This week we are starting a new series called salvation.
This week we got talking about in our home how September feels more like the start of a new year than News Year Day does.
Kids go back to school, students return to their studies, people finish up their holidays and of course the weather changes signalling the start of a new season.
September obviously isn't the start of the calendar year but it is the start of many other things.
So for a September series we thought what would be more appropriate than to about he beginning of faith.
The moment when we become a new creation in christ.
That moment is of course the moment that we accept Jesus as lord and saviour of our lives, securing our eternal future with him, and determine to live each day in accordance with his standards.
We call this moment salvation.
[sal-vey-shuh n] Spell
1. the act of saving or protecting from harm, risk, loss, destruction, etc.
2.the state of being saved or protected from harm, risk, etc.
3. a source, cause, or means of being saved or protected from harm, risk, etc.4.Theology. deliverance from the power and penalty of sin; redemption.
Salvation is the moment where our spiritual life begins - we call this being born again.
There are many, many different verses in the bible speaking specifically about salvation but none more well know than John 3:16.
Over the next four weeks we are going to break this verse down section by section.
You may be sitting here today and feel like you don’t really know if you are born again.
Maybe you simply attend church because your parents did, or you come to church because your friends do.
Maybe you don’t even now why you’re here.
And maybe you have never ever had the good news of salvation explained to you.
Or maybe you know the verse well but it has become flat, it’s just words on a page.
Wherever you are today we pray that you will be blessed by these famous words.
I pray these four weeks would remind you of the incredible gift that is salvation or that you would chose to commit your life to Jesus trusting him to forgive you of all sin and receiving the hope that is eternity with him.
Let’s look at the scripture together again.
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
This morning we are going to focus on the first half of this verse.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son”.
So this morning we are going to start at the end of the sentence and work our way back.
So God gave his only son?
Who is the son? It’s Jesus
Who is Jesus?
The bible is the revelation and explanation of who Jesus is and there are countless ways we could go this morning as we explore the question “who is Jesus”
He is servant, teacher, king, lamb, returning saviour etc.
This morning we are going to focus on Jesus as the son of God and the son of man.
We are going to talk about his divinity and his humanity.
Son of God
To understand Jesus as the son we have to understand that Jesus is part of the Holy Trinity.
The Christian God is one God represented in three persons.
Those persons are the Father, The Son and the Holy Spirt.
There are a couple of earthly examples to help us understand the trinity.
You may have heard the examples of an egg or water.
An egg is an egg but it has three parts, a shell, a yoke and the whites.
Water, can be liquid, ice or steam all different but all water.
Jesus is the second person in the trinity and he is referred to in the NT as the Son of God.
John’s gospel is unique because it starts the story of Jesus with Jesus as God, present in the trinity.
Matthew and Luke make their first mention of Jesus as a baby.
And Mark mentions Jesus first at his baptism.
John introduces Jesus as God, with God, and as a revelation of God.
1 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.
John calls Jesus the word, the original translation of “word” is logos. Logos means “word”, “statement”, “message”, “declaration” or “the act of speech”.
So we know that Jesus is eternal, he has always been.
And we know that God the father sent the son to earth to be the message of good news to a weary world.
It is the divinity of Jesus as the son of God is the basis for our hope.
If Jesus were just a good man, even the best man, he would have still been a man and man can not accomplish what Jesus did, because man is a created being full of limitations.
What Jesus did for mankind carries all the power, authority and eternal fulfillment because he is the son of God.
God so loved the world that he sent his son. Jesus is that son.
He is the son of God but he is also the son of Man.
Son of Man
This is the title that Jesus preferred to use of himself.
This title has two meanings.
The first is “a member of humanity” - which is what I want to spend some time on today.
The second meaning is a term that was used in regard to the prophesied figure in the book of Daniel. The person who will arrive with God’s kingdom and judgement. This is of course Jesus.
When reading the gospels you will see “son of man” used in both ways.
Sometimes it’s in an end times context and sometimes it’s speaking about Jesus as a member of humanity.
So Jesus the son of man.
He was born as a baby.
God miraculously placed him in the womb of Mary, a virgin, who was set to marry a man named Joseph.
He was born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth.
Mary and Joseph raised him in the Jewish tradition.
The bible tells us that Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father was a carpenter and the book of mark ch.6 points out that Jesus was as well.
The people in his hometown didn’t believe he was the messiah and asked “isn’t this the carpenter”.
According to Luke 3 Jesus began his earthly ministry at 30.
He died around the age of 33 and rose from the dead 3 days later.
The gospels show Jesus, eat, sleep, and carry the emotions of a human.
Jesus was fully man while still being fully God.
Something that can be hard to understand and that’s ok, because really, it’s bigger than our understanding.
Jesus was a human he lived, like we live and yet it is incredible how often we feel like God is distant.
Perhaps we feel God is too big to truly understand us and what we face.
We feel like that there is just kind of a gap between us and God we don’t relate to each other.
I think that Jesus is actually so personally aware of what we face that the devil does everything he can to convince us that Jesus isn’t worth approaching because he wont relate to us and thus he wont care.
So we feel like we can’t talk to him.
Job certainly felt this way.
Job lived centuries before Jesus and in a time of great suffering he asked a great question as he longed to communicate with God.
Job’s question is so incredible because it sums upo the great longing of the human heart - to know God personally.
Job 9:32-35English Standard Version (ESV)
32 For he is not a man, as I am, that I might answer him,
that we should come to trial together.
33 There is no arbiter between us,
who might lay his hand on us both.
34 Let him take his rod away from me,
and let not dread of him terrify me.
35 Then I would speak without fear of him,
for I am not so in myself.
This is what life was like before Jesus.
It was really hard to communicate with God because of our sin - we were separated.
Jesus became a man and therefore became the arbitrator between us and the father.
Because of Jesus we are no longer separated from the father.
Romans 5:10 our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son.
Jesus is our arbitrator he is our defence and he knows what it’s like to be human.
Jesus knows the joys and delights as well as the frustrations of being a human he even knows what it’s like to feel like God is ignoring him.
Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
What other God has humbled himself to leave his place of supreme glory to become like a man?
The Jesus we worship as Lord and saviour is a God who left his place of glory and perfection to become a human.
He lived, worked and participated in society and he understands you.
Because Jesus is God and Man he is the only one who can perfectly respond to us in our times of need.
He is perfect because is has the power to change or circumstance but also the empathy to feel our pain.
Now that you have the background on who Jesus is - who the son of God is.
Let’s briefly look at the first portion of this verse.
For God so loved the world that he gave….
God loves the world.
The word world in this verse doesn’t refer to the earth or nature, it’s it’s referring to humanity.
God loves mankind, and he loves it so much that it was worth making a way to cover sin and restore our broken relationship with him.
God’s way was to give.
Whenever something is given there is cost.
Whether it’s time, energy or financially to give is costly.
God was more than willing to give, to pay the price to bring us back to him.
Those who don’t know Jesus have an impression of God as condemning, judgemental, wrathful etc.
But this verse shows us that God’s way is a way that was created from a gift of love, not anger.
God cares so intensely about each and every person that he gave that which was the most sacrificial gift he could, he gave himself.
We really really do miss the whole point of the gospel if we fail to see and to believe that salvation through Jesus Christ is anything more or less than a gift.
And remember that a gift is not something we earn.
As soon as we work for it it’s no longer a gift it’s a payment, it’s something we earned.
We did not earn the gift of God’s son, we were not entitled to it by our effort.
It was given as a gift.
You can not earn your salvation, you must accept it.
But isn’t this good news?!
That all we have to do is accept Jesus. Just believe and the gift is yours!
Did you know the word gospel means “good news”. And that’s exactly what we have heard today - Good News.
As we leave here today let’s trust the Holy Spirit to make the truth of this simple yet powerful verse new to us again.
This verse is what defines us. It is our story. Hear it and believe it.
Pastor Zac Eagle