How many here have seen the new Top Gun movie? As cheesy as it was, the original movie was my favorite movie—until this one came out… The message today has been on my heart for a couple of weeks now. God made it very clear this one was for me as much as for anyone here. And as I studied more and more, I realized the premise of this new Top Gun Movie was—humorously enough—the ideal opening illustration of what needs to be conveyed. "Maverick", Pete Mitchell, Is a Naval Aviator. The word alone means “one independent of associates.” Hated by many in his profession for being a passionate, loose cannon, he is called upon to teach a group of pilots how to achieve victory in a seemingly impossible mission. When they lose hope that it can be done, Maverick brings them back by deciding to "do the impossible" himself to show the way and then join them in the mission. And when he is called upon to sacrifice everything to save his friends, he is told, "Maverick, you know what happens if you go through with this." To which he responds, "I know what happens to everyone else if I don't." Our Lord Jesus Christ was/is hated by many today—supposedly even in His Own profession for being what they would call a "passionate, loose canon”—a "Maverick" in the religious world. And He has been called upon to show us how to love by first showing us how much we are loved. And since even beginning to comprehend just how much He truly loves us is a seemingly impossible task, He decided to do the impossible. He decided that rather than just letting us read His Words, He would join us and become those Words to us in the flesh. At one point in the Top Gun movie, Maverick made the claim that being a Naval Aviator was not simply, ‘something he did, but it was who he was.’
1 John 4:16: Loving us like no other being in the Universe is not just something Jesus Christ does, it is Who He is. Therefore, we are going at look at the human, physical life of our Savior and see the unbelievable love that He has for us. The love we so often underestimate, misunderstand, or disbelieve which is a massive issue today—not just through His Rule Book, but in how He came to show us. Meet your new ‘Top God’ Instructor whose first Words to us today could very well be: "Today, we'll start with what you only think you know."
We have so many preconceived and incorrect views of Christ's love for us, based upon poor theology, poor teachers, bad earthly fathers, mean Christians, and traditions of men. Many of us picture Jesus as the "Religious Jesus"—solemn, pious, Pope-like; with a glow above His Head, and a Saintly Expression, walking around stiffly, speaking in King James English or the "Annoyed Jesus" who always just seems a bit annoyed and dissatisfied with everything we are doing; who always has a comment; with whom we never feel we deserve an audience in our failures and sins. Or the "Uninvolved Jesus", who is way too big and important to make time for me; who is interested in what I can do for Him and His Kingdom, but not really interested in me personally and intimately. That is part of the reason He came to walk this earth with us. That is why we have no reason to miss just how much He really does love us. Because the most Intimate core of any man is realized not only by what He says, but in what He prays about, cries over, gets angry over, works and lives for, and would be willing to sacrifice and die for. Let's just look at a few examples of Jesus' Life and remove the clichés, remove the theological analysis and see Him—maybe for the first time.
Genesis 1:27: 1) God created us in His Image. Obviously not in His physical Image, which we could not even look upon, but with His most personal characteristics. The ability to reason, create, explore, build, and love; show devotion, sacrifice, thankfulness, like no other creature in His Kingdom. Why do this? So He could have one of the most precious, unique, intimate relationships imaginable. So we could have dominion over this earth co-ruling His Creation under Him. So we could know Him deeply, show devotion, sacrifice, thankfulness. So we could feel the worth He places on us like no other creature. And see His Worthiness above all. We were literally and solely made to have deep, meaningful, intimate fellowship with Him. This alone shows His true attitude and desire for us. 2) We sometimes get this feeling that Jesus somehow has a soft-spot for us in our sins but that God the Father is disgusted with us, and Jesus must work feverishly to change His mind about us. Realize everything Jesus does, says and feels as He walks this earth among us in human form is a parallel illustration to everything about how God Our Father feels as well. Their hearts, minds and desires are identical and joined as one: John 14:7-10; John 17:7-8. 3) If you don’t understand how much Jesus loves you, or how close He desires to get to you, listen to this fact of Scriptures: God the Father and God the Son want to be as intimately close to you and I as they are one another: John 17:20-23, 26. We see the incredible love, unbreakable devotion, complete oneness Jesus and the Father have for one another. This is what Jesus is fighting and sacrificing to have with you. Can you comprehend how personal and special your love is to Him? 4) Our sins have not made Him love us any less. No matter how unlovable you feel, what you have done or how much you have rejected or hated Him. It's like that child who was so sweet, innocent and loving with his mother and father when they were young who grew horrid and uncaring as an adult and the world hates the man they see. But the mother and father see who that man was before he was infected and sickened with sin, hate, abuse, and lust. They despise what he's become in his sickness, but they remember and love who they know he was before the fall and they stand by that man when no one else does nothing will shake their love for him because they know the real him before he was tainted. 1 John 4:10; Romans 5:7-8. Jesus showed this with such precious reality repeatedly, as when He snuck privately to the crippled sinner lying next to the Pool of Bethesda, healed him and withdrew quietly. As when He called a tax collector who was furiously hated by Jews because of his selfish betrayal to everyone in his life to be one of His chosen disciples. As when He met with a broken, worldly woman who had no one else which wanted to love her in her sinful state and showed her worth as He shared a cup of water and His Living Water. As when He showed acceptance, intimacy and love to an embarrassing, cheap prostitute in the middle of a banquet of "Holy People," committing social suicide for even relating to her. As He cried uncontrollably for the lost of Jerusalem as they welcomed Him on Palm Sunday because He knew the Judgment that was coming to them and it was more than His Heart could bear to Imagine. As He eagerly sought out Peter to comfort and restore him, even after being abandoned and disowned by Peter in selfish fear. Even when in His darkest, most tortured and alone hours on the Cross, He was thinking desperately about His beloveds, asking His Father not to hold them accountable for even His death. Don’t think for one second that you are not desperately loved by Jesus unconditionally—right now, where you are today. 5) He loves us when we are immature and selfish, even after we have come to Him and are supposed to be living for Him. When He was overwhelmed with fear, anxiety and dread of the Cross at the Last Meal He would eat with His closest friends before death (John 13:1-20), and in their immaturity and selfishness, when they could not fathom what He was doing and they completely focused on their own lives and greatness—too proud to wash the Savior’s feet at death (As the prostitute did in front of Pharisees)—fighting over who was the most righteous of the bunch. Jesus, in patient love was focused on growing them, teaching them, serving them, loving them—not on condemning them, rejecting them or criticizing them. And He stayed there in sweet fellowship with them with John literally resting on His chest, even in their ignorance and selfishness until the end—longsuffering, always there in care and love, never abandoning those He loved so dearly: John 13:1. 6) He loves us furiously in our most needy and pain-filled moments—even when our grief, ignorance, and anger turn us to question Him. One of the most heart-broken and love-filled moments of Jesus' earthly days was when He arrived in Bethany four days after Lazarus had died, and his sisters, Mary and Martha met Him at His return saying if He had just been there—if He had just done something—Lazarus would not have passed away. Jesus was not distanced or pushed away by their questioning and grief. On the contrary, He was broken and furious at the pain they were experiencing because of death: John 11:33-35, 38-43. Shouted. When Jesus called Lazarus from the grave, it was with a pain-filled, enraged, gut-wrenching Roar because He wanted to remove the pain from His beloveds. This is why Jesus went to the extremes that He did to remove the effects of sin and death from our lives forever. This is how deeply, passionately He loves us. 7) Jesus wants you to know that He longs for, craves, waits for that intimacy and love with you right now. Not after you've worked hard enough to earn it; not after you have suffered for your mistakes and paid your dues, but the very moment that you understand He is there waiting and you realize how desperately you need and want Him too. Jesus Himself told the story in illustration of His love about a young man who disrespected, betrayed and broke the heart of his own dad; took all the riches his dad had saved for him and abandoned him, ruining his relationship with his dad, hurting his dad's reputation and taking all of his hard earned inheritance given in love only to ruin his own life. Driving it into the ground with selfish, immature living, losing everything, wasting the hard earned gift his dad gave in love and counting his dad's love as nothing. And then crawling back in desperation after he blew it, never expecting his father to even acknowledge him as a son again, but hoping just for a chance to be a common slave in his house. In love and respect for his own decision, this man's father never chased after him, never became spiteful, never disrespectful. But when the son realized what he had given up and came home in desperate hope, he realized his dad had been watching for him every day and had spotted him long before he even made it back and was running to meet him: Luke 15:20-24. This is what Jesus Christ wants you to do with the message you've just heard with the words and actions in which He has used in order to prove his heart. He wants you to know right now that He is unashamed to call you His Beloved; that He wants to be one with you as close as possible, just as He is with His Father in Heaven; that He wants you to know your worth to Him—the worth He created in you, the worth He won back for you. He wants you to know you have great honor and glory in the eyes of the Father in Heaven because He has given you His great honor and glory. He is eager for you to accept your place with Him, accept His love, realize His desire to be close to you in the cleanness He bought. He wants you to engage with Him unashamed, feeling fellowship, feeling accepted and heard, feeling wanted. He wants us to know He hurts with us in the pains that sin and death bring to our lives on this earth. He wants you to trust that He is hurting with you, even angry about our suffering. He wants us to know He desires so much more with us; loves us so much more than we realize, and rest in His love and intimacy. Live with Him and for Him. Leave this world behind in reality and have all that He died to bring us. Only when we do this, can we rest with Him at the table while His enemies plot our demise in this world.
He has shown this to you through His words, His actions, His prayers, His tears, His desperation, His patience, His very blood—accept this great love in reality and run to Him.
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