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Does God really love me?
God loves you because it’s His character. He loves you not because of duty, but because it’s who He is and what He does. In Jeremiah 31:2a He says “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love.” and in John 3:16 the Bible says “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. The word “Love” in Hebrew is AHAVAH and pronounced Ah Ha Vah, and yes God has AHAVAH for you.
What is the Gospel?
Specifically speaking, the Gospel is the good news about Jesus. The story of who He is and what He did for us.
1. God’s Design
God created the world. We can see beauty, purpose and evidence of design all around us. It is impossible to ignore. Just look at the intricate design of plants, the way the moon influences the tide, or the ever-changing colors in a sunset. The Bible tells us that God originally designed a world that worked perfectly — where everything and everyone fit together in harmony. God created us for a purpose. He created us to know Him and to enjoy Him; to live and bring glory and honor to Him.
Read: Genesis 1:31, Psalm 19:1 & Ephesians 2:10
2. Our Brokenness (Sin)
If we look around at society, it is easy to see that humanity is not bringing glory to God. Rather, there is a brokenness in the world. We see it in the evil of terrorism, we see it in war, violence, abuse, deceit and betrayal. In ignorance to God, we could search high and low for the reason of the brokenness, but the truth is, beneath it all, the problem is spiritual.
Really, we are the problem. We have not lived for God, we have not followed His rules and made up our own. We have not valued a relationship with Him. The Bible calls this sin and it means to run from God, trying to do life our own way. Sin is taking the title of God and putting it upon ourselves. It is because of sin that we as humanity have become hostile, not only towards God, but towards others. The Bible says the consequence of sin is death.
Read: Romans 1:25, Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23 & Proverbs 14:12
3. The Solution (Jesus)
Brokenness leads to a place of realizing a need for help; a remedy, some Good News. God, because of His mercy and great love for us, did not leave us in our brokenness. He sent His Son, Jesus as a solution to our sin problem. Jesus came to us, lived a perfect sin-free life (exampling life by God’s design) and willingly chose to die in our place to pay the penalty for our sin. He then defeated death and rose to life. He did for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves.
Simply hearing this good news is not enough, we must act on it and admit our sinful brokenness, ask God for forgiveness and stop trusting in ourselves. This is when we can begin to understand God’s original design for our lives and the lives of others.
Read: John 3:16, Colossians 2:14, Mark 1:15 & Ephesians 2:8–9
Is Following Jesus Easy or Hard?
No, but here’s the thing: Loving God and loving people—all people, all the time—is where it gets complicated (hard). We live with broken people in broken systems, which create a broken world. You and I know that life isn’t easy, just like Jesus promised. Yet, we find hope in our broken world by trusting Jesus when he says, “I am with you always”. So Jesus’ teaching is easy because it’s simple. Love God; love people. But that doesn’t mean we’ll have a trouble-free life—quite the opposite.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Will I have to give up all my old friends if I follow Jesus?
No, not necessarily, and in fact, God may want to use you to point them to Jesus.
And if Jesus does change your life, who will see it more clearly than your old friends? And who will they listen to more openly than you? Yes, some of them may laugh at you—but down inside, most of them will respect you for what you’ve done, and they’ll know they would be better people also if they’d give their lives to Jesus also. Don’t let them drag you down or tempt you into sin—but ask God to use you to tell them about Jesus.