Does God Really Love You And Does He Have A Wonderful Plan For You?

Text: John 12:22-33

God loves you and has a wonderful plan for you my friends. He simply does. Many of us have heard this phrase before and we may often quote it to others in times of trial for comfort. We derive the “God’s wonderful plan” language from the book of Jeremiah chapter 29 verse 11 where God says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Now, we can rejoice that God has a plan for us. This gives us comfort. This gives us assurance that there is a divine plan above our reason and lives. But what is this plan exactly about and when does it happen for us? You may feel like you’ve been waiting for this wonderful plan of God to come as you look at your life. Maybe you feel like you’ve been standing in line waiting your turn for God’s wonderful plan to happen. In all the spiritual God talk in America you may find yourself saying, “I wonder what God’s plan for me actually looks like?” Wouldn’t it be nice to know exactly what it entails?

Today, I am going to reveal God’s plan for you. Right here and right now! So sit forward in your pew and listen up. The great thing is that this is not special knowledge that Pastor Matt has acquired. It isn’t some profound insight that Sidney Lutheran Brethren possesses and is now giving to. Rather God’s plan is pretty simple. You see, we can know God’s will and plan by looking at the Bible. We see God’s will and plan for us in looking to the good old 10 Commandments. God’s will is not some mysterious and abstract idea floating around in spiritual space. Rather, God’s plan and will were etched not only into your consciences but also etched into stone some several thousand years ago. In a nutshell, His will and plan for you and for me is that we love our neighbor and love God with all of our heart, soul and mind. It is that simple my friends.

So, an obvious next question for us is, “how are we doing at fulfilling this plan? How are we doing at completing this goal?”

You see deep down inside we love our life. The sinful flesh is full of self-love. Our will does not want to submit or follow God’s plan. We want our plan. Out of one side of our mouth we talk about God’s plan and seek His plan but we simultaneously really want our way of doing things. We have things mapped out in our mind, the way we think things should be done. And thus we so often try to bend God to conform to our image and our desires. In all seriousness, we really resist God’s plan. Thus, when we end up seeking self, we seek our ways, our desires, our agendas and ultimately ‘self’ ends up leading us straight into destruction.

This is ultimately what started this whole mess in the first place. Adam and Eve chose self over God, they turned inward and sin infected the whole human race. This sin is a poison that plunges us into bondage. Making us unable to follow or desire to follow God’s plan.

God’s Plan Of Salvation Was Set Forth Before The Foundation of the World
Because of our failure to follow God’s plan God was prepared in advance with another plan. Let’s call this the eternal plan of salvation! This plan is not found etched in our hearts, engraved in stone or conjured up in our minds. Rather this plan is an eternal plan. It is a plan that was set forth before the foundation of the World. Ephesians 1:4 reminds us that God devised this plan way back in eternity, even before sin entered the world. This plan does not have to do with the 10 commandments but with the idea of a Savior and Redeemer. In other words, God is not some napping, passive and boring God who just sits around in heaven counting clouds, listening to golden harps and occasionally listens to the prayers of mankind. Rather, God had a plan for you and for me before the problem of sin had come about. His plan responds to our failures. His plan is in response to us not being able to fulfill or complete the 10 Commandments. In other words, our God is organized, scheduled and determined. Nothing will stop His eternal plan of salvation. He means what He says and does what He wants to do. He is 100% behind His Salvation plan. His plan for us is eternal. His plan for us is intentional.

My friends, this eternal plan of salvation is not about you, however, it is for you. In our text Jesus says that the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. In other words, God’s wonderful plan for you is found in, completed by and actualized by Jesus and more specifically it is found in Jesus’ death. From the foundations of the earth and more specifically in Genesis 3 we see that it was God’s plan to send His only begotten Son to Die for mankind. The wonderful, magnificent plan of God was to not leave you and I in our sins eternally separated from God but to send Jesus. This plan was announced to Adam and Eve. This plan was promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This wonderful plan of God was announced to King David. This wonderful plan of God was promised to Israel. This eternal plan of salvation was ushered in with the birth of Jesus and then came to a finality as Jesus entered Jerusalem to be crucified and buried for the sins of the world.

God’s wonderful plan for you is the plan of salvation and this plan is all about Jesus. As I have said to you time and time again, Christianity is “not about you… it is about Jesus for you.”

In our text we see that Jesus has just arrived in Jerusalem and that the time has come for God’s eternal plan to be acted upon and fulfilled. Jesus submits Himself to the Father’s will, to the Father’s plan. Jesus endured the cross, He suffered the cross. This was and is God’s plan for us that Christ would suffer and die in our place. Jesus’ crucifixion was no accident. It is not happenstance. Rather it is the culmination of a long-range plan and finally the hour had come for the plan to be accomplished. Jesus was lifted up on a cross and was suspended between heaven and earth, rejected by mankind and rejected by God’s wrath. On the Cross, Christ was made an unclean thing as He bore the sin of mankind receiving the full wrath of God. But in this horror of the cross as Jesus hung upon pieces of wood, God created the greatest good and fulfilled the greatest plan that has ever existed. In Jesus Christ, God made salvation for all men. The plan was fulfilled for you and me!

What this means for you and me is that we are pulled into God’s great plan together. Jesus was lifted up on the cross to draw all men to himself. Through the Gospel the Holy Spirit draws us away from our own plans, our own agendas, our own stories and draws us into God’s eternal plan of Christ. All of our unique stories, all of our unique personalities and all of our journeys are grafted into the Son of God who came for us, died for us and is resurrected for us.

To you who believe, Jesus is the one who plants vitality in your soul, so that you cannot die. God’s plan is what carries you forward in this life and is what carries you through death. Just as Christ’s life was carefully planned and set in place by the power and wisdom of God, so your life is prepared in advance for you.

God loves you and has a wonderful plan for you and that plan is Jesus’ death and resurrection for your forgiveness of sin and righteousness. Receive this by faith today and rest that this plan includes you. The Cross is for you.

Sources: Gospel Handle (Rossow) ~ Sermon Studies on the Gospels (NWP) ~ Pericope Dot Org