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.

Probably one of the most quoted verses from the Bible.  The Bible is the most important, the most influential, the most misused, and the most misunderstood book in the world.  Yet the message of the Bible can be stated in this one verse.

FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD…

God’s love is a love of action.  His love is a love of giving.  God gave us a world to live in.  He created it all for our good.   He gives us life.  He gives us all that we need and all that we have.  There is nothing that we have that was not given to us by God.

“All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” John 1:3 KJV.

We know this because we are created in the image of God.  Just like a child knows that he has parents, we know we have a Creator.  In this aspect we are His offspring, His children, His creation.

“Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:”  Romans 1:19, 20 KJV.

THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON…

God’s love is a love of sacrifice.  It is easy to love those who love us.  It is easy to love those who are like us.  It is even possible to love the those who are different from us.  But God loves those who opposed Him.

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 KJV.

John 3:16 is part of Jesus’ discussion with Nicodemus.  Nicodemus was a very religious man.  He was even a leader of the Jewish religion.  He came to Jesus by night because he was afraid of what the other religious Jews would think.  Nevertheless he came to Jesus, for he knew that only God could do the miracles that Jesus had done.  Jesus told Nicodemus, “Ye must be born again”.  Nicodemus was confused by this and asked Jesus to explain.  Jesus told him that He was not talking about physical birth,  but rather He was speaking of spiritual birth.  The Bible tells us that we are born into this world spiritually dead.  Spiritual death came upon us when Adam, our father, rejected God’s love and rebelled against God.  We are all children of Adam.  Just as all of our physical genetics have been inherited from Adam, so our spiritual genetics have also come from Adam.  We are our father’s children and we act like our father.

“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Romans 3:10-18.

Sin is disobeying God.  We are all sinners because we all fall short of God’s standard or law.  The penalty for sin is death and hell.

God created us to live eternally.  Physical death is not the end; it is only the beginning of eternity.  What we do with Christ in this life will determine where we will spend eternity.

There is a real place called hell.  Jesus described hell for us in Matthew 13:50 as a place of punishment for the wicked,
“And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” 
God in II Thessalonians 1:9  tells us that the worst punishment of the wicked will be eternal separation from God in hell,
“Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;”.  
There will be no hope in hell.  There will be no love in hell.

There is a real place called heaven.  Jesus told us,
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”  John 14:1-3 KJV.
There will be peace in Heaven.  There will be love in Heaven.

“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”  Isaiah 59:2 KJV

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23  KJV

“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”  John 3:17 KJV

Two thousand years ago God gave his only begotten Son.  Jesus was both completely man and completely God.  He was Immanuel “God with us”. He had but one purpose: to save us from our sins.  There was only one way to save us:  He must pay our penalty.  He must die and shed His blood for us.  The Creator must die for the created.  The Righteous must die for the unrighteous.

“Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?  For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”  Isaiah 53:1-6 KJV

They took Jesus from the cross and laid His dead body in a tomb.  Three days later, early Sunday morning, Jesus rose from the dead.  The penalty for our sins was paid.  We have hope.

“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:  And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” John  11:25, 26 KJV

THAT WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH, BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE…

The bad news is that we are sinners deserving of eternal punishment in a place called hell.  The good news is that God loves us.   His love moved Him to the greatest sacrifice: the death, the burial, and the resurrection of His only begotten Son.  Now the choice is for you to make.  Will you believe?

I grew up in a religious home.  All of my relatives were good people.  I went to church regularly.  I read my Bible.  I prayed.  I was a good person.  But there was a problem: I was a sinner.  Being good or being religious did not change the underlying problem.  I was a sinner deserving the just punishment of death and hell.  You can take a rotten apple and cover it with candy but it is still a rotten apple.  That was me.  There was nothing I could do to change it.  Oh, I thought I was ok.  I thought God would forgive me because I was a good person.  It was not until I realized that I was a sinner headed toward hell that I put my trust in Christ alone for my salvation.  I was a young child but I still remember the time and place that changed my life completely.  It was behind my bedroom door, on the second floor of the house at 77 Church Street.  There I knelt and asked God to forgive me of my sins and I placed my trust in Him alone.

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.  For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  Romans 10:9-13

What must I do to be saved?  Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

What should I say to God?  Your prayer does not save you.  It is what you believe in your heart.  Speak to God.  He has been waiting to hear from you.  He loves you more than you will ever understand.  He is waiting patiently for you to trust in Him.  Here is only an example of what this prayer might look like:

“God, I know that I am a sinner.  I believe that you gave your only begotten Son Jesus to die for my sins and I believe that you raised Him from the dead.  Please forgive me of my sins.  I place my faith in Jesus alone for my Salvation and I desire to live for you.  In Jesus name, Amen.”

I cannot make you a Christian.  A church cannot make you a Christian.  Today, if you have placed your trust in Christ,  I would like to encourage you to tell others what He has done for you.  I would also encourage you to attend a local church that teaches the Bible.  If you are not sure where to find a Bible teaching church, please contact me and I will help you locate one.  Finally, it would be an encouragement to me if you would let me know what God has done in your life.  Our email is in the description.