Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Reason God Sent His Son (Jn. 3:17)

This is my personal summary of the preaching of Rev Dr Stephen Tong on 1st November 2009 in True Way Presbyterian Church. It was preached in Chinese with English translation.

John 3:17

Moses lifted up the bronze snake in the desert and all the victims of snake bites would be healed by looking at that snake. This became a representation of how Jesus would die for us as a sinless person. The Jews never understood the message of salvation in this event. Jesus used this example to parallel how the Son of Man must be lifted up to bring the saving grace leading to eternal life. Those who believe in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

These are the last words of Jesus to Nicodemus. Verse 16 onwards was written by John.

John 3:17 records that God had sent His Son into the world not to condemn the world but to save the world through Him. Between God and man there is an Intermediary. It was man’s initiative to go against the commandment of God by eating the forbiden fruit, hence death is the doing of man. But it was God who initiated the reconciliation. God did not forsake man. It is man who forsakes God. If God does not rebuild this relationship, we can never return to God. He sent His only Son into the world. This is a very important verse in the doctrine of salvation. God wants to save us, not to judge us.

The Old Testament reveals the covenant of judgement and the New Testament the covenant of grace. God sent His Son not to condemn the world but to save the world through Him. From the context of this verse, we see the true motive of morality. It is to do the will of God with great conscience. It is not just a matter of behavior, but of motives. The state of your heart is more important than what you have actually done. If you do good but your heart is evil God will not be pleased. God wants our heart because all our actions come from our heart. In this verse, we also see the motive of God. We see the heart of God. He is always actively good. With the most holy and pure motive He gave us His Son. When we understand this, we will realise how evil we have been in our motives. The appearance of Christ in history demonstrates the goodness of God. Christ had come not to criticise, not to judge, but to save.

There are people who are always criticising and finding fault with others. By pinpointing others’ errors, people want to establish their self-righteousness. There are many capable people in the world but very few great ones. Many can identify errors, but find it difficult to tolerate. It is easy tell others what is wrong but it is hard to bring those in error back to the truth. This is not only about the doctrine of salvation, it is an important reminder for us to become like Jesus. How would you respond to a church or a pastor or a congregation that is not good? Why do you say it is not good? Inwardly you already have a standard by which you measure. But is your standard valid? Is this standard borrowed from others or you figure it out yourself?

We need to learn so that wherever we are we can contribute instead of criticise, we can sacrifice rather than demand. When a person has more demand than sacrifice, he will be arrogant. When a person sacrifices more than he criticises he will be considered a great person full of love. Nowadays many people simply go around judging others but forgeting that they themselves are part of the problem too. For example, people who complain of unclean environment but are also contributing to pollution. So they are not worthy to judge.

Jesus left His throne in heaven above and was born in a manger. He did not contribute to any problem. He did not by His coming make the world worse. He is sinless. But despite that He did not come to judge either. Instead, He came to save the world.

The world needs peace, love, goodness, mercy and compassion. Your arrogant judgement and criticism do not help. Men’s weaknesses do not need your judgement. When you look around the world and you understand why your Lord has come, you will change. People are bitter because they have no love. And Jesus is worthy to judge, and yet He did not judge, instead He came to save.

All of us make the same mistake. We have greater power to judge than to contribute. A person that criticise others for being dump usually are guilty of the same mistakes. Remember that when you oppose God, His solution is to send His Son to die for you so that you can be reconciled to Him. Today which of us will sacrifice our son so that our enemies will be reconciled to God? We can see how unwilling we are to sacrifice ourselves.

What is the point of simply judging? The world will not become better by simply listening to our judgement. How much have you contributed to your own family? What have you done to your community? What have you done for your church? If you only seek to be served, you are like the devil, and yet you expect people to serve like Christ. God did not send His son to condemn the world but to save the world through Him. Are you willing to follow the example of Jesus wherever you are? Sacrifice yourself that others might be blessed because of you.


At 8:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

good for the christians life
thanks that your preparing and sharing as the helping for the student thaks
be able to pass to high and high to His missionary


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