Summary: 1. God’s love - For God so loved the world. 2. God’s loss - That He gave His only begotten Son. 3. Our leaning - That whoever believes in Him. 4. Our life - Should not perish but have everlasting life.
The Greatest Gift
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church “Toy Store” - Dec. 8, 2012
Note: The “Toy Store” provides toys and food to needy families in our community. It’s an outreach/charitable ministry of our church.
*My wife Mary and I are still pretty new around here. We had only been a part of Grayson Baptist for 3 months when we came to our first Toy Store last year. I was greatly impressed by the generosity of God’s people here. But Ms. Carmen and the people of this church would be the first to tell you that all of the glory goes to God.
*James 1:17 tells us that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights. . .”
-So every good gift we have ever received has ultimately come from God.
*But this morning the Lord has led me to speak to you about the greatest gift God has ever given the world. And His Word tells us about this gift in the most well-known verse of Scripture. It’s John 3:16, where Jesus said: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
1. The good news about God’s greatest gift has four parts: And the first part is God’s love.
*“For God so loved. . .” -- “For God so loved the world!” This great truth tells us that God’s love stretches farther, longer, wider and deeper than we can ever measure! And if God loves the world, that means He must also love me!
*We all can plug our name into that verse: “For God so loved” Rick and Mary and you -- “that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
*One of the most astounding truths in God’s Word is found in Romans 5:6, where Paul tells Christians this: “When we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”
*Christ died for the ungodly, because God so loved the world. And we needed God’s merciful love as much as the worst sinner who has ever walked the earth.
-That’s because God’s standard is perfect righteousness.
*As Alan Perkins said: “It doesn’t matter if you’re a little better than someone else, or even a lot better than someone else. You’re still guilty of sin. You’re still condemned. The person who jumps halfway across the Grand Canyon winds up just as dead as the person who only jumps eight feet out from the cliff. They both fall a mile to the bottom.” (1)
*We all need God’s merciful love as much as the worst sinner who has ever walked the earth. And we can only make it to Heaven because God so loved the world. So God’s greatest gift comes from His love.
2. Then we see God’s loss.
*“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.”
-What a sacrifice! God the Father sent His one and only Son into the world to die on the cross for our sins. What a sacrifice! Jesus willingly took all of the suffering and shame that belonged to us. Jesus willingly took all of the punishment for all of our sins when He died on the cross for us.
*Jesus was the only person who could make that sacrifice for us, because He is the Son of God. And He did make that sacrifice for us, because He loves us.
*Jeffrey Ebert will always see a picture of that sacrificial love in his own mother. It happened many years ago when Jeffrey was 5, and they were in a horrible wreck. This was long before cars had seat belts and air bags.
*Jeffrey’s family was driving home that night on a two-lane country road. And Jeffrey was sitting on his mother's lap, when a drunk driver swerved into their lane and hit them head-on.
*Jeffrey said: “I don't have any memory of the collision. I do recall the fear and confusion I felt as I saw myself literally covered with blood from head to toe. Then I learned that the blood wasn't mine at all, but my mother's. In that split second when the two headlights glared into her eyes, she instinctively pulled me closer to her chest and curled her body around mine.
*It was her body that slammed against the dashboard, her head that shattered the windshield. She took the impact of the collision so that I wouldn't have to.
*It took extensive surgery for my mother to recover from her injuries. In a similar, but infinitely more significant way, Jesus Christ took the impact for our sin.” (2)
*No higher price was ever paid. No greater loss was ever felt. God’s greatest gift for us took His greatest loss. So in John 3:16, we see God’s greatest loss.