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John 3:16 Conference: Message on John 3:16 by Dr. Jerry Vines

Special signing by an FBCW member, “Gentle Savior, Lead Me On.”

Dr. Vines introduced by Johnny Hunt.

Dr. Vines has previously preached John 3:16 on August 26 of this year in a chapel service of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS). That previous sermon can be heard HERE.

Having listened to Dr. Vines’ sermon from the SBTS chapel, I note that the introduction to this sermon was substantially the same as that earlier sermon; however, there was an added section on various errors refuted by John 3:16, including the following controversial statement:

“‘Whosoever’ answers five-point Calvinism, which says that Christ died only for the elect.”

The main points of the sermon were identical to the main points of Dr. Vines’ sermon in the SBTS chapel service. I summarize Dr. Vines’ propositions under each of these points as best as I can while he is speaking:

1. God’s love is global and that it extends to all people.
-Dr. Vines gave information on the distinction between different Greek words for “love.”
-The origin of this love is literally, “the God.”
-The verb “love” is in the aorist tense, speaking of this love in its totality.
-The Greek adverb translated “so” speaks to the intensity of God’s love.
-“World” from Greek “kosmos” in John refers to the ordered universe, the world system, or the human beings living in creation- “for God so loved the whole of humanity.” Some extreme Calvinists understand this to refer to “the world of the elect.” [This was, I believe, not said at the SBTS chapel.] But this rather speaks to a global love- a love for the church- which the Apostle Paul describes as a love “for me.”
-“There’s not a little boy or little girl on the face of the earth” who cannot say ‘God loves me.’
-We are living in a fallen world (ref. Jeremiah 17:9). God’s love is not based upon the object loved.
-Like a mother’s heart in which the love expands to love each of her children, God’s love extends to every person.
-Why personal evangelism, missions, etc.? “For God so loved the world.”

2. God’s love is sacrificial in that He gave His Son to die for us.
-There is an emotional aspect to love, but love is primarily a decision.
-“Love is a noun,” but it is also a verb.
-Love is a decision, and the love of God is a decision.
-It is the nature of love to give.
-The aorist verb “gave” speaks of the entirety of God giving His Son in the Incarnation, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection.
-God gave his Son “definitely” and “uniquely.”
-Dr. Vines got appropriately excited about the idea of God giving His Son, and began to pontificate- in a good way- on the details of the gospel story: Jesus’ Incarnation, Crucifixion, and Resurrection, alluding to several other texts.

3. God’s love is personal and that Christ died for you.
-“Whosoever” is from the Greek word “pas,” which carries the idea of totality. (Ref. 2 Timothy 3:16, which speaks of the totality of Scripture.)
-Some say that “all those believing” is what is in view, but this would be redundant, as “believing” would be sufficient. Quote from Dr. Allen that the “pas” generalizes this phrase to extend beyond those believing to every individual.
-Ref. Romans 3:22-23 and Romans 10:12-14 to prove that “pas” refers to every individual.
-“Whosoever will may be saved.”
-In the first part of the verse God is the subject; in the phrase “whosoever believes” we become the subject.
-We have to recognize that you do not start with your systematic theology and work backward, you start with exegesis and work forward.
-The God in this Bible won’t fit in anybody’s box: if I preach from one part of the Scripture people will say, “Vines is a Calvinist!” if I preach from another part of the Scripture people will say, “Vines is an Arminian!”
-“How does this saving faith come about?” … “Is it not true that all of us have a faculty of faith?” (Ex.- faith that food is not poisoned, that a pilot is capable of navigating a plane, etc.) “Could it be that saving faith is a faith that is lifted to a higher level? How is that faith lifted?” Ref. Romans 10:17- through the preaching of the Word and the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Ref. 2 Thessalonians 2:13, which shows both the divine side and the human side (in “believing” unto salvation).
-The word “for,” translated from the Greek “gar” connects this to previous verses in which it is said that those who look on the serpent live; the look comes first, then the life. In John 3:16 the believing comes first, then the eternal life.

[The following is, I believe, an added point to this sermon from when he preached it at SBTS.]
4. God’s love is eternal
-“Do you believe that there’s a hell? I do.”
-Dr. Vines spoke on the terrible reality of hell, and then the promise of heaven, making the point that heaven is primarily a Person: “He who has the Son has life.”

-Andrew Lindsey

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