4th Sunday in Lent
Series B
John 3:16-19
April 2, 2000
The Attitude of Believing
"One thing God Never Says”

INTRODUCTION:  God 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!

1.                  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 God.

2.                  It is rejection of God’s will that sends people to hell.

A.    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."

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!

Illustration:  I 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

B.      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+