President Richard J. Mouw Speaks on John 3:16-17
"Sharing the Big Love of the Gospel" was the focus of Fuller’s first all-seminary chapel of Winter Quarter, held Wednesday, January 7, with President Richard J. Mouw preaching in Travis Auditorium. The topic was part of Fuller’s campuswide theme for the 2008-2009 year of "Sharing the Gospel, Sharing Ourselves."
No words capture the essence of the gospel so well as those of John 3:16, Mouw said: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life." Said Mouw, "I will always be that guy holding up the John 3:16 sign" at football games—and, further, "I hope we are all willing to hold up that sign at Fuller Seminary." In a time when too many hold up signs of hatred and intolerance, John 3:16 says something that is so central to all we believe as Christians, stressed Mouw: "that it was the love of the triune God that sent Jesus Christ to the Cross…a love that God had for us before the foundation of the world."
It is also critical to go on to John 3:17, continued Mouw, which speaks of God’s desire "that the whole cosmos—the created order—might be saved. Even in its brokenness and distortedness, God so loved the whole world," Mouw emphasized—"and this means that we need to care about what God cares about: the lost souls of the world, and calling them back into relationship with Jesus Christ."
This also means we are called to dedicate the whole of our daily lives to God’s purposes: "If we claim to be in love with Jesus, it should affect everything about our daily lives—our decisions, priorities, even the trivialities," he said.
Mouw concluded with a reference to the third verse of the hymn "It Is Well with My Soul": "My sin, not in part but the whole / Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more…It is well, it is well with my soul." As evangelical Christians, we can say that, with our sins forgiven, "it is well in our souls," Mouw said, "but God grieves about the ways it is not well with his creation." Injustice, racism, poverty, and violence still cover the earth, and as Christians, it is our calling to strive against these things.
"May it be well with your soul as we long for the day—and work for the day—when it is well with all creation," Mouw exhorted in his benediction.