God’s Redemptive Love
February 5, 2023
God’s Redemptive Love
Sunday, February 5th, 2023
Welcome: Psalm 66: 16-20 16 Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. 17 I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. 18 If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened; 19 but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer.
20 Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!
Let’s read verse 20 together. Let us speak it with grateful and faithful hearts!
For God so loved the world, humanity, His creation, that He left glory and came down to walk this broken earth and be among His beloved. He put on flesh, the very flesh He created, and all that comes with being human- our weaknesses in body and soul. He felt all our emotions and suffering. He related to us in every way in the person of Jesus Christ. We should never cease being in awe that God Almighty, Creator of all things, has such a great love for us-far greater than we can truly comprehend- that He would set the honors and privilege of deity aside and put on humanness, living on this earth as a humble servant.
Why go to such lengths? Because it was His way to eradicate the effects and consequences of sin that fallen man brought upon this world. He did what we could not do. He Redeemed us to avoid the penalty of death for our sin.
Jesus came as the visible representation of God the Father, so as we look upon Him, and learn of His character we are looking upon God the Father and seeing His character. Jesus came to take our place on the cross and through His life and blood shed, atone for our sin. In return, He shares with us, who believe in Him, His righteousness, His riches as an heir to the heavenly kingdom, His peace, strength, joy, and His Holy Spirit who shines light into all our darkness. Definitely not a fair trade on His part; incredible gain on our part and there is absolutely nothing we can do to earn such extravagant grace. This is what makes it all the more incredible to ponder. This redemption we have been given comes from pure love.
God never wanted sin in the world, or for us to be living broken and tattered lives. That is not His desire. That is the choice of humanity all across history. So Jesus came and not only paid the price to set us free from the penalty of death and extend that invitation to join Him for all eternity in paradise…He came to set us free from the shackles the enemy has put upon us, and some we have put on ourselves.
His redemptive love surfaces those choices we have made and habits we have developed that we know aren’t right; we know they aren’t good for us or those we love; they fill us with shame or guilt; and yet we continue on in them. In His great love for us and His desire for us to be whole in Him, Jesus will expose our hearts, draw attention to that which is keeping us bound, and speak His truth and great purposes for us in Him, so those shackles are broken. He does it in such a loving way so unlike the world that leaves us feeling condemned far too often. Jesus lifts us, repurposes us, and gives us honor as we turn from those old ways and take hold of all that He has for us. He did this repeatedly with people He encountered in the Bible.
We’re going to look at several examples of God’s redemptive love this month and why allowing this redeeming to happen in our hearts is so important for us to be positioned to take hold of the promised land. We won’t fully experience all the goodness God has for us and promises us if we remain broken and shackled. His redeeming love is ever at work in our lives as we invite Him into our hearts. Let’s purpose to do so today.
Since it is communion Sunday and the beginning of this series, we’re going to look at a very important encounter Jesus had with a woman who was deeply troubled and what He reveals to her about who He is. This woman’s life was a mess you could say. She likely had no confidence in her future, probably beat herself up with a great amount of negative self-talk, becoming her harshest critic for all her failures, and more than likely felt the sting of gossip about her promiscuous lifestyle. She was alone and the judgment of the world was weighing heavy on her.
If only she had done things differently. If only she could catch a break. Life seemed very cruel and harsh to her. And yet, we’ll see, life was about to change drastically. The light was about to burst through her darkness and this woman was about to encounter God’s redemptive love firsthand, through Jesus.
We enter this scene seeing Jesus on the move. Let me provide a bit of context as to why:
Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— 2 although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3 So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.
4 Now he had to go through Samaria.
John 4: 5-15 NIV
5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon. 7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” 11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” 13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
- Sets a Path to Heal the Wounded.
Jesus could have taken a different path; traveled at a different time of day; or chosen a different place to stop and rest. He chose this path because He had a divine appointment with a woman who desperately needed His redemptive love and healing.
John 5: 5-6 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.
Now if you don’t know, Samaritans and Jews did not mix well or associate together. They were not full-blooded Jews. They were people who intermarried with Assyrians who had come into that territory after a takeover. It’s one of those long-standing “I don’t like you because my great-great-grandfather told me we don’t like people like you.” How often does that happen yet today? Silly right? But this is the case here, for generations this disdain was fed into the Jews for Samaria. If at all possible, Jews would make their travel plans avoid going through Samaria.
Not Jesus. Don’t you love that about Jesus? I do! He goes right into the thick of it. He chooses to go to the well that Jacob dug (Jacob was the son of Isaac, son of Abraham and it was Jacob’s 12 sons who the 12 tribes of Israel were created from and whom the promised land was dispersed to for inheritance). So Jacob, was a big deal to everyone, even the Samaritans because many of them believed in God too.
Jesus sat down at the well and waits, because He knew this woman would be coming around the noon hour and He knew she needed healing only He could provide.
Jesus’ heart-that is God’s heart- is for the broken, wounded, and sick. He desires to mend, repair, and heal all who will receive Him. Healing many of us don’t even know we need. We get so used to living life a certain way or we just grew up dealing with things in a certain way-that it becomes our normal. But Jesus will reveal what is good and what is unhealthy that needs His healing. He cares for us, all of us.
The Pharisees didn’t understand Jesus’ ways and why He would subject Himself to be around the lowliest sinners, even sharing a meal with them as Jesus did. Look at His response to their scoffing and questioning.
Matthew 9: 11-12 NIV 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.
So what does a doctor do when we are sick or wounded? The doctor will search out for the place that is not well and expose it, so there can be proper treatment given to make that area, and our bodies well again.
This is the same thing Jesus does for our hearts. He will cause our deepest wounds and sicknesses we carry with us, to rise to the surface; shining light on them and exposing them so we might then receive His healing balm to bind up those wounds and live whole in Him.
- Surfaces Our Wounds.
There was a whole lot more going on with this woman that was not revealed at first. There was a reason she was gathering water in the heat of the day all by herself. She was not welcome to go along with the other women who typically gathered water in the morning hours when it was cooler. As she was wanting the living water He was offering, Jesus takes that opportunity to address her wounded heart. As He will do with you and me also.
John 4: 16-18 16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
17 “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
Her past and her way of living was laid out in front of her. He knew all about it. Yet notice, Jesus did not shame or condemn her. He didn’t ridicule or ostracize her. He started their conversation by offering her something better then her current situation; living water that quenches every thirst she had. Living water that cleanses her.
Jesus exposed her not so secretive life, but He did so in love and with purpose to bring healing and new hope for her. He was calling her to leave that lifestyle behind and take hold of what He had for her. He was offering her new life, one that was redeemed and with great purpose and joy. He offers this to you and me also.
Romans 8: 1-2 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death.
We might choose to carry around shame and guilt-no doubt-this woman did. But in Christ there is no condemnation as we repent of our sin and ask forgiveness, we are indeed forgiven completely. We are given new life and a new path set in front of us to follow Him.
This woman allowed Jesus to surface her wounds. She didn’t get mad or shut Him down. She let Him in to her heart and took hold of what He was offering her. She purposed to let her old way of living and thinking about herself be gone, and she willingly and joyfully received God’s redemptive love. This is what we each need to do.
If you’re carrying about guilt and shame for past choices that you have repented of, you need to ask yourself why? If you didn’t know you can receive healing from all wounded areas, hear this message today and what Jesus desires to do. If you are resistant to His healing and forgiveness, why? How will keeping yourself bound to shame and guilt help you at all? How will it help you love those around you? Punishing yourself and keeping yourself in shackles is not what God wants and that is not why He sent Jesus. This is in fact what the enemy desires us to believe-that we should remain ashamed and guilt ridden. Jesus was sent to have meetings just like this, to meet you at the well-in the midst of your mess, to offer you the gift and freedom of Living Water, and to bring healing to your heart. He was sent to redeem us from the way we have been living. Let that settle in if you haven’t fully understood or received the gift of redemption in your heart. Choose today, to let that all go and receive His redemption.
- Heals, Restores, Honors.
In God’s redemptive love, there is healing, restoration and even honor.
Watch what Jesus does and what happens with this woman as He continues to bring healing to her. She said I can see your prophet based on what He knew about her. Then she was asking about the proper place to worship.
John 4: 21-24 21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
Jesus made an invitation to her personally by saying the time has now come to worship the Father in Spirit and truth. He didn’t have to make that known to her, but He chose to.
John 4: 25-26 25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”
This is so powerful. She knew her past. She knew who she was as a Samaritan woman to Jews. She knew most men wouldn’t have conversation with her and she has been an outcast among her people. And yet the Christ, the Messiah, chose to meet with her and make Himself known to her personally. He chose to have an in depth conversation with her and invite her in to the greatest gift ever! He chose her!
She left and went running back to town to tell everyone who she just met! She was so filled with hope, excitement and was bursting to share this good news with others! Notice the instant change-the woman who went to the well alone to avoid her people, now went running back to town to tell everyone she could about meeting Jesus!
John 4: 28-30 28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.
John 4: 39, 42 39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”
42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
She had a new purpose. She was someone who brought the Good News to her people. They believed her. She was being restored among them, and that would continue all the more as she left her old way of living. She was no longer unseen, but seen. She was being used by God to bring Jesus to the Samaritans. Her life had meaning again.
None of this would have happened if she kept those wounds buried and untreated. By exposing her wounds, Jesus could heal them and give her new life, rich life and wholeness in Him. He wants to do the same for each of us.
Conclusion: Jesus will set a path to find those who are consumed with guilt, shame, and defeat, so He might set the captives free through His redemptive love. Our role is to grant Him access to our heart so those shackles can be broken.
Communion: On this day we begin this series of focusing on God’s redemptive love, let us ponder for a moment with grateful hearts what this means for us. What did Jesus do on the cross and what is He continuing to do as we let Him be Lord of our lives?
Jesus removes the shackles and chains this world puts on us. He removes the shame and guilt we carry for our sins. He wiped all that away on the cross and paid the highest price to redeem us or buy us back. He gave His very life and spared nothing to bring us freedom. He took on the sin of the world, carrying the weight of all the consequences, the guilt, the shame, and felt the separation from God the Father as He bore our sin, all so we wouldn’t have to feel that ever. He ransomed us from the pit of hell, washed us in His blood and gave to us His righteousness so when we stand before the Father in Heaven, we stand as justified and holy.
He is our living redeemer because He continues to cleanse us and free us from shackles that bind us. We can have confident hope that we have been redeemed by Jesus out of the hand of the enemy. We have been chosen and set apart by God through Christ and no one can take us from His hand. We belong to God for all eternity.
Luke 22: 17-20 7 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.
Pray the Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, As it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen.
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