Suffering with Love – The Love of Jesus
March 29, 2024

Suffering with Love – The Love of Jesus

Preacher:
Passage: Romans 5:6-8

Regrettably, due to technical issues, we are not able to supply an audio file for this message about the love of Jesus. We sincerely hope that you're able to benefit from the transcript provided below. --The Fellowship Reformed Church Media Team.
The Potent Love of Jesus
Tonight we’ve given special attention to the sufferings of Jesus at the cross. And in our remaining time together, I’d like to explain from Scripture what Jesus was doing when he died – why his suffering is significant. So if you have a Bible, please turn with me to Romans, Chapter 5. We’ll be looking at verses 6 through 8. (If you’re using one of the Black Bibles from the back, we’ll be on page ___.) But before I read from Romans 5, please pray with me.

[PRAYER AND READ PASSAGE]

The sufferings of Jesus were motivated by love. And tonight I want to help you better understand and appreciate the love of Jesus Christ by answering three simple questions from the text. Question 1: How Did Christ Love? Question 2: WHO did Christ love? And Question 3: What does this mean for you?
How Did Christ Love?
So first: how did Christ love? What did Christ do to show us love?

Well, at first it may seem like this passage doesn’t tell us anything about the love of Jesus. Verse 8 says, that “God shows his love.” But if you read the whole verse carefully, you’ll see that God’s love and Jesus’s love are connected. Because how does God show his love for us? “[I]n that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” In other words, Jesus’s death makes the love of God visible. The love that God has is the same love that Jesus has. Jesus is, in fact, God the Son in human flesh – his love is God’s love. If you want proof that God is good, that God is loving, the Bible here says you just need to look at the love of Jesus.

But notice here – God’s love is different from the way many people understand love. God’s love isn’t a romantic impulse. God’s love isn’t just an emotion that changes, up and down. Instead, God’s love is rooted in his character. He delights to show loyalty and affection because God, in the unchanging core of his being, is a loyal and affectionate God. And we see the intensity of God’s love in what Jesus did at the cross!

Jesus Christ, the Son of God in human flesh, died. And verse 6, tells us that Jesus died for a group of people. And this word for is significant. Because it literally means that Jesus died on behalf of these people – in the place of these people. They were endangered. Death should have fallen on them, but Jesus demonstrated the greatest love that any human being could possibly show, in that he laid down his life for the lives of others.

But this may raise the question, who are these people? Who Did Christ Love?
Who Did Christ Love?
This is our second question – who did Christ love?

And at first, this may seem like a simplistic question. Verse 8 says, “God shows his love for us.” But who is the “us”? At the very beginning of Romans, you’ll see that the “us” is talking about people in the Church – Christians. But notice, Jesus didn’t die for these people because they were Christians, or because they were already religious or morally good. Instead, verse 8 says “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Verse 6 says, Christ died while we were weak. He died for the ungodly. In fact, in verse 10, we’re told that Christ did this even while we were enemies.

This is like a Jew in World War II agreeing to die in the place of Nazis. Or like an Israeli citizen throwing himself down on a grenade to protect Hamas soldiers. It doesn’t make sense.

Verse 7 says, “One will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—” MAYBE it would make sense for someone to die for you if you were good or righteous. “But” – verse 8 – “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”

He died while you were still living for yourself, breaking God’s law. He died while I was still on death row. And because of our badness and unworthiness, there’s only one explanation for why Jesus would die for us. His love.

Jesus’s love isn’t something you can earn. Love isn’t something we can extract from people. Love is a gift. People give their love. They choose to love. And Jesus has chosen to focus his real love on undeserving sinners.

But notice what Jesus’s real love looks like. Real love doesn’t affirm sin. Jesus doesn’t tell sinners, “You’re beautiful and amazing just the way you are!” Instead, by taking the death penalty for sin, Jesus has confirmed that you legitimately deserve death for the way you’ve treated God! And by going to the cross in your place, Jesus has confirmed that you can’t clean yourself up, or make yourself right with God on your own. If you could, Jesus’s death would be meaningless. But He came and died because it was necessary. Either you can depend on Jesus’s death for your sin, or you’ll have to carry that penalty yourself.
What Does This Mean for You?
So what are you going to do about Jesus? This brings me to our third and final question: What does this all mean for you, personally?

Well, Jesus’s act of love – it demands a response. And there actually isn’t a neutral option here. Either you’ll grab on to Jesus to save you from sin and death, or you’ll fill your hands with something else. If you reject Jesus Christ, you’ll be insulting God’s greatest act of mercy! If you reject Jesus, you’ll be adding to your guilt against God. And if you reject Jesus, there’s no one left who can make you right with God! You need him.

If you’ve admitted your need for Jesus, keep drawing near to Him, and learn from his love. Jesus Christ shows us what real love is. He loves freely; he doesn’t demand a certain level of performance or payment as a prerequisite for his love, but instead he loves the unlovely. And Jesus loves by seeking the godliness and eternal welfare of others, even when it hurts. Shouldn’t this affect how we live?
Displaying the Love of Jesus
1 John 4, verse 10 says, “In this is love, not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation – the sacrifice – for our sins. [verse 11] Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” Loving people may require sacrifice. It may come with many pains and challenges. But we are called to embody this manner of love, because this is how God has loved us. So tonight, as we consider the love that drove Jesus to suffer on the cross, let’s consider how the love of Christ can be more fully formed in us. Let’s Pray.