This is the Introduction to the Sermon. You will receive the full manuscript sermon in Word format when you purchase.
Title: “John 3:16”
Series: Bible 3:16s
The most famous verse in the Bible is John 3:16:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. -- John 3:16 (ESV)
Most people, even those who have never set foot in a church, have heard this verse, have seen in written on poster board at ball games, and can possibly even quote it. It is going to be the verse we talk about in a few moments.
But did you know there are other important 3:16 verses in the Bible? In fact, while the chapter and verse numbers are not inspired and not in the original, coinci-dentally, there just happen to be some very powerful verses throughout the New Testament with this same chapter and verse, and we are going to spend this month looking at them together.
For today, we’re going to focus on John 3:16 and its meaning for us today. But before we get too deep into it, we need to learn about Nicodemus, because the story starts with him.
Nicodemus was at the top of the pyramid of Israelite society. He has been sifted and tested and voted on and scrutinized. He has a resume as long as your arm. He is powerful, knowledgeable—an extraordinary man in a culture devoted to God. In his day if you asked an Israelite, 'Is Nicodemus going to heaven?' he'd likely respond, 'If Nicodemus isn't going to heaven, nobody's going to heaven.' He is a Pharisee, a member of the Sanhedrin. He is scrupulous in his obedience to Law, blameless in the sight of men.
But Nicodemus comes to Jesus experiencing a conflict of emotions and religious tradition that he is trying to address – there appears to be a spiritual tug of war going on within him. And as we read his account you might be surprised to discover how God honors his searching process. Maybe Nicodemus represents you today, as you search to determine who Jesus is and what your response should be to him. Perhaps you can identify with the spiritual conflict that he’s experiencing.
There are three important truths that we can learn today that I think will help you on your search: