Summary: The ultimate example of God's love for and search for mankind has come in the incarnation of his Son. He has SO loved us that He sent His one of a kind Son to redeem us.
Read John 3.16-21
Jeff Strite (Via SermonCentral.com) mentions: “I once read the story of a man had been driving on an out-of-the-way 2 lane highway running thru the rural countryside. He noticed an old tumbledown shack standing in the middle of an open field. He had to smile to himself as he read the crudely printed message on one whole side of the shack. Apparently, some young man had scrawled in large letters with a piece of chalk: "I love you - Kathy."
“A few weeks later, as he drove down that same road, he looked in anticipation for that same romantic message. His disappointment was as great as his surprise.
“Not only was the message gone, so was the barn. But his smile returned. Beside that field, on the back of a large road sign, scrawled in large white letters were the words: "I still love you - Kathy."
“John 3:16 is like that message. It is the message from God that He loves us – and that message seems to show up literally everywhere.
“You’ll see it at football games, basketball games, on billboards along the road, on bumper stickers of cars, on paintings and statues.
“I’ve even read about an eye doctor who has an eye chart in his office that – instead of traditional chart with the E at the top - has John 3:16 in letters with descending size. “Can you see this?” he will ask. While his patients smile, he sometimes has the opportunity to talk to them about the Lord.”
John 3.16 is familiar but also powerful. Martin Luther called it, “The heart of the Bible; the gospel in miniature.”
G. Campbell Morgan – “This is a text I have never attempted to preach on, though I have gone around it and around it. It is too big. When I have read it, there is nothing left to say. If we only knew how to read it, so as to produce a sense of it in the ears of people, there would be nothing to preach about.”
We have a God who fills us with wonder!
• Because of His Love for us
• Because of His expression of that love
God SO loved that he . . .
I. Served A Great Multitude – Everyone in the World
A. The Inclusive Nature of God – 2 Peter 3.9
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
1. Rain and Sun on evil/good; just/unjust
2. Because he SO loves
B. The Exceptional Nature of God
1. Outcasts are brought in
For I will restore health to you,
and your wounds I will heal,
declares the LORD, because they have called you an outcast:
'It is Zion, for whom no one cares!' Jeremiah 30.16
10And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" 12But when he heard it, he said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners." Matthew 9.10-13
2. This kind of love was beautifully described in story I read years ago by Mary Ann Bird. She wrote: “I grew up knowing I was different, and I hated it. I was born with a cleft palate, and when I started school, my classmates made it clear to me how I looked to others: a little girl with a misshapen lip, crooked nose, lopsided teeth, and garbled speech.
When schoolmates asked, “What happened to your lip?” I’d tell them I’d fallen and cut it on a piece of glass. Somehow it seemed more acceptable to have suffered an accident than to have been born different. I was convinced that no one outside my family could love me.
There was, however, a teacher in the 2nd grade whom we all adored – Mrs. Leonard by name. She was short, round, happy – a sparkling lady.
Annually we had a hearing test… Mrs. Leonard gave test to everyone in the class, and finally it was my turn. I knew from past years that as we stood against the door and covered one ear, the teacher sitting at her desk would whisper something, and we would have to repeat it back – things like “the sky is blue” or “do you have new shoes?” I waited there for those words that god must have put into her mouth, those seven words that changed my life. Mrs. Leonard said, in her whisper, “I wish you were my little girl.”