3:16 (Part Two: For God So Loved...You)

John 3:16 (KJV)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

The first sermon I ever preached here, October 11, 1981, was from John 3:16. I talked about His love for you and me. Thirty-four years later - I woke up this morning as confident as I've ever been that God still loves you and me as much as He ever has.

I John 3:1-3 (MSG)
What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he’s up to.
2-3 But friends, that’s exactly who we are: children of God. And that’s only the beginning. Who knows how we’ll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we’ll see him—and in seeing him, become like him. All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus’ life as a model for our own.


Note these things:
1. "What marvelous love the Father has extended to us!"

This Glorious God Who gave the seas their boundaries and the skies their limitless space...this All-Powerful God Who shifts and the heavens rumble - the lightning flashes and the earth quakes...this God - the Only God - chose by His own determinate will to have you and me as His children. And He says, "I love you with a marvelous love."

I love a good hamburger.
I love onion rings.
I love a nice car - a convertible on a warm summer evening.
I love nice clothes.
I love desserts - all desserts.
I love to travel. I'd love to take Pauline on a Mediterranean cruise.
I love the Andy Griffith Show; Walker, Texas Ranger; and the 3 Stooges.
I love watching football and going to a game.
I love my daughters, my sons-in-law.
I really love my grandkids!
I really, really love Pauline!

You see, I really throw that word, “love,” around rather loosely. If you asked me to describe which I loved so much I couldn’t do without, then of course, you know I’d quickly redefine just what I meant by love:
I enjoy a good hamburger.
I enjoy onion rings.
I enjoy football.
I enjoy a nice car.

But I LOVE my family! I LOVE the Lord Jesus.

Let me tell you, God loves you! He doesn’t love you and me like we love stuff. His love is so high and deep and broad and genuine and authentic that He said, “I’ll prove it. Because I want you happy and free and love you too much to leave you as you are – I choose to die in your place.”

As Paul described it in Romans 5:7-11 (NLT):
Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good.8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.


2. He loves us as His children.
One of the great teachings of the Bible is the doctrine of adoption.
Listen again:
What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he’s up to. But friends, that’s exactly who we are: children of God. (I John 3:1-2a, MSG)

How marvelous is His love? So marvelous He takes hard-headed, rebellious, arrogant, irritating, obnoxious people like you and like me and forgives us of all our trash and makes us His children!

Romans 8:15 NLT
So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”

Galatians 4:4-6 NLT
But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. 5 God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. 6 And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.”

3. And who knows how we’ll end up!

Now that lights my fire! John says, “Look, He love us so much that He makes us His children and if He’ll do that, there’s no telling how this will end up! We just know He’s coming again and we will be like Him.”

You think about this. He loves us marvelously so that He adopts us into His family and says when we get through living out His plan for us here, He’ll take us to a place called heaven where we will live forever.
All this and heaven too! And all because He loves us.

“For God so loved the world…”

I know us – none of us deserve any of this. We’re all a bunch of sin-natured, fallen, broken pieces of humanity.
But you don’t have to deserve it. You just have to receive it.

As the old song, “When He Reached Down His Hand for Me” says:

Once my soul was astray from the heavenly way
I was wretched and vile as could be
But my Savior in love, gave me peace from above
When he reached down His hand for me

Chorus
When the Savior reached down for me
When he reached down His hand for me
I was lost and undone, without God or His Son
When he reached down His hand for me

I was near to despair when He came to me there
And He showed me that I could be free
Then He lifted my feet, gave me gladness complete
When He reached down His hand for me

How my heart doth rejoice when I hear His sweet voice
And the tempest to Him I can flee
There to lean on His arms, safe secure from all harm
Since he reached down his hand for me