Summary: Sermon for the fourth Sunday in Lent, Year B.
John 3: 14 – 21 / Dark Vs. Light
Intro: I want to take a survey this morning. I’m going to appoint someone to count for me. If you like milk chocolate, raise your hand. --- If you like dark chocolate, raise your hand. --- If you don’t like chocolate, raise your hand. --- If it doesn’t matter whether it’s dark or light chocolate as long as it is chocolate, raise your hand!
I. Now deciding on what kind of chocolate you like is not a life-altering decision. However, life does come with choices and sometimes we choose wisely and at other time we choose poorly.
A. Most of the time, there are consequences for the choices that we make. When things don’t turn out the way we anticipated, we are prone to blame someone or something else rather than accept the fact that we have made a bad choice.
B. Vs. 16 – “God so loved the world . . .” this is one of the best-loved and well-known verses of the Bible.
C. This week, I struggled with a theological choice,, a choice I’m going to offer you. Listen carefully! 1) Does the good news proclaim God’s gracious love for the world. 2) Is God’s love reserved for those who have faith?
II. Does God love all people, or only those who have faith in Christ as Lord and Savior?
A. Deittrich Bonhoeffer, a prominent 20th century theologian said that “Grace can become “cheap grace,” the taken-for-granted assumption of God’s favor that merely blesses who we are and asks nothing in response.”
B. Is our salvation dependent upon the steadfastness of our faith, or will we be graced by God whether or not we are faithful?
C. There are many today who believe that God loves them and that is enough!
III. Vs. 16b – that whoever believes in him ANYBODY! WHOEVER!
A. We only want to extend the love of God to those who are like us. We want to set up all kinds of conditions to our love for each other and our relationship as Christians to one another.
B. A grandmother went shopping with her 2 small grandsons. They had learned a new word and when they became angry with each other preceded to use it. “I hate you.” I hate you, too!” Grandmother, “That’s not very nice. I’m certainly not going to take 2 little boys who hate each other to McDonald’s for lunch.” One child backed down and quickly responded, “I don’t really hate you, Billy.” With that Billy responded, “I still hate you! I’m not hungry.”
C. Unless you do things the way I want, I won’t --- The only condition that God placed upon those who would receive God’s love was “whoever believes in him (Jesus) Many look at the behavior of those in the church today and say to themselves, “If that is the way God’s children act, I don’t want to be a part of it.”
Conclu: God’s eager love, stretched to its utmost cannot save a soul or a world unless it believes in the Son whom God sent. The Greek word SON is huios. It is refers to those who show maturity in acting with God’s love as God would act and thereby show our lineage as sons and daughters of God.
Vs. 18 “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
Vs. 19 – “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.”
We must demonstrate God’s love to everyone so that they might come to believe in Christ Jesus and receive God’s grace. We cannot demonstrate God’s love through constant criticism and negativity or by continuing to insist on having our own way. We cannot believe one way and live another. We must live in the light of Christ.