Summary: The 10th in our series on John's Gospel. We also tied communion in with this message.
The Gospel (Gospel of John Part 10)
Text: John 3:14 – 16 (Plus other passages)
As you can tell from the table that’s set this morning, we’re going to be doing communion at the end of the service. But at the same time, we’ve been going through the Gospel of John. So what we’re going to do this morning, is look in John’s Gospel, because our passage today ties right in with the Lord’s Supper.
So let’s take our Bibles and open them up first of all, to 1st Corinthians 11:26 (READ). Now turn with me over to John’s Gospel and let’s read chapter 3:14 – 16 (READ).
So Paul; writing in Corinthians says that as often as we take communion, we are proclaiming the Lord’s death until He comes… and here in our passage from John, John writes that Jesus is going to be lifted up (that’s verse 14)… meaning that He will be put to death on the cross, so that (verse 15) whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. And then Jesus says it again in verse 16… “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” And verse 16 is where a lot of people take liberty with what Jesus is teaching, and they lose the point of the verse, because they put the emphasis on the word “whosoever”. But that’s not where the text puts the emphasis… It puts the emphasis on the word “believes”! It’s only the one who believes that has eternal life. So if we are going to have eternal life, we have to believe something. And when we go back up to verses 14 & 15, we get our context. Jesus tells Nicodemus that the Son of Man is going to be lifted up – so that – whoever BELIEVES will have eternal life.
Now… is that saying that you have to believe that around 2000 years ago; a historical figure named Jesus was crucified in order to have eternal life? Yes! But that’s not all its saying. Because even atheists believe that around 2000 years ago a man named Jesus was crucified by Roman soldiers just outside of Jerusalem. It’s a fact of history. What the atheist doesn’t believe however, is who Jesus actually was, and they don’t believe the reason that the Bible gives us for His crucifixion. So it’s a little more than just believing that a man named Jesus died on a cross.
That is part of it, but there’s so much more than that.
So what is it that we need to believe so that we can have eternal life?
Well we do have to believe that Jesus died on the cross… but we have to believe that Jesus was more than just a man. We have to believe that He was the Son of God, born of a virgin. We have to believe that He was sinless, and that He perfectly fulfilled the righteous requirements of God. And we have to believe that His death paid for all of our sin, and met every demand of God’s holiness, and that by dying as He did, Jesus justifies us before God, and reconciles us back to God.
So why does Jesus have to do that? Well… because the Lord God is holy and righteous. Because He is perfect in every way, He expects perfect holiness and righteousness. We might seem good in comparison to our friends, and family members, and neighbors… but next to Jesus we fall way short. Paul says that we’ve all fallen short of the glory of God. And John; in 1st John 1:10 says, “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.” There’s none righteous, no not even one.
Now some people will say, “Well, I’ll just keep the law, and that will make me right with God.” That’s what the Pharisee’s thought. But there’s a couple of problems with that. You see; the Bible tells us that we’re born sinners. We’re born with an “F” on our spiritual report card. And so we come into this world corrupt, sinners, and enemies of God. We come into this world with a heart that’s polluted with sin, and a mind that’s darkened by sin, and desires that set themselves on sin. Again the Apostle Paul tells us in Romans – “There are NONE who seek God.” Not only that; James 2:10 says that “Whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he’s guilty of breaking it all.”
So when you get right down to it, none of us can keep the Law.
Now people hear that, or they read it in Scripture and they say, “Well why in the heck did God give us the Law then?” And Paul answers that question for us in Romans 3 and in Romans 7. He tells us that the Law was given to show us God’s standard of righteousness. God knows we can’t keep it, but He still puts it out there, to show us what it requires for us to be right with Him. And as we try to keep it and fail, and try to keep it and fail, and try, and try, and tray… we eventually get to the point where we say, “God this is impossible. I can’t keep Your Law.” And we find ourselves in despair. Because we know we’re not righteous, and we know we’re rebellious, and we know that the Holy, Lord God, Almighty has every right to pour His wrath, and vengeance out on us, because we are wicked sinners. We deserve to be punished.