Home Media Sermons by Pastor Nicki Coertze Series 10. The Father Heart of God (Series 1) . The Father Heart of God (Part 5)

. The Father Heart of God (Part 5)






I do not have time to recap what we did so far, but simply to mention that we have done 4 sermons so far on John 3:16. We have looked at the divine gift, the divine plan and the divine choice. All of this is a demonstration of the Father Heart of God which is revealed in the sending of His Son. In last week’s sermon we looked at the one part of the verse namely “so that whoever believes in Him….” We saw that ‘whoever’ is an unlimited word and that the gospel is for the whole world, but that ‘believes in Him’ makes ‘whoever’ a limited word as we know that not all people will believe. God’s plan is a plan for believers only.


In today’s sermon I want to look at a fourth way in which God has demonstrated His love to us in His Son. We have the divine gift, the divine plan and the divine choice and now today we have the divine deliverance.


4. The love of God is seen in the divine deliverance.


John 3:16 (ESV) 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” This point is one of the greatest messages I can preach to all believers here this morning, and I want to challenge you to listen intently. If you are not a believer you need to realise that the negative of this positive sermon is true to you.


Look at what verse 16 says to believers. We ‘should not perish’. All those who come to Christ by faith have this assurance from God that we will certainly not perish. We should all actually be shouting hallelujah if we understand the implications of this statement. The word in the Greek is  apollumi {ap-ol'-loo-mee} which means ‘to destroy, put out of the way, to kill or to abolish’. So this verse is telling us that believers will not be destroyed. Another way to say it is that they will not be lost to eternal destruction. Now the question is; what is He talking about when He says that believers will not perish? Now the ultimate expression here is with reference to eternal destruction.  Those who have believed in Christ are literally saved from eternal destruction. The eternal destruction the Bible is talking about is not just simple annihilation. It is an eternity of suffering the wrath of God. It is a suffering that does not go out of existence but it continues for ever and ever in a place of real suffering called hell.


Paul talks about those who did not believe in 2 Thessalonians 1:9 (ESV) and says: 9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might…”


But this destruction is more than eternal destruction.  To perish means that you are lost. It means you are lost to sin, you are lost to Satan, you are lost to unbelief and then finally you are lost to eternal destruction. I want to show you how the Lord Jesus uses this exact word  apollumi {ap-ol'-loo-mee} in that sense. You see this in the Lord’s Prayer in John 17:12 (ESV) 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost ( apollumi)  except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.” Here Christ is talking about His disciples and only Judas was lost.


So in John 3 when it says that believers will not perish it means more than they will not go to hell. It includes that, but it means more than that. This is an enormous positive message. It means that what God has begun, God will finish, so everything in between is safe in His hands. God has been at work in bringing believers to His Son and now having believed they will be kept forever. That’s what the verse says. True children of God will never perish.  Jesus said this in John 10:28 (ESV) 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” This is certainly the love of God. It means that once a man has believed on Christ and is truly born again He will be a believer for the rest of eternity. You’ve heard people talk about, once saved, always saved, or once a believer, always a believer. That is what John 3:16 teaches.


Let me give you a few points that will explain what ‘should not perish’ means.


4.1 The believer will not return to his former state.


When a man truly believes, we have to ask. Why did he believe? Now remember that the whole conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus is about the New Birth. We saw a few sermons ago that it is not through believing and receiving that you enter a state of New Birth. That is not the key to new birth. We saw that it is because of the New Birth that happens from above that a person can believe and receive and enter the Kingdom of God. Even John 1:12 & 13 that talks about believing and receiving supports that, because it says you are born from God. If it was all of man, sure, then we can fall away, but it is a work of God.


It is the New Birth that produces faith. Jesus is clear about it in John 3:3 (ESV) when He says to Nicodemus “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” So the only way to see and enter the Kingdom of God, is by being ‘born again.’


Now, it is logical that if believing according to John 3:16 is the same as entering the Kingdom according to John 3:3 then being born again from above applies to both descriptions of one state. Now remember that the New Birth Jesus says is from above, it is by the Holy Spirit and is not controlled by man. It is like the wind. You see the results of it, you don’t know where it came from or where it is going and you have no control over it. The same is true with all those who are born of the Spirit. It is God’s choice who receives the New Birth, yet the invitation is to ‘whoever’. You don’t see it coming, but you see the results whenever, whoever believes and is saved.


Now, what John 3:16 tells us is that once someone had experienced this New Birth that birth will never be reversed. Believers ‘should not perish’. It is as impossible as it is impossible for any baby to crawl back into mommy’s womb. That birth literally birthed a believer and now they will always be a believer. Let me explain it differently. If a man can become an unbeliever after he was a believer, then he will be lost forever, because there will be no unbelievers in heaven.


Where will unbelievers be? Revelation 21:8 (ESV) 8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.” These are people who by nature are still dead, deviant, demonised, disobedient, deranged and damned as we saw in Ephesians 2:1-3. Just remember that Revelation 21:8 is not talking about believers who sin, but it is talking about the ‘unbelieving’, the faithless” ones. So if someone is an unbeliever, they will end up in hell. If it were possible for a believer to become an unbeliever they will be lost forever as well.


But John 3:16 is telling us that “he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish’ or in other words, revert to their former state. They will never return to an unbelieving state. Another way to put it that makes sense. If you were born from above, surely you must be kept from above, otherwise your power to walk away from God is greater that God’s power to birth and keep you. Now this does not deny that believers struggle in their faith. This does not deny that believers are sometimes in some ways weak in their faith. This does not deny the fact that believers can still sin. But what it is saying is this, once someone has truly believed they always believe.


If you ever see someone who has professed faith in Christ and they become apostate which means to walk away from the faith you know this, it is not because they were a true believer and then lost their faith. It is because they never really had faith in Christ. For if they had faith in Christ they would continue in Christ. Is this not what John teaches us in 1 John 2:19 (ESV) 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.” He is not talking about local church politics here, but about the body of Christ.


Now I want to tell you that if you serve the Lord for any length of time you are going to see this happening again and again, but heaven forbid that we develop a doctrine that says you can lose your salvation based on that. John says they were never one of us, and get used to it, because it will happen. If anybody was one with us they would have remained with us.


So faith is the product of the birth given by God and it affects the change in the nature of a man that cannot be undone. He will never revert to His former state, which is to say he will never be in a position of unbelief, which is to say, he will always be a believer and we know that God saves believers in His Son. Listen to Peter’s version of John 3:16. 1 Peter 1:3-5 (ESV) 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy (God so loved the world), he has caused us to be born again (same language as John) to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (that He gave His only Son), 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith (so that whoever believes in Him) for a salvation (should not perish) ready to be revealed in the last time. (But have everlasting life)


So your inheritance cannot spoil and neither can you. You do not have a sell by date or a use by date. You are kept forever.


So ‘should not perish’ means we will go on believing forever. We will never revert to our former condition. But it means something else.


4.2 The believer will overcome all that will threaten his faith.


He shall not perish though he is ready to perish.  He shall not perish though around him is every kind of influence you can imagine that really truly powerfully threatens his faith. These influences will at times call a true believer to a point where he feels like he wants to abandon his faith, but for some reason he just cannot, because John 3:16 says he will not perish, he will go on believing, he will persevere.


Now the Bible does teach us that God preserves us, but the manifestation of that persevering is seen in a believer who perseveres no matter what the trial. When you see a believer persevering and trusting in the midst of the greatest trial you know that it is God who is at work in this person. This is the power of God that is demonstrated, the power of the faith that has been given to us in the new birth.


Why does a believer persevere?

One reason is that we are safe in the Saviour’s hand.

Remember the words of Jesus in John 10:27-29 (ESV) 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” Why is it that we do not return to unbelief, why do we not move away from our Saviour? It is because we are kept in His hand, and in the hand of our heavenly Father.


There is another reason. We continue to persevere because we are treated as sons of the Father. Hebrews 12:5-6 (ESV) 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. 6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves (that’s the Father Heart of God), and chastises every son whom he receives.” Why will we overcome?  It is because of the way God is dealing with you, even through discipline. According to Jesus you are kept in the hand of your Saviour and in the hand of your Father. How does He deal with you in that hand? He doesn’t let you go does He, even if He needs to discipline you? When we go down the wrong path or things threaten our faith, He will prompt us in our hearts and minds by His Spirit or at worst He will discipline us, but He will not let you go. Aren’t you thankful for that?


Your continuing perseverance is not explained by you holding onto the hand of Jesus, you are too weak for that, but praise God it is explained by Jesus holding onto you, and He doesn’t let you go. ‘Should not perish’, though we are ready to perish. You are an overcomer if you really are a believer. 1 John 5:4-5 (ESV) 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith (why do you continue to go on in spite of all the obstacles? It is because of the faith that we have been given through the New Birth which is permanent and powerful). 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”


There is another reason. We continue to persevere because we are loved by God. Listen what he says to us from Romans 8:28-39 about our future. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”


On the basis of God’s Word, I want to say to you this morning that you will go on being a believer not because you have such a firm grip onto His hand, but because He has such a firm grip on you. There is nothing in this created universe that can ever extinguish what God has done in your soul.


You will never revert to your former state, and there is nothing in this world that will ever overcome your faith because ultimately your faith is not explained by you but by God.


But, ‘should not perish’ means one more thing.


4.3 The believer’s future does not include condemnation.


Now we look to the ultimate expression of perishing. Now we are talking about eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord. Here is the Good news. You and I who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ with saving faith will never be condemned.


We have no fear of the judgment to come. In fact if you look down to John 3:18 (ESV)18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." When are they not condemned? Right now! When will they ever be condemned? Never! That’s what we just read in Romans 8, didn’t we? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. It is Jesus who died for us and was raised for us? It is God the judge who sent His Son to save His people from their sins. The very one who saved us will not condemn us." There is no condemnation. Believers are not in danger of the eternal condemnation of God. Before our conversion we already belonged to a group fit for destruction, deserving of destruction and heading for destruction.


God delivered us and that is His love and that is the Father Heart of God. That’s the only thing that stands between us and destruction. So now we are not condemned and we will never be condemned.


What are the implications for us?


Let me ask you a set of questions. Are you absolutely sure that these words ‘should not perish’ applies to you? Are you certain that you are a true believer? Are you sure that if you die today that you will enter into His presence in glory?  Are you certain that you have been changed by God, that you are a new creature and that you have a new nature, and that you can never, never, never again be the person you were before God saved you? Are you aware of the fact that there are real obstacles to the faith around you? Do you feel it, do you sense it, do you know it? And at the same time, do you sense and feel and know that God preserves you and strengthens you and keeps you in faith? Are there times your knees are weak so to speak, and you tremble a bit? You just get a taste of what it would be like if He were to let go of you, but He doesn’t and you go on. Do you know that as a believer you have been forgiven by God when you stumble or fall and that you have no condemnation in the present or in the future?


If you can say, ‘yes’ to all of those questions then I have another question for us.

What should people who know these things really be like?


Should we not be a joyful people? Should we not be a restful people, a people at peace? Should we not be an encouraged people? I know there are many things around us that can discourage us but my friend, reflect on the love of God. Realise who He is, realise what He has done, realise what His stated purpose is in all of it and be encouraged. He is working all things together for good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Should we not be a faithful people? Should we not be a serving people? Should we not be a loving people? Should we not be a courageous people? If God be for us, who can be against us? Should we not be an expectant people? Expecting now that God has marvellous things in store for us, but at the same time looking forward to the coming of Christ.


So, how did God demonstrate His love?


He demonstrated His love by His divine gift which is the giving of His Son. He demonstrated His love by His divine plan which is not for law keepers or self-changers, but for believers. He demonstrated His love by His divine choice which is for all those who will believe. He has also demonstrated His love for us by His divine deliverance promising us that whoever believes will always go on believing. They will never perish no matter what you throw at them. He gave them faith by the New Birth and He will keep them by His own power.


Let’s end this sermon with one of the most joyful texts in Scripture. Romans 8:1-2 (ESV) 1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death."



Soli Deo Gloria

Logos Community Church – 5 October 2014