July 19, 2015
“What’s Love Got to Do With It?”
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”
We just concluded a week of Vacation Bible School where we tried to answer the question: “What’s Love Got to Do With it?” John 3:16 is the gospel in a nutshell. But one of my favorite verses is the one that follows: “For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”
Some sermons stick in the mind for years. I once heard a preacher speak of the passion some religious groups have for the end of the world. Considering how God loved God’s creation and held it to be good, the preacher could not accept that God is in a hurry to destroy it. Rather, God is always at work trying to save the world. Otherwise, how could God’s beloved people live constructively in a world that was inherently evil and deserving of destruction?
John 3:17 is the tree on which the nutshell gospel grows. In Jesus, God, God’s self, was incarnate in flesh, giving honor to the flesh even as God honored God’s works in the very act of creating them. The world is the proving ground in which human life, embodied in mortal flesh, briefly works out its service to God.
As surely as the second verse follows the first, so does the meaning of the first lead inevitably to the second. To believe is not an act of the mind apart from action of life. Those who believe cease to condemn the world, for we are in effect condemning God’s commitment in Christ Jesus. Instead, we become co-saviors of the world. Our task: to see the merit in the world which prompted God’s willingness to become incarnate in Jesus.
To our youth let me say that God loves you so much that God has placed you in this world at this particular time, not to condemn and destroy you, but so that you might develop the finer qualities that God knows are within you. Having done that, you will help to make the world the good place God saw when God created it.
“No one rises to low expectations.” . . . Les Brown