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Maraca with Bible Verse
1 Timothy 2:5

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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Everyday Evangelism - What is Wrong with Using John 3:16 in Evangelism?

     The favorite verse for people in the world is John 3:16. In John 3:16,
it says "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but will have everlasting
 life." You see this verse on tracts, shirts, bumper stickers and billboards.
 Why do people like this verse so much, and what is wrong with using this
verse in evangelism?
   First, let's try to understand how the world thinks. Left to himself (or herself),
people enjoy being in darkness because they love evil deeds. This doesn't
necessarily mean that people are all overtly wicked. Some people just have
pride and they are unwilling to part with that. Others are involved in adulterous
relationships and don't want to let them go. Some people don't see anything
wrong with telling small lies, or being deceptive. They reason that as long as
 they are not killing anyone, they are ok before God.
   These people will take this verse and stop at the part that says 'For God
 so loved the World'. Others will take it further and say, 'For God so loved
 the world that He gave His only Son..', but some will go the rest of the way
 with the whole verse. They will reason with themselves and others that they
 believe in Jesus. They believe He is the Son of God, and that He died for
our sins. That is not even an issue for them. The problem that is created
has to do with the word 'believe'. The understanding of this verse hinges
on our understanding of what the word 'believe' means. If the word 'believe'
 means to believe about something, then we are in the same class as the
 devil. He believes that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died for people's
 sins. But the word believe has a different connotation. It really has to do with
trusting in something vs. believing about something. There is a difference. If
I say I believe in Jesus, yet am really relying on how good I am, (or how
bad I am not) for my salvation, even in part, I missed the Gospel. Jesus
died to pay for everything for our sin.
   Here is another problem that people misunderstand when they are
quoting this verse; some people assume that because Jesus died
for all our sins, that means everything is ok now between God and
that person. They think that Jesus' death provides automatic salvation
for everyone and that there is no response needed from us. Then there
is the large group of people that think that if they 'ask Jesus into their
heart' or 'make a decision for Christ' that they have properly responded
to the Gospel. That is a misunderstanding also. Although a person
could be responding to God in that way, if God is truly working in his
or her heart, salvation can take place, but most of the time, it could
be a replacement to the response of God working in the heart, and
it will provide a false sense of security.
    So what is wrong with using John 3:16 in evangelism? Nothing at
all. As long as the Gospel is preached, and people understand the
meaning of the whole verse in its context, there is nothing wrong with
 it. So, we can use this verse, (and it is a good one to use) and expound
on it with other verses, and God will use it to bring people to repentance
and faith in Christ, and a true salvation experience. If God is at work in
a heart, nothing will stop His will from being done. We have to remember
that when we evangelize. Let's believe in faith that God will ordain our
steps and He will prepare the hearts of the people we talk to when we
share the Gospel. The rest is up to God. We sow and pray and God
gives the increase.
   "The fields are ripe and ready for harvest. Pray that the Lord of the
Harvest will send forth laborers..."
   So, in conclusion, there is nothing wrong with using John 3:16 in
evangelism. In fact, the Gospel is in that verse. The problems people
are encountering have to do with the modern concept of what the word
'love' means, and what the word 'believe' means. People assume that
because God 'loves' us, that we automatically won't go to hell. We don't
have to be concerned anymore. They also believe that that word 'believe'
has to do with acknowledging that something is true, when in reality it
means to 'trust'. And again it is not just trusting the facts to be true
(Jesus died for my sins) but to trust that Jesus provided the sacrifice
that was necessary for us to be saved, which requires us to respond
 to it (trust in Jesus).
   The people in Jesus' day were familiar with the Law and had some
understanding of why He came and died. Today, especially in America,
we don't understand the Law (10 Commandments) so the Gospel doesn't
make sense to the average person. We need to lay the foundation of the
 Law once again, not to try to get people to obey the Law as best as they
can, but to show them that they can't keep the Law (10 Commandments).
The point of the Law is to show us just that. We can't get into heaven on
our own score. We have to get in on Someone else's score. It has to be
a person who has a perfect score though. Only one person did that and
we have to get in on His score if we will get in at all.

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