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.John 3:16, The Bible
When playing college football, in 2009, Tim Tebow reached the national championship. Leading up to the big night he knew he had an opportunity to point people to Christ. Millions of eyes would be on him and he agonized over what verse to write under his eyes.
He settled on the reference, John 3:16.
After winning the championship he discovered he had won something bigger – the attention of the nation for God.
That night 94 million people search Google for John 3:16.
Three years later, when playing for the Denver Broncos against Pittsburgh another banner was raised for God. During the post-game press conference, his public relations rep stopped him and gave him this news,
“…I don’t think you realize what happened. During the game you threw for 316 yards, your yards per completion were 31.6, your yards per rush were 3.16, the ratings for the night were 31.6, and the time of possession was 31.06 and during the game 91 million people Google John 3:16 and it’s the number one trending thing on every platform.”
This seems too good to be true, but I’ve fact-checked it the best I can and it all seems to check out.
But greater and more powerful than all of that, is the truth of the verse itself!
Yesterday morning we finished a 5-week study of this amazing verse.
It is a verse I’ve known since I was a child, I’ve read a book by Sidlow Baxter which analyses it over the course of some 200 pages, I sat in a small Free Presbyterian Church in Ballyclare and listened to Ian Paisley preach on it, and yet for all that the verse still seems fresh and new whenever I read it.
Growing up my pastor preached on it often and usually shared the fact that in the King James Version the word “son” falls dead center in the verse. On the one side are 12 words focusing on the Father, on the other are 12 words focusing on humanity. In the middle is the Son, reconciling humanity with God.
This verse can be used as a springboard to discuss almost any major doctrine of the Bible.
In our study we broke it into 5 parts.
- For So Loved the World That He Gave His Only Begotten Son. (poor audio quality)
- Believeth in Him
- Shall Not Perish
- Have Everlasting Life
The words John recorded for us, found in John 3:16 are among the most famous ever written,
For God so loved – everything about this verse points to an emphasis on the love of God. The holy and righteous God of creation cannot overlook sin. A God who could overlook sin could commit sin, and such a tyrant the world could not imagine. Yet, our holy and righteous God loved His creation so much that He provided a way of salvation. This salvation would deliver justice, but also provide forgiveness.
The World – if you are in the world then you are loved by God, and the promise that follows belongs to you.
That He gave His only begotten Son – in order to save sinners a substitute had to be offered, a sacrifice must be made. The substitute had to be like humanity but in order to pay a price of infinite suffering the sacrifice had to be like God. So, the Son of God took on flesh, joining divinity with humanity.
That whosoever believeth in Him – whoever would receive God’s gift must simply believe! To believe in Jesus Christ means we accept we have sinned, we deserve judgment, we cannot save ourselves, but by Jesus Christ, we can be forgiven and saved!
Should not perish – to perish means not just the end of life, but eternal separation from God in the Lake of Fire.
But have everlasting life – everlasting life is eternity spent in the presence of God, giving Him the glory He alone deserves and receiving joy and blessings we cannot now imagine.
How did Jesus save us? We have all sinned, and sin deserves punishment. For you and me that means an eternity of suffering. When Jesus Christ hung on the cross, my sin and yours was placed on him like a robe. God the Father, looking on His Son, then punished Him for our sins.
As the price has been paid, if we confess we have sinned and ask God to forgive us because of what Jesus did in our place, then God is faithful to forgive us, and to make us clean!
Would you turn from your sin and ask God to save you today?