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Nixnotes & Sermon Outlines
Theme: John 3:16,17 teaches about the self-sacrificing love of God in the gift of His Son, and how we are saved by believing in Jesus Christ.
- God’s love is universal
- God’s love is sacrificial
- God’s love is obligating
Title – The Secret of Salvation
John 3:16 reveals the secret behind the plan of redemption; what motivated it; what drives it; what made it possible. When it comes to salvation, everything has its origin in God and His love.
I. God’s love is Universal – John 3:16,17
God loves the whole world, in all of its diversity, not just a segment of it. Every person living and breathing is under the love of God. The Pharisees of Christ’s day didn’t think this way.1
Application – human love tends to be segmented, based on our biases. We categorize people and give more value to one group than to another. The “world” of God’s love is unlimited. His love to us enables us to love and trust Him in return (see 1 John 4:10,19).
Quote: The Desire of Ages, page 24
- “Every son and daughter of Adam may understand that our Creator is the friend of sinners. For in every doctrine of grace, every promise of joy, every deed of love, every divine attraction presented in the Saviors life on earth, we see God.”
Illustration – a story, song, poem, or other on love as openness, inclusiveness, or generosity
II. God’s love is Sacrificial – John 3:16b
God in His love, gives. It is God’s nature to give. But not only that, God gives to His own hurt. He gave His only Son, a part of Himself – (2 Cor. 5:19). Divine love is self-sacrificing love.2
Explanation by contrast
- Lucifer’s selfish ambition, Isaiah 14:12-14
- Jesus’ selfless condescension, Philippians 2:6-8
Illustration – a story of self-sacrificing love; officer saves a man stuck in his wheelchair3
III. God’s love is Obligating – John 3:18
God’s love obligates us or, requires us to make a decision. In this way, God’s love is two-sided.4 He sends His Son to be one of us and to die for us, but also, God won’t let us ignore His Son. Choice is also universal – every person has to choose for or against Jesus.
John 3 makes clear exactly what the choice is: (a) Believe in Jesus and escape condemnation. (b) Choose not to believe and remain under condemnation.5 Companion text: John 3:36
Illustration/Application – suggested: something on the difference choosing makes
The story of John 6:28,29 presents the key concept of John 3:16 in another setting. Salvation is not by any works of ours. Rather, “our work is to believe in the One sent by the Father”.
A call to make a personal decision for Christ in response to the message of John 3:16
1 See Pulpit Commentary on verses 16-21, https://biblehub.com/commentaries/john/3-16.htm
2 The Greek word for give, édoken, emphasizes giving of one’s own accord, that is, not by obligation but as a gift
4 George R. Beasley-Murray, John, Volume 36: Revised Edition (Word Biblical Commentary)
5 International Critical Commentary emphasizes that is not an arbitrary sentence on God’s part but the working out of His moral law, verse 19, https://biblehub.com/commentaries/icc/john/3.htm