Frankie Mazzapica - John 3:16
Thank you for tuning in today. My name is Frankie Mazzapica. The title of the message is "John 3:16". John 3:16. Many of you guys know the verse, but let me just go ahead and say it anyway. It says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son so that anyone who believes in him shall have everlasting life". If you've ever watched a football game, you have seen people holding up a sign like this. Typically, they are underneath the field goal, and they're holding up, and then they're waving it back and forth. These are the most important words that have ever been said in the history of mankind, "that anyone who believes in him shall be saved".
These are very important words, but my concern is, is that we've heard these words our entire life, but they have not changed our life. My concern is, is that these words in this verse has been before our eyes, but they rarely cross our mind. Further, if they do cross our mind, oftentimes, they never take root in our heart. This is my concern, that the Lord has sent his Son to the earth, but we oftentimes forget about the significance.
This message has three points to it. There's gonna be, first of all, "For God so loved the world," that's my first point. Second point is that he gave his only begotten Son. We're gonna work that out, and then my third point is that whosoever shall believe in him shall have everlasting life. There's gonna come a moment where our heart stops beating. Do you know that across the globe, people your age have died? Unannounced, your heart will stop beating, and if you are not sure where you would spend eternity, I am pleading with you. I am begging with you. I am imploring you to whisper those words that changed the trajectory of eternity for you to say "I am sorry, God, for my sins, and from this moment forward, I dedicate my life to you".
When you say those words, you instantly have an address in heaven. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians chapter 12, verse 13, that we are all baptized by one spirit, and we are in one body, and we all share the same spirit. In other words, the moment you say that, you are a part of the body of Christ. You are a part of the church. You are a part of the family that will live with Jesus forever. It's very, very important, very significant, but let me unpack the first part of the verse where it says that "For God so loved the world". See, in English, we say love for any everything. Whether you're familiar or whether you're dear and significant, we're saying love. Look at a friend. I love you. You look at your children. I love you. Love for everybody. Now, I have been taking Spanish lessons for a while.
Now, let me just say this. Nobody speak Spanish to me after this service. Okay, I don't know a lot. Don't test me, all right? But I will say this. This is what I have learned. In English, we express love to everyone using the same word, love. However, in Spanish, when you express love to a friend, you say te quiero. Now, if you express love to someone who is dear to you, you use a completely different word, and it comes from the deepest place of your heart. Te amo. Do you know that the Lord does not look at anyone and think to himself, "Te quiero". You are so dear to him that it's te amo to everyone. So much so that he thinks about you all the time. You are never not on his mind. You and I think about him sometimes and then much of the time he's not even on our mind at all.
This does not happen with the Lord. You are constantly the apple of his eye. What does that mean? You and I can only focus on one thing. We have peripheral vision, but everything else is a little bit blurry. You can only look at one thing. You can only focus on one thing at a time. Even when you read a book, you can only focus on one word at a time. Your peripheral can see the entire page, but the center of your vision is the apple of your eye. You are in the center of his vision all the time. There's a special verse in Lamentations chapter 3, verse 22, where he says, "The steadfast love of the Lord, it never ceases, and his mercy endures forever". His love for you is like a river... have you ever stood next to a river, like, in Colorado, and you're looking at it, and it's just going, it's going, it's going?
And it's not, that river's never gonna run out of water. It just keeps going. It just keeps going. You can stand there for 20 hours, and it's still gonna be going, and that flow of water is reminiscent of the flow of love that God has for you. It just keeps going. It just keeps going. It keeps going. It keeps going, and as you go through different seasons, just like around that river, sometimes it's winter, sometimes it's falls, sometimes it's spring, sometimes it's summer. Some seasons you go through and you're cooking with grease, and you think to yourself, "I don't think I've sinned, like, all day today. This is amazing".
And then other times, it's like, "I don't think five minutes has gone by without me sinning". And the Lord just says, "Stop judging yourself so heavily," because often times, you and I judge ourself more harshly than God judges us. In that flow of water, just like it flows through season after season, the love of God just keeps flowing. It just keeps flowing in your direction. Let's unpack the next part of the verse where it says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son".
Now, I wanna show you a picture of my family, and I wanna say this. The girls in that picture, I would kill for. I would kill somebody. Now, my son, I would die for him, but my girls, I'll kill somebody for them. My son's on the front row. He doesn't know I'm gonna do this, but come on up here. He was looking at me going, "No, no, no, no, no, no, no," but give him a big round of applause anyway. This is my boy. He's my only son. He's 15. He's about to pass me up. I'm getting his hand-me-down shoes every time he grows a shoe... but now I don't get the hand-me-downs because he's, like, two sizes bigger than me, or at least a full size. Here's the deal. I would die for him.
Now, would I let him die for you? No. Would I let him die for all of you? Lo siento, te quiero. I'm sorry, but you are my good friends. This is my son. He's not dying for all of you. Let's just say the entire world would live, but my son has to die. I look at the entire world and go, "Ciao, ciao". Let's grab a basketball. Let's go. It's just you and me. Let's just say that for every enemy of the United States that has ever killed one of our soldiers or attacks the United States, these evil people, let's just say for every single person that is evil, they live, but my son dies. No, no, no, no, no.
In case I wasn't clear, no. Absolutely not, but God takes his only Son. He sends him to the earth for one reason, so that you can live. One Son. Now, the side benefit, the parallel benefit is in John chapter 14, verse 12, where Jesus says, "Anyone who believes in me shall do the things that I have done". Watch carefully. Stay close to me. The miracles I'm doing, the healing that I'm doing, I wanna flow through you so that you can do that as well, but that's parallel. The most important thing is that he comes, he lives with you, and then he dies for you, for you. Can we give him a standing ovation for that? Come on. I love you.
First point is, "For God so loved the world". Second point, "That he gave his only begotten Son". And now the third point, "That whosoever shall believe in him shall have everlasting life". Believing in him, not that Jesus was just a baby, not that Jesus just walked the earth. You know, people who do not believe that Jesus was the Son of God cannot argue that Jesus walked on this earth. They can't argue, because there's so many history books of people who weren't even Christians who wrote about this man, Jesus, who caused chaos in Israel because he claimed to be the Son of God. So they wrote about it, so nobody argues that he lived. What they do argue is that he was the Son of God. They say, "Yes, he lived, and he was a good teacher, but he wasn't the Son of God".
I would push back on that because Jesus was saying that he was from heaven. He was saying that he is the Son of God, even further than that, in John 10, verse 30, he says, "Me and God are one". Now, you cannot just be a good teacher and a liar. You can't. You're either a good teacher because you're telling the truth, or you're a liar and you need to be locked up. It's one or the other. And Jesus said this, he goes, "I have come, and if you believe in me, if you are dedicating your life to me, you will have everlasting life". Now, here's the deal. In order for him to do that for you and I, two things have to be in place. Number one is a tremendous amount of forgiveness towards you and I, and number two, there has to be a willingness for sacrifice: sacrifice on God's part and sacrifice on your and I part, our part. That's probably a better way to say, our part.
Let me talk about forgiveness. C.S. Lewis said that everyone agrees that forgiveness is a good idea until they have to do it. Forgiveness is a fascinating thing because sometimes it's a process. It's a decision to begin the process, but without forgiveness, there cannot be a genuine relationship with God, even if the only grace you have, the only power you have is to begin the process. In Matthew chapter 6, verse 15, it says this. "If you do not forgive others, the Lord will not forgive you".
So you don't have to forgive everybody if you don't want to. You can be selective and say, "I'll forgive you and I'll forgive you, but I won't forgive you and I won't forgive you". And that's okay, just as long as you're okay with the fact that you will not be forgiven. If you're okay with that, then continue to not forgive. I think all of us would say, "I'm not okay with God not forgiving me. I need him to forgive me every single day. So therefore I've got to put some action behind forgiveness," and this is what Jesus did. He came down to Earth, the Son of God, and he put on a fleshly suit, and he began to walk among us, and the entire time, he's forgiving you, he's forgiving me, he's forgiving you, he's forgiving me, and he made the ultimate sacrifice to prove his love for you and I.
Now, here's what I want to emphasize. I have an app that I can type into my phone or whatever that gives me the directions to get to my destination, as most of you guys use, but you know what I love about this particular app, and there's like four, five, six, seven, probably seventy-five of them, but it doesn't just give me the directions to the destination, but it is able to tell me the exact time that I'm going to show up. How does it do that? It takes into consideration how fast I'm going. It takes into consideration the slow people in front of me. Have you ever thought to yourself, "Who is the person that's driving so slow in front of me? Who are you"? And then when you pass them, you have to know what they look like. "What does this person look like? I have to know who wants to drive like that".
And so when you pass them, you have to look at them, and sometimes you think, "That's exactly how I imagined you looking". Other times you're like, "I did not imagine this". Either way, you gotta look at 'em, and then once you pass them and you get in front of them, your first look wasn't good enough. You have to look at 'em again. You look in the review mirror with squinted eyes, and you think to yourself, "You should not have a driver's license," especially if they're in the left lane. Go back to driver's ed. Fast people over here. Slow people over there. Medium people are in the... come on, but these apps, they take into consideration how fast you're going and how slow the people are in front of you. They take in consideration all the traffic, and it says, "This is when you're gonna show up".
When the Lord extends this constant river of love that doesn't stop, he has taken into consideration the seasons where you're moving really slow on your pursuit with him. He's taking into consideration when you are stalled out, you're not moving forward, you're not moving backwards. He's taking that into consideration. In Psalms chapter 103, verse 14, it says this. For God remembers how we were formed. He knows and he hasn't forgotten that we're made from dust, so when he looks at you and he plans your way, he has already taken into consideration that you are made from dust and so you are not able. You do not have the capacity to be perfect. You can't do it. And he takes that all in consideration, and he says, "I am coming". Jesus saying, "I'm coming to give you grace for all of that".
If you can think of the hundreds of examples in the past, that if you could go back and fix it, you would, and Jesus will say, I already knew that you were going to do that. You're not catching me by surprise. It's not like angels are walking around on the earth and then all of a sudden they're like, "Oh my goodness"! And they fly to heaven and say, "Jesus, you're not gonna believe this. You are not gonna believe this. Frankie did it again. He opened his big mouth again". Do you think Jesus is going, "Shut your mouth"? "Not again. I keep telling that kid, 'Shut your mouth,' and he did it", no, this is what Jesus says. The angels don't even go up to give a report. The angels are like, "Here we go". And Jesus is like I already know that you're made from dust.
I need you to learn to have some fruit of the Spirit, which fruit has to grow. Sometimes we got to give some people the grace that we want. We gotta give them the grace we want because we ourselves know that we're not perfect, and we want everybody to give us a break. Come on, I'm not perfect, and in the same way, we need to look at people and say, "You're not perfect". And we can't judge people, because their weakness is different than ours. We're all weak. We all need grace. We need grace from God. We need grace for each other, and here's the big one. We need grace for ourselves. We need to look in the mirror and say that was my best, that was my best.
I didn't wake up in the morning and say, "You know what I'm gonna do today? I'm gonna mess up royally. I'm gonna mess up royally today. I'm gonna complicate my life. Today is the day where I complicate my life". Nobody did that. You woke up, you gave it your best, and your best included a stumble, and God looks at you and says, "Give yourself some grace. Remember how you were made". In John 14:18, it says, "I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you". If you think about the thoughts that an orphan has, it is... he or she is unsure about the future. He or she is insecure about moving forward. He or she is afraid, and the Lord looks at them, and he looks at you, and he says, I'm not leaving you there. I'm coming for you. I'm coming for you. Does anybody receive that? Come on.