for these weeks leading to christmas, i am preaching on one verse—john 3:16. someone called it the “mount everest of the scriptures.” i was struck recently with how this one verse communicates to us the message and hope of christmas. you know the verse, but i pray that god will help us to see his truth in a powerful way. we have said that the premise of christmas is identified in the first of the verse, “for god so loved the world.” we simply underscored the idea that christmas begins with the amazing love of god for us and the whole world. he came out of his love. his amazing love prompted his coming. last week, we talked about the gift that he gave. we said that he gave us himself. because he gave us himself, he gave us his holiness. because he gave us his holiness, he gives us heaven. today, we clarify that gift. today, we will look at the phrase, “that whoever believes in him.” this is a gift that is available to all, but it is certainly not automatic. we must believe. it is the point of christmas. as we have done each of the last two weeks, let’s read this verse together.