Category Archives: Sermon Notes

Through the Book of John | John 1:35-51

Have you decided to follow Jesus?

This is the third day, and already much has happened. We’ve been introduced to Jesus as God in the Flesh, the Word, God, and as the eternal Creator of all things. Our Lord is seen on John’s Gospel as the Giver of Light and Life to everyone who would believe, as the One who was rejected by the very people He came to save. He came to live among men, so that people could behold His glory as the One and Only Son of God.

We were introduced to John the Baptist who was not the Light, but a witness for the Light to help people believe. John told us that although Jesus was born after him, Jesus came before Him, speaking of the eternality of Jesus. John the Baptizer told us that we have received blessing after blessing from this Jesus, and that grace and truth come through Him.

Then the scribes and priests show up, wanting to know who John was. He wasn’t the Christ, he wasn’t Elijah, and he wasn’t the Prophet. He was the one crying out in the wilderness, “Get ready, make your path straight ahead of the King.” John told them that he was baptizing with water, but Someone is coming soon who will baptize with the Spirit of God.

John the Disciple then introduces us to Jesus as the Lamb of God, the One who would give His life as a ransom for our sins, like the Passover Lamb. This Pascal Lamb would shed his very own His blood so that God would Passover us as He administers His judgment. This Lamb would take away the sins of the world, for all who would trust and believe. This is the very same One that John said, “I have seen and testified that He is the Son of God” (John 1:34).

Andrew and Peter Follow Christ, the Messiah

35Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. 36And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” 37The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), “where are You staying?” 39He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour). 40One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ). 42And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone).

  • With two of his disciples” We know this is Andrew (verse 40) and John the Beloved, through the process of elimination.
  • In verses 35 through 37 John the Baptizer sends his disciples off, like a mother bird pushing her little ones out of the nest. “Hey, I’ve taught you all I know about Him, now here He is. Go and follow Him. This is who I have been teaching you about.” John the Baptizer wasn’t concerned with keeping these disciples to himself, as an entourage of sorts; it was about Jesus. He wasn’t looking for people to serve him, he was just pointing the way to Jesus, like we all should. John wanted to decrease so that Jesus could increase (John 3:30). Christianity and church should never be about us or our agendas; it should always be about Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for our salvation. We need more of Jesus and less of ourselves!
  • What do you seek?” We see the first words of Jesus in this Gospel account. Jesus was basically saying to these people, “Do you seek someone to overthrow Rome? Then join the Zealots.” He is also saying to them, “Do you really know what you are looking at? Do you have any idea what following me will be like and cost you?”
  • Notice that they called Him “Rabbi”, indicating that they wanted Him to be their teacher, to disciple them. They wanted a close, intimate teacher-pupil relationship with Him where they could submit their lives to Him and His teachings. In calling Him rabbi, they were saying that they wanted something more than a casual relationship with Jesus. What about you, do you want more than just a casual relationship with the King of Kings? Do you desire a close, intimate relationship with the Lord as these disciples did?
  • In verse 38 we see that they wanted to know where Christ was staying. In doing so, they didn’t really want to know His address, such as 210 Sumter Street, Oglethorpe, Georgia. No, they were asking, “Where did you come from, and where is your dwelling place?” In other words, “Is there room for us where You are going?”
  • In the next verse Jesus invites them to come and see for themselves, and indeed they did indeed. But notice what else they did. They “remained”. They were introduced to Jesus by a friend, John the Baptist. They went to Jesus and Jesus met them where they were. Then Jesus issues an invitation to them to follow Him, and they accept and remain with Him. This was no one-time fad for them. They weren’t just trying something new out to see if they liked it. They were constant, they were steadfast, and they were submitting their lives to the Rabbi. What about you. Will you remain? Many of you have, for many years. I challenge you to continue to remain with Jesus! Be steadfast, immovable, and remain with the Son of God! No one is an authentic follower of the Rabbi if they do not remain in Him.
  • One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother” Here we learn the name of the first disciple to follow Jesus, Nathaniel. As soon as he meets Jesus, notice what he does! He immediately introduces this brother Peter to Jesus. In fact, Nathaniel is found often introducing people to Jesus. He introduced the lad with the loaves and fish to Jesus. He introduced the Greeks who wanted to see Jesus to Jesus. But first, he introduces his own brother to the Messiah. Evidently, this was a requirement to be a disciple then, and in fact it still is today. Nathaniel was a personal soul winner and so should we be! He brought people right to Jesus, and so should we. Stop, take a moment, and try and think of the people you have brought to Jesus. Sadly, most Christians can think of no people they have brought to Jesus or even attempted to bring to Jesus.
  • We have found the Messiah” – The Messiah means, “The anointed one.” Prophets, priests, and kings were anointed ones, to some degree, yet Jesus was The Anointed One. To be “anointed” meant that you were set apart for special service for God. Jesus was the Anointed One, because He was set apart for the most special task of all: accomplishing the redemption of God’s people. In this regard, Jesus really should be called Jesus the Christ, because Jesus is His name, and Messiah (Christos in Greek) is His title or office. They probably, however, had in mind the mistaken idea that He would take over as king, but Jesus was virtually saying, “My cross must come before my crown. I have work to do first.” Praise God for that work, and for the sacrifice this wonderful Lamb of God would make on our behalf!
  • You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called CephasAs soon as Simon met Jesus, he had a new name, and a new identity. I believe this is symbolic of the new identity we have in Christ. Second Corinthians 5:17 tells is that if anyone is in Christ, that person is a new creation, the old has passed away. Their old heart is not revitalized or reformed. They get an entirely new heart and new life. This was an important part of the New Covenant God made with Israel, and with the Gentiles as well.  Thus we have a new identity as we become identified with Christ. It must have taken a lot of work to change Peter into a Rock, but Jesus did it eventually. He can transform your life too, if you’ll give him a chance. He can wipe that old nature right out, and give you a new nature that is just like His.

Philip and Nathanael Follow Christ, the King of Israel

43The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” 44Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” 48Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”

  • He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.”” Earlier (verse 35 to 42) we saw that sometimes people come to Jesus through other people. Here we see that sometimes Jesus deals with a person directly. Andrew and John the Beloved learned about Jesus from John the Baptizer. Peter and James came to Christ because of their brothers’ witnessing (Andrew and John the Beloved). Nathaniel (Bartholomew) came to Christ because a friend cared enough to share Jesus with Him. But Philip came to Christ because Jesus went to Galilee looking for him. “Each person’s experience is different because God uses various means to bring sinners to the Savior” (Warren Wiersbe, Be Alive, p. 30). God works differently in each person’s life, but we can rest assured that He does work. Is he working in your life right now?
  • He told Philip, “Follow me!” This is an emphatic command, not an option. We are, as disciples, to follow Him as He leads us. Are you following Him today, or are you following your own lead? Won’t you submit to Him and His will for your life and follow wherever He may lead? You’ll be so very glad you did.
  • We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of JosephNathaniel came to Christ because a friend (Phillip) cared enough to share the Gospel with Him. Philip basically said to him, “This is the One that Moses and the Prophets wrote about,” indicating that Jesus isn’t just in the prophetic books, he’s found everywhere in the Old Testament.
  • Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Nathaniel knew that to be from Nazareth meant that you were frowned upon and looked down on. Nazareth was a small, poverty stricken town and its residents were considered poor, lowly people. Philip, instead of arguing against Nathanael’s prejudice, simply ignores it and invites him to meet Jesus for himself. He answered Nathaniel the same way Jesus answered John and Andrew, “Come and see for yourself.” Ultimately, we can’t simply take someone’s word about Jesus. We must see and experience Him for ourselves. Just like the John the Baptist, we must behold Jesus.
  • Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw youJesus, as the omnipotent Creator of the universe, knew all about Nathaniel. This convinced Nathaniel that Jesus was indeed the Son of God and the King of Israel. If Nathaniel had any doubts previously, Jesus’ declaration cleared them all up.  Nathaniel had all the proof he needed. This person that Philip introduced him to was indeed the Messiah, the One who would take away the sins of the world.

Jesus as the Son of Man

50Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

  • You will see greater things than theseHere Jesus was basically saying, “Listen you haven’t seen anything yet. There is much better things to come.” The same is true with us. Our spiritual walks should get better and better as we get closer to Jesus and walk with Him. The quality of our spiritual lives and walk with Jesus only gets better with each passing day. Even after we have known Him for five, ten, or even twenty years, there are still much greater things in store, culminating with life eternal with the Creator of the universe. If you are walking with Jesus, through their will be trials, there will be better days ahead. Jesus promised us so.
  • Son of Man” Jesus referred to himself as the Son of Man, a favorite term of His that He used more than eighty times. “This title emphasized his humanity and suffering as well as the perfection [deity] of his human nature” (Kenneth O. Gangel, John, Holman New Testament Commentary; p.18).
    • “The idea behind this phrase is not ‘the perfect man’ or ‘the ideal man’ or ‘the common man.’ Instead, it is a reference to Daniel 7:13-14, where the King of Glory coming to judge the world is called the Son of Man.  Jesus used this title often because in His day, it was a Messianic title free from political and nationalistic sentiment. When a Jewish person of that time heard ‘King’ or ‘Christ’ they often thought of a political or military savior.” [ David Guzik] Jesus wanted them to understand that one day He would come back on the clouds of heaven to judge the ungodly. But for now, He is just looking of people to follow Him. For now, He has another purpose in mind besides ruling on a throne. For now, His purpose is clear: to redeem God’s people from their sins.

Gleanings from John

Like John the Baptizer, Christians should always stay humble and Christ-centered (Christocentirc). It should never be about us or our agendas. It should always be about Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for our salvation. We must decrease so He can increase. Our purposes and desires should play a submissive position to Christ and His will for our lives. Christ and His plan for our lies should always have the preeminent position in our lives.

Remember, John and Andrew called our Lord, “Rabbi”. This signified that they wanted a closer, intimate student-teacher relationship with Jesus. What about us, do we want more than just a casual relationship with the King of Kings. We should always desire to draw closer to our Lord.

John and Andrew remained with Jesus. What about you. Will you remain? Many of you have, for many years, and should be commended for this. I challenge you to continue to remain with Jesus Be steadfast, immovable, and remain with the Son of God. No one is an authentic follower of the Rabbi if they do not remain in Him.

Nathaniel was a soul winner. Evidently, this was a requirement to be a disciple then, and it still is today. Nathaniel was a personal soul winner and so should we be! He brought people right to Jesus, and so should we. Sadly, statistic show that as much as 90% of evangelical Christians will never share their faith. What about you. Do you have the zeal and enthusiasm for winning lost souls that Nathaniel did?

It must have taken a lot of work to change Peter into “a Rock,” but Jesus did it. He can transform your life too, if you will give him a chance. He can wipe that old nature right out, and give you a new nature that is just like His. He can make you a new creation and give you a new identity in Him.

Two times we heard, “Come and see” (verses 39 and 46). Ultimately, we can’t just take someone’s word about Jesus. We must “come and see” and experience Him for ourselves. Just like the John the Baptist, we must behold Jesus. No one can help us experience Jesus. We must ourselves get to know Him personally.

If you are walking with Jesus, though there will be trials, there will be better days ahead. The best is yet to come. We will see greater things both here in this world as we draw closer to Him and in Heaven as we spend eternity worshiping our Lord. Imagine Heaven’s spender as we behold the Lamb of God and the Word. We will see greater things than these!

In this passage we have met five men who decided to follow Jesus. Andrew and John came to Jesus because of the preaching of a witness for the Light, John the Baptizer. Peter came to Jesus because of the witness of his brother. Phillip came to Jesus as a result of the direct call of Jesus. Nathaniel came to Jesus through Philip as he overcame personal prejudices by a personal encounter with Jesus. Regardless of how they came to Jesus, they did come. They all decided to follow Jesus. What about you? Have you decided to follow Jesus? We are, as disciples to follow Him as he leads us. Are you following Him today? Or are you following your own lead?

    Through the Book of John | John 1:19-34

    THE WITNESS AND THE LAMB OF GOD

    19Now this is the testimony of John [the Baptist], when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?”  And he answered, “No.” 22Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?”

    • Similar accounts of this passage can be found in Matthew 3:1–12, Mark 1:2–8, and Luke 3:3–16.
    • We previously learned that Jesus is God, and that He created the universe. We learned that He is light and life, and that no one has either life or light without Jesus. We also learned that everything was created by and for Jesus Christ (see also Colossians 1:15-17). Jesus our Lord is the eternal Creator of the universe.
    • Now we’ll learn a little more about this “witness” for the Light, John the Baptist. Remember, any time the name “John” appears in the Book of John, it is referring to John the Baptist. John the Beloved, the author of this book, humbly omits his name from the record, wanting only for God to increase (See John 3:30).
    • This section begins the narratives of this great book. In the prologue (John 1:1-18), we were introduced to Jesus and His office as Creator and Eternal God. Now John begins the story of Jesus’ life, which begins not as an infant, as do Matthew and Luke, but as an adult, beginning with His ministry.
    • The Jews hear Jesus preaching, though we are not told precisely how they heard that He was preaching, and they want to know who He is. They send worship leaders and temple assistants to inquire about this. They know what the Old Testament says about a coming Messiah. They know what the Old Testament says about a coming Elijah (Malachi 4:5). They know what the Old Testament says about a coming prophet (Deuteronomy 18:15-18). They get right down to business, no small talk: “Are you either of these people?” John says emphatically, “No, I am not. I am only a witness for the man who is all of these things and more”.
    • They were evidently paranoid and suspicious of anything out of the norm. John did not conform to the normal idea of a priest. He did not conform to the normal idea of a preacher. This is why the Pharisees were very doubtful of Him. They were afraid of change, and that’s precisely what Jesus came to do. “The church always runs the danger of condemning a new way just because it is new. In one sense there is hardly any institution in the world which resents change so much as the church does. It has often rejected a great teacher and often refused some great adventure simply because it suspected all things new” (William Barclay, The Gospel of John, Volume 1, page 77). The rejection of a new thing caused the demise of the religious establishment of the day, and the rejection of new things has caused the decline of the church today, as we cleave to our traditions. Look at what Jesus told the Pharisees as they resisted change and attempted to hold on to their traditions: “For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition” (Mark 7:8-9).Christians resist change more than anyone else, it seems. Maybe they inherited this from the Pharisees, as they resisted anything that would challenge the ecclesiastical system of the day. Jesus came bearing change, and the leaders of the day would have no part in it. Even today, as some cutting edge leaders attempt to lead their church into the 21st century, older traditional members resist change that could revitalize and rejuvenate their church.

    23He said: “I am ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Make straight the way of the Lord,” ’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”

    • We learned in the first few verses of this blessed Gospel that Jesus is God in the flesh. Here we learn that John is the voice of God in the flesh. John the Baptist is God’s word spoken, not God’s word incarnate, as Jesus is. “John was God’s word spoken, not God’s word incarnate; indeed, he was like a nameless voicebox that announced God’s call for people to prepare themselves by repentance and immersion in water for the appearance of the Lord” (Beauford H. Bryant, John: The College Press NIV commentary).
    • Make straight the way of the Lord”: Ancient Israel wasn’t made up of smooth, paved roads such as we have today. The roads and paths were rough and rocky. If a dignitary or person of royalty were coming through the area, they would take the time to get the roads perfectly straight and smooth to provide smooth, comfortable, pleasant passage for the person of royalty. John is saying here, “You better get your roads smooth because the King of Kings is coming through.” John was sent to tell people to ensure their lives were right before Jesus came. He was sent with tools (the proclamation of the Gospel and baptism) to tell people that they need to examine themselves, repent, and be baptized. They need to “make straight the way.” We all need to make straight the way of the Lord in our lives, preparing for the Lord’s imminent return, living our lives as though Christ could return at any moment, because indeed, Christ could return at any moment.
    • John was a spiritual Elijah of sorts because he was telling people to repent and get their lives right, and was straight forward with it. We need more men today who will be “spiritual Elijahs”, boldly telling people to get right without beating around the bush or watering down the Gospel. We need men who will proclaim to the people that they must make straight the way of the Lord in their lives before it’s too late, because once the Lord comes back to rapture His children and bring them home to glory, it’s too late. And John was what all preachers should be, just a voice, wanting no glory for themselves, simply pointing the way – boldly, I might add.

    24Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees. 25And they asked him, saying, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26John answered them, saying, “I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. 27 It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.” 28These things were done in Bethabara [Bethany] beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

    • Why then do you baptize? They misunderstood Isaiah 52:15, which says, “So shall he [the messiah] sprinkle many nations”. They thought the messiah would sprinkle with water, but Isaiah was really talking about the Messiah sprinkling many with the Holy Spirit He would release (John 1:33). This is why they wanted to know why he was baptizing if he wasn’t the messiah.
    • To the Jews, the baptism they practiced up to that point was a ceremonial washing, reserved for the proselytes converting to Judaism. “An Israelite was never baptized; he was God’s already and did not need to be washed. But Gentiles had to be washed in baptism. John was making Israelites do what only Gentiles had to do. He was suggesting that the chosen people had to be cleansed. That was indeed precisely what John believed” (William Barclay , The Gospel of John: Volume , 79).
    • So the Jews misunderstand why he is baptizing, thinking he is the Messiah, who really doesn’t baptize with water, but with the Spirit, as we learn in the other Gospels. Then we have John baptizing Jews, not Gentiles, to tell them to get ready for the Messiah.
    • Whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose John says not only am I not the Messiah, I’m not even worthy to untie his shoes. Among Rabbis and their disciples, there was a teacher-student relationship that had the potential for abuse. “It was entirely possible that a Rabbi might expect unreasonable service from their disciples. One of the things which was considered “too low” for a Rabbi to expect from his disciples was the untying of the Rabbi’s sandal strap. John says he is unworthy to do even this” (David Guzik).
    • First John the apostle teaches us about humbleness because he never mentions his name. Now John the Baptist exemplifies the same characteristic, teaching us about the importance of being humble. Sometimes we lose sight of our humbleness. We get a little learned in the word, or we get a prominent place in ministry, or a better job, or a position in the community, and it goes to our head. John says, “Stay humble, because we aren’t even good enough to be a slave to Jesus Christ.” John knew he was just the one preparing the way. He was willing to decrease so that Jesus could increase (John 3:30), as we’ll hear more about later. God, give us all enough grace to forget about ourselves and our own agendas that we might remember Christ only. It’s not about us!

    29The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ 31I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.”

    • John’s witness of Christ’s baptism is also recorded in Matthew 3:13–17, Mark 1:9–11, and Luke 3:21, 22.
    • This is day two in the Gospel of John. Jesus had already been baptized, showing the approval of the father, and had been tempted by Satan, showing his ability to withstand temptation and trials. He was ready to begin his 3 ½ year ministry that would change the world.
    • Behold! The Lamb of God This is one of the most powerful statements about Jesus in the entire Bible.  What John specifically meant is up for interpretation, at least to some degree. John could have had one or all of several things in mind when he made this declaration of our Lord.
      • First, he may have been thinking of the Passover Lamb, since the Passover wasn’t far off (see John 2). This was a time when the Jews thought back 1,500 years to the time of the Exodus. The night before the first Passover they were instructed to slay a pascal lamb and to place the blood of the slain lamb on the lentil of every home, protecting the Jewish children from the Angel of Death (see Exodus 12). The angel would Passover each door with this blood on it, according to the instructions of the Lord. The blood of the Passover lamb delivered the Israelites in Egypt from death, and “it may be that John was saying: ‘There is the one true Sacrifice who can deliver you from death’”( William Barclay , The Gospel of John: Volume , 81). Barclay was, of course, referring to our Lord Jesus. Paul, too, thought of Jesus as the Passover Lamb, according to First Corinthians 5:7. There is a deliverance that only Jesus Christ can win for us, and He won this deliverance as our very own sacrificial Pascal Lamb, the one and only Lamb of God who indeed takes away the sins of the world. What about you? Do you have the blood of the Lamb figuratively sprinkled over the doorpost of your heart, protecting you from judgment? I hope so. Tomorrow may be too late. There is no better time than right now to accept the free sacrificial gift of the Lamb.
      • Second, remember that John was the son of Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin, and Zachariah. He knew all about the temple and its practices, as the son of a Levite. Every morning and every evening, according to Exodus 29, a lamb was to be offered for the remission of sins. Maybe John is telling them that the Man they see coming is going to do away with all the animal sacrifices, once for all.  Hebrews 9:12 says, “Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” It may be that John is saying, “In the Temple a lamb is offered every night and every morning for the sins of the people; but this Jesus is the only sacrifice which can deliver men from sin” William Barclay , The Gospel of John: Volume , 81).
      • Thirdly, maybe John had in mind the prophet’s words, Isaiah 53:7, “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep silent before her shearers, He did not open His mouth”. Isaiah spoke of One who would suffer greatly to redeem His people and free them from the judgment they so justly deserve. Maybe John is saying, “Your prophets dreamed of the One who was to love and suffer and die for the people; that One is come.”
      • It is most likely John the Beloved had all three in mind as he made this powerful declaration of our Lord. He will be the final Pascal Lamb needed to cause God to pass over those who so deserve God’s judgment, He will be the one to take the place of the animals sacrificed for the remission of the people’s sins in the Temple, and He would be the one who would suffer greatly to redeem His own people from the bondage of sin. He is all this and so very much more. He is our Lord, and that’s reason to shout for joy and celebrate!
    • I did not know HimJohn knew who Jesus was, because they were cousins, yet He did not know that Jesus was the One until that moment, when God revealed it to Him. The Light came on for John, and he realized Jesus was the Savior. Imagine what John must have been thinking as Jesus was approaching from a distance and God told him, “That’s the One, John. That’s Him.” Has there been a moment for you, like John, when you realized not just who Jesus was, but what Jesus is? Is he you Savior, your Messiah, your King? If not, you can know Him today!

    32And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. 33I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”

    • We know from the other Gospels that this point where John the Baptizer saw the spirit descending like a dove is the baptism of Jesus. Here we learn that God had given John a direct revelation, telling him that when he saw a dove descending he would know this was the Son of God in the flesh.
    • John experienced, or beheld Him, and then testified about Him. He didn’t just learn about Him or experience Him, he did something with what he learned and experienced. After he had seen, he testified. He did not remain silent. How about you? Have you seen the Lamb of God? Have you met Him? Have you experienced or beheld Him? If so, have you also testified about Him before others?
    • We need men who will boldly proclaim that people must make straight the way of the Lord in their lives before it’s too late, for once the Lord comes back to rapture His children and bring them home to glory, it’s too late. John did this boldly, but was what all preachers should be, just a voice, wanting no glory, simply pointing the way.
    • What about you? Do you have the blood of the Lamb ceremonially and figuratively sprinkled over the doorpost of your heart, protecting you from judgment, allowing God’s judgment to pass over you? I hope so. Tomorrow may be too late.
    • Has there been a moment for you, like John, when you realized not just who Jesus was, but what Jesus is? Is he your Savior, your Messiah, your King? If not, you can know Him today! He stands ready to meet you where you are (Revelation 3:20).

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    Key words: The Book of John, Commentary on John, Sermon notes on John, The Gospel of John, John, Background to the Book of John.

    Through the Book of John | John 1:1-18

    THE DEITY AND ETERNALITY OF JESUS THE WORD

    1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.

    • Many people have written many lengthy discourses on this verse, one of the most notable in the Bible, and a key verse for the early church’s battle against heresies. Even today, cults such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses do everything in their power to alter these verses to make them say something other than what they plainly say.
      • “However, these two verses can be summed up in three simple, yet profound ways:  [Jesus Christ] was (1) in the beginning: He was (2) with God: He (3) was God (The Gospel According to St. John Introduction and Notes on the Authorized Version, Greek Text and Revised Version, page 2).
    • The fact that He was in the beginningis important, and squashes the ridiculous, heretical ideas of the Mormons, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and any other heretical infidels. “John marks the beginning of Jesus’ life as an event that took place before the beginning of eternity. In the beginning was the Word’—not ‘at the beginning,’ not ‘from the beginning,’ but ‘in the beginning,’ Jesus was already there” (Jon Courson, Jon Courson’s Application Commentary, page 435). So don’t let those Saturday morning visitors (Jehovah’s Witnesses) show up on your doorstep and tell you any different.
    • In the beginning was the Word”: There never was a time when Christ did not exist because the word “was” is in the Greek imperfect tense, which means “was continuing.” In fact, the entire first verse bears this sense. “In the beginning was continuing the Word, and the Word was continuing with God, and the Word was continually God.” Or as [someone] accurately (though ungrammatically) concluded, “Jesus always was wasing!” That is precisely it. Jesus Christ is preexistent. He always was continuing” (R. Kent Hughes, John: That You May Believe, page 16).
    • And the word was with Godshould be read in the Greek as “The Word was continually towards God”. As verse two tells us, He was there in the beginning. He has always been with God, and has always been God.  To disbelieve this is to disbelieve the Book of John and the entire Bible.
    • The fact that He was called “The Word tells us that there is no doubt that He is God. The Jews used terms such as the “The Word” or the “Word of Life” to refer to God, to keep His sacred name Yahweh holy and undefiled. They felt that God’s name was to holy to even speak, so that used alternative names for Him. To the Jew, there was no question: When John used The Wordhe was calling Jesus Yahweh, the Eternal God!

    3All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

    • If verses 1-3 left any questions about who Jesus was, verse 4 settles it once and for all. He is the One who created all things, and without Him, none of us would be here today, just as Colossians Chapter 1 says!
    • Paul wrote of Christ, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation; because by Him everything was created, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:15-17, HCSB).
    • Paul also wrote, “Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we through Him.”  (1 Corinthians 8:6)
    • This means that each of us owe our very existence to Him. Do we spend time in prayer thanking Him for our lives and thanking Him for creating us? We owe Him thanks for our lives as our creator. We owe him thanks for everything in our lives! Take a moment today to thank Him for your life.
    • As a matter of fact, life is most important to us. Without life, we are, well, dead. But in Jesus, verse 4 says, we have life. And we have light too. There are two things men are afraid of, it seems, death and darkness. I personally am afraid of both. Jesus has the cure for both of them! He has life, and He has light. He IS life and He IS light! Here’s the hard truth for the day, if you do not have Christ, you have no light, and not life. You are living a dead, dark life. Let the light of the world light your world, won’t you?
    • The darkness did not comprehend.: Light in the Bible is always an emblem of God and Christ. Darkness is sometimes an emblem of sin, death, tragedy, and evil. The darkness of the world, or the evil of the world, and the rulers of this Dark Age will not overcome Christ. There is going to be a battle one day. A battle where ultimately Christ will overcome evil and darkness once and for all. Praise God I am on the winning side. Are you?

    6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. 8He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

    • A man is talking about John the Baptist, not John the writer of this book. Luke tells us a lot about John the Baptist, but John the Beloved seems to only be concerned with his function and purpose – his function as a witness about the Light. John is not the light, or even Elijah, but is simply a witness of the Light.
    • The word witness is the Greek word “martureo” and is closely associated with the word “martyr”, which is “martus” in Greek. The words both have the same root word in Greek and are sometimes used interchangeably, since a real witness for Christ is willing to be a martyr for Crist. John uses this word “witness” (martueo) an astounding 31 times in his book, emphasizing the importance of being a witness for Christ. Of course, we know John the Baptist was a faithful witness/martyr, as he was beheaded for the sake of the Gospel. (Matt 14:1-12)
      • We serve the same purpose as John, to be a witness for Christ. Yet we are fortunate in that we are not called to be martyred. We are to be witnesses of the Light. How many friends do we have that are in darkness, yet we never share the light with them? How many friends do we have that are dead in their sins, yet we never share life with them? Sadly, 90% of evangelical Christians never share the Light and Life with those they know. What about you. Are you the witness for the Light that God has called you to be?

    9That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.

    • Jesus isn’t a fake Light, like Allah, Mohamed, Joseph Smith, Buddah, etc. He is the real deal, the true Light, John says.
    • The true Light which gives light to every man.”: Notice something very important here. Many say that Jesus only died for certain people (known as “Limited Atonement”), and that those who are unsaved have no hope of salvation because Christ did not die for them. But verse 9 says that Jesus gives light to every man (or literally all men). This means that every man has the opportunity to receive the Light. Yet we know that the gate is narrow, and many will reject the Light. The offer is there, but many will not receive Him. They reject the offer of the Light that is available to all men. Reformed theology says you can’t reject God, He is irresistible. But this verse clearly says that God, in His sovereignty, offered the Light, but didn’t force the Light upon man. Each man must make His own decision to receive the Light or reject the Light.
    • The world did not know Him.”: Verse 10 says that the people did not recognize their own Creator. They rejected and despised Him. They acted as if they did not know Him. People do the same thing today, although Romans 1:18-20 says they do know about Him. People are without excuse. They know about God, but they do not know Him personally. What about you? Are you rejecting Him? Are you rejected Him in the sense that you are not walking with Him daily?

    12But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

    • Again, some say that only those “elected” to receive Christ can do so (the inaccurate doctrine of Limited Atonement). John says here that anyone who will receive Jesus into their hearts and lives has the right to become children of God. All one has to do is believe. Remember, the word “believe” (pisteuō in Greek) is used 98 times in this book (nearly half of the New Testament usages of the word). Believe, believe, believe – that’s John’s message. Anyone who believes has the right to become a child of God.
    • Who were born…of God”: If you receive Him, it is of God. Your salvation happens because of what God purposed to happen on the cross. It isn’t anything you do in your flesh; it’s a free gift of God. (See Ephesians 2:8-9).
    • As many as received Him”: Many today attempt to teach that “receiving God” is not biblical because God choses and receives us. But here we see that receiving God is absolutely biblical. God does choose us, but we must choose Him as well. Receiving God is absolutely a biblical concept and you should never be ashamed to ask someone to “receive Him.”

    14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ ” 16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

    • The Word, who is Jesus, came, born of a virgin, and “tabernacled” among us. It’s so hard to believe that the God of earth and glory would take the time to come to earth, to live amongst sin, disease, wickedness, trauma, persecution, and torture just for me, and just for you. How unworthy we are that the eternal Creator of the Universe would give up His place in glory to live among us and die for us.
    • Yet he did, because John saidwe beheld His glory”, that is the apostles, over five hundred eye witnesses, and many others who actually saw and experienced him, they all beheld His glory. They experienced him, not just saw him. Take a moment to ask yourself if you have experienced Jesus today? When is the last time you really experienced Jesus? Do you experience Him every day? Do you walk with Him, and talk with Him, along life’s narrow way. You should! Because He is full of grace and truth, and he wants to give both grace and truth to you today. You will never find grace or truth apart from our Lord Jesus Christ.
    • John says that not only have we”, the Apostles, beheld Him, but that John the Baptist did. After John saw and beheld Him, he bore witness of Him and cried out,” John the Baptist cried out that Jesus was before him. Wait a minute, don’t we know from Luke chapters 1 and 2 that John the Baptist was first to be born, months before his cousin Jesus? Yes, but John is telling us that Jesus is eternal, and was from the very beginning in existence. In this case, Jesus is first. He is preeminent and eternally God.
    • And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace”: Here John is saying, I believe, “We Christians here at this time have beheld, we have experience, we have partaken of His grace, mercy, forgiveness, love. Brothers and Sisters, Jesus is the full package”. The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) renders a much better translation of this passage when it says, “Indeed, we have all received grace after grace from His fullness.” Through the fullness of Christ Jesus we have received blessing after blessing so richly, even though we do not deserve them.
    • The law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ”: Christ is not like the rigid Law of the Old Testament that could never save someone. He is Jesus, the one to bring us God’s unmerited favor. Both grace and truth come through Him, not through meticulous obedience to an Old Testament ritualistic system. This idea is so simple, yet so hard for many to accept. People feel as though they have to do something to earn salvation, but grace and truth come only through our Lord and Savior.
    • No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him”: This tells us that while no one has seen God, they have “seen of” God, so to speak, through His only Son. John says that no one has seen God, yet many have seen God indirectly because “Jesus, the Word, is the perfect declaration of the unseen God. The Father and the Son belong to the same family, and Jesus has declared the nature of the unseen God to man. We don’t have to wonder about the nature and personality of God. Jesus has declared it with both His teaching and His life” (David Guzik, Enduring Word).

    PERSONAL APPLICATION FOR REFLECTION

    Remember that John wrote one of the most specular books in all of the Bile, yet never mentioned His name. He wasn’t concerned with furthering his notoriety of with making his name a household name. Are we like the beloved Disciple, wanting all the attention to go on Jesus. Or is it about us? Do we pray as John did, “He must increase, I must decrease” (John 3:30)? Or are we self-centered and egocentric? John was Christocentric, are you?

    Remember that John is a book that serves as a barometer to indicate just how deep our faith us. What about you, how deep is your faith. Hopefully it will deepen day by day as you go through this wonderful, deeply Christocentric book. Are you examining yourself regularly to make you are growing in the Lord. Use this book to help you do just that.

    John 1:3 says all things were made through Jesus. This means that each of us owe our very existence to Him, the sovereign Creator of the Universe. Do we spend time, in our prayers, just thanking Him for our lives? This is basic, yet we often forget that we owe him thanks for our lives as our Creator. We owe Him thanks for everything in our lives. May we praise Him today for being our Creator.

    John 1:4 says Jesus is the Light and the Life. If you do not have Christ, you have no light, and you have no life. You are living a dead, dark life. Let the light of the world light your world, won’t you? If you haven’t surrendered your life to Him as the Lord over your life, you should do so today. Without Him, life is lonely, dead, and dark, and you have no hope of eternal life.

    Remember John was called to be a witness for the Light. We serve the same purpose as John, yet thankfully we are not called to be martyred. We are to be witnesses of the Light in our everyday lives. How many friends do you have that are in darkness? Do you share the Light with them? How many friends do you have that are dead in their sins? Do you share Life with them? Sadly, 90% of Christians never share the Light and Life with the people around them. Do you?

    John 1:11 says that Jesus own people rejected Him. Are you rejecting Him? Are you rejected Him in the sense that you are not walking with Him daily, even though you are a Christian? Rejected His salvation isn’t the only way people can reject Him. People reject Jesus’ call on their lives every day. Are you submitted to the will of Christ in every aspect of your life, or are you rejecting Jesus just as His own people did?

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    Key words: The Book of John, Commentary on John, Sermon notes on John, The Gospel of John, John, Background to the Book of John.

    Through the Book of John | Introduction to the Book of John

    INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF JOHN

    I must say that this is one of the most exciting things I have ever done. I am preaching through the Book of John, verse by verse. This book has blessed me so much that I thought I’d share my sermon notes with you. Stay tuned….I’ll be posting more each week!!

    I love the story of two little boys watching grandmother read the Bible. Danny asked, “Why does grandmother read the Bible so much?” His brother David answered, “I think she’s cramming for her finals.”  There is so much truth and knowledge in the book of John that we’re going to feel as though we are cramming for finals as we work our way through this wonderful book!

    A pastor had been disturbed by a person who was a fast reader. “We shall now read the Twenty-third Psalm in unison,” he announced. “Will the lady who is always by the still waters, while the rest of us are in `green pastures, please wait a minute until we catch up?”(PastorLife.com Sermon illustrations).  We should be like this Pastor and take our time and savor every single chapter, verse, and word! We want to take our time and carefully study all 21 chapters, all 879, and all 15,635 words of John’s account of the Gospel of our Lord (Statistics courtesy of Catholic Resources at www. catholic – resources . org).

    We must ask the question, “Why four Gospels?” Well actually, there really are not four Gospels. There is really only one Gospel with four views, sides, or perspectives. Here’s how I think of the four Gospel accounts. Our church recently completed VBS (Hero Headquarters, June 2010). If you were to survey four of our members about VBS, you would get four varying accounts that overlap some, but have differences in them as well. Although the four accounts from the four church members differ, one would never assert that our church conducted four different Vacation Bible Schools, would they? AT our VBS, some may have experienced things that others didn’t, yet we only had one VBS. The same applies to the “four-fold single Gospel”. Different writers experienced different things and penned them down for us under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. So remember, it’s only ONE GOSPEL with four perspectives.

    So what’s this Gospel account about? More than 50 years ago, the New Testament scholar Merrill C. Tenney entitled his commentary on the Fourth Gospel, “John, The Gospel of Belief”. This is so very true. This is the Gospel of belief. It is a Gospel that a lost person can read to really, really know Jesus. It’s where every New Christian should begin. This book will strengthen your faith and deepen your belief in Christ as God Almighty, the Creator of the Universe.

    We must also ask, “Who wrote this book?” This book was written by John, the brother of James (commonly referred to as John the Beloved). His family had a fishing business in Galilee, centered around the Sea of Galilee. John the Beloved was a part of Jesus’ inner circle, with Peter and James. What we know about John comes from the other Gospel accounts, as John wrote very little about himself in his own Gospel account. We know that John had a temper, and was called the “Son of Thunder”. This is John was became angry at some Samaritans who wouldn’t lend a bed to Jesus (See Luke 9:51-55). John and his brother appear to have been ambitious, at least early in their relationship with Jesus. In Matthew 20:20-28 they had their mother ask if they could be first in Jesus’ kingdom. We know John was humble. John refers to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” 5 times (John 13:23; 19:26; 21:7, 20, 24), yet he never mentioned his name. This tells us that he was not concerned with drawing attention to himself. He wanted all the focus on Jesus, the eternal son of God. We do well to exemplify this characteristic in our lives. Do we want all the attention on Jesus, or is really all about us? May we pray as John did, “Lord, may you increase, and may I decrease.”

    When was this Gospel written? Most conservative commentators agree with the Gospel account was written somewhere between 85 AD and 95 AD, at the end of the 1st century, just after John became the Bishop at Ephesus. This means that John the Beloved would have most likely written this account after his exile on Patmos, which is where he was when he wrote the Book of Revelation.

    To whom was this Gospel account written? Matthew was written to the Jews, as is evident by the words he uses and the imagery in his book. Mark was written to the Romans. Luke was written to the Gentiles, since Luke himself was a Gentile. But the Book of John was written to the WORLD, not just a chosen few (See John 3:16).

    Why was the Gospel account written? When you look at the Book of John in relationship to the other book of the Bible, the others seem to be a historical narrative, telling what Jesus did and giving historical facts. However, this book is a book about who Jesus is! This book is a deeply theological (about God and the teachings of God) and Christological (the study of Christ) book. John tells us near the end of his Gospel account why this book was written. “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and by believing you may have life in His name (John 20:30-31). John, then, wrote this book so people would believe in Jesus. In fact, “the key word in the Gospel of John is ‘believe’ (pisteuō), which occurs 98 times” (John F. Walvoord, “The Bible Knowledge Commentary”, 2:270).

    It has been said that the Gospel of John is “a pool in which a child may wade and an elephant my swim” (David Guzik, Enduring Word Media). This is a book that was not only written to the lost, as was mentioned earlier, it was also written to the saved, to deepen their faith in Christ as the Messiah. You cannot read this book without having your faith deepened. This is a book that not only will deepen your faith, it serves as a barometer to see just how deep our faith us. What about you, how deep is your faith. May this book serve as a personal barometer in your life as we go through all 879 verses of belief.  It is my prayer that your faith will be greatly deepened as your study each every one of the 15,635 words in this great book!

    On a final note of introduction, you can’t read this book without knowing more and more about Christ and His role as the eternal Son of God. This is a book that speaks heavily of the eternality of Jesus, and is what I like to call “the Jehovah’s Witnesses Nightmare”. “From the manifestation of the Word in chapter 1, to the post-resurrection appearance to the disciples in chapter 21, we find John emphasizing over and over again the excellence and eternality of the Son of God” (Kenneth O. Gangel, Holman New Testament Commentary: John, page 1). Through the lens of this book we see that Jesus is the Christ, the eternal Living Word and God Almighty in the Flesh – nothing less!

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    Key words: The Book of John, Commentary on John, Sermon notes on John, The Gospel of John, John, Background to the Book of John.