Summary: This sermon is crafted around the true story of 3 Gettysburg people whose lives were affected by the Civil War. It challenges us to see the urgency of telling others about Jesus before it’s too late!
The Undelivered Message of Love
11 Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness.
12If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
13No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.
14And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
15that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
17For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
18He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
This is the 4th of July weekend.
At this very time, 145 years ago…
A key battle in the Civil War had just ended.
The town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania was a mess.
Thousands of dead soldiers and dead animals were lying around.
Residents of Gettysburg were doing their best…
To care for the wounded Union and Confederate soldiers.
Today’s story is about three children who grew up in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Their names were Jennie Wade, Jack Skelly, and Wesley Culp. They were schoolmates who played together in the streets, fields, and woods near Gettysburg. Over the years, the friendship between Jennie and Jack became very close. Though nobody knows for certain if Jenny had romantic feelings for Jack, but it was clear that Jack loved Jennie and intended to marry her.
More of that story a little later!
Our Bible text today is one of the best known in scripture.
God loves us.
16For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
It’s easy to say “I love you!”
Men who want to persuade a woman to have sex with them…
Often use those 3 little words: “I love you!”
Women who want to persuade a man to marry them…
Will also use those three little words.
But do they really love them?
Love is much like faith!
It’s easy to say “I have faith”
But the Bible says in James 2:14-17
What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
Genuine faith is accompanied by good works!
And genuine love is accompanied by good works!
Did God prove His love for us?
Romans 5:8 says: But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
God demonstrated or showed us His love
By sending His Son, Jesus, to die for us!
Ephesians 2:4-9 says:
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
You can’t work for your salvation!
It’s a gift given to us by God..
through faith in what Jesus did for us!
2 Thessalonians 2:15-17 says:
15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. 16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.
We know that God loves us because of what He has done for us!
1 John 4:9-10 says:
In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.