Summary: From this look at John 3:16 this message simply communicats how saving belief in Jesus is God’s cure for our condemned state
Antonia Stradivari had made a vow: “Other men will make other violins, but no man shall make a better one,” that has remained true. He died in 1737 as the world’s greatest violin maker. To this day, no violin can match the rich tone of a Stradivarius. His conviction: “God needs violins to send His music into the world, and if my violins are defective, God’s music will be spoiled.” Under that conviction, every one of his instruments was his best work.
Today, Stradivari’s violins are worth over $100,000. If you have an old violin sitting around the house, you might want to check the signature on the inside. Most violinists only dream about playing “a Stradivarius.” To musicians, it’s a name that means uncommon excellence.
Let’s say we had one sitting right here. How quick would you rush up to pick it up? Wouldn’t you have a 2nd thought? Wouldn’t you wonder, “Should I put on gloves first or something?” I mean, a Stradivarius, worth over $100,000!
Well, we’re going to take up a bit of Scripture that is “a Stradivarius.” How sweet it sounds! How quickly should we rush into it to pick it up? Is there something we should do, some ceremony we should go through or something before we dare to jump into such a precious bit of truth?
Martin Luther called it, “the heart of the Bible - The gospel in miniature.”
G. Campbell Morgan said, “This is a text I 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 else 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.”
For many people, their favorite verse of Scripture is the only one they know -- which makes Jn 3:16 the most favored verse in the Bible.
"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. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."
We’re not even sure if these are the words Jesus spoke to Nicodemus, or if this is John just writing in some truths that the HS inspired him to write at this point. Your red-letter edition Bible probably has these words in red. Some might consider a sermon on Jn 3:16 and the verses that follow “too elementary.” It’s a verse for children to learn. I beg to differ. When all is said and done, there are few Bible verses that say so much in such a small space. There are few words that could more important for anyone, child or adult to learn and ponder.
We went to the Lincoln Library and Museum in Springfield, IL a couple weeks ago. Part of the exhibits there dealt with Lincoln’s address at Gettysburg, PA – the dedication of a national cemetery there. We’ve all heard of Lincoln’s address (272 words – just over 2 min.), but we don’t often hear about the address right before it by Edward Everett, one of the most popular speakers of the day. He spoke 13,607 words for over 2 hours, with all the usual oratory flair for which he was famous. Reports of Lincoln’s speech varied. The Chicago Times wrote, "The cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat and dishwatery utterances of the man who has to be pointed out to intelligent foreigners as the President of the United States." Yet, after some time, it has gone down in history as one of the greatest and most dearly loved speeches ever made. Period. If you were to explain that to the some of the newspaper writers of Lincoln’s day, they’d say, “Huh?!”
Why is this such a widely read and loved part of the Bible? Why is it, that when we open it today, we feel like inexperienced children trying to learn violin by starting on a Stradivarius?
I think it’s because, in a very few words (26), it tells us about 3 eternal truths that we need to approach life. The first is...