Summary: JOhn 3:16 is the answer to the questions asked by 4-1-1 and 9-1-1. It begins with God and ends with life. It is all we need.
SERIES: THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE
LESSON: THE MATCHLESS LOVE OF THE FATHER
INTRODUCTIONIn the city of Chicago, one cold, dark night, a blizzard was
When someone mentions 4-1-1 we think of a person needing help. 9-1-1 tells of a need that is now urgent.
Then there is 3:16. It says, “Someone cares for me very much. He gave His best for me. There is now hope in any circumstance and best of all, it is free to me.” The best known verse in the Bible is John 3:16. It begins, “God so loved the world, He gave….” That’s free! And that’s a lot to get for nothing. It continues, “that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
As surely as God is alive and well today, He desires that all of his created humans be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. The good news we have today is the same gospel that Nicodemus, the cautious inquirer, heard from Jesus in the conversation we have been viewing with interest.
JOHN 3:16 BEGINS WITH GOD AND ENDS WITH LIFE . The life God offers is received by faith and provides us with the comfort of knowing we will never perish. In another place God’s word says that He is “not wanting anyone to perish, but all to come to repentance”-II Pet. 3:9.
A man noted, “When I was a boy I used to hug a rubber hot water bottle in bed at night to beat off the chill air from the frigid Irish Sea. Comfort! One morning I woke up wet, cold, and miserable. The rubber hot water bottle had perished. It had slowly deteriorated, imperceptibly disintegrated and was ultimately useless. Perished! That can happen to humans too—and God so loved the world that He gave us Jesus so that we would not perish but have everlasting life.”
-Stuart Briscoe, Author of What Works When Life Doesn’t
God’s good provision is a new birth “into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you,”- I Pet. 1:4
JOHN 3:16 TELLS US THE FATHER GAVE HIS SON FOR ALL PEOPLE! Jesus would later point out that his followers were in the world but not of the world- John 15:19. Yet, this is the very “world” that is the recipient of His great love. This is truly unmerited, and in many cases, unsolicited. To give anything to someone unworthy and uncaring would be termed “amazing”, but to give one’s greatest possession, is in a different class. God gave “His one and only Son.” Jesus often used stories to make points. He told of a landowner who planted a vineyard, rented it out and went away for a long time. Some of the produce was his. However, when he sent his servants to collect the tenants beat them up and threw them out. The owner had only one hope left. He would send his own son, saying “Perhaps they will respect him.” They did not. They did worse and killed him. -Lk. 20. The “heir” commands respect. God freely send his only son in order to save us- all people. There was not a greater price one could pay.
When we try to visualize the debauchery of the days of Noah and read of the injustice, immorality and idolatry during the times of the prophets and then simply read the text of John 3:16 we are faced with the fact that a hard decision would have to be made. God did not choose to destroy the world but save it through His own Son. Another father must have experienced the overwhelming flow of unsolicited negative emotion when faced with a terrible dilemma.
After a few of the usual Sunday evening hymns, the church’s preacher once again slowly stood up, walked over to the pulpit, and gave a very brief introduction of his childhood friend. With that, an elderly man stepped up to the pulpit to speak, "A father, his son, and a friend of his son were sailing off the Pacific Coast," he began, "when a fast-approaching storm blocked any attempt to get back to shore. The waves were so high, that even though the father was an experienced sailor, he could not keep the boat upright, and the three were swept into the ocean."
The old man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with two teenagers who were, for the first time since the service began, looking somewhat interested in his story. He continued, "Grabbing a rescue line, the father had to make the most excruciating decision of his life.... to which boy he would throw the other end of the line. He only had seconds to make the decision. The father knew that his son was a Christian, and he also knew that his son’s friend was not. The agony of his decision could not be matched by the torrent of waves.