John 3:16 is used and quoted a lot. Don’t get me wrong, this is a good thing. However, we can sometimes forget that there is a lot more surrounding that scripture, and context is important.
Let’s see what Jesus says from John 3:16 and a little further on:
JHN 3:16-21 KJV
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. 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. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 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.
So here is a prime example of what I’m talking about. We take just the popular verse, that through Christ, we have everlasting life. Obviously Christ is speaking truth, but stopping there is the equivalent of plugging our ears before Christ is done speaking.
He goes on to say that he did not come into the world to condemn it (and therefore we should not either). Specifically though he explains why: The world is already condemned in its sin. Mens evil ways will drive us head first into condemnation, Christ has nothing to do with making that happen. He is however here to give us a way out. It also makes a point to say that once that light is present, evil men will cling even harder to their sin, because they love it, and because they don’t want their sin to be exposed. Those that cling to Christ however are happy to have their deeds exposed because they bring glory and honor to God.
The final point I want to make here is one of caution. “Single Verse Sermons” are dangerous, if not sometimes ridiculous. Don’t buy into the concept of great meaning from a single verse, read on and understand the context from which it comes. This circles back to a fundamental truth, you must read your bible to understand what scripture is truly saying.