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Summary: Inspirational sermon. Considers the Extent and the Intent of God’s Love.

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FOR GOD SO LOVED

JOHN 3:14-21

Introduction:

Our kids have been working on learning the verses we read tonight. This past week, Daniel was trying to say them to Kayla and got John 3:16 a little mixed up. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only FORGOTTEN Son.”

That’s an easy mistake for a 4-year-old, but do we make the same mistake? There is no verse more familiar to us, but I think we might sometimes forget how important it is. We can rattle it off and recite with no difficulty. Tonight, we want to pause and meditate on the significance of this verse.

As soon as Christmas was over, the stores were quick to remind us that Valentine’s Day is the next holiday. Everything is decked out in pink and red. Cupid and hearts and lips all over the place. You won’t forget… at least you better not. Your spouse won’t be very happy if you forget to express your love on Valentine’s Day.

Let’s think for a few moments about God’s Love this evening.

I. The Extent of God’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” by Stuart Townend

Let’s just pause and emphasize this little 2-letter word—so. God SO loved the world. How descriptive this little word is! God SO love the world. His love is real. His Love is deep. His love is an honest expression—God is Love.

A. His love extends past every barrier.

Romans 8:35-39 KJV Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The love of people is limited by prejudice, by fear, by selfishness. They “love” when it is convenient. True love… God’s love crosses every barrier. Every wall of resistance or rejection will not stop His love.

B. His love goes on forever.

Jeremiah 31:3 KJV The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

It’s sad when you see beautiful families torn apart. The covenant of marriage is discarded and the family disintegrates in divorce. Kids are torn between Mom and Dad. Everyone in the family is hurt and wounded but especially the kids. Very often they spend their lives wondering, “How could my own dad walk out on me?” Or “Doesn’t Mom want me anymore?”

God’s love goes on and on. Love never fails! Love endures all things.

C. His Love reaches all of the way to Calvary.

God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son.

1 John 4:9 NIV This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

I John 3:16 ESV By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us…

When we catch a glimpse of the cross of Calvary, we are seeing the love of God in action. Here is the love of God—Jesus dying on the cross, suffering, bleeding and crying out “Father, forgive them” before he breathed his last. Let every view we have of this gruesome crucifixion scene bear these words: FOR GOD SO LOVED.

John 15:13 KJV Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

His love extends all of the way to Calvary when he laid down his life for us.

D. His Love extends all of the way to You and Me.

Whosoever! Now that’s an amazing word too. His love reaches all of the way from heaven to our sin-cursed world, to the cross of Calvary, and along the course of history to you and me.

God’s love is not a vague, gushy feeling for the world in general. No, it’s a heart-rending, unending love for each one and every one of us. A sacrificial, self-giving love. A love that gives and gives in spite of rejection. His love is not dependent on our returning the love back to him.

>> Illustration: A Love-letter lament

Dearest Jimmy,

No words could ever express the great unhappiness I’ve felt since breaking our engagement. Please say you’ll take me back. No one could ever take your place in my heart, so please forgive me. I love you, I love you, I love you! Yours forever, Marie.

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