2010-07-13 John 3:16-17 Cowboy Church
Hi, I’m Pastor Paul from the Edson-Peers Church.
Tonight we’re looking at John 3:16 & 17. From these two verses we get three points: Bad News, Good News and the Cure.
So a guy walks into his dr.’s office to get his test results. “I’ve got some good news and some bad news, what do you want first?”
“You’d better give me the bad news first, doc.”
“You’re going to die.”
“Oh! That’s terrible! What’s the good news?”
“The good news is that the cause of death will be old age.”
It says in John 3:17 that God sent Jesus to save the world. What is Jesus saving us from? He’s saving us from death. We’re told that death came because of sin. Sin is disobedience against God, the same God who sent Jesus to save the world.
But like the doctor says, there’s bad news. Everyone on the planet will face death. Everyone has a death sentence. We don’t usually think of it in that way, but it’s true. There’re three people who come to mind who I know escaped death: Enoch, was taken up to heaven by God. Elijah was also taken up to heaven by God. And Jesus.
Yes, Jesus died on the cross and was dead for three days, but he conquered death. Death could not keep him. Jesus rose from the dead, and thus offers life to those who need it.
That’s the good news. God the Father, sent his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him will not die. The good news is that there’s a cure. There’s a pardon for sin. There’s a way out of this death penalty.
God knew that we couldn’t come up with a cure, though many have tried. All the other religions are attempts to get out of it. The Buddhists believe that you need to escape the material world, which is evil. The Hindus believe that you need to find the right Karma to get out of one level into another before you finally reach nirvana. Muslims believe you need to obey certain rules, and if your obedience weighs more than your disobedience, Allah might let you into heaven.
But Christianity is completely different from every other religion on the planet. It is the only one where God gives the solution to those who created the problem. In every other one, the solution comes from the people, working like mad to get to the good life.
God sent Jesus to save the world from sin. It is for everyone. Rich, poor, young, old, male, female, slave and free. You don’t have to be a certain person, wear certain clothes, do certain things. There’s no partiality with God. He judges people according to their hearts, not according to what people can see on the outside.
Humans are pretty good at faking it. We can pretend we’ve got everything together. We can fool a lot of people, most of the time. But we can’t fool God. He sees through everything.
And that’s good. Have you ever tried lying to a doctor? You go for your regular check-ups, but the doctor finds something. So, how are you feeling, he says. “I feel fine, you say.” Choosing not to tell him about the pain in your abdomen.
“That’s interesting,” he says, “because your appendix is not doing so hot. You’d better get over to the hospital right away.”
God’s even better than a doctor. He knows what’s going on. He knows what we’re facing. He knows what’s up next. It is inevitable. It is the fate of everyone. But like a good doctor, he’s got the cure, his Son, Jesus.
So God, knowing that we’d sin, knowing that we’d get a death penalty, He planned the solution, right from the beginning. Even before he began creating, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit knew that the Son would have to come down from heaven to seek and save the lost and dying in their place.
And that’s precisely what he did. His birth, life and death paid the debt we owe to God for our disobedience. That’s the simple fact. It is true for me, it’s true for you, it is true for everyone.
So, what’s the catch? Well, you gotta believe it. Many people don’t. Many people go to great lengths to disbelieve it.
It reminds me of the story of Naaman. He was an army commander for the king of Aram. He also suffered from leprosy. An Israelite slave girl told Naaman’s wife that the prophet in Israel could cure him. So he went to the prophet.
Elijah told Naaman: go to the Jordan River and wash seven times in the water.
When Naaman heard this, he was angry. “I thought the prophet would wave his arms over me, call on his god and heal me right then and there! What’s so special about the Jordan River? Aren’t the rivers of Damascus good enough?” Then he stomped away, angry.
Thankfully, Naaman’s servant was a cool thinker. “Why not do what the prophet says. If he had told you to do some great thing, wouldn’t you have done it?”
Naaman listened to his servant and did what Elijah told him to do. After washing seven times in the Jordan River, he was completely healed. Not only did he believe the prophet, he believed in God. He vowed that he would only serve the one true God the rest of his life.
Jesus, washes away sin. All we have to do is believe and obey, just like Naaman did. Have you believed in Jesus Christ? Have you trusted him to wash away your sin? “For God so loved the world, that he sent his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.
We’re in Naaman’s shoes. Infected with an incurable disease leading to death. Healing is available from Jesus. There’s no great feat expected, nor required. All we have to do is accept Jesus’ gift and we’ll be healed. If you haven’t done so, then do so today. Let’s pray.