Summary: God's love was expressed through Christ's crucifixion and resurrection.
As we approach Easter Sunday, I want to invite you to discover what we Christians have to shout about.
It's been said that John 3:16 is the Gospel in a nutshell. Gospel means “Good News,” and what we are told here is good news worth shouting about. The message of John 3:16 is all about how God loves us. And it‘s a love worth shouting about. Why? Because it is . . .
1. A universal love - "the world"
We're all the objects of God's love. When Jesus said "world" He meant people wherever they are, whoever they are, and however they are.
“There is nothing we can do to make God love us more. There is nothing we can do to make God love us less.” - Phillip Yancey
Yet, though God loves us as we are, He loves us too much to leave us as we are. What does God want to change about man's circumstance?
1. Our isolation. Because we are sinners by nature and sinners by choice; we are kept from a personal love relationship with God.
Because of our sin, we are . . .
A. Presently isolated from God and His love.
"For we all have become like one who is [ceremonially] unclean [like a leper], and all our deeds of righteousness are like filthy rags." - Isaiah 64:6a (Amplified)
Leprosy or Hansen’s Disease is in infection that damages the nerve endings in extremities. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t cause fingers and toes to fall off. Instead, the nerve endings are damaged and the extremities become numb. Therefore, because a leper can’t feel his fingers, feet, and toes, when he stubs his toe or bashes his foot or hurts his hand it can be cut or hurt and get infected and gangrenous and have to be amputated. The social effects of leprosy have been terrible. Because skin sores cause deformity and
damaged extremities are infectious; leprosy was thought to be highly contagious. So lepers were isolated from society - cut off from all contact, love and acceptance.
Like the leper, because of sin, we are presently isolated from a holy God, who loves us; and if we die in that condition, then we will be . . .
B. Permanently isolated from God and His love.
"We all wither and decay like a leaf, and our wickedness [our sin, our injustice, our wrongdoing], like the wind, takes us away [carrying us far from God’s favor, toward destruction]." - Isaiah 64:6b (Amplified)
If something isn't done to deal with the sin that prevents us from being able to have a personal love relationship with a holy God, then what awaits us in hell is an eternity of isolation from God and His love.
"Hell will be agonizingly dull, small, and insignificant, without company, purpose, or accomplishment. Hell will have “no community, no camaraderie, no friendship. Misery loves company, but there will be nothing to love in Hell." - Randy Alcorn, Heaven
2. Our imperfection.
"For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard." - Romans 3:23 (NLT)
"You see it everywhere you look - the unjust 'normals' of earthly life. Damp, dirty blankets trail out from under cardboard boxes beneath a city bridge. Retirement savings plummet in value just as their account holders need to tap into them. Punk burglars break into a person's house, and all the police can do is file a meaningless report. It stinks. It's bad. It's not right. It's broken. And in homes and hospitals every day of the week, at courthouses and gravesides everywhere in the world, people of all spiritual makes and models suffer from it - from a world that toils along in hopeless disrepair." - Ed Stetzer
2. A sacrificial love - "he gave his one and only Son"
A holy God's justice required a penalty be paid for sin; yet a merciful God's love called for sin to be forgiven so we might have a love
relationship with Him. This was done when Jesus sacrificed Himself in payment for our sin. Jesus was uniquely qualified to do so because:
A. He was fully God. So His payment for our sin was of infinite value. His sacrifice fully satisfied the requirements of an infinitely holy God.
B. He was fully man. And being sinless, both by nature nor by choice, His sacrifice for sin was therefore acceptable for the entire human race.
Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection provided for man's two problems:
1) He took our isolation on Himself at the cross.
"At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, 'Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?' which means 'My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?'" - Matthew 27:45-46 (NLT)