NET For this is the way Godloved the world: He gave his one and onlySon, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. There’s the story of a man who had beendriving on an out-of-the-way 2 lane highway running thru the rural countryside. Henoticed an old tumbledown shack standing in the middle of an open field.
He had to smile to himself as he read thecrudely printed message on one whole side of the shack. Apparently, some young manhad scrawled in large letters with a piece of chalk: "I love you - Kathy." A few weeks later, as he drove down thatsame road, he looked in anticipation for that same romantic message. His disappointment was as great as his surprise.
Not only was the message gone, so wasthe barn. But his smile returned. Beside that field, on the back of a large road sign, scrawled in large white letters were the words: "I still love you - Kathy." is like that message. It is themessage from God that He loves us – and that message seems to show up literally everywhere.
You’ll see it at football games, basketball games, on billboards along the road, on bumper stickers of cars, on paintings and statues. Have you heard about an eye doctor whohas an eye chart in his office that – instead of traditional chart with the E at the top - has in letters with descendingsize. “Can you see this?” he will ask. While his patients smile, he sometimes has theopportunity to talk to them about the Lord.
Christians are totally in love with this verse because it seems to sum up so much ofwhat the Bible teaches about salvation. It’s so popular that - when I visitedsermoncentral.com – I found that there hadbeen around 600 sermons dedicated to this text.
There’s a preacher who believed that he could preach every Sunday for the rest ofhis ministry simply on this text. I could never be that inventive. Today we’re going to simply look at each part of the verse, and see the power and depth of what this verse contains.
God loved the World This is the heart of the Gospel. It isn’t us desiring to find God… It’s Goddesiring to find us, to embrace us, to claim us as His own. NET
NET And notice… says God loved the WORLDThere’s a commentator I sometimes refer to by the name of John Gill - but I was shocked by his interpretation of this verse. Commenting on this verse, he stated that “not every man in the world is here meant” (John Gill’s Expositor). Gill essentially maintained that God only loved the elect and that Jesus was only sent for them.
The problem with Gill’s interpretation is thatit robs the verse of its power. It defrauds the true message of this passage. doesn’t say He loved just the good looking people It doesn’t say He loved just the rich and successful It doesn’t say He only loved a select few of us…. It says GOD LOVED THE WORLD
That means everyone who is damaged bysin and deformed by the corruptness of the world around them. This kind of love was beautifully described in story by Mary Ann Bird. She wrote: “I grew up knowing I was different, and I hated it. I was born with a cleft palate, andwhen I started school, my classmates madeit clear to me how I looked to others: a little girl with a misshapen lip, crooked nose, lopsided teeth, and garbled speech.
When schoolmates asked, “What happenedto your lip?” I’d tell them I’d fallen and cut it on a piece of glass. Somehow it seemed more acceptable to have suffered anaccident than to have been born different. I was convinced that no one outside my family could love me. There was, however, a teacher in the 2ndgrade whom we all adored – Mrs. Leonardby name. She was short, round, happy – a sparkling lady.
Annually we had a hearing test… Mrs.Leonard gave test to everyone in the class, and finally it was my turn. I knew from pastyears that as we stood against the door and covered one ear, the teacher sitting at her desk would whisper something, and we would have to repeat it back – things like “the sky is blue” or “do you have new shoes?”
I waited there for those words that Godmust have put into her mouth, those seven words that changed my life. Mrs. Leonard said, in her whisper, “I wish you were my little girl.” That’s what God says to every person deformed by sin, every soul damaged by worldliness. “I wish you were my son”… “I wish you were my daughter.”God so loved the World…He so loved YOU and He so loved ME…
He gave his one and only Son God cares what happens to us. He’s notsome impersonal force that simply created the world and walked away.During the 17th and 18th centuries, as suchsciences as astronomy, physics, chemistry, geology and biology began to germinateand develop, although most scientists were Christian believers, some started to espouse a Deistic view of the world.
According to Deism, god created the worldand then walked away to let it run according to built-in laws. This idea of a self-running, evolving mechanical world gradually tookover astronomy and geology. The idea soon appeared in biology. http://www.parentcompany.com/creation_essays/essay2.htm
God is not some impersonal force that setthe world spinning ages ago and just simply walked away. He is the loving, caring God who stepped down from the security of heaven…… became a living, breathing man… knew hunger and thirst… experienced friendship and love… and also the rejection of men and theinsults of those He created… ultimately dying a cruel and excruciatingdeath on a cross
God didn’t send a servant to perform thistask. He didn’t send a prophet or even an angel. This was so personal a gift… that God HIMSELF came in the flesh. NET
Jesus was God in the flesh. As the angel said to Joseph when informing of Mary’spregnancy: ( ) ( ) NET
so that everyone who believes in himwill not perish but have eternal life.John F. Kennedy once said “Our problems are man-made, therefore they can be solved by man.” Now, I realize PresidentKennedy hadn’t meant that to apply to our relationship with God… but that is the essence of all man made religion
All the other religions in the world essentially teach: Our problems are man-made, therefore they can be solved by man. What are “our problems?” We do sinfulthings, think sinful things, say sinful things. And these evil actions, tho’ts and words create damage to our relationships and personal feelings of self worth that can destroy even the best person’s sense of peace.
One religion calls this “bad karma” and proposes that the way to deal with “bad karma” is to do “good karma” - deeds that counterbalance the wrongs that you’vedone in the past. In other words, they teach: “we made our own problems and we cansolve our own problems.” All we have to do is do enough good to overcome the past.
Every world religion is build on that idea: If I do enough good deeds, then I can purchase peace and contentment. I canpurchase God’s love. I can purchase God’s forgiveness. BUT, the prime message in isNOT that we can purchase God’s love, but that He loves YOU and He’s willing to purchase you with His own blood.
basically declares: Yes, your problems are man made; and you madethem! BUT you can’t be good enough to be good enough for God. There’s no way youcan make your good deeds balance out that which you have done wrong in your life.
A Boy Scout was studying for his “God and Country” Merit Badge, when this subject came up. It was explained to him that most people have a picture in their minds of a giant balance scale. In their minds they visualize the weight of their bad deedsweighing down one side of the balance. And they believe that the only way to bring the scales back into balance is to do enoughgood deeds to place on the other side of the scales.
The only problem with that scenario is that the bad deeds - with their baggage of guilt and shame – are still there. They haven’t been removed. They’ve simply beenbalanced out. Eventually, the weight of their evil deeds can begin to break the scales and create moral dilemmas they can’t escape.
But God says: “I’ve got a better way. Let me remove the weight of those bad thought’s and deeds and statements from your life. Let me clear the scales of the shame and guilt that have weighed upon yourconscience and give you a lightness to your soul.” But this isn’t something you can purchasefrom God. It is freely given. He loves you so deeply and has paid a price so steep that it defies the very idea that you could ever earn what He wants to give you.
David Morse, an American missionary to India became great friends there with thepearl-diver, Rambhau. Many an evening he spent in Rambhau’s cabin reading to himfrom the Bible, and explaining to him God’s way of salvation. Rambhau enjoyed listening to the Word of God, but whenever the missionary tried to get Rambhau to accept Christ as hisSaviour he would shake his head and reply, "Your Christian way to heaven is too easy for me! I cannot accept it.
If ever I should find admittance to heaven in that manner I would feel like a pauperthere...like a beggar who has been let in out of pity. I may be proud but I want to deserve, I want to earn my place in heaven and so I am going to work for it." Years later Rambhau invited Morse to his home saying he had something special to show his friend. There in his house,Rambhau showed Morse a small but heavy English strongbox.
Rambhau explained: "In a week’s time Istart working for my place in heaven; I amleaving for Delhi and I am going there on my knees."Morse responded "Man, you’re crazy! It’s900 miles to Delhi, and the skin will break on your knees, and you will have blood- poisoning or leprosy before you get to Bombay."
"No, I must get to Delhi," affirmed Rambhau, "and the immortals will reward me for it! The suffering will be sweet for it will purchase heaven for me!" The old man continued: "You are my dearest friend on earth, Sahib Morse.Through all these years you have stood by me in sickness, in want you have been sometimes my only friend. But even youcannot turn me from my desire to purchase eternal bliss....I must go to Delhi!"
"I have had this box for years," said he, "and I keep only one thing in it. Now I willtell you about it, Sahib Morse. I once had a son..." “My son was a diver too. He was the best pearl diver on the coasts of India. He had the swiftest dive, the keenest eye, the strongest arm, the longest breath of any man who ever sought for pearls. What joy he brought to me!
Most pearls, as you know, have some defect or blemish only the expert can discern, but my boy always dreamed of finding the ’perfect’ pearl one beyond all that was ever found. "One day he found it!But even when he saw it he had been underwater too long.... That pearl cost him his life, for he died soon after."
The old pearl diver bowed his head. For a moment his whole body shook. "All theseyears," he continued, "I have kept this pearl but now I am going, not to return, and to you, my best friend I am giving my pearl."The old man worked the combination on the strongbox and drew from it a carefully wrapped package. Gently opening thecotton, he picked up a mammoth pearl and placed it in the hand of the missionary.
It was one of the largest pearls ever found off the coast of India, and glowed with alustre and brilliance never seen in cultured pearls. It would have brought a fabulous sum in any market. For a moment the missionary was speechless and gazed with awe. "Rambhau! What a pearl!" "That pearl, Sahib, is perfect," replied the Indian quietly.
The missionary looked up quickly with a new thought: Wasn’t this the very opportunity and he’d prayed for to help Rambhau understand the value of Christ’s sacrifice? So he said, "Rambhau, this is a wonderful pearl, an amazing pearl. Let mebuy it. I would give you ten thousand dollars for it." "Sahib! What do you mean?"
"Well, I will give you fifteen thousand dollars for it, or if it takes more I will work for it.""Sahib," said Rambhau, stiffening his wholebody, "this pearl is beyond price. No man inall the world has money enough to pay what this pearl is worth to me. On the market a million dollars could not buy it. I will not sell it to you. You may only have it as a gift."
"No, Rambhau, I cannot accept that. Asmuch as I want the pearl, I cannot accept it that way. Perhaps I am proud, but that is too easy. I must pay for it, or work for it..."The old pearl-diver was stunned. "You don’tunderstand at all, Sahib. Don’t you see? Myonly son gave his life to get this pearl, and Iwouldn’t sell it for any money. It’s worth is in the life-blood of my son.
I cannot sell this but I can give it to you. Just accept it in token of the love I bear you." The missionary was choked, and for amoment could not speak. Then he gripped the hand of the old man. "Rambhau," he said in a low voice, "don’t you see? Mywords are just what you have been saying to God all the time."
What does that mean?How do you “believe” in Jesus?
1st it means that you accept that He is the only Begotten Son of God – God in theflesh. And you accept that God loves you so much that He wants you to belong to Him. 2nd it means that you accept that YOU yourself can’t be good enough to be goodenough for God. You have to recognize that you are a sinner who needs change in their life.
3rd it means you must accept Him as theOwner and Master of your life. He now has the right to decide the course of your decisions. 4th it means that you must be willing toidentify with His gift by being buried in thewaters of Christian baptism and rise up to live a new life in Him.
5th Does it not also mean that mustcontinue to be faithful all your years walkingthis earth? If you believe in Him will you not do your best to live at He wishes you to. NET