Summary: This is a message intended to challenge the audience to a commitment to the Lord who revealed His awesome love at the Cross.
The Presence of God’s Love
John 3: 16
Christmas for most people has come to be equated with the giving and receiving of presents, families gathering to share tokens of their love. During December there will be holiday get-togethers where small gifts are exchanged and bonus checks given out. For the merchandisers the symbol of Christmas is not a star, a manger, or even a tree, it is a cash register ringing another sell. Within reason there is nothing wrong with the giving of gifts at Christmas for the Bible declares the Ultimate Gift to be the reason for our celebration. Our text highlights this gift as the incarnation, The Presence of God’s Love.
Christmas is all about God’s awesome love. Deuteronomy 7:7 tells us that God did not love us because we were something special. He loved you because He decided to love you. Your worthiness had nothing to do with it. Jeremiah 31:3 says it in this way, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” His is an everlasting, unending love with no beginning and no stopping place. God had no beginning so His love had no beginning. All earthly love had a beginning but God’s love reaches back to before the world was formed as well as forward to when all the mountains are ground into dust. God’s love is unlimited, unbounded and undeniable.
The topic of God’s love is truly an overwhelming subject to attempt to explain in only one message. There is so much that the Bible has to say about the love of God that I doubt anyone has ever come close to fully comprehending it. So I will simply begin by saying something that Theologian A.W. Tozer once said, “I can no more do justice to this awesome and wonder-filled topic than a child can grasp a star. Still, by reaching toward the star the child may call attention to it and even indicate the direction one must look to see it. And so, I stretch my heart toward the high, shining love of God so that we may be encouraged to look up and have hope.”
Many have considered John 3:16 the “Greatest Text in the Bible.” Others have said that it is the perfect synopsis of the gospel. If every other passage in the Bible were suddenly to disappear, John 3:16 would carry enough of the simple gospel truth to save the whole world. It is without a doubt one of the clearest and richest statements in God’s Word concerning the way of salvation. This one verse describes for us
I. The Majesty of God’s Love. I use that word to describe this verse because it conjures for me the image of the Rocky Mountains or the Alps of Switzerland. The picture of the earth from the orbiting space shuttle would also capture the same majesty for me. These few words form a
A. Definitive Declaration for a world hungry for a loving affirmation of their intrinsic worth. The magnitude of these 22 words is not in their size or complexity, but the message they present to a world where love is so hard to find. “For God so loved...” With just two letters John establishes how large His love is for us. The word so is a small but powerful word. We use that little word when we have difficulty detailing just how big something is. We tell our spouse, “I love you so much.” and what we mean is “I can’t find all the words necessary to describe how much, but if it were any greater I think my heart would just burst.” A mother tells her son “I am so proud of you.” She doesn’t have to explain the magnitude of her pride for it is all laid out in those two letters.
This verse describes the unlimited love of the most high God that has been lavished upon this lowdown world. It defines the boundaries of the unimpeachable love of the trustworthy God that is bestowed upon an unworthy world. It directs the holy love of the Most Holy God to be poured out upon the totally unholy world. It determines that the perfect love of the Pure and Righteous God is to be extended to an imperfect world. It decides that the pardoning love of a Merciful God will be offered to a condemned world. It dictates that the reclaiming love of the God of reconciliation is to be given to a degenerate world. It declares that the gracious love of the God of grace is directed to a world in disgrace.
The magnitude of God’s love is even more perplexing because the objects of that love are His greatest enemies. It is not difficult to love little babies or small children. Loving that person who is kind to you and courts your friendship is no problem at all. But to love someone who ill-treats you, attempts to ruin you, or stab you in the back - that’s another story altogether. The Bible declares that every human being ever born came into this world as an enemy of God. We lined up on the opposite side, for we chose to sin. Sin makes us anything but lovely. Our sin makes us totally unattractive, vile, repulsive, and unlovely. The Bible declares that God looked down from heaven to see if there were any that deserved to be saved and declared, “There is none righteous. No not one.” Romans 5:8 declares, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Yet in spite of our meanness, our sinfulness, our spiritual ugliness, God loves us. When I think of how God loves us despite our repulsive ways I want to sing out with the hymn writer: “I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene, And wonder how He could love me, a sinner, condemned, unclean.” It was a pre-