God Loves You
20 March 2016

John 3:16

There is a movie named 'Gladiator'. It was released in 2000. I think that most of you have watched this movie. I still remember the ending of the movie. When Maximus dies, he sees a vision. He was walking down a road and arrived at a door. When he opened that door, he saw a beautiful garden. He saw his wife and his son who had already died. They were greeting him in that place. I still remember that scene. That scene shows that even though Maximus died physically, his new life began in heaven. After Maximus died, his friend buried Maximus' two wooden dolls under the ground. That friend said, "Now you are free. Well, see you again." This movie contains the message of Christianity. I like this movie.

In AD 125, a man named Marcus Aurelius wrote a letter and sent it to one of his friends. His letter was found recently. He wrote about the Christians in the early churches. He wrote these words, "Christianity is a new group that we don't understand. They are not sad even when their beloved one dies. They rather give thanks to their God. When they take dead bodies of their family to the grave for burial, they keep singing a song by constantly repeating the words, "Give thanks to the Lord". Through that letter, we find that the Christians in the early churches had a strong faith in the resurrection for the dead and eternal life in heaven.

These days many people live long lives. Even though you live a long life, your life is in vain if there is nothing after you die. The greatest comfort is that eternal life is prepared for us in heaven. Recently, two of our faithful members passed away. They both lived to be over 90 years. They lived their good lives here on earth. We had two different funeral services for them and their families yesterday. We are not sad because they had believed in Jesus while they lived on earth. We believe that God already rewarded them in heaven. God has prepared heaven as a gift for us. We are able to receive this gift because Jesus received all sufferings and died for us.

Today is Palm Sunday. About two thousand years ago today, Jesus entered Jerusalem. When Jesus entered it, people waved the palm trees. With this reason, we call this Sunday Palm Sunday. This week is also Passion Week. Jesus was arrested this week two thousand years ago. He received all the sufferings and died this week. We can imagine how much he suffered through the movie named "Passion of Christ". Before he was arrested, he was scared. He asked if God could take the cup of suffering away from him. But he chose to receive it.

Why did he receive all those sufferings? Why did he die on the cross? Was it because of his own sin? No, it was because of our own sins. The Scripture says that no one is righteous. It says that all people sinned against God. It says that the result of sin is death. It says that because of our sins, we were in line to face eternal life in hell. But God decided to save us so that we would not face eternal death. God had his son died on the cross for our sins. We are forgiven and saved through the death of Jesus.

When we see the cross of Jesus, we find God's love. We receive the message of God's love through the cross of Jesus. John 3:16 says that God so loved the world. God so loves you. He loves you more than his son. He proved his love through the death of Jesus on the cross.

There is a hymn named "The love of God is greater far". It begins with these words. "The love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell." We can't speak of and describe the love of God exactly with our tongues or pens. We can't understand God's love with our brains.

There was a man who had a son that he loved very much. The father worked as a bridgemaster for the railroads. His son often visited his father's workplace because he loved watching the trains. Let us watch a video clip about the father and his son. The father's love in the video clip shows God's love for us.

There is a saying. "Socrates gave us philosophy, Aristotle gave us science and Jesus gave us eternal life." God so loved the world. He gave us eternal life through the death of his son. God saved us through the death of Jesus.

There is a Christian book named “What Is So Amazing About Grace?” Philip Yancey wrote it. In his book, he introduces an inspiring story.

There was a girl in a small ranch in Traverse, Michigan. As a young girl, she was interested in her appearance. She wanted to wear some ear rings and short skirts. She wanted to hang out with her friends. But her parents were conservative and old fashioned. They didn't allow her to do those things. They often scolded her. One night, she had a big argument with her parents. After that argument, she left home.

She chose to go to a place in Detroit. It was the place where she watched a Detroit Tigers’ game with her church youth members. She went to a high crime area where there were a lot of gangsters. She thought that her parents would not come to that place to find her.

The second day after she arrived at that place, she met a man who had a nice car. That man bought her lunch and provided a place to stay. She stayed in a sweet room on the top of a hotel. She took some heroin and cocaine with that man. She loved that kind of life. She thought that leaving home was a good decision.

Two months later, the man suddenly changed his attitude toward her. He began to threaten her to meet other men and sleep with them. Whenever she refused it, he beat her. She was a minor. That man was able to make a lot of money by using her. She was often beaten and was also addicted to drugs. She knew that she would die soon if she constantly lived that way. Even though she wanted to run away from that man, she couldn’t due to that man's threats. She missed her parents. She missed a life with her family at her hometown.

One year later, one day, she saw her picture on a milk pack. Her family put her photo on million milk packs to find her. But her appearance totally changed. Her hair was dyed and she always had thick makeup on her face with many accessories. No one recognized that the photo on those milk cartons was her.

She decided to go back home. She planned to run away from that man. One night, she was able to flee from that man. Before she took a bus coming back home, she had called her parents but no one answered her phone call. She left a voice mail to her mother. “Mom, it is me.” I was crying over the phone. “I am going back home. I am taking a bus and it will take about 7 hours arriving at the bus terminal at our hometown. I know it is going to be midnight. If you want to forgive me, please come to the terminal. I really want you to come to the terminal to see me. If you don't come, I will go to Canada directly.”

While she was on the bus, she was worried that her parents wouldn't check their voice mail on the phone due to their business trip. She thought that it would be better if she would arrive at that terminal one or two days after leaving that voice mail. But there was no choice because she immediately wanted to run away from that man and that city.

In the bus, she also prepared some words for her father. “Dad, I am sorry that I didn’t listen to you. Please forgive me.” She repeated those words hundreds of times. By midnight, the bus arrived a place near her hometown. She saw a deer crossing the road in front of the bus. She knew that she arrived at her hometown. Her hometown was tiny and it was very dark at that moment.

When the bus stopped in the terminal, the driver said, “This bus will depart the terminal 15 minutes later.” Before she got off the bus, she had checked her face and clothes. She removed the polish from her nails. She erased her lipsticks. She also cleansed some cigarette spots on her fingers. She got off the bus and she thought about many things at that moment. She was worried that her mother would not come. She entered the inside of the terminal building.

When she entered it, she was surprised with the scene in front of her. In the terminal, there were her mother and father. There were her grandparents, great grandmother, uncles, aunties, and cousins. About 40 people of her family and relatives came to the terminal. Some were wearing cute party hats. Some were blowing trumpets and saxophones. She saw a big placard on which was written "Welcome Home". They all prepared for all those things in 7 hours.

When she saw that scene, she began to shed tears. Then her father came to her and hugged her. She said those words that she had been practicing in the bus. “Dad, I am sorry. I was wrong. Please forgive me.” Her father said, “Shh… We don’t have time to stay here. We will be late for our party for you. There is a big party for you at our home.” She was so moved because her father forgave her and accepted her with love. She shed tears because her whole family and relatives accepted her with love.

As parents love their children unconditionally, God also loves you. He loves you no matter who you are. He is willing to accept you and forgive you. Because he loves you, he had his son died on the cross. He prepares your home in heaven. When you finish your life on earth, you will enjoy eternal life in heaven. Believe that his love is always with you. His love helps you. His love helps you to stand up and try your work again. I bless you in the name of Jesus so that your life will be filled with God's grace and blessings as you believe that God loves you and his love is always with you in your daily Christian life.

Rev. Dr. David Choi
Wahiawa UMC

 

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Last modified 25 February 2016.
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