RAP SHEET 4/17/22
Scripture: John 3:16 / Luke 15:11-24
ICE BREAKER: What is your fondest Easter memory?
This Sunday we celebrated Easter and finally made our way to John 3:16 after 3 weeks of setting context for it!
16 For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
In this famous verse, we see Jesus revealing the heart of God to us in a way that fundamentally would change the way people viewed our Heavenly Father. Instead of a spiteful, judgmental God - Jesus showed us a God of extraordinary love, grace, and mercy.
What misconceptions have you held (or do you hold) about God?
How has an emphasis on God's wrath, without proper understanding of His love, affected your life?
To help further flesh-out how Jesus revealed the Father, we went to a parable he told in Luke chapter 15. The Prodigal son is one of the best-known of all the stories Jesus told. In fact, we covered it, not long ago, in our MetaPHOR series!
It is the story of a son who unrightfully claims his inheritance early, liquidates his father's possessions, takes his money and moves to a far land to live in Debauchery. The magnitude of his offense would have caused the kindest of Jewish fathers to instantly disown their son to save face with their community. It doesn't take long for the fun and the funds to run out and the prodigal son to find himself in absolute destitution.
The son hatches a plan to humble himself, go back home, and beg his father to allow him to live out his days as a servant on the family estate. He is not sure it will work, but his other option is certain death in a foreign land.
The son finally made his way on to the road to his old property when, shockingly, he saw his father RUNNING towards him! The father threw his arms around his wayward child and welcomed him to where he truly belonged. The son tried to start his rehearsed speech, but the father shut it down.
"22 … ‘Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. " The father exclaimed!
23 Then bring the fattened calf and slaughter it, and let’s celebrate with a feast,
24 because this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was LOST and is found!’ So they began to celebrate.
We learned that the word LOST that the Father used to celebrate his son coming home, is the same word Jesus used in John 3:16. For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not BE LOST but have eternal life.
John 3:16 is the Prodigal Son in a Sentence. It is hope for you and me. It reveals the true heart of our Father. He is waiting and watching, scanning the horizon, hoping for any sign of movement that his prodigal children are ready to come home.
Easter is when Jesus cemented his legitimate power to show us God's heart. Jesus called his own death, burial, and resurrection long before it took place - and then pulled it off! We can trust what he tells us about God, because on Easter he proved to BE God in human flesh.
How we view God has massive impact on our lives. If we see him as vengeful and angry, we will live motivated by fear. Jesus spoke against this and even said that true love drives fear out of our life! If we view God as the loving father from the Prodigal son, we can live in confidence that our father is both just and perfectly loving and merciful.
HONESTLY, how do you view God?
When you sin, are you afraid he will disown you or not forgive you?
Do you find yourself trying to bargain with God (earning his love with your works)?
God is calling you into a new understanding of who HE is. A THREE16 relationship where you can confidently pursue your purpose under the watch and care of a Heavenly Father who loves you!
WHAT WILL A CORRECT VIEW OF THE FATHER DO FOR YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE?
As you reflect on Easter, take time to thank Jesus for what he did for you. He proved John 3:16 by fulfilling his mission to give his life, so that we could live. Ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of the actual nature of God and to push out any lies that we have believed about Him.