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Posts Tagged ‘John 3:16’

Two Loves – John 3:16-21

Preaching Notes October 7, 2012

John 3:16–21 (ESV)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

I.  God is Love, but what kind?

World wants God’s love to be …

World treats God’s love as …

The world cheapens any love which …

Love can never be demanded it can only be received. Thus, all love is a gift

So, what is the nature of God’s love?

This passage contrasts two loves …

God’s love for the world

vs

Our love for the world

II.  The 7 Attributes of God’s Love for the World

1. God’s love was preexistent to creation 

Ephesians 1:3–6

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

2. God’s love’s is unearned 

John 5:42

I know that you do not have the love of God within you.

1 John 4:19

We love because he first loved us.

Romans 5:8 and 10

God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. … For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

3. God’s love is purposeful

Ephesians 1:5

He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,

1 Peter 3:18

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,

The word “might” expresses design.

If God wanted to destroy/judge us for our sins, He would not have sent Jesus!!

4. The purpose of God’s Love is Salvation

1 John 4:14

We have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.

The Atonement was not the cause, but the effect, of God’s love

The benefit of God’s love is everlasting life.

Why God sent Jesus Christ to us:

1.  To be our Savior, because our sin (love for the world) kills us

2.  To bring life, because God does not wish that we not perish.

The Son of Man came into an already lost and condemned world. He did not come into a neutral world in order to save some and condemn others; he came into a lost world  in order to save.

5.  God’s love is a sacrificial and suffering love

It cost God so much for 3 reasons:

1.  Jesus gave up so much to suffer so much

Philippians 2:6–8

Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

2.  It required He who hates sin to suffer so much for sinners just to prove His love

Men are not easily convinced that God loves them. In order to remove all doubt, he has expressly stated that we are so very dear to God that, on our account, he did not even spare his only-begotten Son. (John Calvin)

3.  His love could only be revealed in fulness on the cross

A suffering love can never be demanded

6.  God’s love is not a condemning love

Romans 1:16–17

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Only when we reject God’s love are we condemned

Romans 1:24, 26, and 28:

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions.

Since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind.

When we reject God’s love have not been condemned by lack of faith, but by their sin.

The reason many hate Jesus is their rejection of it leaves them in death

We were already in need of a Savior before God’s Son comes on his saving mission

7.  God’s love must be received in faith because it cannot not be earned (see 2nd attribute)

Jesus’ 3-fold emphasis:

John 3:15

That whoever believes in Jesus may have eternal life.

John 3:16

That whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:18

Whoever believes in him is not condemned

God has done His work, we need to receive it in faith, which is belief and trust

III.  Our Love for the World is a love is of darkness

Our love for darkness

Our love for the world is pictured metaphorically in terms of light and darkness

Our love for darkness proves our depravity!

We love darkness because our deeds are evil and we do not want them exposed

We hate God’s sacrificial saving love because it exposes our sin

We hate the light and refuse to come to (near) it because exposes their darkness

To expose someone’s sin summons them to repentance.”

The verb exposed suggests not only exposure but shame and conviction

Jesus (light) exposes our sins 

Revelation 3:19

Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.

Ephesians 5:11

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

1 Timothy 5:20

As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.

This is why men refuse to read the Scriptures. God’s Word would condemn them.

Instead we desire a pandering and permissive love 

Sweet and permissive love leads to false happiness as it leads to death

We are ashamed of our love for the world

Our denial of our love for the world begins at an early age

Why do babies smile when they poop in their diapers?

Lynyrd Skynyrd’s That Smell

IV.  Those who love God’s love instead of the world’s

Those who love God do the truth

Semitic expression which means to act faithfully or ‘to act honorably

Suggests adherence to the truth as in adhering to Jesus

Those who acknowledge Jesus, recognize the good they do is by the grace of God

While the lover of darkness shuns the light out of fear of exposure, shame and conviction, the lover of light does not prance forward to parade his wares with cocky self-righteousness, rather he comes into the light so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God. (DA Carson)

We welcome and receive God’s love not because we are better, but because we desire what God’s love brings salvation and life, rather than what the world’s loves brings which is  condemnation and death

 

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“Isn’t it glorious to know that no matter how unjust something may be, even when it seems to have come from Satan himself, by the time it reaches us it is God’s will for us and will ultimately work to our good?” (1)

 

How would your life change if you assumed everything that happened to you was God’s will for you?

 

Everything?  

 

Yes, everything!

 

It’s a question that gives me long pause and few words.

 

Anytime someone glibly says, “It is God’s will” in the face of tragedy or disaster, I cringe.  

 

When bad things happen, questions flood my heart: 

Would God? 

Could God? 

Did God? 

Why God?

 

If it was God’s will and He would, could, and did, how would your life change?

 

I’d turn to God.

 

I’d cry out to Him?  

 

I’d stand with Habakkuk and wait for God to answer me. (See Habakkuk 1:1-2:4)

 

I’d cling to these scriptures:

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” 

 

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son” 

 

“We know that for those who love God all things work together for good.” 

 

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 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.” (2)

 

On the other hand, how would your life change if you assumed everything that happened to you was NOT God’s will for you?

 

In the center of the circle of the will of God I stand: 

There can come no second causes, all must come from His dear hand.

God is Love, and God is faithful, so in perfect Peace I rest. (1)

 

+ + +

  1. Reimann, Jim; Cowman, L. B. E. (2008-09-02). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (p. 311). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
  2. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Psalm 23:4, John 3:16, Romans 8:28, and Romans 8:38-39.

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Good Roots, Good Life

Preaching Notes

Psalm 1

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked

or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.

His delight is in the law of the Lord,

and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water,

which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.

Whatever he does prospers.

Not so are the wicked!

They are like chaff that the wind blows away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,

but the way of the wicked will perish.

I. The Tenacity of the Honeysuckle Vine

Honeysuckle invasion in backyard hedge

Volunteered to clean it out

Two days became 6 weeks

The vine was already regrowing at beginning

Provide personal experience to relate to Bible Stories

The vine and the branches – John 15

The parable of the sower – Luke 8

First significant botany lesson

Life of plants is in their roots

II. First Day with my New English Bible

Decided to read through the Psalms

Early 70’s – Hippies still in vogue

Motto – Peace, love, and happiness”

Constitution’s The pursuit of happiness

First line in NEB caught me heart and mind

Happy is the man …

I wanted to be happy

It was American and cool

Second verse

His delight is the word of the Lord

He meditates on it day and night

I can do that as a reader and thinker

Told me I would be happy if I did this

Did not tell me what happiness was

Always a multitude of definitions to happiness

Hippies – drop out, drop acid

Society – conform to the world

Dad – hard work and loyalty

III. Happiness Defined in Psalm 1:3

He is like a tree, planted by streams of water 

yielding his fruit in season

It’s leaf never fades

He prospers in all he does

This image exploded in my mind

Grew up along the banks of the St. John’s River

Massive oak trees lines the river

Gnarly branches swooping to the ground

Reaching to the sky

A Habitat of Life

Provisions and protection

Hundreds of years old

Jacksonville’s The Treaty Oak

These trees were survivors

Floods, drought, hurricanes, tornados, pests

The lived and began more beautiful and productive with age

This was the happiness I wanted

This is the happiness God wants you to have

To have a purposeful, fruitful, sustaining life

Which provides life to you and others

A life which endures

IV. Botany and Bible coming together

Life is hard

Roots are source of renewal and restoration

When difficulties arise

When life is cut-off

Imagery of Book of Isaiah

God’s people displaced by brutal kings and their sins

Imagery of Exile – Isaiah 2

People rejected God

God has a charge against them

==> Cedars of Lebanon and Oaks of Bashan being cut-off

Imagery of Hope – 11

From the stump of Jesse shall come a shoot (vs 1)

The root of Jesse shall be a signal for all the people (vs 11)

The new life to anticipate – Isaiah 55

Trees of the field shall cap their hands

Promise of God – Isaiah 61

You will become oaks of righteousness

V. People ask me why Children’s Ministry is so important

Our ministry to them roots them in God’s love and Word

John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world

Romans 1:16 – The gospel is the power of salvation

Romans 10:17 – Faith comes by hearing

Children are tender plants

We either root them well or do not root them at all

Psalm 1:4 provides a contrast to 1:3

They are blown away by the wind

They do not stand in the judgement

We either root them early and provide them a good life

Or we leave them without roots, to blow in the wind

Study on Psychology Today magazine in 1980’s

Children rooted in faith at a young age are healthier and have a better life

As parents we have major responsibility to fulfill

In precious little time, which flies

Infant becomes a toddler

Child becomes a teen

The teen becomes an adult

What seeds are you sowing in their lives

What investments are you making in their future

Only one seed, one investment

Secures their happiness

Secures their living

Secures their endurance

Rooting your children in God’s love and word

Is the best investment you can make in their lives

Yet so many Christian parents invest in other things

Falsely believing there will be time later to invest in God

Event the atheist reject this way of thinking

For the church and Christian parents

Our biggest investment should ALWAYS be in children and youth

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