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Sunday, June 15, 2014

love for the world


John 3:16-18

 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. 18 He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

 Exhortations
 What does Scripture tell us about God and how he relates to us? When God met with Moses on Mount Sinai and made a covenant with the people of Israel, he revealed the nature of his character and his personal love for them: "The LORD passed before him, and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy and faithfulness'".

God is all-loving, faithful, merciful, and forgiving by nature. God's love is supreme because it directs, orders, and shapes everything he does.

 Love and judgment Scripture tells us that God is all just and all loving. How does his love and justice go together?

God opposes sin and evil with his just wrath (his righteous anger) and right judgment - and he approaches sinful people and evil doers with mercy ("slow to anger" and "ready to forgive") and discipline ("fatherly correction" and "training in righteousness").

 God does not desire the death of anyone. Instead he gives us the freedom to choose between life and death - good and evil.

 When we choose to sin and to go our own way apart from God, we bring condemnation upon ourselves. Sin draws us away from God and leads to a spiritual death - a death that is worse than physical loss of life because it results in a hopeless life of misery and separation from God's peace and joy.

Jesus was sent on a rescue mission to free us from slavery to sin and death and to bring us the abundant life which will never end.

His death brought us true freedom and abundant new life in his Spirit - as well as pardon, reconciliation and adoption as sons and daughters of God. Jesus took upon himself all of our sins and nailed them to the cross.

 His death was an atoning sacrifice for our sins and a perfect offering to the Father on our behalf. We can find no greater proof of God's love for fallen sinful humanity than the cross of Jesus Christ.

 Jesus' mission was motivated by love and obedience. That is why he willingly laid down his life for us. Jesus told his disciples that there is no greater love than for a person to willingly lay down his or her life for a friend.

 Jesus loved us first - even while we were captives to sin and Satan - in order to set us free and make us friends and beloved children of God.

 Believing in the Son of God Do you believe that Jesus personally died for you - for you alone - simply because he loved you?

Scripture tells us that God knew each one of us even before we were knit in our mother's womb (Psalm 139:13, Jeremiah 1:5). We were created for a purpose - to be united with God and to share in his love and glory now and forever.

 To believe that Jesus is the only Son of God who died for our sins is the key that opens the door to his presence and work in our lives.

Jesus said, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me".

The Lord Jesus knocks at the door of your heart - will you listen today and open at once?

 Triune nature of God The Lord Jesus has revealed to his disciples the great mystery of our faith - the triune nature of God and the inseparable union of the eternal Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus' mission is to reveal the glory of God to us - a Trinity of persons - God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - and to unite us with God in a community of love.

The ultimate end, the purpose for which God created us, is the entry of God's creatures into the perfect unity of the blessed Trinity.

 The Jews understood God as Creator and Father of all that he made and they understood the nation of Israel as God's firstborn son .

 Jesus reveals the Father in an unheard of sense. He is eternally Father by his relationship to his only Son, who, reciprocally, is Son only in relation to his Father.

 The Spirit, likewise, is inseparably one with the Father and the Son. The mission of Jesus and of the Holy Spirit are the same.

That is why Jesus tells his disciples that the Spirit will reveal the glory of the Father and the Son and will speak what is true.

 Before his Passover, Jesus revealed the Holy Spirit as the "Paraclete" and Helper who will be with Jesus' disciples to teach and guide them "into all the truth".

 In baptism we are called to share in the life of the Holy Trinity here on earth in faith and after death in eternal light.

 We can know God personally How can we grow in our understanding and experience of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?

It is the Holy Spirit who reveals the Father and the Son to us and who gives us the gift of faith to know and understand the truth of God’s word.

Through baptism we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The Lord renews the gift of the Spirit in each one of us as we open our hearts with expectant faith and yield to his work in our lives.

Jesus promised his disciples that he would send them the Spirit of truth who would be their Teacher and Guide.

Ask the Lord Jesus to renew in you the gift of the Holy Spirit who strengthens us in the seven-fold gifts of wisdom and understanding, right judgment and courage, knowledge and reverence, and holy fear in God's presence.

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