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Summary: Father and Son worked in partnership to save the world.

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It was young love. He wrote her a letter, trying to capture a poetic expression of how much she meant to him. He wrote, “For you, I would cross the hottest, driest desert. I would swim the deepest ocean and brave the wildest storm. I would climb the heights of Everest such is the depth of my love for you.

PS. I won’t be over this Saturday. The forecast is calling for snow!”

There was One who never echoed empty words. John the apostle “Captures the Wonder” in statements that philosophers have tried to improve for centuries. Countless attempts to reiterate the message with fresh flavour have not been easy. Eugene Peterson comes as close as any.

(SLIDE)

John 3:16 (The Message) "This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.

John 3:16 has been the best known, best loved, most often recited verse of the whole Bible. It has been suggested that it summarizes the gospels for deep thinkers and expresses the faith of the most illiterate believer. Reverend Edward Hastings calls John’s beautiful expression “one majestic, sweeping, comprehensive sentence {that expresses} the essence of Christian belief.”

Let’s trace this amazing love story and try to capture some of the mysteries of God’s love for me (personalize it – everyone say, FOR ME!)

1. The Fact of Love (SLIDE)

"This is how much God loved the world:”

I remember a time when as a young boy and later as a young man, there were few questions about God existing. It seemed we struggled more with trying to understand who God was. Now it seems people mostly grapple with whether or not God IS. Is there a God, a Being who is the sole, supernatural Majesty who brought all of life into existence?

The fact of love can only exist as far as one is able to read this story of incarnate love and believe the account and decide that God IS the Mastermind of the universe and everything that exists; that humanity was formed by his hand and given life by his breath. This is the starting point that will allow us to accept “This is how much God loved the world:”

(SLIDE) Until you have decided that “there is only one God, who is infinitely perfect, the Creator, Preserver, and Governor of all things, and who is the only proper object of religious worship,” you cannot move on. (SA Doctrine #2!)

Step one is to decide what “God” means to us before we can conclude the fact or fiction of love.

Reginald Bibby conducted a survey in 2002, which is recorded in his book “Restless Gods: The Renaissance of Religion in Canada” shares that “God continues to do well in the polls…91% of Canadians indicated that they believed in God or a higher power at least some of the time, 48% express unequivocal belief in God…” Further results by Bibby indicate that 26% have an unsure belief in God while only 6% are doubters and 2% hold no belief in God whatsoever.

What percentage base do you fit into?

Those of us who are among the 48% need to help people in other camps toward the truth if they are to experience the Fact of Love. To do that we must be willing to face the hard questions, like the one asked by 17 year old Mike from Hamilton Square, New Jersey, as quoted by the authors of “The Secret Life of Teens”. Mike’s prayer to God reads like this.

“Our world is dying. We need your help. All people are about anymore are themselves, and the people who want to live the correct, proper way have no idea where to turn for help. There are so many religions in the world.

“Followers of one particular belief think that the others are wrong and shun the people who hold those beliefs.

“How can you love the rapist, the murderers?

“I ask you and I get silence. I ask people, but everyone has a different answer. They all claim they’re right. Faith isn’t enough. So I just have one question to ask you.

“Where are you?

MIKE.”

Even though we know the answer is Jesus, it is not easy to get people to that conclusion. It takes a reinforced confidence in our own hearts that “God loved the world”. It takes a deep-seated faith and reassure in the truth that God IS and, in believing, I pour my heart out to him. In so doing, he will love His world through me, as I allow myself to be an instrument of God.

For those of us who have settled the issue and know the truth, and have experienced The Fact of Love we move on to

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