Jesus: Loving the Unlovable

Jesus: Loving the Unlovable

Pastor Stephen "Red" Shumate
March 27th, 2016

Listen to full sermon here.

Click here to Download an audio file of the sermon.

Listen to our Sunrise Service here (different content)

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When you think of Easter, do you think of the Cross?
This past Easter I saw many people wearing the symbol of a cross.  When we see a cross it makes us think of Beauty, Love and Sacrifice.   What Christ did for us, was absolutely a beautiful thing.

And He suffered for us because He loves us, which is the focus of our message today.

1. Hosea and Gomer

Easter is really about a love story, the love story between Jesus and us, but today, we want to start out with a different love story. This is not what you might call a beautiful love story.  It is not Romeo and Juliet love story by any means.  In fact, this love story, might be more at home on a Jerry Springer Episode, than in the movie theatre

And that is the love story of Hosea and Gomer.  Now, unless you are already familiar with this story, there is very little chance that you could guess how this love story starts.  It starts, by God telling Hosea…”to go marry a women who is…promiscuous.” 

Hosea 1:2-3
When the Lord first spoke to Hosea, He said this to him:
Go and marry a promiscuous wife
and have children of promiscuity,
for the land is committing blatant acts of promiscuity
by abandoning the Lord.
3 So he went and married Gomer daughter of Diblaim,

So Hosea goes and marries Gomer, who did not have the best reputation.

Long story short…

Gomer did exactly what you would expect this type of woman to do. She went and cheated on Hosea, and left him.  And so Gomer ended up broke and desperate and with another man.

Make no mistake about it though, Hosea loved her, Hosea married her despite her background, and reputation. regardless of her past.  She mistreated him anyway, cheated on him and left him for another man.

So, what did God instruct Hosea to do?

Then the Lord said to me, “Go again; show love to [the] woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, just as the Lord loves the Israelites though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes.”

…2 So I [Hosea] bought her for 15 shekels of silver and five bushels of barley.
Hosea 3:1-2

God’s command was to keep on loving her, and go and buy her back from the other guy, so that she could once again, be with Hosea and live in a house of love.

This story of Hosea and Gomer is the story of us and God.

God, from the very beginning, has loved us.  Before we even knew who he was, he loved us.  He loved us because he created us.  He loved us because we are special to him.

But because we did not know him and because we are sinful in nature, we lived a life that was focused on selfish things.  We lived a life without knowing God, a sinful life.  A life that chased after and desired things of the flesh.

But…God loved us anyway, even before we loved him. 

And many of us even know what it’s like to accept Gods love, and then go and cheat on him, turn our backs on him, and go back to living the life we were before we even knew him.

And at some point we all find ourselves as slaves to sin.  And here is the thing just like Gomer couldn’t pay the price for her freedom, we cannot pay the price for our freedom either.

There is nothing you can do, no amount of money you can pay, no amount of penance you can do, no about of work that can be done, that can undo the promiscuous life you have led.

The price of sin is death.  And the only way we can be rescued from it, is if God shows us enough grace and mercy to send a sacrifice for us to pay our debt.  To step in and pay the price of death for us….

And that is exactly what Jesus did.

Jesus is God’s one and only son and Jesus loves us so much that he is willing to pay the price to free us, even though we often turn our backs on Him, so that we can once again, experience and live in his love.

2. Jesus Paid the Price 

The price Jesus paid was the suffering he endured and the death He died.

Matthew 27
When daybreak came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people plotted against Jesus to put Him to death. 2 After tying Him up, they led Him away and handed Him over to Pilate, the governor.
VS 11
Now Jesus stood before the governor. “Are You the King of the Jews?” the governor asked Him.
Jesus answered, “You have said it.” 12 And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He didn’t answer.
13 Then Pilate said to Him, “Don’t You hear how much they are testifying against You?” 14 But He didn’t answer him on even one charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.
15 At the festival the governor’s custom was to release to the crowd a prisoner they wanted. 16 At that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. 17 So when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Who is it you want me to release for you—Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Messiah?” 18 For he knew they had handed Him over because of envy.
19 While he was sitting on the judge’s bench, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for today I’ve suffered terribly in a dream because of Him!”
20 The chief priests and the elders, however, persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to execute Jesus. 21 The governor asked them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?”
“Barabbas!” they answered.
22 Pilate asked them, “What should I do then with Jesus, who is called Messiah?”
They all answered, “Crucify Him!”
23 Then he said, “Why? What has He done wrong?”
But they kept shouting, “Crucify Him!” all the more.
24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that a riot was starting instead, he took some water, washed his hands in front of the crowd, and said, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. See to it yourselves!”
25 All the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” 26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But after having Jesus flogged, he handed Him over to be crucified.
27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into headquarters and gathered the whole company around Him. 28 They stripped Him and dressed Him in a scarlet military robe. 29 They twisted together a crown of thorns, put it on His head, and placed a reed in His right hand. And they knelt down before Him and mocked Him: “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 Then they spit on Him, took the reed, and kept hitting Him on the head. 31 When they had mocked Him, they stripped Him of the robe, put His clothes on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him.
VS 37
Above His head they put up the charge against Him in writing:
VS 39
Those who passed by were yelling insults at Him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “The One who would demolish the sanctuary and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross!” 41 In the same way the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked Him and said, 42 “He saved others, but He cannot save Himself! He is the King of Israel! Let Him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in Him.
VS 45
From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over the whole land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Elí, Elí, lemá sabachtháni?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling for Elijah!”
48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, fixed it on a reed, and offered Him a drink. 49 But the rest said, “Let’s see if Elijah comes to save Him!”
50 Jesus shouted again with a loud voice and gave up His spirit.

The price Jesus paid for us, to get us out of the adulterous affair we have with sin… was being mocked, beaten, whipped, a crown of thorns placed on his head and then hung on a cross to die.  And just FYI - that is the physical price he paid for you. He suffered a far greater spiritual price, that we just don’t have time to get into today.

But Just as Hosea went and paid a great price, to rescue someone who didn’t love him, who cheated on him, and who left him…Jesus Crist paid the price to rescue us, who often, put other things before him, who often turn our backs on him, or forget about him.

But why would he do this for us?  After all that we have done, and some of us have done more than others…why would he do this for us?

Because of love.

3. The Power of His Love

Love is a powerful thing!

And through all of our mistakes, mess-ups, and sins.  Jesus can see in us something that no one else can see.

But here is what some of you are thinking…
I don’t belong in church…
I don’t deserve God’s love…
This isn’t me, I could never be that kind of guy… 
Why would Jesus want someone like me? 
Why would God want someone whose life is so ugly?  
Jesus can’t possibly want someone like me in heaven, I’ll just mess it up.

Here is the thing…I don’t care how ugly your life has been, I don’t care what you have done… …and here is why…Jesus’s love can take the ugliest thing in the world and make it beautiful.

And I’ll prove it…

The first thing we talked about is how beautiful the cross is. But you know what? A long time ago…a cross would not have been seen as a thing of beauty.  It would have been a horrible, terrible symbol of death, of torture, of criminals.

Even the electric chair today, doesn’t represent how horrible the cross was.  The electric chair and other methods used today on the death row are meant to be humane.  The Cross was meant to be tortuous.

Can you imagine wearing a piece of jewelry shaped as an electric chair, or a lethal injection syringe as something that is beautiful?  These things could quite possibly could be the ugliest, darkest things we can imagine.

And a long time ago, a Cross, would been the very same thing as these things.  A cross was used to carry out death sentences for the worst of the worst criminals.  A long time ago, a cross would have been a very different symbol than it is today.

So what changed? What changed between now and then?  What took something that was so ugly, and made it so beautiful?  

It was the blood of Jesus Christ that was spilled because of his love for us.  
A Blood spilled because he loves you, even when you don’t love him.
A Blood spilled because he loves you, even when your life is a mess.
A Blood spilled because he loves you even when you turn your back on him.
A Blood spilled because he loves you…so that he could buy you back from being a slave to sin…
A blood that can change your life, from not belonging in church, to being the first one there in the morning.
A blood that can change your life, from being unloved and feeling pretty useless, to a life that is full of love, life, and worthwhile.
A blood that can make you beautiful, no matter how ugly you feel.

If Jesus’ blood can change the image of the a cross, imagine what it can do for you…

Here is the thing, God doesn’t force us to accept his love.  We have to choice. 
We can choose to keep on living in an adulterous relationship with sin, where the sin owns us…
We can choose to continue living a life that is ugly an full of unspeakable sins…
Or, we can choose to live a life that is defined by God’s love.

One choice leads to death and destruction, and the other choice, leads to enternal life, in the loving care of God our father…

My question for you today, is “What is your choice?”

If you have never accepted Jesus as your savior, but today, you no longer wish to lead the life of Gomer, then connect with me at our website so I can walk you through the process of accepting the free gift of salvation.

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