He Gave us His Son

For God So Loved the World  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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Warren Brosi
January 14, 2024
Dominant Thought: God loves you.
I want my listeners to understand God loves us even in our sinful condition.
I want my listeners to feel gratitude for God’s generous love for us.
I want my listeners to respond with generous living as Jesus is generous.
Hebrews 13.8 is our theme verse for our 200th anniversary year this year. It says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Lord willing, Hebrews 13.8 will serve as our guide for our sermons this year. From now through Easter, we’ll look at Jesus Christ through the gospel of John. After Easter, Jesus Christ is the same. We’ll look at the heart of God and how His character remains the same. Jesus Chris the same yesterday. In that series, we plan to look at 200 years of Old Testament history from the united kingdom of Saul, David, and Solomon to the first part of the divided kingdom to King Jehoshaphat. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today. As we look at today, we’ll study the preaching in the book of Acts to equip us to be the church of today that God needs us to be. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Lord willing, we’ll close 2024 with a study of Revelation as we look to the victory we have with Jesus for eternity. I’m excited for how God will use this year to advance His kingdom in our community.
How’s your 21 days with God going? Today is day 7 of our intentional journey with God. There is still time to join our 21 days. We encourage you to find a prayer partner and pray together each day for 21 days. Spend 21 minutes a day in word, worship, and prayer. And during this 21 days, ask our heavenly Father for a word to guide you through this year. If you’d like to receive a daily text with the Scriptures and worship link, then you can text “21 days” to our BCC text number at 833-612-9972. At last count, we had 44 people subscribe to our 21 days text reminders.
If you know this verse, then I invite you to say it with me, “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” (John 3.16). I want to focus our attention on John 3.16, but I’d like to read and gain some context of this beloved verse. So, I’d like to take a long on ramp to read and study John 3.1-15 to prepare us for John 3.16-21. For the sermon in a sentence it is three words today: God loves you.
John 3 opens with a ruling Pharisee named Nicodemus. A Pharisee was a religious leader who focused on observing the laws of God. They observed the sabbath and holy days. They committed to eating clean foods and ritual purity. They were Israel’s teachers. Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night. Light and darkness are common themes in John’s gospel. Maybe Nicodemus wants to come to Jesus under the cover of darkness to draw less attention that he is seeking out Jesus. Maybe he wanted a long uninterrupted conversation. Nicodemus compliments Jesus. Jesus replies, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again” (John 3.3). Nicodemus is puzzled, “How can someone be born when they are old?” Jesus answers him, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit” (John 3.5). Nicodemus may have remembered the words of the prophet Ezekiel when God describes a cleansing of water and a new Spirit in Ezekiel 36.
Ezekiel 36:25–27 NIV
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
I understand Jesus’ words here in John 3 as a reference to baptism. When you are baptized into Christ, you unite with Jesus, sins are forgiven, the Holy Spirit comes to live with you (see Acts 2.38).
The conversation continues and Nicodemus still doesn’t understand how this can happen. Jesus tells him, “You are Israel’s teacher and still you do not understand these things?” (John 3.10).
Then, Jesus gives Nicodemus a lesson from the Old Testament in John 3.14-15, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness...” The story is recorded in Numbers 21. The people of Israel are wandering in the wilderness and complain about the food God is giving them. They say, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food” (Numbers 21.5). God sends venomous snakes among the people. They bite the people and many Israelites died. Moms and dads, the next time your kids complain about their supper, read some Numbers 21 to them. The people come to Moses and say, “We have sinned against the Lord and against you. Pray that the LORD will take the snakes away from us” (Numbers 21.7). Moses prays. God answers by telling Moses to make a snake and put it on a pole. Anyone who is bitten by the snake can look at it and live. Moses makes a bronze snake and puts it on a pole. When anyone who was bitten looked to the snake on the pole, they lived.
That could be some of the background of the medical symbols that have a snake on a pole. You may have seen them on an ambulance before. It could trace back to this story of God’s healing people when they looked at the snake on the pole.
Jesus compares the people looking to the snake lifted up on a pole to the Son of Man being lifted up on a pole. We know it to be a cross. Jesus was lifted on a cross and everyone who believes may have eternal life in him. That is the set up for some of the most memorable words of Scripture in John 3.16.
Today, we begin four weeks of looking at God’s love for us in the gifts He gives. Today, He gives us His Son, Jesus.
As we look at John 3.16, we see three actions of God to offer eternal life.
First, God loves us even when we don’t deserve it. For God so loved the world. The current world population is now over 8 billion people. According to the website Statista (https://www.statista.com/statistics/237584/distribution-of-the-world-population-by-continent/) 59% of the world population lives in Asia, 18% in Africa, 9% in Europe, 8% in Latin America and Caribbean, and 4% in North America, 0.56% in Oceania. Another way to see it is if the world was a town of 1,000 people: 592 would be Asian, 181 African, 93 European, 81 Latin American/Caribbean, 47 North American, 6 from Oceania. For God so loved the world.
As you look at John’s gospel, when we see the term, “world,” many times it means those who are opposed to God. In John 1.29, John, the cousin of Jesus points out to Jesus with the words, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” 56 times in 42 verses John mentions the world. Earlier in John 1, we read, “He [Jesus] was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him” (John 1.10).
So, when we hear the words, “For God so loved the world....” God loves the ones who don’t recognize Him. Those who dishonor and disrespect Him. Our God loves us when we don’t love Him.
Second, God gives His Son for us.
God gives His one and only, His only unique Son. God loves the world so much that He was willing to send His Son from heaven to earth to be rejected, tortured, killed, and raised to life. He is a giving God. One of the goals I have for our church is to be generous as Christ is generous. Part of generous living is how we honor God with the material resources He has given to us. Our giving God motivates, inspires, and directs giving people. One of the goals of this series is to look at some of the big gifts God gives so we can join Him in giving. Today, we look at how He Gives His Son, Jesus. Next week, we’ll study, “God gives us His Spirit.” In the final two weeks we’ll look at the gifts of eternal life and God’s glory.
I invite you to join us for our Sunday morning adult Bible class at 9 am in the fellowship hall. Scott Keck and I are leading a group called, “I Like Giving.” In one of the stories, a lady, Catherine, works at a bakery. She was in need of a car. She had saved some money for a car. One day, she came across a widow in need. She gave the widow the $5,000 that was in her car fund. She said, “I can’t give what I don’t have.” Then, she asked a friend if she did the right thing. Her friend was shocked. Then, Catherine’s talked with her husband to see how they could help Catherine’s car fund. They decided to buy Catherine a new car. The dealer was inspired by this couple’s generosity and joined them to put some money with them. They deliver the car to Catherine. She’s excited to see them. They presented her the car. As she retells the story, she has tears. She said, “I know God has many cars, but I didn’t know He had one for me.” Catherine states, “We don’t give in order to receive. We give because it’s the nature of Jesus Christ. He gave us His life. So, we have the DNA of Jesus Christ in giving.” (Video can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIASx_kTv8M&list=PLkuLgiStxhxl2wLnB9_T2L0cBU2ukLZmT&index=13.
I love how she says, “We have the DNA of Jesus Christ in giving.” So, how much is a soul worth to you? How much is your loved ones, family members, and those who are walking far from God worth to you? How important is it to give our time, talents, and treasures to see the next generation come to know eternal life? For God, everyone on planet earth was worth the price of His one and only Son, Jesus.
Third, God saves those who trust in Jesus.
The second half of John 3.16 says, “that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
The word, “believe,” shows up 101 times in John’s gospel. Each of those times it is in the verb form. It is an action word of believing or I like to describe it as trust. We place our trust in many things. We trusted cars to get us here to the building. We trust these pews to hold our body weight. We display trust all the time. Jesus invites us to place our trust in Him, to believe in Him. It is not only a mental agreement, but it is place our life into His saving care.
If you believe in Jesus, then you will not perish. It is the word for destroy and is one of the many references Jesus uses to describe hell or separation from God or death. We must know what we are saved from so we know what we are saved for. Do you remember when God sent those snakes to teach those who were complaining a lesson? That’s not the first time we see a snake in the Bible. We meet a crafty serpent in Genesis 3 who deceives Eve and Adam and God brings curses to the serpent and the man and the woman and they are cast out of the garden of Eden. In John 3, Jesus tells Nicodemus and everyone who will come after him how to get back to Eden. Jesus shows everyone who to return back to a healthy relationship with God and humanity. It is through His generous offer of sacrificing His life for all mankind. For those who will trust Him, then they will have eternal life in Him.
Unfortunately, not everyone will trust Him. He goes on to say that God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Then He gives the verdict: “Light has come into the world, but people loved the darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” (John 3.19). On that dark night with Nicodemus, Jesus tells him, “Many people want to live in the shadows so their deeds will not be exposed.” However, those who live by the truth come into the light so that they have no secrets before others and God.
On January 10, 2024, Brad Clair and I met for our 21 Days with God prayer time over lunch. As we began our prayer time, a homeless man walked in the door asking for bread to eat. We shared lunch with him and I took him to Springfield. As he exited, I told him, “God bless you.” He replied the same. Then, I said, “Jesus loves you. He replied, “I know. He gave me a ride today.”
As we look back over this conversation Jesus has with Nicodemus, I pray we will feel the depth of God’s love for humanity and for us. We’ll see the gift of Jesus to die on a cross for the sins of the world. I invite each of us to a deeper trust in Jesus to walk with him. In a way, we simply say, “Thank you, Jesus.” How will you express your gratitude to Jesus this week?
For more on generosity, visit: https://renew.org/generosity-in-the-bible/?mc_cid=c41a165840&mc_eid=16c849981e
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