“God so loved the world…”
1 Corinthians 1:18-24, John 3: 13-17,
Today’s scripture comes from the lectionary reading for Sept. 14th which was the last Friday, and God put in my heart to preach about the cross, the message of salvation of Jesus the Christ. As a matter of fact, early Christians gathered together every Sunday to thank God for Jesus Christ who was suffered and crucified, and to celebrate the resurrection of Christ, taking the bread and blood of Jesus every time they gathered. When we gather on Sunday, the message of the cross should be proclaimed. That should be our foremost theme every Sunday.
Karl Barth, who was the renown 20th century Swiss-German, neo-orthodox theologian, who wrote volumes of systematic theology books, when he spoke at Rockefeller Chapel on the campus of the University of Chicago in April of 1962, during the Q & A time, a student asked him if he could summarize his theology in a single sentence. Karl Barth responded by saying, “In the words of a song I learned at my mother’s knee: ‘Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.’
The love of God manifested in Jesus the Christ should be proclaimed and should be on our lips in our daily living, sharing with one another. Do we talk about Jesus in our family setting? Do we love God? When someone is in love, how do we know whether that person is in love or not? He or she talks about their love all the time. When grandparents love their grandchildren what do they do? They talk about them all the time!! If we are in love with God, if we love God, we cannot help but talk about Jesus all the time. When we go to Casey, for coffee, do we talk about Jesus, –how he helps us in our daily living? How many times do we talk about God, Jesus in a day? Is Jesus in our hearts? Something for us to think about….
*Today’s sermon will be different from other sermons I preached so far in that I will let the words of God speak directly to you by reading passages, instead of exegete them.
Who is Jesus?
For to us, a child is born, to us, a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
Prepare the way of the Lord [Yahweh]; make straight in the desert a highway for our God [Elohim]. (Isaiah 40:3)
But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.” (Micah 5:2)
These passages refer to Jesus, as we know. We have heard these passages many times during Christmas. According to these passages, we know that Jesus is God, — “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
In John’s gospel, chapter 1, verses 1-5:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him, nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all humankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—
Jesus was the creator with God, –“through him, all things were made; without him, nothing was made that has been made.” The question is, whether we accept/recognize/receive that Jesus was and is God, the creator God!!
*He came to this world to give us the right to become children of God to those who believes in his name.
What does it mean by “He came to this world”?
*When he came to this world, he did not come as if someone was going to his or her own neighborhood, he had to give up being who he is, he came down from his lofty place, from his throne as God, to this world, taking the form of human, became one of us, being limited and finite. Do we understand this? Do we really understand what he did for us? This creator God became a created being to make us children of God, –became limited and finite.
*Not only he became a created being, but he also suffered, crucified and died to cleanse us from our iniquities, from our sins deserving death. Isaiah 53:
3 He was despised and rejected by humankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces, he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. 4 Surely, he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds, we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment, he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people, he was punished. 10 It was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, (to) makes his life an offering for sin….
God coming down to this world showed us the true meaning of humility, love, compassion, mercy, grace, forgiveness, patience, etc. Every morning, I put the blood of Jesus on me from head to toe while I pray deeply meditating on God’s love. This creator God endured all the insults, spitting, slapping in his face, thorny crown on his head bleeding profusely, being scourged on his back, having no flesh, no muscle to carry his own cross… What love, what sacrifice, can we compare his love to? This holy God came to this world to be an atonement for our sins…. The more I meditate on his sacrifice, the more I realize that there is no way for us to really comprehend his love toward us. So I pray daily to see the depth of his love to understand His love for us.
Jesus is the author of our lives, the ultimate healer. He suffered, he was bruised, wounded and scourged on our behalf so that we can be healed spiritually and physically. The question is whether we believe that Jesus is the ultimate healer. The question is whether we believe in the power of prayer in his name.
*This Jesus was resurrected as the scripture prophesied.
“Therefore my heart is glad, and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” (Psalm 16:9–11)
“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.” (Job: 19:25-26)
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. (John 11:25)
This is the message of salvation through the name of Jesus Christ. God, our creator, through whom we came into being, came to this world became one of us suffered and died as the atonement for our sins. Whoever believes in Jesus’ name, following his footstep, will be saved, will be participated in his resurrection.
The salvation is only through Jesus the Christ, our God, our creator, redeemer and sustainer! There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved (than the name of Jesus). (Acts 4:12).
Our text today 1 Corinthians 1:18, says that “this message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” The wisdom of this world cannot comprehend the power of God manifested on the cross. Do we believe in the name of Jesus? Do we believe that God has come down to this world to be offered up as the sin offering for us? Then, do we follow his footstep as his disciples? Those of us who are beneficiaries of God’s love cannot withhold the love of God toward others. We are to love and forgive those who have hurt us. That is the will of God. Do we have the assurance of salvation?
John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
Yes, God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, and suffered with Him on the cross, so that whosoever believes in Him will have eternal life and will be with Him in eternity. May God bless those who hear this message and believe! Amen and Amen!!