experience the love of God at a gut level, and you are not actively walking with him, you're not reading his word, you're not obeying him in the heart areas, don't expect to have that experience. But when we walk by the Spirit, when we walk in daily obedience, then we are near to the one who is constantly whispering and sometimes shouting to our heart, that's your Father, and you're his child forever.

Dan Franklin: [00:39:06] Now, here's what I want to do before we move on, and I introduce our time in communion, I want to just pause right now. I know a minute in the service is not sufficient for all that we want as we enter into the experience of God's love. But I want us to take a moment right now, some of you are coming in this morning with a lot of baggage. Some of you are coming in this morning, not with a lot of baggage, but you're like, I just haven't stopped to think for the last couple of weeks. And we want to just take a pause right now, we're just going to have a minute or two of quiet. And here's what I want to invite you to do at this time, I want to invite you just to pray to God, and I want to invite you to actively look to believe what he said about his love for you. And maybe this is even a time of asking God where you're like, God help me to believe, I'm not sure I do believe. But let's use this as a time to pause and quiet our hearts before God and just enter into his great love for us. Let's do that right now.

Dan Franklin: [00:40:56] See what great love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called Children of God. Father, sometimes it's too much, it seems like too much to believe that you really see us, and you've seen us at our worst and at our lowest. You've seen us at our most ordinary, most pedestrian, and that you still love us. Thank you that your love for us is not based on our performance but is based on Jesus' performance. Thank you that we get to revel in your love and celebrate your love. And Father, I pray, especially for those right now, that the idea of believing in their guts, that you love them just feels like a pipe dream. Father, I pray that you break through every barrier and help them to feel and know in the deepest parts of themselves your deep love for them. Father, we pray that you lead us all during this Advent season and beyond, to enter into your love, and to experience the hope and joy and peace that come along with that. I pray this in the name of Jesus, our Savior. Amen.

Dan Franklin: [00:42:06] We talked earlier about how we know God's love by what it cost him, and we get to celebrate that every time we take communion together, which is what we're going to do next. If you're helping out with communion this morning, you can head to the back as Tom gets us set up for the elements to be passed during this next song. And as elements are passed, go ahead, and hold on to them until the end, and then at the end of the time, we'll all take those together. Communion is a physical symbol, it's a way of remembering the bread, the broken body of Jesus, and the drink, which is the shed blood of Jesus, the price that he paid for us. So as we prepare to take communion now, let's use this as a time to enter into God's love by remembering the great price that Jesus paid to bring God's love to us.

Recorded in Upland, California.
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Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848