The Greatest Sentence Ever Written - Part 2

Bible Book: John  3 : 16
Subject: Christmas; God's Love; Eternal Life; God's Gift
The Greatest Sentence Ever Written – Part 2
Dr. J. Mike Minnix
John 3:16

In our last message we looked at 3 important issues related to John 3:16. Tonight I want us to complete the message by looking at points 4 and 5. For anyone not here this morning, let me simply state that …

The Origin of all true love is God
The Object of God’s love in Christ is YOU, ME and EVERYONE in the world - for God loves the world.
The Opulence of God’s love is so rich that nothing on earth – in fact, everything that has or ever will exist on earth - can reduce God's love.

Tonight we turn to John 3:16 again and look at two important elements of God’s love in Christ.

Note first …

IV. Greatness In The Offer Of God’s Love

(see points I, II and III by reading the sermon, The Greatest Sentence Ever Written, Part 1, within PastorLife)

I love the story of Henry Moorehouse, who was once a wild young man. By age sixteen Moorehouse was a gambler, gang-leader, and thief. But during the Revival of 1859, Henry gave his life to Jesus and was never the same. He was soon heard preaching the Gospel with all his heart; and his favorite text was John 3:16.

One day in Ireland in 1867, he met the famous preacher D.L. Moody; and Henry had the nerve to invite himself to preach in Moody’s church in Chicago. Moody agreed. Eventually Moorhouse made it to America and to Chicago, where he asked Moody again if he could preach. Moody was going away for a few days, so he allowed Moorehouse to preach on a Wednesday night. Moorehouse spoke from John 3:16 with such passion and power that the deacons invited him to preach on Thursday night. The church was full and Moorehouse preached from the same text. People were saved in great numbers. So, he was asked to preach again on Friday nigth, and again he chose John 3:16 as his text. Moody came home to find his church full of people on a night when no service was actually planned. He asked what was going on and they told him that Moorehouse had preached with such power that people wanted to hear him every night. Moody had Moorehouse to continue for several days and hundreds found Christ. In every single service, Moorehouse spoke from John 3:16.

Dwight L. Moody was a great preacher, but he almost always preached on the judgment of God. Moorehouse preached the love of God for sinners and people flocked to hear him. This not only changed many people in Moody's church, but it also changed Moody himself. As Moody listened to Moorehouse night after night on John 3:16, he saw the power of God's love for sinners.

Sometime later Moody recalled how he was moved hearing Moorhouse preach. Moody said, “He preached a most extraordinary sermon from that verse. I never knew up to that time that God loved us so much. This heart of mine began to thaw out, and I could not keep back the tears. It was like news from a far country. I just drank it in.”

It is said that night after night, Moorhouse preached from John 3:16. Certainly it had a life-changing effect on D. L. Moody. “I have never forgotten those nights,” Moody said later on. “I have preached a different Gospel since, and I have had more power with God and man since then.”

Some years later Moorhouse fell ill and was on his deathbed. It is said that he looked up and told his friends, “If it were the Lord’s will to raise me again, I should like to preach from the text, ‘God so loved the world.’”

The message of John 3:16 is powerful and it is plain. God so loved the world! He gave His only Son. Those who believe will never perish. Those who turn from sin and trust in Christ for salvation will live with God forever.

Note that the word “whosoever” in John 3:16 means “all.” The word “all” means “all!” What an amazing offer God’s love makes to sinners like us.

Let’s look at this offer.

A. The Heart of God Involves All

God makes this offer to all, because His heart is full of love for all. When the Bible says that God loves the WORLD, it means that He loves every person in the world. His grace knows no boundary. Let me say this as plainly as I can – not one of us on this earth deserves God’s love. We are all sinners. We all have gone astray. It is His love and His love alone that makes salvation possible.

B. The Voice of God Invites All

I am not going to get into a discussion today about predestination and foreknowledge, but will simply state a fact. It is not God’s will that any should perish but that all might come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). God does not desire that “some” come to Him, but that “all” come to Him through the sacrifice of His Son. Sadly, the road is narrow and only a few will find it, but God’s love is not limited to the few. He desires all to be saved. He loved all when His Son died on the cross. He is calling even today for someone in this audience to come to Him and discover His amazing love.

Every church stands as a lighthouse proclaiming God’s voice of saving love. Every true preacher of the Word is sent through God’s love to tell of His loving grace. Every Bible is filled with the voice of His loving gift of eternal life. Every grace warns of the coming judgment and hopefully sends the inquiring soul to the Redeemer for salvation. God’s voice invites ALL!

C. The Will of God Includes All

I’ve said this already, but let’s be sure on one thing – it is God’s will that all be saved. Does God cut some people out to go to hell? NO - a thousand times no - His Son died for all, but all will not come to Him. It is God’s will that all be saved, but remember that our will is involved. Whosoever will may come!

In a marriage but the groom and bride must say, “I Will.” In salvation, the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, has said, “I will.” His love says, “I will save you.” His mercy says, “I do love you.” God turns to us and says, “Will you take Jesus as your Savior?” He asks, “Do you pledge your love to Him?”

God includes all in His love, but sadly the majority will never include God in their love.

V. The Greatness In The Outcome Of God’s Love

What does God’s love accomplish in those who receive that love through His Son, Jesus Christ? The outcome is overwhelming for those who receive it.

A. A Possession

God states that those who accept His love “HAVE” eternal life. It is a possession once you receive it! Once we come to God through His Son, we don’t have to work our way to heaven. I don’t serve God to be saved; I serve because I am saved. His love has fixed my destiny.

In this world we have nothing permanently. Everything you now possess, you will lose or leave behind. I love the story of the woman whose husband had saved cash for years. He told her before he died, I have $100,000.00 hidden outside in my shed. I want to take that money with me when I die. She agreed. When He died, she decided to do even more for him. She wrote a check for a million dollars and put it in the casket and kept the $100,000.00 for herself!

Friend, you will take nothing with you with you die. But, once you are saved, there is one possession death cannot steal from you. You have eternal life in Christ. That is kept, not in a shed or a vault or safe, but your redemption is in the risen Lord. It is kept in heaven for you. That is the gift of God through His love!

B. A Purpose

The words, “not perish” speaks of more than death. A Christian who serves God has a purpose and nothing in life or death can destroy that. Your purpose is a "forever" one, for your life is never wasted in service to Christ.

In Matthew 6:19-21 we read: 19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

What a blessing, that we can live here and find the treasure of it beyond this life. The love of God in Christ makes that possible. Every purpose of man is lost once he dies. Even if it benefits others, the worker of the deed perishes. But, when we serve God in Christ, our deeds never die.

Look at 10:42, “And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.”

We read in Revelation 14:13, “Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.”

You see, plainly our works in the name of Jesus live on after this life. How wonderful that we can have purpose that is beyond years and time.

C. A Permanence

To Perish speaks of something destroyed never to return. God’s love contains a gift that is permanent, never to perish. The words “never perish” are wonderful and glorious.

My mom and dad travelled some years ago back to old Georgia homeplace where my mother was born. Mom had moved with her family to North Carolina when she was just a young girl. When they finally found the old homeplace, which was on farmland that my grandfather farmed in the late 1920s and 1930s, everything was gone. They dug around the place under some old trees where mom remembered the house having once stood. There they found it. It was a large piece of the mantel that stood years before over the fireplace. They brought it home to North Carolina, and after working on it carefully, they place it over the modern fireplace in their home. Of all the things that once stood at the Georgia homeplace, only one piece of wood remained.

There is nothing permanent here in this world! But, there is a home that Jesus has prepared for those who know Him through the New Birth. John 14:1-6 makes it plain and clear that the only way to that home is through Jesus Christ.

D. A Paradise

Everlasting life involves Paradise – Heaven – Home – for the child of God.

It is written that Czar Nicholas I befriended the friend of his son. He gave him a commission and put him over the treasury of one of the great fortresses of Russia. The young man who was honored with this position, gambled away everything, including much of the money in the treasury. When he saw that he was going to be found out for his crimes, he planned to commit suicide. He wrote note, put a pistol by his side and then fell asleep. Czar Nicholas came to the treasury and found the sleeping young man and the note. The note read, “A great debt, who can pay?” It is said that Czar Nicholas wrote something on it. When the young man awoke and was ready to pull the trigger on the pistol, he looked down and saw the note. “A great debt, who can pay?” Written next was the signature, “Nicholas.” The young man ran to find a copy of the signature of Nicholas. He saw that it was genuine! The debt had been forgiven.

Paradise is not just getting to heaven, it is being freed of the debt of sin and knowing it at this very moment. Have you received the love of God found only in Christ? If so, you are truly blessed and you ought to recommit your life to return that love to Him in every way possible. If, however, you have never turned for your sin to trust in Christ, let me assure you that God loves you. He is calling you. He will redeem you and give you eternal life. Why? For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him, might not perish but have everlasting life.