This is adapted from a sermon by Emeal (“E.Z.”) Zwayne.
We all know that Christians claim to love God. That’s our heartbeat; that’s our passion in life. That’s why we go out to share the gospel, because we love God and want to obey Him, and because we love people. But some may think, How in the world can you love Someone, and be so excited about Someone that you’ve never seen? In the book of First Peter, regarding Jesus Christ, it says, “Whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8). That’s so accurate in relation to the Christian. I’ve never seen God, and I don’t see Him now, but I love Him with all of my heart, and when I think about Him I rejoice with joy that’s inexpressible and full of glory. There’s a reason for that.
“How in the world can you love Someone, and be so excited about Someone that you’ve never seen?”I liken it to someone all of us are familiar with, a historical figure who is considered to be remarkable in the eyes of everyone. All of us have heard of Helen Keller. When you think of Helen Keller you think of a person who was, if you know her testimony, out of control. She was deaf and blind—couldn’t see anything, couldn’t hear anything. Her parents had tried time and again to get her help—someone who could help at least get her under control, but no one could. Everyone gave up on her, so she was mad. They couldn’t even seat her at the dinner table because she’d throw things across the table. She’d go wild and crazy.
But one day, someone entered her life who was willing to give it her all in order to see her change. Her name was Anne Sullivan. Anne Sullivan came into Helen Keller’s life and persevered with her until she finally broke through, and that day came when suddenly Helen Keller’s eyes were opened, in a sense, and she was transformed. She became one of the most remarkable figures in history. Imagine being deaf and blind, not able to see, not able to hear—yet she went on to become a lecturer, an author, an inspirational, motivational individual who touched people around the world.
Now, here’s the thing that amazed me. I remember when I first realized this, it blew my mind. Think about this: Helen Keller never once saw the face of Anne Sullivan. She never once heard her voice, but I can guarantee you that there was no one on earth whom Helen Keller loved more than Anne Sullivan. You can guarantee that there’s no one on earth whom Helen Keller was more excited about than Anne Sullivan—a person whom she had never seen and whose voice she never heard. And you know why? When you can’t see or hear, the only other sense through which you can best experience another individual is the sense of touch. Helen Keller loved Anne Sullivan more than anyone on earth and was more excited about her than anyone on earth, because Anne touched Helen’s life in such a way that transformed her, that she couldn’t help but have such affection toward her.
“My hope is that your eyes will be opened to realize that God is waiting to touch you, but you have to recognize your need for Him.”It’s the same way for the Christian. Yes, we’ve never heard the voice of God. We’ve never seen His face, but He has so transformed our lives. He has so revolutionized us that you can guarantee we so love Him and are so excited about Him. And that’s why we reach out to the lost. And if your life isn’t characterized by this love for God and man, I want to assure you that God is able to transform your life, that He is able to touch you in such a way that you could be revolutionized forever. My hope is that your eyes will be opened to realize that God is waiting to touch you, but you have to recognize your need for Him. You have to understand your desperate need to repent of your sin and recognize that the only hope that you have is the Son of God, whom God sent to hang on a cross for your sins and to rise again from the dead.
God’s Love for Man
Oftentimes we think that God owes us something as people. And He does—He owes us His wrath and judgment and justice, for all eternity in Hell. But instead, He’s giving us an opportunity to be delivered from that. But it’s not like God one day sat in Heaven and said, “Okay, you know what? I’m going to just give you the opportunity to be forgiven.” Something had to happen, because the Bible says that without the shedding of blood there’s no forgiveness of sin (Hebrews 9:22). And so, God chose to become a man two thousand years ago—Jesus of Nazareth—to walk this earth, be ridiculed, mocked, tortured, and then murdered on a cruel cross, in order to give us life. And then He rose again on the third day from the grave so that we can be born again through His resurrection from the dead.
Think about that. Can you imagine today becoming a Chihuahua to save a breed of ravenous pit bulls and Doberman Pinschers that you knew were going to devour you? And you did it anyway to save them. That’s preposterous, but God condescended even more than that when He became a man to give us eternal life.
I remember watching The Passion of the Christ. I’ve taught sermons on the crucifixion and have studied it historically. When I saw what I believe was a historically accurate depiction of the crucifixion, I stood back and wondered, “God, why? Why did You do it? You didn’t have to.” And the resounding answer came, “Because of My love for man.” Who can reject such love? Who can spit on it as though it were nothing?
I want to urge you today to recognize that you’re not just a good person who’s walking through life, but you’re a sinner who’s broken the Law of a holy, righteous God who has given you every gift that you enjoy. The senses of sight and sound and smell and taste and touch; the ability to love; the blessing of your children, and your family, and your loved ones. God has given you all this, and yet you’re separated from Him because of your sin. He’s telling you that you can be reconciled to Him, by simply humbling your heart, repenting of your sin, and believing in the death and resurrection of Christ, and declaring Him as Lord.
Then, my friend, when you believe, you too will rejoice with joy inexpressible and be truly transformed.