The notes today have been provided by Hannah.
I almost feel bad that I’ve got all of my favourite passages to look at. Was it a fix? Our passage today contains my favourite verse, you can read it here; John 3:1-21.
When I was fourteen I went to Spring Harvest, for those of you who don’t know it’s a Christian conference for all ages that lasts 5 days each Easter. We used to go every year as a family. I became a Christian there when someone preached on John 3:16, they talked about how loved we were and I finally caved. That week was special for so many reasons, at the time I was feeling deeply unloved and self-conscious – I think that was the main barrier for me to come back to God.
The day I became a Christian the guy who preached prayed that we would know that God loves us individually, that he would show us his love. He said we could replace “world” with our own names. For God so loved Hannah…
I remember praying and thinking “I’m not sure that’s true for me, that he loves me that much”. That day I lost my phone and me and my dad had to walk around the whole site looking for it. Eventually my dad’s phone rang and it was my phone calling him, a woman had found it and dialled “Dad”. We went to get it and as we were walking over I realised that she shouldn’t have been able to use the phone as it had run out of credit, I told my dad and when we picked it up he offered to refund the woman for the money she’d put on the phone. I remember she looked confused and said she didn’t put any on it, she just saw it and picked it up. When I phoned the number to check my credit it said I had £3.16 available. I know, lots of people will think that it’s a coincidence and someone else had used the phone but I know that God was telling me that he loved me. God was speaking to me that day and I’ve held on to that ever since. Eleven years later it’s still my favourite verse and we’ve named a youth group after it (Three16).
For God so loved [you] that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
For those of you who struggle with guilt – take a look at verse 17. He didn’t come to condemn you but to save you. In the words of J.John “He didn’t come to rub it in, he came to rub it out”. If you, like Nicodemus, are not sure whether you’ve been born again why not make that commitment today? It comes highly recommended!
For those of us who have read this passage a hundred times and have perhaps (like me) allowed it to lose a little bit of its impact on us, let’s remember the depth of God’s love, let’s remember that he has a purpose, a perfect plan and a safe eternity for us and commit to listening to Him.
“Crown him the Lord of love;
Behold his hands and side,
Those wounds, yet visible above, in beauty glorified.
All hail, Redeemer, hail!
For thou hast died for me;
Thy praise and glory shall not fail throughout eternity.” (Matthew Bridges)