Summary: God loves people desperately. People are lost without him and they need Jesus. We need to have more of God’s heart for the lost.
God’s Heart for the Lost
Do you remember the commercial that was running just before, and during the Olympics? The one that had snapshots of different people playing or watching hockey throughout the country? Everybody yells out “He shoots, he scores!” The tag line at the end is, “If we all shout it loud enough, they’ll hear us in Salt Lake.”
We as Canadians can get pretty excited about a hockey game, and even one shot on net. Luke 15:10 says that the angels get really excited about one person becoming a Christian. I don’t think they yell “He shoots, he scores!” but it does say “there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
I have to admit, that I don’t always have this kind of passion over reaching people for Jesus.
A few weeks ago I was watching a movie called Indocine – it is a movie about Vietnam under French colonial rule. As I watched I realized that while I had passion for the people’s political freedom, but I had very little passion for their Spiritual freedom – of course the movie was designed to raise our political hackles, and not our spiritual ones, but all the same there were thousands of lost people on the screen and I did not feel a lot of passion for their salvation.
Closer to home, often I find it difficult to persevere in prayer for my neighbours and for their salvation. Again, I like them, I wish them well, I’d like to know Jesus, but my passion for their spiritual welfare is not at the top of my mind.
If I’m like this as the pastor, I can imagine that many of us are the same way – we would like to have God’s heart for the lost, but we can’t seem to work it up. What I want to do today is grasp God’s heart for the lost, and then pray that we would receive his heart for our fiends, nieghbours, coworkers, loved ones, and even people we have not yet met.
People Matter to God
John 3:16 has almost become a throw away verse for people who have grown up in the evangelical church. Most of us can rattle it off like it is our phone number, and yet I don’t think that we will ever quite grasp the depth of meaning in this verse, the profundity of this action the immensity of this love that God has for us.
For God so loved the world that he sent his only Son…
Pam and I did all that we could to make sure that Hayley could go to French immersion Kindergarten without having to take a bus all the way over to Dufferin Street. I just could handle the thought of my little girl having to take a bus through the city each day – I love her, and I was afraid for her.
You can well imagine how the mother and fathers of the men and women of the armed forces in Afganistan felt as they sent their loved sons and daughters off to war, and how some are feeling brining them back in coffins.
We are imperfect in our love! Between the Father and the Son there is perfect love, perfect unity, and he doesn’t send him on a bus, or even to Afganistan as a warrior. No, he sends his one and only son, his beloved one, to be a baby without a home in a land where the king wants to kill him, where the people don’t understand him and eventually kill him.
God send His loved Son from his throne to live in the middle of all our human sin and squalor, not just to live there, but to die there.
Verse 14 alludes to the fact that Jesus would have to die on a cross to bring us back into relationship with the God who loves us. God loves us – the whole world of us so much that he sends his son, not onto a battlefield where he had the chance of dying, but as a sheep is sent to the slaughterhouse, with no chance of survival.
God created us to love us and be loved by us to live in close knit relationship with us, but instead we decided to go another way and we have done things to break that relationship. In fact the bible tells us that because we have done what is wrong, we deserve death.
God sends his son not just to teach us how to live right, but to die in our place – that it how much he loves us.
The love that the father and Son have for us comes so clear to me in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus is about to be arrested, tried and put to death in one of the worst ways possible. He prays in the Garden, “is there another way?” He says is there another way to bring people back into relationship with you? He never says “they aren’t worth it.”