Text: John 3: 1-21
Focus: John 3: 16
In this conversation Jesus emphasises that it is not obvious that you are part of the kingdom of God. You must first be "born of the Spirit" (vs. 6). This means that God must renew your heart and the result is genuine love.
It is easy for the Pharisees to follow a set of rules. Adhering to those rules, however, does not show what is going on in your heart. You can do many wonderful things and still not love the Lord. In that sense, the words of Jesus are almost shocking when He says that there will be people who say: “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (also see Matt. 7: 22-23).
We also see this in the Pharisees. They were religious, but they killed Jesus. Similarly, we may go to church, but our lives do not show that we love our neighbour. Our love is nothing more than that of the Gentiles.
Only in Jesus do we see true love that comes from the born-again heart. This love does not seek its own interest, nor is it self-centred. True love focuses on the interest of the other person.
The love we see in God is totally different from what we see in this life. Our love is so measured. We are only willing to love in so far as people are willing to love us, and then it should not demand too much of us either. Often the reason for divorce is that people say the love they felt for the other person is no longer there… We want the emotion without the sacrifice that love requires.
However, Jesus provides us with the water and Spirit we need to experience this heart-changing love. Therefore, He reminds Nicodemus of the serpent in the wilderness (vs. 14).
The peoples’ sin revealed that they did not love God and therefore the Lord sent serpents among them. When they realised that they had sinned, the Lord commanded Moses to make a golden serpent and place it on a pole. Everyone that lifted their eyes to the top in dependence, was healed.
Jesus' blood is the water we need to cleanse us from sin. We stand in dependence before Him and He gives us His Spirit to open the gospel of truth to us. The Spirit reveals the depth of Jesus' love for us. He was hanged on a cross to pay for our sins. Only when we lifted our eyes to see Him, will we be saved.
Our love must be nourished by the love we see in Christ. It is unlimited and abundant. He does not come to judge us as we deserve; He comes to save us (vs. 17). This saving love strengthens us in faith and encourages us to love others as well (also see 1 John 4: 19-20).
It is a love that does not give up or condemn. It is a love that builds up. A love that forgives, helps and teaches, time and again.
Our love should not be determined by what people do for us, but by what Christ has done for us. We have to lift our eyes up to see Him!
Therefore, do not say that you will love if this or that changes. Remember, true love is to love simply because you have received undeserved grace in Christ.
This is how a born-again heart reasons!