You know, one of my favorite game shows is the game show Let's Make a Deal.
You know, curtain one, curtain two, and curtain three. Now, when I first started watching Let's Make a Deal, the host was Monty Hall, which some of us here remember. But now, of course, it's Wayne Brady. And did you know that this show has been syndicated around the world in dozens and dozens of countries?
It's amazing where this show is. Now, the reason I bring this up is because it's Christmas 2012. And Christmas is all about a deal that God wants to make with you and me and every other human being alive, a deal that God tells us about in one of the most famous verses in the Bible, John chapter three, verse 16. And that verse says, For God so loved the world, that he gave us his one of a kind son, so that whoever believes in him, that is the son, shall not perish, but shall have eternal life. Now, there are four great truths in this verse.
And what we want to do today is we want to take the verse apart, look at each of these four truths separately, then we want to put the verse back together again, and talk about, well, what difference does that make for you and me? So that's our plan. Are you ready? Y'all ready? Everybody ready? All right, here we go.
Here's truth number one. For God so loved the world. You know, Brenda and I have been married what it'll be 39 years coming up this spring. And the only reason we've made it and I need to say this honestly, is because my wife is an amazing forgiver. That's how we did it. And, you know, when we first got married, I thought I was a pretty good communicator.
But I realized I had to learn a whole new way of talking a whole new language. You see, that language was all centered around the question, how do you feel about and then Brenda filled in the blank? Well, the problem is, as men, we don't know how we feel about anything. We don't know men sit around talking to one another like that, and saying, How do you feel about this? Well, I don't know. How do you feel about this?
No man in history has that kind of conversation with another man. We don't know how we feel. Ask us what we think we can tell you how we feel.
No clue. Well, I had to learn how to talk like this. In fact, if I don't even know the answer, I feel something. You know what I'm saying? How do you feel? I say something.
Does that make sense? Are you man with me? All right. Amen. All right.
That's what I wanted to hear. Now, let's say we were to turn it around a little bit, and we were to ask God this question. God, how do you feel about the human race? What do you think God would say? Well, you know, a lot of people would be surprised if God said anything. A lot of people believe that God, if He exists at all, sits up in heaven, letting the world run itself, absolutely detached and completely indifferent to people and their everyday problems. But this is not at all what the Bible says.
The Bible says that God is intensely interested in every one of us that without equivocation, God loves the world and that He loves every person in the world intimately, deeply, and personally. I used to love the old 70s show starring Telly Savalas called Kojak. Some of you remember that. Kojak was a rough-toughed New York cop who walked around all the time with a Tootsie Roll Pop in his mouth, and he had a favorite question he used to ask everybody. Say it with me. Who loves you, baby?
All right, maybe not too many Kojak fans here, but, but that's what he used to say. Who loves you, baby? And my friends, every moment of every day, God is asking every person in the world that very same question. Who loves you, baby?
And the answer is always the same. God does. In fact, God loves us so much that He sent us, He gave us a special gift for Christmas. And that leads us to truth number two in this verse, for God so loved the world that He gave us His one of a kind son.
And of course, the Bible is talking about the Lord Jesus Christ, born in Bethlehem on that very first Christmas Day. But why does the Bible call him a one of a kind being? Well, the Book of Colossians in the New Testament answers that. It gives us five reasons why Jesus is a one of a kind being.
Let me show them to you quickly. Number one, He's the one of a kind being because first of all, He's the explainer of God to mankind. Colossians one verse 15 says He Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God. Hebrews chapter one verse three repeats this. It says that He Jesus is the exact representation of God's being of God's person. What the Bible is telling us here is that you and I may not be able to see God with our naked eye, but we can see His heart, we can see His soul, we can see His value system on display in the Lord Jesus Christ. To put it another way, if we want to know where God stands on any subject, all we have to do is look and see where Jesus stood on that subject and we know.
Now this has enormous ramifications for those of us who are followers of Christ. As a follower of Christ, how do you know that God cares about your everyday problems? Well, just look and see how Jesus cared about people's everyday problems and you'll know God cares about yours. And how do you know as a follower of Christ that God is anxious to intervene in human events to help you with your problems?
Well, just look and see how Jesus was anxious to intervene and help people with their problems. And how do you know as a follower of Christ that God forgives you and restores you when you let Him down every day? Well, just look at how Jesus forgave and restored even Peter who denied Him three times. And how do you know as a follower of Christ that God is touched by your pain and your sorrow? Well, just look and see how Jesus was touched by the sorrow and the pain of Mary and Martha and stood at the tomb of Lazarus and wept with them. And how do you know as a follower of Christ that God will never let you sink in the troubles of life?
Well, just look and see how Jesus never let his disciples sink that night out on the Sea of Galilee. And how do you know as a follower of Christ that God has a special love and tenderness when it comes to the struggles of your children and that you can take those struggles to God and that He's right there with you? Well, just look and see how Jesus cared for tenderly children when He was here. And how do you know as a follower of Christ that God appreciates the sacrifices that you make for Him? Well, look and see how Jesus appreciated the widow and the two little mites that she threw in that day at the temple. And how do you know that God will always be there for you as a follower of Christ when you come to Him in need? Well, just look and see how Jesus was always there for people when they came to Him in need. My Christian friends, this is the power of the incarnation for us as believers. We see the actions of Jesus, and we know the heart and the soul of God. How great is that?
That's awesome. Well, yeah. How else is Jesus a one of a kind being? Well, not only is He the explainer of God to mankind, but number two, He's the creator of everything in the universe.
Colossians 1 verse 16, by Him, Christ, all things were created, things in heaven and things on earth, visible things and invisible things, all things were created by Him. Number three, why is He a one of a kind being? Because third, He's the owner of everything in the universe. Colossians 1, all things were created by Him and for Him.
Friends, the logic here is pretty simple. Since Jesus created everything in the world, therefore, ipso facto, He owns everything in the world. Number four, what makes Him a one of a kind being? Jesus was God Himself wrapped in human flesh. Colossians 2 verse 9 says, for in Him, the Lord Jesus, all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form.
I mean, how can you say it any simpler than that? And finally, number five, why is the Lord Jesus a one of a kind being? Because fifth, He's the peacemaker between God and sinful men, people like us. Colossians 1 verse 20, through Him, that is Christ, God was pleased – I love that – God was pleased to reconcile all things to Himself, making what?
Say it, what? Making peace through the blood of His cross. Folks, we must understand that it wasn't Jesus' teachings, it wasn't Jesus' example, it wasn't Jesus' miracles, it wasn't Jesus' healings, it wasn't Jesus' moral philosophies that made peace between us and God. It was His death on the cross that paid for our sin and His blood shed on the cross that covers our sins and protects us from the judgment of God. My friends, the Bible is crystal clear, the only location in the entire universe where God offers to make peace with sinners is at the cross. Amen?
That's it. So, let's summarize. Why is Jesus a one of a kind being? Well, number one, because He's the explainer of God to mankind. Number two, He's the creator of the universe. Number three, He's the owner of the universe. Number four, He's God Himself wrapped in human flesh.
And number five, He is the one and only peacemaker between God and man. And God loves you and He loves me and He loves the world so much that He gave us this person as a gift for Christmas. You say, well, Lon, that's great. But what do I do with this person?
What do I do with this gift? Oh, God doesn't leave us hanging, friends. He goes on, truth number three, here we go. For God so loved the world that He gave us His one of a kind Son, watch, so that whoever believes in Him. Some of us remember the Passion movie that came out in 2004, The Passion of the Christ. And if you were around McLean Bible Church, then you remember that we had a pre-screening that they allowed us to do in town here, the movie company. And we rented every theater we could get our hands on in Washington and showed the movie before its release to 11,000 people here in Washington, D.C., followed in every theater by a gospel presentation and a salvation prayer at the front of every single theater, 11,000 people.
You know, Ted Koppel was one of them. He came, so I know he's heard the gospel because he heard it right there in the theater. And this was an amazing thing, the interest in a Bible movie like this in America, in postmodern secular America. In fact, USA Today had an article about it where they marveled that a Bible movie could have this kind of appeal.
And in trying to explain why, here's what USA Today said, and I quote, they said, the movie, the popularity of it is emblematic of our society. We want so much to believe, but we can't figure out what to believe in, end of quote. Well, folks, God doesn't have that problem in the Bible. God knows perfectly well in the Bible what he wants us to believe in.
What does this verse say? He wants us to believe in Jesus Christ. And what exactly does it mean to believe in Jesus? Well, the word that's translated believe here and throughout the New Testament when we're told to believe in Christ is the Greek word pistuo.
And it literally means to cling to, to depend on, to rely on someone. And so what John 3 16 is actually asking us to do is not listen to intellectually believe that Jesus existed or to intellectually believe that he did some miracles or to intellectually believe he preached some good sermons. No, the Bible is asking us to rely on, to cling to, to depend on what Jesus did on the cross for us as our one and only remedy for sin, as our one and only hope for eternal life, and as our one and only escape from the judgment of God. That's what it means to believe on Jesus. And when we do that, God makes us the most amazing promise.
Here it comes. Truth number four, for God so loved the world that he gave us his one of a kind son so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but shall have eternal life. My youngest son, John, now is 27 years old. He's married, has a child, another one on the way. But when he was 12 years old, one December, he was downstairs at our house playing Nintendo. And I was going out to get a Christmas tree and I needed some help, you know, to get it home. And so I went downstairs and I said, John, I need you, I want you to come with me to get a Christmas tree, if you don't mind. He said, I don't want to go.
Okay. So I said, all right, John, I said, I need you to put the controller down for just a second. And I need you to look right here at me. I said, look, look at me. I said, I want to tell you have two choices.
I want you to know what these are very clearly. Listen to me here. You're watching. All right. Choice number one, you can come with me to get a Christmas tree and bring it home. And when we get back, you can return to playing Nintendo. That's choice number one. You got that. So choice number two is you can come with me to get a Christmas tree.
And when we bring it back home, you can be restricted from Nintendo for the rest of the weekend. Those are your two choices. Now you choose which one you want. And he said, well, I guess if those are my two choices, I'll go with you to get a Christmas tree. I said, you're a smart boy.
You are. Hey, listen, I think it helps a lot to know what our options are in life. Don't you?
I want to know, tell me my options so I know. I love the fact here in this verse, God tells us what our options are in eternity. Don't you love that? He says, you got two. The first option is you can perish. That's option number one. The second option is you can have eternal life. That's it.
There's nothing in between. So those are your choices. Now friends, God wants every one of us to pick choice number two. You say, how can you be so sure of that? How can I be so sure of that? I'm sure of that because Jesus came into the world that very first Christmas to make it possible for us to have choice number two. I'm sure of that because that's why Jesus went to the cross and died on the cross. I'm sure of that because that's why Jesus rose from the dead. I'm sure of that because that's the deal God offers us here in John 3 16. And you know, the best part of this deal, I mean the best part of the whole deal is that God says here, so that who ever believes.
Think about that now. This offer in john 3 16 is open to whoever. Isn't that great? Hello. That's great.
That's great. Friends, what this means is, it doesn't matter what you've done, it doesn't matter where you've been, it doesn't matter what you've said, it doesn't matter what you've been involved in, as long as you qualify as whoever this deal is for you. And we're all whoever you don't have to clean yourself up, you don't have to pick yourself up, you don't have to dress yourself up, and you don't have to fix yourself up. All you have to do is believe in depend on cling to rely on the Lord Jesus Christ and his finished work on the cross for you.
That's all it takes to close the deal. And to go and to go from choice number one, perishing, not a good choice. To choice number two, eternal life, great choice, great choice. We need to be smart, like my son, and say, Well, if those are my two choices, I know which one I'll choose.
Here's the deal. john 3 16. For God so loved the world, that he gave us his one of a kind son, so that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but shall have everlasting, eternal life. You know, when I was growing up, my father used to pride himself on being a great shopper for bargains. Now, I don't really know if he was I was too young to even remember. But I remember many times my dad would come home with something that he had purchased. And I remember my mother would get mad at him and get upset with him and start criticizing him for having spent the money. And I'll never forget my dad's favorite saying to her.
Her name was her mean he used to go but her mean he used to go how could I walk away from such a deal? Well, folks, Christmas is the greatest deal that anybody to ever live on this earth has been offered the greatest deal in the history of mankind. Let me remind you what the deal is God offers to give us forgiveness of sin. He offers to give us peace and reconciliation with himself. He offers to give us the assurance of eternal life. He offers to give us a guaranteed place in heaven and much, much more all in exchange for us simply believing in clinging to depending on his one of a kind son as our one and only hope of salvation.
That's it. So if you're here today, and you haven't taken God up on his offer, my question to you is, how can you walk away from such a deal? Well, I hope you can't. Let's pray together. With our heads bowed and our eyes closed, we're going to give you a chance right here where you sit to close this deal with God.
You can do it today. All you have to do is do what John 3.16 says. Give up everything else you've ever depended on to forgive your sins and get you into heaven and place your total reliance on Christ and what he did for you on the cross. So here's what we're going to do. If you want to do that, I'm going to lead us in a short prayer, one phrase at a time. I'm going to pray out loud. You pray right behind me silently. And let's close the deal today.
Here we go. You pray silently, I'll pray out loud. Lord Jesus, I come to you today because I want to take you up on your offer. And so today I forsake every other remedy that I've ever trusted to forgive my sins and take me to heaven.
My good works, my religious activity, my trying to be a good person. And instead today I place my full dependence and reliance on the blood of Jesus shed on the cross to cover my sins. Come into my heart today and become my personal Lord and Savior and transfer me from perishing to eternal life.
In Jesus' name I pray. And Father, I want to pray for the folks that prayed that prayer, that even as they sit here today, you might confirm by the Holy Spirit in their hearts that if they were genuine in that prayer, a great transaction has taken place in the heavenly places that, as John 5 24 says, they have passed forever from death into eternal life. And Lord, for those of us here who have already done this, I pray that you would use John 3 16 today to remind us what you did for us at Christmas. And that Christmas is not about tinsel and trees and presents. It's about redemption. It's about changing eternal destinies through Jesus Christ. And that in your mercy, you did something for us we could never have done ever for ourselves. And so Father, may that knowledge enrich our Christmas and give it meaning that goes way beyond all the human accoutrements of Christmas, but goes to the very core of our being. And we pray these things in Jesus name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-24 15:04:06 / 2022-12-24 15:12:41 / 9