The Main Thing: John 3:1-21

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For those of you that are boy or girl scouts- or have done any type of survival training- you know what can happen if you have a magnifying glass, some tinder (newspaper, or other dry paper or wood material), some dry sticks or twigs and a sunny day. The magnifying glass increases the power of the sunlight- it focuses it on the tinder and brings enough heat that will stir up some sparks and bring a flame. It’s all about the intensity of the light’s focus.  As believers, we are called to have that same kind of focus- that same intentionality to keep the main thing the main thing.

John chapter 3 is probably the most famous chapter in the Bible- one verse in particular, John 3:16. We see it in end zones during football games, or in the stands at baseball games- even at golf events. John 3:16 remains the most well-know verse of the Bible throughout the world! It is the core of the Christian faith.  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  

God loved this world- His creation, His people that He created, so much that He had a plan to redeem them from the beginning. The sin debt had to be paid, there is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood- Hebrews 9:22 says, “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” 

Adam sinned and because we are all human, like Adam, we are all born with that same inherited sin nature. Christ came as a life-giving spirit from God- he was the second man. He paid the price for all of Adam’s descendants to be redeemed- to be transformed. Sin brings death. The law brought death. But God had a plan- He had the remedy- He gives victory over sin and death through Jesus Christ! There is no other name under heaven that we can be saved. Acts 4:12.

God so loved the world that HE gave His one and only Son.  His Son Jesus Christ. God the Father, God the Son… Jesus came from heaven. Jesus was with God in the beginning and reigns eternally with Him even now. Jesus lived with us on earth for about 33 years- he lived as the Son of Man and the Son of God. Jesus agreed with His Father to be the propitiation- to take our place-for our sins.  He took care of all the past sin from Adam until himself and all the future sin from his death to the end of time. He was the perfect lamb of God given for you and me and everyone always. His redemption is inclusive; it is available to all who choose to believe and receive it. God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, the whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life!”  Jesus died to give us new life! Life free from the power of sin and death. Life filled with hope and purpose. Life eternal with Him, and Life abundant even now.

When we believe in Him- we receive His Spirit and we born again! We are new creatures- we have a new heart, a new outlook on life, a transformation. We only have to take Jesus at His word and live it out! That’s the promise- that’s the core of the gospel. This is why this is the most know, most read, most memorized Bible verse of all time- if you know nothing else- this is enough. God gave His Son for YOU and ME. He isn’t willing that any would miss out. He loves those that He has created- and since he has created all people- He loves them ALL!  And Jesus died for ALL- not just for the righteous, not only for the rich and famous, but for every single person that has ever lived or will live!  That’s why this verse is the MAIN THING we need to know and to share.  Without this truth- nothing else will last. We must keep Jesus at the center of our lives- of all we do as people, of all we are as a church. It is so easy to get ‘busy’ doing good things and forget the main thing. Steve Covey says in his classic work, First Things First, “Keep the main thing the main thing.” This is a key habit of highly effective people. This is critical for believers and churches. 

In every other religion humanity is attempting to reach god in whatever form that god may take. In all of the religions I looked at there was only one where God actually cared! There was only one where God became Man and gave His life to become reconciled with us. And that is Christianity!  There is no other religion here on earth where God actively pursues people so that they can have eternal life. There is no other religion on earth where God literally demonstrates His passion for the people He created. There is no other religion here on earth where we can be assured of eternal life while we are still alive here on earth!

There is no other God that invites us into a personal relationship, who forgives us, who enables us to find salvation, who enables us to live holy lives because He actually lives within us, who gives us spiritual gifts and who gives us the ability to accomplish any task He asks us to do.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son. That whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” Keep the main thing the main thing: like our magnifying glass- lets have that same intensity to preach the gospel, to tell the gospel to others, to live out the gospel in our lives! We are called to harness all our energies and efforts into one unified focus so that more and more people can know Jesus. John Wesley said, “Catch yourself on fire for God and people will come from miles just to watch you burn.”

We need to burn again with the same passion that ignited men and women like John, Paul, Peter, Mary, Priscilla, Martin Luther, Martin Luther King Jr, John Wesley, Harriet Tubman, Billy Graham and many others. Following Jesus is not going to be easy- in fact Jesus promised that it wouldn’t be easy, but he did tell us it would be worth it!  I’m counting on it.  Won’t you join me?

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