Yesterday morning I was privileged to preach twice at Gateway Community Church in Wylie, Texas. This is an exciting, fast-growing fellowship. As always, I shared the great message of the gospel and pointed the congregation to the Great Commission to get the gospel to every person and make disciples of every nation. God’s great love story assures us that all people, no matter their status, are of infinite worth. People are so valuable that heaven dispatched its greatest Prize to bring God’s rebellious creation eternally home. John 3:16 is rightly termed “the heart of the Bible.” Luther called it “the gospel in miniature.” I love the way John 3:16 begins in the Amplified Version: “For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten Son . . .” Isn’t that beautiful?
In his book The Joshua Code O. S. Hawkins shares a good way to unpack this good news:
God – the greatest lover
So loved – the greatest degree
The world – the greatest number
That He gave – the greatest act
His only begotten Son – the greatest gift
That whoever – the greatest opportunity
Believes – the greatest simplicity
In Him – the greatest attraction
Should not perish – the greatest promise
But – the greatest difference
Have – the greatest certainty
Everlasting life – the greatest possession
John 3:16 may be “the gospel in miniature” but it is massive in scope. Embracing this good news changes everything. “All things become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).