If I were to ask you what the most well-known Bible verse is, you would probably say John 3:16. It has been seen on signs in sports arenas and even shown up on the paint on faces of ball players in the games. It has been featured on countless t-shirts and yard signs. But is it written on your heart?
Let’s look at this verse with fresh eyes today:
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Or, perhaps, more familiarly:
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
This is gospel truth. It’s also one of the easiest things for the Church to take for granted. At Jesus Saves Bro last Thursday, Big John recounted talking to some youth who – even though they had been “churched” – did not know how to be saved. He said that we need to be reminded about what the main thing is supposed to be. Our main thing is Jesus and telling people how to receive Him.
We need to be reminded of these things so that we can tell others!
God loved people enough to send His Son to die in their place. He didn’t send Him to die for good people – there aren’t any (Romans 3:10, 23). No, He sent Him to die in the place of sinners because of love (Romans 5:8). This “world” and “people” are not hypothetical – they are us. That’s right: you and me and the people we see every day. We are sinners, and the “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Because or our sin, we deserve that death – we’ve earned it. But here’s where the good news comes in: “the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”.
How can we receive such a gift? What makes us worthy? First, the Bible makes it clear that there is nothing that makes us worthy of the gift. But that’s how gifts work. Gifts are not based on the worth of the recipient; they are based on the love of the giver. Second, John 3:16 tells us how to receive the gift: “…whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life”. All you have to do to receive the gift is to believe in the giver and confess Him as Lord.
Romans 10:9 says,
“…because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
Believe upon Him, pray to Him and seek Him out and He shall be found. Romans 10:13 gives us confidence in this:
“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
That’s good news! And that’s exactly what we’re singing about this Sunday! You can see all the verses that were on my heart as the worship set came together in the commentary above.
Here are our songs:
- God So Loved – I am beyond excited for this song! We have been working on it for a little over a month now, and I think it is going to be great for us to sing these words to the Lord. For one thing, the chorus is pretty much John 3:16! It is a good thing for us to look at and remember that Jesus saved us, how He saved us, and why He saved us. This song covers all that. I cannot wait to hear us pour our hearts out to God singing, “Bring all your failures, bring your addictions, come lay them down at the foot of the cross. Jesus is waiting there with open arms.” That kind of penitent heart is a good place to start a worship service!
- Scripture References / Inspiration for the Song: Matthew 11:28-30, John 7:37-38, John 4:7-15, Matthew 9:10-13, Psalm 28:6, Luke 13:29, John 6:35-40, Isaiah 58:11, Psalm 34:8-9, Proverbs 8:17, Jeremiah 29:13, John 3:16, 1 Corinthians 10:11-14, 1 Peter 2:24, 1 John 1:9, Psalm 55:22, Colossians 1:19-20, Colossians 2:13-14, Isaiah 40:11, Luke 15:20, John 14:3, Matthew 25:23, Revelation 20:14, 1 Corinthians 15:54-57, 3 John 2, Galatians 5:13-16, 1 John 4:9-10, Luke 2:14, Psalm 150, Psalm 17:7
- Goodness of God – This is the second time for us to sing this song. It is such a good reminder that, even though we come to Christ from a position of sin, He always is good and saves us out of His goodness and love. This echoes David in Psalm 23: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” Yes, for those who trust in Christ it surely does!
- Scripture References / Inspiration for the Song: Deuteronomy 6:5, Lamentations 3:22-23, Isaiah 64:8, Psalm 139:16, Deuteronomy 6:7, Psalm 113:3, 2 Timothy 2:13, Psalm 27:13, Psalm 31:19, Psalm 145:9, Psalm 150:6, Psalm 107:1, 1 Kings 19:11-12, Hebrews 1:3, Isaiah 43:1-3, Jeremiah 23:23-24, John 15:14-15, Psalm 23:6, Luke 9:23-24
- In Christ Alone – This song is such a great reminder that everything we have – all our hope, forgiveness, redemption – is in Christ Jesus alone. We are saved by grace through faith in Him alone, and this keeps us from boasting (Ephesians 2:4-9). Our only boast should be in him (Galatians 6:14). May we lift our voices together and make much of Jesus!
- Scripture References / Inspiration for the Song: John 14:6, Ephesians 5:8, Psalm 28:7-8, Psalm 40:3, Ephesians 2:19-22, Matthew 7:24-27, Romans 5:1-8, Joshua 1:9, 2 Timothy 1:7, 2 Corinthians 5:15, Galatians 2:20, 2 Corinthians 1:3-7, 1 Corinthians 15:28, Philippians 2:16, John 19:38-42, John 8:12, John 3:19-20, Acts 3:15, Acts 4:33, 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, Romans 6:15-23, 1 Corinthians 15:54-57, Galatians 3:13, Revelation 21:3, Ephesians 1:7, 1 Peter 1:18-19, Romans 8:1-2, Romans 1:16, Deuteronomy 4:39, Psalm 115:3, Isaiah 43:13, Daniel 4:35, Ephesians 1:11, Matthew 16:17-19, Romans 8:35-39, John 10:28-30, Psalm 115:18, Revelation 5:9-13, Luke 9:23-26, Philippians 2:5-11
- Way Maker – This song has quickly become a favorite, and I believe it is because it answers the great fear and baggage that we bring with us. I’ll never forget the first time I heard it. My mother-in-law had just got her terminal diagnosis, and it was largely devoid of any hope. We were in the car, trying to hold ourselves together – me for Candi and Candi for the kiddos – when the bridge: “Even when we don’t see it, You’re working / Even when we don’t feel it, You’re working / You never stop, You never stop working.” Our Savior is bigger than our troubles, and He has already made and is making a Way for us!
- Scripture References / Inspiration for the Song: Matthew 1:23, 2 Timothy 1:14, Philippians 1:6, Psalm 25:1, Psalm 86:4, Psalm 5:7, Psalm 63:1, Isaiah 43:15-16, Matthew 19:26, John 14:6, Job 5:8-9, Numbers 23:19, Joshua 21:45, 1 Kings 8:56, Romans 4:21, Hebrews 10:23, John 1:4-5, John 8:12, John 12:46, Colossians 1:13, 1 Peter 2:9, John 3:15-17, Ezekiel 36:26-27, Ephesians 2:4-5, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Psalm 51:10, Romans 12:2, Romans 10:9-10, Philippians 4:19, 1 Peter 1:8, Romans 8:26, Lamentations 3:22-23, Psalm 68:19, John 5:17, Zephaniah 3:5, Philippians 2:13
- (invitation) Almost Home – This song brings all of this together. We look at our before in disappointment, fear, and regret. And we are reminded that this is not all that there is. Jesus told His disciples that He was going to prepare a place for them (and us). No matter what is going on in the world around us – whether in pandemic, politics, protest, or personal – we are born again to a “living hope” (1 Peter 1:3), and we get to leave this place and be with Him! Come, Lord Jesus!