The Gospel of John: Salvation Exists, Part Two!

The Gospel of Jesus Christ contains four basic or fundamental truths. Remove any one of them and you possess a less than complete biblical gospel. This results in a fundamentally flawed message which is incapable of providing salvation for anyone from the penalty, power and eventual presence of sin.

What are those four fundamental truths? They are (1) God exists; (2) Sin exists; (3) Salvation exits; and (4) One Savior exists to provide salvation: Jesus Christ. To remove any of these four truth statements is to seriously compromise the Gospel.

These four fundamental truths of the Gospel are located throughout the Scriptures. However, the text which I draw to your attention is John 1:1-18. Identified as John’s prologue to his gospel, these 18 verses contain some of the most crucial statements found in Scripture regarding the Gospel and the personal identity of Jesus Christ. The first portion of the prologue is John 1:1-4: God Exists! The second portion is John 1:5-8: Sin Exists. The third portion is John 1:9-13; Salvation Exists!

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:9-13).

The Apostle John identifies Jesus Christ, the Word, as also the Light. The word light (φῶς; phos) is defined as a luminary or a source of brilliance. Often this refers to natural daylight or to a planetary luminary such as the Sun or the Moon. Regarding Jesus Christ, the word light illustrates that Jesus is the source of truth and knowledge which is delicate, subtle, pure and brilliant. It exposes everything openly and publically.

John calls Jesus the true light. There are many so-called philosophers, politicians and other leaders who seek to identify themselves as a source of truth and knowledge. However, Jesus Christ is the genuine, sincere and real source of truth and knowledge for He is the creator of the same.

This true light, who gives truth and knowledge of Himself to all mankind so that no one is without excuse, was coming into the world. The word “world” refers more than just this planet or its population. Rather, it also means the fallen, sinful, godless and rebellious system of life which seeks to exist and live without God. This is the world system mankind lives in presently. It is the same type of world view of which Jesus encountered.

The irony of John’s next statement cannot be overlooked. Jesus Christ, the eternal Word of God, came into the world He Himself created. He entered into time and space, was born, grew, matured, lived among many people and displayed His identify to many people. However, John says that the world did not acknowledge Him as God or understand who He was. The same can be said for today’s fallen and sinful world.

John continues to say that Jesus not only entered into this fallen world in general, but came to the Jewish people in particular. Even they, who God had given the Old Testament as a revelation of His coming Son, did not receive Him. “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.” To receive means to welcome and to accept.

On the contrary, the Prophet Isaiah prophesied what the Jewish people would do when their Messiah, The Servant of Yahweh, would come to them. Isaiah 53:1-3 says, Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”

Today, there are many different types of people who have a variety of opinions on who Jesus Christ is. However, the Bible is explicit as to who Jesus Christ is and what He accomplished while on this earth.

Who exactly is Jesus Christ? I refer you to recently published document The Word Made Flesh: The Ligonier Statement on Christology.


We confess the mystery and wonder                                                                                                 of God made flesh                                                                                                                             and rejoice in our great salvation                                                                                         through Jesus Christ our Lord.

With the Father and the Holy Spirit,                                                                                              the Son created all things,                                                                                                       sustains all things,                                                                                                                           and makes all things new.                                                                                                           Truly God,                                                                                                                                           He became truly man,                                                                                                                     two natures in one person.

He was born of the Virgin Mary                                                                                                     and lived among us.                                                                                                              Crucified, dead, and buried,                                                                                                              He rose on the third day,                                                                                                        ascended to heaven,                                                                                                                          and will come again                                                                                                                             in glory and judgment.

For us,                                                                                                                                                   He kept the Law,                                                                                                                         atoned for sin,                                                                                                                                   and satisfied God’s wrath.                                                                                                                He took our filthy rags                                                                                                                     and gave us                                                                                                                                        His righteous robe.

He is our Prophet, Priest, and King,                                                                                        building His church,                                                                                                            interceding for us,                                                                                                                             and reigning over all things.

Jesus Christ is Lord;                                                                                                                           we praise His holy Name forever.

Amen.

These biblical truths must be believed, understood and received by an individual in order for that person to become a child of God. If you have not repented of your sin and trusted in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I encourage you by the power of the Holy Spirit to do so today.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

 

The Gospel of John: Salvation Exists, Part One!

“Our God and Father, in the name of Thy dear Son, we pray Thee that Thy Holy Spirit may now take of the things of Christ and show them unto us: to the praise of the glory of Thy grace. Amen.”                                                                                                                Arthur Pink

The Gospel of Jesus Christ contains four basic or fundamental truths. Remove any one of them and you possess a less than complete biblical gospel. This results is a message fundamentally flawed and incapable of providing salvation for anyone from the penalty, power and eventual presence of sin.

What are those four fundamental truths? They are (1) God exists; (2) Sin exists; (3) Salvation exits; and (4) One Savior exists to provide salvation: Jesus Christ. To remove any of these four truth statements is to seriously compromise the Gospel.

These four fundamental truths of the Gospel are located throughout the Scriptures. However, the text which I draw to your attention is John 1:1-18. Identified as John’s prologue to his gospel, these 18 verses contain some of the most crucial statements found in Scripture regarding the Gospel and the personal identity of Jesus Christ. The first portion of the prologue is John 1:1-4: God Exists! The second portion is John 1:5-8: Sin Exists. The third portion is John 1:9-13; Salvation Exists!

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:9-13).

The Apostle John identifies Jesus Christ, the Word, as also the Light. The word light (φῶς; phos) is defined as a luminary or a source of brilliance. Often this refers to natural daylight or to a luminary such as the Sun or the Moon. Regarding Jesus Christ, the word light illustrates that Jesus is the source of truth and knowledge which is delicate, subtle, pure and brilliant. It exposes everything openly and publically.

As one commentator explains, All that in men which is true light—knowledge, integrity, intelligent, willing subjection to God, love to Him and to their fellow creatures, wisdom, purity, holy joy, rational happiness—all this “light of men” has its fountain in the essential original “life” of “the Word” (1 John 1:5–7; Psalm 36:9).

John calls Jesus the true light. There are many philosophers, politicians and other leaders who seek to be identified as a source of truth and knowledge. However, Jesus Christ is the genuine, sincere and real source of truth and knowledge for He is the creator of the same.

This true light, who gives truth and knowledge of Himself to all mankind so that no one is without excuse, was coming into the world. The word “world” refers more than just this planet or its population. Rather, it also means the fallen, sinful, godless and rebellious system of life which seeks to exist and live without God. This is the world system mankind lives in presently. It is the same type of world view of which Jesus encountered.

The irony of John’s next statement cannot be overlooked. Jesus Christ, the eternal Word of God, came into the world He Himself made. He entered into time and space, was born, grew, matured, lived among many people and displayed His identify to many people. However, John says that the world did not acknowledge Him as God or understand who He was. The same can be said for today’s culture.

Who exactly is Jesus Christ? I refer you to recently published document The Word Made Flesh:  The Ligonier Statement on Christology.

We confess the mystery and wonder                                                                                              of God made flesh                                                                                                                              and rejoice in our great salvation                                                                                          through Jesus Christ our Lord.

With the Father and the Holy Spirit,                                                                                              the Son created all things,                                                                                                        sustains all things,                                                                                                                            and makes all things new.                                                                                                            Truly God,                                                                                                                                            He became truly man,                                                                                                                      two natures in one person.

He was born of the Virgin Mary                                                                                                     and lived among us.                                                                                                                Crucified, dead, and buried,                                                                                                            He rose on the third day,                                                                                                        ascended to heaven,                                                                                                                          and will come again                                                                                                                            in glory and judgment.

For us,                                                                                                                                                  He kept the Law,                                                                                                                          atoned for sin,                                                                                                                                    and satisfied God’s wrath.                                                                                                                He took our filthy rags                                                                                                                    and gave us                                                                                                                                        His righteous robe.

He is our Prophet, Priest, and King,                                                                                        building His church,                                                                                                            interceding for us,                                                                                                                            and reigning over all things.

Jesus Christ is Lord;                                                                                                                          we praise His holy Name forever.

Amen.

These biblical truths must be believed, understood and received by an individual in order for that person to become a child of God. If you have not repented of your sin and trusted in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I encourage you by the power of the Holy Spirit to do so today.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

The Gospel of John: Sin Exists!

The Gospel of Jesus Christ contains four basic or fundamental truths. Remove any one of them and you possess a less than complete biblical gospel. This results is a message fundamentally flawed and incapable of providing salvation for anyone from the penalty, power and eventual presence of sin.

What are those four fundamental truths? They are (1) God exists; (2) Sin exists; (3) Salvation exits; and (4) One Savior exists to provide salvation: Jesus Christ. To remove any of these four truth statements is to seriously compromise the Gospel.

These four fundamental truths of the Gospel are located throughout the Scriptures. However, the text which I draw to your attention is John 1:1-18. Identified as John’s prologue to his gospel, these 18 verses contain some of the most crucial statements found in Scripture regarding the Gospel and the personal identity of Jesus Christ. The first portion of the prologue is John 1:1-4: God Exists! The second portion is John 1:5-8: Sin Exists.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.”

John contrasts the concept of spiritual and moral righteousness, light, to that of its polar opposite, darkness. We are able to comprehend evil in this present world because we humans still retain an understanding, however small and tainted by sin, of what is holy. Evil, or darkness, can only be defined if there is a corresponding opposite which is holiness, or what John calls light. John is not acknowledging that a holy God exists, but also that sinful rebelliousness against the One, True and Holy God also exists.

One author explains, “In Scripture “light” and “darkness” are very familiar symbols. Intellectually, “light” refers to biblical truth while “darkness” refers to error or falsehood (cf. Psalm 119:105Proverbs 6:23). Morally, “light” refers to holiness or purity (1 John 1:5) while “darkness” refers to sin or wrongdoing (John 3:19; 12:35, 46Romans 13:11–141 Thessalonians 5:4–71 John 1:6; 2:8–11). “Darkness” has special significance in relationship to Satan (and his demonic cohorts), who rules the present spiritually dark world (1 John 5:19) as the “prince of the power of the air” promoting spiritual darkness and rebellion against God (Ephesians 2:2). John uses the term “darkness” 14 times (eight in the Gospel and six in 1 John) out of its 17 occurrences in the NT, making it almost an exclusive Johannine word. In John, “light” and “life” have their special significance in relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Word (John 1:9; 9:51 John 1:5–7; 5:12, 20).”

John continues to say that the darkness has not overcome the light. The word “overcome (καταλαμβάνω; katalambano) means to gain control over something, to attack or to seize. It may also mean to understand or to comprehend. What John is saying is that the light of the Gospel of the person and work of Jesus Christ is more powerful than sin and its effects. Sin will not defeat the Gospel. Rather, the Gospel will defeat sin and death, once and for all time.

As one pastor explains, “Darkness is not able to overcome or conquer the light. Just as a single candle can overcome a room filled with darkness, so also the powers of darkness are overcome by the person and work of the Son through his death on the cross (cf. 19:11a).”

John the Apostle says that the message that sin exists, and that God brings good news of sin’s defeat, is the very reason why John the Baptist came. He came to prepare the people of his own day with the message of the Gospel contained in who He would refer to as the Lamb of God (John 1:29). As the forerunner to Jesus, John the Baptist was to bear witness to Jesus Christ as the Messiah and Son of God. With John’s ministry, the “400 silent years” between the end of the OT and the beginning of the NT period, during which God had given no revelation, concluded. For more on John the Baptist, see Matthew 3:1–6, Mark 1:2–6, and Luke 1:5–25, 57–80.

Isn’t it appropriate that believers in Christ, along with being called salt (Matthew 5:13) which was used as a preservative for food in the ancient world, are also called light (Matthew 5:14-16; John 8:12). Jesus calls us to shine the light of the Gospel in the dark places we live in, work at, and are surrounded by. Shine your light today my friends.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

The Gospel of John: The Eternal Word of God Exists!

“John summarizes how the ‘Word’ which was with God in the very beginning came into the sphere of time, history, tangibility —in other words, how the Son of God was sent into the world to become the Jesus of history, so that the glory and grace of God might be uniquely and perfectly disclosed. The rest of the book is nothing other than an expansion of this theme.”                                                                                                                        D. A. Carson

The Gospel of Jesus Christ contains four basic or fundamental truths. Remove any one of them and you possess a less than complete biblical gospel. This results is a message fundamentally flawed and incapable of providing salvation for anyone from the penalty, power and eventual presence of sin.

What are those four fundamental truths? They are (1) God exists; (2) Sin exists; (3) Salvation exits; and (4) One Savior exists to provide salvation: Jesus Christ. To remove any of these four truth statements is to seriously compromise the Gospel.

These four fundamental truths of the Gospel are located throughout the Scriptures. However, the text which I draw to your attention is John 1:1-18. Identified as John’s prologue to his gospel, these 18 verses contain some of the most crucial statements found in Scripture regarding the Gospel and the personal identity of Jesus Christ. The first portion of the prologue is John 1:1-4: God Exists!

Here is but a sampling of what some of the greatest and respected biblical theologians, pastors and teachers have to say about this first part of John’s prologue.

“The Evangelist sends us to the eternal sanctuary of God and teaches us that the Word was, as it were, hidden there before He revealed Himself in the outward workmanship of the world. John’s introductory words “in the beginning” would have expected to be followed by the word “God” as in Genesis 1:1, but instead introduce the Word. And so even with this first phrase, John causes us to begin thinking that this “Word” is more that an abstract philosophical concept as seen in the Greek culture, but that the Word was divine, which he subsequently proves. An old writer suggests “These words (John 1:1) should be written upon tablets of gold and hung in every church building in the world.”                                        – John Calvin

“There never was a time when the Word was not. There never was a thing that did not depend on Him (the Word) for its existence (Colossians 1:17). With God – It certainly makes clear the distinct existence of the Word with respect to God. The Word is no mere ‘emanation from God’ as in much first-century thinking.”                                                               – Leon Morris

“Words are important for words convey thoughts. We don’t truly know what another person is thinking unless they express their thoughts in words (and so it is with God – how could we possibly know what He is thinking if He did not express Himself in words!). It is by means of words that we communicate. It is by means of words that we reveal what is happening. John chooses the word, Logos, which was familiar in the minds of both Hebrew and Greek thinkers, and both groups to one degree or another had the idea of beginnings related to the word Logos. And so John’s opening would remind the Hebrew thinker of Genesis 1:1 (In the beginning) and Genesis 1:3 (“Then God said, “Let there be light.”) God spoke and all came into existence (Hebrews 11:3) To the Greek mind Logos was “regarded in a multi-various and ambiguous fashion. The word Logos has a unique capacity to convey God’s ultimate Self disclosure in the Person of His Son.”                                                                 – Alistair Begg

“O Thou Son of the Blessed! Grace stripped Thee of thy glory. Grace brought Thee down from heaven. Grace made Thee bear such burdens of sin, such burdens of curse as are unspeakable. Grace was in Thy heart. Grace came bubbling up from Thy bleeding side. Grace was in Thy tears. Grace was in Thy prayers. Grace streamed from Thy thorn-crowned brow! Grace came forth with the nails that pierced Thee, with the thorns that pricked Thee! Oh, here are unsearchable riches of grace! Grace to make sinners happy! Grace to make angels wonder! Grace to make devils astonished!”                                                                          – John Bunyan

Take time today to worship and praise the eternal Word of God, Jesus Christ.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

 

 

The Gospel of John: God Exists!

“What do you think of Jesus Christ? Who is He? According to Christianity this is the most important question you or anyone else will ever have to face. It is important because it is inescapable—you will have to answer it sooner or later, in this world or in the world to come—and because the quality of your life here and your eternal destiny depend upon your answer. Who is Jesus Christ? If He was only a man, then you can safely forget Him. If he is God, as he claimed to be, and as all Christians believe, then you should yield your life to him. You should worship and serve him faithfully.”                   – James Montgomery Boice

The Gospel of Jesus Christ contains four basic or fundamental truths. Remove any one of them and you possess a less than complete biblical gospel. This results in a message fundamentally flawed and incapable of providing salvation for anyone from the penalty, power and eventual presence of sin.

What are those four fundamental truths? They are (1) God exists; (2) Sin exists; (3) Salvation exits; and (4) One Savior exists to provide salvation: Jesus Christ. To remove any of these four truth statements is to seriously compromise the Gospel.

These four fundamental truths of the Gospel are located throughout the Scriptures. However, the text which I draw to your attention is John 1:1-18. Identified as John’s prologue to his gospel, these 18 verses contain some of the most crucial statements found in Scripture regarding the Gospel and the personal identity of Jesus Christ. The portion of the prologue we examine today is John 1:1-4: God Exists!

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

The first three words of John’s Gospel, “In the beginning,” link us to Genesis 1:1 and the original account of creation. The Apostle John introduces the central character of his gospel: the Divine Creator known as the Word.

“In the beginning was the Word.” At the beginning of creation this Word existed.

The term “Word” within this context is a title of deity. Rather than identifying the Word as an abstract force of creation, John declares the Word to have existed before or prior to creation. The Word is eternal.

“And the Word was with God,” The Word was not alone. He was with God. The Word, as the Second Person of the Trinity, was in intimate fellowship with God the Father throughout all eternity. The Word enjoyed the splendors of heaven and eternity with the Father (Isaiah 6:1–13; cf. John 12:41; 17:5), The eternal Word was in eternal fellowship with God.

“And the Word was God”. He was in the beginning with God.” Not only was the Word in intimate fellowship with God, the Word was also God. The Greek grammar in the text indicates that the Word (specifically identified in 1:17 to be Jesus Christ) possesses all the attributes and identify of God. Colossians 2:9 says “For in him (Jesus Christ) the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily…” The eternal Word was not only in eternal fellowship with God, the Father, but He too is God, the Son.

 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” The Word (Jesus Christ) was God the Father’s instrument involved in creating everything in the universe. Colossians 1:16-17 says, For by him (Jesus Christ) all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” Hebrews 1:1-2 says, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” The eternal Word, who was with God the Father in eternal fellowship and who is Himself God, is the creator of all things.

“In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” Since God alone possesses life in Himself, this is another testimony by John that the Word, Jesus Christ, is God. The apostle introduces one of his constant images for and of God: life and light. The eternal Word, who was with God the Father in eternal fellowship and who is Himself God, is not only the creator of all things but is the source of all life.

One commentator writes, “John uses the word “life” about 36 times in his Gospel, far more than any other NT book. It refers not only in a broad sense to physical and temporal life that the Son imparted to the created world through his involvement as the agent of creation (1:3), but especially to spiritual and eternal life imparted as a gift through belief in him (3:15; 17:3Eph. 2:5). In Scripture “light” and “darkness” are very familiar symbols. Intellectually, “light” refers to biblical truth while “darkness” refers to error or falsehood (cf. Ps. 119:105Prov. 6:23). Morally, “light” refers to holiness or purity (1 John 1:5).”

Therefore, in summary, John acknowledges that God exists and that Jesus Christ is God. Additionally, Jesus Christ is the creator of the universe and possesses life in all its forms.

As Dr. R.C. Sproul explains, “Faith in the deity of Christ is necessary to being a Christian. It is an essential part of the New Testament gospel of Christ. Yet in every century the church has been forced to deal with people who claim to be Christians while denying and distorting the deity of Christ.”

For your further study on the deity of Christ, I recommend you either download onto your I-Pad or I-Phone or visit www.ligonier.org to access a copy of The Word Made Flesh: The Ligonier Statement on Christology. Building on the great confessions of faith, this statement is offered to the church by Ligonier Ministries out of a desire to help people regain clarity regarding the person and work of Christ. Ligonier Ministries wanted to provide a statement that could assist the church in applying the classic truths of orthodox biblical Christianity to the challenges of our present day.

Until next time,

Soli deo Gloria!  

 

The Gospel of John: The Gospel of Christ in John 1:1-18.

There are always people who will say that faith is something that must be entirely divorced from evidence. But that is not stated in the Bible. Faith is believing in something or someone on the basis of evidence and then acting upon it. In this case, John has provided evidence for the full deity of Jesus so that readers, whether in his age or ours, might believe it and commit their lives to Jesus as their Savior.”                           James Montgomery Boice

I have often stated over the years, not only from the pulpit but also recently in this daily blog, that the Gospel of Jesus Christ contains four basic or fundamental truths. Remove any one of them and you possess a less than complete biblical gospel. This results in a message fundamentally flawed and incapable of providing salvation for anyone from the penalty, power and eventual presence of sin.

What are those four fundamental truths? They are (1) God exists; (2) Sin exists; (3) Salvation exits; and (4) One Savior exists to provide salvation: Jesus Christ. To remove any of these four truth statements is to seriously compromise the Gospel.

You cannot believe the Gospel and deny the existence of God. You cannot believe the Gospel and deny the existence of sin. You cannot believe the Gospel and deny mankind’s need for salvation from its sin. Finally, you cannot believe the Gospel and deny the biblical teaching of the exclusivity of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

These four fundamental truths of the Gospel are located throughout the Scriptures. We could refer anyone to John 3:16 as one example of a biblical text containing all four Gospel components. So also would be Romans 1:18-3:20 and specifically Romans 3:23, 6:23 and 10:13.

However, the text to which I wish to draw to your attention is John 1:1-18. Identified as John’s prologue to his gospel, these 18 verses contain some of the most crucial statements found in Scripture regarding the Gospel and the person of Jesus Christ. The prologue is as follows:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”

As one author explains, “These verses constitute the prologue, which introduces many of the major themes that John will treat, especially the main theme that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (vv. 12–14, 18; cf. 20:31). Several key words repeated throughout the Gospel (e.g., life, light, witness, glory) appear here. The remainder of the Gospel develops the theme of the prologue as to how the eternal “Word” of God, Jesus the Messiah and Son of God, became flesh and ministered among men so that all who believe in him would be saved.”

These 18 verses, and the Four Gospel Truths contained therein, will be our focus for the next several days. I encourage you to daily read the prologue. Have a blessed day.

Soli deo Gloria!  

The Gospel of John: Key Themes in the Fourth Gospel.

What are the key themes contained in the Gospel of John? There are quite a few. More than you might initially think.

Key themes in the Gospel of John include the following:

1. Jesus is God. 1:1–2, 18; 5:17–18; 8:58–59; 10:30–33; 20:28.
2. Jesus existed before the creation of the world. 1:1–2; 8:58; 17:5, 24.
3. Jesus has supernatural knowledge. 1:48; 2:4, 19, 23–25; 3:14; 4:17–18; 6:51, 70; 8:28; 9:3; 10:15, 17–18; 11:4, 14; 12:24, 32; 13:10–11, 38; 21:18–19.
4. Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of God. 1:36, 41, 49; 3:18; 4:25, 29; 5:25; 7:26, 27, 31, 41, 42; 9:22; 10:24, 36; 11:4, 27; 12:34; 19:7; 20:30–31.
5. Jesus is the “I am.” 4:26; 6:20, 35, 48, 51; 8:12, 18, 24, 28, 58; 9:5; 10:7, 9, 11, 14; 11:25; 13:19; 14:6; 15:1; 18:5–6 (cf. Ex. 3:14–15Isa. 41:4; 43:10–13, 25; 45:18; 51:12; 52:6).
6. Jesus, the sent Son, reflects the sender. 3:17, 35–36; 5:19–26; 6:40; 8:35–36; 14:13; 17:1.
7. Jesus is the fulfillment of Jewish festivals and institutions (including the temple). 1:29, 36; 2:14–22, 4:23–24; 8:12; 9:5; 19:14.
8. Jesus is the giver of eternal life. 1:4; 3:15–16, 36; 4:14, 36; 5:24, 26, 39–40; 6:27, 33, 35, 40, 47–48, 51, 53–54, 68; 8:12; 10:10, 25, 28; 11:25; 12:25, 50; 14:6; 17:2–3; 20:31.
9. The signs of Jesus show that he is the Messiah (cf. also Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God, above). 2:1–11, 13–22; 4:46–54; 5:1–15; 6:1–15; 9:1–41; 11:1–44.
10. The witnesses to Jesus testify that he is the Messiah. 1:7–8, 15, 19, 32, 34; 3:11, 32–33; 4:39; 5:31–39; 8:14, 18; 10:25; 15:26–27; 18:37; 19:35; 21:24.
11. Father, Son, and Spirit are united in their work of revelation and redemption. 14:17–18, 23, 26; 15:26; 20:21–22.
12. Jesus’ death is the basis of salvation. 1:29; 3:14–15; 6:51–58; 10:15; 11:50–52; 12:24; 15:13.
13. God is sovereign in salvation. 3:21; 5:21; 6:37–45, 64–65; 10:16, 26–30; 15:16; 17:2, 6, 9.
14. Salvation is obtained through believing in Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God. 1:12; 3:15, 16; 5:24; 6:29, 35; 8:24; 11:25–27, 42; 12:44; 17:8, 21; 20:31.
15. Believers can experience the benefits of salvation already in the here and now, during this present evil age. 3:18, 36; 4:23; 5:24; 6:39–40; 10:10, 26–29; 11:25–26.
16. Believers are called to continue Jesus’ mission (cf. also Jesus as the sent Son, above). 4:38; 15:16; 17:18; 20:21–22.

 

Included in the themes of John’s Gospel is the genre, or type of literature, which we find to be this fourth gospel. The main genre is gospel or ancient biography. Ancient biographies, and John’s Gospel in particular, contained three ingredients—what the subject (Jesus) did, what the subject (Jesus) said, and people’s responses to the subject (Jesus). Within this format the usual gospel subgenres are found in the Gospel of John. These include calling stories, recognition stories, witness stories, conflict stories, encounter stories, miracle stories, discourses, proverbs or sayings, passion stories, resurrection stories, and post-resurrection appearances.

One biblical scholar explains, “Balancing the narrative richness are expanded discourses by Jesus. The Gospel of John also frequently employs symbolism, especially with reference to Christ, who is portrayed by images such as light, bread, water, and a shepherd. As an extension of this, the first half of the book is built around seven great “signs” that Jesus performed as proof of his messianic identity (see 2:1–11; 4:46–54; 5:1–15; 6:5–13; 6:16–21; 9:1–7; 11:1–44). Then, in a further intricacy, John often links a “sign” or other great symbol with a corresponding statement made by Jesus in the form of either a conversation or full-fledged discourse. For example, Jesus feeds 5,000 (6:1–13), which is followed a few verses later by Jesus’ discourse on being the bread of life (6:25–40).”

Literary styles which frequently occur motifs include: (1) statements that are misunderstood—in which Jesus makes a pronouncement, a bystander expresses an unduly literal understanding of Jesus’ words, and Jesus explains the true, spiritual meaning of his original statement (nine instances:3:3–8; 4:10–15; 4:31–38; 6:47–58; 7:33–36; 8:21–30; 8:31–47; 8:56–58; 11:11–15), (2) events or statements that occur in threes (e.g., three denials of Jesus; three utterances from the cross) and statements that occur in sevens (including seven great signs and seven “I am” statements by Jesus; see notes on 2:116:35), and (3) heightened contrasts scattered throughout the book (e.g., light vs. darkness; life vs. death; the fleeting vs. the eternal; disease vs. health; love vs. hate).

Finally, what is the setting for John’s Gospel? One introduction to John’s Gospel explains it this way: The events of the Gospel of John take place in Palestine, incorporated into the Roman Empire in 63 b.c. Appointed by the Romans as king over the Jews in 37 b.c., Herod the Great ruled until his death in 4 b.c. The Romans divided his kingdom among his descendants. The predominantly Gentile region of the Decapolis, or “Ten Cities,” was a loose confederation of semiautonomous cities administered by the Roman legate of Syria.”

Okay. I think that is enough background information for one day. Tomorrow we will begin to examine John’s Prologue in 1:1-18. I encourage you read this section prior to our next time together. Let me leave you with this question: can you identify the four basic components of the gospel of salvation in John 1:1-18?

Soli deo Gloria!

 

The Gospel of John: Background to the Fourth Gospel.

The title of the Gospel of John says that the Gospel was written by John. Evidence identifies this John as the son of Zebedee. The internal evidence states that the author was (1) an apostle (1:14; cf. 2:11; 19:35), (2) one of the 12 disciples (“the disciple whom Jesus loved”; 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:20; cf. 21:24–25), and, still more specifically, (3) John the son of Zebedee (note the association of “the disciple whom Jesus loved” with the Apostle Peter in 13:23–24; 18:15–16; 20:2–9; 21:2–23; cf. Luke 22:8Acts 1:13; 3:1–4:37; 8:14–25Gal. 2:9).

Biblical scholars suggest that the most likely date of the writing of John’s Gospel was the period between a.d. 70 (the date of the destruction of the temple) and a.d. 100 (the end of the Apostle John’s lifetime). However, there is not enough evidence to be much more precise. A date subsequent to a.d. 70 is suggested, among other things, by the references in 6:1 and 21:1 to the Sea of Tiberias (a name widely used for the Sea of Galilee only toward the end of the 1st century), the reference in 21:19 to Peter’s martyrdom (probably between a.d. 64 and 66), and the lack of reference to the Sadducees (who ceased to be a Jewish religious party after a.d. 70). The testimony of the early church also favors a date after a.d. 70.

Additionally, the most likely place of writing is Ephesus in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey), which was one of the most important urban centers of the Roman Empire at the time. However, John’s intended audience transcends any one historical setting.

As we already indicated last time, the theme of John’s Gospel is that Jesus is the promised Messiah and Son of God. By believing in Jesus, people can have eternal life (cf. 20:30–31).

As one biblical scholar explains, “The Gospel of John was written by the apostle John, the son of Zebedee, a Palestinian Jew and a member of Jesus’ inner apostolic circle during his earthly ministry. John’s original audience consisted of both Jews and Gentiles living in the larger Greco-Roman world in Ephesus and beyond toward the close of the first century a.d. He frequently explains Jewish customs and Palestinian geography and translates Aramaic terms into Greek (see note on 1:38), thus showing awareness of non-Jewish readers. He also presents Jesus as the Word become flesh against the backdrop of Greek thought that included Stoicism and early Gnosticism. But John also shows awareness of Jewish readers as he demonstrates Jesus to be the Jewish Messiah, the fulfillment of many OT themes, and the Son of God who was sent by God the Father to reveal the only true God and to provide redemption for humanity.”

Ultimately, John gathers evidence of several selected messianic signs performed by Jesus and of a series of witnesses to Jesus—including the Scriptures, John the Baptist, Jesus himself, God the Father, Jesus’ works, the Spirit, and John himself. John also sought to present Jesus as the new temple and center of worship for God’s people. This concept would be especially significant if the date of the gospel’s writing was after a.d. 70 (the time of the destruction of the Jerusalem temple).

Additionally, John’s purpose statement in John 20:30-31 gives the gospel an evangelistic goal. However, John’s depth of teaching shows that he wanted readers not only to come to initial saving faith in Jesus but also to grow into a rich, well-informed faith. John’s central focus is that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah and Son of God, and that by believing in him people may have eternal life.

Have you repented of your sin and trusted Jesus Christ alone for your salvation from sin’s penalty, power and eventual presence?

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

 

Biblical scholars suggest that the most likely date of the writing of John’s Gospel was the period between a.d. 70 (the date of the destruction of the temple) and a.d. 100 (the end of the Apostle John’s lifetime). However, there is not enough evidence to be much more precise. A date subsequent to a.d. 70 is suggested, among other things, by the references in 6:1 and 21:1 to the Sea of Tiberias (a name widely used for the Sea of Galilee only toward the end of the 1st century), the reference in 21:19 to Peter’s martyrdom (probably between a.d. 64 and 66), and the lack of reference to the Sadducees (who ceased to be a Jewish religious party after a.d. 70). The testimony of the early church also favors a date after a.d. 70.

Additionally, the most likely place of writing is Ephesus in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey), which was one of the most important urban centers of the Roman Empire at the time. However, John’s intended audience transcends any one historical setting.

As we already indicated last time, the theme of John’s Gospel is that Jesus is the promised Messiah and Son of God. By believing in Jesus, people can have eternal life (cf. 20:30–31).

As one biblical scholar explains, “The Gospel of John was written by the apostle John, the son of Zebedee, a Palestinian Jew and a member of Jesus’ inner apostolic circle during his earthly ministry. John’s original audience consisted of both Jews and Gentiles living in the larger Greco-Roman world in Ephesus and beyond toward the close of the first century a.d. He frequently explains Jewish customs and Palestinian geography and translates Aramaic terms into Greek (see note on 1:38), thus showing awareness of non-Jewish readers. He also presents Jesus as the Word become flesh against the backdrop of Greek thought that included Stoicism and early Gnosticism. But John also shows awareness of Jewish readers as he demonstrates Jesus to be the Jewish Messiah, the fulfillment of many OT themes, and the Son of God who was sent by God the Father to reveal the only true God and to provide redemption for humanity.”

Additionally, John’s purpose statement in John 20:30-31 gives the gospel an evangelistic goal. However, John’s depth of teaching shows that he wanted readers not only to come to initial saving faith in Jesus but also to grow into a rich, well-informed faith. John’s central focus is that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah and Son of God, and that by believing in him people may have eternal life.

Ultimately, John gathers evidence of several selected messianic signs performed by Jesus and of a series of witnesses to Jesus—including the Scriptures, John the Baptist, Jesus himself, God the Father, Jesus’ works, the Spirit, and John himself. John also sought to present Jesus as the new temple and center of worship for God’s people. This concept would be especially significant if the date of the gospel’s writing was after a.d. 70 (the time of the destruction of the Jerusalem temple).

More to come!

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

 

The Gospel of John: Introduction.

“As man (Christ), was living a human, and as the Word He was sustaining the life of the universe, and as Son He was in constant union with the Father.” Athanasius of Alexandria

John 20:30-31 says “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;  but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

As one author explains, regarding the Gospel of John, that it is like, “a pool shallow enough for a child to wade in yet deep enough for an elephant to swim in.”    

The Gospel of John is the biblical book I recommend new converts and young believers begin reading as followers of Jesus. At the same time, John’s Gospel contains some of the most daunting theological passages found in the Scriptures. For example, John 6:35-65. It can be a biblical book with which even the most seasoned saint may spiritually struggle to understand.

As believers in Christ, we acknowledge, according to 2 Timothy 3:16-17, that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” This statement applies to not only to the Epistle of Paul to the Romans but also to the books of Leviticus and Numbers.

However, if we are honest we acknowledge that there are certain biblical books which are perennial favorites. For, example the aforementioned Epistle to the Romans, along with Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians, are two of my favorites. I would cite that included in this short list is the Gospel of John.

The Gospel of John, as one theologian put it, is a kind of “mini-systematic theology.” John’s Gospel not only speaks of the pre-existence of God, and notably Jesus Christ, but also delves into such wonderful God-images as shepherd, bread, light, life, fruit, way, truth and resurrection.

The ultimate purpose of John’s Gospel is set forth in 20:30-31. John indicated that his purpose for writing his account of Jesus’ life and ministry, at the Holy Spirit’s leading, was so that sinners would believe in the person and work of Jesus Christ, thereby receiving and possessing eternal life. Everything John writes, and even that which he did not, all point to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

In other words, John wrote concerning the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us. As John personally recorded, the One in which he and the other disciples witnessed His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

It is this gospel in which we will begin studying today. I encourage you to begin reading John 1 and also to memorize John 20:30-31. May we grow in His Word, today.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

The Puritans: Jonathan Edwards, Part 6.

And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.” (Revelation 5:5-6). 

 The lion and the lamb, though very diverse kinds of creatures, yet have each their peculiar excellences. The lion excels in strength, and in the majesty of his appearance and voice: the lamb excels in meekness and patience, besides the excellent nature of the creature as good for food, and yielding that which is fit for our clothing and being suitable to be offered in sacrifice to God. But we see that Christ is in the text compared to both, because the diverse excellences of both wonderfully meet in him.

 There do meet in Jesus Christ infinite highness and infinite condescension. There meet in Jesus Christ, infinite justice and infinite grace. In the person of Christ do meet together infinite glory and lowest humility.

Infinite glory, and the virtue of humility, meet in no other person but Christ. They meet in no created person; for no created person has infinite glory, and they meet in no other divine person but Christ. For though the divine nature be infinitely abhorrent to pride, yet humility is not properly predicable of God the Father, and the Holy Ghost, that exist only in the divine nature; because it is a proper excellency only of a created nature; for it consists radically in a sense of a comparative lowness and littleness before God, or the great distance between God and the subject of this virtue; but it would be a contradiction to suppose any such thing in God.

But in Jesus Christ, who is both God and man, those two diverse excellences are sweetly united. He is a person infinitely exalted in glory and dignity. Philippians 2:6. “Being in the form of God, he thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” There is equal honor due to him with the Father. John 5:23. “That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father.” God himself says to him, “thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever,” Hebrews 1:8. And there is the same supreme respect and divine worship paid to him by the angels of heaven, as to God the Father, ver. 6. “Let all the angels of God worship him.”

But however he is thus above all, yet he is lowest of all in humility. There never was so great an instance of this virtue among either men or angels, as Jesus. None ever was so sensible of the distance between God and him, or had a heart so lowly before God, as the man Christ Jesus. Matthew 11:29. What a wonderful spirit of humility appeared in him, when he was here upon earth, in all his behavior! In his contentment in his mean outward condition, contentedly living in the family of Joseph the carpenter, and Mary his mother, for thirty years together, and afterwards choosing outward meanness, poverty, and contempt, rather than earthly greatness; in his washing his disciples’ feet, and in all his speeches and deportment towards them; in his cheerfully sustaining the form of a servant through his whole life, and submitting to such immense humiliation at death!                                                                                                                                                                                 Jonathan Edwards

In 1750, Edwards and his family left Northampton. They took refuge in the frontier settlement of Stockbridge, near the western border of Massachusetts, where he served as pastor to a small congregation and as a missionary to the Housatonic Indians. He learned to accommodate himself well to the level of understanding of the Native Americans. His years in Stockbridge were complicated. When the conflict of the French and Indian War reached the village in 1754, several inhabitants were killed.

It was during this time in Stockbridge that Edwards wrote his most significant works. As Dr. Joel Beeke explains, “Out of those long hours in the study, and especially from the period of relative isolation at Stockbridge, came a vast body of Edwards’s writings. His greatest literary achievement from this period was Freedom of the Will (1754), in which Edwards argues that only the regenerate person can truly choose the transcendent God; that choice can be made only through a disposition that God infuses in regeneration. In this, Edwards rejected the materialism of the British philosophers along with the utilitarianism of free-will advocates. Logically, Edwards succeeds in making Arminianism an impossibility. Other important works completed during his Stockbridge years include Concerning the End for which God Created the World and The Nature of True Virtue (both published posthumously in 1765), and The Great Christian Doctrine of Original Sin (1758)—a tour de force against Pelagianism.”

In 1758, Edwards agreed to become president of the College of New Jersey at Princeton. He left his family that January, as “affectionately as if he should not come again.” One of his daughters wrote; as he departed, he turned back to his wife and said, “I commit you to God.”

Edwards preached his inaugural sermon at Princeton on Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever.” While at Princeton, Edwards hoped to complete two major treatises, one showing the harmony of the Old and New Testaments, and the other, a much-expanded treatise on The History of the Work of Redemption. However, Edwards did not live to complete these works. On March 22, 1758, after only a few months in Princeton, he died of complications from a smallpox inoculation.

Regarding Edwards’ legacy, Dr. Beeke writes, “The effect of this spiritual giant’s theological insight on New England Christianity has been immense and is often debated. Some say Edwards provided the impetus to move New England beyond the thought of its founders. In that sense, Edwards was a true philosopher. Others say Edwards was the last representative of Puritan theology and thought in the New World, where Puritanism would later be disdained. A third group finds little fault with Edwards or his theology, but accuses his followers of veering from the truths that inspired Edwards. Though Edwards himself stressed godly living, some of his successors discarded the biblically Reformed base which supported that godliness in their attempt to adopt Edwards’s more speculative views and methods. That, in turn, fostered a decline of both doctrinal and experiential Calvinism in New England. This group maintains that Edwards was a theologian/philosopher whose vision died with him, but that is certainly not true. Edwards’s vision continued at Princeton and many other places, and was alive in the Second Great Awakening.”

Dr. Beeke continues by explain, “Perhaps the most accurate assessment of Edwards is a combination of several views. Edwards was a profound theologian, as readers of The End for Which God Created the World can attest. Edwards was also a minister with great pastoral sensitivity—consider his Religious Affections. Recent scholarship has focused on Edwards’s metaphysics, gleaning primarily from his philosophical and scientific writings. Whatever view one may hold, all agree that his writings, specifically his sermons, are profitable specimens of one of America’s best and last Puritans.”

Soli deo Gloria!