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Whosoever Believes in Him

The World's Greatest Love Story  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  44:00
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We all want to go to heaven — but what do you have to do to go there?
I once read a survey of multi-millionaires, in which they were asked, “How much would you be willing to pay for a reserved spot in heaven?” The average answer was $640,000. Now that’s cheap, compared to the price of what it really took: as we saw last week, it cost the blood of the “only begotten”, perfect Son of God Himself, which was the only thing that could have paid for our sins. $640,000 is NOTHING compared to that!
But now that Jesus has paid that incomprehensible price for our salvation, HOW do we get what He did on the cross, applied to our lives so that we are saved?
This is an important question. How do you get what Jesus died for you to have?
some would say “Get baptized”
some would say “Take the the Lord’s supper”
some would say “walk down an aisle and make a decision”
some would say “pray the words of a certain prayer”
Some of these things are good, but NONE of them is really the right answer in itself.
We find the answer to that question in the words of this great verse that we are looking at this morning:
John 3:16 KJV 1900
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.
“that whoever BELIEVES IN HIM shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
These words hold the key that unlocks salvation for us. Let’s look at them one by one: “Whoever … believes … in Him”.

I. “BELIEVES”: salvation by faith

First, let’s look at this word, “believes”; this is the first key word — and really, if you understand what it means, it is the ONLY word needed for salvation!
What do you need to do to be saved? “Believe.”
This is the vital doctrine of “justification by faith” or “salvation by faith.”
It basically means that what we need to do to be saved is to believe, or “have faith” in Jesus Christ.
We see throughout the New Testament this doctrine of “justification by faith:
— Jesus said here in John 3:16 that “whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” — John wrote later in this book that these things have been written
John 20:31 NKJV
but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
“that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” (20:31)
In Acts 16 the Philippian jailer asked Paul & Silas
Acts 16:30–31 NKJV
And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
In Acts 10:43 Peter preached that
Acts 10:43 NKJV
To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”
Romans 3:22 says
Romans 3:22 NKJV
even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;
Romans 5:1 NKJV
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Romans 10:9 NKJV
that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
Over and over again, the Bible makes it clear that we receive the benefits of what Jesus did for us on the cross “by faith”, or by “believing in Him.”

Salvation is by FAITH.

We briefly mentioned a couple of weeks ago an Old Testament story that illustrates this. Numbers 21 tells how during the Exodus in the wilderness, the people of Israel complained against God and Moses, and so God sent serpents who bit the people, and they were dying. So they confessed their rebellion against the Lord, and so God told Moses to do this: He told him to make a replica of a serpent out of bronze, and put it up on a pole, and He said: “Everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.” So Moses made that bronze serpent, and he put it up on a pole, and whoever was poisoned, and looked at the bronze serpent on the pole, “he lived.”
We may think: “That is kind of a weird story.” But you know, there are a lot of things that don’t make sense to us until God explains them to us later — and that is just what Jesus does here in John 3.
Just before He gave us John 3:16, in :14-15 Jesus says:
John 3:14–15 KJV 1900
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
He was saying, that episode of the serpent in Numbers 21 was a picture, that helps us understand how we are to be saved today.
What did the people of Israel DO to be saved when they were bitten by those snakes?
They didn’t really “do” anything, did they?
All they did was believe the message, and look to that thing uplifted on that pole, and if they believed enough to look at it to save them, then they were healed.
This is a picture of salvation by faith. They didn’t really “do” anything to save themselves; they just LOOKED BY FAITH.
And Jesus says here, that is how it is with OUR salvation too. Jesus, just like that serpent, would be “lifted up” on a cross, and whoever LOOKS TO HIM BY FAITH, believing that He will save them, will be saved!
Just like Israel in the wilderness that day, it’s not that you really “DO” anything; it is just by FAITH, by believing in Him!

II. “IN HIM”: the object of faith

But those last two words are vitally important as well: “Whoever believes IN HIM” shall not perish but have everlasting life.” “IN HIM” is a key.
See, we have to understand that it is not just “faith” that saves us; it is faith “IN HIM” that saves.
See, “faith” is a ability that all people everywhere possess. “Faith” just means to believe something; to trust some one or something.
Everyone in the world exercises faith in many things every day — even the atheist!
We have faith that the sun will rise in the morning;
we have faith that when we flip the switch, the light will come on;
we have faith that if we get a shot, it will help prevent or cure an illness;
we have faith in all kinds of things. So we all exercise faith, every day.

But what we have to realize is that faith is only as good as the object in which it is placed.

People put their faith in all kinds of things that let them down:
Not long ago an investment manager who had taken the retirement funds of hundreds of people — they trusted him to invest their money safely for them — but he lost their money. They had faith in him, but their faith was misplaced.
This kind of thing happens all the time: people put their faith in someone or something — and they really had faith — but a faith is only as good as the object in which the faith is placed.
That is especially true when it comes to religion. People talk about faith in religion as if it is all equally good. You hear people use the expression: “They are a person of faith” — as if it doesn’t matter WHAT their faith is in, as long as they have this thing called “faith.”
But just like in every other area of your life, WHAT you have faith IN, MATTERS. It is not enough to just “believe”; you have to believe in the right thing.
Back in the 1990’s, hundreds of people in Waco, Texas believed that David Koresh was the Messiah. They trusted him as their master, and sold their possessions and followed him to his compound and lived according to his teachings.
When the FBI raided their compound and killed Koresh, several of them indicated that they believed that he would rise from the dead on the 3rd day. They had faith; but their faith was only as good as the man their faith was placed in. David Koresh’s grave is still there in East Texas to this day, showing us that their faith was misplaced.
So it is not enough to just “have faith.” WHAT your faith is IN, is vitally important. And the Bible tells us that the only object of genuine saving faith is Jesus Christ.
Acts 4:12 NKJV
Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Jesus Himself said
John 14:6 NKJV
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
John wrote:
1 John 5:12 NKJV
He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
God’s word says your faith must be in Jesus in order to be eternally saved.
Nothing else would have saved the Israelites in the wilderness that day other than faith in the serpent lifted up on the pole.
Nothing else will save you TODAY but faith in Jesus lifted up on the cross.
Your faith must be in Jesus to save.

III. “WHOSOEVER”: the invitation of faith

The opportunity to have saving faith in Jesus is open to anyone. This verse says: “WHOEVER believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” “Whosoever.”
In the original Bible language, it is literally “ALL the ones believing in Him”.
The point is: if you will believe, in Him alone, then you will have your sins forgiven and have eternal life.
The invitation is open to everyone. We already saw a couple of weeks ago how “God so loved the WORLD” — the whole world, the sinful world, the ethnic world — that people of every kind, every sin, every person, can be saved. This invitation is for all it is for everyone who will believe:
Jesus said here; “WHOEVER believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.”
He said in :15,
John 3:15 KJV 1900
That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
Romans 10:13 KJV 1900
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Revelation 22:17 KJV 1900
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
Listen, it doesn’t matter: it’s for rich; poor; young; old; American; Indian; “down & out”; “up and out” — The gospel of Jesus Christ is for all these “whosoever s”.
The old hymn has it right: “Whosoever surely meaneth me”!
“Whosoever” you are, the gospel of Jesus is for YOU — if you’ll just believe it!
Believe that it’s not too good to be true, and act on it!
I recently read an article from a pastor who shared the following story, he said,
“I have never been a big fan of those little boxes of Kraft macaroni and cheese, but something that happened to us years ago changed that somewhat. My wife & I had not long been in our first church when she had bought a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese. Not my favorite, but she enjoys it.
One day she brought me something that came out of the box, and it said you have won an ounce of gold, or $400 (which is what an ounce of gold was going for at that time).
She said do you think this is for real? I said, there is NO WAY that’s right — but as I began to read it, it sounded like we really did win an ounce of gold. I thought, there has to be some catch to this, but I filled out the paperwork, and sent the box top in, and was careful to do everything just the way it said. I figured there was probably SOME reason why they would deny it — but a few weeks later we got a check in the mail from Kraft for $400! I was amazed! It seemed too good to be true! Now, I’m still not very fond of Kraft macaroni & cheese, but ever since then I’ve always let my wife & son have all of it they want!
That thing seemed too good to be true — but it WAS! Whosoever got that message, and sent it in, would win. And we did; and we got it — and at a time in our lives when we really needed it too.” (End of Story)
What we need to understand is that it is the same with this salvation in Jesus Christ. It may seem too good to be true, but because of what Jesus has done, if you will believe in Him, you will be saved. Act on it, for God promises that “WHOSOEVER believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.”
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