Today we're going to talk about one of the first Bible verses you most likely heard as a teeny tiny baby growing up in a Christian home! One of the first Scripture verses you memorized as a child in Sunday School! A verse which is so popular it's known just by its biblical reference!
I'm sure you figured out I'm referring to,
"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."
Before we move forward, I'm calling a time out (YES pun intended!) to share some "football trivia" concerning John 3:16!
The Denver Broncos were facing the Pittsburgh Steelers in a play off game with Tim Tebow as their quarterback.
Tebow painted John 3:16 under his eyes, exactly the same way he did three years before during the National Championship game when he played for the Florida Gators. On that day, January 8th, 2009, 94 million people Googled John 3:16!
Fast forward to the upset win over the Steelers in 2012, which ended in overtime with Tebow throwing the winning touchdown pass!
Tebow was celebrating with his teammates in the locker room when the Broncos PR guy approached him almost too giddy to speak.
“Timmy, do you realize what happened?”
“Yeah, we just beat the Steelers and we’re going to play the Patriots!”
“No, I don’t think you realize what just happened. During today's game you threw for 316 yards, your yards per rush were 3.16, your yards per catch were 31.6, the time of possession was 31.6 and the ratings for the game were 31.6!"
During the game 90 million people Googled John 3:16 and once again it was the number one trending item on Facebook and Twitter!"
Tebow responsed by saying, “A lot of people said it was just a coincidence. I say big God!”
Okay, back to the present!
As we break down John 3:16, let's first discuss the love of God.
just a loving
“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”
I John 4:8
God's love is
The Greek word for this type of love is agape.
So we can know beyond a shadow of a doubt the love mentioned in John 3:16 is agape love!
I have read, reread, memorized and quoted this verse in my sleep, but NEVER once took notice to this one very small two letter word!
"For God SO loved"
Wrapped up in this little word "SO" is,
All the agonies of the cross.
All the riches of God's grace.
The depths of my sins, your sins, the sins of the entire world.
The matchless mercies of God.
is bound up
in the word
"For God so loved the world"
The world is made up of the unholy, the unlovely, the lonely, the outcasts, the lawbreakers, and everyone in between!
one of us!
Like me, you may find it really difficult to wrap your head around the fact that someone could love EVERY person in the whole wide world, past, present and future. But remember it's not just any person.
God DOES love the whole wide world, but He also loves each one of us individually as if we were the only person in the whole wide world!
"that he gave his only begotten Son,"
We need to stop and realize that God loved His Son just as much as we love our children. However, God knew He had to give up His sinless Son to die on the cross, because if Jesus would not have died, it would have been us dying in our sin.
Whosoever means you.
Whosoever means me.
Whosoever means every single person in the whole wide world, past, present and future!
Go back and reread the verse and replace the word, "whosoever", with your name! Make it personal because that's exactly the way it's meant to be taken.
"believeth in him"
God didn't say, "Well, since I love the whole world, then the whole world gets to go to Heaven!"
God could have certainly made it that way, but He chose to make man with the ability to make his own decisions. This way, the choice to believe in Jesus as Saviour is a personal, individualized decision, not an automatic choice forced upon us by God.
Jesus has paid the price. He's done all the work. There's nothing left to do except to receive the free gift of salvation.
You can't just know about Jesus.
Learn about Jesus.
Read about Jesus.
Hear about Jesus.
You must BELIEVE on Jesus and His death, burial and resurrection as the payment for YOUR sins. Laying aside your religion, good works, the fact you're a decent person, give money to your church, etc., and believe Jesus is the ONLY way to be forgiven of your sins. If all those other things I mentioned could take away your sins, then why did Jesus have to die?
You must make the decision to say, "Yes, I will receive the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. I know I'm a sinner in need of a Saviour and I believe Jesus that You are the Only One Who can cleanse me of my sins and take me to Heaven when I die. Jesus, I'm asking You to be my Saviour and the Lord of my life."
"should not perish, but have everlasting life."
This part of John 3:16 contains wonderful news and horrible news.
The great news is that if you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ then you've already been granted everlasting life. It began the moment you prayed and asked Christ to be your Saviour and it will continue throughout all eternity!
However, if you die without knowing Christ as your personal Saviour, you will perish.
Perish is the total opposite of everlasting life. It means separation from God for all eternity.
Every person WILL be alive somewhere FOREVER!
Either alive forever in the presence of God in Heaven or alive forever in the absence of God in Hell.
I know that may seem a bit harsh, but it's EXACTLY what's written in God's Word.
If you have trusted Christ as your personal Saviour, please take a few minutes to praise and thank Him for saving you!
If you have yet to trust Christ, now would be the VERY BEST time to ask Him to be your Saviour. You could pray something like I wrote just a few paragraphs above. Just make it your own prayer in your own words. God isn't looking for fancy words.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
God loves you
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May God Bless You,