The world's best selling book, but hardly anyone knows what's in it. It's the Bible, of course. Maybe you've had a hard time getting somebody to read the Bible, I think I can make you feel better. I mean, your problem is nothing compared to a fellow named Gabrielle. I was at dinner with a leader of an international Bible distribution organization and their representative in the country of Zimbabwe is named Gabrielle. Now his problem is not dust collecting on peoples Bibles, it's the Bible literally going up in smoke. You see, the pages of a Bible in some African countries are thought to be just perfect to roll a cigarette with. So, he met one man and was offering him a Bible and the man said, "Well, I'll take the Bible," but he said, "I need to let you know that if I take it, I'll smoke it." I'm going to give it to you, Gabrielle said, "I'll give you the Bible if before you smoke it, you read it." Well, he did what he said he would do - he read it, and then he smoked it, until, well, that's the exciting part...
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Never The Same."
This man told Gabrielle, the Bible distributor, he said, "You know, I smoked Matthew after I read it, and then I read Mark and smoked it, and then I read Luke and I smoked it," and then he said, "then I got to John 3:16, and I haven't smoked since." That man in Zimbabwe had hit the verse, I mean the verse, and he was never the same.
Well, I let him pick our word today from the Word of God. Yes, John 3:16, "God loved the world so much, that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him will not die, but have ever lasting life." Now you're breezing through life doing your own thing and then one day you encounter this awesome truth and you know you've got to do something with it. You can't just read it. God has loved you so much that He gave the most precious thing He had for you.
A man was taking pictures for two years compiling a book of photographs at the Vietnam War Memorial and one morning as he went there and none seemed to be around he noticed a new little memorial and it had two flags: an American flag and a Greek flag, and there was a picture of a soldier and a three word inscription. As he was taking the pictures a man said, "Excuse me sir do you like it?" And the photographer said, "I do." He said, "I'm glad, that's my boy!" And then the photographer read those three words again, "Only One Son."
You see God has only one son, and He gave him for you. All the blood and agony and hell of that cross was for you. Why? To keep you from dying forever.
See, right now, we are perishing like that verse says in John 3:16. We're perishing because we're sinners with a death penalty. But it changes, that verse says, when I "believe in Him." That means, not just something you do with your head but with all your heart. When you pin all your hopes on Jesus, like a drowning man with a life-guard. When a man or woman hits this truth, it does something to your heart. God's looking at the cross where His son died for you and He says, "What do you think of that? That's my Boy."
If you know Christ, leave this verse with people, it's got life-changing power. And if you've never trusted this One who was given for you, put your name in this verse when I leave a blank. "God loved _________ so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that if __________ would believe in Him, then ___________ will never die, but have Eternal Life." Tell God you want what He gave His son for, His one and only Son. When you realize the world God so loved is you, you will never be the same.