OceanSide church of Christ
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THE VASTNESS OF GOD’S LOVE
Victor M. Eskew
A. The Pharisees were the strictest sect of the Jews.
1. They were sticklers for keeping every minute aspect of the Law of Moses.
2. They, however, had passed over some of the wonderful elements of the law. Jesus mentioned this in His rebuke of them (Luke 11:42).
But woe unto you, Pharisees! For ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
B. We do not want to overlook these things. Thus, tonight we want to look at “The Marvelous Love of God.”
C. We are going to examine the vastness of God’s marvelous love.
1. In Ephesians 2:4, Paul describes God’s love as being great.
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.
a. The Greek word for “great” is “polos.”
b. It means many, large, abundant, great, plenteous
2. In chapter 3 of Ephesians, Paul again describes the vastness of God’s love, but in a different way (Eph. 3:17-19).
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.
a. Paul says that God’s love has a breadth, a length, a depth, and a height.
b. Let’s talk about these for the next few minutes.
I. THE BREADTH OF GOD’S LOVE
A. Definition (4114)
1. From a word that means “to spread out flat”
3. Thayer: breadth, suggesting great extent
B. God’s love is wide enough to include every man, women, and child.
1. John’s gospel says that He loved “the world” (John 3:16).
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever beleiveth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
2. The book of Acts presents the breadth of God’s love.
a. The Jews (Acts 2)
b. The Samaritans (Acts 8)
c. The Gentiles (Acts 10)
d. The Romans (Acts 16)
C. The breadth of that love was not just from the cross forward. The love of God went backward, all the way to Adam (Heb. 9:15).
And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
II. THE LENGTH OF GOD’S LOVE
A. Definition (3372)
1. Strong says that the word comes from the Greek word “megas.”
a. We get our word “mega” from it: mega-churches, mega-cities, mega-meals.
b. The word means big, expansive, great, and massive.
2. The word length can also refer to “the extent to which a person might go in pursuing something.”
B. God’s love wanted to rescue humanity from sin and condemnation. Did God go to great lengths to do this? Absolutely!
1. I John 3:16a
Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us…
2. I John 4:9
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
3. Romans 5:8
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
C. It’s hard for us to contemplate the love found in the incarnation and death of Jesus Christ.
1. God becoming man
2. Spirit taking on flesh
3. The eternal being subjected to death
4. The Son of God being able to be tempted by Satan
5. The innocent being condemned
6. The pure taking on Him the sins of the world
III. THE DEPTH OF GOD’S LOVE
A. Definition (899):
2. Of “the deep” sea
B. God’s love reaches down to the lowest parts of the earth and to the most baseless of society.
C. One of the best examples is a man named Saul (I Tim. 1:16).
Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
1. Paul says that he was a “pattern” of what the mercy and longsuffering of God can do in an individual’s life.
2. Two verses in the immediate context.
a. I Timothy 1:13a
Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious…
a) Literally: hurtful speech
b) Thayer; speaking evil, slanderous, reproachful, railing, abusive
a) Literally: one who pursues or follows after
b) This pursuit is with the intent to harm.
c) Acts 9:1-2
And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, and desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
a) From a word meaning “to exercise violence”
b) Strong (5197): maltreater
c) Thayer: an insolent man, one lifted up with pride who does others great harm
b. Paul also refers to himself as the “chief” of sinners (I Tim. 1:15).
3. Lesson: If God’s love, mercy, and grace could save Saul, it can save anyone.
D. Another example: The Corinthians (I Cor. 6:9-11)
IV. THE HEIGHT OF GOD’S LOVE
1. Strong (5311): elevation, altitude
2. Thayer: height, rank, high station
B. God’s love lifts us up out of the mire of sin and sits us in high places.
1. We have a high rank, children of God (I John 3:1).
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.
2. In the church, we are in a high place (Eph. 2:6).
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
3. As Christians, our conversation is now in heaven, not on the earth (Phil. 3:20).
4. And, we have hope of attaining a reserved spot in the highest of all the heavens (I Pet. 1:4).
To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.
A. The Pharisees passed over the love of God. Let us never be guilty of such.
B. What right thinking person would ever turn his back on a love as vast as the love of God?
1. One has written: “It comprehends all that is in heaven, all that is below, all that is past, all that is to come.”
2. Song: “The Love of God”
The love of God is greater far than tongue or pen could ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star, and reaches to the lowest hell.
The guilty pair, bowed down with care, God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled, and pardoned from his sin.
Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill, and every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole tho’ stretched from sky to sky.
O love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure – The saints’ and angels’ song.