Sermon 9/16/2018 "God's Love is Greater than our Sin!" (Text / Audio)

“God’s Love is Greater than our Sin!”
Ephesians 3:11-13

The story is told about Benjamin Franklin and an overpriced whistle. When he was seven years old, a visitor gave him some small change. Later, seeing another boy playing with a whistle, young Benjamin gave the boy all his money for it. He played the whistle all over the house, enjoying it until he discovered that he had given four times as much as the whistle was worth. Instantly, the whistle lost its charm. As he grew older, Franklin generalized this principle. When he saw a man neglecting his family or business for political popularity, or a miser giving up friendship for the sake of accumulating wealth, he would say, “He pays too much for his whistle.”

We too pay great prices for something that looks so good and promises so much. Fish are hooked because they are attracted to something that looks like food and would make a good meal only to become food themselves.

We are all possessors of overpriced whistles because we are all lured by temptation and enter into sin. In our most honest moments, we’ll all admit that we own a lot of high-priced whistles. In I Peter 1:20-21 the Bible says, “He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.”

What did we talk about last week? We serve a mysterious God, who progressively reveals Himself in ways that we can comprehend and in ways that always allow for and redeem pain, suffering, and human trial.

CIT/CIS: The eternal purpose of God in Christ has always been to redeem His people and to glorify Himself in the process. The Cross wasn’t a make-up surprise plan B. It has always been God’s purpose in Christ to redeem. God’s love is greater than our sin! God’s unmerited favor is available in Christ!

The main thrust of this portion of Scripture is that, because of the atonement of Jesus – His having paid a debt He did not owe because we owed a debt we could not pay we have access to God. When we receive Christ by faith because of grace He bestows upon us the sonship of Jesus.

I. We have access. We can approach God in worship. Don’t underestimate the significance of that. We are free to interact with and trust our Father because in Christ by faith, we are now His children. We live in the house!

II. We have boldness of access. Our hearts can be full of hope in God. My children know they don’t have to ask permission to get a drink in my house because it’s their house too. They are in the family. They can have boldness.

They may even have too much boldness at times! But that is because they know they belong. They are in their father’s house. Daddy, Abba, is going to provide for and take care of them. They know even if they are imperfect their mom and dad are not going to stop loving them.

Romans 8:15: “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father.” Galatians 4:6: “Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”

III. We have access with confidence. The Bible says we have not because we ask not. Don’t be timid in prayer. God wants good and great things for His children. Prayer for God to use you – according to His will!

The Church Father, St. Jerome commented on this passage as to the source of our boldness and confidence, writing, “Nothing can give us such trust in God and purity of conscience  … as the Word, the truth, the wisdom and the righteousness received in Christ.… One who thinks in an orderly manner now has the Word and reason as the content of his faith.

One who can comprehend wisdom has wisdom as the content of his faith. One who understands truth has truth as the content of his faith. One who lives righteously now has righteousness as the content of his faith.”[2]

In other words, the more closely aligned our actual living of the Christian life is with the reality of the truths of it, the more our confidence in Him will grow. Want more faith? Exercise the faith you have! Want more hope? Exercise the hope you have! Then, as we see God moving in our lives and sense Him moving in our souls, our faith and hope will rise!

IV. All our hope of success in prayer and living must rest upon the mediation of Jesus Christ. The son has brought us through the gate of his choosing, not the gate guard at our pleading. The Cross is the key to the gates of heaven. “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” (John 15:16 NIV84)

When I first sensed a call to ministry I was painfully aware of my own sin and my own inadequacy for such a call. I thought for sure I wasn’t up for it and put it off and nearly cast it aside altogether. It wasn’t until I realized that it really wasn’t my choice that I got ahold of the confidence necessary to pursue it. I realized that He’d chosen me for this. I still don’t know why. I still think I’m woefully inadequate for the task and yet, He chose me and my confidence in life and ministry, my ability to overcome sin and failure, rests completely in the fact of His calling because that means it’s not about me.

Conclusion[3][4]Jesus is sometimes referred to as the “Rose of Sharon.” But Why? The phrase “Rose of Sharon” is only mentioned once in the Bible in the Song of Solomon 2:1. “I am a rose Sharon, a lily of the valleys.” Song of Solomon is a love poem, sometimes considered to be analogous to the love between Christ and His Bride, the Church. So that makes some sense but not much because in the Song of Solomon the Rose is the Bride, not the Bridegroom, which would be Christ. 

The Plain of Sharon is the coastal plain between the mountains of central Israel and the Mediterranean Sea, north of Joppa to Mt. Carmel. The rose of Sharon is most likely the Cistus Flower or Rock Rose, which grew on the Plain of Sharon. And perhaps the phrase developed in the Church over the centuries more because of the properties of the Rose itself. It was a scarce flower, like the scarcity of love as offered in Jesus. It only grew at Sharon, which means: Level Place, Consistent, able to hold footing, sureness of. Scripture refers to Jesus many times by saying “as was his custom” which is to say that He was very consistent. We are able to have firm foundation on Him. (Matthew 7:24)

Sharon means: excellent, fertile; it was a life giving place. An uncommon rose with healing properties rising from a plain like a unique tree resting atop Golgotha with divine blood dripping down to heal the nations. 

The Rose of Sharon is known for its pain relieving qualities and its soothing aroma. “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:3-5 NIV84)

God’s love is greater than our Sin! Offered freely by grace. Received only through faith. Jesus is the way the truth and the life. Amen.

[1] Outline Adapted from the Biblical Illustrator, (Ephesians 3:11-12) accessed via eSword Bible Software. 

[2] Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture – New Testament VIII: Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians.

[3] Referenced: 

[4] Referenced: