Whatever Happened to John 3:16?

Quite literally, every day we learn of another example of man’s inhumanity to man. News organizations, both traditional and Internet-based, daily report on the atrocities and unspeakable evil which permeates, affects, touches, or in some way influences the lives of nearly every person on planet Earth. We are being constantly made aware of new and terrible diseases, or the resurgence or mutations of age-old maladies which are increasingly affecting numbers of peoples all over the world. And, weather events and natural disasters continue to increase in severity and frequency.

However, those of us who consider ourselves to be a part of the True Church, the Body of Christ, point to prophetic Scripture and declare that the Bible says these things are to be so as we approach the end of days. We of course do so by sharing these things from our pulpits, or in our weekly Bible studies, or through books we write, or (more and more frequently) through blogs posted on our own websites and those of others.

News organizations detail the latest atrocities committed by ISIS in Iraq, Syria, Jordan, and the rest of the Middle East; Boko Haram in Africa, Russian separatists in Ukraine, the Iranian proxies (Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Syria and Lebanon), Al Qaeda in Yemen and Libya, the PLO in Israel, the Taliban in Afghanistan, Muslim extremists in Europe, and rising anti-Semitism worldwide. We hear about Chinese belligerence in the Far East, the nuclear aspirations of Iran, North Korea, and India, and increasingly, the failure of the United States to articulate any real understanding of, or implementation of, foreign policy.

In the US domestic news, we also read and see evidence of the growing influence of Islam, the continued proliferation of secular humanism in our institutions of learning, the insidious and intolerant assaults on Christianity and traditional family values by progressives (formerly known as liberals), and the militant minority LGBT community.

Lately, as I follow these news sources and then read the blog articles and comments of those in the Christian community, I have begun to see what I consider to be a disturbing trend. Many, though certainly not all, of these comments, articles, and posts focus on the condemnation of the individuals, groups, or countries committing these egregious acts without commenting on, or attributing, the ultimate reason for these evils to the very fact that we are living in a world which is ruled by the prince of the power of the air, and the rulers of darkness of this world, which is of course, Satan and his demons.

In fact, many in the Christian community have become so intentional in their desire to “expose” the hatred and evil inherent among those who are doing Satan’s bidding in these days, that they have forgotten not only the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:36-40) and Great Commission (Mark 16:15), but in fact, the words of John 3:16. Even while acknowledging that we are living in the Last Days, that the Rapture of the church is imminent, and that a time of great Tribulation is approaching mankind, which will culminate in Christ’s physical return to the earth in power and great glory, we are failing to do the work which we were first called to do; proclaim the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (NKJV)

Remember this verse? It is one of the best-known verses in the Bible. In fact, for most of us it is the very first verse we ever committed to memory. John 3:16 clearly and simply declares the Good News of the Gospel.

Let’s break this verse down a bit, “For God so loved the world” tells us that the creator of the universe loves His creation. However, the “world” here is not descriptive of the cosmos, or even the earth itself, but of all mankind. So the Scripture is saying that God loves all men, even those who scorn or reject His love. When I read “God so loved the world,” I can individualize that to say that He loves me. Yet, the same can be said by every other individual on the earth. This then means that the whole love of God is available to every single soul who has ever lived. Understanding that, the blessed truth here is this; no matter how far one distances himself from God, no matter how little one thinks of God, or no matter that one never even shows any love for God, it makes absolutely no difference to the very fact that God loves them.

Let’s continue, “that He gave His only begotten Son” is describing the fact that Jesus Christ became the sacrifice required by a Holy God to pay the sin debt of the entire world (read mankind). We must understand here that it was not Jesus’s death that turned God’s wrath and anger away from man, but rather it was God’s love for man which appointed Jesus Christ’s death. This then demonstrates that God loved men before He sent Christ to pay their sin debt. (2 Corinthians 5:14-21; Hebrews 2:9; 1 John 2:2)

This brings us to the last part of the verse, “that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Now then, “whoever” means whoever. There is nothing complicated here, there is no mystery here, any and every man who believes that Jesus Christ paid his sin debt can have eternal life.

Believing in Christ means that we acknowledge that He alone could be the perfect sacrifice which a Holy God required. It is acknowledging Him as our Savior, and surrendering to Him authority in our lives as our Lord. It is the act of acknowledging His will as our own as we become His disciples.

God hates sin, and God certainly does not like the wicked state of the world in which we live. But God loves men, and Peter tells us that He is not willing that any should perish. (2 Peter 3:9)

So, the purpose of my article is this:

We who are disciples of Jesus Christ, who make up the Body of the True Church, which is the Bride of Christ, need to examine our attitudes as they relate to men and sin. When we stand in our pulpits, or sit before our computers we need to remember that Jesus Christ came to save sinners, and that but for the grace of God, we ourselves could still be in need of redemption. We need to humble ourselves as did the Apostle Paul when he wrote; “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15).

Jesus Christ came to save sinners, mankind; no matter what their nationality, no matter what their race, no matter what their religion, no matter what their sexual orientation, no matter what political office they may hold, no matter whether they are rich or poor, no matter what the circumstances of their life are, Jesus Christ paid their sin debt and we have the responsibility to share that Good News with them. No matter what the cost may be.

Reread the Book of Acts, up until his conversion on the road to Damascus in chapter 9, the church considered Paul (Saul of Tarsus) a terrorist. Yet, look at what Christ did with his life. Take a hard look at your life and examine what you might have become had it not been for Christ’s intervention and your salvation. Think about what Christ could do with the life of a world leader or even a would-be terrorist who found redemption in Him today.

Please understand this, I am not asking that we cease our efforts as “watchmen on the wall” or that we quit proclaiming the imminence of Christ’s return for His Church. I am not even suggesting we quit commenting on current events and their relationship to the end times.

What I am asking is that we refocus on that which is the most important task we have been given, to share the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Share it in every message you preach, every study you lead, and every article you write. Is it not truly what we have all been called to do? Is it not really the reason we have become watchmen?

Yes, Jesus is coming soon, and we need to share the Good News so that many more will be ready for His coming.

Only Change Will Revive Hope

If Jesus were with us today, He would undoubtedly weep over America’s spiritual life. We have congregations that count their real estate and resources in millions, some of them in tens of millions! Yet that alone means nothing to Christ. The United States likewise is crowded with churches which forget the divine command, “Thou shall love the Lord, thy God, with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy strength and with all thy mind” and which, instead of this inner, heart-centered, soul-deep worship of God, permit head and lip worship to creep in, formalism and ceremonies to receive far too much attention. The plain preaching of the Gospel, without which no man can be redeemed, is pushed into the background.

Ask the average American: “How do you expect to be saved? What is your hope of heaven?” and you will find first that many of our countrymen do not want to be saved, since they think they do not need to be; and you will also learn that of those who believe in the hereafter, the majority actually like to think themselves so good, so much better than others, that God will welcome them with open arms when they ought to understand that without the Lord Jesus they are lost forever; that their hearts are filled with greed, lust, hatred, their lives marked with secret and disguised sin.

Because millions in this nation, founded by Christian pioneers, blessed above all other people on earth through religious freedom, have forgotten their God, neglected their privileges, spurned their blessings, rejected their Savior, we can find Him on Olivet, grief-gripped not only for Jerusalem’s Temple, but for churches in the United States that are more concerned about money raising than soul-winning, more intent on gaining popular applause than divine approval. As we hear Christ repeat His warning, “This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth and honoreth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me” may God give us the spiritual insight required to understand that, if America is to come closer to the Almighty, this rededication must start in the churches; that the groups called Christian must receive a transfusion of firm, unquestioning, self-denying trust. To stop the tears of Christ, we must go back to the Bible, back to the blessed Savior, back to the blood of His atonement, back to justification by faith, and faith alone.

Excerpted from “Tears Over America” by Walter A. Maier 1945

Thank God for my preacher friends! I dare not touch God’s anointed, but I do not hesitate to say that the dirtiest gang of thieves this side of Hell are the Gospel-denying, compromising liberals and modernists who deny the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures and preach to please people instead of preaching the Word as it is laid down in the Bible. Hell will be hotter for these preachers than for ordinary sinners who sat in the pews and listened to their social gospel. Oh yes, there will be preachers in Hell (2 Corinthians 11:13–15). Just as surely as God has God-called preachers, the Devil has Devil-called preachers.

There is no need to blame Hollywood and the liquor crowd for the mess in which we find the world today. The blame lies at the doorsteps of sissy, compromising, back-scratching, ear-tickling, “denomination-pecked” preachers who know the truth yet refuse to preach it for fear that they might hurt someone’s feelings.

It is not inviting to be unpopular. No one likes to be shunned. It is not a good feeling to know that you are not appreciated. But our Lord went through all that—and more. He set the example. He said, “He that takes not his cross, and follows after me, IS NOT WORTHY OF ME.” Also, ‘Beware of the man of whom all men speak well.’ Too many preachers stand in too well with the world in this modern era.

Excerpted from the Message “Unpopular Preachers” by Oliver B. Greene 1915-1976

Words of Grace for Strength

Let us hear what the Bible says about these days in which we live:

2 Timothy 3:1-7 “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

Preachers and People alike have turned from Biblical Truth to ungodly living, there are so very few who are living for Christ, so very few who are willing to make a stand for Christ, most are living for self, living for the “lusts of the flesh and the pride of life.” Only change through repentance, will result in restoration and/or revival. Read these quotes:

“When a nation becomes as morally depraved, as spiritually blinded, and as steeped in humanism, hedonism, and materialism as America is, there is only one power in the entire universe that can meet and overcome such evil, and that is the power of the living God Himself, an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, a visitation of the manifest presence of God.”

“Revival, no matter how great or small in its ultimate scope, always begins with individual believers whose hearts are desperate for God, and who are willing to pay the price to meet Him.”

“God wants to avert judgment, and He’s simply looking for one person who will pay the price in prayer and in faith and in commitment, whatever it takes, to get a hold of God and not let loose.”

– Del Fehsenfeld, Jr.  1947-1989

Do not look for honor from the world, expect hatred instead. And, when it comes, receive it with the humility of Christ, for you should be humbled when you realize you have been treated no better than He was. Do not expect blessings on your church or your country if neither has the boldness to stand by Christ’s teachings, and furthermore, to proclaim them aloud to the surrounding world. If the reality of the Bible has become a rarity in your daily life, do not expect miracles from the Lord. His silence will shout judgment into your ears, although you will not hear it not over the clamor of the world’s parade passing by.

If and when man turns from his personal wickedness and/or apostasy to a right relationship with and in Christ, he will then begin to find security in Christ. But, it will take repentance, and true repentance brings change, and when this change occurs, we can stand on His Promises:

Luke 6:22-23 “Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man’s sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.”

John 15:18-21 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.”

Philippians 1:27-29 “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God. For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.”

Philippians 3:7-11 “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

1 Peter 4:12-16 “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.”

Revelation 2:10 “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

Revelation 3:8-12 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.”

In these promises we find real Hope, an Eternity with our Savior! This is change which delivers hope! It is time for repentance! It is time to stand! It is time to become a overcomer! Will You?

EvenSoCome

False Accusers

Paul said, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come” and then, he listed nineteen ungodly characteristics of the last days (II Tim. 3:1-7). The eleventh characteristic is “False Accusers” a destructive sin that has existed since the beginning of humanity. It played a big role in the crucifixion of Jesus. It is a prophecy. Many have been expecting it. I believe it has reached proportions never before seen. And it has gotten much worse since the election that brought Barack Hussein Obama into the White House.

That election pitted Barack Hussein Obama against Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. Mr. Obama was a student and admirer of a well-known radical named Saul David Alinsky and Mrs. Clinton said she had been indirectly influenced by Mr. Alinsky. Mr. Obama taught workshops on the Alinsky method and Mrs. Clinton wrote her honors thesis (”There is Only the Fight”) at Wellesley College on Mr. Alinsky.

Mr. Alinsky was a University of Chicago educated community organizer and he is noted for a book he wrote in 1971 titled “Rules for Radicals.” Rule 12 reads, “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” To me it means select your target, zero in on it in a personal way and separate it from its base by demonizing it or depicting it as evil. Simply put, focus in on those you want to defeat and destroy them with false accusations. Hillary’s husband Bill called it the “Politics of Personal Destruction.”

I am not talking about an honest mistake, getting something mixed up or an accidental slip of the tongue. I am talking about deliberate character assassination, planned deception, intentionally lying about someone, name calling and slander. In many cases, the accuser is guilty of the accusation he or she is making, but the accuser is trying to deflect the truth by accusing his or her target of doing what he or she did. We thought we would never hear the end of Pres. Obama blaming his failures on Pres. Bush. And to this day, he calls those who oppose his policies racists. Hillary Clinton is still blaming Benghazi on an “incendiary video” called “The Innocence of Muslims” that was produced by Nakoula Basseley Nakoula that she promised to get jailed. Their ardent supporter Sen. Harry Reid is blaming everything he can on the “evil and rich” Koch brothers. He has clearly called Cliven Bundy a “hateful racist,” and a man with “extreme, hateful views, and dangerous.” He has clearly called Mr. Bundy’s supporters “domestic terrorists” and the Tea Party “Anarchists.” So Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” is playing a big role in the end of the age sign called “false accusations.”

But the target is broader than Pres. Bush, Mr. Nakoula and the Koch brothers, who are not totally innocent. Just look at some of the groups that have appeared on government approved potential terrorist lists: those who are anti-gay, anti-Muslim, anti-illegal immigration, anti-abortion or anti-UN; the Family Research Council, the American Family Association and the Christian Action Network; those who oppose the New World Order; those who are concerned about detention centers; those who believe in the right to bear arms; those who believe in end-times prophecy; returning war veterans; patriots; the TEA Party; evangelical Christians; etc. In fact, anyone who opposes the transition to socialism and world government is probably a target right now.

It’s satanic. Sin began on earth with Satan falsely accusing God before Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:4-5). Jesus called Satan a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44). It comes from a heart that is not right with God (Matt. 12:34). It is a violation of the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:16) and it is an abomination unto the Lord (Prov. 12:22).

It’s also dangerous because reviling, demonizing and falsely accusing those who oppose sin and stand for righteousness is clearly taking America down the road to religious persecution. The NSA storage of our financial records, e-mails, phone calls, Google searches, where we go, what we buy, what we sell, etc. is accumulating information that can be used for false accusations. The building of detention centers and the recent decision of the U.S. Supreme Court not to interfere with an Appellate Court ruling that allows the U.S. military at the president’s discretion to arrest and detain American citizens indefinitely and without a trial legalizes places to hold persecuted people.

True Christians will be out of here (Raptured) before the worst comes to pass, but the false accusations of some political leaders (blatant lying, name-calling, etc.) are evidence that the danger of persecution is growing.

Prophecy Plus Ministries

Daymond & Rachel Duck

daymondduck@bellsouth.net