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.

The Condemnation of Israel as a Nation is Simply Hatred of the Jews!

Quite frankly, as a Preacher-Teacher of God’s Holy Word and a student of Biblical Eschatology, even though I am fully aware of End Time Prophecies and God’s plans for the Church, Israel, and the nations; I am sickened by the anti-Semitism which daily grows more virulent in the world. Merely one month ago I published an article entitled “Anti-Semitism, by any other name…” which established biblically Israel’s covenant right to exist in the land which God promised to them for eternity. I will not here repeat that article, but invite you to revisit it, or read it for the first time.

In response to what is now thousands of rockets fired on Israel and its citizens (since I published that article) by the terrorist organizations Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have made a military incursion into Gaza to eliminate that continued threat. In the most unusual display of humanitarianism in the annals of warfare, the IDF announced by telephone, and leaflets, where their airstrikes would take place, and since the incursion, have repeatedly warned civilians and non-combatants to move away from the areas of attack. Hamas however has given no such warnings of their rocket attacks on the citizens of Israel, and continually use their own women and children as human shields. For this incursion in defense of its citizens and sovereignty, the Nation State of Israel is being vilified around the world.

In just the past few days, rioting and anti-Jewish protests have risen in cities all across the world. In Europe rioting has taken place in cities in France (where synagogues have been attacked), Germany, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Spain. These protests and riots have also shown up in such divergent places as Thailand and Indonesia. In Canada protests have been seen in Toronto, Montréal, Ottawa, and have even resulted in violence in Calgary. In the United States, protesters have been in evidence in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Houston, New Orleans, and in Boston Jews were physically assaulted. What is most alarming in all of these accounts, is that in every instance the vitriol has gone past a condemnation of Israel, to verbal and visual displays of hatred for Jewish people everywhere. Rather than death to Israel, chants of “kill the Jews, murder the Jews, gas the Jews,” are being heard in all of these protests. The only explanation for this is anti-Semitism.

On virtually every broadcast news channel and in almost every news publication, not only is anti-Semitism on display, it is in fact embraced and espoused by most of these organizations and their employees (I refuse to call them journalists because their bias is evident in their reports). They continually decry the casualties in Gaza (which now numbers near 800 and are the direct result of Hamas’s policy of using its own people as human shields) while ignoring the number of rockets fired into Israel by the terrorists. They also ignore the fact that since the incursion began, every opportunity which has been offered to Hamas for a cessation of hostilities has been rejected by the terrorist organization. The truth of the matter is, they believe that as more of their own people are killed (which is in truth is a result of their own actions), a sympathetic press, the UN and anti-Israel governments will eventually compel Israel to acquiesce to their demands.

One of the most troubling things to me about the reaction of these so-called news organizations, the United Nations, and others who are condemning Israel for the deaths of the nearly 800 Palestinian Arabs in Gaza, is the fact that somehow the deaths of thousands of Muslim Arabs as well as Christian Arabs at the hands of other Islamists does not meet with the same condemnation. In Syria over 150,000 Muslims have died at the hands of other Muslims, in Iraq thousands of Muslims and Christians have died at the hands of Muslims, in Libya thousands of Muslims have died at the hands of Muslims, in Mali thousands are dying at the hands of Muslim extremists, in Nigeria the Boko Haram have murdered thousands of Nigerian Muslims and Christians. Beyond the actions of Muslims, consider the fact that in North Korea thousands have been put to death by that communist regime, or that China continues to eradicate the ethnic Tibetans, or that ethnic cleansing continues in the Central African Republic and Burma, or that in Mexico, on the US’s southern border, well over 100,000 have been murdered by the drug cartels.

Why are all of these not met with the same outrage as is displayed toward Israel? Unfortunately I know the answer, it is because they are Jews. The fact of the matter is this, through the lineage of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Psalm 105:7-11) whom, by the way, God renamed Israel, God chose Israel to be the people through which He would offer redemption and blessing to every person in every nation of the world. Along with that fact is the truth that because of this, Satan hates the Jews.

I hope that this article, as well as my other article on anti-Semitism, will serve as a warning to everyone who reads them. If any individual, any news organization or other business, any religion, any nation, and especially anyone who identifies themselves as a “Christian” speaks in condemnation of God’s chosen people, the nation of Israel, they need to understand they face God’s judgment and wrath.

Study God’s Word, God’s Word is Truth, and today we are living in a time in which His revealed prophecy can be understood by those who diligently seek His wisdom. For those of us who study these things it is clear; now the end begins!

Jesus is coming soon!

EvenSoCome