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Ambassador of Love By Randy Kilgore

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1 Ambassador of Love By Randy Kilgore on Thu May 12, 2016 11:10 am

LesBrewer

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Ambassador of Love By Randy Kilgore





Read: John 3:9-21


For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:17

In my work as a chaplain, some people occasionally ask if I am willing to give them some additional spiritual help. While I’m happy to spend time with anyone who asks for help, I often find myself doing more learning than teaching. This was especially true when one painfully honest new Christian said to me with resignation, “I don’t think it’s a good idea for me to read the Bible. The more I read what God expects from me, the more I judge others who aren’t doing what it says.”

As he said this, I realized that I was at least partly responsible for instilling this judgmental spirit in him. At that time, one of the first things I did with those new to faith in Jesus was to introduce them to things they should no longer be doing. In other words, instead of showing them God’s love and letting the Holy Spirit reshape them, I urged them to “behave like a believer.”

Now I was gaining a new appreciation for John 3:16-17. Jesus’ invitation to believe in Him in verse 16 is followed by these words. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

Jesus didn’t come to condemn us. But by giving these new Christians a checklist of behaviors, I was teaching them to condemn themselves, which then led them to judge others. Instead of being agents of condemnation, we are to be ambassadors of God’s love and mercy.




Father, help me not to judge others today. Let me learn this until it changes me into someone more like You.

If Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world, that’s probably not our mission either!




INSIGHT:

In Jesus’s conversation with Nicodemus, a key feature of His teaching explores the role of the Holy Spirit. In fact, John’s gospel record refers to the Spirit seventeen times. How does John show the importance of the Spirit when telling the story of Jesus?

John’s first mention of the Spirit comes at the baptism of Jesus, where the appearance of the Holy Spirit (in the form of a dove) validates Jesus as the beloved Son of the Father (1:32–33). Today’s text continues this unfolding explanation of the Spirit’s role by showing Him to be pivotal to our salvation (3:5–8). In His conversation with the woman at the well, Jesus goes on to describe the part the Holy Spirit plays in worship (4:23–24).

While mentioning along the way that the Spirit would be given as a gift to those who trust in Christ (3:34; 6:63; 7:39), the major thrust of Christ’s teaching on the Holy Spirit came the night before the cross, in what is often called “the upper room discourse.” This extended message would be Jesus’s final teaching time with His disciples before His passion. There, Jesus shares the character of the Spirit (truth, 14:17), the role of the Spirit (helper, 14:26), and the mission of the Spirit (testify, 15:26; guide, 16:13).

This comprehensive Gift would become the very presence of God in the lives of His children to shape, lead, teach, and encourage us in the heart and mind of our Father. Following His resurrection, Jesus would even prepare His followers for the day of Pentecost when the coming of the Spirit would take place (20:22). Clearly, John wants us to know that the Holy Spirit is of absolute importance to our walk with Christ.
Reflection Questions

Can you find other texts in the New Testament that describe the work of the Holy Spirit on our behalf? Try to find verses that speak of His role of identifying us as children of God, perhaps a text that shows how He guides us in life. Maybe even a text on how our failings and wrong choices affect the Holy Spirit. Learning more about the person and role of the Spirit can better equip us to respond to His ongoing work in our lives!



..................................................





John 3:9-21 King James Version (KJV)

9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?

10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?

11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.

12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?

13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

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