God’s Love – Part Five

We are looking at John 3:16 which states: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” And., we have examined some of the meaning behind these famous words. So far we have seen:

1> How John 3:16 came to be

2> That God’s love is extravagant

3> God’s love is extensive

4> God’s Love Is Expensive

Let’s continue today …

5> God’s Love is Expansive

We see this in the words “…that whoever…”

Richard Baxter once wrote that he was glad that God put the word whoever in John 3;16. He would rather have that word in the verse than his own name. “I thank God,” he said, “for the word ‘whosoever.’ If God had said the there was mercy for Richard Baxter, I am so vile a sinner that I would have thought he meant some other Richard Baxter; but when he says ‘whosever’ I know that it includes me, the worst of all Richard Baxters.”

Whoever is what we call a “big tent.” It can hold everyone who wants to find shelter beneath it. It’s a wonderful., loving, inclusive word that reaches out to invite all hearers. Leave your résumé at home; your qualifications don’t matter. If you live and breathe, if you are born into this human race, here’s a place for you.

Mr. Klein, it is said, was a miserable old man. He had lived every which way but good, fought every battle but the good fight, and he knew it. He wasn’t worthy of anyone’s friendship, so he reached out to no one. He didn’t go to church, because the back pew was too far forward for someone like him. He wasn’t proud of his sin, and he was painfully aware of it. 

And then one Sunday evening, he walked by the church. He heard the people singing and rejoicing, and he felt that old familiar pang of loneliness. For just a moment, he paused in his steps and listened. He had heard the melody before, and now he listened to the words of the hymn:

Saved by grace alone

This is all my plea,

Jesus died for Old Man Klein,

And Jesus died for me.

He was astonished! Jesus died for Old Man Klein? How could there be a hymn that identified him specifically? And why would these people be singing it? He couldn’t resist slipping into the church building and sliding secretly onto that back pew. He had a lump in his throat, knowing for the first time that the Gospel was for him. Then he picked up a hymnal and found that what he had really heard was “Jesus died for all mankind.”

Or was it?

It didn’t matter: Old Man Klein knew what his heart had heard, and after all, “all mankind” had to include him.

I try to help people understand that word whoever, one of the most breathtaking, outrageous words in all of Scripture — a word with implications that make the devil tremble. I want people to see that this word allows each person to plug his or her own name into the verse.

For God so loved Ralph Howe…

For God so loved John Jones…

For God so loved Mary Johnson…

…that if Ralph Howe believes in Him…

…that if John Jones believes in Him…

…that if Mary Johnson believes in Him…

Now would be a good time to put your own name in this verse. Go ahead — give it a try. Personalize John 3:16, write it down, speak it aloud, let it soak into you’re mind, and see how your day goes. I challenge you.