Hello Project Ezra! We are blessed that you can join us again this week. This week’s reading includes what used to be the best known verse in the Bible. I think Matthew 7:1 “Judge not or you too will be judged” is likely the best known now, but that’s another blog post! This chapter is very much about the centrality of Christ in our salvation, and about what Christ said about himself in relation to our salvation. It also speaks very strongly about God’s love, but not in the general “God is love” manner that we hear most frequently from the world. It speaks not just that God loved us, but specifically how God loved us, through the giving of the Son to die on the cross so that through his sacrifice we would not be condemned. But it is also made clear that God’s forgiveness is not simply given to all. It is given to those who believe in the Son. Those who love evil and thus hate the light will remain under God’s wrath. This is a hard, and extremely unpopular, truth in this day and age, and therefore needs to be specifically emphasized. John 3 is the perfect chapter for it because it gives the entire picture, both wrath and grace. Here are some points to ponder as you prepare to share the gospel:
As you prepare to read, remember that our ultimate goal must always be to exalt Christ, as John the Baptist did in this chapter. He must become more and we must become less.
You must be born again to see the kingdom of God. We must be born of the Spirit, which is a supernatural act.
The Son of Man must be lifted up (the cross), so whoever believes in him may have eternal life. Through the cross justice is satisfied, so we need to look to the cross to be saved.
Whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. Only through Jesus is eternal life available.
Jesus was sent not to condemn, but to save. He who believes is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already. Regardless of what we believe, apart from Christ we all stand condemned before a perfect and holy God.
People loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. People do not want their evil works exposed. Encourage them to step into the light and see themselves in truth, as God sees them, so they see their need for repentance.
He who believes has eternal life, he who does not obey will not see life, the wrath of God remains on him. Obedience does not bring eternal life, but it an indication, evidence of eternal life. God’s wrath remains on the disobedient.
We have a little less than a month before First John on July 4th. Please consider inviting people starting now. That way they have time to pray, rehearse, and mentally and spiritually prepare themselves for the reading. As many of you know, stepping out of your comfort zone to read the word is tough, and we will be spiritually attacked, so we need to start soaking it in prayer now!
All for His glory!