Summary: God's love for us is SO beyond our comprehension, yet He wants us to know the width, length, depth, and height of His amazing love. Though we can't fully understand we sure can experience His love.
GOD SO LOVES
• If you could sum up the gospel in one Scripture verse what verse would you choose? You can’t do much better than John 3:16
• Most of us, if not all of us are familiar with this verse so I have chosen to read it from The Amplified Bible – John 3:16 - “For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be ost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.”
• Like so many verses in the Bible, we may have become too familiar with the words. This verse comes at the close of the memorable dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus.
• Jesus had taught some remarkable and strange things – This high and mighty Jewish leader came to do what few Pharisees did – he came to learn from Jesus
• Nicodemus probably expected to hear some quick ABC’s – but he was startled by what Jesus said
• Verse 3- Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again” [NIV]
• Verse 14 – “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up” [NIV]
• What was Jesus telling him? – Just as the poison of the snake bites killed many people in Numbers 21 even so the poison of sin is killing the world. Everyone is so infected with this poison that none of us can do anything to cure ourselves. [This is interesting because Jesus is speaking to a “holy” man]
• There was only one cure in Numbers 21. God had Moses make a bronze snake and put it on a pole. Those who were bitten and looked at the snake on the pole would live – otherwise they would die like the rest.
• In the same manner – the only cure for sin in our lives was for Jesus to be lifted up on a cross to die for that sin. If anyone will look to that cross, repent of their sin, and ask Jesus to save them, then they will live – be born again – from above.
• A brass serpent on a pole or Jesus on the cross – it all seems so simple.
• “Isn’t that too easy?” you may ask. Well, it is easy for you, but not for Him!
• John 3:16 was the first verse I memorized as a child. I was saved almost 51 years ago when our pastor preached on this verse.
• What a simple message – God loves me and He loves me so much
• Do you think we could measure that little word “so”?
• Last Sunday I shared how Paul, the apostle, wanted his readers to experience all of God’s love. Look at Ephesians 3: 17b-18 with me. “…And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” [NIV]
• Can we put down a yardstick and determine the width, length, depth and height of God’s love. Well, let’s give it a good try.
1. Wide as whoever
a. How wide? God’s arms encompass the entire earth so that all are included. As the song writer says, He’s got the whole world in His hands.
b. Verse 16 begins this way For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world
c. God loves all – He loves each one – He loves you!
d. This is one of the most personal verses in the Bible. It is more personal than if it said “God so loved Steve Wilson”
1) That would leave you out
2) It might leave me out because there are many Steve Wilsons
e. But when it says God so loved the world that means me and it means you.
f. Nicodemus and the Jews were ready to think of God loving Israel, but not the world.
g. God loves you, but He also loves the meanest, lowest man you can think of, and not any less than you. God loves us all the same. We are all sinners and not a one of us deserves His love.
h. God loves us because of the kind of God He is and not because of the kind of people we are
i. [Illus.] – A country boy was examined for church membership. He was asked how he got saved, he replied, “I did my part and God did His” They thought they had found a flaw un his theology and probed, “What was your part and what was God’s part?” He answered, “My part was sinning and His part was saving. I done run from Him as fast as these sinful legs and this sinful rebellious heart could carry me, and He done took after me until He done run me down”