This week falls between our last series and our end-of-year Holiday plans, so this is the perfect night for us to do a one-off message that isn't part of a more extensive series. So I am going to take this night and share with you a message called "One Message to Preach" I was thinking about if I only had one chance to talk with you, one opportunity to share a message with you, now, of course, we don't, Lauren and I are blessed and honored to be able to serve here full-time, and we get to disciple you guys on an ongoing basis. Still, let's just pretend that we've never met and you don't know me or anything about me other than I'm just the guy speaking to you tonight.
With that being said, I want to tell you that
God loves you
"For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. 18 "There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God's one and only Son.
This verse is one of the most quoted, most memorized verses in the Bible, and many of you have heard it before. Truth be told, we could sit here all night and unpack the significance of this passage; we could do a series and be here for multiple weeks (but that's not the point of tonight, remember, I only got one shot!)
I would hate for us to become desensitized to the power of what this is saying. God loved the world (you and I) so much that He gave His only Son.
Let's hit the pause button for just a quick second. I'm just going to tell you as a father, there is no more tremendous sacrifice than a child. I love my kids more than anything on this Earth. To me, this is the only way to attempt to understand the love that God has for us, His creation. God loved us so much that He sent Jesus to rescue us. Knowing that the cost would be the innocent blood of His Son Jesus, He willingly paid that price.
Keep reading… God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
There's a lot to consider here. Now, this is not saying that God is okay with Sin. That we're now welcome to sin because Jesus paid the price for Sin. This is God making a bridge from Him to us.
This is God showing that He is not an angry God who hates the men and women of Earth. This is the evidence of a loving God reaching out to save those who are lost.
I fear that the following line is often misinterpreted to justify an ungodly lifestyle, "There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him." You might say, "I believe in Him," then go back to a sinful lifestyle, but that is contrary to the way Jesus taught us to live.
Look at Matthew 7:21-23,
21 "Not everyone who calls out to me, 'Lord! Lord!' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, 'Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.' 23 But I will reply, 'I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God's laws.'
Here is your wake-up call! Don't be someone who sits in this room, goes to church with your family, then walks out on God. Be a man or woman of God who keeps His commands and listens to His voice! Be a man or woman led by the Holy Spirit and lives a life worthy of the calling you have on your life!
Speaking of that calling…
God not only has grace for your past and plans for your future
1 John 1:9, 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
Then what? That's the best part. In the book of Job, the architect of the universe says He holds the plates in His hands! That is, he fits the universe in the palm of His hand, has a future for you! Go to God, confess your sins, and you will be forgiven.
One of my all-time favorite verses is Jeremiah 29:11. I know that there are people who think they know everything that loves to rain on parades and tell you that this verse is taken out of context, but you know what, I don't care what they say because I know that if it was true for God's people then, it is valid for God's people today! It says,
For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
God has a hope and a future for you! You were put on this Earth to do incredible things! Here is something that I have learned over the years. If you would have asked me several years ago, "Holden, what is something incredible that God would have you do?" I might have responded by saying, well, for me, perhaps planting a thriving, growing church, writing best-selling books that lead people closer to Jesus, producing engaging content that leads people to Jesus, and the list goes on and on… But I've learned something the incredible takes place in what many might think is the ordinary. It's a wonderful hope that I get to disciple my children. It's a fantastic future that I get to be the pastor at Deeper Student Ministries and help lead you into a stronger relationship with Jesus. Too often, we're looking for the next big opportunity or "our big break" believe me, I was too! I realize now that God has my life in His hands. He is my source, and I am called to do His will.
Share God with others
19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
Now I told you that this is a one-off message and not one that is part of a more extensive series but to fully unpack this passage requires a series, as it should and will. In January, we're going to begin a series on the Marks of a Disciple. Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples. I think it is essential that we fully understand the calling that we all share, but to condense it down to one part of our message tonight, Jesus simply told his followers to share His message. Share with others what Jesus has done for you!