Pastor, author and Bible teacher, Alan Wright. Oh, that you would know the love of God and that you would know His love is deep, deeper than the deepest ocean and deeper than the deepest pit, the darkest, deepest pit of despair. And God's love is deeper still.
God's love is deeper than your deepest sin. That's Pastor Alan Wright. Welcome to another message of good news that will help you see your life in a whole new light. I'm Daniel Britt, excited for you to hear the teaching today in the series called Ephesians as presented at Rinaldo Church in North Carolina. If you're not able to stay with us throughout the entire program today, I want to make sure you know how to get our special resource right now. It can be yours for your donation this month to Alan Wright Ministries. So as you listen to today's message, go deeper as we send you today's special offer. Contact us at PastorAlan.org.
That's PastorAlan.org or call 877-544-4860. More on this later in the program. But now let's get started with today's teaching.
Here is Alan Wright. God's love transcends the things that we go through, the adversities in life God's love transcends. So at all points what God wants you to know is His love.
Here's the second obstacle. And that is that when we have been hurt, we have sinful reactions to those wounds. The wounds and the hurts that we've experienced is because of other sin, but then we respond to it in a sinful way, either by believing the wrong things or holding unforgiveness. And our sinful responses end up being the very things that will hinder us from being able to openly receive love. And one of the things that needs to be highlighted here is that when we are hurt, and this is especially important to the matter of giving and receiving love, when we are hurt without God's grace and without forgiveness and without an awareness of God's presence in the midst of that hurt that can sustain us through, without that we tend to develop unhealthy boundaries in one of two directions. We tend to either say, I've been abused and this must be why I exist. And so we have no boundary and people continue to use us and hurt us. Or we say, I've been hurt and we tend to put up a rigid boundary like a big wall to block everyone out, a boundary.
If you've ever been to our conference, then you have heard me use this illustration to describe what boundaries are. It is like the one time a year when in the city of Winston-Salem, our city services include one week where they will pick up large bulky items that you want to throw away and don't want to have to drive them to the dump yourself. So you can put your old broken gas grill and the old broken down lawnmower and any other large bulky items, you can put it out the curb and sometime that week they'll come by and they'll pick up your stuff and take it off for you. But it's so comical because what actually happens is that you put your stuff out of the curb and then people start cruising around in their pickup trucks and their Cadillacs and looking at other people's junk and they are just wanting to take something that somebody else had.
And so what we actually do, I got a nice lampshade this way one year, but actually it's more of large item swap and it's just really funny. I laugh about it all the time that people come out and take it. I've never actually seen the truck come by.
I don't think they do. I think everybody else comes and takes your stuff. Well, one year I had gone out there and I'd put it the curbside and old broken down lawnmower. The engine still worked, but everything else, the handle was all broken over and it's just better just to put it out there.
So I put it out there. I went back, I was getting some other bulky item to take out to the curb and when I did, there was a lady out there looking at my lawnmower and she looked up at me and she said, does this lawnmower still run? I said, yes, it does. I said, the engine's still worth good on that lawnmower. She said, it would still cut grass?
I said, yeah, the blades are still fine. And she looked at it. She said, I don't know. She said, this handle's really broken.
I was getting ready to say, well, you know, you could have that thing soldered or maybe clamped or something like that. And I said, what am I talking about? I don't have to spend time selling you my trash. That's trash.
And she took the lawnmower. The point of this being, there's a large item pickup week. If you put something out the curb, the message is clear to anybody who passes by that is available for anybody to pick up, right? But if somebody came up in my yard and started to gather up my garden hose that connected to my faucet and I saw that, I'd have to say, hold on a minute. That is not available. The broken lawnmower at the curb, available.
Garden hose, not available. And if they came back in my backyard and started getting my gas grill and started walking off with it and I said, no, that's not available. If they started, if they started taking my gas grill, I'd have to call the police, right?
Do something about that. But you don't have to do that because it's very clear. You don't have to put a sign in your yard that says stuff at the curb available to anybody. Stuff not on a curb, not available to anybody. It's just a, it's a boundary.
It's invisible, but it's very clear, right? That's what boundaries are like for the soul. And we have to have healthy boundaries.
We have healthy boundaries. This is why people that have been really hurt and really abused have a really hard time with this. If someone has used you and hurt you, you could start thinking, this is why I exist.
Just anybody come and trample me. And then your heart is just damaged over and over again. That's having no boundaries. God never meant for you to have no boundaries. He meant for you to know that you are priceless of infinite value and therefore no one has the right to come and abuse you, use you, hurt you.
You have a yes and you have a no. But there's another kind of unhealthy boundary that often happens when our hearts have been hurt. And that is an over rigid, big, thick wall that we put around our heart. This is what the Bible calls a heart of stone. This is where you say, I've been hurt and nobody's ever going to hurt me again. And the problem is that when you put that kind of wall around your heart that's impermeable, you are rejecting also the very love that will heal you. Paul's praying because there's a spiritual battle that's going on. And part of the battle is for us to be healed from the hurts of the past. And as we have the healing mercy of God, then we develop a healthy boundary in our life.
It's like having a nice fence, not a giant thick wall, but a nice fence with a good working gate that opens and closes and we say, yes, that's good. That's love. Come in. No, that's bad. That's not love.
Stay out. You see? So responses to the hurt of life that develop unhealthy boundaries, that's the second obstacle.
And here's the third amongst many I could mention, but here's the third is very important. And that is self-rejection, self-hatred. Most people that are ever talked to about this would never think that this applied to them. But even people that are in rebellion, as I've mentioned before, like the prodigal son who went to a faraway land and you might say, well, he, all he was interested in was himself. That's all he cared about was himself. No, if he loved himself, he would have never sent himself to pigs and prostitutes in poverty. Would you ever send somebody that you love to a life of the prodigal? No, you'd only do that to somebody you hated.
See, even people that look like they are loving themselves are just self-absorbed because they haven't actually accepted themselves. There was a lady, I'll call her Susan, she was in a church I pastored years ago. And every time I saw her, she just seemed a little nervous. She was sweet, she was kind, she would do anything for you. She just always looked like the kind of person you say, God bless you. And it just seemed like it would just bounce right off of her.
I never did understand this about her. And then there was a time some of us went to a conference. And at the end of that conference, we're standing in line to take communion.
It's so odd the times that you're ambushed by the Holy Spirit. And she was just standing in line. And she came and told me about this afterwards. I saw her, she said, I want to tell you what happened to me.
And I could see immediately, I said, Susan, what has changed? She said, I was standing in line to take communion and somebody had a t-shirt on in front of me. It just said something like John 3.16 or something that God loves you or just, it was something I'd seen a million times, she said, but I don't know, while I was just standing there and I was looking around and I just, all of a sudden I just felt the love of God. Now all of a sudden I just felt this wave of just love and forgiveness and I realized that God loves me, even me. And she said, what you must understand is, she said, for all these years, every time I walked out of church and you said, God bless you, I've said in my heart, no, he can't bless me.
And if you knew what I had done, you wouldn't bless me either. And she went on to tell me about the pain of having an unwanted pregnancy that she ended in abortion and how she had been haunted for years by this and thought there was no way that God could really love her and bless her because of this great sin. And on that day, just as a simple ambush of the Holy Spirit, just being seized by the affections and the mercies of God, she realized that God's love was not just set upon humanity in general, but upon her in particular and everything dissolved and everything melted. And she just utterly and completely changed.
You know what changed there? She moved from self-hatred to self-acceptance. I'm not talking about accepting all your own sin. I'm not talking about accepting the bad things in your life. I'm just talking about accepting the person that God made.
How could we receive God's love while we're busy hating the self that God made in His own image? That's Alan Wright, and we'll have more teaching in a moment from today's important series. Unlock the power of blessing your life. Discover God's grace-filled vision for your life by signing up for Alan Wright's free daily blessing. If you want to fill your heart with grace and encouragement, get Alan Wright's daily blessing. It's free and just a click away at pastoralan.org. The gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries. This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support. Call us at 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860. Or come to our website, pastoralan.org. Today's teaching now continues.
Here once again is Alan Wright. How do you receive God's love? Well, the first thing to say is that there's not a list of things that you do to receive God's love because it's a revelation.
But if you want to position yourself, I would say at least these three things. Reject legalism and all performance-based living. Embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ and all of its radical purity wherein you are saved by grace through faith alone, 100% grace by faith alone.
And develop keenly the capacity to know the difference between the two. Tune your ears to the gospel so that you know what is not gospel. Recognize that when Paul got mad at the Galatians' heresy that was going on, in many ways it wasn't that big of a deal, right?
He was just... They were just saying, yes, we're saved by grace, but also it's important to practice the Jewish ritual of circumcision. And Paul said, no. Because if you bring in just a little bit of leaven, it'll spoil then whole loaf, it'll infect it.
If you drop just one little drop of red dye into a glass of water, it will all become tainted pink. And if you put one little bit of law into the gospel of grace, you will introduce an unlimited capacity for fear. As soon as you're in a relationship and you tell somebody, no matter how often I've told you I love you, there's another part of me that wants to tell you that if you don't measure up, I won't love you anymore. As soon as you say that, you have introduced an unlimited capacity for fear. And the entirety of the new covenant hinges upon the glory of a gospel in which God loves you in Jesus Christ and you are saved and assured by grace through Christ in faith alone. Reject every form of legalism if you want to know the love of God. Secondly, fix your eyes upon Christ, for He is the author and the finisher of your faith.
I find that so often in my own Christian life and many others that I've talked to that if you talk about how it is that they want to grow in Christ, it ends up sounding more about them. Well, I'm going to be more obedient. I'm going to do this more. I'm going to have this better spiritual discipline. I'm going to do that. And I'm not saying that our obedience and our special disciplines aren't important.
They are. But the point of all of that is so that our hearts gaze can be fixed upon Jesus, who is the author and the finisher. In other words, think much of Jesus, His cross, His resurrection, and of His glad heart towards you that rejoices over you as a bridegroom that rejoices over His bride. Think much of how much He delights in you and what He's done for you so that the posture of the Christian life can become that your chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him, to worship Him in the beauty of His holiness, to fix the heart in a gaze upon the wonder, the loveliness, the grandeur of who Christ is and what He's done for you.
That's what I'm saying. That's the focus of the Christian life. That's the meditation. When I come into awareness of the love of God, it is because I have moved the focus off of myself and onto Him. See, if you've ever had the privilege of going to the Grand Canyon, as people from all around the world have come to see the Grand Canyon, you don't go to the Grand Canyon and take a couple of pictures and say, okay, I got that. You go to the Grand Canyon and your jaw drops and you stare at it because something inside of you is impacted by the transcendent beauty and glory and immensity of the canyon.
There is a value in simply seeing something. This is the nature of the Christian's life. If you see Jesus, you are changed. Think much of Jesus. Think often of Jesus. Keep the focus upon Jesus and you will see the love of God. And thirdly, if you wanted to ask, what do I need to do to receive the love of God?
I would say be clear about this. Position yourself in the body of Christ where God's love is proclaimed, spiritual gifts are released, and the community of the fellowship is one in spirit. The Bible, the New Testament, and certainly Paul knows nothing of this idea of individual spirituality that stands apart from the body of Christ.
Notice, please, what he is saying here. I pray that you together with all the saints. And then he says to it verse 20 unto him, be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and forever. This is something that takes place in the body of Christ. This is where we experience love.
This is God's work. We are his body and each of us is a part of it. And there is a way that through the love of Christ in the fellowship of the saints, the love of God is made manifest. What I'm saying is have people pray for you that you'll know the love of God and pray for others that they'll know the love of God.
Have people that serve you and love you and you have people that you love and you serve. In other words, you put love into action in the midst of the body of Christ and you discover the love of God. Oh, the love of God. Oh, the love of God that is beyond description, the love of God that is so wide you can't get around it. You know, God's love is wide.
It's wide enough for all people everywhere. God loves everybody. He loves everybody. His love is wide. His love is wide enough to love people in North Carolina and people in South Carolina, people in North Dakota and people in South Dakota and people in North Korea and people in South Korea. God loves everybody.
God loves everybody and wills that everybody should be saved. There's nobody that he doesn't love. He loves the old. He loves the young. He loves the rich.
He loves the poor. He loves the tall. He loves the short. He loves the big. He loves the small. He loves the brown, the tan, the white, the pasty white sunburned at the beach.
He loves the black, the yellow, the polka-dotted. He loves because His love is wide. His love is wide.
You can't get beyond the stretch of the breadth of His arms by which He has loved you. And His love is long that you might know how long the love of God is. The love of God is there before time. The love of God is there after time, the love of God was there when you were born, when your father was born, and when your father's father was born, the love of God was there when your father's father's father was born, and your father's father's father's father's father was born. The love of God for you was already there before your great great great great great great great grandfather, the love of God was there for you before Moses, the love of God was there for you before Abraham, the love of God was there for you before Noah the love of God was there before Adam the love of God was there before God said let there be light he had already loved you before the foundation of the world because God's love is long it is timeless it is without scope you cannot truncate it you cannot abbreviate it you cannot interrupt it you cannot cause it to cease you cannot extend it because it is already infinite God's love is long and God's love is high higher than the highest mountain peak higher than the highest heavens higher than the highest praise God's love is such that where he is he will take us to be with him God's love is so high that as he is now so also are we in this world God's love is so high that it is transcendent and it is holy and it is beautiful and it is spotless and it is pure and it is uncontaminated it is holy holy holy it is above all that we could ask or think it is greater than it is more than it is exceedingly abundantly above and beyond then God's love is high oh that you would know the love of God and that you would know his love is deep deeper than the deepest ocean and deeper than the deepest pit the darkest deepest pit of despair and God's love is deeper still God's love is deeper than your deepest sin God's love is deeper than the darkest part of your life at the darkest moment of your life you cannot go so deep that God's love is not there God's love is wide and long and high and deep and there is a power that is at work in you and Paul prays and I pray and we pray for one another that you may know this love that surpasses knowledge because what we're saying is that you would know God because God is love and that's the gospel right in today's teaching you're rooted and grounded in love we'll have the conclusion of this series on the next edition of the program and stick with us Allen is back in a moment with additional insight on this for your life and a final word unlock the power of blessing your life discover God's grace-filled vision for your life by signing up for Allen Wright's free daily blessing if you want to fill your heart with grace and encouragement get Alan Wright's daily blessing it's free and just a click away at pastor Alan dot org just who do you think you are and really think about it how do you see yourself if you see yourself as worthless then you might as well do nothing worthwhile but if you see yourself as treasured then you'll invest yourself with joy if you see yourself as a sinner cursed by your failures then you'll be anxious and exhausted but if you see yourself as a saint blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ then you'll be confident and free how you see yourself determines how you live in an 11 message series pastor Alan Wright takes you on a thrilling journey through the letter to the Ephesians it'll flood your soul with good news and empower you to discover who you are in Christ when you make your donation to Alan Wright Ministries today will not only send you the digital downloads of the entire transformational Ephesians series but will also send you a printable copy of pastor Alan's booklet highlighting the most important scriptures about your identity in Christ make your gift today and discover a whole new way of seeing your life isn't it time to finally find out who you really are the gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries this broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support when you give today we will send you today's special offer we are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries call us at eight seven seven five four four forty eight sixty that's eight seven seven five four four forty eight sixty or come to our website pastor Alan org but Alan if somebody's listening and they say that's cool I want to be loved but let me bring something to earn it how would you respond if you have to earn it it's not love and so by its very definition love is free so when you are loved it means by the very definition of love that it's something you cannot earn and you don't deserve and this is the nature of the love of God his love is everlasting to everlasting so you might as well accept that you would have never been righteous enough earn it so just receive it God loves you let him today's good news message is a listener supported production of Alan Wright Ministries
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