March 13

In the 1800s, D.L. Moody had British evangelist Henry Moorhouse preach at his church in Chicago for a week. He preached seven sermons in a row on John 3:16. He preached from Genesis to Revelation just to prove that “God so loved the world”. Per Moody’s son, this is what D.L. Moody had to say on this:

  • “For six nights he had preached on this one text. The seventh night came, and he went into the pulpit. Every eye was upon him. He said, ‘Beloved friends, I have been hunting all day for a new text, but I cannot find anything so good as the old one; so we will go back to the third chapter of John and the sixteenth verse,’ and he preached the seventh sermon from those wonderful words, ‘God so loved the world.’ I remember the end of that sermon: ‘My friends,’ he said, ‘for a whole week I have been trying to tell you how much God loves you, but I cannot do it with this poor stammering tongue. If I could borrow Jacob’s ladder and climb up into heaven and ask Gabriel, who stands in the presence of the Almighty, to tell me how much love the Father has for the world, all he could say would be: “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”’”

I’ve mentioned before that the Greek language had primarily 4 different words for love. You had érosfrom whence we get “erotic” from. This is a very physical, touchy, sexual love as would/should be present within one’s marriage.

Philo defines brotherly love or friendship. It is the root for Philadelphia. It is a bond that holds friendships together, or maybe communities and groups.

Family love is defined by storgē (pronounced stor-jay or stor-gay). It’s the affection people have for their parents and vice versa. It’s often why constantly quarrelling kids will still defend each other from outsiders.

But, agapēis the sacrificial love that often goes above and beyond the previous three because it can be applied to people you do not know, or that even hate you. It tends to sacrifice emotion for results, although emotions may come into play within this love. It is not necessarily divine (as some have taught) since Matthew 5:46 and I. Thessalonians 5:13 use it in differing ways.

In John 3:16 we see the context of the verse tells us that God’s agapēsacrificial love was in the giving of His Son. His love was not emotional here (even if emotion is involved), but was one of action. He proved His love beyond words or a small gift by offering an eternal gift through the torturous death of Jesus Christ on the cross (

Moody, continuing his reflection on Moorhouse’s sermons, stated:

  • “I never knew up to that time that God loved us so much. This heart of mine began to thaw out; I could not keep back the tears. It was like news from a far country: I just drank it in. So did the crowded congregation. I tell you there is one thing that draws above everything else in the world, and that is love.”

John 3 is a story of Jesus instructing the “Teacher of Israel” on what salvation is really all about and how God produces it. John 3:16 is often believed to be John’s own Holy Spirit-inspired commentary rather than a quote of Jesus. But, the main thing to note is that Jesus explains being born from above, explains how those born from above are saved by faith, and discusses how salvation will be secured (“even so must the Son of Man be lifted up” referring to His death on the cross). John 3:1-15 gives us a story demonstrating God’s love for us, but John 3:16 tells us outright that demonstrated to us His love via His sacrifice.

The rest of our passage (17-21) is the sad reality that people will die in their sins while in their rebellion to the Light. God hates sin and loves righteousness. His love is patient, yet is based on Himself before anything else which means He must punish unrepentant wickedness in unbelievers. This is why you and me need to make the Gospel our primary concern in our community, state, nation, and world.

  • Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness”
  • Ezekiel 18:23 “Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord GOD, “rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?”
  • Ephesians 2:1-7 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
  1. Notice that while God does not enjoy the destruction of the pagan lost, He does destroy sinners for their continual, prolonged, and fist-in-the air rebellion against Him.
    1. Yet, you and I were once those same rebels. Reflect on the eternal grace God has given you in light of these passages: _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    2. Now, think about how this affects the unsaved people in your life and how critical it is that you and I witness to them: _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    3. Notice verse 4 (But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us) and think about how this relates to John 3:16: _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    4. Now, think about verse 5 (even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)). See how this is the whole message of John 3:1-15? Compare the two passages (the story of God’s love and grace with this verse discussing our new birth from above): ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    5. Lastly, think about the end of the Ephesians passage and how much God has shown His love to us beyond just simple salvation: _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  2. What would you tell the person who says he doesn’t need salvation, that he and God have an understanding? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  3. Think of the relationships you’ve built and the lives and stories of these people. Many times God opens specific doors to sharing the Good News. What opportunities have you had recently? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    1. And how do you continue to show the love of God into their lives? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

When Will The World See That Wee Need Jesus written by D. Elephante, J. Elephante, & S. Springer. Sung by Petra with Lou Graham (of Foreigner fame)

When will the world

See that we need Jesus?

If we open our eyes

We will all realize

That He loves us

When will the world

See that we need Jesus?

When our hearts are as one

And believe that He’s the Son of our God

 

The Lord is our God

And we shall never want

The Lord is our God

And we shall live forever

When we share the love of Jesus

See each other as He sees us

Then His love will see us through

His love will see us through

 

When will the world

See that we need Jesus?

When sister and brother

Love one another as one

When will the world

See that we need Jesus?

Will we ever understand

Jesus is the Son of man?

We must live in the shadow of His love

 

When will the world

See that we need Jesus?

If we open our eyes

We will all realize

That He loves us

When will the world

See that we need Jesus?

When our hearts are as one

And believe that He’s the Son of our God

 

When will the world

See that we need Jesus?

When sister and brother

Love one another as one

When will the world

See that we need Jesus?

Will we ever understand

Jesus is the Son of man?

We must live in the shadow of His love