A Letter From God
By Joseph Copeland
John 3: 16
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth on him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16
Jesus is God's Love letter to the world
Have you ever written or received a love letter? Perhaps it was a little children's exchange that began with the words, "Roses are red and violets are blue, sugar is sweet and I love you." Elementary children write love letters with simplicity. Sometimes they come complete with little boxes to check if you like me, or if you don't. As simple as they are, love letters are complicated, especially as the writers and the recipients mature. Love letters grow beyond simple novelties and cute expressions. They are windows into the soul of the writers. They float across the hard exterior of face to face encounters and rest in the heart of each person who reads them. Love letters are personal. They are private. They are special.
Can you remember the last time you wrote a love letter to anyone? What was it about? Some love letters are written in courtship and combine discovery with revelation as trust is being built. Some write letters to apologize for mistakes made and to reaffirm sincerity. There are even love letters asking for second chances, forgiveness and renewed opportunity. Husbands and wives often send each other love letters.
Suppose God wanted to send the world a love letter, how would he do it? Across the nation, there are many bill boards which are cropping up with messages from "god." They say things such as, "Don't make me come down there," "I forgive you, now come home," or "I'm waiting up for you." The idea is that persons who would never go to a church will read the billboards as they pass by and get a quick thought that reflects what God has said to the world.
However, if God wanted to send the world a love letter, even a bill board would be insufficient. It would not be sufficient enough for him to write a letter in the sky for the entire world to see, some might dismiss it as an atmospheric anomaly. He would need a means that would be lasting. It would need to be so moving that it could never go unnoticed or be easily forgotten. It would have to be personal, special, and revealing of how God really feels.
When God prepared to send the world a letter, he inspired holy men to write down his words to the generations. The bible gave the world a record how God feels about the world and how he has interacted with others in the past. The bible is a letter from God that he wants everyone to read.
However, when God wanted to deliver his love letter, he sent it in person. Jesus was God's love letter to the world.
As believers, we are happy we have received God's love letter. We listen to him speak and we receive his words with joy and with praise.
This text focuses on John explaining the reason for Christ's incarnation.
Jesus was asked to explain the nature of being born again. In the process, he explained that a person who wants to be a part of the kingdom of God must be born of both the water and the spirit.
The 16th verse of John is perhaps one of the most memorable in scripture because it indicates the depth of God's love for the world. In more than one instance God had attempted to communicate his love for his creation but they were all rejected.
Sending the living Word to dwell among men was the way God chose to finally say, in a way that could not be denied, that he loved his creation.
Unlike the seven letters written to the churches of Asia Minor by Christ in the Revelation, the Word he sent to the world would not be on paper or scrolls, it would be in the person of Jesus himself...a living love letter from God.
Change This Title For Your Sermon Points
Cyrano de Bergerac is the classic 1640 tale of two men who loved one woman by the name of Roxanne. One of the men, Cyrano had a gift for words and wrote beautiful letters. However, he had a very long nose that detracted from his looks. The other man had a beautiful face but could never say how he really felt. In a bizarre twist Cyrano expresses his love to Roxanne through love letters he writes for the other man. Roxanne fell in love with the feelings expressed in the letters thinking they were coming from the other man.
Elizabeth B. Browning enchanted us with her question, "How do I love thee, let me count the ways." Shakespearean sonnets like, "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day" and others were great expressions of love written with words that stir emotion and cement bonds. Last year, a book entitled, "I love you Ronnie: the Love Letters of Ronald Reagan to Nancy Reagan" was published. It contains love letters that the former president wrote his wife over a 50 year period which she kept in a shopping bag. During important presidential meetings dignitaries thought the president was taking notes, but he was often writing a love letter to Nancy whom he called, "Mommie Poo Pants." She never threw away a single letter, some of which were written on napkins from state dinners and others on bits and pieces of paper.
God shows his love everyday
God has been sending love letters to the world from the beginning of time, but they have often been returned unopened, ignored and marked returned to sender.
Have you received a love letter from God lately? He leaves them everywhere so we won't miss them.
The sun that rises in the morning, is a love letter from the Lord!
The stars that twinkle in the night are love letters from the Lord!
Sometimes, God's love letters are just like our love letters, they state just how he feels about us at the moment.
Some letters say, "You made me mad but I changed my mind." That's how God felt after he created the world and mankind began to sin. Their actions angered God and he wanted to destroy his entire creation. He sent a flood that destroyed most of his creation. Then in an act of love, he changed his mind and placed a love letter in the sky in the form of a rainbow. It was God's way of saying, "You made me mad but I still love you!"
Some letters say, "You've been doing me wrong but I still love you anyway." That's how God felt about Israel after he had given them his best; they continued to cheat on him with other gods. God told Hosea to go and marry a prostitute. Hosea's love for Gomer was the same as that which God had for his people, "You're been doing me wrong, but I still love you!"
Some letters say, "You may have made some mistakes, but I won't hold it against you." When Jesus preached about the kingdom of God a woman was brought to him that was caught in the very act of adultery. Her accusers stood around with stones in their hands asking Jesus what to do. Jesus looked at the woman and then wrote an unknown love letter in the sand. He looked up and said "He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone." It was his way of saying, "You may have done something wrong, but If you stop, it won't be held against you!"
Some letters express love and frustration at the same time. That's what God said when he wrote a love letter to the church in Laodicea. He said I can't tell whether you love me or you hate me. You are lukewarm. I wish you were hot or I wish you were cold. Yet despite his frustration God still loved the church.
But the time came when God tired of sending love letters that were not being read.
-When he opened the Red Sea for Israel to cross on dry land, that was a love letter.
-When he rained down bread from heaven for them in the wilderness, that was a love letter.
-When he made the sun stand still for Joshua in the Canaan land, that was a love letter.
How does God love me? Let me count the ways!
He loved me enough to wake me up this morning, and clothed me in my right mind!
He loved me enough to put food on my table!
How do I love thee? "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son..."
One night in Bethlehem God's letter was delivered in a manger!
One evening on a hill called Calvary the last line of God's love letter was read, "Into thy hands I commend my spirit...It is finished!"
But sometimes letters don't end at the end. There is a Post Script.
At the bottom of God's love letter was a P.S.
Early Sunday morning he arose from the grave, announcing to the world.."I still love you!"
It doesn't matter what you have done, I still love you!