Signboard: For God so Loved the World… (4/19/14)

Posted by on Apr 19, 2014 in Godprints, Signboard | 0 comments

For God So Loved the World…

2014-04-18-Signboard_2006John 3:16 is a familiar passage; maybe one of the most frequently quoted ones in the Bible.  We even see it at sporting events where people simply hold up signs saying nothing more than “3:16.”

But have you ever considered what it REALLY means that “God so loved the world”???  Do we just chalk it up to some kind of 1960s hippy flower power sentiment, or can it be true that our infinite Creator who is holy and righteous, actually loves the world?

 

In this passage, Jesus is talking to a Jewish leader who comes to Jesus at night to find out more about him.  Jesus tells him that you must be “born again”  in order to see the things of the Spirit.  He then goes on to say…

John 3:13-21

13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven — the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.

16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” NIV

Notice that He said “for God so LOVED the world that He gave His only begotten Son.”  Wouldn’t it have been just as true if He said “for man screwed up so much, that God had no choice but to give His Son”?  But as sinful as we are, it’s God’s love that takes Jesus to the cross.

God Loves even Me… Really?????

Yep.  God is righteous and holy.  He demands our full allegiance (“thou shalt have no other gods before Me.”)  But, even back in the Old Testament we see that love is an integral part of God’s very nature…

Take a look at Deuteronomy chapter 10.  This is what Moses told the people after he received the Ten Commandments:

12 And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?

14 To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. 15 Yet the Lord set his affection on your forefathers and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations, as it is today.

16 Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. 17 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. 18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. 19 And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt.

20 Fear the Lord your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. 21 He is your praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes. 22 Your forefathers who went down into Egypt were seventy in all, and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars in the sky. NIV

God (even the “God of the Old Testament”) “set His affection on your forefathers.”  He “defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing.”  So is it any wonder that Jesus commands us to love God with all our being… and to love our neighbors as ourselves?  In loving our neighbors, we love God.  Take a look at what Jesus said in Matthew 25:31-46…

Read Matt 25

Matt 25:31-46 31

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ 44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 45 “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ 46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” NIV

 God is Love…

That’s more than some Sunday School cliche… it’s the very nature of our Creator who sent His son to die for us so that we could be restored to Him with new life.  God wants us to love Him with our all, and we love God by loving those He loves. 

 

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