John 3:16-21

Talks for Growing Christians

A Clear Presentation of the Gospel

John 3:16-21

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Lesson Number 14

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The benefits of Christ’s death are sufficient for all people, but only effective for some people.
  2. The judgment of God is upon those in darkness who deliberately turn away from the light

Practical Application

  1. Are you moving toward the light, or away from it?


  1. How is the word, “world,” (John 3:16, 17, 19) used in the New Testament?
  2. What is meant by “only begotten,” as used of Christ?
  3. Does the word, “perish,” mean annihilation?
  4. Explain doctrinal point #1.
  5. Upon whom is the judgment of God?


  1. a) as the material universe that God created (see Acts 17:24), b) as the evil satanic system of attitudes and values that are contrary to God and His word (1 John 2:15-16), and c) as the world of mankind, or the people.
  2. It does not mean that Christ had a beginning, as it sounds like in English. The Greek phrase is only one word, regarding the uniqueness of the relationship between God the Father and God the Son.
  3. No, it means ruin. Unbelievers do not cease to exist when they die, but they are lost forever.
  4. The work of Christ on the cross was universal in scope, and the benefits are unlimited. Blanket payment for sin has been made. But the benefits are effective only for those who believe.
  5. Upon those in darkness who deliberately turn away from the light. Notice in Romans 1:18 that unbelievers not only turn away from the light, but they suppress the truth.


  1. Why doesn’t God just save everyone, even those who turn away from Him?
  2. Have you ever preferred staying in darkness as opposed to stepping into the light? Are you fearful of giving up something, or of stepping into the unknown?


  1. Are you moving toward the light, or away from it? This is a practical application for both believers and unbelievers. If you are involved in some sinful activity, you are moving away from the light so that your sin can stay hidden. If this is the case, confess your sin, and start moving toward the light.

Key Verses

  • “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that who- ever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:16-18
  • “Men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” John 3:19

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