Tuesday, May 22, 2018
What does God want? What is THE most important thing? Is it loving one another? God does want us to love each other. After all, Jesus did say, "Love the Lord Your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and will. And the second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hinge on this." Yet that is inspired by something else. Does God want us to follow His will? He does. Again doing what is in line with God's will, based upon the Ten Commandments, is very important. It defines our love. However, there is even one thing more important than loving God, loving one another, and doing the Commandments. Jesus tells us.
John 3:14: [Jesus is saying to Nicodemus,] "Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life."
Moses fashioned a snake from bronze as a tool of God's forgiveness and life. The ancient Israelites sinned against God. God sent fiery serpents amongst the people. If they were bit, they died. As the punishment for sin, which is death by the way, was being realized, the people came to Moses and confessed their sin and disobedience to the will of God. They pleaded for forgiveness so that they would live. God's plan was to have the bronze serpent Moses made to be put on a pole, or a "tree." All the people who were bitten by the snakes had to do was look at the bronze serpent and believe that God is forgiving, and they would not die. God gave them life.
That is the foundation of why Jesus said what He did to Nicodemus. This is a key verse to what God wants. God wants us to look to the Son of Man, AKA Jesus, as He is lifted up on the cross. When we believe in Jesus, the one time sacrifice for all of our sins, the resurrection and the life, we will not die. We will live now as forgiven sons and daughters of God, AND live eternally with the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Our lives as Christians, AKA Disciples of Jesus, hinges on this truth. I love because God first loved me and sent Jesus into my life to sacrifice Himself for me. I adhere to the Ten Commandments because 1. Jesus did them perfectly because I cannot, and 2. I am forgiven and renewed and restored to the status of Adam and Eve before the fall.
Most people don't get this. People do not see the sacrifice of Jesus as the key to forgiveness and life and a relationship with God. Most people still think, "If I do good to others and 'love my enemies,' I will be saved." That's bogus. It's backwards. The key to life is "believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved." This is what God wants. He wants us freed from sin, death, the influence of Satan, and hell. Loving God, loving people, and following the Ten Commandments is based upon, "I know that my Redeemer lives." God, lead us to more fully believe in what Jesus did for us so that we will live for You, amen.
Pastor Robert Hemsath joined Faith Lutheran Church and School as the Senior Pastor in January 2017. Pastor Hemsath comes to FLC from Christ the King Lutheran Church in Waxahachie, TX. He has also served congregations in Aberdeen, ID and Pocatello, ID. He has been a Lutheran pastor for the past 20 years.