Sunday in Lent
April 2, 2000
The Attitude of Believing
"One thing God Never Says”
is often accused of condemning people to hell. One thing God never says, even to
the least and the worst of us, “Go To Hell!” It is something people say repeatedly. Never God!
If people go to hell, it is their own fault. It is God’s will that people do
not go to hell. To prevent this, He gave His Son to save us from hell.
God sends nobody to hell!
God’s will is to save the world.
v.16 "For God so loved the
world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, will
not perish but have everlasting life."
What do we mean when we read the phrase that "God
so loved the world"? By this we mean the creation; and in particular, the
people who are living in this world. Remember that little verse that you once
learned in School?
Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red and yellow black and white
They are precious in His sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world.
Do we believe these words? If you do that means that God loves all people. There are
none that are different, no, not even one.
All are condemned because all have sinned. God does not favor one race
over another. He looks at us each the same. Jesus is color blind when it comes
to the human condition. Each is
black with sin, and each bleeds red, and there is not enough blood to be shed
that would pay the price of human sin. Therefore the Father sent His Son Jesus
Christ on the bloody cross of Calvary where at the cross Jesus Christ bled and
died for the sins of each and every sinner.
That is why we can say simply that in Jesus Christ all sin is forgiven -
period! God now sees the world through the cross of His own Son and His empty
tomb. He sees a world forgiven. He sees the world restored to its proper order.
Transition: Well then, some might say, why
are there some that end up in hell? Does God change His mind? Is there another
standard? No, the issue is not with God, His mind is already made up and no one
can change His mind. The issue is that there are some that choose to live either
in ignorance, or who have cut themselves off from the promises and virtues of
It is rejection of God’s will that sends people to
Lack of faith – v.18 He that believes is not condemned. He that does not believe is
condemned already because he has not believed in the only begotten Son of
God wills to save the world,
not to condemn it. His desire to save it is so intense that He pays the supreme
price of giving His Son to the world. God wants no one to suffer, to die, and to
go to hell. It is man who condemned himself and who sends himself to hell. He
does this by not believing in Christ. That
is why the Bible continually tells us that "Today
is the day of salvation…now is
the acceptable hour ". If you believe in Jesus to be your Lord and Savior
you can not be condemned. The only
sin that can not be forgiven is the sin of unbelief. Trust God at His Word. Know
today that these words are sure!
have just a little bit of fun when a stranger finds out I'm a Lutheran pastor.
Inevitably, someone will say to me "I believe!"
This is good, and I hope that they do believe in Jesus Christ. But to be
honest with you often I have heard those words as an excuse for some sort of
sin; as if to say "I believe" was some magic phrase or a silver bullet
that will keep you out of hell. Jesus
gets to the heart of the matter by revealing to us that to believe means that
there is a change of heart. Listen to verse 19
Love of darkness – v.19 "And this is the judgment that the light has come into this world,
and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."
When we believe, there will be
a change of heart. Without this change of heart men's deeds are still evil and
they are driven toward the darkness and away from the light. For this reason
with the confession "I believe in Jesus Christ…" comes a renewed
attitude of the mind and heart. The
Catechism refers to this as "regeneration" which was accomplished at
our Baptism. Again, it is God who
changes us. It is God who renews
us. It is God who has changed us. It is God who will guard and keep up.
CONCLUSION: Our text for this
morning is one of the first that we have memorized, it speaks so plainly of what
the faith is all about. God truly loves you, enough to send Jesus to die for
you. But what's more He HIMSELF has called you out of darkness and into His
marvelous light! It's all the work
of God - it's all His AMAZING GRACE. Live
in that mercy of God each and every day of your life as Christ has called you to
a new life in Him. For
God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes
in Him will not perish but have everlasting life!
Soli Deo Gloria+