THE GREATEST LOVE

John 3:14-19

John 3:14-19 New King James Version (NKJV)



14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,

15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.



Dr. Gough:


"God so loved." God's love is greater than all loves!

--It is beyond definition, description, demonstration.

--God loves everyone. Alike. Supremely. Eternally.

--Love is everywhere - songs, movies, Christ-like lives.

--In parent's devotion to children, even when astray.

--But none compares to Jesus' love, on a cross, for us.


Certain words in John 3:16 spell GOSPEL - God's news.

--"God so loved the world that He gave His Only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not Perish but have Everlasting Life" G-O-S-P-E-L. See It?

--We learned it from Mother's knee .. or Sunday School.


"God so loved the world." That's all of us, isn't it?

--God made His world, and us. And "God so loved" us.

--Loves us so much, He doesn't want any of us lost.


"God so loved the world that He gave." Love shares.

--Love is never depleted, when given away! It grows!


"God so loved the world .. He gave His only .. Son."

--Listen! No greater gift could He give, than Jesus!

--Love sent Jesus to the world - to a cross - for us.

--Yet love doesn't save the world - God's grace does!


Why all God's love? "That whoever believes in (Jesus) should not perish but have everlasting life." Wow!

--Friend, that's for you. And that's for me. For all!

--Jesus did not come to condemn but "save the world."

--He's our Messiah-Savior. To love us into heaven.


We need a greater appreciation of God, and His love.

--And, to show love for Him. To "love one another, for love is of God" (I John 4:7). To be "care-givers."


I find the key word of the Gospel of John is life.

--Chapter 1, THE SOURCE OF LIFE - "All made by Him."

--Chapter 2, THE POWER OF LIFE - "He is able to do."

--Chapter 3, THE PROCESS OF LIFE - "Must be born again."

--Physical life begins at birth, from our dear parents.

--Spiritual life, at the new birth, by Jesus our Savior."

--Jesus explained to Nicodemus. Thank God for His love!


So Nicodemus became a follower of Jesus (John 3:1-21)..

--In fact he brought burial spices for Jesus' body, as we read in John 19:39. Was not ashamed of Jesus.

--Jesus usually spoke to hundreds or thousands, but on that glorious night in John 3, He spoke to just one.

--But that one began to speak to others of Messiah.


As a sailor in the War, I can't forget a shoe-shine in Philadelphia with a black young man. Very likeable.

--We began talking, and I asked if he knew the Savior.

--He began to tell me he went to church, read the Bible.

--I asked if he knew John 3:16, "0 yes," he replied.

--He started to quote it, "God so loved the world that He gave His only forgotten Son ..." Got mixed up.

--I reviewed the Scripture, and plan of salvation, and told him, for many, Jesus is God's "forgotten Son."


Indeed, Jesus is God's greatest valentine to our world.

--I recall a teenager who sent his girl friend her very first orchid, with this note, "With all my love, and most of my allowance." That's what God does for us.


From John 3:16, may I share five marvelous teachings.

--They are what makes God's love in Jesus so great.


I. BECAUSE OF THE GREATEST GIVER - GOD!

--"God so loved," as no other can! God gives love.

--Parents and spouses can love most dearly their own.

--But none like the Lord loves us - even sinners!


Interesting, in this verse to see contrasting pairs.

--Because of God's love, He sent Jesus to earth.

--Shows us what God is like. We see God, in Jesus!

--Because God loves, "He gave." Gave up His only Son!

--The Son, gave up His life for us, on a cross, not for any sin of His - He had none! - but for the world!

--I like the pairing of the "world," with "whoever!"

--The Greatest Giver loves people - you, me - "whoeven"

--Or this contrast, "not perish," with His "everlasting life." So we be strong, against the wrong.


When we ponder this, "I stand amazed ..!" What a God!

--God says, "Faith, hope, love - the greatest is love."

--Do you have love for Him? Know that you are saved?

--Don't miss loving the Greatest Giver and Lover of all.


II. BECAUSE OF THE GREATEST GRACE - SO LOVED THE WORLD.

--Other than God, do you know anyone who loves everyone?

--My friend, God does - everyone! Told us to do so.

--Jesus said, ".. all will know you are My disciples if you have love for one another" (John 13:35).

--It's easy to love those who love us! But some don't.

--Grace, like God's, helps us love them, anyway.

--I find it hard to love terrorists, who took countless lives 9/11/01, at the Trade Centers, Pentagon, Pennsylvania, and so many other places ever since.

--So we have to work on it - to be like Jesus who loved them who put Him to death on a cross without cause.


Life needs love. We all need lots of it every day.

--"Behold, how they love one another," they said of believers in the early days of Christianity.

--Let's restore that glow, and reputation to each other.

--Many over the world are starving for love, kindness.

--Missing! How do we get it? By God's gracious love!

--Pray that God may give us a loving heart, like His.


God's grace loves the worst of sinners. A lost world.

--He reaches out as Jesus did to Judas, to save them.


Grace can do it. "By grace are we saved through faith, not of ourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-10).

--We can be selfish, spiteful, sinful; grace changes!

--We can reject Him, like on the Niagara River getting close to the Falls, but can still be reached by God!

--That is why His love is the greatest -for its grace!


III. BECAUSE OF THE GREATEST GIFT - GOD GAVE HIS SON.

--For a greater cause than Abraham was willing to give his son, Isaac. Or parents give theirs in the wars.

--Dear friend, it is hard to lose a loved one.

--When my dear brother Charles, died of cancer despite so much prayer and care, when being used of the Lord, my Dad tearfully said, "Why not me, instead?"

--No other could save us, so God "God gave.. His Son."


We don't have full control of life - but God does!

--As believers, we know "God loves, and promised us to work all things for good to them that love Him."

--God so loved .. He gave His Son" life's greatest gift.

--No greater gift to receive .. or to give another.

--I urge everyone to take God's gift. Grow in grace.

--To be saved, and lovingly share the gift with others.


God's love is greatest, for the Giver, Grace and Gift.


IV. BECAUSE OF ITS GREATEST GOSPEL - TO WHOEVER WILL.

--In Greek, Gospel means "good news," and it sure is.

--I found it the greatest of all, when I came to Jesus.

--Some things are not for everyone - like riches, education, good looks, good health, and so on.

--But the gospel of Jesus is for everyone - God invites "whoever will may come." That's me. You. Anybody.

--Includes, young, old; good and not so good.

--I'm glad God put "whoever" instead of naming a name.

--Because whoever makes it the greatest Gospel of all!


Another thing great about it, it changes lives!

--It changed me. And is still changing me for better.

--It can change anyone, to be more Christ-like.

--Inside and out. Makes us "new persons in Christ."

--Changes habits. Vocabulary. Attitude. Living.

--No end of possibilities what God can do, in us!


Listen, church is important - but no church saves.

--It is Jesus Who saves. By His cross and resurrection.

--Because "He ever lives to make intercession for us."

--One day, could be soon, He's coming again, for us.


V. BECAUSE OF ITS GREATEST GOAL - EVERLASTING LIFE.

--Combine the Giver, Grace, Gift, Gospel by its Goal.

--God's love has a purpose - "everlasting life" for us!

--John 3:16 ends, "we should not perish but have everlasting life." Not just "abundant" now, but eternal!

--Friend, you can't find that in any other!

--Jesus' resurrection guarantees that for believers!

--"Because I live, you shall live also" (John 14:19).


All of us if we live long enough will grow old.

--Or an accident, or disease, could take us any time.

--Death and grave are not the end! The best is to be!

--God wants you and me to enjoy it with Him, forever!

--Jesus made it possible! His goal, redeem all of us.

--He did His part. Let us do ours. Come, believe!

--Make God's goal, your life's goal!

--The world needs more love.



Wilbert D. Gough, ThD., DD. 917

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