Sunday, March 7, 2010

"Whosoever" Of John 3:16

The following is taken from Address Nine (pages 106-110) in Addresses On The Gospel Of John - by H.A. Ironside:

You remember the story of the little girl in Martin Luther's day, when the first edition of the Bible came out. She had a terrible fear of God. God had been presented in such a way that it filled her heart with dread when she thought of Him. She brooded over the awfulness of the character of God and of some day having to meet this angry Judge. But one day she came running to her mother, holding a scrap of paper in her hand. She cried out, "Mother! mother! I am not afraid of God any more." Her mother said, "Why are you not?" "Why, look, mother," she said, "this bit of paper I found in the print shop, and it is torn out of the Bible." It was so torn as to be almost illegible except about two lines. On the one line it said, "God so loved," and on the other line it said, "that He gave." "See, mother," she said, "that makes it all right." Her mother read it and said, "God so loved that He gave." "But," she said, "it does not say what He gave." "Oh, mother," exclaimed the child, "if He loved us enough to give anything, it is all right." Then the mother said, "But, let me tell you what He gave." She read, "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Then she told how we can have peace and eternal life through trusting Him.

Am I speaking to anyone today who dreads the thought of meeting God? Do you think of your sins and say with David of old, "I remembered God, and was troubled"? Let me call your attention to this word: The love of God has been manifest in Christ. If you will but come as a needy sinner He will wash your sins away. "But," you say, "how can I be sure that it is for me? I can understand how He can invite certain ones to trust Him. Their lives have been so much better than mine, but I cannot believe that this salvation is for me." Well, what else can you make from that word, "whosoever"? "God so loved... that He gave... that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." He could not find another more all-embracing word than that. It takes you in. It takes me in. You have many another "whosoever" in the Bible. There is a "whosoever" of judgment: "Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." "Whosoever" there includes all who did not come to God while He waited, in grace, to save. If they had recognized that they were included in the "Whosoever" of John 3:16, they would not be found in that of Rev. 20:15.

Somebody wrote me the other day and said, "A man has come to our community who is preaching a limited atonement. He says it is a wonderful truth that has been only recently revealed to him." Well, I could only write back that the term "limited atonement" has an uncanny sound to me. I do not read anything like that in my Bible. I read that "He... [tasted] death for every man." I read that "He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." I read that "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all." And here I read that "Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." I say to you, as I said to the writer of that letter, that there is enough value in the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ to save every member of the human race, if they would but repent and turn to God; and then if they were all saved, there still remains value enough to save the members of a million worlds like this, if they are lost in sin and needing a Saviour. Yes, the sacrifice of Christ is an infinite sacrifice. Do not let the enemy of your soul tell you there is no hope for you. Do not let him tell you you have sinned away your day of grace; that you have gone so far that God is no longer merciful. There is life abundant for you if you will but look up into the face of the One who died on Calvary's cross and trust Him for yourself. Let me repeat it again, "Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

"Whosoever believeth." What is it to believe? It is to trust in Him; to confide in Him; to commit yourself and your affairs to Him. He is saying to you, poor needy sinner, "You cannot save yourself. All your efforts to redeem yourself can only end in failure, but I have given My Son to die for you. Trust in Him. Confide in Him!" "Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish."

...To believe in Jesus [is] to commit [yourself] unto Jesus. Have you done that? Have you said,

"Jesus, I will trust Thee, trust Thee with my soul,
Weary, worn and helpless, Thou canst make me whole.
There is none in heaven, or on earth like Thee;
Thou hast died for sinners; therefore, Lord, for me."

New Translations and the Authorised Version

I suppose that the most popular of all the proposals at the present moment is to have a new translation of the Bible... The argument is that people are not reading the Bible any longer because they do not understand its language - particularly the archaic terms - what does your modern man... know about justification, sanctification, and all the Biblical terms? And so we are told the one thing that is necessary is to have a translation that Tom, Dick, and Harry will understand. I began to feel about six months ago that we had almost reached the stage in which the Authorised Version was being dismissed, to be thrown into the limbo of things forgotten, no longer of any value. Need I apologise for saying a word in favour of the Authorised Version in this gathering?...

It is a basic proposition laid down by the Protestant Reformers, that we must have a Bible "understanded by the people." That is common sense... We must never be obscurantists. We must never approach the Bible in a mere antiquarian spirit... but it does seem to me that there is a very grave danger incipient in so much of the argument that is being presented today for these new translations. There is a danger, I say, of our surrendering something that is vital and essential...

Take this argument that the modern man does not understand such terms as justification, sanctification, and so on. I want to ask you a question. When did an ordinary man ever understand those terms?... Did the colliers to whom John Wesley and George Whitfield preached in the 18th century understand? They had not even been to day school... they could not read, they could not write. Yet these were the terms that were used. This was the version that was used - the Authorised Version. The common people have never understood these terms... We are concerned here with something that is spiritual; something that does not belong to this world at all; which, as the apostle Paul reminds us, the princes of this world do not know. Human wisdom is of no value here - it is a spiritual truth. This is truth about God primarily, and because of that it is a mystery.

Yet we are told - it must be put in such simple terms and language that anybody taking it up and reading it is going to understand all about it. My friends, this is sheer nonsense. What we must do is to educate the masses of the people up to the Bible, not bring the Bible down to their level. One of the greatest troubles today is that everything is being brought down to the same level; everything is cheapened. The common man is made the standard of authority; he decides everything, and everything has to be brought down to him...

Are we to do that with the Word of God? I say No! What has happened in the past has been this. Ignorant, illiterate people, in this country and in foreign countries, coming into salvation have been educated up to the Book and have begun to understand it, to glory in it, and to praise God for it, and I say that we need to do the same in this present time. What we need is therefore, not to replace the Authorised Version... we need rather to reach and train people up to the standard and the language, the dignity and the glory of the old Authorised Version.

Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones - 1961

Wanted: Faithful Men

There is an incredible famine of faithfulness in these days. Many churches could take Proverbs 20:6 as their theme verse: Most men will proclaim every man his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find? Thank God that the Apostle Paul found one in Timothy. To that young preacher Paul issued the following command from the Holy Ghost: And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2).

Every God-called, Spirit-led pastor desires to commit the truth to faithful men. But, the sad fact is that there are few that qualify for the training! Many that profess Christ are unfaithful men - unfaithful to the Word, the work, the war, the worship of God, and some are even unfaithful to their wives. Here's a challenge, sir - BE A FAITHFUL MAN!

A faithful man is one who has first been REGENERATED. He has been born again of the Holy Spirit. What about you - was there a time when the Holy Ghost of God REPROVED you of your sinfulness, REBUKED you of your ungodliness, and you RESPONDED by REPENTING and RECEIVING the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour? Only the saved man can qualify for this holy designation of faithful men.

He is also one who RECEIVES the Word of God. Too many are REJECTING, REWRITING, REARRANGING, RECONSTRUCTING, and REINVENTING the Word of God. But, faithful men will not go that route! The faithful man doesn'€™t get mad at the truth-telling preacher either. Like the Berean Christians of Acts 17:10,11 he RECEIVES the Word of God as it is preached, RESEARCHES the message with the Scriptures, and then REACHES a conclusion about what God's man has declared.

The faithful man allows his pastor to commit the truth to him! He is humble and takes time to be taught the Word and treasures it in his heart. He is not carried about by every wind of doctrine because he RETAINS the truth. In other words, he sticks with, stands for, and strives about the truth.

That last part of 2 Timothy 2:2 is where it really gets good. When a man is REGENERATED, RECEIVES the Word of God, and RETAINS it, he is at the place where he can be used of God to REPEAT it to others. He is able to teach others also. The work of God goes forward mightily as men develop into faithful men. Sinners are sought, the seed is sown, souls are saved, and saints are settled as faithful men continue the wonderful process of preaching the Word of God in the power of the Holy Ghost.

Sir, don't allow the famine of faithfulness to famish your family and assembly. Before God Almighty, and for His glory and honour, commit by His grace to be a faithful man from this day forward.

By Pastor Bobby Mitchell
Mid-Coast Baptist Church
Brunswick, Maine
(Used With Permission)