Loved by God

Andrew Fountain
Sun, 2019-06-30
  • One ofthe things that gets in the way of our walk with God is that we so often fail and do the wrong thing
  • This can fill us with shame, and stop us coming to God
  • Here are two bad solutions to this problem and one really, really good one!

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Sermon Outline - Loved by God

  • One ofthe things that gets in the way of our walk with God is that
    • We so often fail and do the wrong thing
    • This can fill us with shame
    • and stop us coming to God
  • I googled images for the word “shame” and this is what I got.

The Cone Of Shame

The Cone Of Shame

  • Where does shame come from?

No Shame: Genesis 2

  • Man and woman were created perfect with no shame
  1. The man and his wife were both naked, but they were not ashamed.

Shame: Genesis 3

  1. Then the eyes of both of them opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
  2. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God moving about in the orchard at the breezy time of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the orchard.
  3. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”
  4. The man replied, “I heard you moving about in the orchard, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.”
  • We know that animals don’t sin
  • Have you ever heard of an animal that is ashamed to be naked
    • Our cat used to lie on it’s back with it’s legs in the air with no self-consciousness at all
  • But shame is something we feel very easily
  • If you ask people for the answer to shame, there are some ideas we might be given

Answers to Failure:

  • Boost your self esteem -yes, but how?
  • Repeat 100 times a day
    • “I am a wonderful person. I am very gifted and it is an honour to be my friend.”
  • But the problem is that I know I am a mess
  • Underneath I am a dirty dog, if people could really see me!

A muddy dog is a happy dog! by Iáin Aléxander, on Flickr

A muddy dog is a happy dog! by Iáin Aléxander, on Flickr

  • I am going to suggest three answers Christians come up with to the shame of our failures
  • I think the first two are wrong
  • I’m going to suggest that the third is right

1. God loves me through Jesus

  • God’s love for me is unconditional!
  • He looks at me but sees Jesus instead
  • What’s the problem with this idea?
  • I am loved, but please don’t look too closely!
  • There is truth in this…
  • So what is the problem?
    • I am still a dirty dog, a miserable failure
    • It is now covered up and hidden
    • But it is still true
  • Summary:
    • I am loved, but please don’t look too closely!
  • The second (wrong) answer is the opposite to this:

2. God loves beautiful me

  • I don’t disappoint God because now he doesn’t demand anything from me!
  • God loves me and now I am under grace, so I can never fail
  • I just enjoy being the new beautiful person that I now am
  • What’s the problem?
  • I am in denial
    • It works ok till I crash

Andrew Crashed

Andrew Crashed

  • Of course I mess up, and we know that God is never pleased with bad stuff, even though he has forgiven us
  • I can maintain it until something happens that shows what a sham I am

3. God really does love me!

  • God sees looks right through you and sees the core “you” and loves you.
  • He sees your failures, but they are nothing compared with how much he loves you.
  • He does care about the mess but loves you far more
  • He is sometimes does not like what you do, but his love is 100 times greater
  • You know what is it like when a teenager is in love and it’s totally blind
    • I don’t think he’s that suitable for you, what about…
      • Oh he’s perfect
    • But what about the motorcycle gang he hangs out with?
      • Oh that’s nothing—I’m sure he’s a good influence on them
    • Nothing you can say… A mist of love has descended.
  • In some ways God is like that.
    • God, how can you love … when he lives like he does?
    • Oh I love him so much and wear his name on my sleeve.
    • There is never a minute that I am not thinking about him
  • They may seem like big mistakes to us, but to him they are nothing compared with the fire of his love.
  • One of the best examples of this is for one of his diciples… ?
    • Peter!
  • Can you remember any things he did wrong?

Jesus and Peter

  • Wanting to call fire down from heaven on the Samaritans
  • Asking for a promise that he could have the best seat in the kingdom
  • Ordering Jesus not to go to Jerusalem
    • “Get behind me Satan”
  • Cutting off the hight priest’s servant’s ear
  • Incident at Jesus’ transfiguration
  • Boasting that he would be more loyal than all the other disciples
  • Did Jesus love him?
  • +don’t wash my feet

Jesus loved Peter

  • He didn’t ignore his failures
  • But his love was 1000 times greater
  • says “Satan wants to sift you Peter, but I have prayed for you”
  • He was committed to restoring Peter (and did!)
  • Jesus loved his disciples passionately
  • His love for them was so real
  • When he was arrested—“leave these alone, its me you want”
  • Peter’s story was given to encourage us
    • It’s not like Peter was an exception
    • Is he the only person who every messed up that Jesus still loved?
  • So Jesus’ love for us is one based in reality, not denial.
    • He knows every stupid thing that you have done, and will do.

Luke 22

  1. Then he said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer”
  • Jesus is someone who loves deeply.
    • This included Peter—wow!
  • That love is extended to all who want to be his disciples today
  • Jesus is the perfect reflection of the Father
  • This is the same love he has for you now
    • he desires to spend time with you
    • he enjoyed your company, even though he knows you behave badly
  • This is the answer to shame
    • To be so intensely loved by someone who knows you completely and utterly.


  • Paul seems to have so much drive and determination
    • But he tells us “The love of Christ compels me” —it is the source of engergy, deep in his being
  • He concludes the first part of Ephesians with this prayer—and it’s my prayer for all of us…

Ephesians 3

  1. For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
  2. from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
  3. that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

Ephesians 3 cont’d

  1. so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
  2. may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
  3. and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
  • Why is it so hard to comprehend?
    • because we know what we are like!
  • I’m preaching this as much to myself as I am to you.
    • I pray this prayer as well
  • I’ve talked many times about loving one another
    • This is where it must flow from
    • “We love because he first loves us”
  • You can’t love others unless you are loved yourself
  • If you try to, the you are like someone trying to give money away when you don’t have any in your own bank account.
    • Otherwise we will be operating in deficit
  • Even Jesus, who was perfect, modelled this for us:
    • it flowed from the love the Father had for him (This is my beloved Son)

We are his joy!

  • …looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. [Heb 12:2]
  • Look to Jesus now!
  • What was the joy that was set before Jesus?
    • It was you! You are his joy!
    • Because of you, the cross in all it’s agony was nothing to Jesus
  • Jesus despised the shame so that we don’t have to suffer it!
  • But how do I know if I am one of his disciples?
    • Disciple simply means someone who follows a person’s teachings
    • It’s not about how well you perform
      • It’s about being commited in trust to that person
    • You need to be committed to Jesus for him to be committed to you
  • “Look” is a picture of this

Updated on 2019-06-09 by Andrew Fountain