Sermon by Rev. Julius A. Harper, Senior Pastor Santa Clarita Christian Fellowship Church
For God So Loved The World
John 3:16-17 (KJV)
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved
May the Lord add a blessing to the reading and the hearing of HIS holy word.
Good morning to all and greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus. It is so exciting to be with you on this Christmas morning, celebrating the birth of our Lord.
On this wonderful Sunday, the words that I have presented to you this morning are from the well known portion of the passage from John 3:16.
This passage speaks of God’s great love as demonstrated to us in the act of THE giving his Son Jesus to the world.
Now of course on a day like today, we are all involved in the act of giving and receiving gifts.
Some of the children have gifts waiting for them under the tree if they haven’t already opened them up. It’s not just kids by the way, who are caught up in the gift-giving bonanza. All of us get excited about receiving and giving gifts.
And it’s to this idea of giving that I was drawn to speak about and to focus on, because of the tremendous gift that God gave us.
That is the topic of the sermon this morning, for God so loved the word that he gave.
So let’s take a look at this and examine the subject of giving specifically focusing on the giving of God’s Son, as noted in these 7 simple points.
God so loved the world that he gave his son…
- To be born as a human being
Luke 2:7-11 (KJV)
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord
John 1:14 (NLT)
14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.
That Jesus was born into the world, as a HUMAN being is often something we take for granted.
This was God’s own Son who emptied himself of his divine standing in order to come into the world through the portal of human flesh.
Jesus was born as a human being and this is incredibly important because what he did for us as our Savior had to be done by another human.
Last week we talked about this extensively, in our sermon in which we compared and contrasted Adam and Christ Jesus.
It was through Adam the first man that sin entered the world and through sin came death.
And since the day that Adam disobeyed God every human born since Adam, with the exception of Jesus came into this world with a sin problem.
On Christmas morning when we were opening our gifts and enjoying the various celebrations, I’m sure that we were not thinking about the filthiness and rottenness of our own sins.
But it is something that you need to think about none-the less.
It happened because of one man’s sin.
Adam the father of mankind violated God’s commandment and because of that all humans are born destined to an eternal hell that was created for the devil, but now expands itself to accommodate the souls of men, women boys and girls.
That is not a very comforting or festive thought to think about on Christmas morning.
But the fact of the matter is that each of us will be the guest of honor at a celebration of our lives when we breathe our last breath and then there is the issue of eternity.
The bible tells us that it’s appointed unto man once to die and then the judgment. So says Hebrews 9:27.
That appointment with death came about because of the original sin of Adam, but we all know that we are all guilty of sins too.
And the price for that sin is eternal separation from God because sin and God cannot co-exist.
Sin creates a debt that must be paid to satisfy the justice of God.
Romans 6:23 tells us that “the wages of sin is Death”
This is the problem that humanity faces “the wages of sin” and the debt that is owed by every single human being.
Jesus came born as a human being, in order to take the penalty of sin for us, by dying a substitutionary death that would pay for our sins and allow us to be made right with God.
That is why it is important to know that Jesus was born as a human; because only a person could die the death for us; it could not be a bull or a ram or a goat, it had to be a human.
Christ, who died on the cross was God but he was also a human and was raised by God the Father on the third day and his death and resurrection signals a new reality that you and I can obtain by faith.
The human baby born as a child, became the man Christ Jesus who is savior of the world and by placing our faith in him as Lord and Savior, by placing your faith in him; we can be forgiven of our sins and brought into a right standing with God, who will raise us up from physical death to live with him eternally in heaven for ever.
God so loved the world that he gave his son…
- To reveal the Father to us.
John 14:9-11 (KJV)
9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.
John 1:1-2 (KJV)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
Deuteronomy 6:4 (KJV)
4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
John 10:30 (KJV)
30 I and my Father are one.
None of us have seen the Father, but Jesus came to reveal him to us.
If you look at the life if Jesus, you see a picture of love and mercy and kindness that you can only see through Jesus.
Jesus connected with and interfaced with everyone.
His relationship with the poor of this word was one example of that.
He connected with people of every race, every ethnicity, every background, he healed men and woman, boys and girls.
Jesus invested time with people. You saw that in the way he taught and shared himself with every day people.
You saw that in the way he dealt with his disciples; he shared wisdom and insights and met each and every person at the point of their need personally; there was no one size fits all, there was no rush and hurry to the next person who was more important.
Jesus showed that he really cared about people, because he wanted us to know that what he was showing us was God the Father.
So when Jesus healed, he was showing us God’s desire for every human being he created.
When he fed, he was showing and reminding us that God created a world for us, that was perfectly equipped to meet our needs.
When he taught people from God’s word and opened the scriptures, his purpose was not to impress anyone with his bible knowledge but rather to open the eyes and minds of people to the heart of God and his word…given through the mouths of his holy profit for our benefit and for our protection in this world.
None of us have seen the Father, but in seeing Jesus, we can see how much God loves us.
Let me just pivot for a moment before I just move forward assuming that you know Jesus.
Do you have that relationship? Have you connected personally with Jesus, who now reveals the love of the father to you PERSONALLY day-by-day.
Do you know what it means to be cared for personally by God the Father himself, who is personally invested in you.
Do you know personally the God who equips you and provides for you and loves you, with a type of personal attention that let’s you know that you are important to him and that your name is written on his heart.
Do you wake up in the morning, knowing that God wants to teach and instruct you personally and to equip you each day with his word and his Spirit and his power, so that you as his beloved child would have through him, life and that more abundantly.
If you don’t know this reality for yourself; if you have not come into the beauty of a relationship with God the father, through Jesus Christ who desires to unite you with him, you can do that by faith today.
Just stand by the invitation at the end of this sermon.
God so loved the world that he gave his son
- To show us how to live
Matthew 18:21-22 (KJV)
21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
Luke 11:1-4 (KJV)
1 And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.
2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
3 Give us day by day our daily bread.
4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
Matthew 5:38-42 (KJV)
38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.
41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
Our relationship with God is a precious and wonderful benefit that Christ brings into realty through him, but God is also concerned about our relationships with other people.
It should not be surprising to us to know that God cares about our relationships here on plant earth.
You see sin affected not only our relationship with God the Father, but it also polluted and negatively affected our relationship with others.
That is why we often cannot get along with those who we should love the most; and unfortunately it’s the holidays that often remind us of that.
Christmas day might not seem like a time when relationship problems are to be considered and discussed, but then again this might be the perfect time.
We note the words of Peter as recorded in Matthew chapter 18:21-22. And the subject of his question had to do with forgiveness.
Peter asked Jesus how often should he forgive his brother. ?
Holiday’s often mark a period of painful situations in which some families celebrate the gift of God’s Son while simultaneously, noting the absence of a brother, sister, father, mother or another family member from which we are estranged.
It will happen at Christmas dinner today at someone’s house. Mom or Dad, or Sister won’t be there because the stain of un forgiveness still stands.
Jesus came to show us how to live in relationship with others, pointing out through words, deeds and parables the need for forgiveness and how important that is to human relationship and to our great God who has forgiven us for so much.
He came to show us how to live and to handle ourselves in regards to what happens in human relationship, where because of our own brokenness we often injure and hurt others through words and deeds; done so viciously sometimes YES and others just ignorantly.
So his words about not taking an “eye for an eye approach” to people or what he said about “turning the other cheek”, or making peace with someone with whom you have a dispute, were given for our instruction to help us.
His words about being generous to others, showed us that it’s important to value human beings more than, your car or your house or material goods.
And then of course he taught us how to pray and how to seek God’s guidance and blessing every day; God gave his Son for these important things
God so loved the world that he gave his son…
- To show us how to love.
Matthew 5:43-45 (KJV)
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
1 John 4:8 b(NLT)
8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
Now I am aware that this 4th point somewhat builds upon and is related to the first, but I hope you don’t mind if I drill down a bit further even though it might seem duplicative.
In the previous point we talked about what God taught us through the gift of his Son about how to live in relationship with others.
Here in the 4th point the focus is upon LOVE….
To live in relationship with others, you are going to need to be able to flow in love.
Jesus taught us about that in his life, because love is CORE to the nature of God.
To help us understand that and flow in that more operationally Jesus went right to the core of what we struggle with as human beings, that being the lack of love or rather the conditions that we place upon showing it.
Jesus came as a gift from God to show us God’s love and he did that my laying down his life for us, which is the greatest act of love that any person can do.
And Jesus did that for a world that hated and rejected him.
Now Jesus isn’t asking us to die for another person, but he shows us that sacrificing ourselves for others, and laying down ourselves for others whether they deserve it on not is what real love is.
You see ultimately God wants us to be like him. He wants us as noted in Matthew 4:45 “to be the children of your father which is in heaven”
And your Father in heaven is one who loves the world in spite of the fact that the world hates him.
Now you might not see or understand that the world hates God but the evidence of it is all around you.
God’s name is blasphemed on a regular basis he has been for the most part rejected by our society, rejected by our government, kept out of our lives and wiped out of the schools.
For most people in this world the only reason why Christmas hasn’t been eliminated totally, is because of money and the amount of profit made in the retail business around this time of year.
God sent Jesus to show us how to love, in spite of the way that we are treated by others.
To love like God loves, means that you love folks regardless of how they treat you, but you love people because of how God loves you.
He makes in SUN to shine on the just and the unjust; he taught us through Christ Jesus and the example of his life and how he loved, to love not just our family but our enemies; to pray for those who bad mouth you and forgive them, just as God forgives and continues to love humanity in spite of all that we’ve spoken against him.
God so loved the world that he gave his son…
- To show us how to serve others
John 13:3-5 (KJV)
3 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;
4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.
5 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.
Matthew 20:27-28 (NLT)
27 and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave.
28 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
This of course would be a key learning for us today in our society; it’s a very important lesson for we who have been raised in the WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY mind-set.
The picture we see painted of Jesus as recorded in the gospel of John chapter 13 is a mind-blower for sure.
Jesus was God. Jesus was God’s only begotten Son, yet Jesus was a foot washer and a servant.
God so loved the world, that he gave his Son to show us how to serve others, for in the kingdom of God it is service that is the highest form of currency and he who serves shall be the greatest in the kingdom.
For God so loved the world that he GAVE his only begotten Son, to serve and to give his life a random for many.
Jesus as he wiped the feet of the disciples, was communicating the currency of heaven and the value system of God to us.
What God values and what God wants to see us flow in is SERVICE.
It’s not about ME, ME and MY MINE, but it is about recognizing that it is more blessed to give than to receive.
It is about recognizing, that the highest good is to be found in serving others and blessing others
Believe it or not God desires to give to you and bless you.
He has a plan for your life that is designed for you to come into the fullness of his purpose of what he envisioned for mankind from the beginning.
God didn’t need to create a world for himself.
God didn’t need to create a world to stoke his ego.
God didn’t need to create a world because he was bored.
He created the word so that all of humanity could be vessels of receipt for what God could do for them.
Giving his precious life to bless others through giving and serving, not for what he received from others, but just for the glory and honor that comes from giving and serving.
God so loved the world that he gave his son…
- To die for our sins.
Matthew 27:46, 50-51, 54 (KJV)
46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabach-thani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.
What happened on the cross that Day God’s gift to us.
His Son paid the price to set man free because of the stain of death and guilt that we all had upon us.
We talked about that very briefly in point number one of the sermon. I told you about the sin problem that each and every human being has. We talk about the wages of sin and the debt that each of us owes.
The scriptures tell us that is was about the 9th hour when Jesus cried to his father saying My God my God why have your forsaken me.
Jesus as he hung on the cross dealt with something absolutely incredible.
He dealt with the weight of the sins of the world, being placed upon him.
God so loved the world so much that he placed the sins of every man, every women and every child that had been born and would be born, on his Son and he crucified his Son has as though he had committed those sins in spite of the fact that he never broke one single law or displeased his Father in any way.
- It was his SON, the same child who the Angeles heralded at his birth as Emmanuel God with us.
- It was his SON, upon whom the Spirit descended like a dove on the mount of transfiguration where God himself spoke from the cloud declaring this is my Son in who I am well pleased.
- It was that same SON, who felt his Father turn from him, because he couldn’t look upon the sight of his SON covered in our sins.
- As he died, the veil in the temple was torn asunder, graves were opened and the centurion declared this truly was the Son of God.
God gave us his SON. Placing our sins on him. Placing YOUR sins.
Allowing him to die a substutionary death in our place, so that we might be set free.
God so loved the world that he gave his son…7th finally
- To bring us back to God
1 Peter 3:18 a-c (NLT)
18 Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God.
Colossians 1:22a-c (NLT)
22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence
God always wanted us to be with him. It was never his desire that a wall of separation be between us.
He didn’t need us and we can add nothing to him; but look what he did to bring us back. He sent his Son to be born of a woman to come through time and space.
He sent his Son to live among us as one of us, yet with out sin.
He sent his Son to mend the wounds of the broken hearted
And ultimately though the gift of his Son we shall be reconciled to him to be with him forever.
This reality can be your if you don’t know Jesus as Lord, if we accept his gift, repenting of our independent sinful lives, if we come to him in faith, asking him to fill us with his spirit and wash away our sins; if you come to him by faith his wonderful salvation is available.
On this Christmas Day, embrace the love of GOD and gift of eternal life today by placing your faith in him.