Faithlife Sermons

Christ Saves and Keeps

Pastor Gary Bonebrake
Building our Lives on Bedrock  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  28:52
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“Building Our Lives on Bedrock” #2 July 7, 2019 GWB “Christ Saves and Keeps” – John 3:16-18 – If you can, build on bedrock. There is no firmer foundation, no steadier base. The World Trade Center was constructed by the Port Authority of New York and was completed in 1973. The twin towers were constructed with great strength to endure the enormous wind pressure they would face. To endure the huge settlement weight, the foundation of the two towers went down 70 feet below the surface to rest on bedrock—the vast, strong, deep rock that is substantial enough to withstand the massive weight. Jesus taught us to be wise—to obey his word, and to build on rock. Storms come. We struggle with doubt, with questions, with unexpected turns. The stages of life bring new challenges. We need to know we belong to God, no matter what—this is bedrock. What does the apostle John teach us? [Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus ends at v. 15. John’s inspired comment—theological reflection—is presented in vv. 16-21]. I. God’s love in Christ John 3:16 1. God’s love is unfathomable, beyond human comprehension (Eph. 3:19). What is God’s love like? How can we describe it? a. God’s love is universal—it is not limited to any ethnic group. (1) God loves the world. This was a new idea. The common belief was that God loved Israel. No contemporary Jewish writer would have come up with this. But John, follower of Jesus, did. (2) This is astonishing—not so much because the world is so big, but because it is so bad. And the problem of the world is the problem in our own hearts. Yet God loves us anyway. b. God’s love is unconditional. (1) Agape, “love” appears for the first time in the gospel of John here. John uses the verb 36X in his gospel—more than twice as frequently as any other New Testament author. (2) God’s love is not like ours—conditional. “I will love you if . . .” God’s love is unconditional; it is not based upon our performance or our achievements. Nothing you can do will make God love you more, and nothing you can do will make God love you less. 2. How has God revealed his love? In his Son. “One and only” emphasizes the greatness of the gift. He gave his Son! He “gave” him in two senses: a. He “gave” him by sending him into the world. In Bethlehem, the infinite was clothed in flesh in the squalor of a shepherd’s cave. b. He “gave” him by sending him to die in our place. To see the love of God, we go to Golgotha, get on our knees, and look at the cross. 3. We can always go back to this—in every trial, with every question, with every challenge—God loves us! God loves me! II. God’s salvation in Christ John 3:16-17 1. The purpose of God’s love is indicated by the word that in the text. The purpose is expressed first negatively, then positively. a. God gave his Son that we might “not perish” (16). The horror of this word is spelled out in the context—“condemned” (17-18) in God’s verdict. This is “the wrath of God” (36). The “perishing” of which John writes is God’s condemnation in hell (Rev. 20:11-15). b. God takes no delight in judgment (Ezk. 18:23,32). God loves us so much he sent his unique Son to rescue us from wrath. God gave his Son that we might live (16). Life—abundant, free, eternal, life with God! 2. There is a condition. Life is not granted to all regardless of their response to God’s call. Whoever believes is delivered from death and receives life. a. This verb “believe” occurs 98X in John, beginning at 1:7 and culminating in 20:31. John wants us to get it: believe in Christ! b. To “believe” is not to nod in Jesus’ direction—“yes, yes, I believe.” To believe is to bend the knee before Jesus, the Lord. c. To believe is to (1) know the facts of the gospel—that the Son of God lived a perfect life, died for our guilt, was buried, was raised again bodily from the grave; (2) to assent to the truthfulness of all these things; (3) to personally trust Christ, to commit to Jesus as Savior. We rely completely on him, and him alone, to rescue us from death. d. The one who does not believe does not have to wait for Judgment Day; he is condemned already (18). Rejecting Christ brings condemnation. Responding to God 1. Here is bedrock: God saves and keeps all who trust in Jesus, his Son. Never doubt in the dark what God has shown you in the light. The twin towers were built to withstand great wind pressure, settlement pressures—but the vicious attack of a determined enemy, Al Qaeda, in ploughing fully fueled 767 jetliners into the towers, brought them down. There is a determined enemy out to bring us down too—but “greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Satan cannot destroy those who trust in Jesus! Christ saves and keeps his own! 2. Read this text personally. If you trust in Jesus, God’s Son, you will escape wrath. You will be acquitted on Judgment Day because of Christ’s death in your place. This is bedrock—this is God’s promise. If you do not believe, turn to Christ today for mercy—he will receive you! 3. Since God loved the world so much to send his Son, we must love others enough to tell them the good news! We exist to bear witness to others! “Building Our Lives on Bedrock” #2 July 7, 2019 GWB
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