Sunday Sermon: ‘Reaching the World for Christ’

Standard

iStock_000010746847XSmallaudio

Jesus said to His disciples – “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15) From this passage we see that our Lord wants everyone in this world to have the opportunity to hear the gospel and to be saved. This truth is reiterated in many places throughout scripture (2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 2:2; Acts 1:8; etc).

Today let’s consider a portion of Christ’s conversation with a man named Nicodemus.

John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up :15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish , but have eternal life. 16 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. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved . 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned : but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

The most famous and noted verse from this passage is verse 16 – 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. From this one verse of scripture we can explain to others how to be saved.

I. For God So Loved the World

A. God does not love the world’s sin

Sometimes we hear people say – “My God is too loving to send someone to hell.” It is true that God is loving; yet it is also true that God is holy. The prophet Habakkuk said of God – “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity…”  (Hab 1:13) God’s love does not sweep sin under the rug. His grace is not a blanket that He can throw over sin and  pretend that it doesn’t exist. God’s holiness demands divine justice. Therefore in order for God’s love to be extended to sinful mankind, something had to be done.

B. God’s love makes a way for mankind to be forgiven

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”(1 John 4:10)

The word ‘propitiation’ means – “an appeasing sacrifice.” Out of His love for the world, God made a way for His holiness to be satisfied and for us to be forgiven.

II. That He Gave His Only Begotten Son

John 3:16 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.

Out of His love for the world, God did something unbelievable. God sent His Son to be the Savior of the world.

A. Who is Jesus?

Many have sought to answer the question – “Who is Jesus?” Some say that He was a prophet. Others say that He was a good man who set before us an example of how we should live. The Bible says that He is God’s Son.

We must note that Jesus said that He was God’s ‘only begotten Son.’ Though both men and angels are sometimes called the sons of God, no one is the son of God as is Jesus. The word ‘begotten’ refers to something that is singular in its kind. The Jehovah’s Witnesses say that Jesus was once an angel, yet John 3:16 proves otherwise. He is different from the angels. We read from the book of Hebrews – “…to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?” (Hebrews 1:13) Jesus is not a glorified angel. The Mormons say that Jesus is one of God’s many spiritual offspring. They suggest that He is a glorified man. Yet this cannot be true for we read from the book of Romans – “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23) If Jesus was nothing more than a man, He would be sinful and therefore disqualified from being the Savior. Who then is Jesus? Consider what we read from Scripture –

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

John 20:28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God…

Jesus is the eternal Son of God who received a human body so that He might be a sinless sacrifice.

Hebrews 10:5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith , Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure . 7 Then said I , Lo , I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.

B. How is Jesus able to be our Savior?

John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

In the book of Numbers there is an interesting account of a time when God had to chasten the nation Israel. Throughout their journey from Egypt to Canaan, the Israelites often murmured against God and Moses. As a result, God chastened them with fiery serpents.

Numbers 21:5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. 6 And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died . 7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said , We have sinned , for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. 8 And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten , when he looketh upon it, shall live . 9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

When the people cried out for deliverance, the Lord instructed Moses to make a serpent out of brass and to hang it high upon a pole for all the people to see. There was nothing magical in the bronze serpent. It was only a symbol.

–  The serpent is a symbol of sin
–  Brass is a symbol of divine judgment
–  Hanging on a pole is a symbol of being shamed and scorned

In faith the people were to look at the hanging brass serpent and believe that God would forgive them.

Jesus said –

John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

Two thousand years ago, the Son of God was hung upon a Roman cross where He was shamed and scorned, not only by men, but also by God. We read from 2 Corinthians 5:21 “God caused the one who didn’t know sin to be sin for our sake so that through him we could become the righteousness of God.” (CEB)

III. That Whosoever Believeth in Him Should Not Perish 

A. Those Who Believe Not – Are Already  Condemned

John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

What does it mean to believe in Jesus? Is it simply to believe that there once was a man named Jesus? Does it mean to believe that He died on a cross and through Him we can be forgiven? What is saving faith?

Saving faith is more than a mental acknowledgement of biblical truth. We read from the book of James – “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” (James 2:19) The demons believe that everything in the Bible is true. They even acknowledge that Jesus is God’s holy Son. (see Mark 8:29; Luke 4:24)

The demons believe, but the demons are not saved. Why not? The demons acknowledge biblical truth, yet they refuse to submit their will in obedience.

B. Those Who Believe Have Everlasting Life

John 3:16 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 word ‘believe’ is the same Greek word that is often translated as ‘faith.’ To believe in Jesus is to have faith in Jesus. What does it mean to have faith in Jesus?

The word ‘faith’ has a very deep and rich meaning.

1. To be persuaded that something is absolutely true

2. To trust in the truth

3. To commit ourselves to obey the truth

To believe in Jesus is more than to acknowledge that He was a good man who lived and walked upon the earth. It is more than saying a quick prayer so that we will not have to go to hell.

The kind of faith that will save us requires two things:

Acts 20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul said that he preached both ‘repentance’ and ‘faith.’

The word ‘repentance’ means to have a change of mind. It is a 180 degree turn in our thinking. Paul said that he had testified to all men that they must repent of their sinfulness before God. In other words, they must acknowledge that the way they have been living is an offense to the holiness of God and they must desire to change.

Paul also said that he had testified to all men that they must have faith towards Jesus Christ. Salvation is not merely ‘cleaning up our act.’ True saving faith is the realization that Christ died on the cross for our sins and through His sacrifice alone we can be forgiven of our sins.

CONCLUSION

There is a great difference between an unsaved person who maybe for a while pretends to be religious but then returns back to the filth of sin, and a saved person who sometimes sins but then seeks God’s cleansing and forgiveness. Which are you?

If you need help in your spiritual life, please contact me at: pastorterry@twinoaksbapt.org

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s