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God is Love

One of the most famous verses in the Bible is John 3:16, sometimes displayed at football games, on vehicle stickers and roadway signs. The verse contains the message of God’s love, Jesus coming, and eternal life. The verses that follow disclose the heart-breaking desire of people to remain in darkness. Are you living in the light?

love

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John 3:16-17

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

The divine gift

God loves more than a people group, gender, or nation. He loves the whole world. His love propelled Him to give the divine gift of His Son as a sacrifice for sin.

Although Christ’s coming brings judgment to those not believing, this was not the purpose. His aim is saving the world.”

John 3:18-19

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.

Lovers of evil

Refusing the divine gift brings judgment. People consumed with wrongdoing prefer to not be shaken out of a comfortable sinfulness. Yet if people desire darkness over light they have chosen condemnation.

John 3:20-21

For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.

Loving darkness

Those in darkness hate the light because it exposes the real person. Few like being confronted about what they do wrong. Even so, some willingly lay down pride and respond to the love of God, accepting Jesus.

The challenge

Live life in the light. Choose Jesus! Then tell others about their need to embrace God’s love in order to spend eternity with Him.

How has living in the light changed your life? Share your comments below.

Child of God

God took on human form. Amazing! He lived among His creation a common man, yet people would have nothing to do with him? Astounding! An opportunity to experience His divine nature is given and people decide to remain in darkness.

Are you living in the light? Are you a member of His family?

child

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John 1:9-14

“The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him (his name), he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.”

The true light

Jesus is the true Light. Other lights may flicker with elements of truth or provide mere glimpses of reality. There is nothing unreal or shadowy about the Light that is Christ. He brings real illumination and is available to everyone. God reveals himself to all people (Rom 1:20).

Jesus & the world

Jesus is connected to the world (John 1:9,10), created the world (1:10), and has been rejected by the world (1:11). People encountered the Galilean peasant and may have thought, “Not very impressive!” The divine came in a way no one expected. The world missed the supreme opportunity!

The heart of man

Human nature defaults toward rebellion. Adam and Eve disobeying God in the garden of Eden is indicative of this truth (Gen 3). Psalm 2 reveals people’s rebellious nature, “Why are the nations so angry? Why do they waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against his anointed one.” (Psalm 2:1,2) The book of Revelation records plagues and disasters God will use to push people into His arms of grace. How tragic people turn their back on Him. The people of this world worship the enemy of God, Satan (Rev 13:4, 8). Mankind remains rebellious until the end of time. They refuse the love of God and reject His Word.

Becoming a child of God

John reveals that although some reject Jesus, there were others who believe.

The end of the story is not the tragedy of rejection, but the grace of acceptance. God gave a gift, some received it, and became a part of God’s family. We enter this world as spiritual orphans and God has given us a way to become one of His own, adopted into His family. Those who believe become God’s children. He says,

I will take you in. I will be your Father. I will love you. You’ll be part of my family.”

Believing in a name

A name is a convenient label to distinguish one person from another. Not so in the ancient world. In some ways the name expresses the whole person. To believe “in the name,” means trusting the person. If you trust in Jesus’ name, you completely trust in who Jesus is, what He says, and what He did.

The miracle of a birth

When a person believes in Jesus, they are reborn. They move from spiritual death into spiritual life. This new birth is a miracle coming from God and changing the nature of people. A person’s thoughts, motives, actions, and desires change out of rebirth.

God in human form

The Word of God took on human form and lived among mankind. He came for a temporary visit to display God’s love and grace. He came in a humble manner discovering those who truly love Him.

The challenge

Receive God’s gift of grace and truth. Turn away from a rebellious life, run into the arms of God, and become a part of the His family.

Have you ever rebelled against God? How? Share your comments below.

Reflecting the Light

C.S. Lewis, in The Weight of Glory, writes about the kinds of people we interact with daily, “a society of possible gods and goddesses.” He encourages followers of Christ to live in such a way that people move in the right direction and wind up in the right destination. Believers should point people towards the Light.

To which destination (light or darkness) are you leading people?

John 1:6-8

“God sent a man, John the Baptist, to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light.”

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An important figure

Some of John’s followers wondered whether he was the Christ (Luke 3:15). Some were baptized in John’s name in Ephesus (Acts 19:3). Apollos was introduced as one who “knew only the baptism of John” (Acts 18:25). The Apostle John describes the mission of John the Baptist.

A forerunner

Verse 6 records John was sent by God to be a witness and bear testimony of Jesus. His mission was to point people to Christ.

A point of decision

John brought people to a decision about needing Light. His testimony caused people to start looking for the true Light of the world.

An awakening

The Word came to bring heavenly light, while John came to awaken people to their need of God’s revelation.

Not the light

John the Baptist was not the Light but pointed to the Light. Pastors are not the Light and church members are not the Light.

Believers simply reflect the Light and lead people to Jesus.”

Examples to follow

John the Baptist had a following and ministered to many, yet laid down his ambitions at the revelation of Jesus. He chose to decrease in order for Him to increase.

Dying to self

Followers of Jesus are to die daily (1 Cor. 15:31) and lift up the name of Jesus. Their role is to direct others to the Lamb of God who takes away sin (John 1:29).

The challenge

Point others to Jesus. Share the love of Christ by the way you live. People around you need to be awakened to the need of a Savior.

What are some practical ways you can point others to Jesus? Share your comments below.

Light born in Darkness

The Son of God has come!

Many Christmas carols refer to the night Jesus was born: “Silent Night…Hark the herald angels sing…O Holy Night…Angels we have heard on high.” They point to the birth of Light in the midst of darkness. He is the message and meaning of Christmas.

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Hark the herald angels sing

Hark the herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled”
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
“Christ is born in Bethlehem”
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

God and sinners reconciled

Adam and Eve had perfect union with God in the Garden of Eden until they chose to disobey Him (Genesis 3). The rest of Scripture unfolds the story of everyone’s search for God.

The Son of God enters the story and changes the course of time. He makes a way for a renewed relationship between God and His creation.

Joyful nations

Jesus came for everyone, for all nations. God desires to have relationships with Kenyans, Chinese, Austrians, Americans, Brazilians, Israelis, and Iranians.

God places within people a desire to know truth and reality, a restless search not satisfied by wealth, position or any other means. Peace and joy is directly connected to knowing Jesus, Truth and Reality personified.

A newborn King

When Jesus hung on a cross, bearing the sinfulness of man and dying for humanity, a sign hung over him reading,

This is Jesus, King of the Jews.”

He was mocked by Jews and persecuted by Gentiles. The sign is true. He is the King sitting at the right hand of the Father, desiring to exercise kingship over your life.

An eternal gift

God gave the earth to man at creation, a beautiful gift. A. W. Tozer points out in The Pursuit of God, “Sin has introduced complications and has made those very gifts of God a potential source of ruin to the soul.”

Gifts are given at Christmas as a reminder that God gave His Son. Sadly, some gifts exchanged during this Season sometimes damage the soul. Only the gift of Salvation brings Eternal joy.

The challenge

Crown Jesus the King of your heart. Do not allow unwholesome worldly practices to become associated with your life. The only meaningful gift you can receive is the gift of salvation through Jesus.

What kind of light has Jesus brought to your life? Share your comments below.