Hear as if your last opportunity
‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ John 3:16
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Luke 23:32–43
As I conceive that this discourse will afford a large scope for doctrine, for instruction in righteousness, I propose, if opportunity is afforded, to go through it all. To enlarge upon all that the verses before us contain in reference to these subjects will be a work of time. Perhaps many who are present at my entrance upon this passage may not live to see the close of it, even if I should be spared to complete it. May the Lord therefore enable me to speak and you to hear every discourse as if it were the last opportunity we should enjoy on this side of eternity. It may be summarized by four principal points:
(i) the nature and necessity of the new birth (from John 3:3–8).
(ii) concerning the certainty and evidence of divine truth and the insufficiency of man to receive the clearest and most necessary doctrines, unless he is taught from above (verses 9–13).
(iii) our Lord declares the great design of his coming into the world, to give life to those who were at the point of death (verses 14–17).
(iv) the happiness of those who should believe, and the aggravated condemnation of those who reject his gospel (verses 18–21).
FOR MEDITATION: I am willing to hope that you will be made a messenger of light and peace to his soul. The Lord’s hand is not shortened that he cannot save. He can do great things in a small time, as you know from your own experience. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, he can command light to shine out of darkness. If he speaks, it is done.… One glimpse of the worth of the soul, the evil of sin, and the importance of eternity, will effect that which hath been in vain attempted by repeated arguments.
John Newton to William Cowper, 22 February 1770
[re Cowper’s brother, John, converted on his deathbed a few days later]
SERMON SERIES: JOHN 3:1–2, NO. 1 [2/7]