Participants: Charles Byrd (Host), Andrea Endries, Levi Longoria, Stephen Fowler
Series Code: THL
Program Code: THL000007
00:03 I don't know how dark the night was.
00:06 As he made his way out of the Old City gate
00:09 down the hill and into the Kidron valley.
00:12 You see, Nicodemus had a problem on his hands.
00:16 There was this new teacher and his teachings,
00:18 his doctrines weren't at all matching up
00:21 with what he was teaching.
00:23 Nicodemus was not the only person
00:25 aware of that teacher from Nazareth.
00:27 The whole Sanhedrin was troubled by this new Rabbi.
00:31 I guess if he had to put a label on this Jesus fellow.
00:35 He'd have to just call him up a liberal.
00:38 Jesus was certainly disturbing the status quo.
00:41 He was the type who would forgive a prostitute.
00:44 Jesus, who was known to sit down and eat with sinners,
00:48 this Jesus even embraced publicans,
00:50 tax collectors and had made one of them His disciple.
00:54 Now, the Sanhedrin did not like it.
00:57 And Nicodemus might have just written Jesus off
01:00 as another radical trouble maker.
01:02 Except for one thing or make that two.
01:07 First of, Daniel's time prophecy was absolutely clear.
01:12 This was the very time Messiah should show up.
01:15 And there really weren't any good alternatives
01:18 other than Jesus that fit the time prophecy.
01:21 The second thing that troubled Nicodemus was the miracles.
01:25 If he was going to be honest with himself,
01:28 he just couldn't get around the miracles.
01:31 Jesus actually made blind people see
01:34 and the lame people walk.
01:37 Others had seen him touch a leper restoring his skin
01:41 to perfect health and reports were still coming in,
01:44 that He had actually raised the dead to life.
01:48 A fake and a fraud couldn't do real miracles.
01:52 And surely, the God of creation,
01:54 the God of the Jews wouldn't answer the prayer of a sinner.
01:58 He greatly desired an interview with Jesus
02:02 but shrank from seeking Him openly.
02:05 It would be too humiliating for a ruler of the Jews
02:07 to acknowledge himself in sympathy
02:09 with his new teacher.
02:11 So to avoid the scorn and denunciation
02:13 from his fellow members on the Sanhedrin,
02:16 he resolved upon a secret interview.
02:19 He made some special inquires and discovered
02:21 that Jesus often retired at night to the Mount of Olives.
02:25 He waited until the city was hushed in slumber
02:28 before setting out on his secret errand.
02:33 Nicodemus was about to learn something that would shake
02:36 the entire world with a clap of truth
02:39 that would make the largest thunderstorm
02:41 seem like a whisper.
02:44 Nicodemus was about to learn that love is a "P" word.
03:40 Love is a "P" word.
03:42 Clever attention you get I know but, it really is true.
03:46 Let me see if I can set the stage here.
03:48 If I told you, I just bought a new car
03:51 and I took you out beside my house
03:53 and there in the carport were four tyres and a windshield,
03:57 would you agree with me
03:58 that I had just bought a new car?
04:00 I definitely wouldn't.
04:03 I hope so.
04:05 You see a car by definition is something
04:07 that takes you from point A to point B.
04:10 A car is transportation.
04:12 If it isn't mobile,
04:14 if it doesn't take you where you want to go,
04:16 we don't call it a car. We call it junk.
04:20 Let's keep our definition straight.
04:22 Love is constantly being talked about,
04:25 sung about, written about.
04:27 And though most everyone has experienced
04:29 true love at one time or another,
04:31 very few people have come to embrace
04:33 the truth about what love really is.
04:36 That love is a "P" word.
04:39 Let's join Levi who's standing by
04:41 on the Mount of Olives just outside Jerusalem.
04:45 Levi! Thanks Charles.
04:48 I'm here on the side of the very mount
04:50 where Jesus shared with Nicodemus
04:51 perhaps one of the most famous scriptures in the entire Bible.
04:55 It's found in the book of John
04:57 in the verse 16 of the 3rd chapter.
05:00 In fact, if any one has ever heard
05:01 or memorized any verse in the Bible,
05:04 it was probably John 3:16.
05:06 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,
05:11 that whoever believes in Him should not perish
05:14 but have everlasting life."
05:16 And most of us are probably so sure that we already know
05:19 what this verse teaches and means
05:21 that we just came over it.
05:23 But perhaps like Nicodemus,
05:25 we need to humble our proud hearts
05:26 and listen very carefully to the words
05:28 of the simple teacher from Nazareth.
05:30 And because this verse opens to our minds the core,
05:33 the nucleus of Jesus' teachings and ministry, His entire life.
05:38 And the best way to understand scripture
05:40 is to let it interpret itself.
05:43 So the first thing you need to look for is the key word
05:46 or words in a passage of scripture.
05:48 In John 3:16, what is the key word?
05:52 Everything in this verse revolves
05:54 around the four letter word l-o-v-e.
05:59 For God so loved the world
06:01 that's why He gave His only begotten Son.
06:04 Now, here's an important question
06:05 that you need ask yourself
06:07 whenever you're studying the Bible.
06:09 If this was the only text
06:10 I had in the whole Bible regarding love,
06:12 what would I know about love?
06:15 Now, just look at that verse for a moment.
06:17 Don't add another layer of understanding,
06:19 let the truth come out of the verse.
06:22 For God so loved the world, that he what?
06:27 He gave. Loving is giving.
06:31 God so loved that He gave.
06:34 But not just giving anything or something.
06:37 Now that could be a counterfeit.
06:39 If I give a drug addict a $1000,
06:41 that wouldn't be love.
06:43 Let's unpack the rest of that verse.
06:46 God loved this world, you and me so much
06:50 that He gave us something in particular.
06:53 What was it? His Son. His own Son.
06:58 But, why did He give us His Son?
07:00 Now, the verse goes on to explain
07:01 that whosoever believes in Him will not perish
07:05 but have everlasting life. Everlasting life.
07:11 Is there anything more important than eternal life?
07:15 Would you give up eternal life for new car
07:18 or new job or a flat screen TV
07:21 or weekend of party life or a new relationship?
07:26 Is there anything that you need more than eternal life?
07:31 So God didn't give us a car, a plane or a computer,
07:35 objects, items they can wear out and become old,
07:38 they can be broken and lost.
07:41 God gave us something that can never be taken away.
07:45 Eternal life in a perfect world.
07:49 In the gift of Jesus,
07:50 God didn't simply give us something,
07:53 He gave us what we needed most.
07:58 In Matthew 22:36, an expert in the law
08:01 asked Jesus this question.
08:03 "Master, which is the great commandment in the law?"
08:06 Many times in the Bible Jesus is known
08:08 to answer a question with a question.
08:11 But in this case, He reaches back into the Holy Bible
08:14 and pulls out of the book of Deuteronomy,
08:16 the one passage of scripture
08:18 that He deems to be the great commandment in the law.
08:21 The one foundational truth on which
08:24 we can build our entire lives.
08:26 "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart,
08:31 and with all thy soul, and with all thy might."
08:35 Here, Jesus informed the lawyer and here He informs us
08:39 that the most important commandment,
08:41 the most important law in the scriptures is love God.
08:46 This is the first and great commandment.
08:49 And the second is like unto it.
08:52 "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
08:55 This second commandment is taken from Leviticus 19:18.
08:59 Every person then who claims to be a Christian,
09:02 a follower of Christ
09:04 must take these two Old Testament laws seriously,
09:08 making them the foundation of their life.
09:11 Because Jesus said,
09:13 "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
09:17 Now, don't miss what Jesus says here.
09:20 The entire history of the human race
09:22 from Adam to the time of Christ is like a giant tapestry mural.
09:27 There is one giant nail in the wall of eternity
09:30 that holds up this great portrait.
09:33 That single nail, that great element is love.
09:38 Every commandment of God,
09:39 every righteous law of government is based on love.
09:44 Everything the prophets foretold,
09:46 every story, every doctrine, every truth is built upon,
09:51 is supported by, is held together by love.
09:56 Let me highlight this point here for just a moment.
09:58 In Genesis 1:26, God said,
10:02 "Let us make man in our image".
10:06 We were created in God's image.
10:09 The intention of the Almighty was to create beings
10:12 that were similar to Himself.
10:15 And I would like to show you the chief attribute,
10:17 the premiere quality that makes God, God.
10:22 In both 1 John 4:8 and verse 16 are these three words,
10:27 "God is love." Love is not just something God does.
10:34 It's not merely an activity
10:35 He participates in from time to time.
10:38 Love is what God is.
10:41 Love is at the heart
10:42 and center of everything God touches or is involved in.
10:46 And where did John get this idea?
10:49 From Jesus himself.
10:51 "That which was from the beginning,
10:53 which we have heard,
10:55 which we have seen with our eyes,
10:58 which we have looked upon,
10:59 and our hands have handled, of the word of life."
11:04 John was there as Jesus preached the multitudes.
11:07 He listened as Jesus shared with the eager crowds
11:11 the truth about a Father we could--we could talk to.
11:15 One who loves us.
11:17 Perhaps that is why when Nicodemus
11:19 shared with the Apostle John,
11:20 the story of his nighttime visit with Jesus.
11:23 It made a vast impression on his heart.
11:25 For God so loved the world.
11:27 You and me, that He gave us what we needed most. Savior.
11:32 When you see this word love through the lens of scriptures,
11:35 through the life of Jesus,
11:37 love ceases to be some sappy sentimental emotion.
11:40 The love that Christ revealed is not a fitful feeling
11:43 but a principle of life.
11:44 It is His intention that this love
11:46 become a living principle
11:48 and an abiding power in our heart.
11:50 That the character and deportment of Jesus
11:52 is an example of the truth
11:53 He advocates and His followers will be strikingly
11:56 different than the world.
11:57 That's why Paul told the Christians in Ephesus,
12:00 "Walk in love, as Christ also has loved us,
12:04 and has given himself for us an offering
12:06 and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor."
12:11 One of the abiding principle of love is our motivator.
12:14 When love is the radar and key of our lives,
12:17 we live like Christ lived.
12:19 And it kind of gets personal if you check out verse 25.
12:22 "Husbands, love your wives he told them,
12:25 even as Christ also loved the church
12:27 and gave himself for it."
12:29 And how did Christ love the church?
12:31 It was the church leaders who harassed Jesus.
12:34 It was the ruling council
12:35 that arranged for Jesus to be arrested,
12:37 tried and turned over to the Romans for crucifixion.
12:40 It was the church.
12:42 It was His church that killed Jesus.
12:45 Two things are worthy of notice here.
12:47 First, Jesus knew everything
12:48 that was gonna happen before it even happened.
12:51 At least ten different times in the four gospels,
12:53 Jesus revealed that He knew
12:55 how He would be mistreated, abused and finally killed.
12:58 He knew in advance, who would betray Him.
13:01 But, He didn't avoid this mistreatment
13:02 by running to Tarshish.
13:04 The second thing we notice is that,
13:06 even in the face of abuse and mistreatment,
13:09 even though betrayed, scourged, mocked
13:11 and finally nailed to the cross,
13:13 Jesus never became angry, loud, rude or bitter.
13:17 He didn't hurl recriminations at His abusers
13:19 nor did He threaten them with vengeance.
13:22 And this profound love is not only revealed in
13:25 what Jesus didn't do.
13:27 While hanging in agony on the cross,
13:30 He prayed for us. Yes, us.
13:34 It was our sins that took Him to the cross.
13:37 And yet He prayed for us.
13:39 And that's why Paul wrote,
13:41 "Husbands, love your wives,
13:44 even as Christ also loved the church,
13:46 and gave himself for it."
13:49 When husbands are willing to love like this,
13:51 the world will be compelled to take note
13:53 that there is a living God,
13:54 who abides in the hearts of all men.
13:57 You see, love is not a feeling.
14:00 It's a principle.
14:02 Mothers don't just get up in the middle of the night
14:04 to take care of a colicky baby because they feel like it.
14:08 They get up because of love.
14:10 Love is the principle of giving what is needed most.
14:15 To have a car, you don't need much.
14:18 An engine, some wheels and tyres, a drivetrain
14:21 and some kind of frame to hold it all together.
14:24 Henry Ford's, first car was pretty basic.
14:27 But it was an automobile.
14:29 This car teaches us
14:31 that there are certain minimum requirements,
14:33 certain items that you must have or you don't have a car.
14:36 In the same way,
14:39 love can have feelings just like a car can have a radio.
14:43 But a radio is not a car.
14:45 You're gonna have a car with a windshield,
14:48 but a windshield is not a car either.
14:51 You can have a car with lovely leather seats
14:53 but leather seats are not a car.
14:57 Love can have feelings, but love is not a feeling.
15:02 At its heart, love is a principle.
15:06 It does the right thing just because that's what love does.
15:11 Love is its own motivation.
15:13 And the only reason we love is because, He first loved us.
15:19 Do you think Jesus came to earth
15:21 and humbled Himself to become a human being
15:24 because it felt good?
15:27 Do you think the Father felt happy to let His Son
15:30 leave the safety and sanctity of heaven to come down
15:33 to planet earth to be abused and mistreated?
15:38 It was not easy.
15:40 But, God so loved each and every one of us,
15:43 that He chose to put His feelings aside
15:46 and act on the great principle of love
15:48 and give us what we needed most.
15:52 You see, love is a "P" word.
15:56 Love is the principle of giving what is needed most.
16:02 But, how do we know,
16:03 what is needed most? Who gets to decide?
16:06 The husband or the wife? The child?
16:11 Or would God be best suited to make that decision?
16:17 Well, that's a great question.
16:18 In life there are standards.
16:21 Parameters that we operate within for our safety.
16:25 When your tyre is a little low on air,
16:27 it says right here with a safe PSIs.
16:29 And then this handy little gadget that tells you
16:33 if you've got enough air pressure in your tyres.
16:35 Along the winding mountain roads,
16:37 signs are posted with speed limits
16:38 that direct us within the margin of safety.
16:41 But what are the guidelines for love?
16:43 The answer to that is simple
16:44 when you let the Bible interpret itself.
16:46 What is needed most is defined by God's moral love.
16:50 Jesus made that very clear
16:51 when He said "If you love me, keep my commandments."
16:55 Commandments like the one Jesus quoted from in Deuteronomy 6:5,
16:59 "To love God with all our hearts."
17:01 Verse 24 in that same chapter tells us
17:03 why Jesus directs us to keep the commandments.
17:06 Those commandments of God are actually there for our good.
17:09 "The Lord commanded us to do all these statues,
17:12 to fear the Lord our God, for our good always,
17:16 that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day."
17:20 Paul highlights this same truth told by Jesus
17:22 in the epistle to the Romans.
17:24 "Love works no ill or does no harm to his neighbor,
17:28 therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."
17:31 It is often reported that Paul said
17:33 the law was done away with.
17:34 Well, that clearly can't be true unless he also believed
17:37 that you can get rid of love.
17:38 And anyone who reads 1 Corinthians 13,
17:40 knows that Paul was a big believer in love.
17:42 If Paul believed that the law was done away with
17:45 then why did he say the law is holy
17:47 and the commandment holy and just, and good?
17:50 Why would you get rid of or make void something that is good?
17:53 The question is so obvious,
17:55 that Paul himself asked the question.
17:56 "Do we then make void the law through faith?
18:00 God forbid: yea, we establish the law."
18:02 It seems a little contradictory to establish
18:04 something you're getting rid of.
18:06 A careful reading of Paul makes it absolutely clear
18:08 that he never thought that God's moral law
18:10 was in anyway diminished after the cross.
18:13 The only law that was done away with
18:15 or nailed to the cross was that law which was a type
18:19 or a law that pointed forward to Jesus as the Messiah.
18:23 The anointed one, the Lamb of God
18:25 who would take away the sins of the world.
18:28 That's true, Steven.
18:30 And Paul talks about the ceremonial law
18:32 in Colossians Chapter 2.
18:33 And Colossians 2:14 says,
18:36 "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances
18:38 that was against us, which was contrary to us,
18:41 took it out of the way, nailing it to the cross."
18:45 And now remember,
18:46 the Bible has to interpret itself.
18:48 When we look at the context of verse 16 and 17,
18:52 Paul is clearly talking about the ceremonial law.
18:55 Meat offerings, drink offerings, holy days,
18:57 festivals and ceremonial Sabbaths.
19:00 "Let no man therefore judge you
19:02 in meat offerings, or in drink offerings,
19:07 or in respect of an holyday or days,
19:09 or of the new moon festivals,
19:12 or of the ceremonial Sabbaths" like the feat of trumpets
19:16 and in the Passover etcetera.
19:17 And then in verse 17,
19:19 Paul makes it clear which law was done away with
19:21 or nailed to the cross.
19:23 "The laws which are shadow of things to come."
19:27 These were fulfilled in Christ at the cross.
19:29 But Jesus didn't come to get rid of the moral law,
19:32 for He said, "Till haven and earth pass,
19:35 one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass
19:39 from the law till all be fulfilled."
19:42 Now this word jot comes from the Greek word iota,
19:45 which was the 10th and smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
19:49 The word tittle comes from the Greek word keraia,
19:52 which is the least stroke you can make
19:55 in writing like an accent mark.
19:58 Again from Matthew 5:18, "For verily I say unto you,
20:01 till heaven and earth pass,
20:03 one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law,
20:08 till all be fulfilled."
20:12 While heaven and earth are still here
20:14 and every iota of the moral law,
20:16 every tittle of the Ten Commandments
20:17 are still valid and binding on our lives today.
20:20 That is, if we want to be safe and happy.
20:23 "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot
20:26 or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law,
20:29 till all be fulfilled."
20:31 And where is the moral law to be fulfill?
20:34 According to Paul, in us. Romans 8:4,
20:39 "That the righteousness of the law
20:40 might be fulfilled in us."
20:43 According to the Apostle Paul,
20:45 Jesus didn't come to get rid of the law,
20:47 He came to get rid of the curse.
20:49 At least, that's what Paul told the folks in Galatia.
20:52 "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law."
20:56 Paul's real concern wasn't the law itself
20:59 but the way that it was misused by the over zealous Jews.
21:03 The law is not a problem
21:04 if we use the law for what it was intended.
21:08 "What shall we say then?
21:09 He asked. Is the law sin?
21:12 Certain not! On the contrary,
21:14 I would not have known sin except through the law.
21:17 For I would not have known covetousness
21:18 unless the law had said, "You shall not covet.'''
21:22 Paul's quoting here from
21:23 the moral law of the Ten Commandments.
21:26 Paul believed that the law was good.
21:29 "But we know that the law is good"
21:32 He wrote to Timothy. "If a man use it lawfully."
21:37 When Jesus was here on earth
21:39 one of His purposes was to reveal our heavenly Father
21:42 and His wonderful love. Thus John 3:16.
21:47 That love was revealed in His obedience to His Father.
21:51 Jesus said that is also how we reveal our love to God.
21:56 "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love,
22:00 even as I have kept my Father's commandments,
22:03 and abide in his love."
22:05 If Jesus had failed to keep
22:07 just one of the commandments of our heavenly Father,
22:10 He could not have been the savior of the world,
22:13 the spotless Lamb of God.
22:15 Then He would have been a sinner just like us.
22:19 One of the most radical teachings of His love
22:22 is found in Matthew 5:44,
22:25 "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you,
22:28 do good to them that hate you and pray for them
22:31 which despitefully use and persecute you."
22:35 Notice here that Jesus isn't talking
22:36 about how we feel about our enemies.
22:39 He's talking about our choice,
22:42 the choice of loving or giving what is needed most.
22:46 Look at the verse again it says,
22:48 "Love your enemies even of your own household,
22:52 if they curse you bless them,
22:55 with deeds of kindness and mercy,
22:58 when others hate you do something good to them."
23:02 Paul says that's how we heap coals of fire on their head.
23:06 And finally Jesus said that when people
23:09 with malaise of forethought despitefully use you
23:12 and even persecute you, pray for them,
23:16 bless them, do good to them,
23:20 pray for them no matter how you feel.
23:26 We're not talking about feelings,
23:27 we're talking about the principle of giving
23:30 what is needed most.
23:33 And what is the result of this choice
23:35 to cooperate with Jesus and His kingdom of love?
23:39 This is good, look at this.
23:41 Matthew 5:45,
23:44 "That ye may be the children
23:46 of your Father which is in heaven."
23:49 This is how we become sons and daughters of God
23:52 by embracing that kind of love.
23:56 "For our Father makes his sun
23:58 to rise on the evil and on the good,
24:01 and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust."
24:05 Our Father in heaven is good to everybody.
24:10 That's why Jesus said, "Be ye therefore perfect,
24:15 even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
24:21 If that command seems impossible,
24:24 then you need to let the Bible once again interpret itself.
24:28 "Peter," Christ's disciple said,
24:31 "His divine power has given to us all things
24:35 that pertain to life and godliness,
24:38 through the knowledge of Him
24:40 who called us by glory and virtue."
24:43 Jesus came to show us where to park our minds.
24:46 On the Father, on His remarkable and enduring love.
24:51 Jesus didn't just come to call us righteous,
24:54 He came to also make us righteous.
24:58 His divine power the power that can create galaxies,
25:02 the power that can create life
25:04 can recreate us into new beings.
25:08 God has already written the Ten Commandments on stone
25:11 to reveal their enduring character.
25:14 As part of the new covenant experience
25:16 He also wants to write them on our hearts.
25:19 "This is the covenant
25:21 that I will make with them after those days,
25:23 saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts,
25:28 and in their minds will I write them."
25:31 It is His divine power
25:32 that makes that change from the old man to the new man.
25:37 That's why Jesus told Nicodemus
25:39 that to receive the truths of God
25:41 we must be born again.
25:43 We must allow--we must invite the Holy Spirit into our heart,
25:49 and mind and life.
25:51 Let me tell you why this is important,
25:53 one more added teaching of Jesus here.
25:56 This is important because it is the purpose of Christ
26:00 for each of us to be a living testimony
26:03 of His life changing transforming power.
26:07 We are to be the proof.
26:10 "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples,
26:14 if you have love one to another."
26:19 Our friend Savior and Lord Jesus said,
26:22 "Let your light so shine before men,
26:25 that they may see your good works,
26:27 and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
26:31 Think not that I am come to destroy the law,
26:34 or the prophets,
26:35 I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill."
26:40 That law is to be fulfilled in us
26:43 as we seek after the Holy Spirit.
26:47 How much are we to love others.
26:50 Jesus said, "A new commandment I give unto you,
26:53 That ye love one another, as I have loved you,
26:58 that ye also love one another."
27:00 Two key words, Love and commandment.
27:04 Once again they come together,
27:07 but Leviticus 19:18 already said to love one and another.
27:11 What makes this a new commandment?
27:14 "A new commandment I give unto you."
27:16 Jesus said, "That ye love one another,
27:19 as I have loved you, that ye also love one another."
27:25 Back in the day we had the law, now we have the law giver.
27:30 It is no longer just to command, we've been given an example,
27:36 God is love and God was here.
27:40 Accept that love and let Him love the world through you.