Summary: Here in what is called the Gospel in a verse we find that God also has a Christmas list. This list was purchased with the precious blood of Jesus the perfect gift.
Intro: Everyone has a list for Christmas. Here in John 3.16 we see Jesus tell Nicodemus that he must be born again in order to see the Kingdom of God. In this wonderful verse called the Little Gospel we see God’s shopping list for all those who would receive the gift of His Son Jesus.
Why did Jesus have to become flesh and blood? Why did he come so humbly, live so lovingly and die so gruesomely? He did that all to purchase this Christmas list for you and me!
For God – The greatest decision
So Loved -- The greatest compassion
The World -- The greatest inclusion
That He gave -- The greatest provision
His only Son -- The greatest sacrifice
That whoever believes -- The greatest invitation
Shall not perish -- The greatest intention
Eternal life -- The greatest gift
In second Corinthians 9.15 Paul gives thanks to God for his unspeakable or indescribable gift. That gift is salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. So what is God’s Christmas list?
I. Unlimited kindness (Mercy)
“For God so loved the World”
Mercy is defined by Webster’s dictionary as “The act of sparing, or the forbearing of a violent action.”
Titus 3.5 “He (God) saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.”
It was the loving kindness or the mercy of God that spared lot from the fiery judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Genesis19.16 “But he (Lot) hesitated, So the men seized his hand and the hand of his wife and the hands of his two daughters, for the compassion of the Lord was upon him; and they brought him out, and put him outside the city.”
The mercy of God spared lot from judgment. You could say Lot did not get what he deserved because God had mercy on Lot and his family.
Why is mercy on God’s shopping list, because all of us are sinners. Romans 3.23 clearly says all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Here we find that the mercy of God did not begin in the manger. For God so loved. Remember Genesis 1.1 In the beginning God. God was before the beginning so was God’s mercy. It did not come first in the manger it came first when he made all things.
This should be a place where you underline the world and replace it with your name. For God so loved ____________. His mercy meets you and says I love you.
II. Unmerited favor (Grace)
For God so loved. His mercy keeps from us what we deserve, judgment. His grace gives to us what we don’t deserve forgiveness. In the Bible it is almost overwhelming how many times love and giving are intertwined. For God so loved the world that he gave.
Ephesians 5.25 “Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”
Galatians 2.20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God ,who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
It seems that God’s grace is always connected with Giving. The sad part about the Christmas season is that many people never get past the manger. If you don’t make you way from Bethlehem the house of bread to Golgotha the place of the skull you miss the clear meaning of God’s grace. He not only gave his son to the world, he gave his son for the world. For all the people that have ever lived and will ever live God gave His only Son.
The long and lonely walk from the humble beginning to the horrid death was because of God’s grace. The favor of God comes to men who trust in not just the birth, but the death and resurrection of Jesus.
God so loved you and me that he gave what cost the most His son. What should we do based on His mercy and grace?
Find the person lying no their death bead about to breathe their last and give them the gospel, find that young business man that is doing well in the world but doomed in the next. Find a single mom without hope give her Jesus and give her help. Find the child that is mistreated and give them love. God’s grace is not given to keep. God’s grace is given to us so that we can share it with others. God so loved the world that he gave. We are called as disciples to give our lives to God. We are also called by God as his disciples to give our lives so that others will see God’s grace.