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John part nine

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (NKJV)

Last week we covered John 3:14-15.

Preparing for today’s sermon, the thought crossed my mind that we should move on to the next passage of scripture.
After all, this will be the 3rd Sunday where we have been talking about this conversation Jesus had with Nicodemus & everyone knows John 3:16.
But my next thought was, how could I gloss over one of the most well known, most beloved & most profound verses in the Bible?

How much does God love us?
He loved us so much that He sent His one & only Son to die for us.
Andy Stanley – God wanted us to know what He is like so He came to us.
Imagine that… God wanted us to know what He is like so He came to us… this is what is different about our faith than any other religion… in every religion concocted by humankind, we must go to God!
I John 4:19 “We love Him because He first loved us.” (NLT)
How radical is it that God came to us?
He loved us 1st!
And He didn’t come because we were worthy of His presence…
He came to make us worthy!
So, if you want to know what God is like, read the gospels…
Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.
Read about the life of Jesus & you will see what God is like.
Most religions of the world involve the elevation of humankind to try to be like God or become gods or to somehow do enough good things that we will ascend to God…
But as Christians, we believe that God loves us so much that He was willing to come to us… that is staggering!
It would be rare, if not exceptional, if a President or a King asked you to visit the White House or Buckingham Palace…
It would be even more rare if a President or a King went to you to visit you.
And in this love story of John 3:16, we have the King of Glory coming to you & to me.
That’s what we celebrate in this Advent season as we approach Christ’s birth.
And that’s how much God loves us… He moves in our direction!

For God so loved the world…
When Jesus spoke these words, if there were any Greeks or Romans in the crowd, they would have viewed God as a curmudgeon…
Their concept of a deity was that God was looking for every chance to punish or demean or humble or strike down men and women and children…
especially the Roman or Greek gods of mythology.
So for Jesus to talk about God as loving would have been revolutionary to Jesus’ audience.
Going from the concept of God being out to get you to God being a God of love rocked their world!
look at the word “so”…
This is not just love… this is a unique kind of love…
This is a love unlike any other…
He SO loved us that He took action…
Love without action is not love, is it?
         God didn’t just say that He loved us…
He proved it… He showed it!
The crucifixion is the word picture we have that shows that God SO loved the world…

Romans 5:8 “But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (NLT)

The fact that God sent His Son “magnifies His love in giving Him for us, in giving Him to us; now we know that He loves us when He has given us His only-begotten Son for us… (Matthew Henry)
He didn’t just say that He loves us…
He showed His love for us…
He demonstrated His love for us…
He proved His love for us…
If you doubt God loves you after this sermon then I have failed miserably!
The Apostle Paul wrote that Christ died for us while we were still sinners.
Imagine that!
God sent His Son to die for your sins no matter what you have ever done.
God didn’t just say He loved us… He proved it!
         And how do people know that we are Christians?
Listen to Jesus’ words later in John’s Gospel…

John 13:35 “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are My disciples.” (NLT)

God’s word says that it is by our love.
You can identify a Jewish man if he is wearing a Yakima.
You can identify a Muslim woman if she is wearing a…
But, how can you identify a Christian?
Love, it is always love.
For God so loved the world
God chose to love the world.
Again, you just can’t imagine how revolutionary this teaching was.
There was such hatred between the Jews & those who were not Jews…
in the Bible, people who are not Jews are called Gentiles.
And among the Gentiles, none were despised more by the Jews than the Samaritans because the Samaritans were viewed as ½ bred Jews…
they viewed them as mutts… as not even human…
And here, Jesus says ‘For God so loved the world…’
Not just the Jewish people!
Not just the Gentiles!
But even the Samaritans!
         Jesus is saying that God’s love was not confined to just one group of people…
He loves everyone.
He loves every tribe & nation…
He loves those who live north of 60 & those who live south of 60.
He loves Democrats AND Republicans AND independents & Libertarians & Communists & Socialists…
He loves the Saint & the Sinner…
He loves the millionaire & the homeless…
He loves the lovable & the unlovable…
those who know Him & those who don’t know Him.
God loves each individual in the world as if they were the only person in the world.

“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us to love.” St. Augustine

So when Jesus says that God loves the world…
He means God loves everyone in the world as if you were the only person in the world.

The love of God is an expensive sacrifice

I John 4:9 “God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him.” (NLT)

Romans 8:32 “Since He did not spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all, won’t He also give us everything else?” (NLT)

God’s love includes everyone
“…that whoever believes…”
That means anyone!
We are a part of the “whoever” believes.
That love is for us.
But His love is only extended to those who believe.
You’ve got to believe in Jesus’ sacrifice for your sins.
There are those who believe…
And there are those who don’t believe.
God loves everyone, but not everyone receives that love.
         Everyone has an eternal soul & that soul will live somewhere.
Jesus says that…
“…that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
If you believe in Jesus & His sacrifice, you’re not going to perish… you’ll have eternal life.
This love is eternal
God the Father forgot His son so He could remember you.
         The love of God reaches to even the depths of despair.
I’m here to tell you that God loves you.
And not only has God told us that He loves us through His Word…
He has proved it in the giving of His Son.
God loves you as if you were the only one in the whole world.
He never forces His love upon us…
He allows us to choose His love… His presence…
God offers that love to us in the person of Jesus Christ…
And all we have to do is receive His sacrifice…
You can have eternal life.
God said “I love you” in John 3:16.
How can you know that?
God sent His only Son to pay the price for your sin & mine.
God really does love you & He wants you to receive that love by receiving Jesus Christ into your life.
How it must break the heart of God to know that the price has been paid for our sins…
He has proved His love…
And that love has been offered freely…
And yet people will not receive it.
Will you receive it today?

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