Monday, January 26, 2015

Foundational Truths of John

John 1:1 = memorable beginning/opening lines

However, John's prologue (1st. 5 verses) is more that memorable/catchy/poetic.  It = fundamental truths that under gird his gospel.

On one hand, we are interested in the practical, applicable, personal (and we should be)
However, if there is no foundation beneath???  What do we have??

JOHN'S FOUNDATION TRUTHS - (prologue) - John 1:1-5

I.  THE WORD IS GOD - (Vs. 1) - John uses "was" but He is "I AM"
The Word (logos):  A.)  to the Hebrews = spoken word/communication - (example - Old Testament prophets spoke words of the LORD)

B)  to the Greeks = THE Principle that governs, unifies, explains origin, function of universe

for John?  = Jesus fits Both.  PLUS --> John 1:14 - Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
Don't have this teaching anywhere except Christianity.

II.  IN HIM IS LIFE - (John 1:4) - source of physical life
A.  in usual sense - man, animal, biological, physical
B.  Absolute sense - ie:  life as GOD has it!!! - totally different from physical life = eternal, everlasting

Vs. 4 means more than life through Him.  Means Life Resides IN Him.
He = origin, source, keeper, protector of ALL life  (physical and spiritual)

Message = we lost that life at the Fall.
We (can) regain it - in Christ (the Word)

ie:  our illumination, our ability to see (know)

As with life = both physical and spiritual, so with LIGHT = both physical and spiritual (that's what illuminates us),
ALL comes from Him - (Rev. 21 & 22)

John's emphasis = Spiritual light - He is only source

SO, John's "foundation' - the WORD is GOD, LIFE, LIGHT --- BUT = Problem!!! - John 1:5
Could be:  A)  didn't comprehend?
                 B)  couldn't overcome?
Combination = APPROPRIATE - accept, receive, embrace
Darkness against the light.  Darkness has not "appropriated" the light - embraced, used, received

Summary application of Prologue = John 1:10-13

So:  1)  Have a solid foundation - laid on which to build our faith, etc.
       2)  will now receive much additional information:  events, miracles, teachings, commentaries, observations, opinions, responses

BUT in the end we come back to beginning - ie:  you must decide - you must choose!!

for non-believer, choice = simple/obvious, one time

For believer (like disciples, like Thomas) after initial decision, must decide and must choose - again and again.
This gospel gives encouragement, instruction, strength.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Introduction to the Study on the Book of John

John the Apostle - Son of Zebedee & Salome
Zebedee = prosperous fisherman - Mark 1:19-20 - had "hired hands"
Salome = follower of Jesus - Mark 15:40-41 - was there at the cross
               maybe a sister of Mary - John 1:25
               zealous for her sons and their positions in the Kingdom - Matt. 20:20-21

There were two sons - James and John - often mentioned together. 
Jesus nicknames them "sons of thunder" - Mark 3:16-17

John = follower of John the Baptist before became a follower of Jesus, therefore already a seeker and believer in Messiah

The Gospels portray Peter as the leader of the disciples, and suggest that James and John = next 2 influential disciples - behind Peter.

So, John => chosen as 1 of the "12" - apostles
and - becomes part of Jesus' "inner circle" - these three were very close to Jesus and He had a particular intimacy with them.
Matt. 17:1, 26:36-37

After the Resurrection John became a leader in the church at Jerusalem.

Late in life = exiled to Patmos (by the Roman leader Domitian?) because of his illegal preaching and teaching that Christ was the Messiah.
There he recorded "The Revelation" - Rev. 1:9-11

Also authored I, II, III John - where he again declares himself eye witness of all the happenings.  1 John 1:1

John is believed to be the only Apostle who died a natural death approximately 98 AD - approximately 95 years old)

Several "key words' in John - (keep coming up over and over again)
Light - 24 times    Life - 50 times     truth - 52 times

John's favorite?  "believe" - John 3:16 - stands out
In the verb form means to be persuaded, convinced.  But, = more than intelligent assent - means cling to, trust in, rely on.  Wholistic belief= head, heart, hands

Used in Matthew - 10 times.   Mark - 10 times      Luke - 9 times.   John - 99 times.
In a concordance search of the Bible for Believe, believed, believes, - 1/3 of all usage is in John!!

John's message == belief (wholistic - head, heart, hands) is essential to being a follower of Christ.
John 3:36  John 8:24

AGAIN,  this is MORE than intelligent assent.  It = trusting Him
Illustration:  John 11:23-26
Note Question - Vs. 26 - "do you believe this?"
Answer:  Vs. 27 - (paraphrase) - "Yes!  I believe this because I believe You!!  (in You)

John's purpose in writing this?? - John 20:24-31

Our purpose in this study?
1)  convince/persuade this un-believer.
2)  strengthen, encourage the believer.  

Monday, January 5, 2015

General Wisdom for the Coming Year

from Deuteronomy - (2nd. Law/Repetition of the Law)
The time & setting - Egypt --> wilderness --> Promised Land - 1st. generation wouldn't go in so spent 40 years wandering between slavery and blessing.

The purpose - Deut. 4:1
So----- review past
            reiterate Covenant
            Offer/invite/challenge next generation

Question?  Is this applicable to us?  today?
Answer:  1 Cor. 10:6, 11 - (context) - Paul said "all scripture given by inspiration of God..."

are not entering a "new land", but ARE entering new era - examples:  what's new to you in 2015??

Not beginning a journey - (been Christian for ___ years)
But are on a continuing journey.

We're not the same people = (Israel, 3500 years, across the globe)
BUT, we're still PEOPLE!!
                  still subject to people problems!!!

1 Cor. 10:12-13 (a)

So, General Wisdom for the Coming Year --
     Deuteronomy has many specifics, but today, = broader/more general, however = important, practical, applicable, helpful

Deut. 8:1-18
focus on:  I)  Be Careful
               II)  Remember
              III)  Observe

I.  Be CAREFUL - usage/synonym - "Be careful" - 20 times in Deuteronomy (NIV)
  TO:  do, obey, pay attention, follow, watch yourselves
  NOT TO:  forget, neglect, be enticed, be ensnared

Synonyms:  to be cautious, wary, alert, awake, observant, mindful, attentive, watchful, diligent, vigilant, on guard.

Why so important?? - A)  Dangers ahead, around
                                  B) we tend toward careless -
Careless = inattentive, thoughtless, unobservant, negligent, lax, indifferent, forgetful, unwary, off-guard
Which => greatest danger (often) = SELF!!

Words to US --> Eph. 5:15-17 - our problem is carelessness

Observe/compare - in Hebrews = Hebrew Christians tempted to drift due to persecution/hardships.
(here) in Deuteronomy = tempted to drift due to success/prosperity
Which are we most like??

II.  REMEMBER as in:
A) Look Back - at former events, experiences
AND, B) Keep in Mind - lessons and truths learned there!!
Remember - 16 times in Deuteronomy - why so important???

Point is not looks back and reminisce - Heb. 2:1
But = look back and LEARN.  (ones who've walked with Christ the longest should be the most solid)

III.  OBSERVE - doesn't mean stand back and watch == OBEY!!
                       more than know His will == DO His Will
Mentions 13 times in Deuteronomy, and when add 'obey', =>42 times)
James 1:22-25
Matt. 7:24-27

These are good, general observations, reminders, challenges for us.
BUT, 1 thing precedes these 3 = ie:  decide/choose - Deut. 30:11-20

The Christmas Hope

Last week - "after life/better life"
but, not everybody believes that.

Concerning afterlife - are 3 kinds of Hope -

I.  NO HOPE - naturalist/atheist
"no God, no heaven" therefore no continuity
                                               no purpose
                                              no significance
This is not the prevailing view, however does = growing view!!

II.  HEART'S HOPE - based on:
1) inherent knowledge - Eccles. 3:11
2)  personal desire (longing)
3)  select portions of scripture
it - embraces the pleasant (we = eternal/God=gracious_
   - rejects the offensive (we = sinners/God=just)
therefore is generally optimistic - (I'm OK, you're OK)
but - is shallow/incomplete
This is the prevailing view (in America)

        1)  Recognizes inherent Knowledge
         2)  admits personal desire.
but, 3) builds on the full Revelation

alteration:  change from III.  Christian Hope to III.  CHRISTMAS HOPE

Because, (more than any other event) His coming has shaped our understanding/expectations/confidence/HOPE

by His coming ....
I.  He Brought Us Light
ie:  the light of knowledge/understanding   Isa. 9:2, Luke 2:30-32, John 1:4, 12:46

Not all knowledge/understanding
but = enough to instill confidence and joyous Expectation - 2 Cor. 4:6

by His coming ....
II.  He Bought us Access - bridge illustration
John 14:1-6   Rom. 5:1-2

What  if He brought light without access?  Couldn't cross the bridge!!
What if He bought access without light?  Wouldn't know to cross!!!
BUT (by His coming) He's given Both --
so we have - confidence, certainty, joyous expectation
(Christian Hope) --> (Christmas Hope)

There's a catch!!  ie:  in Christ light and access are offered.  However, must be received (owned/embraced)

Without acceptance and reception, they stand (valid and sufficient), BUT, they stand APART from you -
without any positive effect!