In this sermon, Pastor Neil explains the promise of God in the Gospel of John, that whoever believes in Him (Christ Jesus) has eternal life. Here are some excerpts:
The Christmas gospel in John 3:16 contains a promise. You see it, don’t you? It is the promise of eternal life – life after death and abundant life, right here and right now, as Tripp says. Who is this promise for? “Whoever believes in Him.” Whoever believes in Jesus.Whoever embraces the Lord Jesus in trusting faith.
John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, was one of the three most influential English- speaking evangelists of the 18th-century. The others were George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards. After preaching on one occasion, Wesley was invited to the home of some English nobility for a cup of tea. As they made polite conversation, Wesley’s hosts said: “We think, Mr. Wesley, that you went a trifle too far in your message today.”
“Oh,” said Wesley. “What made you think such a thing?”
“Well,” they said, “you indicated that God would refuse no one who came to Him. You even said that God would take the devil’s castaways.”
Wesley didn’t respond immediately. He pulled a note out of his coat pocket. It was from two women who had also heard his message that morning. He read it to his hosts: “We are just two old sinful women from the London underworld. We heard you preach, Mr. Wesley, that Jesus would take even the devil’s castaways. Hearing that, we want to start life over and give ourselves to God.”
“Whoever” is a beautiful word, isn’t it? It applies to the rich and powerful, to the poor and powerless; to both weak and strong, young and old, healthy and sick; the moral and the immoral; liberals, to socialists; progressives, to moderates and conservatives. It applies to anyone and everyone who comes to Jesus, the Son of God, trusting Him for salvation. It even applies to the devil’s castaways. Which means it applies to me. And to you.
It was God’s love that prompted Him to send His Son into the world. It was God’s love for you and me and a world full of sinners that gave birth to Christmas.
When God the Father sent His Son into the world, He didn’t simply send Him off by telling Him to have a good time or lots of fun. “A good time” was not the purpose of Jesus’ comingto us. God sent His Son on a mission, not a vacation. That mission, as it says in verse 17,was “not … to condemn the world but to save the world through Him.”
Why did Jesus come? Not to judge or condemn the world (even though that is what we deserve), nor to punish us for our sins. Not to impose the death penalty on us. But to forgive our sins. He came so that whoever believes in Him should not perish in our sins but instead have eternal life with Him.