Episode 092 | Does God Really Love You?
The bible says that God is love, but does that love depend on what you do? Listen in as Pastor Matt clarifies what he meant when he said God’s love is conditional and hear how Christians should respond to the controversy surrounding the nation of Israel.
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Watch Pastor Matt’s sermon on How God Deals with Loneliness
This Week's Topics
2:53 - Are Christians called to specifically support the nation of Israel?
As Christians it’s important that we love the Jews and the Palestinians. We want to reach both for Christ because currently most Jews and Palestinians have rejected Jesus. We want to be on the side of both, but that being said Israel is the only nation in the Middle East where there is free speech, freedom of election and freedom of religion. Those are good things and we need to celebrate that.
12:53 - In Luke 16, Jesus tells the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. In this parable, the rich man ends up in hell and the poor man, Lazarus, ends up in heaven. What does this parable mean for rich Christians?
We need to be careful when we listen to the stories that Jesus tells. He is speaking to a specific audience for a specific purpose. In the ancient world and nowadays people who are rich feel more blessed. God doesn’t love rich people more and poor people less, Jesus is flipping that idea on its head. He’s saying you can be poor in this life and loved deeply in eternal life. The warning is against rich people getting too caught up in their things. When you’re poor you’re dependent on God for everything. If you’re a wealthy person you have to decide if you’re going to build your own kingdom or God’s kingdom.
16:00 - Is there anything we can we learn about hell from the parable in Luke 16?
Hell is not something Jesus talks about to scare lost people, hell is something he uses to scare believers. That’s who’s warned of hell, people who are sure they are going to heaven. Jesus is preaching to religious individuals. This parable is a real picture of the intermediate state between the final judgement. People are either awaiting judgement in paradise with the righteous in the presence of God or awaiting judgement in prison with the unrighteous.
19:32 - You’ve talked about "reverse maturity," experienced by older people. How do I grow in spiritual maturity if I have already reached my peak?
Stay in relationships. Diet and physical health are important but so is religious community. Family grows up, moves out and does their own thing but the great news about being connected to the local church is you’ll always have your community. You’ve got to stay in relationship and keep learning new things. When most people age, they stop caring and the veneer of maturity fades. Push against falling into poor qualities and press into good qualities.
22:10 - How does the idea of God’s love being conditional fit with Romans 8.38, which says “...Nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.”
The question is answered in the end of Romans 8.39, “...nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” God is a person. He is real and he is person. John defines God as love. He loves all people, not because of who we are, but because of who he is. But love takes two parties and true love is covenantal. God’s love is covenantal and redemptive, it transforms, it changes and renews and it is made effective through Jesus. But if you never receive the gift and accept God’s love through Jesus then it’s ineffectual.
50:36 - I believe God loves each and every person - even if someone chooses not to believe. But the thing that is conditional is our salvation. There are several verses that say that God loved us, even when we were sinners (before we believed) - is that not unconditional love?
God loves everyone but we experience salvation through Jesus. The experience of salvation is the real experience of God’s love. Love must be experienced and lived out. It’s transformative and it does radical things to us. What is the point of non-experiential love? If you want God’s love in your life then you have to have Jesus in your life. Love can’t be just an idea, it must be real and experienced. We love God by loving Jesus, serving him and loving one another.
56:32 - I've been confused about Matthew 18.20 which says, "When two or more are gathered in my name, there I am with them." Is God with two or more people gathered in his name in a different way than when he's with me when I'm alone?
Absolutely. The beautiful thing about love is we learn about it through relationships. My wife has taught me things about love. My kids bring out of me a dynamic nature of love and I learn about love by being a pastor. There are parts of God that you’ll only get to know when everyone’s at the table. That what Jesus means. The nuances of every believer are going to bring out aspects of God that you never knew existed. Love has to be relational. So to experience the love of God you have to be in relationship with God and others.