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The Gospel of Love, John 3:16

25/12/2020

The Gospel of Love – Christmas Day Message

Text. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

At Christmas our hearts are so warmed by love.  Love for our families. 

Love for others too, at this time of the year many will respond to appeals, Christmas appeals, especially for those charities who deal with homelessness. Or with children in poverty and need.  Charities like the Salvation Army, and Blytheswood Care collect gifts for children would wouldn’t otherwise have any.  The local food banks are well supported at this time too.  There is a warm Christmas glow burning in the hearts of many people.  Love.  Christmas Love.

Image by Jill Wellington, Pixabay.

It’s right too, that we should have a measure of love in our human experiences at this time of the year, for it was because God loved us that we have this season of the year.  In our text we find out a little more about that unique love of God:-

1 God’s Love for Us is Immeasurable. For God so loved the world that He gave 

It is not enough for the Gospel writer to tell us that God loved us, he must demonstrate to some extent the greatness of that love, so he uses the word ‘so’ as a modifier.  God ‘so loved us…’. We used to sing, “Jesus love is very wonderful, – so high, you can’t get over it, so deep you can’t get under it, so wide you can’t get around it, Oh, wonderful love!

But when you then think that God gave that most precious of possessions for a sinful wretch…  What love is this!  F M Lehman wrote:   Could we with ink the ocean fill,  And were the skies of parchment made; Were every stalk on earth a quill,  And every man a scribe by trade; To write the love of God above  Would drain the ocean dry; Nor could the scroll contain the whole,  Though stretched from sky to sky.  O love of God, how rich and pure!  How measureless and strong! It shall forevermore endure— The saints’ and angels’ song.

He so loved us that he GAVE! Many of us will give gifts today.  

2 God’s Love for Us is CostlyHe gave His only begotten Son

Love always costs.  To love someone else will require giving a part of yourself, emotionally, and time wise… sometimes financially or physically…  When we were first married,43 years ago, I had to learn, (very quickly) to stop talking about ‘my’ and start talking about ‘our!’ My car became ‘our car!’ My only became ‘our money!’ – Oh yes, that was costly! But God’s love for us is the most costly love of all.

  1. In that God sent his most precious possession. Here in John 3:16, we do get a glimpse into the vastness of that love, in that God gave us his ONLY BEGOTTEN SON.  Just one child.  A son – to the Jewish mind the firstborn boy was a real blessing to the home.  He would inherit the family wealth, he would be they pride of his father and the joy of his mother.  Who would sacrifice an only child, a boy child?  (Illus Jude.). Yet God did that for me!  
  2. In that God demonstrated that love at Calvary.  We celebrate today the birth of Jesus.  A baby in a manger.  But Jesus didn’t remain in that manger, for he came into this world on a mission.  He was born to die.  Galatians 4:4, But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons Matthew 1:21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”  If it was a great cost that God, in his love sent his son into this dreadful world, how much greater the cost that took him to the cross to die for sinners.  Matthew Henry: “He not only sent him into the world with full and ample power to negotiate a peace between heaven and earth, but he gave him, that is, he gave him up to suffer and die for us, as the great propitiation or expiatory sacrifice.”  This is how we KNOW that God loves us, because of the great cost of that love.   

Love is a costly thing. God in His love for us (and for a lost world) “spared not His own Son” to demonstrate His love. Love is costly, but we must tell the world at any cost. Such love is costly. 

3 God’s Love for Us Changes Livesthat whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

God’s love challenges us today, and offers us hope in the darkness of this world.

  • There is a gospel responsibility. We must BELIEVE.  God’s love for us is a gift.  God so so loved the world that he GAVE.   But a free gift must be received, be accepted.  It’s a passive acceptance.  Just receive, just believe, just REST in the finished work of Christ for us. Matthew Henry, God having given him to us to be our prophet, priest, and king, we must give up ourselves to be ruled, and taught, and saved by him.
  • There is a gospel benefit.  We will have new life!  That new life is for right now, and it’s for all of eternity.  And in eternity it has a double effect, for it saves us from all the miseries of a lost eternity, and at the same time gives us an entitlement to all the wonderful joys of heaven.

If we are believers we are the children of God, and we are his children, and we are heirs of heaven! Such love is the greatest gift ever given.

BobMcEvoy December 2020

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