The Love Of God Transcends “DEATH”

Hope, Healing & Freedom Podcast : Ep 36

TRANSCRIPT

We will all have to face the death of a loved one at some time in our lives. I know this is a weird topic for a podcast, but I want to talk today about how the love of God transcends death.

Today’s verse is 2 Corinthians 5:8, “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”

This is Lee Whitman and on November 21 we faced the death of Cindi’s 93 year old father. His passing from this life made me ponder death and more specifically how we face death as believers. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:8, “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” So how do we as believers approach the death of a loved one? My concern in bringing this podcast to you is that as believers we either don’t allow ourselves to mourn well because of some misguided theology, or we mourn as the world mourns, without hope. 

As believers in Jesus we can both mourn the loss of our loved ones from this life, but at the same time we can celebrate because we know that they have entered into a whole new world, a world that is filled with the love of God. We can celebrate knowing that because of Jesus we don’t mourn as those who do not know Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 says,  “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.”

When we go to sleep in this world we will wake up in a whole new world, a world filled with the love of God. A love that we can only know when we also make that step from this world. And that step into our heavenly home is only available through the cross of Christ. Here is how we know that Heaven is filled with the love of Father God.

The life of Jesus is the most significant life in human history. Upon His birth, the king of the universe humbled himself and took on the form of a human. The bible paints the picture of God the Father, Jesus His Son, and the Holy Spirit looking down from their heavenly throne upon the sinful mess that mankind had made of this world that They had created for us. The bible says that out of their great love for us, they decided to send Jesus Christ to earth to provide a solution for the sin of man. John 3:16 says, “ For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” It is out of God’s love for us that He sent His son to save us from this mess. To see an even greater picture of the heart of God, we must include John 3:17, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” It is the love of Father God that wanted to save us, not condemn us.

What did Jesus do when He came to earth and took on the form of a human man? He demonstrated His great love for fallen and broken people every step of the way. He personally touched those that the world and religion rejected. Many of us know the story of the woman at the well. The bible says that she had been married five times, and the man that she currently lived with was not her husband. Divorce in that day meant that the husband had to issue a certificate of divorce, so she had been rejected by five husbands.

She was someone who was also rejected by her own people due to her lifestyle of sin. The reason she was at the well in the middle of the day was to avoid the scorn of the other women who went to the well in the cool of the morning. Since she was a Samaritan she would have been rejected by the Jews for being a half breed. She was a woman, which would have caused men of that day to look down on her and treat her as property. In fact men were not supposed to even talk with a woman who was not their wife. Yet in her encounter with Jesus, she was not rejected nor condemned but rather she was accepted and valued by Him. Jesus knew of her checkered background, yet He showed her undeserved love and kindness. He saw her for who she was created to be, instead of what she had become. His love for her changed her life, and changed the village she lived in.

We can point to story after story in the bible that demonstrated howJesus looked beyond humanities condition and recognized their value.Take for example the story of the woman in Luke 8. Luke 8 tells the story of a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years. She had tried everything she knew to do, spent all the money she had on doctors and remedies, yet still the bleeding continued.

We often sanitize this story when told in church, but her bleeding would have caused her to be an outcast from her community. She would have been religiously unclean due to the bleeding. And the bleeding, to be very blunt, would have caused a stench. They did not have the sanitary products we have today, so this lady would have had to try to cleanse her undergarments to remove the blood. As hard as she tried she would have smelled badly causing more rejection.

In Luke 8 it says that Jesus was on his way to bring healing to Jairus’ daughter. The scripture does not really say this, but I almost picture Jesus slowing his progress in order to give this woman time to catch up to him in the crowd. She crawls on her hands and knees to sneak under the crowd in order to touch the hem of Jesus’ robe. She was so shame ridden that she would not risk standing and talking to Jesus face to face. When Jesus felt the power going out from Him, he stopped and took the time to have a personal intimate encounter with this unclean woman. In my mind I see Jesus looking this rejected and hopeless woman in the eye with such love that she would never be the same again. Then he spoke to her and said, “Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” Remember, she was religiously unclean. She was an outcast. Her condition did not stop Jesus from taking the time to express His love for her.  

We know that Peter denied Jesus three times on the night He was to be betrayed and crucified. After the resurrection the Bible paints the picture of Jesus coming to Peter and putting His arm around him and speaking words of life and restoration. Due to the love and affirmation from Jesus, Peter the betrayer became Peter the leader of The Way. Jesus looked beyond Peter’s sin and betrayal knowing what Peter was destined to become. In love He called Peter back so that he could be the leader of the new church. 

There are many other stories of Jesus looking past peoples sin and failures to call them into the destiny that he has for each one. As far as I can tell, other than Jesus rebuke for the Pharisees and hypocritical religious leaders, Jesus never condemned those in obvious sin. He forgave them and touched them with a love that changed them forever.

The greatest demonstration of the love of Jesus was his willingness to go to the cross on our behalf. Philippians 2:7-8 says this about Jesus “who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”

So why am I talking about the Love of God? Because that was the focus of the life of Jesus, to share the Love of Father God to broken and hurting people. I don’t want anyone to miss experiencing the love of God for themselves. 1 John 4:7-11 says this about the Love of God. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

You don’t have to end this day with any doubts about your relationship with Jesus. We are blessed that since we are still alive in this world, we can experience this love for ourselves by receiving Jesus into our lives. All you have to do is ask Him to forgive you of your sins and receive His gift of salvation. Jesus took on human flesh and lived among us so that we could have an intimate relationship with God. 

One day we will all come to the end of this life. Until that day comes, we have the opportunity to be an expression of Jesus here on this earth. My challenge for all of us is to live in such a way that we experience the love of Jesus for ourselves on a daily basis and give His love away to those we encounter in this life. 

And on the day this life ends, we will enter into a new world where we will experience both the incredible love of Jesus, but also the Love of Father God. God is love. That is not what He does, it is who He is. 

There is only one thing in this universe that is stronger than death. That is love!

RTF Featured on The Shawn Bolz Show

On the second half of this week’s episode (May 20th 2024) of “The Shawn Bolz Show”  RTF directors, Lee and Cindi Whitman, were the guests. Watch for powerful insight and two special listener offers on products to help bring hope, healing, and freedom.