Thy Love To Me Is Wonderful

Bible Book: 1 Samuel  18 : 1-4
Subject: Love, God's

Prior to entering the narrative of 1 Sam. 18:1-4, the young man David, has just returned from his triumphant battle with the giant Goliath, the former champion of the Philistines. King Saul’s son, Jonathan, was so moved by David’s courage and faith toward God, that “...the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul” (1 Sam. 18:1).

Throughout the remainder of the book of First Samuel, the love and friendship shared by David and Jonathan is obvious. In addition to the clear examples of love and loyalty shared by two friends, are the spiritual types and pictures evident in the lives of these two men.

For instance, David is an Old Testament picture of Christ, in that he came from his father’s house to fight the great giant, the nemesis of God’s people, Israel. Just as Christ in the New Testament, won the battle over sin, Satan, and death, setting free all who would believe in Him, David won the battle over the giant, setting his people free from bondage.

Likewise, Jonathan is also a picture of Christ, in that he “loved him (David) as his own soul” (1 Sam. 18:1b). That means that Jonathan would have given his life for David. But notice also that after Jonathan and David had entered into a covenant of friendship, Jonathan stripped himself of all that symbolized royalty, and gave it to David. This is a beautiful picture of what Christ did for us, by willingly laying aside the expression of His divine attributes that He might die for our sins. Paul alludes to this idea, when he says of Christ:

Phil. 2:6 “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

The love shared by two people is truly a gift from God. David, after Jonathan’s death in battle, said, “...Thy love to me was wonderful...” (2 Sam. 1:26b). However, from this point on, my thoughts will not be of the value of David and Jonathan’s friendship, but with the value of our salvation through Christ’s sacrifice, and the gratitude we should possess in light of it. Surely, from our hearts we should cry out, “Oh Lord Jesus, thy love to me is wonderful!”

God has done so much for us through His blessed Son, Jesus. Oh how wonderful is the love that Christ has shown for all mankind. It is my hope that before this message is over, God’s love for us in Christ Jesus will be burned deeper into our consciousness.

Theme: Can we not truthfully say…

I. “LORD, THY LOVE TO ME IS WONDERFUL, WHEN I THINK OF MY SINFULNESS?”

A. We Are Sinners By Progeny.

1. Man’s first parents sinned.

Gen. 2:16 “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

…………………………………………………….

3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”

2. Because of their sin, all mankind became sinners.

Rom. 5:12 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.

B. We Are Sinners By Practice.

1. All men are sinners from the womb.

Ps. 58:3 “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.”

Isa. 48:8b “…for I knew that thou (Israel) wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb.”

NOTE: Have you ever noticed that you never have to train a child to do wrong? You will however, always have to teach them how to do right. Why? It’s because we are all sinners from birth.

2. All men have a natural inclination toward sin within.

Eph. 2:3 “Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”

Rom. 7:18a “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing…”

NOTE: We are not sinners because we sin. We sin because we are sinners. The principle here could also be put this way: We do what we do, because we are what we are—sinners by nature.

Sinful Nature

How does a worm get inside an apple? Perhaps you think the worm burrows in from the outside. No, scientists have discovered that the worm comes from inside. But how does he get in there? Simple! An insect lays an egg in the apple blossom. Sometime later, the worm hatches in the heart of the apple, then eats his way out. Sin, like the worn, begins in the heart and works out through a person's thoughts, words, and actions.[1]

3. The very core of man’s being is wicked.

Gen. 8:21c “…for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth…”

Jer. 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it.”

4. The sin principle within our hearts is the source of our wicked ways.

Matt. 15:19 “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blashphemies:”

C. We Are Sinners By Principle.

Rom. 3:10 “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.”

Ps. 14:3 “They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”

NOTE: When we think about our inherent sinfulness, and consider how gracious and patient the Lord has been with us, can we not say, “Lord, thy love to me is wonderful?”

II. “LORD, THY LOVE TO ME IS WONDERFUL, WHEN I THINK OF YOUR SON?”

A. He Is Eternal In His Person

Micah 5:2 “But thou Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2 The same was in the beginning with God.

…………………………………………………………..

14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

Col. 1:14 “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature:

16 For by him were all things created, that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”

Heb. 1:10 “And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:

11a They shall perish; but thou remainest…”

B. He Is Exactingly Perfect.

1. Notice the testimony of Pontius Pilate.

John 18:38 “Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.”

2. Notice that His perfection was proven.

Heb. 4:15 “For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”

NOTE: Christ Jesus was proven to be spotless in His character, and altogether holy, sinless, and perfect in His person.

As the Union Pacific Railroad was being constructed, an elaborate trestle bridge was built across a large canyon in the West. Wanting to test the bridge, the builder loaded a train with enough extra cars and equipment to double its normal payload. The train was then driven to the middle of the bridge, where it stayed an entire day.

One worker asked, “Are you trying to break this bridge?”

“No,” the builder replied, “I’m trying to prove that the bridge won’t break.”

In the same way, the temptations Jesus faced weren't designed to see if He would sin, but to prove that He couldn’t.[2]

C. He Is Empathetic Toward People.

NOTE: To empathize with another does not mean that one simply feels sorry for someone who is experiencing pain or sorry, but that they feel with that person. Jess Lair defined empathy this way: “Your pain in my heart.”[3] Jesus is “touched with the feeling of our infirmities” (Heb. 4:15a).

1. Jesus was moved with compassion when He saw multitudes of sick and needy people—Matt. 14:14.

2. Jesus was moved with compassion when He saw the hungry—Matt. 15:32.

3. Jesus was moved with compassion when He saw the blind—Matt. 20:34.

4. Jesus was moved with compassion when He saw a leper—Mark 1:41.

5. Jesus was moved with compassion when He saw those who were demonically oppressed—Mark 5:19.

6. Jesus was moved with compassion when He saw those who were without spiritual direction—Mark 6:34.

NOTE: Dear child of God never let the devil tell you that Jesus doesn’t understand what you’re going through, because it’s a blatant lie. Jesus sympathizes with our every pain and trial, as this poem shows:

Too Tough

“The road is too rough,” I said,
“Dear Lord, there are stones that hurt me so.”
And He said, “Dear child, I understand,
I walked it long ago.”

“But there’s a cool green path,” I said;
“Let me walk there for a time.”
“No child,” He gently answered me,
“The green path does not climb.”

“My burden,” I said, “Is far too great,
How can I bear it so?”
“My child,” He said, “I remember the weight;
I carried My cross, you know.”

But I said, “I wish there were friends with me
Who would make my way their own.”
“Oh, yes,” He said, “Gethsemane
Was hard to bear alone.”

And so I climb the stony path,
Content at last to know
That where my Master had not gone,
I would not need to go.

And strangely then I found new friends,
The burden grew less sore;
And I remember—long ago
He went that way before.[4]

III. “LORD, THY LOVE TO ME IS WONDERFUL, WHEN I THINK OF YOUR SON’S SUFFERING?”

A. Christ’s Suffering Was Vicarious.

NOTE: The word “vicarious” means, “…taking the place of another thing or person; substitute.”[5]

1. Our Lord Jesus was sinless.

John 8:46a “Which of you convinceth me of sin…”

I Pet. 2:22 “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:”

2. Our Lord Jesus died for our sins.

Isa. 53:5 “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

 

2 Cor. 5:21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

NOTE: The following illustrates my point:

The story is told of two Chinese brothers who lived in Chinatown just after the turn of the century. One brother, the eldest of the two, was a very honest and hardworking individual, while the younger brother was rebellious, and often associated with the riffraff of the city.

Though the elder brother did not approve of his sibling’s activities and associations, he loved him very much. In spite of the fact that the younger man had had numerous run-ins with the police, the care and concern of his elder brother remained constant.

One night this wayward young man was involved in a knife fight. He and the other man fought viciously, resulting in the stabbing death of the young man’s enemy. When the fight was over, the young rebel’s shirt was covered with blood.

Just as the fight had ended, the police arrived at the scene. They began to pursue the man wearing the bloody shirt. Knowing that he must get rid of the bloodstained shirt, he ran home, where he immediately took off the soiled shirt, put on another, and ran from the building.

The elder brother, having heard the commotion, ran to his brother’s room to check on him. He found only a bloody shirt thrown in the corner. Knowing his brother as he did, it was easy to surmise what had happened. Quickly, he put on the bloodstained shirt of his brother. No sooner had he finished, the police rushed into the room and arrested the elder brother for murder.

He was tried and eventually executed for a crime he did not commit. The wayward young man was allowed to go free because the guiltless had suffered for the guilty.[6]

B. Christ’s Suffering Was Vicious.

1. He was spit upon, beaten, and abused.

Matt. 26:67a “Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands…”

Isa. 50:6 “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.”

2. His death on the Cross of Calvary was awful.

Acts 5:30 “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.”

NOTE: Imagine with me the following scene in heaven, as the Roman soldier raises the hammer to drive the first spike into the wrist of Jesus, pinning the hands that had brought healing and comfort to so many, to the cross.

I can see Michael the Archangel’s face flush with righteous anger, as he draws his flaming sword, and says, “Father! Do you not see what they are doing to your Son, Jesus? Command me, and I will destroy them!”

God the Father, in a solemn voice, says, “No. Put away your sword Michael, for if mankind is to be redeemed, this must be.”[7]

3. His separation from the Father because of our sin was most agonizing.

Mark 15:34 “And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama-sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

NOTE: [1] For the first and only time in all of eternity, the Son of God, who had known unity, fellowship, and approval with the Father, now experiences rejection from God the Father, as the sins of the world are laid on the Son. No wonder Jesus cried, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

[2] Notice that Jesus, in asking this question above, now addresses the first person of the Trinity as GOD, not Father. God was now acting as divine Judge. Sin always separates one from God (Isa. 59:1, 2).

[3] As Jesus spoke His dying words, “It is finished” (John 19:30a), I can imagine the angels of glory growing strangely silent, as thy fold their wings and turn their backs, so as not to look upon the dying Son of God.

[4] As we think about the blessed Son of God dying on Calvary in our place, can we not from our hearts cry out, “Lord Jesus, thy love to me is wonderful?”

C. Christ’s Suffering Was Valid.

1. It was valid because it satisfied God’s righteousness.

Isa. 53:10a “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief…”

I John 2:2 “And he is propitiation (satisfaction of God’s law) for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

2. It was valid because of the testimony of the Redeemer.

John 19:30a “…It is finished…”

3. It was valid because it will never have to be repeated.

Heb. 10:10 “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

NOTE: How can one think about their sinfulness before a thrice holy God, and the forgiveness that they’ve received through faith in Jesus and His sacrifice and suffering on Calvary, and not declare from the depths of their heart, “Lord, thy love to me is wonderful?

[1] Heaven and Home Hour Radio Bulletin.

[2] Today in the Word, March 14, 1991.

[3] Jess Lair.

[4] Olga J. Weiss.

[5] Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, and David B. Guralnik, Editor in Chief Emeritus, Webster’s New World Dictionary Of American English, Third College Edition, published by Webster’s New World, Cleveland & New York, pg. 1486.

[6] Source unknown.

[7] Rev. Donnie L. Martin