John 3:16: The World’s Greatest Text
Do you recognize these words? There’s Arabic, Hebrew, Greek, Italian, French, Hindi, Chinese, Japanese, German, Russian, Spanish. This is John 3:16 in these languages.
Of all the 31,175 verses of the Bible, John 3:16 may well stand out as the Greatest Text of the entire Bible. It has been translated into over 1,100 languages of the world - and why not? This single Scripture has been used by soul-winners and the Holy Spirit to lead more sinners out of darkness into the light than any other verse in the Bible.
F. W. Boreham compiled a list of the favorite text of some great men of God: Sir Issac Newton, John Newton, David Livingstone, William Carey. The final chapter of his book was on John 3:16 and he called it "Everybody's Text." Indeed, it is. It is so simple, so sufficient, so sure. Its words are simply wonderful and wonderfully simple.
"Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill, and every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky.
Oh, love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure - The saints' and angels' song."
God’s incredible love
God’s indisputable love.
God’s indispensable love.
1. GOD'S LOVE IS INCREDIBLE!
I am using the word “incredible” as we hear it in modern life. The word actually means “unbelievable, inconceivable, absurd, preposterous.” But this word is usually used to describe something so far out that is beyond our sense of reality.
The love of God is something over which we are continually amazed!
"For God so loved the world..." There are three Greek words for “love.”
· Eros = sensual love. We get our word “erotic” from this word. It never
stained the soil of Scripture.
· Philos = social love. Common. We get our word “philadelphia” from this Greek word which means “brotherly love.” Friendship.
· Agape = special love. God's love, divine love, incredible love.
Incredible in light of it's origin. "For GOD so loved... At the time Jesus made this statement men's thoughts about God were all wrong - god of wrath, cruel monster. God is holy, righteous, just. "God is love," 1 John 4:7, 8.
Incredible in light of it's overflow. "For God SO loved..." There was a time when I began to love my wife and children. It was when I got to know them and be with them. With God there was never a time when God began to love you. God has always loved you. In Jeremiah 31:3 God says, "I have loved thee with an everlasting love." That means "from vanishing point to vanishing point." Look as far back as you can, look as far ahead as you can - God has always loved you. "Out of sight!" God's love is...
- not a trickling stream, but an overflowing river.
- not a flickering lightening bug, but a brilliant sun.
Incredible in light of it's objects. "God so loved the WORLD..." This is not the world of nature or creation, but the world of mankind. God loves people.
- Not just American people, but all people.
- Not just white people, but people whose skin is all colors.
- Not just Christian people, but pagan people.
- Not just good people, but bad people.
"Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight, Jesus
loves the little children of the world." And the big people, too!
Do you really understand that God loves you? Narrow down the focus.
* God's love includes the whole world.
* God's love includes the church. “Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it,
* God's love includes me. “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I,
but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of
the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me,” Galatians 2:20.
A great theologian was asked, "What is the most profound thought to ever pass through your mind?" He paused and thought and said, "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so." You can't get any deeper than that. See the origin, and the overflow and the objects of God's love, all I can say is that it is incredible!
"I am so glad that Jesus loves me..."
2. GOD'S LOVE IS INDISPUTABLE.
"...that He gave His only Begotten Son..." This phrase tells me God's love is indisputable. Romans 5:8 says, "But God commendeth His love toward us..." That means God put His love on display, He proved it, He placed it on exhibit for all to see and know. Friend, you may go to hell unsaved, but you will never go to hell unloved.
God Gave His Son definitely. "He gave..." Love is always proves itself by the length to which it is willing to go. A boy sent a note to his girl friend.
"I love you so much. I would climb the highest mountain, swim the
widest sea, cross the burning desert, die at the stake for you.
P. S. I'll see you Saturday, if it doesn't rain."
God didn't send an angel to prove His love. He sent HIS Son.
God Gave His Son uniquely. "His only Begotten Son." That talks about the nature and birth of Jesus. He was one of a kind. Never before, never after would one be like Jesus. He was virgin born. "God was manifested in the flesh," 1 Timothy 3:16. R. G. Lee said it this way, "Jesus Christ is the only Baby born who had a Heavenly Father, but no heavenly mother, an earthly mother, but no earthly father, was older than his mother and as old has His Father." The word "Son" is the very center of this verse. That is no accident! He is in the very center of everything that matters. God has no plans, no purposes for man what do not center in the person of His Son.
God Gave His Son sacrifically. "Gave." Romans 8:32 says, "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all..." God not only gave His Son TO the world, but God gave His Son FOR the world. We go to the hill called Calvary and see Jesus crucified - gore, spiting, screaming, cursing, hatred. All for us!
Would you not agree with me: God's love is both incredible and indisputable!
3. GOD'S LOVE IS INDISPENSABLE.
"That whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life..." You just cannot get along without the love of God. It is indispensable because it...
Reaches to All Humanity. "Whosoever." You are in that world. Put your name beside it. God's love is for everyone. An old man on a cane, a kid on a bicycle, a young person in a car, a businessman in his office, a mother in her home, a soldier in a battlefield, a worker on his job.
Rescues from Hell. "...should not perish." If you will listen you can hear the fire sizzling in that word, look closely and you will see the worms crawling in that word, breath deeply and you will smell the smoke in that word. "Perish, perish, perish." Jesus had the tenderest heart that ever beat in any human body, but there came from Him the most serious warnings about a terrible hell. Forever, forever, forever. "I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore, very deeply stained with sin, sinking to rise no more. But the Master of the sea, hear my despairing cry, from the waters lifted me, now safe am I. Love lifted me. Love lifted me..."
Redeems to Heaven. "But." The hinges of man's hope hangs on that "but." "Have everlasting life." Man without Christ is lost. Psalm 40:1 says it is like being in a horrible, dark pit, sinking in miry clay.
* Mr. Pleasure comes by - enjoy yourself.
* Mr. Philosophy - know thyself.
* Mr. Psychology - understand thyself.
* Mr. Morality - improve thyself.
* Mr. Religion - save thyself.
But one day…
* Mr. Jesus came by and he saw I wasn't enjoying myself, didn't know or understand myself, I couldn't improve or saved myself, so Jesus leaped down into that pit, "And from sinking sand He lifted me, with tender hand He lifted me, From shades of night to plains of light, Oh, praise His name He lifted me."
Requires the Heart. "Whosoever believeth in Him..." Again we are brought back to Jesus. He is the One who saves people from their sins, writes their names in life's eternal book, secures for them a place in the family of God and a home in heaven. And the word that activates it all is the word "believeth." Simply and solely God calls on us to trust His Son for our eternal salvation. Have you done that?
Thus this great sentence, which summarizes the whole gospel story, begins with God and ends with everlasting life. It begins with One who had no beginning, and it ends with a salvation which has no ending. The gift of everlasting life becomes your only when you take it. Have you taken it? Have you taken Christ? Is He your personal Savior?
I've tried to do the impossible, explain the inexplicable, define the indefinable, describe the indescribable.
Two hippies staring at the vast expanse of endless waters in the ocean.
"Dig all that crazy water!"
"Yeah, and that's just the top."