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Embed code for: John 3;16 (For in this way God loved...)
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John 3:16 discribes God's love as abundant, generous, welcoming, and enduring.
For in this way God loved… (John 3:16)
26 February 2017 – New Baptist Church
Pastor Trent Eastman
Study in John
Today we come to – John 3:16
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
John 3:16 is one of the great jewels of scripture,
it is the verse that most people memorize first.
It is the verse that is often translated first into a different language.
It is what people recite at baptisms, and have where hanging in their house.
It is the verse – that summarizes the great truths of our faith.
(Story of Karl Barth) Jesus Loves me – this I know for the Bible tells me so.
John 3:16 is where the Bible tells you so –
This verse contains some numerous important theological themes –
What is eternal life, what does it mean to perish, what does it mean to believe, how are we to understand – begotten son, how does this inform us of who God is, and how are we to understand what it means when it says THE WORLD… these are all important questions – and during this time I will touch on all of these… but the key thought, the beginning word of this verse is love.
Literally – in the greek – this verse reads – For in this manner – LOVED – the God, the world. Word order in Greek stresses emphasis, thus the emphasis of this verse is upon the word, upon the action of God – Love. For in this way God loves…
Thus this morning I want to focus on God’s love. The remarkable, life giving, enduring love of God. And in so doing we are doing exactly what we are instructed to do - Paul says in
(Ephesians 3:16–19 NIV) “17…And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Paul prays – I pray that you may grasp the greatness of God’s love… and that is my prayer this morning. Let’s Pray.
In John 3:16 there are 4 qualities of God’s love expressed in this verse. Thus I am going to go walk through this verse, looking at each quality – and as I do so, I want to compare how God loves with how the world loves. God’s love – how God loves – is radically different from how this world loves - This is why Paul prays… may you be able to grasp the greatness of God’s love and so doing, be filled with the fullness of God. So let us do this…
And that is my number 1 – God’s love is GREAT (it is unlimited, boundless, abundant). For God so loved the world
The love of this world is limited, is shallow. People tend to love only those that are meaningful to them – friends, family. It might extend to beyond that, maybe to those from the same town, of same high school, same racial group, of same nation – maybe those who have the same beliefs or ideas – but the world, the world is fully of criminals, the world is full of bad people….
But this is what God does – For God so loved the world.
Tyrants, bullies, sex offenders, murderers, criminals…. There are a lot of bad people in this world – including you. I don’t want to offend… but let me give you a test.
Let’s just look at 4 commandments -
Though shall not lie – and if you tell me you have never lied, you are a liar.
Do not steal – have you ever stolen something before – a paper clip, a pen, - time.
Do not commit adultery – but Jesus said – if you just lust in your mind, you have committed adultery.
Do not murder – I have never killed someone… if you are angry – you have already murdered that person.
Our world is filled with liars, and thieves and adulterers and murders. This is why God’s love is so Great. God so loved the world – the world. Not a group, not a nation, not a tribe of people, or a type of people. He loves the world. His love is great.
And in the greatness of his love he is generous.
This is Number 2 – God’s love is Generous – For God so loved the world – that He GAVE His only begotten Son
The love that we know in this world is stingy –
it calculates out of abundance – how do I have, how much can I afford to give. How much can I give before I feel it.
It calculates return – if I love what do I get back in return
And the world’s stingy love also operates in fear -
If I am generous, I may be asked for more.
I will be taken advantage of
I need to hang on in case I have a need latter on.
And so the world’s love is stingy, giving only out excess and wealth.
But God’s love is not stingy, it is generous – he gave his one and only begotten son. There are differences in translations right here – the King James says only begotten – which is very literal to the Greek – the ESV and others say something like –one and only Son – the word begotten is missing. The word begotten can me to create, progeny, to give birth – and so the word Begotten can cause some to think that the Son is a creation from the Father – because of the possiblilty of that error that word is removed… but in greek there are other meanings for this word – and in this context it means of the same essence, of the same being.
Jesus is God – he is uncreated, his is fully God. This is really important to understand. God did not give out of his abundance.
God is defined by being all powerful, all things belong to him – thus it is easy to jump to the thought – well of course he can be generous – there are no boundaries on what he can give – his wealth, his power, is limitless… it is easy for him to be generous.
But when we talk about how God gave the only begotten son – recognize the radical generosity of God’s love. God gave himself. All of God suffered.
The Father Sent the Son, and the Son obeyed, and through his life sacrificed – in the power of the holy spirit – we are loved.
God did not give from a bank account overflowing with an infinite amount of wealth – he gave you the bank, he gave to you - himself
And it is this generous love that caused the God who made the universe, who spread out the expanses of space - hung the stars in the sky, – to be born or a woman, birthed in a manager, growing up in some forgettable poduck town – WHY – because of love.
And it is this generous love of God is why Jesus endured… –
When dear friends betrayed him – he endured
When people called him a hypocrite - endured
When the leaders accused him of sin, even having a demon in him.
When people spat on him, and soldiers beat him and finally hung him on a cross.
How did Jesus endure all of this – he did so by love. By a love that is both great and generous.
And it is a love that is offered to you.
And Number 3 – His love is welcoming. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him
The World’s love is conditional and materialistic. People love whatever is beautiful, whatever is attractive, that whatever is useful or helpful, or whatever I think “its going to make me happy.” And it is this type of materialistic and conditional love that creates idols.
The world loves THINGS – (homes and cars, and trophies)
The world loves THOSE – the rich the famous, the beautiful. Tonight is the Oscars – where people are awarded for pretending to be who they are not. It is a perfect example of how the world loves.
The World loves the what evers –
Whatever is rich
Whatever is beautiful
Whatever helps me
Whatever gives me joy
Whatever fits in my catagories of good
But notice what the Bible says – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes (Not whatever!)
Whoever is an is an invitation to everyone. Your name is included in the whoevers? God welcomes you to know Him. God welcomes whoever -
I love how Max Lucado puts it –
We lose much in life, sobriety, solvency, our sanity. We lose our jobs and our carriers. We lose at love we lose youth in its vigor and ideals. We lose much, but we never lose our place on God’s whoever list.
Whoever believes. God’s love welcomes all people
And finally number 4 – God’s love endures (persistent, lasting, eternal).
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
The love of this world – is always changing. The love of this world is tied to what we call emotions and feelings. Both of which change over time. People fall into love, people fall out of love. People go together, they break up, people marry, the get a divorce. These are all examples of love based upon feelings.
But God’s love is different – His love endures, his love lasts, His love is persistent… it does not change. And the reason his love does not change is because his love is not based upon a feeling, but upon his own being. His love is a covenantal love grounded upon his own nature and immutable qualities. God’s love endures because he endures.
In a few weeks a group of us will be leaving for Greece. One of the things the Greeks longed for was to be remembered, to endure, to not be forgotten. Part of the reason things were of marble and set in stone. Yet now – 2500 years from much of the times – we will see the pillars but do not know the names. Very few people who walked this earth are truly remembered.
And in your own family, how far back can you go back in knowing the names of your own ancestors. Can you name your great grandparents, how about your great, great, or great, great, great… probably not. Nothing lasts in this world – Even those things carved in stone and propped up in a cemetery – even those will disappear with time and be forgotten.
But God’s love that endures… it endures – it lasts – it is a part of who he is – therefore that which he loves also endures. This is why his love leads to eternal life. An enduring love does not let go. And we get a hint of this in the gospels.
Have you ever noticed, that every funeral Jesus attends – the dead person does not stay dead. Every time they get up, it is no fair.
He goes to home of Jairus, a synagogue leader – he arrives upon the day of the funeral, people are wailing and in great grief – and he says to the little girl get up.
He come upon a funeral procession carrying out a dead son of a widow. And Jesus says to the mother, don’t cry – and he says to the son – young man, I say to you get up – and he gets up.
And of course Lazarus, and he appears not at the funeral time, but in fact 4 days late. Lazarus has already been placed in the grave. Jesus tells people to remove the stone, and commands Lazarus to come out.
God’s power is so great that those that he loves never leave his grasp. Death cannot take them away. His love truly endures.
Paul says this in Romans 8 - “38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38–39 ESV)
God’s love endures. This is why Jesus says – that whosoever believes in me shall not perish but have eternal life.
This morning I want to invite you to God’s great, generous, welcoming, and enduring love. It is the love that our hearts long for.
The way that this world loves is limited, shallow, stingy, materialistic, and always changing. This is why the world’s love is so damaging to people. Fearful of losing love we apply pressure upon ourselves – I must be a certain way, I must make myself loveable, I must meet those expectations, or else, - I will be left, I will be unloved.
And unfortunately we take this distorted understanding of love and apply it to God – thinking that in order for God to love me, I have to be good and meet certain expectations and live to a certain standard, and have enough faith. That is how the world thinks, and this not what this passage says.
Believing in Him, believing in Christ is not something you have to do in order for God to love you. He loves you right now. But says in Romans 5:8 “8 God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
God’s love for you is not based upon you believing in God and receiving Him. But it is by believing in Him – believing in the work and person of Jesus Christ – is how you receive God’s love. It is how you let him love you.
It is how you experience this love that is great, and generous, and welcoming and enduring. Thank you Lord, thank you for loving me. I accept your love.
I had a friend in college who was madly in love with a young woman. He pursued her, dated her, took her out, he loved her. And one day he asked her to marry him. And after a few weeks of trying to decide yes or no, the young woman said no. My friend was crushed… All this love that he had for her – it did not change, at least not immediately – but he simply could not give it to her because she said no. Amongst much relationship perished.
This is what it means to receive Him – he is asking you to enter into a covenant with him – not to get his love, but because of his love. And it is in this covenantal relationship that his love is fully poured out upon you.
Will you receive Him? Will you let God love you? (Close – Generations Quartet). truly remembered.
Believing in Him, believing in Christ is not something you have