The Gospel of John
1. Intro to the Gospel of John
John’s gospel is chock full of language contrasting two absolutes: light and darkness, life and death, Spirit or Flesh, above and below, those who practice righteousness and those who practice evil, those who are blind and those who can see, etc. These larger themes are present throughout the narrative and they point to the vital need to believe in Jesus.
The biggest hurdle to sharing the gospel is lack of belief in it. We must have a deep, transforming understanding of Christ’s work in our lives. If we haven’t understood the hopeless darkness that we were once walking in, if we haven’t comprehended the dead nature that we once had, we won’t see Christ’s work and sacrifice as something worth sharing.
4. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit
Throughout the Old Testament, we see God’s initiative in giving the Spirit to men. He gave without merit and also He manifested Himself in different ways depending on the person. The Holy Spirit is intensely personal and unique in His interactions with men and women.
This week we are going to focus on Peter and his failure and restoration. We can learn much from Peter’s story and life. His ups and downs, confessions and rebukes, failures and restoration all show us the beauty of the Christian life through thick and thin.
6. Church 101
Jesus’s modus operandi was to start large and end up small. Throughout his ministry, Jesus spoke to large crowds. He taught them and called them to follow Him. Jesus didn’t simply speak to large crowds for the majority of His ministry. He focused in on twelve people where He teaches them more specifically. He’s speaking into their lives on a unique level. He’s training them to be like Him. He’s grooming them to carry the mission forward.
Throughout Scripture, we are never instructed to do anything without first being reminded of who we are. Behavior always follows belief. Who we are informs what we do. We see this in the letters of Paul. The letter to the Ephesians is a perfect example of this.
8. The Cleansing of the Temple
In 1 Corinthians 6:19, the apostle Paul refers to us now being the temple of the Holy Spirit. Jesus has the same zeal to cleanse us as well. Just as He went through the temple to cleanse it of improper worship and neglect of the holiness of God, Jesus will go through out hearts and cleanse us of all that is impure.
9. Born Again
Our rebirth is not predicated upon our works or our will. The Spirit of God gives rebirth to us as a gift. This is what he promised to the Israelites in the Old Testament through the prophets and what He promises us today. All we must do is believe.
10. Jesus: The Light in the Darkness
From football games to sandwich boards on street corners, John 3:16 is one of the most iconic and ubiquitous verses in the entire Bible. The majority of Americans could recognize it and possibly recite it, yet most do not understand its depths, cannot ascertain its meaning, and rarely take it to heart as one of the most important things to ponder personally.
As we wrap up chapter three of John, we come to another section that continues to reinforce the surpassing value of Christ over Old Covenant Judaism. From chapter 2 through now, Jesus is seen as the new wine that brings joy that Judaism and the law could never bring; He’s the new temple and becomes the mediator between God and man; and he fulfills the old testament prophecies of regeneration and new birth.
As the gospel impacts our lives, it leaves no part of us untouched. It is easy for us to compartmentalize our lives and only think that Christ can rule over the parts we want Him to. Following Jesus requires us to lay down our entire lives. We must submit to His Lordship in all areas.
13. Resting in the Sovereign Goodness of God
Often, in God's Kingdom, not getting what we want is actually the better gift. Praise God, in his sovereign goodness, that when the Jews wanted a noble king on a throne, God sent a baby in a stable.
14. The Resurrection
The resurrection of Christ is not only the most pivotal event in Christianity, but in the history of the world. It is the grand crescendo of the work of Christ. It is the validation of Christ's witness, divinity, and sufficiency of his atonement. It is on this one fact that Christianity either stands or falls; our faith, preaching, spiritual life, and eternity rest on the truth of the resurrection.
15. Setting the Captives Free
When we confess our sins, even the most shameful, Jesus forgives and cleanses us of that sin. It is essential to understand that Jesus is willing and able to forgive the seemingly unforgivable in each of us.
16. What's the Point?
Gospel of John are all meant to create faith, belief and worship of Christ in the heart of those who witness them. The signs that Jesus does are not simply for the entertainment or material benefit of those around. These signs are meant to create faith in Jesus Christ.
17. Do You Want To Get Well?
We must remember that healing and miracles always point to the glory of God and are used in ways to glorify Him that we don’t understand. Christ's work is not contingent upon how much faith we can muster. We see throughout Scripture that Christ saves and heals those who have nothing good inside of them. We have been healed from our enslavement to sin by God’s divine initiative.
18. Life in His Name
Christ is both the giver of life and the judge. This means that He is worthy of all honor. The Father is not fighting for glory with Jesus. As Christ is glorified, God the Father is glorified as well. They are both unified in their love for one another and their goal.
19. Eternal Life
Humanity walks into the courtroom guilty and the sentence for this guilt is death. We have no case to make. The hope that followers of Christ have, however, is the eternal life and righteousness of Christ himself. His righteousness has been imputed to us. Because of this, we will walk out of that courtroom acquitted. We do not go into condemnation; rather we go directly to life.
20. Crucial Breakdown
We must have a love for Scripture and for learning, but not in the way that the Jews had. The Jews searched the Scriptures for status. We must search the Scriptures for Christ. This passage is not an indictment of the diligent study of the Bible. We must be learners from the word of God. We must have a hunger to know it inside and out. But our reason for doing so is always the glory of God and the practical outworking of our theology.
21. Intentional Love
God is love. We’ve all heard that phrase before, some of us many times! What does the love of God look like? How do we share the love of God? How does the love of God inform how we love? This week we will walk through a basic overview of the love of God for his people in saving them from sin, death and hell.
22. Bread of Life Part 1
John 6 is commonly called the bread of life discourse. John covers the feeding of the 5000 in the first part of the chapter; he takes a brief aside and recounts Jesus walking upon the water; then he comes back to Jesus teaching about him being the bread of life. He teaches the necessity of trusting and believing in him for eternal life. The Jews show that they were excited about the wrong Christ. Their preconceived notions what the kingdom of God was going to look like and their notions of what the king was going to do blinded them to the true king and the true kingdom.
23. Bread of Life Part 2
Total reliance on God is not only necessary for salvation, but we must learn through various trials that we depend on His grace in every area of life. We often can lament our situations so much that we miss God’s gracious and loving hand in them.
24. Bread of Life Part 3
We have been working through John 6 the past few weeks. This chapter in New Testament contains the bread of life discourse. Christ is revealing himself as the life-giving bread that satisfies in a way that no other bread can. He confronts the superficiality of the Jews following him and weeds out those who are only following him for their own benefit.
25. True Bread
The Jews had turned God’s law into a self-glorifying religion and needed to see that the law had been given to teach us that we cannot please God by our own will and merit. The only way to eternal life is to eat the true bread that came from heaven. We do this by looking on the Son, believing in him, and coming to him.
26. The Miracle of Effectual Grace
The invitation that Jesus gives to the crowd of disciples, as well as to all people, to repent and abide in Him, is utterly genuine and totally free. But the very serious problem of sin, and its deceptive beauty, is that it has so pervasively enslaved the heart, mind, and will of every person, that turning away from it and turning toward a true, abiding belief in Jesus, requires nothing short of the Father’s miraculous, effectual grace.
27. The Feast of Tabernacles
At this point in the book of John, Jesus has just finished up the Bread of Life discourse where he communicates to his disciples that they must look to him and him alone for true satisfaction and life. Jesus declares that he is the bread of life and if anyone desires salvation they must eat and drink of him. Naturally, this teaching was very hard for the people to accept. Many of those who were following Jesus walked away because he required too much of them.
28. Is Jesus Demon-Possessed?
In this next part of John 7, Jesus is further challenging the religious leaders and their inconsistencies. He continues to point to his divinity and his mission from God the Father. He goes on to show his rationale in healing the man on the Sabbath while encouraging the Jews keep from making snap judgments based on appearances but by using righteous judgment.
As we have been studying through the book of John, we have seen time and time again the importance of right belief. As Christ reveals himself to the different people in his travels, he is constantly hammering home the point of pursuing the truth, worshiping rightly, and believing correctly. This is why theology matters. We must know God rightly in order to worship him rightly.
31. The Beauty of Sex
Sex is not a bad thing. It is not something to be avoided. It is a beautiful gift. This gift needs to be used properly. When we engage in sex in a covenant relationship, Christ is glorified and we are filled with joy. In the coming weeks, we will explore the other areas of human sexuality, the Bible, and how we can faithfully glorify God.
32. Light of the World
The light of Christ in our hearts is a beautiful thing even though it tends to shine on the ugly parts of who we are. The wonderful thing about the light is that it doesn’t simply identify sin; it heals it too.
35. When the Blind See
In John 9, we come across another illustration of Christ being the light of the world. Jesus announces in John 8:12 that he is shining the light of God’s truth onto a planet covered in the darkness of sin. He showed us that belief in him moves a person from life in the darkness into the light of life.
36. Encountering Jesus
Following Jesus is an intimate and loving thing. We need not draw back from him in fear or shame, but we must rest in his love for us as believers - as his sheep. This means that we have access to him for him to meet our needs and guide us in paths of righteousness. He is the good shepherd.
37. My Warrior, My God
Last week we covered the beginning of John 10 where Jesus uses a figure of speech as an indictment against the Pharisees and religious leaders. We saw that he used the picture of sheep and a shepherd. The sheep know their shepherd and they enter through the door to find life. The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy, but Christ came to bring life.
38. The Assurance of the Believer
The beauty of assurance is that we are free to pursue Jesus without fear of losing our salvation. Christ was the initiator in salvation. He is the one making us holy. He is the one who keeps us to the end.
In order to receive the future blessings of the Kingdom, we must presently submit to His reign in trust here and now. The Kingdom of God includes an inner redemptive blessing to those who submit to his Lordship in their lives. Our participation in the Kingdom means that we are going to seek to impact the world for Christ.
40. The Intersection of Love & Glory
We like to be the ones who are in control. We like to avoid suffering and pain. But sometimes suffering and pain are necessary for us to become the people that God has called us to be. Suffering and pain are used for us to make us into the image of Christ.
41. Resurrection and the Life
In the midst of Martha’s sadness and frustration that her brother had died, Christ brings her assurance that he not only has the power to raise Lazarus from the dead but that he is that power. He alone controls eternal life.