God loves us. He loves you and He’s proved it. “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NLT.
God gave us a wonderful gift in sending Jesus to the world. He gave because He loves. It was for love that Jesus Christ suffered, bled and died on the cross for the sins of all mankind. It was for love he rose again on the third day. For love He appeared to his followers, even though they had forsaken him in his time of need. And it was for love that He ascended back into the heavens but gave to us His spirit to be our guide, comforter, companion and teacher. He has also given to us His written word because He loves us. And according to His love, He’s made it possible for us to be in heaven with him forever someday. This is only possible through our believing in Jesus Christ and all that he accomplished for our salvation and freedom.
Please note that to believe in God is more than a mental consent that there is a God. It’s even more than saying, “I believe in God.” True believing is to adhere to and to place your confidence in God, his love and his words. Have you believed in him in this way? Have you received His love? Are you assured that heaven is going to be your home someday? You can know it.
You and I know the world today needs love. The Bible, from beginning to end, is a beautiful love letter from God to man. There is no true love apart from God.
“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8.
The love spoken of here is often misunderstood. It’s not encouraging all of us to simply be nice and just get along. It’s not telling us to tell our friends they are “OK” when they are living a life that is in contradiction to God’s words and will lead to certain destruction. It is not trying to make people around us feel good about the selfishness and disobedience we all battle.
True love is found only in God and his words. God’s love is sacrificial. God’s love stands for what is true and established according to scripture. God’s love tells the truth to someone who is wrong or in error. God’s love shines a light out to those that are lost in the darkness of disobedience to God. God’s love convicts the sinners heart of sin that he might turn to God with repentance and be rescued from destruction. God’s love is seen best in the person of Jesus Christ.
Consider: “God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.” John 3:17-19
The next time you are watching a ball game and see the fanatic in the stands holding a sign that says “JOHN 3:16” remember that’s not telling us all to simply remember God and “play nice.” It’s reminding us to turn from our sin and to know and walk in the light of God’s great love.
Scott Lee is a pastor at Bethesda Worship Center.