Peter Barnes: God so Loved the World, John 3:16 (Sunday 21 June 2020 Evening Service, 6.00 p.m.)
This verse seems straightforward, but it is actually difficult:
(a) In the book of Acts, the starting point is always that God is our creator, we are accountable to Him,
He is a holy judge, and Christ is the risen Lord (see Acts 2 & 17).
(b) There is a genuine love of God for those who are not saved – Mark 10:21.
– Jesus has just told Nicodemus of three great truths – rebirth through the Spirit (3:6); the King has come down to earth (3:13); and the King will die to save sinners (3:14-15). Verse 16 is the call to believe.
1. God loves the world.
– the holy God loves this evil world – Hab.1:13a; Ex.33:20.
– the world is not as it was created (1 John 5:19). God’s electing love is in Eph.1:4-5. When God loves
the world, it is the holy all-righteous eternal Creator loving His rebellious and willful creation.
2. God has given His Son.
– Love gives; lust seeks to gain. Christ is God’s Son in a unique way (John 5:17-18).
This world did not welcome Him – John 1:10.
– ‘O love unspeakable!’ said John Flavel.
3. God promises everlasting life to His people.
– or perish – John 3:36; 8:24. Henry Martyn: ‘When millions of years shall have passed away, your joys will be but beginning; and when millions more shall have passed away, they shall be no nearer ending.’ Rev.22:1-5.
– On his deathbed in 1546, Martin Luther kept repeating John 3:16.