We have all heard the expression "All or None", and can probably associate it more with gamblers on the roulette wheel or in a poker game. This message is not about poker or a roulette wheel; though we are gambling with our eternal salvation when we ignore the calling and beckoning of the Holy Spirit. I am confident that you will better understand the meaning of the phrase "All or None", how it relates to you and where you will spend eternity, by the end of this message.
The Bible is filled with many powerful, soul touching, heart wrenching verses that will bite to the very core of the human soul; but there is one verse in the Bible that I believe has had the greatest impact on this world than any other verse in the Bible.
This verse is a very familiar one, and most of us should know it without even thinking.
I believe that the entire Bible is based on this one verse since It has had such an impact on this world and the lives of so many over the past two thousand years, that you could probably surmise; without this verse, the rest of the Bible is meaningless.
I know you're wondering; "what is he talking about?" The Bible is full of powerful text.
Yes it is, but this one verse to me is the most powerful in the Bible.
It shows the unrelenting, unselfish love and compassion that a Loving God has for his creation, and the desire for his creation to be with him throughout eternity.
The King James Bible contains approximately 785,000 words. More or less depending on the method used to count them.
It's amazing how 13 little words out of 785,000 could have such an impact on a world lost in sin and misery, but indeed it does. These words have turned so many despicable, downtrodden and hopeless lives around that it's almost unbelievable.
So we ask ourselves; "Is God's word this powerful and true. And how can we be sure?"
Let's look at some Bible texts and see what they reveal.
for the word of God is living and active, sharper than a two edged sword; penetrating even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart
The word of God is never idle and its truth cuts to the very core. It will make you take stock of your sinful ways and desires. It can bring the biggest man down to his knees, humble the most arrogant and make a Saint out of a murderer!!
Jeremiah 23:29 says; "Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?"
Jeremiah 5:14 Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them
God said his words are as fire and we are as wood to be consumed by their convicting power.
Fire consumes! God said his word is like as a fire; in other words it consumes what it touches. Mainly Sin. And like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces. A hammer can destroy with one blow or it can be used to build and shape some of the most beautiful objects. God can destroy or he can take the vilest and transform them into a loving, kind, humble and compassionate person.
Mal: 3:2 Says "But who may abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appeared? For he is like a refiner's FIRE, and like fullers' soap."
Those that have not been humbled by God's word and are living in sin outside the protection of the Holy Spirit will be unable to face the fire of God's wrath.
Rev.6:16, 17 tells us
16 And said to the mountains and rocks, fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
How do we escape God's wrath? If we have the Son, we are protected from his wrath
What does Malachi 3:6 have to say about God? "For I am the Lord, I change not;"
These verses of scripture should convince us of the power of God's word and how true and just it is. God's word does not change to suit the modern times as some religious leaders have averted to. The God that uttered those words does not change. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
So what are these 13 words that are so powerful?
It is the most memorized and familiar verse of the Bible and the first 13 words are the basis.
It is John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son.
These are the 13 words that give credence and relevance to the Holy Bible; but! there is an added bonus to the verse; A Promise which gives added emphasis to the power of the first 13 words. "that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD. Not just the Jews, the Gentiles, the Greeks or the rich and famous, but everyone who ever lived and died; regardless of his or her religion, social or financial standing. Even though the majority deny him and refuse to honor his statutes; GOD still loves them; and what did he do to demonstrate that Love?
HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON! To be crucified so we could live!
A God, who has the power to speak the world out of existence; yet with so much Love and Compassion for his creation that he was willing, and did give, his only Son to be brutalized at the hands of the ones he loved so much.
And finally the promise from God, if we accept his only Son.
'THAT WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH, BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE'.
No other verse in the Bible gives so much; yet ask only that we accept and believe in his only Son. He poured out his love through the blood of his only Son, Jesus; on a roughhewn wooden cross, on a lonely hill known as Golgotha, hanging between two criminals which deserved the punishment they were receiving.
As Dottie Rambo so eloquently wrote in one of her best songs "If that isn't Love" "Was the lonely hill of Golgotha, there to lay down his life for me?"
He willingly laid down his life without a whimper, so you and I could live eternally.
Now let that sink in.
This had to be such a tremendous act of unselfish love; so strong that we as humans do not possess the mental ability to comprehend the magnitude of such a sacrificial act.
Put yourself in God's place, and think of your only child and how much you love that child. You would give your life, to protect the safety and wellbeing of that child: yet, God did the opposite.
His only son, hanging naked between heaven and earth, with nails piercing his hands and feet; the crowds mocking him; the Roman soldiers gambling over his ragged clothing; can you imagine the humiliation Jesus was suffering, and to top it all off; God, his Father turned his back, on his only son, in order for man to be saved; because he could not look upon the sin of this world.
God offered the sacrifice.
Jesus gave it all
Can you picture this beaten down, dejected, mocked, and bleeding shell of a man at deaths door, who looked towards heaven, and rather than curse his tormentors or ask for revenge; with Love and Compassion that only a loving God could possess, asked God the Father to forgive those that were torturing and killing him, "for they know not what they are doing," then turned to the one thief hanging beside him and forgave his sins; promising him a place in paradise. (Lk.23:34, 43)
God offered the sacrifice.
Jesus accepted and gave his all!
OH! WHAT AN ACT OF LOVE!
Could you do that? Ask yourself that question. Is your love and compassion anywhere near the cross.
We as humans cannot begin to comprehend the thoughts, feelings or actions of our Creator.
This is what Isaiah 55:8 has to say concerning God's thoughts.
For your thoughts are not my thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD
We have no Idea how God thinks; only that he loves us so much that he does not desire any to perish, but have everlasting life with him in his Kingdom.
Is there not a stronger statement of Love than those 13 words?
Most people associate the number 13 with negative attributes, but, in this case the negative became a positive LOVE STORY that meant the difference between ETERNAL LIFE and ETERNAL DAMNATION.
What a God, that was willing to give his best; for all the worst this planet has to offer.
We have a hard time forgiving little things that amount to nothing and holding a petty grudge, Yet Jer: 31:34 tells us; "for I will forgive their Iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more."
God does not hold grudges and he will forgive any sin, no matter the severity.
Is your sin worse that Manasseh who offered his own children as burnt offerings to pagan gods and had thousands of innocent people killed (2Chrn.33:4-6 & 2kings 21:16), or David, (a man after Gods own heart), who arranged the death of Uriah the Hittite so he could take Bathsheba for his wife? (2Sam.11) David committed murder and adultery; yet God being a merciful and forgiving God; forgave both men.
So now we ask the Question. Who is this man called Jesus?
How does he have the power to forgive sins? Grant eternal life?
Is he God?
John1:1 tells us; "In the beginning was the WORD, and the Word was with God, and the WORD was GOD."
Then we look down at John 1:14
John 1:14 tells us the following: "And the WORD was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the FATHER, full of grace and truth."
So if the word was with God and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, then we know the Word must be Jesus. Jesus, the unblemished Lamb, offered for a sacrifice as atonement for our sins.
By accepting and believing that this is the true Son of God, which died and was resurrected on the third day, we are granted eternal life in God's glorious paradise with Jesus; King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
The story that follows is a perfect example of human nature and what a loving God has in store for those that will humble themselves and accept his Son.
A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art.
When the Viet Nam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier.
The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.
The Father was regretting the upcoming holidays, as this was always a special time of year for he and his son to reflect back over the year and make plans for the coming year.
About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands.
He said, "Sir, you don't know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life.
He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly. He often talked about you, and your love for art.
The young man held out his package. "I know this isn't much. I'm not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this."
The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man.
He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture.
"Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It's a gift."
The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected.
The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection.
As the bidders took their seat, the first item was brought out
On the platform sat the painting of the son.
The auctioneer pounded his gavel. "We will start the bidding with this portrait of the son.
Who will bid for this portrait?"
There was silence. Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, "We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one."
But the auctioneer persisted, "Will someone bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?"
Another voice shouted angrily, "We didn't come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Gogh's, the Rembrandts. Get on with the real bids!
"But still the auctioneer continued, "The son! The son! Who'll take the son?"
Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son.
"I'll give $10 for the painting."
Being a poor man, it was all he could afford.
"We have $10, who will bid $20?
"Give it to him for $10. Let's see the masters."
"$10 is the bid, won't someone bid $20?"
The crowd was becoming angry. They didn't want the picture of the son. They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections.
The auctioneer pounded the gavel. "Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!
A man sitting on the second row shouted, "Now let's get on with the collection!"
The auctioneer laid down his gavel, "I'm sorry, the auction is over."
"What about the paintings?" They angrily shouted
"I am sorry, but when I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings. The man who took the son gets everything!"
God gave his Son 2,000 years ago to die on a cruel cross. Much like the auctioneer, His message today is,
"The Son, the Son, who'll take the Son?"
Because you see, whoever takes the Son gets everything.
So! It's All or None
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.
Will you today take the Son and inherit the kingdom of God, or go for man's material and prideful kingdom.
Here's what Matt.6:19, 20 has to say;
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 but lay up for you treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
Have you laid up your treasures in Heaven?
Jesus Said in John14:2, 3
2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Jesus has assured those that have accepted him, love him and keep his commandments that he has prepared for them a place that we cannot imagine.
Isaiah 64:4 tells us:
For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.
By taking the Son, we can be assured of all the treasures our Heavenly Father has to offer.
Don't be like the art collectors and demand the earthly treasures which are only temporary and will eventually decay and vanish as the morning dew in the sunlight. Be like the Gardner who had very little to offer, but offered what he had, to obtain the Son, unaware of the vast treasure he was about to receive.
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Hebrew 4:12 Jeremiah 23:29 Jeremiah 5:14 Mal.3:2 Rev.6:16-17
Mal.3:6 John 3:16 Luke 23:34,43 Isaiah 55:8 Jer.31:34
2 Chron.33:4-6 2 Kings 21:16 2 Sam.11 John 1:1,14 Matt.6:19,20
Matt.14:2-3 Isaiah 64:4
The story of the Father and Son is by an unknown author