Summary: In this sermon we focus on our response to such a great gift. Who has the gift been given for? Whoever. How is it received? Faith. Who can be saved? Whoever Believes.
A. We return today to one of the best known passages in all the Bible – John 3:16.
1. 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. (Jn. 3:16)
2. We have looked at the fact that God is and that God loves.
3. We have looked at the fact that God loves so much that He would give us the greatest and most needed gift – His one and only Son.
4. Last week we talked about our need as sinners and about how Jesus died in our place and was punished for our sins.
B. Today we want to talk about our response to such a great gift.
1. To whom is this great gift of God offered?
2. How does a person receive the gift of God’s one and only Son?
3. The answer to those two questions is found in two important words from John 3:16 – the words are “whoever believes.”
A. The word “Whoever” unrolls the “welcome mat” of heaven to all humanity.
1. “Whoever” invites the whole world to the heavenly party.
B. Jesus could have so easily narrowed the scope by changing the “whoever” into “whatever.”
1. He could have said, “Whatever Jew…” Or “Whatever woman…” Or “Whatever American…”
2. Or “Whatever white or black, educated or wealthy, beautiful or talented…”
3. But he didn’t. The pronoun he used is wonderfully indefinite.
4. After all, who isn’t a whoever?
C. The word “whoever” makes it clear that God’s invitation is for everyone.
1. Anyone and everyone is invited.
2. The word “whoever” cuts across racial fences and social classes.
3. The word “whoever” bypasses gender boarders and geographical boarders.
4. God extends his love and grace to everyone.
D. Let’s notice that this is not the first time Jesus has employed the word “whoever.”
1. Jesus said: “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.” (Mt. 10:32)
2. Jesus said: “Whoever find his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Mt. 10:39)
3. Jesus said: “Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mk. 3:35)
4. Jesus said: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Mk. 16:16)
5. Jesus said: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life.” (Jn. 3:36)
6. Jesus said: “Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.” (Jn. 4:14)
7. Jesus said: “Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” (Rev. 22:17)
E. There is no doubt about it, God’s gospel has a “whoever” policy.
1. Paul assured Titus that “the grace of God…has appeared to all men.” (Tit. 2:11)
2. Peter affirms that “it is not his [God’s] will for any to be lost, but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9 NEB)
F. God’s “whoever” policy also means “however.”
1. I wonder how many people feel for whatever reason that “God would not accept them.
2. Most of us have done things in life that make us feel unworthy of God’s love.
3. Some of us have had things done to us that make us feel unworthy of God’s acceptance.
4. The downturns of life can create such a sad state of affairs that we wonder if God still wants us.
5. Surely Lazarus the beggar must have wondered.
6. In Luke 16, Jesus told the story of the rich man and Lazarus.
a. The two men in the story were from opposite sides of the tracks.
b. The rich man lived in posh luxury and wore the finest clothes. He ate exotic food and loved in a spacious mansion.
c. Lazarus was a homeless street sleeper. Dogs licked his sores. All he hoped for were the scraps of food from the rich man’s table.
7. Surely Lazarus felt like he was an exception to God’s “whoever” policy, right? Wrong.
8. God had not forgotten this forgettable man named Larzarus.
9. Upon Lazarus’ death, he was taken to Abraham’s side and was well taken care of.
10. God’s “whoever” policy includes everyone “however” their lives have gone.
11. Whoever – however – no status is too low.
G. God’s “whoever” policy also means “whenever.”
1. Whenever you feel God working on you. Whenever you are ready to surrender your life to Jesus, that’s the time to do it.
2. God welcomes our response whenever – there is not some certain time of the day or certain time of the year, or certain time of life.