Summary: This sermon is a Narrative which compares keeping the good news of the gospel to ourselves with that of keeping the cure for a deadly disease a secret. It also emphasizes the great sacrifice Jesus made for us.
Title: The Gospel in a nutshell
Text: John 3:1-18
Location: Sulphur Spring Baptist Church
Introduction: One Friday afternoon, after a long day at the office you are driving home and you turn the radio on. You hear about a little village in India where a few villagers died suddenly from some kind of mysterious flu. You don’t think much about it, but on Sunday, coming home from church, you hear about more people who have died as a result of this illness, only this time it’s not just three people, but 30,000. That night CNN says that an investigative team from the Disease Control center in Atlanta is heading to India because this particular strain of flu has never been seen before.
By Monday morning when you get up, it’s the lead story on every Morning news program because the disease has spread to Afghanistan and Iran. The news media quickly begins referring to it as "the mystery flu". During a news conference a reporter asks the President about it, and he encourages everyone to be pray for the people infected with the disease and to pray that a vaccine can be found.
But you along with everyone else including the news media begin asking whether or not it’s going to be possible to contain the disease, and if so how?
Monday afternoon the President of France makes a shocking announcement. He has decided to close all their borders. No flights from India, Pakistan, or any of the countries where the flu has been reported will be allowed into France. But unfortunately they didn’t act quickly enough, because later that night you hear about a man lying in a hospital in Paris dying of the mystery flu.
Great Britain followed France’s lead and closes their borders, but once again, they were too late. South Hampton, Liverpool, North Hampton, all reported cases of mystery flu by nightfall.
The authorities explain that from all indications a person can be infected for up to a week without even knowing it. Then, after the disease spreads throughout your body, you have four days of unbelievable and unbearable symptoms before you die.
On Tuesday morning the President of the United States makes the following announcement: "Due to a national security risk, all flights to and from Europe and Asia have been canceled. If you have friends or family members overseas, I’m sorry. They cannot return to the states until we find a cure for this thing."
Within four days, our nation is paralyzed by the fear that this disease will somehow make its way across the Atlantic. Some preachers begin referring to the disease as “the scourge of God."
On Wednesday night, you are at a church prayer meeting when somebody runs in from the parking lot with a transistor radio shouting for everyone to be quiet and listen. The entire church listens as the announcement is made. Two women are lying in a Long Island hospital dying from the “mystery flu.” Within hours, reports sweep across the country of people on the East and West coasts that have come down with the deadly disease. The best people in the world of medicine have been working around the clock trying to find an antidote. But so far nothing has worked.
And then, on Friday afternoon, a week after the epidemic broke out a news conference is called, and the Surgeon General announces that A cure has been found, and that a vaccine can be produced. He goes on to explain however, that the vaccine will require the blood of someone who hasn’t been infected. So as you might imagine, throughout the Midwest, the authorities use the emergency broadcast system to ask everyone to go down to the local hospital and have their blood type taken.” Of course you are a good law abiding Christian, so you and your family make your way to the hospital late Friday evening. When you get there, you notice a long line. A group of doctors and nurses are busy pricking fingers, taking blood and then labeling it. After they take your blood type they say, "Wait here in the parking lot, and, when we call your name, you may go home." You stand around nervously talking with your friends and neighbors, wondering what in the world is going on and if this is in fact the end of the World. Suddenly a young man comes running out of the hospital screaming. He’s yelling a name and waving a clipboard. What? He yells it again! While he’s yelling your son begins tugging on your jacket and says, "Daddy, that’s me." Before you know what’s going on, a couple of men in white coats grab your 4-year-old son and start toward the hospital. You stop them and say, "Wait just a minute. You’re not taking him anywhere until you tell me what’s going on!” One of them stops and says, “Hey, calm down your son is okay, in fact his blood type is a perfect match. Now we just have to make sure he doesn’t have the disease. Five minutes later, a group of doctors and nurses come out of the hospital crying and hugging one another--some are even laughing. It’s the first time you have seen anybody laugh in a week. Then a gray haired very distinguished looking doctor walks up to you and says, "Thank you sir. Your son’s blood type is perfect. It’s clean, it’s pure, and we can make the vaccine." As the good news quickly spreads around the parking, some people begin screaming, others laugh, while a few form a circle and begin praying and praising God.