Years ago, a large Atlanta church was televising the service where they had asked a retired 92 year minister preach from its pulpit. There was a warm welcome as he was introduced and, as the applause quieted down, the old man rose from his high back chair
and walked slowly, with great effort to the podium.
Without a note or written paper of any kind, he placed both hands on the pulpit to steady himself and then quietly and slowly he began to speak.
“When I was asked to come here today and talk to you, your preacher asked me to tell you what was the greatest lesson I ever learned in my 50 odd years of preaching. I thought about it for a few days and boiled it down to just one thing that made the most difference in my life and sustained me through all my trials. The one thing that I could always rely on when tears and heart break and pain and fear and sorrow paralyzed me. The only thing that would comfort was this verse:
“Jesus loves me this I know. For the Bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong, We are weak but he is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me… The Bible tells me so.”
When he finished, the church was so quiet you actually could hear his foot steps as he shuffled back to his chair.
This is one of the most popular Christian songs ever written. It is arguably as well known as Amazing Grace and Silent Night.
It is taught by Christian parents and teachers to their children from the day they can speak. And it has been translated into most major languages and sung by children in every nation on the face of the earth.
The Bible is filled with verses that show God’s love.” But sometimes in the midst of life, we don’t really feel loved by God. But if we don’t
understand anymore today than this, it is that God loves each of us in a very real and personal way. The measure of His love for us is so great that we can’t even begin to fathom it.
In Galatians 2:20, Paul wrote: “…I live by faith in the Son of God, WHO LOVED ME and gave himself for me.”
The Apostle John wrote “… Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him WHO LOVES US and has freed us from our sins by his blood” Revelation 1:5
Jesus said: “As the Father has loved me, SO HAVE I LOVED YOU. Now remain in my love…. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” John 15:9, 13-14
And, in the text today, Paul said it was his prayer that we would “… grasp how wide and long and high and deep is THE LOVE OF CHRIST, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge— that (we might) be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Jesus loves me – How do I know that? I know that Jesus loves me because, “the Bible Tells Me So!”
There are many world religions with their many books of scripture, but only the Bible tells us that God loves us.
* The Buddhists have their book called the Dharma – but Buddhists don’t actually believe there is a god… let alone a god who would love you.
* The Hindus have their many book and their many gods… but their gods aren’t the type that would love.
* The Muslims have the Koran that tells of Allah… but Allah is an impersonal god who really isn’t known for loving people.
In fact – no matter what world religion you talk about – their gods (if they love anybody) only love “nice” people. Love, in those religions, is reserved only for the ones who deserve it.
By contrast, Paul tell us “… God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” Romans 5:8
The Bible tells us that even when we weren’t worthy of love – God loved us anyway. Paul continues in Romans 5:10 “… when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son…”
One man observed:
“Anyone can devise a plan by which good people may go to Heaven. Only God can devise a plan whereby sinners, who are His enemies, can go to Heaven.”
What makes the Bible distinctive is that it says God loves us. He cares for us. He created us. We’re made in His image. And it hurts Him when we damage our lives. He wants to make our lives better. And in order to do that, He gave us the most precious gift He could give. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever should believe in Him should not perish but have
everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
“Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so Little ones to Him belong we are weak but He is strong”
We are weak. And we’re weak because we sin. And because of our sin, we sometimes misunderstand who this Jesus is that
Scripture tells us loves us so much. Sin warps our understanding of who Jesus is, and since sin is essentially the product of our own selfishness and self-centeredness, we can begin to believe
that “Jesus loves ONLY me”.
But Jesus said: “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34
Tony Campolo recalled working at a Christian junior high camp. One of the campers, a boy with spastic paralysis, was the object of heartless
ridicule. When he would ask a question, the boys would deliberately answer in a halting, mimicking way.
One night his cabin group chose this boy to lead the devotions before the entire camp. It was one more effort to have some “fun” at his
Unashamedly the spastic boy stood up, and in his strained, slurred manner – each word coming with enormous effort – he said simply “Jesus loves me — and I love Jesus!”
That was all.
Campolo said that conviction fell upon those junior-highers. Many began to cry. Revival gripped the camp. Years afterward, Campolo says he still meets men in the ministry who came to Christ because of that testimony.
Sometimes, because “we are weak”, we forget Jesus loves others that we don’t. We can misunderstand Jesus, and think that “He loves ONLY me”
And, because we are weak, we can also misunderstand Jesus by thinking that Jesus loves on OUR terms.
There are people who – when they hear some of the teachings out the Bible – don’t like what they hear. They think Jesus should sound different. And so they try to accept the Jesus they want – while rejecting the Jesus they don’t like. It doesn’t work that way. You don’t get to pick and choose with Jesus. If you want the Jesus that the Bible says loves you, you have to take the rest of the package.
Jesus is a God of love. And yes, He loves people so much that He gave His life for us to save us from our sins. In fact, He loves us so much – that He doesn’t want us slip back into that lifestyle of sinfulness. And so He calls us to live lives of holiness and purity.
And because He loves us that much – He calls His church to confront certain kinds of sins and discipline His people if necessary. Why? Because
if sin is not confronted … If wicked behavior is permitted to go unchallenged… that sinfulness will be accepted by others in the church as normal. They’ll begin to see sin that was ignored in others as an excuse to slip into their own sinful behaviors. Paul tells us in I Corinthians 5 that such an attitude moves through the congregation like leaven in bread. We must hold each other accountable when we see a brother or sister
acting in a manner displeasing to God. Because if we don’t then the sinful behavior will cause our brother or sister to drift further and further away from God … and ultimately they will drift away into the very pits of Hell.
Jesus loves me, Jesus loves you. Jesus loves US far too much to let that happen.
Jesus loves me… and He calls me to a life of holiness and purity. We are Christ’s ambassador’s here on earth and we must be very careful to not damage our witness to the world. We don’t want anyone saying about us, “if that’s a Christian, I don’t want to be one.”
Originally, the song “Jesus Loves Me” wasn’t a song… it was a poem.
Back in the 1800’s a woman named Susan Warner, asked her sister Anna to write a poem that she could use in her book “Say and Seal.” In the book, this poem was spoken to comfort a little child who was dying.
The original poem includes the following verse which is not generally published or sung:
”Jesus loves me! Loves me still, though I’m very weak and ill,
That I might from sin be free, He bled and died upon the tree.
Yes Jesus loves me, yes Jesus loves me,
Yes Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so!”
Paul tells us that this is the part of Jesus love for me that I MUST understand. Look again at Ephesians 3:16-19:
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge— that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
It is when we understand how wide, and long, and high, and deep Christ’s love has been for us – THAT IS WHEN we can be filled with all the fullness of God.
So, what is it to “grasp how wide and long and high and deep” Christ’s love is? Well, think about it.
His love was as HIGH as heaven itself. And His love went DOWN into the depths of Hell to draw us to God. And it was as DEEP as the pain He bore when He carried our sins away. And it was as WIDE as the length of his arms as He was nailed to the tree.
Peter writes: “(Jesus) himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24
I recently read the true story by a woman named Phyllis W. Zeno.
One day a beautiful, but very troubled little girl came through the door of my day nursery. From the very beginning I became captivated by this child who had so little but needed so much. I was heartbroken that a four-year-old could have such heartache and pain. She was born in prison after her mom had used marijuana, crack and cocaine her entire pregnancy.
The little girl was nonverbal and had very little control. I knew her progress would be a mighty battle. Whenever somebody approached her, she became violent for long periods and ended up in a fetal position on the floor crying out. I found myself praying for her day in and day out.
As months rolled on, I began to bond with this child that no one wanted. She and I worked very hard taking one step forward and four steps back. Daily, we sat in the big rocking chair in my office, swaying back and forth and back and forth. During our rocking time I sang “Jesus Loves Me.” She always settled down and became very still at the melody. Though she never spoke, peace seemed to fill her face as she listened to the song.
One day after a very long battle I held my special girl to again calm her fears and pain. In silence we rocked back and forth and back and forth and back and forth. Then she looked at me with tear-filled eyes and spoke for the first time, “Sing to me about that Man who loves me.”