John 3:16                 For God So Loved the World                   6/18/2017      ßà   

 

 

 

 

 

#1.      What Is the Focus of John 3? (John 3:1-7, 1:12-13)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2.      Salvation and Condemnation Is the Issue (John 3:16-21, Rom 6:23, John 1:4)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Proverbs of Solomon, Prov 20:12 (2X). Today I would like to venture on a project that is far too big for a 50 minute sermon, and that is perhaps far too big for a preacher like I am, for with his sermon I am taking on the majority church establishment, and they would rather have me dead than alive. The sermon I am going to preach is titled For God So Loved the World (2X), from the well known verse John 3:16 (2X). The reason I am preaching on this is: I have been asked by many if I can give them a list which will prove our doctrinal stand from the Scriptures concerning

And to have a defense against the Arminian free-will gospel, which is an unbiblical position to hold. My advice to all those people is this: Keep listening to these messages, for in everyone of these messages the sovereignty of God is preached, and this sovereignty of God is found throughout the whole Bible. Keep listening to my past messages, for I have preached on the Sovereignty of God for 11 years. But if your Arminian friends choose not to listen to your quotations from the Scriptures because they have already labeled you a Hyper-Calvinist, then no reasoning whatsoever from the Scriptures will have them change their mind, for they choose not to listen because they are spiritually deaf and spiritually blind. We must rest our case with God, for God says in Prov 20:12,

Pr 20:12 ¶  The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.

Only God can give them spiritual ears to hear, and spiritual eyes to see. Do they sin if they are born spiritually blind and deaf? O Yes! Man sins voluntarily. That is why God says in Prov 28:9 (2X),

Pr 28:9 ¶  He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.

And if you search out in your concordance what “the Law” means, you find that it means the whole Bible. A grievous condemnation rests on those who refuse to listen to what the Bible says. Please turn now in your Bibles now to the Gospel according to John, John 3:1 (2X). And so, I decided to preach today on the most popular verse for those who are in an Arminian gospel, and I will try to erase the apparent contradictions that this verse seems to raise. But let us begin to notice the context:

#1.      What Is the Focus of John 3? (John 3:1-7, 1:12-13)

Most of the apparent contradictions in the Bible are generated by quoting verses out of context. It is a favorite pastime of those who are in an Arminian gospel to quote verses out of context. So let us see what wisdom we can glean from the context of John 3:16, and let us start at the beginning of this chap.

Joh 3:1 ¶  There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

Joh 3:2  The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

Joh 3:3-4  Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.           Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

Joh 3:5-7  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.            That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.                Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Nicodemus did not come to Jesus to praise Him for doing miracles, but Nicodemus came to Jesus to know His teaching about salvation. That is why Jesus answered him the way He did. Paraphrased Jesus said, “Before anyone may enter eternal life with God, he must first be born again”. Actually the term “born again” is an inaccurate translation. The proper translation from the Greek is “born from above” (2X), to indicate that it is an action from God. The Lord Jesus explained this in verse 6 where He said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh”. In other words, if you are only born of the flesh then you have experienced the first birth, and you have not experienced the second birth. But then He said, “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit”. In other words, if you have been born of the Spirit of God then you have also experienced the second birth, and you have been born from above, which makes you fit to see the Kingdom of God. Can anyone make himself be born again? Of course not! Can anyone, by making a decision to follow Christ, cause himself become born from above? Of course you cannot! It is altogether God’s action if you are made fit to see the Kingdom of God. This was already expressed in chapter 1. Please turn for a moment to John 1:12 (2X). Here in the introductory statements to the Gospel according to John, which is a synopsis of the Gospel of John, the Lord says in verses 12-13,

Joh 1:12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Joh 1:13  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Who are those who are eligible to become sons of God? The answer is, “They that believe on His Name”. And who are those who believe on His Name? “Not they who were born in the right bloodline, and not they who were born of the will of the flesh, and not they who were born of the will of man, but they who were born of God”. They who were born from above, or born from the Spirit of God, are the only ones who believe on His Name. All others actually do not believe on the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ; instead they have put their trust in another god, whom they blasphemously named Jesus Christ, but who is not the God of the Bible. They who have called themselves “sons of God” have done so by the will of the flesh, or by the will of man. They have usurped the title “sons of God”, but they were not entitled to it. In other words, those who claimed that they by their own free will have accepted the Lord Jesus as their Lord and Savior, have, by their own admission, declared that they  belong to the “born again” generation, not by the will of God, but by their own will of the flesh, and by their own will of man. They have stolen the name “sons of God”. This is clearly the meaning of John 1:12-13. And thus the focus of John 3 is Salvation. How does God save someone? First you must be born from above! And what is our contribution to that event? Nothing! We cannot make ourselves born again. Can we force the hand of God? No! Just like in our first birth, our second birth occurs to us without our control.

Please turn again to John chapter 3, John 3:8 (2X). In the next verse the Lord Jesus Christ explains the action of God the Holy Spirit in this process of becoming “born again”. He says in John 3:8,

Jo 3:8 The winnd bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence

it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

This is an unfortunate translation, for this translation does not do justice to the work of God the Holy Spirit. Nor does it tell us how or what the operation of the Holy Spirit is. Literally the Greek text says in:

Jo 3:8 The Spiirit breathes where He wills, and thou hearest His voice, but ye know not from where He comes, and where He goes: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

In other words, we can hear when the Spirit of God has touched someone, but we cannot know from where the Holy Spirit has come, or why He has come, and where He is going next. He simply breathes life into a soul here or there where He wills and not when we will, and then we can hear His voice, for His voice in praising the Lord Jesus comes through loud and clear in the ones whom He has made born from above. Even so, or on this wise, or after this manner, does it occur to every one who has been born of the Spirit. And these last words are in the passive voice, just like in verse 6, which means that the person who has been made born from above is passive in all this action of God the Holy Spirit. God’s irresistible grace is given to whom He will, and not to whom we will. That person being born again is born of God, and not born of the will of man, nor of the will of the flesh. Again God emphasizes that we have nothing to do with our second birth. Then we read in verses 9-10,

Joh 3:9-10  Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?

Nicodemus are you a teacher of Israel and you do not know these things? You are supposed to know these things, because these things have been taught so clearly in the prophecy of Ezekiel, and in Psalm 51. Please turn in your Bibles to the prophecy of Ezekiel, Eze 36:25 (2X). You find Ezekiel right after the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah, about 2/3 down in your Bibles. In the first half of this chapter God speaks to “the Mountains of Israel”, and God promises that these Mountains of Israel shall be the permanent inheritance of “My People Israel”. Therefore, since this earth will be destroyed, this land cannot refer to some real estate here on this sin-cursed earth. This land must refer to the Kingdom of God on this earth. Then beginning in verse 16 God addresses the house of Israel, and how the house of Israel was really unworthy of receiving God’s grace of salvation. But then God speaks of His mercy and grace upon those whom He called “the House of Israel”, and God says in verse 25,

Eze 36:25-28  Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.             A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.         And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.           And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.

Clearly, God teaches here that He will infuse a new heart, or a new soul, into those whom He calls “the House of Israel”. Clearly, God is doing all the action, for He said, “I will put my spirit within you, and I will cause you to walk in my statutes”. And “the land” in verse 28 does not refer to the physical land of Canaan, but refers to “the Mountains of Israel” that He spoke of in the first 15 verses of this chapter, which is the permanent Kingdom of God in the hearts, or souls, of those whom God saves. Therefore those in whom God infuses a new heart are only those who become saved, because they are “born from above”. Obviously, in this context “the House of Israel” does not refer to all the physical descendants of Jacob, for most of them remained unsaved. And neither does it refer to all the Jews in Babylon who were going to be delivered by the Medes and the Persians, for God saved only a remnant of them, and their children went apostate as much as their forefathers have done. Please turn again to the Gospel according to John, John 3:11 (2X). This was the passage that Jesus referred to when He said, “Nicodemus, are you a teacher of Israel and you do not know these things?” God has taught these things in more places in the OT. For example, He says in Ezek 11:19, “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh”. And God said in Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me”. And so we see that the concept of being “born from above” was already given in the OT, but the teachers of the nation of Israel picked and chose only those passages that they liked, and thus their eyes remained closed to the real meaning of the Word of God. Just like today, when the teachers in the church are seeing only the historical tread through the Bible. When they are seeing only the storyline, both in the OT and in the NT, they are missing 90% of the emphasis that God placed in the Bible; emphasis that focuses on the sovereignty of God and on the real meaning of salvation. What have we seen thus far in this chapter? We have seen that the first step to salvation, from man’s perspective, is that we must receive a new heart, or a new soul, or equivalent to this: our soul must be regenerated, which means our soul must be made alive because the soul that we have from the time of our physical birth is a dead soul. It is a soul dead in trespasses and sins. Only God can give us a new soul, a soul that is alive to God. We have no control over this process of being “born from above”. And if God is not a liar the remainder of this chapter should harmonize with what we have found in these first ten verses. Let us now consider the heresy that has plagued the church for many centuries. And that heresy is that we must do something for our salvation. It is the heresy of:

Joh 3:11-13  Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.      If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?                And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he

that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

In verse 11 the Lord Jesus said, “We speak that we do know”, referring not to Himself and the disciples, but to Himself and God the Holy Spirit. Then in verses 11 and 12 the Lord Jesus addresses “ye” and “you”, saying, “ye receive not our witness”, by which He refers to all mankind, including the Pharisees as well as the disciples. God says in Rom 3:11, “There is NONE that seeketh after God”. Therefore, if anyone does seek after the true God, like Nicodemus did, it is a sign that God has already done a miracle in his heart. We see the evidence of it when Jesus has died, and Nicodemus was not afraid to openly defile himself with the dead body of Jesus. Here again in verses 11 and 12 we see man’s inability to come on his own to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, and to know the Father who has sent Him. Only by the grace of God can we know Him. Then in verse 13 the Lord Jesus declared one of the divine attributes He has as the Second Person of the Triune Godhead. He said, “even the Son of man which is in heaven”. He did not say, “which was in heaven”, but “which is in heaven”. Since the Lord Jesus was fully God, “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily      (Col 2:9), He continued to retain His omnipresence as a divine attribute, and thus He was able to be present in the body of the carpenter of Nazareth as well as be in heaven. And then we read in verse 14,

Joh 3:14-15  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:                      That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

The Lord Jesus referred here to an event that is described in Num 21:4-9. Please turn in your Bibles to the prophecy of Numbers, Num 21:4 (2X). The sequence in your Bibles is Gen, Ex, Lev, Num. The scroll of Numbers is so called because therein the children of Israel are numbered. They were numbered twice: once when they left Egypt, and again 40 years later before they entered into the land of Canaan. Even the number of their camping sites was recorded in Numbers. But also all their sordid sins were recorded in Numbers. And one of those sins is what we are going to read presently.

Nu 21:4-5  And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way.                    And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.

Nu 21:6-7  And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.                 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.

Nu 21:8  And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.

Nu 21:9  And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

This story was written for the purpose of giving us a picture of what salvation is. The Lord Jesus draws from this picture the analogy of Him being lifted up on the cross. And so, what we see in verse 9 is that anyone who was bitten by the fiery serpents, was condemned to die unless that person went outside his tent and looked at the brass serpent on a pole, and then he was cured from the deadly venom of the fiery serpent. In other words, in order to save his life that person must look at the serpent on a pole. If he did not look he would certainly die. From this many churches have derived the heresy: Look and Live”. Please turn again to the Gospel according to John, John 3:14-15. Look at these words. The Lord Jesus clearly draws the parallel between the OT looking and present day believing. Is this then the small thing that we must do? Just like the children of Israel who were dying of the venom of the serpent had to look at the brass serpent on a pole, and save their life, even so today every one of us who is dying of the venom of sin has to look up to Jesus, believing that He can save us from our sins, and presto: we are saved. Is this how God saves? We must look to Christ, or believe on Christ, who is lifted up on the cross, and by taking this action we shall look and live, or we shall believe and have eternal life. Is this then the small thing that we must do? But this conclusion is altogether opposite to what we have been reading in the previous verses. What is the correct interpretation? The key is that there were two groups of people in the camp of Israel. The first group of people is characterized by verse 6, which says, “and much people of Israel died”. In other words, God was not merciful to these people. They rebelled against God and they died in their unbelief and in their sins. The second group of people is characterized by verse 7, who repented of their sins, and they said to Moses, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us”. Now, where did this repentance come from? The Bible says in Acts 5:31 that only God is the Author of repentance. All by himself, in his sinful nature, man cannot repent. But through the illuminating work of God the Holy Spirit a man is led to see himself as a sinner in rebellion against God, and as evil in nature. Therefore, a man’s repentance is always preceded by the work of God the Holy Spirit in his soul. Just think of the situation there in the wilderness. God gave the grace to some to live long enough so that they were alive until the serpent of brass was made and put on a pole Those who died were many, but those who were saved were few, for God says in Heb 3 that most of them died in the wilderness in unbelief. Therefore, those who repented were saved, and those who did not repent died in unbelief. The serpent on a pole was not like a magic potion to give life to whosoever wants to exercise this magic. Likewise, the Lord Jesus lifted up on a cross is not like a magic potion to give eternal life to whosoever wants to exercise this magic. That is idolatry. To give the name of Christ to the idol that we are serving is blasphemy. And so, what did we learn from this event of the fiery serpents in the wilderness? We learned again how God saves. And we learned that we must read the Bible carefully, for God wrote the Bible in such a way that if we are bound and determined to go on a wide road that leads to Hell, we shall surely succeed. Also we have learned from this event that:

#2.      Salvation and Condemnation Is the Issue (John 3:16-21, Rom 6:23, John 1:4)

Joh 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Joh 3:17-18  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.              He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Joh 3:19  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

Joh 3:20-21  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.            But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

I have read verses 16-21, because these verses belong together. But our focus will be altogether on John 3:16. The first thing we notice is that the second half of verse 16 is an exact duplicate of verse 15, and verse 15 is pointing to verse 14 where the Lord Jesus said that “Just like Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up”, meaning “He must be lifted up on the cross”. And so, it should be kept in mind that in John 3:16 the cross is in view. And so the meaning of the words, “God gave His only begotten Son” should be understood that God gave the Lord Jesus as a sacrificial offering on the cross of Calvary. Why did God have to do that? It is widely understood that Christ’s offering of Himself was a substitutionary atonement, a satisfaction of God’s righteousness, for the sins of all those whose sins He came to pay. All those sins are insults to God. If you slap a policeman in the face you go to jail for a few days. If you slap the president in the face you go to jail for a long time. If you slap God in the face you go to Hell for a very, very long time. That is the penalty for sin, for any sin, great or small. This penalty for sin is in the Bible also called “the Second Death”, for God warned Adam that this penalty would be “dying you shall die”. It is an eternal torment of dying and never coming to the end of it. That is why the word “perish” is in the text of John 3:16, but annihilation is not in view. More precisely, God says in Rom 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death”, and the death that God has in view is the Second Death in the Lake of Fire. So far all these things have been agreed upon by almost all the churches in the world. What we have covered so far is not at all controversial. The words that are controversial are in the sections, “God so loved the world”, and “that whosoever believeth in Him”. Most churches have drifted into the understanding that God so loves every human being in the world that He gave His only begotten Son on the cross of Calvary for their sins. They have drifted into this interpretation, which is an Arminian interpretation, but from the beginning it was not so. In the 17th century almost all the Protestant churches were either Lutheran of Calvinist. The teachings of Jacob Arminius were considered an abomination. But when the Methodist movement began, also the teachings of Jacob Arminius became more and more acceptable. And today most people do not even know there is another view. So let us see what we can conclude from the context. If God indeed loves every human being in the world, then why does God in verse 19 say that He condemns a portion of human beings? Verse 19 answers, “Because their deeds were evil”. Does this mean then that if their deeds were good, they would receive credit for these good works, and thus they would be rewarded? But verse 21 says that those good deeds reveal that they have been worked in God. In fact, the Greek text says clearly that those good works exist because they have been worked in God. In other words, God is the Author of those good deeds. God has used human beings to perform the good deeds He wanted done. But this means that God favors some people by making them His servants. This means that there is such a thing as election, and that God bestows His favors primarily on the elect. On the other hand, there is such a thing as reprobation, for God says in verse 19 that there is a portion of the world of mankind that God hates. For Light has come into the world, Christ has come into the world, for John 1:4 says that Christ was the light of men, and men loved the darkness of sin more than Christ, who is the Light. This “world” in verse 19 is the same word for “world” in verse 16. It is the Greek word “kosmos”. Can you see the controversy between verses 16 and verse 19? In verse 16 God loves the world. But verse 19 speaks of the condemnation that comes upon the world. Is it possible that there are two different kinds of world in the Bible? And this is indeed so. Let us then consider now:

Many people suppose they already know the simple meaning of John 3:16 and they conclude that they do not need to study this verse. Such an attitude shuts out any further insight which they might obtain on this passage. If we just take our clues from the Concordance we can immediately see seven different meanings of the word “Kosmos”, which has been translated “world” in our KJ Bibles.

#1. Kosmos is used of the universe as a whole:

Ac 17:24  God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;

#2. Kosmos is used of this physical earth:

Joh 13:1 ¶  Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.

#3. Kosmos is used of the world-system:

Joh 12:31  Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.

#4. Kosmos is used of the whole human race:

Ro 3:19 ¶  Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

#5. Kosmos is used of the world of the unsaved:

Joh 15:18  If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

Believers do not hate Christ, so that the world here must mean the world of all the unsaved.

Ro 3:6  God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?

Here the world cannot mean believers, for the saints will not be judged on the Last Day.

#6. Kosmos is used of the world of the Gentiles, in contrast from the Jews:

Ro 11:12  Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?

Here the world cannot mean all humanity, for it excludes Israel

#7. Kosmos is used of the world of the elect only:

Joh 1:29 ¶  The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

Joh 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Joh 3:17  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Joh 6:33  For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

Joh 12:47  And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.

1Co 4:9  For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.

2Co 5:19  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

And so we see that God uses the word Kosmos in at least seven clearly defined different meanings in the NT. Has God then used this word to confuse people who casually read the Scriptures? No! But neither has He written the Bible for lazy people, or for people who are too busy with the things of this world. I have given seven examples for usage definition number seven, because this world of the elect is denied by those who adhere to an Arminian understanding of the Gospel. The Arminian gospel is a free-will gospel where everything depends on man’s own free-will. Man is the king-maker, and God is the servant of man. God waits and postpones His decisions based on man’s actions and desires. But let it be known that this is a different god than the God of the Bible. If anyone wants to serve the god of Jacob Arminius, let him be aware that this is an impotent idol. And idolatry is one of the most hated sins in God’s eyes. At this point in time all of you can clearly see that I have not finished this discussion of John 3:16. If the Lord wills, I shall pick up this thread next time where I left off.

AMEN.                 Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.