John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life." No doubt 1000s or 10s of 1000s of sermons have been preached on these one verse from all angles! What could I write that has not been written? I’m not sure but I’ll let God lead my typing and we’ll see what comes out!
The first thing I am led to do is to highlight verse 17 as it is often overlooked. "God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it." Let that sink in - it is important to realize Jesus did not need to condemn the world; the world was condemned already. Jesus came to save the world from an eternity of darkness. The word "believe" in verse 16 is strongly tied to verse 17. "Believe" means to place our absolute trust in God and to KNOW that verse 17 is indeed true: Jesus was sent to save us not condemn us! There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus!
I praise God every day He has a plan for us! The plan is Jesus. Through Jesus, a corrupt and dark world could be saved! Through Jesus, the ultimate sacrifice, dark could become light. Many evil people love to stay in the dark because they believe their evil ways are hidden. But to God, the dark is as light and the night shines like the day. There is no hiding in the shadows from God. Those who love the light come into the light gladly so all they do is seen as giving all the glory to God!
In the light! There is no judgment for those who believe in Him but for those who do not believe, they have been judged already. When you believe in Jesus, God removes your past sins from His memory. Wipes your slate clean! Won’t it be great to face God on Judgment Day and say to God, "I’m sorry for my sins" and to hear God say, "What sins, My child? My Son, Jesus, has covered your sins with His blood. Your belief in Him has set you free. Your name is in My Book of Life and your sheet is clean!" Many people shy away from the light and cannot believe for many reasons. Do you believe? If not, what are your reasons? Do you feel that if you ‘come into the light’ that folks will judge you more? Do you feel like there are little pet sins you would have to give up - but you don’t want to? Do you feel like you really don’t need to believe in Jesus because you believe in yourself enough? You are a good person. You are a person who helps others. You are a person who has been blessed with worldly stuff so you must be doing something right. Do not be deceived! Remember that God allows the rain to fall on the just and the unjust. God’s children are not always blessed with material wealth and to be poor is not an indication of the LACK of God’s blessings! Many evil people have a nice home, nice car, healthy children, and money in the bank! However, those are temporal things; not things of everlasting value. Whosoever BELIEVES in Him will have everlasting life!
To believe in Jesus actually means the opposite of what you might think. In our world, ‘believe’ often means to have an opinion. How many times have you said, "I believe so"? Believing means that I have confessed to God that I am totally inadequate without Him. It means I realize my best is not good enough. It means I acknowledge to God that only His Son Jesus is the light of salvation. It means that I trust Him totally. The world can fall apart around me. Stock markets can crash. I can lose my job. My car can break down. My house can burn down. Any calamity you can name can occur in my life here on earth but my belief means it doesn’t matter. Worldly issues inconvenience me? Yes. Create concerns in my life? Yes. Cause me to make difficult decisions? Yes. Cause me to lose everlasting life? Not hardly! My belief in Christ is sufficient as He came to save me; not condemn me.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life." This is a wonderful promise and His promises are unchangeable and true. This is His oath to us. For the true seeker who comes to God for salvation and forgiveness, God gives His unconditional promise of life everlasting through His Son, Jesus. Important to note the Bible says "God so loved the WORLD..." It does not say "God so loved the white people...or black people...or yellow people...or red people...or people in Asia...or people in Turkey...or people in Canada...or people who drive blue automobiles, or people who work in offices, or people who wear designer clothes, etc." It says ‘the world’! That’s me and you, people on their death beds, men and women in harm’s way, people who love the Lord, people who have turned their backs on the Lord, people who are hurting from the loss of a job, those hurting from the loss of a loved one, those hurting from a wrecked marriage, etc. The list is endless and there are NO requirements to qualify for His love. God’s love knows no bounds. God does not want religious acts! God wants to love on you. It’s that simple. When heroes die, they do it for love of country, love of freedom, love of family, etc. Love brings down all obstacles. Hardened hearts, hurt feelings, broken relationships are just small speed bumps to ‘love’. That is why God allowed Jesus to die. God’s love for the WORLD led to Jesus willingly laying down His life.
Will you receive the love or turn away? Love is interesting. You can’t make anyone accept it. They accept your love based on faith in you; not based on anything you do. That is the way it works with God’s love as well. God will not ‘make’ you love Him. God gives you the choice to accept His love or reject it. What’s your decision?