Monday, January 27, 2014

Most Used Scripture Verse Today?

John 3:16 has been the most used Scripture verse for many, many years.

“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.”

At least twice in the past few months, I have heard others state that this is no longer the case. Supposedly, another has taken its place; i.e. Matthew 7:1.

“Judge not, that ye be not judged.”

I immediately realize that only a Christian would be quoting John 3:16. Thousands and thousands of Christians have read or quoted this verse to others while sharing the Gospel to a lost soul.

It has been proclaimed from the pulpits for hundreds of years by many pastors, missionaries and evangelists while preaching God’s message of salvation through His Son.

It has been used while sitting in the living room or at the kitchen table witnessing for Christ.

It has been read on the prairies, the river banks, in the jungles, in prison cells; anywhere a Christian is sharing the Good News of Jesus.

Sermons and books have been written solely on this one verse, John 3:16, and now it is second place? What happened? John 3:16 is the greatest news mankind could ever receive. Millions have bowed before the Savior it introduces and put their faith in Him. Millions have been given eternal life because of this verse. How could it possibly no longer be the most used Scripture verse of God’s Word, the Bible? Obviously, there are two reasons.

Assuming this is true; the most obvious reason is that Christians have stopped witnessing as they once did. Ask yourself, when was the last time you used this passage to witness to someone? Has our witnessing subsided over the years? Has the world changed so much we are now “timid” about spreading the Good News?

Most Christians have always been shy about witnessing. Why? I don’t know, but they have been.

The Apostle Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For in it is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17

The Gospel message contained in John 3:16 is nothing to be ashamed of. To the contrary, it is something so wonderful, it must be shared.

Jesus said, “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.” Luke 9:26

I have known far, far more Christians who thought, and even openly stated, that “it’s the preacher’s job” to witness, whether face-to-face or from the pulpit. Does this attitude originate from shyness or laziness? My guess is; both.

Look folks, read Luke 9:26 (above) again. If you’re ashamed of Jesus Christ, He will be ashamed of you. If you have to be prodded and pushed to witness to others about Jesus, you have a serious problem.

If John 3:16 has fallen so much in usage that it now falls below Matthew 7:1, that tells me that Christians are witnessing even less than they once did. Maybe this is why Satan and his message are so rapidly overtaking our society. Those who profess Christ privately have quit professing Him openly.

I assure you that Satan’s message is very popular, always has been, and his followers are not ashamed to say so. Now why is that? Satan’s message tells us how good we are and no matter how we live, everything will be alright. Satan’s message is “Let’s party.” Our message is, “Let’s pray.” They don’t want to pray, they want to party, and they resent any confines to their “having a good time.” Therefore, we timidly back-peddle lest we offend anyone.

The second reason I see, would be that those without Christ have found a Bible verse they can use to keep us mean-ole Christians off their backs. They can indulge in their sins and mis-represent this verse to keep us quiet.

Matthew 7:1 contains wonderful words of Jesus that should be taken seriously. After all, He commands it; “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Funny thing though, Jesus also said, in the very same chapter, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits…” He said these words in verses 15-16.

Someone once said, “I don’t judge anyone. That’s God’s business. I’m just a fruit inspector.” Now you may not think that’s funny, and may even be offended by it, but I think it makes perfect sense.

It is true that it isn’t up to us to judge another, but a Christian cannot just turn a blind eye to sin. One certainly can recognize sin and point it out without being confrontational or judgmental. Why would God give us the Ten Commandments if we weren’t expected to know what to avoid and what to embrace?

God is the one who will judge us all. He has identified sin so clearly in His Word a child should know what sin is. So what is the real issue?

When we peel away all the camouflage the message is quite clear. People like to sin. That’s what we do. We are a fallen creature. Prior to being born-again in Jesus Christ we are spiritually dead but very much alive in the shenanigans of our father the Devil.

Satan, the Devil, hides in the darkness. He loves it. Until we come to Christ we love the darkness too. Until the light of Jesus floods our soul, we hate the light.

“Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.” 1 Thessalonians 5:5

“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12

“As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9:5

“I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” John 12:46

The lost world has discovered that they can defend themselves by saying, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Why do they do this? I never thought you would ask. I’ll give you two examples.

1.    God says that homosexuality is a sin against Him. So we warn those practicing this perverted lifestyle.
2.    God says that abortion is murder. So we warn those with bloody hands.

The Church’s text book of instructions from God is the Bible. The world reasons that if they use a verse from our own text book against us, it will shut us up and they can continue in their sins without our annoying interruptions. But there’s a problem. Any Christian “worth their salt” is not judging anyone. God is the one doing the judging. It is God who is saying “You have sinned against me.” We are just the messenger (and you know what often happens to the messenger).

So Christians normally use John 3:16, but now non-Christians are using Matthew 7:1 in an attempt to shut the mouths of God’s people. Guess what? To my horror I have been noticing Christians also using Matthew 7:1, not as intended, but to assist those who want to keep their sins and still claim they know Christ as Savior.

Christians will sometimes fall into the pig pen, but they don’t want to stay there. They’re unclean and they feel unclean. They have no peace until, as His child, they seek forgiveness from their Father in Heaven.

If you like the pig pen, don’t say you are a child of God. God doesn’t raise pigs. He raises sheep. Don’t use God’s holy Word to defend your sins. No, we won’t judge you. That isn’t our place, but we will warn you, that God will judge sin. We will also tell you, if you would like to listen, that He loves you and says so in John 3:16.

You Christians who are supporting those who are trying to use God’s Word to defend their actions and shut the mouths of those who identify sin as sin, need to get in the Word and grow up. You are immature and causing much harm to the Christian community. It would be better if you just kept silent until you actually know what you are talking about.

Listen folks, thousands of people in our country are going straight to hell because they think they can continue in an on-going lifestyle of sin and still be a Christian. That is not the attitude of a true Christian. It is lip service only.

The Christian community needs to love them, pray for them, and tell them the Truth, not tell them “It’s okay. God is love. We don’t judge. Let’s all love each other.” The mature Christian will notice that three of these sentences are true, but the first one is a lie.

1.    It is okay to “straddle the fence.” No it isn't. There can only be one master, either we serve Jesus, or we serve the world, but we can’t do both.h
2.    God is love, that’s why He came and died for us, to save us from our sins.
3.    God will judge those who refuse His Son.
4.    Yes, let us love one another by being truthful to each other.

So is Matthew 7:1 being used now more often than John 3:16? I really don’t know, but I have been hearing Matthew 7:1 used on several occasions by people who obviously don’t want to be reminded that sin is sin and God judges sin.

Grant Phillips
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