Colors of His Love

IT WAS PARADISE.

NOT FLORIDA.
NOT HAWAII.
NOT SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (YOU KNEW THAT BECAUSE YOU COULD LOOK DOWN AND SEE YOUR FEET.)
NOT TAHITI.

NO, IT WAS NOT ANY OF THOSE PLACES

IT WAS REAL LIVE PARADISE. THE GARDEN OF EDEN

PERHAPS THAT WAS PART OF THE PROBLEM. WHEN YOU ARE IN PARADISE, IT IS HARD TO BE PREOCCUPIED WITH DANGER.
EVE SURE WASN'T.
SHE WAS WORKING IN THE GARDEN. HAVING A GREAT TIME, (NOT LIKE SWEATING IN YOUR WEED PATCH) AND WAS LOST IN THOUGHT.

DO YOU KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT? HAVE YOU EVER BEEN CONCENTRATING ON SOMETHING SO MUCH YOU DON'T REALIZE WHAT IS GOING ON AROUND YOU?

WELL, SOMETHING LIKE THAT PROBABLY HAPPENED TO EVE.

SUDDENLY SHE REALIZED, THAT FOR THE FIRST TIME SHE HAD BECOME SEPARATED FROM ADAM.
BUT THINGS WERE JUST SO, SO, PERFECT THAT IT WAS HARD TO IMAGINE ANY DANGER. AT LEAST NOTHING THAT SHE COULDN'T HANDLE.

AND SO THE PROBLEM BEGAN. EVEN IN PARADISE THERE WAS DANGER. DANGER SHE COULD NOT HANDLE.
WHEN SHE FINALLY NOTICED WHERE HER WORK HAD LED HER, SHE FOUND HERSELF GAZING AT THE FORBIDDEN TREE. AND THE WONDERFUL SERPENT.

THE SERPENT TOLD HER THAT GOD HAD NOT TOLD HER THE TRUTH. THAT IF SHE WERE WILLING, THAT SHE COULD BE LIKE GOD.

EVE BELIEVED THE SERPENT. ELLEN WHITE TELLS US IN P&P (55) THAT IT WAS NOT THE FACT THAT EVE BELIEVED SATAN THAT PLUNGED US INTO SIN.
WHAT PLUNGED HER (AND US) INTO SIN IS THAT SHE DISBELIEVED GOD.

THIS STORY FROM GENESIS IS SO FAMILIAR THAT I DOUBT THAT WE GIVE IT MUCH THOUGHT. BUT CONSIDER FOR A MOMENT GOD'S VIEW OF THIS: GOD'S PERFECT CREATION, THIS BEAUTIFUL WOMAN, HAD JUST DECIDED THAT GOD WAS WILLING TO LIE TO HER!

HAS THAT HAPPENED TO YOU -- SOMEONE ACCUSED YOU (WRONGFULLY, I HOPE) OF BEING WILLING TO LIE ABOUT SOME IMPORTANT MATTER.

HOW DID YOU REACT?

I REMEMBER THIS VERY NASTY CASE THAT A COUPLE YOUNG GUYS AND I HANDLED MANY YEARS AGO -- WE WERE ALL UNDER 30. THE OTHER SIDE CALLED ME A LIAR AND THEY CALLED MY CLIENTS NAMES THAT ARE INAPPROPRIATE TO REPEAT HERE. THEY EVEN CALLED THEM NAMES IN FRONT OF THE JURY! NAME CALLING WAS JUST PART OF IT. THAT CASE ALSO INVOLVED 7 12 GAUGE SHOTGUN SLUGS BEING FIRED AT NIGHT INTO THE HOME OF ONE OF MY CLIENTS: 3 WENT THROUGH THE BEDROOM WINDOW OF HER YOUNG DAUGHTER.

WELL, THE JURY RULED IN OUR FAVOR,
ONLY ONCE BEFORE HAD A JURY IN THAT COURT AWARDED A VERDICT THAT BIG, AND THE OTHER SIDE POSTED A BOND FOR THEIR APPEAL: AND THEN DO YOU KNOW WHAT? THE OLD AND FAMOUS LAWYER ON THE OTHER SIDE, AND HE WAS FAMOUS, MADE A MISTAKE IN THE APPEAL. HE DID NOT PERFECT IT.

DO YOU THINK WE SAID, "FORGET IT, WE LOVE YOU, MISTAKES CAN HAPPEN TO ANYBODY." WE SAID, "FORGET YOUR APPEAL, WE WANT OUR MONEY NOW."
(THE APPEAL WAS DISMISSED AND MY CLIENTS COLLECTED THE BONDS.)

MY FRIENDS, WHEN EVE CALLED GOD A LIAR SHE MADE A TERRIBLE MISTAKE. BUT GOD DID NOT SAY, "AH HAH, I'VE GOT YOU NOW. YOU CAN GO STRAIGHT TO HELL, DO NOT PASS GO, DO NOT COLLECT $200."

GOD SAID, "WHAT WONDERFUL THING CAN I DO FOR YOU?" THAT IS EXACTLY HOW GOD REACTED. WHEN EVE CALLED HIM A LIAR
HE PUT INTO ACTION HIS PLAN TO SAVE OUR MISERABLE HIDES.

THIS MORNING I WANT TO PAINT FOR YOU A PICTURE, A PICTURE THAT HIGHLIGHTS THE COLORS OF GOD'S LOVE.

ABOUT THIS TIME LAST YEAR I WAS AT UNIVERSAL AND MGM STUDIOS IN FLA. I SAW THERE HOW THEY COULD FILM AN ACTOR STANDING LIKE I AM RIGHT NOW ON A NICE, SOLID SURFACE. THEY WOULD FILM IT WITH A BLUE BACKGROUND.
LATER THEY WOULD PUT IN ANY BACKGROUND THEY WANTED. IT COULD END UP THAT HE WAS STANDING ON THE WING OF A PLANE 1000'S OF FEET UP. THEY COULD PUT HIM ON THE EDGE OF A VOLCANO. MIDDLE OF A FIRE.

THE BACKGROUND MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE.

MY FRIENDS, YOU REALLY SEE THE COLORS OF GOD'S LOVE WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE BACKGROUND.

TURN WITH ME TO MATT 5:46-48.

THE PICTURE THAT SHOWS THE BRILLIANT HUES OF THE COLORS OF GOD'S LOVE IS PAINTED ACROSS DARK BACKGROUND OF ALL OF THE ABUSE THAT WE HEAP UPON HIM.

AND SO THE FIRST COLOR OF GOD'S LOVE, THE FIRST BRUSH STROKE: IS THAT JUST AFTER EVE BELIEVED THE DEVIL AND CALLED THE FATHER OF TRUTH A LIAR, HE BEGAN EXECUTING HIS PLAN OF SALVATION FOR HER!

IF ANY OF YOU ARE WORRIED THAT I'M DUMPING ON WOMEN, ADAM'S CONTRIBUTION TO IS EQUALLY IMPRESSIVE.

WHEN HE FOUND THAT HIS WIFE HAD SINNED, PAUL TELLS US IN 1 TIM 2:13 THAT ADAM HAD A CHOICE TO MAKE: HE WAS NOT DECEIVED, HE CHOSE. EGW IN P&P 56-57 EXPANDS UPON THIS AND TELLS US THAT ADAM DELIBERATELY CHOSE EVE AND HER FATE RATHER THAN CONTINUED COMPANIONSHIP WITH GOD.

CALL ME A LIAR AND THEN TELL ME I'M NOT YOUR FIRST CHOICE!
DO YOU REMEMBER THE PROBLEM OF BEING CHOSEN WHEN YOU WERE IN SCHOOL? I REMEMBER BEING IN THE OLD ACADEMY BUILDING GYM AND THE PROCESS OF CHOOSING UP TEAMS.

EVERYBODY WOULD STAND IN THE MIDDLE AND GET CHOSEN UNTIL THERE WERE TWO UNFORTUNATES WHO WERE CHOSEN LAST. WELL, THEY WEREN'T REALLY CHOSEN, THEY WERE DISTRIBUTED. I WAS NEVER CHOSEN LAST, BUT IT WAS SOMETHING THAT I WORRIED ABOUT.

WHEN I GOT OLDER I WORRIED ABOUT BEING CHOSEN BY GIRLS -- A GUY HAD LESS OF A PROBLEM BECAUSE BACK THEN THE RULES WERE THAT A GUY COULD ASK FOR A DATE! NOT SURE WHAT THE RULES ARE NOW.

THE LAST TIME I WAS IN MICHIGAN I WAS LOOKING AT SOME PICTURES FROM MY YOUTH. ONE OF THEM WAS OF DONNA KRILEY AND ME STANDING OUTSIDE HER HOME AS I WAS PICKING HER UP FOR THE JUNIOR-SENIOR BANQUET. I WON'T MENTION THAT I NOTICED THAT HER HAIR WAS PILED UP ON HER HEAD IN SUCH A WAY THAT WILD ANIMALS COULD FIND SHELTER IN THERE -- WON'T SAY A WORD ABOUT THAT. OF COURSE THEN, I THOUGHT HER HAIR WAS PERFECT.

MY PICTURE, MY PICTURE, CLEARLY REMINDED ME OF ALL THE REASONS WHY SHE WOULD NOT CHOSE TO GO OUT WITH ME. IF ANY FLOOD WERE HEADED OUR WAY -- I WAS PREPARED. MY PANTS WERE SO SHORT IF YOU LOOKED HARD ENOUGH YOU COULD ALMOST SEE THE BOTTOM OF MY KNEECAPS!

THE FACT THAT WE WERE GOING OUT TOGETHER ON THIS MOST IMPORTANT DATE FOR SENIORS WOULD LEAD YOU TO BELIEVE THAT I HAD CHOSEN HER AND SHE HAD CHOSEN ME. THAT IS NOT EXACTLY THE WAY IT WAS. WHEN I ASKED HER TO THE BANQUET, SHE ASKED ME IF SHE COULD GIVE ME AN ANSWER IN FIVE DAYS. FIVE DAYS? THIS WAS NOT A MATH PROBLEM THAT YOU HAD TO FIGURE OUT! WHY FIVE DAYS? WAS THIS SOMETHING SHE HAD TO AGONIZE ABOUT?

I TOLD HER I WOULD WAIT, ON THE OFF CHANCE THAT THERE WAS SOME LAW ABOUT ASKING FOR A SENIOR PROM DATE: LIKE PURCHASING GUNS, A WAITING PERIOD; OR BUYING ENCYCLOPEDIAS FROM A TRAVELLING SALESMAN--A COOLING OFF PERIOD.

I HAD NEVER HEARD OF SUCH A THING--A FIVE DAY WAITING PERIOD. SO, I HAD TO ASK AROUND. (YOU CAN IMAGING HOW THOSE CONVERSATIONS WENT) WHAT I FOUND WAS I DIDN'T HAVE A LEGAL PROBLEM AS MUCH AS A LOOKS PROBLEM. SHE WANTED FIVE DAYS TO GIVE A FELLOW WHO WAS MUCH BETTER LOOKING THAN I WAS AN OPPORTUNITY TO ASK HER TO THE BANQUET!

I WAS HER SECOND CHOICE.

WITH THE PASSAGE OF TIME THIS IS ALL FUN AND A GOOD STORY. BUT MANY OF YOU, AS A RESULT OF DOMESTIC DIFFICULTIES, KNOW THE PAIN OF BEING CONSIDERED SECOND BEST.

AND THAT MY FRIENDS IS PRECISELY WHAT ADAM DID TO GOD. WHEN IT CAME DOWN TO CHOOSING, HE CHOSE EVE AND SAID TO GOD YOU'RE SECOND BEST.

AND SO ANOTHER BRUSH STROKE --ANOTHER COLOR IN THE BACKGROUND OF THE PICTURE OF GOD'S LOVE -- IS THAT EVEN WHEN WE CHOSE HIM SECOND, HE LOVES US SO MUCH THAT HE IS WILLING TO MAKE US FIRST! A COLOR OF HIS LOVE.

SOMETIMES IN A RELATIONSHIP THESE KINDS OF PROBLEMS WORK THEMSELVES OUT EARLY. UNFORTUNATELY IN THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GOD AND MAN THAT WASN'T TRUE.

2500 YEARS LATER, MAN WAS STILL KICKING SAND IN GOD'S FACE. YOU REMEMBER THE STORY. MOSES AND HIS SURLY CHARGES ARRIVED AT THE BOARDER OF CANAAN: THE PROMISED LAND. NUMBERS 13 & 14 TELLS US THAT AS PART OF THE ADVANCE BATTLE PLAN SPIES WERE SENT OUT INTO CANAAN.

LETS STOP HERE A MOMENT. THESE GUYS HAD JUST DROWNED THE ENTIRE EGYPTIAN ARMY ( EX 14:28/PP287) WHY SHOULD THEY WORRY ABOUT THE AMORITE HILLBILLIES? ( DEUT 1:20-24)

REALLY NOW. IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT, THE VERY SUGGESTION THAT THEY NEEDED TO SEND OUT SPIES SHOWS THAT THE PEOPLE DOUBTED THEIR OVERWHELMING ADVANTAGE. IF YOU WERE ARMED WITH CRUISE MISSILES, AND THE OPPOSITION HAD BOWS AND ARROWS, WOULD YOU NEED SPIES?

IMAGINE THE SITUATION: OUR PILOTS IN STEALTH FIGHTERS EQUIPPED WITH SPY CAMERAS AND LOOK DOWN RADAR ARE FLYING OVER THE OPPOSITION: "BILL, WE'RE NOT GETTING TOO GOOD A RADAR REFLECTION OFF THOSE ARROW SHAFTS, BUT THE CAMERA RECORDS THEY'VE GOT 75 ARROWS BETWEEN THEM."

WHAT IS THE POINT OF IT? WHAT WOULD BE THE POINT OF THAT RECONNAISSANCE?

LACKING IN FAITH THEY SENT THE SPIES OUT. AND WHEN THE SPIES RETURNED THE MAJORITY REPORT [FOUND IN NUM 13: 32-33] WAS THAT IS WAS IMPOSSIBLE. GOD'S PEOPLE WOULD HAVE NO FUTURE IN CANAAN.

GOD HAS AN EXPRESSION IN THE OT THAT I LOVE. HE SAYS, "IS MY ARM TOO SHORT?" I'M A GUY WHO HAS SHORT ARMS, SO I KNOW WHAT HE IS TALKING ABOUT. YOU DON'T WANT TO GET INTO A RING WITH GEORGE FOREMAN IF YOU'VE GOT SHORT ARMS.

MANIFESTLY, GOD'S ARM WAS NOT TOO SHORT. HE DEFEATED THE EGYPTIANS AND HE COULD HAVE TAKEN CARE OF THE AMORITES AND ALL OF THE OTHER PEOPLE WHO LIVED IN CANAAN WITH NO PROBLEM AT ALL.

BUT THE PEOPLE NEITHER BELIEVED GOD OR TRUSTED HIM. IN NUM 14:11 GOD TELLS US WHAT THIS AMOUNTED TO: THESE PEOPLE HAD CONTEMPT FOR HIM! AND CONTEMPT FOR HIS POWER. ACCORDING TO THEM, HIS ARM WAS TOO SHORT.

HAVE YOU EVER HAD ANYONE TREAT YOU WITH CONTEMPT?

WHEN I WAS A YOUNG TEEN MY DAD HELPED MY BROTHER AND ME MAKE BOATS. I HAD AN EARLY SAILBOARD AND MY BROTHER HAD A THREE-POINT HYDROPLANE. ONE DAY WHEN I WAS AT THE LITTLE NEIGHBORHOOD STORE A RIG PULLED UP THAT WAS TRANSPORTING A FAST LOOKING THREE POINT HYDROPLANE. I FOUND ONE OF THE YOUNG FELLOWS THAT OWNED THE HYDRO AND ASKED HIM THE OBVIOUS QUESTION, "HOW FAST WILL IT GO?" TO MY SURPRISE HE TOLD ME, "OH, TWENTY- FIVE MILES AN HOUR."

THE ESTIMATE WAS THAT MY BROTHER AND I COULD DRIVE HIS HYDROPLANE AT 50 MILES AND HOUR AND THIS WAS OBVIOUSLY A BIGGER, FASTER BOAT.

I STILL REMEMBER THIS LITTLE CONVERSATION FROM MANY YEARS AGO BECAUSE I WAS CONVINCED THAT THIS GUY HAD SUCH CONTEMPT FOR ME THAT HE DIDN'T CARE IF HE IMPRESSED ME OR NOT. HE COULD CARE LESS WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT HIM AND HIS BOAT!

CONTEMPT CUTS DEEP. YET CONSIDER THIS: I WAS JUST A KID. IT DIDN'T MATTER WHAT I THOUGHT OF HIM? IT REALLY DIDN'T.

WITH GOD IT MATTERS. WE WERE CREATED AND CONTINUE TO LIVE MOMENT BY MOMENT BECAUSE OF HIS POWER. IN SPITE OF THIS MAN SHOWED CONTEMPT TOWARDS GOD.

THE STORY ACTUALLY IS WORSE. NOT ONLY DID GOD'S PEOPLE SHOW CONTEMPT FOR HIM BY REFUSING TO TRUST HIM, THIS IS THE SAME GROUP THAT MELTED THEIR JEWELRY AND FORMED IT INTO A COW -- WHICH APPARENTLY THEY DID TRUST.

TRY APPLYING THAT CONCEPT TO YOUR LIFE. HONEY, IF I'VE GOT TO CHOSE BETWEEN YOU AND THE CAT, I THINK I'LL GO WITH THE CAT. MR. CAMERON, I'VE DECIDED NOT TO BE REPRESENTED BY YOU IN THIS IMPORTANT MATTER, INSTEAD I'LL HAVE THIS STONE MAKE ALL THE IMPORTANT LITIGATION DECISIONS. THE DEGREE TO WHICH MAN HEAPED CONTEMPT ON GOD IS NEARLY INCOMPREHENSIBLE!

THE CUT OF CONTEMPT SHOWS YET ANOTHER COLOR OF GOD'S LOVE.

FOR WE LEARN IN NUM. 14:20 THAT GOD FORGAVE HIS PEOPLE FOR THEIR CONTEMPT OF HIS POWER.

IN STORY AFTER STORY THE CANVASS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT IS SPLASHED WITH THE COLORS OF GOD'S LOVE FOR MAN IN HUES THAT WE CAN HARDLY IMAGINE. GOD'S PEOPLE WERE CONSTANTLY FORGETTING HIM, REBELLING AGAINST HIM, BREAKING HIS COVENANT, CALLING HIM A LIAR, DISTRUSTING HIM AND GIVING HIM UP FOR FALSE GODS.

YET IN ALL THIS GOD PERSISTED IN HIS LOVE: IN HOSEA 11:8 HE SAID: "HOW CAN I GIVE YOU UP EPHRAIM?"

YOU COULD LOOK AT THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT LIKE DATING. FIRST YOU HAVE THE COURTSHIP FOLLOWED BY MARRIAGE.

IN THE OLD TESTAMENT GOD IS COURTING HIS PEOPLE. WARMING THEM UP, PROMISING THEM ABOUT WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN WHEN HE ACTUALLY JOINED MOVED IN AND JOINED THEM AS A FAMILY.

SO THIS CALLING GOD A LIAR, CHOOSING HIM SECOND, BREAKING OUR PROMISE TO BE FAITHFUL, SHOWING CONTEMPT: THAT'S JUST THE COURTSHIP!

--------------OPTIONAL INSERT ----------- CAN YOU IMAGINE YOUR SON OR DAUGHTER TELLING YOU THAT THEY WANT TO GET MARRIED AND THEY TELL YOU ABOUT THE FAMILY OF THE YOUNG MAN OR YOUNG LADY THAT THEY WILL MARRY.
THEY TELL YOU BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT THE FAMILY THAT THEY WILL JOIN:
"WELL THEY ACCUSE ME OF LYING,
AND THEY WOULD REALLY PREFER THAT I GOT MARRIED TO SOMEONE ELSE,
AND THEY SHOW CONTEMPT FOR ME,
AND THEY WANT MY INTENDED TO HAVE AN AFFAIR AFTER WE GET MARRIED."
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY? GOOD CHOICE FOR INLAWS! JOIN THAT FAMILY AS FAST AS YOU CAN!

"YOU'RE MARRYING INTO THAT FAMILY OVER MY DEAD BODY." IF THE COURTSHIP IS LIKE THAT, WHAT WILL THE MARRIAGE BE LIKE?
------END OF OPTIONAL INSERT---------

AND SO ANOTHER COLOR OF HIS LOVE. HE CAME DOWN TO LIVE WITH US DESPITE THE WAY THAT WE HAD TREATED HIM IN THE COURTSHIP!

AS EXPECTED, THE MARRIAGE WAS WORSE. WE DON'T HAVE TIME TO CATALOG ALL OF THE UNBELIEVABLE ACTS OF LOVE AND MERCY THAT CHRIST PERFORMED WHEN HE WAS HERE. AND THEN CONTRAST THOSE WITH OUR ACTS OF ABUSE AND VIOLENCE. YOU KNOW ABOUT MANY OF THOSE. LETS JUST TALK ABOUT TWO.

CONSIDER HOW JESUS' DISCIPLES TREATED HIM.

HAVE YOU EVER ASKED YOURSELF WHY THE DISCIPLES AGREED TO FOLLOW JESUS? WE DON'T THINK ABOUT THIS BECAUSE IF CHRIST CAME HERE TODAY WE WOULD ALL RUSH OUT TO BE BY HIM. AND WE WOULD WANT TO SPEND AS MUCH TIME WITH HIM AS POSSIBLE.

TURN WITH ME TO MARK 9: 33--34. A VERY REVEALING TEXT. JESUS HAS BEEN WALKING ALONG THE ROAD AND THE DISCIPLES ARE LAGGING BEHIND, JUST OUT OF EARSHOT. "They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, "What were you arguing about on the road?"
(34) But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest."

WHY DIDN'T THEY WANT JESUS TO KNOW THAT THEY WERE ARGUING ABOUT WHO WOULD BE GREATEST IN HIS COMING KINGDOM? WAS IT BECAUSE OF NATURAL MODESTY? OF COURSE NOT! OTHERWISE THEY WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN WILLING TO ARGUE WITH EACH OTHER. IT WAS ONLY JESUS THAT THEY DID NOT WANT TO HAVE HEAR THEM.

IT MIGHT BE LIKE HILLARY, AT HER WEDDING, ARGUING WITH THE BRIDESMAIDS ABOUT WHO WILL HOLD WHAT CABINET POSITION.
JESUS AND BILL CLINTON, I HATE TO USE THOSE TWO NAMES IN THE SAME SENTENCE, MIGHT GET THE IMPRESSION THAT LOVE WAS NOT THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR AT PLAY.

IN ACTS CHPT 1 WE FIND JESUS AND HIS DISCIPLES AFTER HE HAS GONE THROUGH EVERYTHING. AND I MEAN EVERYTHING. AND JUST AS HE IS ABOUT TO FLOAT OFF INTO HEAVEN THE DISCIPLES ASK HIM IN VERSE 6, "LORD, ARE YOU AT THIS TIME GOING TO RESTORE THE KINGDOM TO ISRAEL?"
"AH, BEFORE YOU LEAVE, WHAT ABOUT ME, WHAT ABOUT THAT LEADERSHIP JOB YOU PROMISED ME IN YOUR KINGDOM." "WHAT ABOUT THE YACHTS AND LIMOS AND CONDOS ON THE OCEAN? HOW IS THIS GOING TO WORK IF YOU ARE GOING TO UP AND LEAVE?"

IF I WERE JESUS, AFTER ALL OF THIS I WOULD HAVE SAID, "I'M LEAVING AND I'M NOT COMING BACK." "DON'T BELIEVE ANYTHING THAT ANY ANGEL TELLS YOU TO THE CONTRARY."

I DON'T WANT TO BE TOO HARD ON HIS DISCIPLES, BECAUSE I CANNOT HOLD A CANDLE TO THEM, BUT HIS FRIENDS ACTED LIKE THEY WERE FRIENDS BECAUSE OF WHAT THEY COULD GET.

ANOTHER COLOR OF HIS LOVE. HE LOVED THEM EVEN THOUGH THEY HAD THIS CONTINUING INTEREST IN WHAT THEY COULD GET -- WHAT THEY WOULD BE IF THEY STUCK WITH HIM. HIS FRIENDS.

THE BIBLE RECORDS (JN. 11: 53) THAT HIS ENEMIES, AFTER HE RAISED LAZARUS FROM THE DEAD, PLANNED TO TAKE HIS LIFE.

JOHN TELLS THAT SHORTLY THEREAFTER JESUS AND HIS DISCIPLES WERE IN THE GARDEN AND A ROUGH MOB CAME, SEIZED JESUS, BOUND HIM AND DRAGGED HIM AWAY.

JESUS HAD NO SLEEP THAT NIGHT. A YELLING, JEERING MOB HURRIED HIM TO THE HOUSE OF ANNAS. THE CORDS THAT BOUND HIM SO TIGHTLY MAKE EVERY HURRIED STEP PAINFUL.

HE HAD A PRELIMINARY HEARING BEFORE ANNAS. BUT THIS HEARING WAS NOT TO BE FAIR. ITS PURPOSE WAS NOT TO FIND OUT IF HE WAS GUILTY, ITS PURPOSE WAS TO FIND A WAY TO CONVICT.

AS THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE STOOD THERE BOUND BEFORE ANNAS, ONE OF THE SOLDIERS SLAPPED HIM A JOLTING BLOW TO THE FACE. AN UNPROVOKED ATTACK.
A SHAM HEARING. MAN WOULD JUDGE GOD.
ANOTHER COLOR OF GOD'S LOVE -- GOD LET HIM.

AS THE SUN CAME UP IN THE MORNING JESUS WAS HURRIED OVER TO THE PALACE OF CAIAPHAS FOR THE TRIAL. CAIAPHAS SNEERED AT HIM. BRIBED WITNESSES CAME FORWARD TO TESTIFY AGAINST HIM. HE WAS SENTENCED TO DEATH.

NO ATTEMPT WAS MADE TO PROTECT JESUS FROM THE MOB. THE LOWEST, THE VILEST, ALONG WITH THE MOST EXALTED OF THE LEADERS INSULTED AND CURSED AT JESUS.

THEY SAID HE WAS ILLEGITIMATE,
THEY MOCKED HIM AS A KING,
THEY THREW AN OLD DIRTY RAG OVER HIS HEAD,
THEY BEAT HIS HEAD AND FACE WITH FISTS AND CLUBS.
HE COULD NOT PROTECT HIMSELF. HE COULD NOT KNOW WHERE THE NEXT BLOW WOULD LAND.
THEY DEMANDED THAT HE PROPHECY WHO HIT HIM.
THEY PULLED THAT DIRTY OLD RAG OFF HIS BLOODY FACE,
AND ONE MAN SPAT A MOUTHFUL OF SPIT IN HIS FACE.

THIS TIME THEY SHOWED THEIR CONTEMPT: UP CLOSE AND VERY PERSONAL. HIS ARM WAS LONG ENOUGH TO STOP THIS, BUT HE DID NOT EXTEND IT.

EVERY INSULT, EVERY ABUSE HE SUFFERED-- IN LOVE.

BLACK AND BLUE BECAME ANOTHER COLOR OF HIS LOVE.

WEAK, INDECISIVE PILATE KNEW WHAT WAS RIGHT.
INSTEAD OF DOING IT, PILATE ORDERED THAT JESUS BE FLOGGED. HE HAD ALREADY BEEN BEATEN. NOW HE WAS WHIPPED.
THE KIND OF WHIPPING THAT TEARS YOUR FLESH DOWN TO YOUR RIBS.

AND ANOTHER COLOR OF HIS LOVE WAS THE COLOR OF HIS OWN BLOOD.

BUT MY FRIENDS WHIPPING WASN'T GOOD ENOUGH FOR THE PEOPLE WHOM GOD HAD COME TO SAVE.

THEY TOOK HIM TO CALVARY, LAID HIM ON THE CROSS AND DROVE LARGE METAL SPIKES THROUGH THE FLESH AND BONES OF HIS HANDS AND FEET.

THEY LIFTED THE CROSS AND WITH GREAT VIOLENCE DROPPED IT DOWN INTO THE HOLE THAT HAD BEEN DUG FOR IT.

>HE WAS WILLING TO HUMBLE HIMSELF BY BECOMING A MAN. TO MARRY INTO THIS FAMILY OF ABUSERS.
MORE THAN THAT HE WAS WILLING TO BE SCORNED AND MOCKED BY THOSE HE HAD CREATED.
MORE THAN THAT HE WAS WILLING TO BE TORTURED AND SUFFER EXCRUCIATING PAIN.

AND THERE HE DIED---THE MOST GLORIOUS COLOR OF LOVE THAT YOU OR I WILL EVER SEE.

-----

MY FRIENDS, MY POINT THIS MORNING IS NOT SIMPLY TO SHOW HOW TERRIBLY WE HAVE TREATED CHRIST. ALTHOUGH WE HAVE.

MY POINT IS THAT THE COLORS OF GOD'S LOVE PAINT A PICTURE THAT NO RATIONAL HUMAN CAN RESIST. IT IS A PICTURE THAT DEMANDS A VERDICT OF ALLEGIANCE EVERY TIME.

CONSIDER THEN YOUR LIFE. I KNOW THAT MANY OF MY CLASSMATES NO LONGER WORSHIP REGULARLY WITH THE FAMILY OF GOD. MANY NO LONGER FEEL THE ALLEGIANCE. MANY NO LONGER FEEL THE LOVE OF THE FAMILY.

ASK YOURSELF WHY YOU NO LONGER ATTEND CHURCH, AND AFTER YOU HAVE FIXED ON THAT REASON, COMPARE IT WITH THE REASONS THAT CHRIST HAD TO STOP LOVING US.

HAVE YOU BEEN CALLED A LIAR?
HAVE YOU BEEN CONSIDERED SECOND BEST?
HAS SOMEONE BETRAYED YOUR TRUST?
HAVE YOU BEEN TREATED WITH CONTEMPT?
HAVE PEOPLE LOOKED TO YOU FOR WHAT THEY COULD GET FROM YOU?
HAVE YOU BEEN TORTURED TO THE POINT OF DEATH?

NOTHING IN YOU LIFE CAN COMPARE TO THIS.

THE PICTURE OF GOD'S UNRELENTING, UNDETERRED, UNSTOPPABLE LOVE TOWARDS YOU,

THE COLORS OF THE PICTURE OF HIS LOVE FOR YOU, OF HIS DESIRE TO DRAW CLOSE TO YOU,
OF HIS DESIRE TO LIVE WITH YOU FOREVER OVERWHELM ALL OTHERS.

HE STILL WANTS YOU!

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