“For the LORD your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them.” (Deu 4:31)
It really disturbs me when I hear preachers talk to struggling believers as if they were sinners going to hell, and then treat sinners as if they were dogs. Who is the one who would abuse the very ones that God loves so deeply? Jesus did not tell Peter to beat His sheep. He told Peter to love them, to care for them, to feed them.
The Father did not send His Son into the world to lose sinners. He sent Him to save sinners. And saving sinners is not a one time deal. Jesus came into our lives to save us from all our sins, from all our mistakes, from all our failures, and from all our stumbles in life.
Listen to what the angel spoke to Joseph, about the Coming birth of Jesus:
“…an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.‘” (Mat 1:20-21)
The Transforming Power of God
God has given us a message that must be clearly preached. Preachers are not sent to condemn the world. The world is already under condemnation. The message that God sent us to preach is the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. This is the message that God sends to broken humanity?
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (Joh 3:16-17)
Did you notice the two statements that begin with, “For God…”
Look closely to what these statements address: God’s love for the world, and, the mission of God’s Son.
In my forty-seven years in the ministry I have often seen how the message of God’s love for all of humanity works to transform the most sinful of lives.
People need to know that Jesus loves them, and that He loves them without condition. He loves them enough to come and live with them, and to help them work out all the details of their lives.
This does not mean that anyone can be saved aside from receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. What it means it that Jesus is the eternal Savior. Jesus is the Father’s love sent into our world. Jesus came to love us into the kingdom of God.
To believe in and receive Jesus Christ as truly God’s Son, that He died, was resurrected, that He ascended, and is Lord, is what brings a person into God’s family on earth. Each member of the family is given a new heart to love God. Not a heart that is incapable of sinning, but a heart that hurts deeply when sin enters the picture.
What many do not realize is that sin of itself is contrary to the very God-given nature of the child of God. Yes, a believer can and does sin at times, but sin for a believer deeply grieves their heart. Thus we often come to the Lord for our cleansing and forgiveness.
I must again speak of …
A Shock Story Needs a Retelling
I never tire of sharing this story. I hope my readers to never tire of hearing it. The reason I often share it is because of the shock that I received from an old Indian.
So, here it goes again –
I’ve been in and out of Latin American countries on mission trips many times. On this occasion we were among the Mayan Indians in the mountains of Belize. Walking along a mountain trail with some of our group, I noticed an old Indian had stopped by the side of the trail to let us pass. That’s when it happened.
The Lord nudged my heart. I stopped next to the old Indian, and said, “Sabes tu que Christo te ama?” Instantly his hands went to his face and he began to weep. I could hardly believe my eyes. Indians tend to be very stoic people. Why was he weeping? The only thing I said to him was, “Do you know that Jesus Christ loves you?”
You see, these Indians were steeped in idolatry. Fear controlled their lives. They had mountain gods, and witches, and dark spirits at work in their lives. The only other religion they were exposed to was Catholicism. But this religion said little about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
I assured him as best I could about how much God truly loved Him. The old Indian’s eyes were still wet with tears when we parted. But now I understood why the Holy Spirit impressed me to make that statement.
The love of Jesus is the message of the cross. The old Indian did not need to hear a message of condemnation. He lived in a state of condemnation. He needed to know that God truly loved him.
When as I preached that evening in the open mountain building, I became very aware of the oppressing spirits. The darkness felt strong. Yet the message had to go forth, and it did. More people were added to God’s holy kingdom.
Was Satan mad? You bet. Could he do anything about it? Not a thing in the world.
What’s the issue? It is simple. Jesus did not come into the world to lose people. He came to save the lost ones. Jesus is a great Savior. He is a Savior that finishes what He begins. This is why the Bible says that Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith.
Shall I go on? Let me share when…
A Young Man Saves Others
I stood behind the casket of a young man. It was at one of the larger churches in Honduras. The story was very sad. The Honduran army had conscripted him. They often do this by picking up young men off of the streets. Anyway, this young man was a Christian. While serving in the Army a number of soldiers beat him severely. In the hospital he was given a blood transfusion, but the blood had HIV. This became the cause of his death.
No, I don’t have any answers as to the whys of life. But again I preached the simple message of God’s love. And once again the people crowded across the front. They wanted to know and to meet the Savior that loved them. All these people were under a religious system that had little to say about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Yes, Jesus accepted every one of them.
This young man went to be with Jesus. Many more were saved at his funeral than had been saved during his short life. His testimony for Jesus became the gathering point for hundreds to be at his funeral.
Is this not the story of many Christians? Did not the first Christian martyr, Stephen, die with the testimony of Jesus on his lips?
Have you ever wondered why Jesus attracted so many of the outcasts of life? Study the gospels and you will see the Father’s heart as it was revealed in Jesus. Jesus loved people. It was His love that attracted the people to Him. He loved them. He healed them. He shared with them how to live.
I think you are getting the picture. What is it we need to understand? If the gospel of Jesus Christ is not about the love of God, it is no gospel at all. The gospel is good news. It is happy tidings. Why would God send His Son into the world to die for our sins, if it was not because He loved us so much. There is no other gospel.
It is the gospel of God’s love that melts the human heart.
Yes, Judgement Has Its Place
Yes, judgment has its place in the message of the cross. Sin must be dealt with. For those who reject Jesus Christ, the message must become clear on the issue of judgment.
The Bible does speak often of judgment. Listen to a further reading in John 3:
“He who believes in Him [Jesus] is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
“This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.” (Joh 3:18-19)
And as for sin, yes, we are free to choose sin if we wish. However, we are not free to choose the consequences. And to reject Jesus Christ is to live under a sentence of judgment.
There are more incidences where God instructed me to speak of His love. Here is another story where the Lord said…
Tell Them that I Love Them
We were in a barrio (village) south of Reynosa. I had a Mexican-American gospel singing group with me. We walked through the barrio inviting the people to a service that evening. A wealthy Christian woman had made her courtyard available for our use.
The courtyard filled up. This time I am startled but for a different reason. I had never seen physical conditions of that nature. One person literally had tumors hanging from her body.
I asked the Lord what He wanted me to say. He said that I was to tell them three things.
First, tell them that I love them.
Then tell them that I want to heal their lives.
And tell them that they must learn to walk in His ways and not in the ways of darkness.
That barrio saw our first church raised up in Mexico. It was all a result of telling the people who Jesus Christ truly loved, that He wanted to share their lives. Yes, once again we saw peoples giving their hearts and lives to Jesus.
There is so much more I would like to share, but I think the point has been well established.
What is the point? The point is that we must never give up on people. God doesn’t.
While you think about that, take time for this song by Chris Tomlin, ‘Unfailing Love.’
In Christ always,