"For God So Loved the World"

Preached by on February 12, 2017
— From the series,

The calendar says we are to celebrate love. While it is a contrived date, God celebrated love for you in a way that cost. While we can quote John 3:16, can Christians show that type of love for the world today?

For God So Loved The World

(John 3:16-18)

Intro:

A.  There are things that I cannot fully understand but accept.  I accept that the words John writes were personal.  John was there when Jesus stood before the Sanhedrin.  John was there when Jesus faced the jeering mob and heard the people mocking him as he hung upon the cross.  John was there with Mary the Mother of Jesus as Jesus took his final breath.  For John these words are personal.  Probably not long before his death, the apostle John would write three small letters.  John wrote these words in 1 John 3:1.

B.  In 1995 Stuart Townend  penned a song to which I believe John would have said, “Amen.”  Listen to these words.  (Read the lyrics to “How Deep The Father’s Love” – see the words below this sermon)

C.  Most people can quote John 3:16.  You see signs for it at sporting events as people want to proclaim their faith.  The reason why this verse is precious is because it proclaims God’s love me.  The cost of that love was the cross, but it was willingly given so that I might live with him.

D.  But I want to put this verse in its proper context, and that begins with the encounter Jesus has with a man named Nicodemus.

 

I.  God Loves You

A.  Tell the story in John 3:1-15.

B.  The encounter we have recorded for us ended with Jesus telling Nicodemus these words (READ John 3:14-15).  It is in that context that John would then write verse 16.

C.  Whether it was written by John or said by Jesus, I don’t know.  But these words help us to understand is how much God wants to see his creation, you and me, back with Him for eternity.  But the cost of that love for us was to come to earth as a human, face the trials and temptations that we humans face, and bear the cost of sin in himself.  The wages of sin and death.  From time of Adam and Eve, death has reigned as separation between God and man.

D.  The price of God’s love for you was the cross.  But the question is will you respond to that love?  Jesus came to this earth not to judge it, even though his words will be our judge one day.  He came that first time save us from ourselves.  READ John 3:17-18

 

II.  The Sad Reality

A.  But here is the sad reality.  As deep as the father’s love for us is, many people will reject such a love.

B.  Finish out this section with me (John 3:19-21)

C.  People love darkness more than light.  People don’t like to see their own failings.  People don’t want to admit that they are not as good as they often see themselves.  When the light of God shines into the dark recesses of our hearts it exposes us and demands of us to seek a savior.

D.  As great as the gift of salvation is, many choose to not accept that gift for their own reasons.  Some simply will not change the way they live, they refuse to repent of their sin because they don’t want to let God direct their actions and attitude.  So the cost of discipleship is too high.  The calling to live in the light is a high calling.  It is a calling to submit daily to God’s will.

E.  But there is another reason.

 

III.  Do We Love The World?

A.  There is no doubt that many people will refuse the love of God, but some don’t really get that chance because they don’t know how to respond.

B.  After the resurrection of Jesus, He would gather his disciples up in Galilee and give them a responsibility.  A responsibility that has been passed down through time and is to continue with us today.  It is the responsibility to tell this story of God’s love so that people will become disciple of Jesus instead serving only their own desires.

C.  Jesus told his disciples during the 40 days after his resurrection and before his ascending back up in to heaven what they, and us are to do.  (READ Matt. 28:18-20).  That commission to go into all the world and make disciples will continue until Jesus comes back a second time.

D.  There is no question that God so loved the world that he came as Jesus to die for our sin.  The only question is do we, who have experienced such grace, love the world enough to tell the story?  How many people will die separated from God because I am to fearful of what sharing my faith could mean to relationships I have with friends.

E.  If God loves us so much that he will go to the cross to completely remove all my sin, to what extent will I go help another sinner like me become a fellow saint?

 

Conclusion:

A.  On the day of Pentecost, just 50 days after the Passover when Jesus went to the cross and only 10 days after he ascended back into heaven to be our advocate with the father, the Holy Spirit came upon the apostle in such power that were able to tell the story of Jesus in every language of people who were in Jerusalem that day.

B.  As they shared that story, Peter told them how just weeks earlier they crucified the Son of God, they nailed him to the cross.  It was my sin that held him there, and many who heard it were cut to the heart.  They asked what should they do?  To which Peter gave this reply (Acts 2:38-41).

C.  That answer is the same today as it was 2000 years ago.  If I want the consequences of my sin that Jesus took upon himself at the cross removed so that I won’t have to die separated from God, then I too need to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus.

D.  “I heard an old, old story how a Savior came from glory.  How he gave his life on Calvary to save a wretch like me.  I heard about his groaning; of his precious blood’s atoning, then I repented of my sins and won the victory.”

E.  We are about to sing those words.  Let them be the anthem of your life.  That you have gain the victory that came through Jesus and that you share that story to any who have not heard the saving news of the grace of God.  If we can help you in your journey to heaven, then come as we stand and sing.

How Deep The Father’s Love

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss –
The Father turns His face away,
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.

Behold the man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders;
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life –
I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything,
No gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer;
But this I know with all my heart –
His wounds have paid my ransom.