“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:16-17
We’re going back to the basics today. John 3:16…how many of you have heard this verse since you were a child? How many of you are hearing it for the very first time today? Born and raised in the church, I have never been a stranger to these words. These verses might very well have been the first verses that I ever memorized. They are soft and tender words of love that are easily embraced at the young age of a child. It’s theology at its most simple stage; the Gospel in four words; the hope that we all desperately need and long for…Jesus in my place. We owed a debt we could not pay. Jesus paid a debt He did not owe…because He loves us. He didn’t come to condemn but to save.
Somewhere along the way though, we lose the hope that we once embraced in these beautiful words. Life deals us some heavy blows. Sin creeps in and overwhelms us. Addiction destroys us. We fall from grace and in our sin refuse to embrace our identity in Christ. Instead, we are deceived into believing that we are what we have become – we are the sin we have committed; we are the fallout that we’ve caused. We lose hope as we believe the lies, and somewhere along the way we reject grace because we no longer think we deserve it. We’ve gone to far. We’ve out-sinned grace and are therefore unworthy of God’s forgiveness. And the downward spiral we find ourselves falling down drags us further and further away from the hope of Jesus Christ.
I’m here to tell you today, friends, that God’s grace is for you. As you’ve run after sin and its fleeting pleasures and turned away from Jesus, He has passionately pursued you with His love. His love, mercy, forgiveness, and grace covers even your darkest, ugliest, and most wretched past. This all too common misconception that we have gone too far to return to Jesus truly devastates me. It has invaded the thoughts and lives of my own family, and it has caused those that I love dearly to remain bound in their sin.
Some of us need hard facts, evidence if you will. That is simply why I LOVE to share stories. When people read, hear, or watch someone share their story of what they once were and now who they have become because of Jesus Christ, it does something inside of us! “If God could save them, He most definitely could save me” becomes the new tune and “I’ve gone too far” goes out the window. That is why I want to share with you a story of one man today whose life was in shambles when Jesus saved him from his sin. I came across this video at the exact moment that I found myself praying for my own family members that do not have the hope of Jesus Christ. As my heart was breaking for them and as I was desperately trying to believe that the God who saved me could save them too, I found this video. I usually share what I call “Her Story”, but today that would not be fitting as this story is of a man named Brian “Head” Welch, former lead guitarist of the band “KORN”. Lost in sin and desperate for a Savior, Jesus reached down and saved his soul. For those of you who are struggling to believe that God is able to save your loved one who has for years rejected the Gospel of Jesus Christ, know this:
God is able to soften even the hardest of hearts. See for yourself.