It is Friday, February 22, 2019. John 3:16-17 may be the most quoted verses in all of Scripture. Heck, even people who would not consider themselves Bible believing followers of Jesus know these two verses!!! But what about the four following verses? It's of extreme importance to look at Scripture in context. Who's speaking? Who is the audience? What is this saying, taking into consideration what has been said before and what is said afterwards? Let's unpack this well known, but, I believe, very misunderstood section of God's Word. Chris Adomanis
The following guide is a resource for you to use in your personal time of solitude with the Lord as well as when you connect with the Community that you facilitate. It can also be used for times with family or friends around the table.
CATCH-UP- What was your high and low from last week/yesterday?
SING + PRAY- Take some time for song (guitar, hymn, acapella or read a Psalm) and extended prayer as an individual/community. A simple path of prayer is to pray through one of the Psalms as a group or use the acronym ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication).
DISCOVER (IN LARGE GROUP)
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.17 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.18 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.19 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.20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.21 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.”
+ WHAT is this passage saying and what is a key truth or thought that I/we learn?
(Use these questions to help make additional observations to clarify the main point)
_ Who or what is "the world" in verse 16? What does the word "perish" mean, in contrast to “eternal life”? Is this verse teaching universal salvation to all? Why or why not?
_ We are told in other parts of Scripture that Jesus has been given authority to judge the world (Matthew 25:31-46). Does verse 17 contradict this teaching? What is Jesus "saving" the world from?
_ "Believe" is mentioned three times in verse 18 (and once in verse16). So, what does it mean to “believe” in Jesus? Compare this verse with John the Baptist words in John 3:36. What word is added by John the Baptist? UNDERSTANDING THIS TOPIC IS AT THE HEART OF THE GOSPEL MESSAGE!!!
_ What excuses have you heard from people who don't accept the truth claims made by Jesus Christ? According to the words of Jesus Himself in verses 19-20, what is the REAL reason? How do you feel about this tough teaching of Scripture? Does this teaching change the way you think about evangelism?
_ Does verse 21 teach that a person makes his way from darkness to light through their actions?How does one transfer from the Kingdom of Darkness to the Kingdom of Light?(John 3:3, Colossians 1:13-14)
PROCESS (IN BREAKOUTS OF 2-3’S, GUYS/GIRLS)
+ HOW is the Lord calling me to action/obedience? Is there sin to confess, a next step to take, how has it gone since last time
_ Only God regenerates, but most times, He uses people to reach those in darkness with the light given by the Light of the World. Repent from being timid and boldly speak the Word of Truth to those closest to you; at work, at home, everywhere you go!!!
+ WHO am I walking with and praying for to discover Jesus, what is my next step? (e.g., Build trust by spending time with them, set-up an intentional time to share your story, begin a discovery study on the teachings of Jesus with them)