The Message we Preach

What is the Gospel?

Never Read a Bible Verse

One of the worst thing a Christian can do is to read a Bible Verse. When we single out a verse and take it out of context, well, lets just say that's one of the quickest way to "step onto the slippery slope of false teaching" (Proverbs 14:12). So let us look at John 3:16 in context. A Pharisee named Nicodemus came in the middle of the night looking for Jesus. The teacher of the law is intrigued and impressed by the teaching of Christ and came seeking further enlightenment from someone he considered to be a prophet from God. Jesus, instead of indulging in a theological discussion, turns the whole discussion into a witnessing encounter. Jesus first confounds Nicodemus by the straight forward declaration that the Kingdom of God only welcomes those who are "born again" (verse 3-8). Nicodemus, now both confused and intrigued by Jesus' response, pleads with him to explain "How can these things be?" (verse 9). And here is Jesus' answer (verses 10-21):

John 3:16 Tunnel Vision
Does your theology suffer from biblical tunnel vision?

"Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?

No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

In light of everything Christ said, the message of love disappears into the back drop of a message of confrontational rebuke!. He points out Nicodemus' ignorance of God's word and his stubborn unbelief. While Christ said He is not here to condemn the world, our master lovingly and boldly proclaimed that the world is ALREADY CONDEMNNED. Further more the Savior goes on to define the reason of the world's condemnation: They are evildoers, they hate God, who is the light of the world and they refuse to come to God for forgiveness. This is hardly a "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life" message. Christ, here in John chapter 3 and throughout the Gospel account is more interested in pointing out to men and women what they are perishing from rather than the love of God.

Part 1: What is the Gospel?

Part 3: All You Need is Love?