Temple Baptist Church - 12-21-2014
John 3:16; Luke 2:1-20
A. As Christmas approaches this year, our hearts and minds naturally turn back to the city of Bethlehem and the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
1. We read a story that never grows old. I have heard the story of the birth of Christ all of my life and still love to hear it told.
2. We read a story shrouded with the mystery of the ages, the birth of God’s only begotten Son! What is Christmas all about? The world tries to make it Xmas; the world makes it all about Santa; the world tries to remove it and make it the Holiday Season! It is all about:
a) Almighty Jehovah God of the Old Testament became flesh and dwelt among us; the virgin born Son of God born in Bethlehem; Jesus Christ, Almighty God, walked among us! John 1:14-15 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (15) John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before
Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
b) Almighty Jehovah God of the Old Testament died on the cross of Calvary for the sins of all mankind: the Just for the unjust, the Righteous for the unrighteous, the Innocent for the guilty! 1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
c) Almighty Jehovah God of the Old Testament buried in a garden tomb and gloriously resurrecting bodily on the third day for our justification! Matthew 28:6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
Romans 1:4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:
d) Almighty Jehovah God of the Old Testament ascending back to heaven and one day coming again to receive us unto Himself that were He is, we may be also! Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
e) That is what Christmas is all about! It is a story that will never be fully understood because it is beyond the realm of human experience but a story believed, a story accepted, and a story beloved.
3. We read a story that has thrilled our hearts from our youth. I have never lost the thrill of knowing the Christ of the bible; the thrill of being eternally saved; the thrill of living for God in this life; and the thrill of one day going home and seeing Him as He is.
B. This morning, I want to tie these verses (John 3:16 and Luke 2:1-11) together. John 3:16 is often called “The Gospel in a Nutshell.” It can be preached word by word and give a complete understanding of the salvation found in the new birth. Nicodemus heard and believed on Christ through this one verse.
C. One of the most blessed truths found in the Bible is that of the love of God for sinners. John 3:16 is possibly the most noted and quoted of all verses of scripture and the least comprehended.
1. When I see the world, I see the sin and sorrow that permeates it. My heart is saddened by what is taking place in the world, across this great nation, in the homes of America, in the schools of America, and in the local churches. With the rejection of spiritual light comes great spiritual darkness. Matthew 6:23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
2. When God sees the world, He sees sinners in need of the Saviour! As we get closer to Christmas, our hearts should be joyful because of the gift of God given on that night some 2,000 years ago.
D. We can never fathom the love of God that was displayed in John 3:16 where God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son!
Ephesians 3:17-19 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, (18) May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; (19) And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. (I have often referred to this words as knowing the unknowable!)
1. The Breadth Of God’s Love – 1 John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (His love is from Pole to Pole. His love is from the East to the West. His love is from Wall to Wall. The Love of God covers every man, woman, and child. There are none exempt and there are none excluded! There is not a race, color, or creed rejected! His love is for the whole world! I cannot understand it, but I believe it!)
2. The Length Of God’s Love – Psalms 86:15 But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. (God’s love is not only universal in its scope; it is longsuffering in its forbearance. God is compassionate, gracious, longsuffering, and merciful. I did not deserve to receive it nor do I deserve to keep it. The Lord has been far better to me than I deserve and I am eternally grateful for it. I cannot understand it, but I have seen it!)
3. The Depth Of God’s Love – 1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. (The wickedest man in the world is a candidate for His great salvation. It matters not what you have done; it matters not what you have thought; it matters not where you came from! His love goes to the deepest in sin and despair. I cannot understand it, but I have received it!)
4. The Height Of God’s Love – Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: (His wonderful love is far greater than all of our sin put together. God’s gracious love is always there and you cannot sin your salvation away. He will forgive 70 times 7 and never exhaust his love or forgiveness. I cannot understand it, but I have experienced it!)
E. “Good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people!” It is the Lord’s desire that all people know and experience the love of God which the angel spoke of on that night.
F. I want to look at some aspects of that love this morning:
1. In Bethlehem We Find God’s Love Manifested In The Gift Of Christ - 1 John 4:9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
2. At Calvary We Find God’s Love Commended At The Cross - Romans 5:8-9 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
3. In Salvation We Find God’s Love Bestowed In Our Sonship - 1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
4. In Choice We Find God’s Love Believed By The Sinner - 1 John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
5. In Relationship We Find God’s Love Perceived By The Saint - 1 John 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
6. In Witness We Find God’s Love Shed Abroad In The Spirit - Romans 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
7. In Fellowship We Find God’s Love Dwelling In The Heart - 1 John 3:17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
Conclusion: Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. “Oh, how He loves you and me! Oh, how He loves you and me! His love was manifested in the giving of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus to Calvary did go. His precious blood to bestow. He gave His life; what more could He do! Oh, how he loves you! Oh, how He loves me! Oh, how He loves you and me!”