April 1, 2013 9:58am
I actually didn't go to church yesterday, Easter Sunday. I knew the church will be crowded with Christmas-and-Easter-only-churchgoers, so, I decided to stay home. (I almost didn't get a seat last year!) I went for the Good Friday service though, and it was really good!
Was sharing with FB friends vids and verses during this past Lenten Season for those who observe it. There's very little enthusiasm but I know that some are really earnestly seeking. I can see that some people really believe in John 3: 16 (For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.) For who has not heard of Jesus? And who has not heard of that verse? If you grew up with that knowledge, you know that you know that you believe. But are we saved?
When I hear / see comments like, "I hope we're really saved..." etc., I know where people stand. They are not sure. Well, thank God they are not deluded. Because if we really search the Scriptures we know that the word "believe" in John 3:16 is really loaded. That word in the Bible means "knowing and loving" God. And for God, loving Him is the same as obeying him. That's His love language.
John 14:21 He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by my Father and I will love him and manifest myself to him. (NASB)
Well, you can't possibly love a person you don't know, so, you've got to know him first. And according to Jesus, having eternal life means knowing Him.
John 7: 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
So, I guess the real Gospel verse we should be preaching is in:
Hebrews 5: 8,9
Although He was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him...
Or we can reword John 3:16 into:
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son so that whoever loves Him back shall not perish but have eternal life. (my paraphase in bold)
It is a Gospel of Peace from a God who is love.
The Bible has many radical teachings which not many can believe and accept. This is what sets the saved and unsaved apart. Many actually believe but whether they love God and neighbor, and persevere to the end, is another thing. Believing, in the popular sense of the word, is only the beginning. That is the reason we need to meditate on the love of God expressed by Jesus' sacrifice for us at the cross in Calvary 2000 years ago. Knowing just how much Jesus had to suffer and what He had to give up to save us, does soften our hearts. And then maybe we will be inspired to turn our backs to the world and embrace God instead.
Friendship with the world is enmity with God. (James 4:4)
1 John 2: 15-17
15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
It is impossible for us to love and obey God without turning our backs to the world. We are in the world but we cannot be of the world. So, all year round, we have to remain at the foot of the cross of Jesus, not just be there on Holy Week or Easter Sunday, or Christmas. They say it's Christmas everyday! I say it's even better if it's Lent everyday!
2 It is better to go to a house of mourning
than to go to a house of feasting,
for death is the destiny of everyone;
the living should take this to heart.
It is in dying to our old selves that we are able to live a new life. That is what the Resurrection of Jesus is able to accomplish in us - our dying and rebirth. It also means the dying of the world within us, and the birth of inner eyes that constantly gaze on God.
If we were in our mother's womb for 9 months in preparation for a lifetime of 60 or 90 years on earth, what could this earthly life be preparing us for? The Bible talks about eternity - no end. In mathematics, 60 or 90 years is really insignificant or equivalent to zero when compared to eternity. But thank God, He actually cares for every blimp of life on His radar in all eternity - every tear, every emotion, every smile and laughter, every thought, every dream and aspiration we ever have in that blimp is precious to Him. So, in every minute we're here on earth He is actually asking: " Would you care to spend eternity with me?" Oh yes, He does. If we search for Him with all our heart and mind and strength, we will find that He does.