Summary: Final sermon of 3:16 series, using various texts to illustrate that God promises eternal life to "Whosoever" believes in Him. Whosoever means 1)However, 2)Whenever, & 3)Wherever.
Message developed as part of series inspired by Max Lucado*s book 3:16, Numbers of Hope, study guide materials, and his sermon series by the same title. This sermon in the series contains primarily the same outline, as you will find in one chapter of the book.
Scripture: John 3:16; various texts
Title: God*s Whosoever Promise
Series: 3:16 (part 6)
Just last weekend I was told that we have a time capsule in our cornerstone. I*ve never thought about it before, but it makes me curious to know what*s inside. Now it*s been almost 50 years since the church was built, and I asked a few people what we might find in there. Some photographs, some testimonies, a current newspaper, maybe some small reminders of the old church, and hopefully a copy of God*s Word? But I was told, "I think there*s some kind of document in there." Well that*s just not so exciting, but let me tell you a story about a time capsule that I find pretty exciting...
In Lucado*s book, he told of a time capsule that was inserted in a famous monument in London. In the city of West Minster, you*ll find "Cleopatra*s Needle." It*s a time capsule in it*s own right because it is an ancient Egyptian Obelisk, standing almost 70 feet high, weighing 180 tons, and covered with Egyptian hieroglyphs that commemorate the military victories of Rameses II.
What we call Cleopatra*s needle was carved out 3500 years ago (actually before the days of Cleopatra), and once guarded Egyptian temples. Pharaohs passed them by on their chariots, Moses likely studied in their shadow. But on September 12, 1878, one of the giants was planted on British soil. Lucado says..."Someday, when Britain goes the way of ancient Egypt, excavators will open the time capsule interred in her base to find a slice of Victorian England. They*ll discover a set of coins, children*s toys, a city directory, photographs of the twelve most beautiful women of the day, a razor, and, in 215 languages, a verse from the Bible. Yes, John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
John 3:16 is a time capsule of sorts itself because it speaks to every "whosoever" that*s ever been and ever will be. And while rummagers through our building*s rubble will find only an old historical document, excavators at London*s obelisk will find a truth as fresh and relevant as today*s newspaper.
Why is John 3:16 so relevant? Because of one word...whosoever. It*s an infinite invitation that bypasses color, gender, tradition, and even time.
There were whosoever*s in the first century. During the reformation, more than ever came to realize that they too were the "whosoevers" God was speaking to. And when John 3:16 was opened to you, you realized that "I*m a whosoever." And in the future, there will never be a time when whoever reads, "whosoever will" can say God doesn*t care about me.
This morning I want you to realize that Jesus Christ was placed inside a monument of death, but on the third day He arose to make good on this one policy, that no matter the time, place or situation, Whosoever will believe on Him will not perish but have everlasting life. The whosoevers of this world can rejoice today that Jesus is alive and able to make his policy stand.
Are you a 3:16 whosoever? Of course you are because there is not a person alive who can*t be saved, anytime, anywhere. To God, Whosoever means three things: However, Whenever, and Wherever.
I. WHOSOEVER MEANS HOWEVER.
Stop at verse 21...Jesus paints the story very clearly that we have two men on opposite sides of the tracks. One lived in posh luxury and wears the finest clothing, literally worth their weight in gold, and living without a care.
Then there is Lazarus, a homeless and hungry man, covered with filth, open infections, and no one by his side except for equally mangy dogs. Before you feel too sorry for him, just consider how you normally view such people. Think about the dirty man staggering by the roadside that you pass by, and maybe shake your head at..."drunk." Think about the diseased crack addict, that you know chose that lifestyle.
When we*re honest about how these two men compare, we idolize the first, and demonize the second. We would welcome the first to our homes, but call the cops on the second if he showed up. We would ask for a loan from the first, we wouldn*t give our scraps to the second.