"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. 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." John 3:16-18 (ESV)
Most people have heard or seen John 3:16 - it’s a pretty famous verse. Not as many have finished reading the book of John to the end where the purpose for writing the book is stated plainly: (John 20:30-31) “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”. Jesus isn’t a way, a truth or a life but The Way, The Truth and The Life. John’s gospel is to show us how to be saved.
It’s a great feeling to be rescued but in our affluent society most people don’t realise that they need to be rescued. It is one thing to be broken and know that you are broken and far worse to be broken and not know it. The brokenness that Jesus saves us from is on the inside and the whole world needs saving. Never assume that someone with outward success and wealth does not need saving – we all do. Jesus wasn’t just a nice guy but He was powerful. He had power to raise the dead, deliver people, heal them and to save.
Why did God send Jesus to save us? It was a hard and painful thing to do. Because He loves us (John 3:16). Love is the motivator for Christ and for His church. This preaching won’t last forever, nor will the building we sit in, but the Love will. God isn’t like love, He is Love and when we share it with the world, we’re pointing the way to Him. There cannot be any other reason for going to church and doing what we do, than love (1 Corinthians 13:1-2). Love is what the world needs to see when it looks at us because love is the soil, the foundation – what will last. “Love never ends.” (1 Corinthians 13:8a).
In Mark 2:13-17, we read the story of Jesus calling Levi. The godly people of the day questioned Jesus hanging out with “sinners” and the sad thing is, they didn’t realise that they were sinners too. The same saving grace that we tell broken people that they need, we need it too! The only difference between the church and those not in the church is that we know Jesus. We all need Jesus. He loves you and came so that all the world could be saved through Him.
So, our job is to make room:
For the Saviour. Know your position in Christ. The condemnation in John 3:18 is not talking about the emotions of condemnation like shame and guilt, it refers to legal fact. Sin is a problem, it is not what God designed people for and it destroys us. So Jesus came to free you from it so that you could be transformed and renewed: your legal status before God, changed. We must all turn to Christ to be saved, to make room by asking for and receiving His forgiveness.
For others to come to the Saviour. We are not called to do the saving: To be The Light or The Vine. We are called to reflect the Light, stay connected to the Vine and point the way to the Saviour, just like John the Baptist. Don’t get in the way, prepare the way for other people to join us in living for Jesus.
SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT
- If you have been a Christian for a long time, have you had any fresh revelations about needing Jesus as your Saviour that you can share?
- What are some of the other reasons for doing “church things” and how can we keep the focus on love instead?
- Consider, have you made room for the Saviour, need a fresh revelation of Jesus’ power to save or need to repent of thinking someone you know is too big a sinner for Jesus to save?
- Who can we show love to this Christmas, by making room in our lives and celebrations for them?