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God’s Valentine - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
September 11, 2022 6:00 am

God’s Valentine - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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September 11, 2022 6:00 am

Today we take a look at the Bible's most famous verse and probe its depth while preparing to take the Lord's Supper together. Though most everyone knows this verse, John 3:16 is much more than just a slogan; it is a summary statement of God's love through Jesus Christ. This single verse of scripture gives us the salient truths of God's plan of salvation in abridged form. Let's consider God's great plan for us as we unpack it phrase by phrase.

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There was a translator in a tribal situation who was translating the Bible, found out that the language, the receptor language of the tribe didn't have a good word for the word believe. And so he was trying to describe what biblical faith is. And one of the elders stood up from the campfire ran into the tent and laid down on a cot and said, you mean like this? So I've been told that in that language for that tribe, that he gave his one and only son that whoever puts his full weight on him will never perish, but have eternal life.

Beautiful, isn't it? Welcome to Connect with Skip Weekend Edition. Immature Love says, I love you because I need you. Mature Love says, I need you because I love you. That rather interesting quote from Eric Fromm, an American psychologist who lived during the early 1900s actually provides some interesting insights into how our relationship with God should progress. To recognize our need for a Savior, that may be very much the impetus for our love. But as we grow closer to Him, eventually we'll discover that as our love grows, so will our need for our Savior to be close to us each and every day. Skip Heitzig examines one of the Bible's most familiar verses, as he helps us understand a bit more about how vast God's love for us really is. Open your Bibles to John 3 16, a verse you're probably quite familiar with.

And as you do so, we'll join Skip Heitzig as he continues with his study. The next two words, look at those. This shows us the motivation of the plan for God so loved. Please again notice it does not say for God was so angry at this world that he sent his son down here to punch everybody out. Some people have that picture of God in their minds. For God so loved the world.

Why? Because love is the essence of his nature. John in another book puts it this way, God is love. It's the very essence of who he is.

It is so simple to say that, and yet it is so hard to grasp that. Some of you have sung all of your lives in church songs about the love of God, and here you are sitting today as adults still doubting it, that God loves you. Dwight Lyman Moody, the preacher from Chicago, you've heard of D.L.

Moody? He was so intrigued with this concept that he embarked on a study by going through his concordance and looking up every reference in the Bible on the love of God. And when he was all done, he simply said, there is no truth in the whole Bible that ought to affect us as the love of God.

It affected the author of this book, John. John wrote in 1 John 3, Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us that we should be called children of God. Maybe a better way to put that is, what kind of love is this that God would do that? And here's the reason that God's love is so hard to grasp. Okay, it's pretty simple, actually. Here's why it's so hard.

Because it's so different from what we do as humans. Human love is object-oriented. That is, a human being sees an object and says, I like that object. It's beautiful. It's attractive.

Or a person, she's or he's attractive to me. That's how it all begins. It's object-oriented. God's love is wholly different than that. God's love is subject-oriented. God's love is based on his character, his nature. He is love.

So it's indiscriminate. What it means is, God doesn't love you because you earned his love or because you deserve his love. God just loves you because. Because God is love.

And thus, it's a stable, consistent kind of love. And God doesn't have favorites. He doesn't love Billy Graham more than he loves you. Billy Graham starts praying and you're praying, God doesn't say, shh, Billy's praying, hold on, this is. Billy Graham.

No favorites. There was a woman talking to a psychiatrist. And as they were talking, the psychiatrist thought he'd spring a question on her. He said, so which of your kids, she had three children, which of them do you love most? And she answered predictably, I don't love anyone most.

I love them all the same. Well, he pressed her a little bit on that. He said, ma'am, it's psychologically impossible to regard three human beings as completely equal. And then she started crying. She said, you're right. When this one is sick, I love him the most. When she's in pain, I love her the most. When that one's in trouble, I love that one the most.

But besides those exceptions, I love them all the same. God has the ability by his very nature to love us all the same. Speaking of that, notice the next two words as we unpack it. Here's the destination of the plan, the world. For God so loved the world. Are you part of the world? If you wonder, try this. If something comes out, you're part of the world.

If you breathe, you're part of this world. Now, here's love at its widest. It's not that God loves one group. God so loved the Americans. God so loved people in the Western world. God so loves the middle class. Or as some would like to say, God only loved the elect. It doesn't say that. And that drives some people nuts that it doesn't say that.

And I love it when it drives them nuts. God so loved the world. Who were these words spoken to originally? Nicodemus. Nicodemus was one of those Jewish elders who believed God loved the Jews, the good Jewish sons and daughters of Abraham. They were the elect. They were the special chosen ones. Jesus blew that out of the water saying, for God so loved the world.

And later he will tell his disciples, go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Not just to the Western culture, to everyone. And it's a simple reason for that. We all have a disease. We in the world, everyone in the world, every person who has been born in the world has a disease that has a single universal cure.

It's like heart disease. If a person has heart disease who's an American, it's the same cure for an American as an Argentinian, as an African, as an Australian. It's universal. It'll work anywhere.

Doesn't matter the culture, the language, the soil. If a person has lung disease, same cure as universal. Hansen's disease, same thing. We are all S-I-N positive. Every human being, every person, a part of this world is infected with a disease and there is a single universal cure. And that is blood. The blood of God's flawless, perfect Son. Now I wonder what we would think if the verse read something like this.

For God so loved all of the good people of the world that he gave his Son. Most of us would say, okay, I can hang with that. I can actually, I understand that a whole lot better. But if it did say that, we would all immediately be eliminated, wouldn't we? Because we're not always on our best behavior. There's some days we're good, some days we're not so much.

And so we're going to, it's going to be very unstable. Or if God said, well, you know, I love you today, you not so much because I know what you've been thinking this week. So here we have this broad brushed statement for God really loved the world. It's the widest possible embrace. His love isn't precarious.

His love is not moody. It is not selective. It includes everyone. But do you know that some people don't experience it? Do you know that some Christian people don't experience it? You can press a Christian and they'll say, oh, yeah, God loves me. But to be around them, you'd never know it.

You'd never know that they really believe it. It's sort of like the sun. The sun is shining, but you could walk outside with an umbrella over your head and you wouldn't enjoy the warmth. It's still shining.

It's just not affecting you. Notice the next little phrase in our verse. Here's the demonstration of his plan. That he gave his only begotten son. God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. He gave his son. Imagine that, moms. Imagine that, fathers.

He gave his son. You know, sometimes I think that I love people. I'm pretty good at it. Sometimes I think I love them pretty deeply until I think of this. Then I think differently. I wouldn't give my son for any of those people.

And neither would you. God gave his son for everyone. Gave his son for everyone. Why did he give his son? He gave his son because love to be loved can't be passive.

It has to be active. You can't just get by going, I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. You've got to do something with that.

You've got to demonstrate it somehow. And marriages will deteriorate right at this juncture. Here is where the chasm is. They stop giving. They stop giving time. They stop giving energy. They stop giving care. And it disintegrates into a formal legal cohabitation. Domestic partnership.

Not what it used to be. God so loved that he gave his son active love. And when God gave, God gave his best.

It says in Greek, monogenai, only begotten or the unique one of a kind son of God was given. He gave the very best. I read an article some years back of an astronaut. Last week I talked about a cosmonaut. Now I'm telling you about an astronaut. This astronaut was an American who was one of the first ones that walked on the moon. And so the magazine interviewed him and said, OK, when you were walking on the moon and you were looking back at the earth, what thoughts went through your mind? The astronaut said, well, it's crazy. But when I was on the lunar surface and I'm looking at the earth and there's my spacecraft, the thought that kept coming to my mind is that my spacecraft was built by the lowest bidder.

That would be a bit unsettling, wouldn't it? Traveled all of that distance in something that went out to the lowest bidder. Well, when God needed to fix the world, he didn't give it out to the lowest bidder.

He paid the highest possible price. He gave his one and only unique son. And here's the invitation, the next two words, that whoever, that whoever, who is salvation offered to?

Whoever. Sounds like God isn't too picky. To the Samaritan woman, Jesus will say, whoever drinks of the water that I give will never thirst.

Revelation 21, same thought. The spirit and the bride say, come. Let him who hears say, come. Whoever is thirsty, let him come. And whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life. Who can get into heaven? Whoever. Who can live forever?

Whoever. And here we are on earth and on earth we have exclusive places that not everybody can get into. You have to be a member. You have to have credentials.

You'll be stopped by the guards. You have to own property in the club. You have to make so much money or whatever. Think of it. It's harder to get into a Christian university than it is into heaven.

Isn't that interesting? You have to pass tests. You have to prove worth and character. Whoever. You know what the biggest surprise is going to be in heaven?

Who's there? You're going to find, you're going to see somebody, you're going to go, I can't believe it. They let him in. And you'll walk up to him and say, whatever happened to let you in?

And he'll say, I was thinking the same thing when I saw your face. The other big surprise in heaven is who's not there. Probably a lot of people that thought they'd just be there and they're not. But there is a qualification to that invitation that whoever believes in him.

Now, look, that word just sort of soak in. Here's the qualification. Believe in him.

You don't have to clean up your life. You couldn't do it if you tried. It's called the gospel.

It's good news. Here's the qualification. Believe. What do I have to do? Believe.

I got to do something. Yeah, got to believe. Now, we've discovered last time and the time before that the word belief, though, means more than to acknowledge. Just I agree that there's a God up there somewhere and he's got a son named Jesus. Because there was a group in Chapter two, verse twenty three, that believed in his name. And Jesus did not commit himself to them because he knew what was inside of them. And so we discovered the word in Greek, pistuo, to believe, means to rely on, to trust in, to stick to or adhere to, or to put your weight upon.

That's a better way of looking at it. In fact, there was a translator in a tribal situation who was translating the Bible. Found out that the language, the receptor language of the tribe didn't have a good word for the word believe. And so he was trying to describe what biblical faith is. And one of the elders stood up from the campfire, ran into the tent and laid down on a cot and said, you mean like this?

And so I've been told that in that language for that tribe, John three sixteen is rendered something like, for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever puts his full weight on him will never perish but have eternal life. It's beautiful, isn't it? Sometimes somebody will say to me, oh, skip. Jesus is your crutch. And I say, oh, no, no, no.

Correction. I don't just lean on him. He's my stretcher. I have to. He's got to carry me through.

I don't just like, yeah, I'm a little bit rough today. I'll lean on Jesus. It's a complete carry me through.

Carry me through. Some of you have heard a great story of a tightrope walker many years ago called the Great Blondin, who could stretch a tight wire across buildings and once across the Niagara Falls, and he would walk the tightrope and walk back. People would applaud him. On one occasion, he put a blindfold on, walked across, walked back. More people applauded. He got on a bicycle, rode across and rode back. Louder applause. He then went across with a wheelbarrow full of bricks, across and then back. More applause. And then he asked the crowd how many believe I could do it again with a person in the wheelbarrow. And they said, we believe. And then he asked for a volunteer. Not a one stepped forward to get in that wheelbarrow. This is Christ saved people. Yep. Will you get in the wheelbarrow? Will you get in the wheelbarrow? It's one thing to look at a parachute and acknowledge its greatness.

It's another thing to strap it on your back and jump, right? Whoever believes in him. We'll close with a final little phrase. This is the ramification of God's plan. That whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

The South Africans call the Bible the book of beautiful words. One of the reasons they will tell you is because of the promise in this verse. If I believe in him, I won't perish, but I will, like him, have everlasting life. Jesus perished so I wouldn't have to perish. He died so that you wouldn't have to die. He gave his life so that he could give you eternal life.

But notice there's a flip side that's built into this. Because if by believing in him it means that I have eternal life, then it would also mean if I don't believe in him, I would perish. And I wouldn't have everlasting life. And so the guy who was considering Christ and said to his friend, you know, I'm just not sure I can pay the price to be a Christian.

His friend was right when he said, have you considered the cost of not becoming a Christian? Perish and not have everlasting life. Let's suppose I were to give you this book, this Bible. Say, I want you to have it. It's my gift to you, but I'm going to take this pen and put it inside the book.

Now, take it. When you take the book, you also get the pen. When you receive Christ, you also get life. It comes with him. He's the author of life. He's the one who died to give us life. So when you receive Christ, you get life. Now, if you were to say, I want life, but I don't want Christ, you don't get it.

You've got to receive Christ to get the life. If you don't, you will perish. In just a minute, we're going to pass out these elements. We're going to ask you to take a piece of bread and the cup.

One represents his broken body, the other represents his shed blood. If you're a Christian this morning, if you've received Christ, you take the elements. None of this nonsense, well, I don't feel worthy today. I've had a bad week.

I've said some bad things, so I'm not... Stop that utter nonsense forever. If you've received Christ, you have life. Whether you feel good about that life or not is totally irrelevant. You take it. You take it and you celebrate it.

But if you're just a sweet, nice, religious, wonderful person who likes to go to church, but you've never received Christ, don't take it. Let it pass you by. Pass it on to the next person. Because what you do, in essence, is you raise a red flag. You go, God, hey, over here. I'm the guy who's taken this stuff that speaks of something else that I never really did.

And the Bible says all you do is heap condemnation on yourself. So it's better to just say, no, I'll pass it on. That's option number one.

Option number two, better option. How about right now, in your heart, from your heart, believe in Him, trust Him, receive Him as your Lord and Savior? Let's bow our heads.

And you might be one of those. If so, right now, from your heart to the Lord, meaning it, you simply say something like this to Him and do it now. Lord, I know I'm a sinner.

Forgive me. I trust that Jesus Christ died and rose again to pay for my sin. And now I turn from my sin and I turn to you. I trust you, laying all of my weight of trust completely upon you.

Well, there's no better option than that. We'd be happy to tell you exactly how you can receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and exactly what all that means when you call us at 1-800-922-1888. And as we celebrate romance and love this month, there is no greater love to celebrate than that of a God who displayed His love on a cross in order to save us from all our sins. Let us tell you more about what that means for your life when you call us at 1-800-922-1888. Or if you already know, make some time to go and share that good news with somebody who doesn't today.

That's all the time we have for right now. But before we go, let's find out more about this month's Connect with Skip resource offer. The most recent U.S. Census revealed that our population is much more diverse than ever before. In fact, over the past 10 years, our multiracial population increased 276%, which presents new challenges.

Here's Skip Heitzig. To say that this nation is divided would be a gross understatement, but I am not going to take sides politically. I am going to take sides morally and spiritually and biblically. I'm going to raise the conversation to a different level, to a higher level, to a biblical level, because the issue as I see it is not a skin issue as much as it's a sin issue. We want to help you understand this divisive issue from a divine perspective. When you give $20 or more today to this Bible teaching ministry, we'll send you Pastor Skip's booklet, The Church and Racism, plus his teaching featuring a conversation with Pastor Tony Clark.

Get these relevant resources today when you give online securely at slash offer, or call 800-922-1888. Now, if you'd like a copy of today's teaching, which is just one more way to share the good news of God's love with someone, it's available on CD for just $4 plus shipping when you call 1-800-922-1888. We'll continue through our series Believe 879 with more from the Gospel of John next time, so I hope you can join us right here in Connect with Skip weekend edition, a presentation of Connection Communications. Make a connection, make a connection at the foot of the cross and cast all burdens on His word. Make a connection, a connection, a connection. Connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-26 17:12:02 / 2023-02-26 17:20:56 / 9

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