Gospel summary in John 3:16


In 1994, John Piper preached a series of 4 sermons from John 3:16.  The 4  “D’s” are a great way to share the Gospel.  Here is the introduction and links to each message in the series-

How many of you have ever in your life at one time or another learned John 3:16 by heart? One of the reasons this verse is so widely memorized and so deeply loved is that it is such a remarkably full summary of the gospel.

The Four “D’s” of the Gospel

I am dividing it into four parts that make a natural presentation of the gospel. Four “D’s.”

  1. The first “D.” The verse talks about the danger that we are in without Christ—” . . . that we might not perish.” All human beings are in danger of perishing, which is not merely dying, but is the opposite of eternal life. Eternal perishing.
  2. The second “D.” The verse talks about the design of God to rescue us from perishing, namely, the design of love. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son.” It’s the love of God giving his Son in incarnation and death that rescues us from perishing.
  3. The third “D.” The verse talks about the duty that we must fulfill if we are going to be a part of the love of God in rescuing sinners from perishing. The duty is faith, or trust, or believing in the Son that God sends. ” . . . that whoever believes on him might not perish.”
  4. Finally, the fourth “D.” The verse talks about the destiny of those who believe, eternal life. ” . . . that whoever believes on him might not perish, but have eternal life.”

Not everything important is mentioned in this verse (the glory of God; election, calling, regeneration, justification, sanctification, the atoning death of Christ, etc.), but what is here is so basic and so precious and so powerful in its straightforwardness that not many verses are more important as summaries of the gospel.

  1. The danger: perishing.
  2. The design: love.
  3. The duty: faith.
  4. The destiny: eternal life.
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