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GOD’S LOVE FOR FALLEN MAN

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord’s Day Morning, April 30, 2006
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

“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).


This is the most well-known and well-loved verse in the Bible. No single verse of Scripture makes the gospel of Christ plainer. I would go so far as to say that it gives the very essence of Christianity. If you understand this verse, then you understand the heart of the Bible. But if you do not understand it, no matter how much you study the Scriptures, no matter how long you attend church, no matter how much you reform yourself, or how good you are - you have missed the central teaching of the New Testament. Let us stand and read it aloud.

“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).

You may be seated.

This verse can be divided into four main points: (1) The love of God; (2) The gift of God; (3) The way to receive God’s gift; (4) The results of receiving this gift.

I. First, the verse tells us of the love of God.

“For God so loved the world.” That is a truly remarkable statement. It is remarkable to think that God loves a fallen, ruined and guilty world. The word “world” here does not refer to the earth, but to mankind that lives on the earth. What is there in humanity that would cause God to love them? The world does not love God. I have heard unconverted people say they love Him, but I have never seen any of them who really love God with all their heart, and with all their soul, and with all their mind (cf. Matthew 22:37). It is a commandment, but it is a commandment that no fallen child of Adam obeys. Just the opposite is true of unconverted men and women -

“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God” (Romans 8:7).

Instead of loving God, the lost world wants nothing to do with Him. The Apostle Paul made this very clear when he said,

“There is none that seeketh after God” (Romans 3:11).

After 48 years in the ministry, I have never known the Apostle to be wrong when he said that on the sacred page of Scripture,

“There is none that seeketh after God” (Romans 3:11).

Yet, in spite of the fact that the masses of humanity are “against God” (Romans 8:7), and in spite of the fact that

“There is none that seeketh after God,”

yet (and this is what makes it so amazing) - and yet, our text says, “For God so loved the world”! God loves mankind in spite of the fact that they are against Him, and in spite of the fact that “There is none that seeketh” for Him. Yet He loves the world! This is truly startling and amazing. It cannot be explained by human logic. It cannot be explained by philosophy. It cannot be explained by man-made religion. In fact, we would not know this great truth if it had not been revealed to us in the Bible, “For God so loved the world.”

Now, we must be careful here. Some tell us that God’s love means that all are accepted simply because God loves us. But, according to the Bible, this is not so. You must look at the verse again. It doesn’t end with the words, “God so loved the world.” There’s another word after the word “world.” Look at it in the Bible. It says God loves the world so much “that” He did something to save this ruined and rebellious race. The word “that” is very important. And that takes us to the second point.

II. Second, the verse tells us of God’s great gift.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son…” (John 3:16).

God did something truly awesome. Yes, that overused word “awesome” really applies here! God did something really and truly awesome because of His great love for lost mankind. This is what God did: he loved fallen man so much “that he gave his only begotten Son.”

What does it mean when it says “he gave” Jesus? First, God gave Jesus at the incarnation. The Bible says,

“When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman…” (Galatians 4:4).

God sent Jesus down from Heaven and put Him in the womb of Mary. So, when our text says, “he gave his only begotten Son,” it refers to that. It speaks of God putting Jesus into the womb of Mary supernaturally, without a human father. That’s why our text calls Jesus, “his only begotten Son.” The words “only begotten” are translated from a single Greek word, “monogēnē,” which means “sole, only begotten child” (Strong #3439). This refers to the virgin birth of Jesus. He is uniquely the only procreated Son of God, without a human father. It does not mean that God created Him. The old writers correctly said that Jesus was “begotten, not made,” because Jesus existed in Heaven as the Second Person of the Trinity, but He was begotten in the womb of the virgin by God. Yes, God “gave” His Son when He begat Him in the Mary’s womb.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son…” (John 3:16).

But God “gave” Jesus in another way. Not only was Jesus given to be born of a virgin, God also “gave” Him to die on the Cross so our sins could be forgiven. The Bible says,

“God commendeth [gives] his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

God “gave” Jesus to die on the Cross to pay for our sins. God gave Him to undergo unspeakable torture, beatings, floggings, nailed to the Cross, to provide a vicarious atonement for our sins. “Vicarious” means “one person in the place of another.” Christ died in our place, to pay the penalty for our sins. So that God

“might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:26).

The wrath and judgment of God fell on Jesus on the Cross, making the full payment of our sin-debt and satisfying the justice of a holy God. That means Jesus was punished by God in our place, for our sins.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son…”

The word “gave” contains yet one more idea - that salvation is a gift. You can’t earn it. You can’t merit it. Salvation is a free gift because God “gave his only begotten Son.” And that takes us to the third point.

III. Third, the verse tells us the way to receive this gift.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish…” (John 3:16).

The only way you can receive the benefits of Christ’s “love gift” on the Cross is by believing in Him! The little Greek word translated “in” is very important here. It is “eis.” It means, literally, to believe “into” Jesus. This clears up much confusion. It shows that we are not merely to believe what the Bible says about Jesus. No, no! The Devil believes what the Bible says about Jesus. But the Devil does not believe “into” Jesus. Don’t make the mistake of the Devil. Don’t just believe what the Bible says about Christ. Instead believe “into” Him. Put your faith directly into Jesus Christ, the risen Son of God in Heaven. So many have made the mistake of believing about Jesus without believing “into” Him. Many of the old songs make this clear.

“I am coming, Lord! Coming now to Thee!”
    (“I Am Coming, Lord” by Lewis Hartsough, 1828-1919).

“Why not now? Why not now?
Why not come to Jesus now?”
    (“Why Not Now?” by Daniel W. Whittle, 1840-1901).

And especially,

“Out of my sin and into Thyself,
Jesus, I come to Thee”
    (“Jesus, I Come” by William T. Sleeper, 1819-1904).

The way to be saved is to believe “into” Jesus. Put your whole faith into Him and Him alone.

“That whosoever believeth in [into] him should not perish…” (John 3:16).

That’s the way you receive the loving gift of God in Christ, by believing into Him. As great Spurgeon put it, “Lie flat on Christ.” Trust Jesus alone. That’s the way you receive God’s gift. As Joseph Hart put it,

“Venture on Him, venture wholly:
   Let no other trust intrude:
None but Jesus, none but Jesus,
  Can do helpless sinners good.”
   (“Come, Ye Sinners” by Joseph Hart, 1712-1768).

Spurgeon said,

Put your sins into His care; do it deliberately. Dare to [give] up all other hopes. Venture on Jesus…Cast yourself simply on Jesus…believe in Him, and trust in Him, and you shall never be made ashamed of your confidence. “He that believeth on Him shall not be confounded” (C. H. Spurgeon, Around the Wicket Gate, Christian Focus Publications, 1987 edition, pages 26-27).

Put your whole trust in Jesus. That’s what it means in our text, “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish…” (John 3:16). And that takes us to the fourth and last point.

IV. Fourth, the verse tells us the results of receiving the gift of Christ.

Look at it, please. Read it out loud.

“…that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

When you come to Jesus by faith and believe “into” Him by faith you receive two benefits instantly. First, you will not perish. That means you will not go to Hell. No person who has trusted Jesus, no person who has believed “into” Jesus will ever perish in the flames of Hell. Why? Because Jesus said,

“I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish” 
      (John 10:28).

You are eternally secure, saved for all eternity, the moment you trust Jesus by coming to Him in faith, small and weak though that faith may be. It is Jesus who does the saving, not the amount of faith you have in Him.

So, the first result of believing in Jesus by faith is that you will never perish. You will have passed from death into life the very moment you trust Him, coming to Him in faith.

The second result, when you come to Jesus and believe in Him, is that you will instantly receive eternal life. You are born again into eternal life, and it cannot ever be taken away from you. “They shall never perish” (John 10:28).

What a wonderful promise! What a marvelous hope! Stand one more time and read John 3:16 aloud.

“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).

Would you like to believe in Jesus, trusting in Him, “laying flat” on Him, as Spurgeon put it? Then, as we sing, slip out of your chair and walk to the back of the room quickly as we sing the last song. Dr. Cagan, Mr. Mencia and I will be there to help counsel you. May God bless you and help you to trust Jesus this very morning. Stand as we sing the last hymn on the song sheet. Slip out to the back of the room as we sing and Dr. Cagan will take you up to my office where we can talk together.

“Out of my bondage, sorrow and night,
   Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come:
Into Thy freedom, gladness and light,
  Jesus, I come to Thee.”
    (“Jesus, I Come” by William T. Sleeper, 1819-1904).

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: John 3:14-18.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Jesus, I Come” (by William T. Sleeper, 1819-1904).


THE OUTLINE OF

GOD’S LOVE FOR FALLEN MAN

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


“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).

I.   The love of God, John 3:16a; Matthew 22:37; Romans 8:7; 3:11.

II.  The gift of God, John 3:16b; Galatians 4:4; Romans 5:8; 3:26.

III. The way to receive God’s gift, John 3:16c.

IV.  The results of receiving this gift, John 3:16d; 10:28.