Summary: This sermon seeks to get to the root of where true happiness is found and in doing so presents the love of God in the gospel of Christ.

Graduates we’re all proud of the milestone that you’ve reached as of May 2007. A lot of hard work and determination has gone into the goals that you have achieved. However, the life long search for meaning, purpose and fulfillment has only just begun. In fact, the search for happiness began the day every one of us was born and it only intensifies at this stage in your lives.

Everyone is searching for that one thing which will provide a meaningful and happy life. And that’s because God has created us with a need and desire for meaning and purpose as well as love and acceptance. Of course, the world holds out many options of things that will make you happy like financial success, social status, the approval of others, a good job, education, friends, marriage as well as having children. However, none of these options truly satisfy the deep needs of the human life.

Many think happiness comes about by owning your own home and having a white picket fence. But what appears on the outside is not always what’s reality on the inside. You may be as empty as a new trash can liner. Or you may be experiencing the reality that every time you make an accomplishment you immediately start reaching for another one – accomplishments don’t make for lasting joy and contentment. Once you achieve financial success, for example, you soon realize money isn’t enough, so you start searching for something else. Think about it: In your life, how have you tried to answer the question, “Where is happiness found?” For me: Pleasing people, performing well, making good grades, staying out of trouble and making everyone else happy is how I answered that question for much of my life. How do you answer it?

Pascal, the French physicist and philosopher said, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which can only be filled by God through His Son, Jesus Christ.” Every human being has this emptiness inside them, that something is missing and the reason we feel like something is missing is because something is missing! And what’s missing is Christ Jesus living in us. It’s in Him that we find a meaningful and happy life and it’s there that your search for happiness ends.

We all want happiness. If we can’t find it through money, we’ll try education. If education doesn’t do the trick, we’ll turn to friends or marriage. As long as there’s something to try next, the search continues. But when you have all the money you need, or a wonderful family, or social status or whatever it may be and you’re still not happy you begin to wonder, “What’s this life all about?” And often, asking this type of question is what prepares a person’s heart to respond to the love of God and receive Jesus Christ into their life.

As John 3:16-18 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because He has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

God created mankind in such a way whereby God in man is indispensable to the humanity of the man. That is, God created man so that it’s vital, essential, and crucial that man have God’s life in him to be truly, genuinely and fully human. Just as that light bulb plugged into electricity is necessary to its function. You may as well have potatoes hanging from the light fixtures for all the light you’re going to get out of those light fixtures if they aren’t plugged into electricity. So until you come into contact with God as you were created to be, you’ll continue to be incomplete and unhappy. That’s why we spend all of our lives searching, because there’s this terrific awareness that something is missing inside of us. So it doesn’t make any difference how many accomplishments you make in life, it will never fill that void!

In conclusion, according to our text, what motivated God to give His one and only Son? Verse 16 - Love. For what purpose did God send Jesus into the world? Verse 17 To save the world through Him. Now what is the standing of those who don’t believe in Jesus? Verse 18b - Condemned! What is God’s promise to those who do believe in Jesus? Verse 18a – Not Condemned.

Now, think back to when you first placed your faith in Jesus, what did you respond to? Was it the same love that motivated God to send His Son? Of course, it was God’s love for you. And because of God’s great love 1 John 3:1 says, “See, how great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” You become a child of God, unconditionally loved, fully pleasing, absolutely accepted and complete in Christ. And so much more is your inheritance!

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