It was a 2 point sermon and I had heard both points before, but not necessarily in the same sermon. This time they were put in a sermon together and the preacher tied both points with a familiar verse from the Bible.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
1. You are a "whoever" and so is everyone else. The message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is universal in its reach. It's a message to you and to me as individuals, and a message that applies to all mankind. As much as we may wish to be selective by wanting to turn away the drug addict or the thief, Jesus' death on the cross is the invitation for each one of us to become believers. The people who were raised in a Christian home and always attending church do not have a monopoly on the gospel. It is for everyone. A person with a history of walking outside God's will has just as much access to the forgiving Savior as the person who has only committed what we classify as the "little sins." I am so thankful that Jesus considers me a "whoever!"
2. I need to start seeing all people the way God sees them. I must confess I have given in to thinking "in the flesh" when thinking about people. I hear their speech, I see their actions, and I mentally mark them off my list of those who are candidates for eternity. God, however, sees each one as a precious life of his own creation, and one that he longs to be with forever. When God made each of us, his intent was to be in relationship with each one, loving them, caring for them, providing for them. And that was supposed to last throughout this life and into eternity. Sin changed all that. As hard as we may try, we cannot escape the penalty of death for our sins by our merits, our social standing, or the size of our checkbook. The Bible says, "we all sin and fall short of the glory of God." So I say again, I need to start seeing all people the way God sees them.
Here are some verses that have helped me and I pray will help you, too.
1 John 4:11 "Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."
Colossians 1:21-22 "Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation."
Welcome to the family of "whoever."