Summary: All of us are welcome in God’s presence.
We often use the term “whoever” in our conversations. “Who” is defined as “what or which person.” “Whoever” is the emphatic form of “whom”, giving it that extra emphasis. I remember hearing this term a lot as a child when my parents would say something like “Whoever made this mess had better get in here and clean it up.” Of course no one volunteered to be the “whoever” because “whoever” left the mess would have to explain why they did it. As a parent I have often made the same statement in my home. My message today is very simple and it focuses on the fact that you and I are one of the “whoevers.” The "whoever" I am referring to come from one of the best known Scriptures in the Bible, John 3:16. It says “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOEVER believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
The bible is full of “whoevers” (yeah I know it’s not a word). In the beginning there was Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve had no past in the beginning yet because of them, according to Genesis 3:15, God set in place a plan for our redemption. There was also another Old Testament whoever named Noah. From all indication, Noah was minding his own business when God called upon him to build an ark something that is still debated today as to whether or not he actually did it. Believe it or not there are many people out there who do not believe he built it. God could have used anyone, but He chose Noah. Then there was Abraham, a man living with his father whom God called out to establish a very unique relationship with causing him to leave his father for a strange land. Why did God pick Abraham the bible does not tell us, but what we know is that Abraham was a “whoever”. Then there is Daniel. All of you know the story about Daniel being cast into the lion’s den. There were guys who did not like Daniel so they conspired against him which led to him being thrown in the lion’s den. Because Daniel was an Old Testament “whoever” God closed the mouth of those lions and Daniel was saved. All of these and many more Old Testament “whoevers” died without fully realizing the promise made to all whoevers. According to Hebrews, they all died in faith, before the fulfillment of the promise. This brings me to my focus for today, what am I referring to when I talk you whoevers.
I. For God So Loved The World
I shared with you earlier the Scripture from John 3:16. For all of you out there who have accepted the gift that God gave us, you are one of the “whoevers” this verse is talking about. There were no entry criteria or fee that had to be met. There was no exam that had to be passed. There were no interviews, applications, physical fitness test, medical exams, etc. All that was required was a simple acceptance of the gift. Once we heard and accepted, we became a “whoever.” That was the same for all those New Testament “whoevers” whose lives were changed after they had an interaction with Christ.
In the New Testament, there were many people that became “whoevers” with backgrounds that were as varied as you’d expect. For example, Matthew 9:20-21 records “And behold, a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak; for she was saying, ‘If I only touch His garment, I shall get well.” This woman was in need and to get her need met she sought out Jesus. She did not walk up to Jesus; introduce herself; explain her condition; filled out an application for assistance to request help. No, she walked up to Him and took what she needed. Her desire to be healed was so strong that she convinced herself that if she just touched His garment, she would be made whole. You know what happened? She was healed. She was healed because she believed. She was healed because in her thought process, she accepted who Christ was thus becoming a ‘whoever.” Then there was the thief who was crucified with Jesus.
When Jesus was hanging on the cross, paying the ultimate price for you and I, there were two other men hanging beside Him. One of the men, probably after hearing stories of Jesus, recognized that Jesus was not guilty of what had been charged against Him. This man compared himself to Christ and found himself lacking. This man had a desire, a desire to become a whoever. This man realized that he had wasted his life and his time was up. Luke 23:39-43 says “And one of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying ‘Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!’ But the other answered, and rebuking him said, ‘Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.’ And he was saying, ‘Jesus, remember me when You come in Your Kingdom!’ And He said to Him, ‘Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” Of the two men who were crucified with Jesus, one apparently thought that “if Jesus was the Christ” then He could save them all. He did not care that Jesus was innocent, only that Jesus could be his way to freedom. His partner, the one I mentioned earlier, had a repentant heart. He believed and became a “whoever”, right there on the cross.