Summary: 1. Believe that God is reaching out to you. 2. Believe that God has given the rarest gift for you. 3. Believe that God paid the highest ransom for you. 4. Believe that God will give the greatest rescue to you.
Believe the Best about Jesus
Sermon by Rick Crandall
McClendon Baptist Church - April 20, 2008
“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.”
*John 3:16 is the most known and best loved verse in the Bible. No other single verse has led more people to salvation. Martin Luther called John 3:16 the miniature gospel. It has also been called the Gospel in a nutshell, and a love letter from God written in blood and addressed to all. (1)
*Max Lucado called it “a twenty-six word parade of hope: beginning with God, ending with life, and urging us to do the same. Brief enough to write on a napkin or memorize in a moment, yet solid enough to weather two thousand years of storms and questions. If you know nothing of the Bible, start here. If you know everything in the Bible, return here. We all need the reminder. (2)
*John 3:16 is the heart of the Gospel straight from the heart of God. God so loved the world! God wants to touch your life with His love. God wants to transform your life with His love, and He will, -- if you will believe.
1. First: Believe that God is reaching out to you.
*I promise you that God is reaching out to you today! And I can make this promise because “God so loved the world.”
*Walter Wilson once said that “no one in all the world could possibly love everyone in the world. In fact most people find it difficult to love all their relatives. But God has found it possible, with His great heart of love, to love every individual in the entire world in spite of their faults.
-God loves the Jews - but also the Russians, Chinese, Arabs, Americans, English, Japanese, everyone.
-‘Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight.’
*God loves the civilized -- but also the savages.
-God loves the Baptists -- but also Methodists, Lutherans and Presbyterians too.
-God loves preachers -- but also murderers, gamblers, bartenders and prostitutes.” (1)
*“God so loved the world.” That’s why you can believe He is reaching out to you.
*But there is another reason why. It’s that wonderful word “whoever” in 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.”
*Whoever means you!-- And that changes everything. Ron Hutchcraft says, “When I was in Junior High School, we usually bought one copy of the local newspaper each day, -- until the day after I won the County Spelling Bee! Aren’t you impressed? Autographs will come later.
*Well, that day we got about 20 copies of the local newspaper. What was the difference? My name was in it this time!
*Actually, getting all those newspapers wasn’t unique. You know, we’re all like that. When our name is in something we’re suddenly a whole lot more interested. It’s that way with what may be the most important statement in all the Bible” ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His one only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but will have Eternal Life.’” (3)
*That “whoever” means YOU. God wants you to put your name in that blank. As Max Lucado said, “‘Whoever’ invites the world to God. The pronoun is wonderfully indefinite. After all, who isn’t a ‘whoever’?”
*Whoever makes it clear: God exports his grace worldwide. So Jesus said:
-“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.” (Matt. 10:32)
-“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matt. 10:39)
-“Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:14)
-“Whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” (John 6:37)
-“Whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:26) (4)
*You must believe that God is reaching out to you.
2. But also believe that He has given the rarest gift for you.
*Jesus Christ is the rarest, most precious gift the world will ever see. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” God gave His only begotten Son, His one of a kind, one and only Son, the God-man Jesus Christ.
*The Greek word for “one and only” is “monogenes.” It’s where we get our word “genetics.” The point is that Jesus shares God the Father’s DNA so to speak. Jesus isn’t begotten in the sense that He began, but in the sense that he and God have the same essence, eternal life span, unending wisdom, and tireless energy. Every quality we attribute to God the Father, we can attribute to Jesus. Jesus was God’s unique and sinless Son: the only one with a holy heart. (5)