You don’t usually get to hear a Lutheran congregation holler an, “Amen” or “Preach it, Brother. ” Today was no different, but the minister seemed to want one. I was visiting with the Lutherans and the minister confessed that the one time he could remember that someone called out, “Amen, Brother”, it caught him so by surprise that it totally threw him into confusion. Now, however, Jesus was talking plain in the Gospel and the minister felt he could use a reminder from the pews to, “Make it plain; make it plain!” He was preaching John 3:16, “the Bible in a nutshell.”
The evening before, I heard a priest of the Roman Catholic Church preach it. He truly kept it simple. He said,
“Life is short. Hell is for Eternity. Think about it!” He sat down. That was it! Talk about nutshells.
My Lutheran friend said a bit more, before remembering his injunction to himself, “Make it plain!” The plain fact was that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” The minister said that the love He bore us was not the stuff of “warm fuzzies” but “agape”, that to die for love that willing died for all mankind; sparing not a drop of blood, or leaving a breathe unspent.
The sermon in my head reminded me, Jesus plainly and emphatically proclaimed that verse, now made famous by placards at football games and verse17: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” However, not many people finish the message. Jesus’ “make it plain” message, was also recorded by John in chapter 3:18-19.
No “warm fuzzies” here, either, only the uncomfortable part of the Truth, John 3:18-19.
“Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil.”
Jesus spoke the whole Truth and so should we because: “Life is short. Hell is for Eternity. Think about it!”