Lesson 6 - God the Father

August 19, 2017
  1. The Trinity is observed in the Old Testament, and clearly seen in the New Testament. God the Father is presented as the first Person among the members of the Trinity. Each Person is observed in Scripture as having certain characteristics and activities. “The Father is presented as electing, loving, and bestowing. The Son is presented as suffering, redeeming, and upholding the universe. The Holy Spirit is presented as regenerating, indwelling, baptizing, energizing, and sanctifying.”[1]
  2. In a general sense, the first Person of the Godhead is the Father of all creation ( 2:10; Acts 17:24-29; 1 Cor. 8:6; Eph. 3:14-15; Heb. 12:9). This is not to be confused with universal salvation, which teaches that everyone goes to heaven.
  3. The first Person of the Godhead is Father by intimate relationship ( 4:22; 2 Sam. 7:14; Ps. 103:13).
  4. The first Person of the Godhead is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ ( 9:6; Matt. 3:17; 17:5; John 1:14; 3:16; 17:1; Eph. 1:3). “Obviously the terms “father” and “son” are used of God to describe the intimate relationship of the First and Second Persons without necessarily fulfilling all the aspects that would be true in a human relationship of father and son. This is especially evident in the fact that both the Father and the Son are eternal.”[2]
  5. The Father of all who believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord (John 1:12-13; Gal. 3:26). In contrast, those who are not children of God belong to Satan (Matt. 13:38; John 8:44).

 

[1] Chafer, Lewis Sperry; Walvoord, John F.; Major Bible Themes (Grand Rapids, Mich. Zondervan Publishing, 2010), 45.

[2] Ibid., 47.

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Lesson 5 - The Trinity

August 19, 2017

     The doctrine of the Trinity simply teaches that there is one God, who exists as three Persons who are co-equal (they share the same attributes), co-infinite (not bound by time or space), and co-eternal (have eternally existed).  The Bible does not teach tritheism (three absolutely separate gods), nor does it teach modalism (that there is one person who manifests himself in three forms as Father, Son, and Spirit).  Though there are difficulties in understanding the Trinity, the Biblical evidence is clear that God exists as thee distinct Persons.

     The three Persons of the God-head are one in essence (Deut. 6:4; Isa. 44:6-8; John 10:30; 17:11). The use of the Hebrew numeral dx’(a, echad reveals, in some contexts, the idea of a complex one (cf. Gen. 2:24; Ezra 3:1; Ezek. 37:17). There is one God who exists as three distinct Persons within the Trinity (Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Pet. 1:2): God the Father (Gal. 1:1; Eph. 6:23; Phil. 2:11), God the Son (Isa. 7:14; 9:6; John 1:1, 8:58; 20:28; Col. 2:9; Heb. 1:8), and God the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4; 1 Cor. 2:11-12; 2 Cor. 13:14).

     The primary names of God are: Yahweh (hw<h.y:), which is the proper name of God and most often translated LORD, Adonai (yn”doa]), which is commonly translated Lord, and Elohim (~yhil{a/) which is commonly translated God. God’s name is used in combination with other Hebrew words that reveal His character.

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Lesson 4 - The Bible as Divine Revelation

August 12, 2017

Forms of Divine Revelation

  1. The revelation of God in creation (Ps. 19:1-2; Rom. 1:18-20).
  2. Revelation in Christ (John 1:18; 14:9). Jesus is a revelation of the Father to mankind; yet, we know about Jesus only from Scripture.
  3. Revelation in the written Word (1 Thess. 2:13; cf. 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20-21).

Special Revelation

  1. God the Holy Spirit illumines the Christian mind to know the Bible (1 Cor. 2:10-13).
  2. The natural man (i.e. the unbeliever) cannot know the things of God (1 Cor. 2:14).

Interpretation of the Bible

  1. Individual passages of Scripture must be viewed within the context of the whole Bible, within the context of the book in which it appears, and within the immediate context of chapter and paragraph.
  2. Each passage must be interpreted according to the person(s) to whom it was written. Primary and secondary application must be considered.
  3. Because God is the divine Author behind each human author, there will be theological continuity in Scripture. This means that when we interpret a passage, we must seek to do so in light of other theological statements in Scripture.
  4. Knowledge of the original languages of Scripture (Hebrew and Greek) helps shed light on the meaning of words and phrases. Where such knowledge is lacking, the student must rely on lexicons and commentaries for help. “In addition to determining the actual meaning of the words, proper interpretation assumes that each word has its normal literal meaning unless there are good reasons for regarding it as a figure of speech.”[1]
  5. The Christian must guard against prejudice. “While it is proper for any interpreter of Scripture to approach a passage with theological convictions arising from a study of the entire Bible, care should be taken not to twist a text into what it does not say in order to harmonize it with preconceived ideas. Each text should be allowed to speak for itself even if it leaves temporarily some unresolved problems of harmonization with other Scripture.”[2]

 

[1] Chafer, Lewis Sperry; Walvoord, John F.; Major Bible Themes (Grand Rapids, Mich. Zondervan Publishing, 2010), 35.

[2] Ibid., 35.

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Lesson 3 - The Subject and Purpose of the Bible

August 12, 2017

Jesus Christ as the Subject

  1. Jesus Christ as the Creator (Gen. 1:1; John 1:3; Col. 1:16-17).
  2. Jesus Christ as the supreme ruler of the world. It is the Father’s will that every knee shall bow in submission to Jesus (Phil. 2:9-11). Jesus Christ will establish His kingdom on earth (Dan. 7:13-14; Luke 1:31-33) when He returns at His second coming (Rev. 19:11-21; 20:1-6). Jesus is also the sovereign head of the church (Eph. 1:22-23). As supreme ruler, Jesus Christ is the judge of all men (John 5:22, 27; Acts 10:42; 17:30-31; 2 Cor. 5:10; 1 Pet. 4:5).
  3. Jesus Christ as the Incarnate Word (John 1:1, 14; Heb. 1:3).
  4. Jesus Christ as Savior (Gen. 3:15; John 3:16; 20:30-31; Acts 4:12).

The Purpose of the Bible

According to the written Word of God, one supreme purpose is revealed in all that God has done or will do, from the beginning of creation to the farthest reaches of eternity. This supreme purpose is the manifestation of the glory of God. For this one purpose angels were created, the material universe was designed to reflect that glory, and man was created in the image and likeness of God. In the inscrutable wisdom of God, even sin was permitted and redemption was provided with a view toward the realization of this supreme purpose.[1]

  1. God’s creation glorifies Him (Ps. 19:1).
  2. The nation of Israel is for the glory of God (Isa. 60:21; Jer. 13:11).
  3. Salvation is unto the glory of God (Rom. 9:22-23).
  4. All service should be unto the glory of God (Matt. 5:16; John 15:8; 17:1, 5). “The Bible itself is God’s instrument by which He prepares the man of God unto every good work (2 Tim. 3: 16-17).”[2]
  5. The Christian’s new passion is that God may be glorified (Rom. 5:2).
  6. Even the believer’s death glorifies God (John 21:19).
  7. The saved one is appointed to share in the glory of Christ (John 17:22; Col. 3:4).

 

[1] Chafer, Lewis Sperry; Walvoord, John F.; Major Bible Themes (Grand Rapids, Mich. Zondervan Publishing, 2010), 28.

[2] Ibid., 29.

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Lesson 2 - The Inspiration of Scripture

August 5, 2017

     Major views of inspiration: 1) The dictation view which says the entire Bible was dictated directly from God to man.  2) The neo-orthodox view which teaches the Bible contains errors, but can still be used by God to reveal Himself and Jesus.  3) The concept theory which holds the concepts of the Bible are inspired but not the very words.  4) The partial inspiration view which argues that only parts of the Bible are inspired, but contains errors concerning history, geography and science.  5) The naturalistic inspiration view which says the Bible is just a human book with nothing divine in it.  6) The verbal plenary inspiration view which teaches every word of the Bible is divinely inspired and without error.

     Verbal plenary inspiration is the evangelical view.  Though the Bible was written by fallible men, each was superintended by God the Holy Spirit, Who guided them in such a way that what they wrote, without compromising their personal choices of words and literary style, penned God’s inerrant Word.  There is a parallel between the written Word and the Living Word.  Just as God took a sinful woman, Mary, and supernaturally produced a sinless and perfect Person, Jesus; so God took sinful men and used them to produce a perfect book that accurately reflects His thoughts and will for mankind.  The human authors—without forfeiting their personal literary style—wrote under the direction and superintending care of God the Holy Spirit (Ex. 17:14; 34:27; Isa. 30:8; Jer. 30:2; Luke 1:3; 1 Cor. 14:37; Rev. 1:11), so that what is written is the inerrant and infallible “word of God” (1 Thess. 2:13; cf. Ps. 12:6-7; Rom. 15:4; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20).  Some of the various literary styles include historical narrative, law, poetry, psalms, proverbs, parables, and symbolism.  The Bible is a dual authorship.

  • "By the term Dual Authorship, two facts are indicated, namely, that, on the divine side, the Scriptures are the Word of God in the sense that they originate with Him and are the expression of His mind alone; and, on the human side, certain men have been chosen of God for the high honor and responsibility of receiving God’s Word and transcribing it into written form. Granting that it is God’s purpose to place His Word in written form into the hands of men, the method He has employed to do this is the natural way in which it would be done."[1]

     The Bible is God’s Word penned by men who wrote under the inspiration and superintending guidance of God the Holy Spirit.  The end result is that the Bible is perfect in all it reveals about God, nature, mankind, history, prophecy, and our most excellent salvation provided by our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

[1] Lewis S. Chafer, “Bibliology” Bibliotheca Sacra, 94 (1937): 398-399.

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Lesson 1 - The Bible as the Word of God

August 5, 2017

     The word “Bible” comes from the Greek word βίβλος biblos which means scroll or book. The Bible is a library of sixty six books, composed by approximately forty human authors spanning nearly fifteen hundred years.  “The purpose of God in providing the Bible is that man, to whom the Bible is addressed, may be possessed of dependable information regarding things tangible and intangible, temporal and eternal, visible and invisible, earthly and heavenly.”[1] 

     Internally, the Bible claims to be the word of God (Ex. 17:14; 34:27; Dan. 7:1; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 1 Pet. 1:23-25).  Paul equated the writings of Moses and Luke as Scripture (1 Tim. 5:18), as Peter did the writings of Paul (2 Pet. 3:15-16).  It reveals there is one God who exists as three distinct Persons within the Trinity (Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Pet. 1:2): God the Father (Gal. 1:1; Eph. 6:23; Phil. 2:11), God the Son (John 1:1, 14, 18; 8:58; 20:28; Col. 2:9; Heb. 1:8), and God the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4; 1 Cor. 2:11-12; 2 Cor. 13:14).  All three are co-equal, co-infinite, co-eternal, and worthy of all praise and service.  The Bible also reveals the origins of the universe (Gen. 1:1), mankind (Gen. 1:26-27), sin (Gen. 3:1-8), salvation (John 3:16), and the future (Rev. 21-22), just to name a few.  The Bible does not reveal all there is to know about God or His plans and actions, but only what He deems important (Deut. 29:29; cf. John 21:25). 

     Externally, the Bible has a wealth of manuscript evidence (13,000 manuscript copies & portions of texts), has been translated into more languages than any other book, has perfect continuity regarding what it reveals about God and creation (Job 26:7; Isa. 40:22), has transformed countless lives, and served as a basis for law and morality. 

     In Summary, the Bible is God’s Word to man, revealing what He deems important, and those who are positive to God accept and live by it.

 

[1]Lewis S. Chafer, Systematic Theology, Vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, Mich. Kregel Publication, 1993), 105.

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What it Means to Follow Jesus

July 15, 2017

     To follow Jesus means we follow Him for who He is and not who we want Him to be. There is a biblical Jesus and a worldly Jesus. The worldly Jesus is the one the world sets forth. He is the ecumenical Jesus who never judges, never offends, never stands up for truth, never divides, embraces other religions, wants to improve the world rather than convert the heart, and lets everyone into heaven. There are many moral people who follow this Jesus, and the world loves them for it. In the end, this is a Jesus of their making who fits their agendas. It’s a Jesus who serves them.

     But what does the Bible reveal about Jesus? The Bible reveals Jesus is God who added humanity to Himself (John 1:1, 14; 5:18; 10:33; 20:28), and that He is worthy of worship (Matt. 2:11; 14:33; 28:9). He lived a sinless life (2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; 1 John 3:5), willingly went to the cross and died in our place (John 3:16; 10:14-18), and was buried and rose again on the third day (1 Cor. 15:3-4). Concerning salvation, Jesus is the only Savior (John 14:6), and it is only by grace through faith in Him that one is eternally saved (Eph. 2:8-9). There is no salvation apart from Jesus (Acts 4:12).

     During His incarnation, there was a time when Jesus was popular with the masses because He fed them (John 6:1-14), but when they wanted to take Him by force and make Him king, He withdrew from them (John 6:15). The same crowd later pursued Jesus, not because they embraced Him or His teaching, but because they wanted another free meal (John 6:24-26) and He corrected their selfish motives (John 6:27). Jesus was kind to the sick and helpless (Matt. 8:1-3; 20:34; Luke 5:13), yet He did not hesitate to condemn the religious and powerful (Matt. 23:13-36). For the most part, Jesus was rejected by the majority of those who heard and saw Him (John 3:19; 12:37; 15:24). At times He caused division (John 7:43; 9:16; 10:19), even among His own disciples (John 6:66), as well as members of a family in the same household (Luke 12:51-53).

     Jesus called men to follow Him (Matt. 4:18-19; 9:9; John 1:43), and He had many female followers as well, several of whom funded His earthly ministry (Luke 8:1-3). To follow Jesus means to learn His teaching, obey His commands and model our life after Him. Followers of Jesus were to share the gospel (Matt. 4:19), not be bound by the world’s values (Matt. 8:19-22), treasure Jesus above one’s profession (Matt. 9:9), be committed to Jesus above family (Matt. 10:34-38; cf. Mark 1:20), and deny self and take up one’s cross daily (Matt. 16:24; cf. Luke 9:23). There is no place for personal glory or selfishness in serving the Lord, as one’s life is given for His glory and the benefit of others (1 Cor. 10:32-33; Phil. 2:3-4). To follow Jesus is a lifelong pursuit.

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John 21:1-25

July 15, 2017

In John 21:1-25 Jesus appears to seven of His disciples and encourages Peter to shepherd God’s people. Peter and six other disciples had been fishing all night but had caught nothing (John 21:1-3). Jesus appeared on the beach and asked if they’d caught anything, and was told “no” (John 21:4-5).  Jesus then commanded they cast their net again, on the right side of the boat, and they caught a huge amount of fish (John 21:4-6). John realized it was Jesus and told Peter, who jumped out of the boat and swam to Him (John 21:7). The other disciples brought the boat and fish to shore where Jesus had already built a fire and cooked breakfast (John 21:8-13). This was Jesus’ third appearance to the disciples (John 21:14). After breakfast, Jesus then talked with Peter and restored him to ministry, commanding him three times to care for God’s people (John 21:15-17). This was done in contrast to Peter’s comments that he would never deny the Lord and would be faithful to death (Matt. 26:33, 35; John 13:37). Of course, Jesus knew Peter would fail (John 13:38), and when the test came, he denied the Lord three times (John 18:17, 25, 27). For this reason, Jesus spoke with Peter about his love for Him, and restored him to service. Jesus then revealed to Peter that he would, some day, be faithful to death, and would thus glorify God as a martyr (John 21:18-19). John then corrects a common misunderstanding in which people thought He said the apostle John would not die before the Lord returned (John 21:20-23). John then provides a final statement that his testimony about Jesus is true (John 21:24), and if all that Jesus said and did were recorded, there would not be enough books to record it all (John 21:25).

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Biblical Facts About the Resurrection of Jesus

July 8, 2017

Jesus’ resurrection is an essential part of the gospel.  If Jesus is not raised from the dead, then His death on the cross was not effective, and we have believed in a false Messiah.  However, the Scriptural testimony is very clear: Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day after His crucifixion and forty days later ascended to heaven.  Here are several biblical facts about Jesus resurrection:

 

  1. It was predicted by Jesus (Matt. 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19).
  2. It showed Jesus overcame death (Acts 2:23-24).
  3. It was central to the gospel message (Acts 26:22-23; 1 Cor. 15:3-4).
  4. It had many eyewitnesses, including: Mary Magdalene and other women (John 20:10-18; Matt. 28:8-9), two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-32), the disciples without Thomas (John 20:19-25), the disciples with Thomas (John 20:26-29), the disciples by the Sea of Galilee (John 21:1-23), Peter, James, and more than 500 brethren at one time (1 Cor. 15:5-7), Stephen (Acts 7:56), Paul (Acts 9:1-6; 1 Cor. 15:8), the disciples at Jerusalem before His ascension (Acts 1:3-9), and John on the island of Patmos (Rev. 1:9-18).
  5. It was argued as true against those who disbelieved (1 Cor. 15:12-19).
  6. It reveals Jesus as the first among many to be resurrected (1 Cor. 15:20).
  7. It reveals Jesus as the Son of God (Rom. 1:3-4).
  8. It is the basis for our new life (1 Pet. 1:3).
  9. Those who are raised with Christ will not know the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:5-6).
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John 20:1-31

July 8, 2017

The Central Idea of John 20:1-31 is that Jesus is resurrected from the dead and revealed Himself to Mary and the eleven disciples.  On the first day of the week after Jesus’ crucifixion, Mary came to the tomb and found it empty (John 20:1).  She ran and told Peter and John, who came and found the tomb as she had described (John 20:2-5).  Upon looking into the tomb, they saw Jesus’ burial wrappings lying there and His face-cloth rolled up by itself in a different place (John 20:6-8).  Not yet understanding the Scripture concerning Jesus’ resurrection, the disciples went home (John 20:9-10).  Mary remained at the tomb and encountered two angels sitting where Jesus had been laying and briefly conversed with them about the location of Jesus’ body (John 20:11-13).  Then Mary encountered Jesus and spoke with Him, assuming He was the gardener, and again asked about the location of Jesus’ body (John 12:14-15).  Jesus then revealed Himself to her and in excitement she grabbed Him (John 12:16).  Jesus then told Mary to go tell the disciples He is alive and will ascend back to heaven, which she did (John 12:17-18).  When it was evening, Jesus appeared to the disciples and showed them His wounds (John 20:19-20).  He spoke peace to them and gave them the Holy Spirit, explaining their right to declare whose sins have been forgiven or retained (John 20:21-23).  Thomas was not among the disciples when Jesus appeared (John 20:24), and he did not believe their report (John 20:25).  Jesus revealed Himself again eight days later specifically for Thomas’ benefit, and he believed (John 20:26-28).  Jesus then pronounced a blessing on those who believe in Him, even though they have not personally witnessed His resurrected body (John 20:29).  John then states the purpose of his book is a written deposition concerning Jesus’ miracles, which prove He is the Son of God, and the Savior of those who believe in Him (John 20:30-31).

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The Biblical Foundation for Christian Faith

July 1, 2017

John’s Gospel is a written deposition concerning the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.  It is written with a bias to persuade the unsaved person to believe (πιστεύω pisteuo) in Jesus as Savior (John 19:35; cf. 20:30-31).  The Greek word πιστεύω pisteuo is a transitive verb, which means it takes a direct object, which is Jesus Christ.  If one accepts John’s report as true concerning the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, the logical result is to look to Jesus as our Savior and reap the benefit of eternal life (John 3:16; cf. John 10:28).  It is important that we realize our faith is based on objective truth and not subjective experiences or feelings.  Paul, when sharing the gospel, based his message on the historical reality of Jesus and the eye witnesses of those who knew Him (1 Cor. 15:3-8).  For us, as Christians living long after the events of the cross, we accept the biblical testimony as true, believing Jesus died for our sins, was buried in a grave and was resurrected on the third day.  More so, we understand that salvation is by grace (we don’t deserve it), through faith (a rational response to the gospel), in Jesus Christ (the One who saves us from our sins and gives us eternal life; see John 3:16; 20:30-31; Acts 4:12; 16:31; Eph. 2:8-9; Tit. 3:5).  Once saved, we continue to live by faith in God and His Word (Rom. 10:17; Heb. 4:2), applying it to our lives (Rom. 14:23; James 1:22), and realizing it is the only thing that pleases God (Heb. 11:6). 

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John 19:31-42

July 1, 2017

The Central Idea of John 19:31-42 is that Jesus’ dead body is laid in a tomb.  The Jewish authorities who had pressured Pilate to crucify Jesus requested His legs be broken, along with the other two men, so that their bodies might not hang on the cross overnight (John 19:31).  To expedite death, Roman soldiers would break the legs of those crucified which would prevent the victims from using their legs to push upward, leading to asphyxiation.  It is a twist of irony that the Jewish leadership sought to obey Moses’ teaching concerning not leaving a body on a cross past sunset (Deut. 21:22-23), yet had no hesitation to crucify the One of whom Moses spoke and commanded obedience (Deut. 18:18).  The Roman soldiers broke the legs of the men on either side of Jesus but did not break His legs; rather, a Roman soldier pierced His side with a spear, and blood and water came out, showing Jesus was already dead (John 19:32-34).  John declares He witnessed these events and that his testimony is true, and also that Jesus’ death fulfilled Scripture (John 19:35-37).  Joseph of Arimathea—a secret disciple of Jesus—requested the body of Jesus from Pilate who granted his request (John 19:38).  Joseph, along with Nicodemus, took the body of Jesus and prepared it for burial with linen wrappings and spices and placed it in a new tomb near the place of crucifixion (John 19:38-42).  Several women apparently watched these men hastily transport Jesus’ body and prepare it for burial (Matt. 27:61), and later planned to return and finish what had been started (Luke 24:1).   

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The Benefits of the Cross

June 24, 2017

The death of Jesus was an atoning sacrifice that paid the price for our sin (Mark 10:45; Rom. 3:24; 1 Pet. 1:18-19).  This means our sin, which offends God, is actually removed from us (i.e. expiated) and put on Christ (John 1:29; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 9:26), and He was judged in our place, the innocent for the guilty (Rom. 5:6-8; Gal. 3:13; 1 Pet. 2:24; 3:18).  The death of Christ was a voluntary act of love, as Jesus gave His life for us (John 10:14-18).  As a result, the Father is forever satisfied (i.e. propitiated) because Jesus paid for our sin (Rom. 3:24-26; Heb. 2:17; 1 John 2:2), and the Christian will never be condemned (Rom. 8:1).  The blood of Christ is the coin of the heavenly realm that pays our sin-debt and forever satisfies God’s righteous demands for sin.  In addition, the death of Christ removes God’s wrath (Rom. 5:9), reconciles us to the Father (Rom. 5:10; 2 Cor. 5:18-19), produces lasting peace (Rom. 5:1; Col. 1:20), forgiveness of sins (Col. 1:13-14), eternal life (John 10:28), the gift of righteousness (Rom. 5:17; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:9), a life of purpose in serving Him (Col. 3:23-24), and a future in heaven (John 14:1-3; 1 Thess. 4:13-18). 

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John 19:17-30

June 24, 2017

The Central Idea of the John 19:17-30 is that Jesus is crucified and died.  After being condemned by Pilate, Jesus was made to carry His own cross (John 19:17).  Jesus was crucified with two other men (John 19:18) who were identified by the other Gospel writers as criminals (Matt. 27:38; Luke 23:32-33).  Pilate wrote an inscription that was placed atop the cross that read “The King of the Jews.”  The Jewish leadership protested and asked it be changed, but Pilate refused (John 19:19-22).  The Roman soldiers who crucified Jesus then divided His garments and unwittingly fulfilled prophecy (John 19:23-24).  John mentioned four women at the cross (John 19:25), and the unnamed woman was perhaps Salome, John’s mother.  “John was Jesus’ cousin on his mother’s side. As such, he was a logical person to assume responsibility for Mary’s welfare.”[1]  Jesus then requested John care for Mary, which he did (John 19:26-27).  Jesus, knowing His atoning work was finished, stated He was thirsty and was given wine (John 19:28-29).  Jesus then declared “It is finished” and gave up His spirit and died (John 19:30).  The Greek word τετέλεσται tetelestai was common in Jesus’ day.  “Papyri receipts for taxes have been recovered with the word tetelestai written across them, meaning ‘paid in full.’”[2]  The idea is that Jesus’ death paid the price for our sins. 

 

[1] Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository NotGes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), John 19:25.

[2] Edwin A. Blum, “John,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 340.

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Dealing with Injustice

June 17, 2017

God the Father was in complete control of the circumstances surrounding the trials and crucifixion of Jesus (Acts 2:23; 4:27-28).  Though unjustly attacked, Jesus knew He was doing the Father’s will (John 6:38; 10:14-18; 12:27; 18:11) and did not retaliate against His attackers (1 Pet. 2:21-23).  Unlike Jesus, Christians are capable of sin (Eccl. 7:20; 1 Pet. 4:15), and we should accept our punishment when we do wrong (Acts 25:11).  But like Jesus, there are times when we will experience unjust persecution (1 Pet. 3:14-17; 4:12-19).  We must start with the realization that there are times when God sovereignly permits His people to suffer or die (see Acts 5:40-41; 7:54-60), and other times allows them to escape (Acts 9:23-25).  If possible, the believer can avoid unjust suffering such as when Jesus walked away from His attackers (John 8:59; 10:31, 39), or when Paul avoided stoning (Acts 14:5-6) or an unjust trial (Acts 25:1-12).  However, when there is no escape, the Christian must bear up under such hardships with an attitude of faith, trusting the Lord sees what’s happening and will act as He determines best.  Stephen is a good example of a believer who trusted God when being violently attacked (Acts 7:58-60).  Certainly God will avenge the innocent (2 Thess. 1:6-7); however, there may be times when He surprises us by showing grace and mercy to those don’t deserve it, such as the grace shown to Paul when he was persecuting the church (Acts 9:1-6; Gal. 1:15-16).  By faith, the Christian who suffers unjustly is not to retaliate (Rom. 12:17-19; 1 Pet. 2:21-23), but is called to love and pray for his enemies (Luke 6:27-29), and to bless them (Rom. 12:14; 1 Pet. 3:8-9), if perhaps God may grant them saving grace (2 Tim. 2:24-26). 

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John 19:1-16

June 17, 2017

Pilate had Jesus scourged, perhaps to evoke an emotional appeal from the unbelieving Jews who wanted Him killed (John 19:1-5).  However, they were not moved to pity, but erupted in further hostility, demanding Jesus be crucified because He made Himself out to be God (John 19:6-7).  An emotional appeal is never enough to turn the sinful heart to Christ.  It is faith in Jesus (and not feelings) that leads one to salvation and a life of service to the Lord.  Pilate became afraid at what he heard and took Jesus into the Praetorium for further questioning, but Jesus gave no answer (John 19:8-9).  Pilate then sought to challenge Jesus, saying he had the authority to release or crucify Him (John 19:10), to which Jesus answered that he would have no authority except it had been given to Him by God (John 19:11).  Pilate sought to release Jesus, but was threatened by the Jews who said they’d report him to Caesar as a traitor to Rome (John 19:12).  Pilate yielded to their unjust demands and handed Jesus over to be crucified (John 19:13-16).

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Jesus: The King and His Kingdom

June 10, 2017

God is sovereign over the affairs of mankind and He rules over His creation (Ps. 103:19; 135:6; Dan. 2:21; 4:34-35).  God promised David that he would have a son who would rule over an earthly kingdom forever (2 Sam. 7:12-13, 16; Ps. 89:3-4, 35-37), and that son would rule in righteousness (Jer. 23:5-6; 33:14-15).  God revealed that Jesus is the son of David who will rule (Luke 1:30-33).  Jesus offered the kingdom to Israel (Matt. 4:17; 10:1-7), but the majority rejected both Jesus and His offer, so Jesus began to denounce them because of their rejection (Matt. 11:20), and eventually pronounced judgment upon the nation (Matt. 23:37-39).  Though the kingdom was rejected, the Davidic promise still stands, and Jesus will bring in the kingdom at His second coming (Matt. 19:28; 25:31; Rev. 19:11-21; 20:4).  The millennial kingdom will become an eternal kingdom (1 Cor. 15:24-25; 2 Pet. 3:13).

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John 18:28-40

June 10, 2017

The Jewish leadership brought Jesus before Pilate and declared Him an “evildoer” who deserved to be put to death (John 18:28-32).  The hostile Jewish leadership felt compelled to bring Jesus to Pilate because the Romans did not permit them to kill anyone through their own system of jurisprudence.  The Jewish leadership sought religious purity by not going into the Gentile courtyard, yet their actions to lie against Jesus and to seek His death reveal defiled hearts given over to sin.  Had the Jews killed Jesus by stoning, it would have resulted in broken bones, which would have contradicted biblical passages that said none of His bones would be broken (Ps. 34:20; cf. 22:16-18; John 19:36-37).  Thus, in their sin, the Jewish leadership accomplished the will of God by turning Jesus over to the Romans that He would die by crucifixion rather than stoning (Acts 2:22-23; 4:27-28).  It is generally true that hasty trials are born out of lax morals.  Pilate would not kill Jesus on the grounds of Jewish laws pertaining to blasphemy (see Mark 14:55-64; cf. John 19:7); so the Jewish leadership manufactured new charges against Jesus that would have upset Rome (Luke 23:1-2).  Pilate then asked if Jesus was a King as the Jewish leadership said (John 18:33).  Jesus confirmed that He is a King, but His kingdom did not originate from this world and everyone who accepts divine truth accepts Him (John 18:34-37).  Pilate did not perceive Jesus as a threat to Rome and declared Him innocent (John 18:38; cf. 19:4; Luke 23:14-15).  Pilate should have released Jesus right away; however, he sacrificed justice by keeping Jesus under arrest and offering to release a known criminal, Barabbas, in His place.  The Jewish leadership rejected Pilate’s offer and kept demanding Jesus be crucified, while Jesus kept quiet (Matt. 27:12-14; 1 Pet. 2:21-23).

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Our motivation for obedience to God

June 4, 2017

Jesus loved the Father (John 14:31) and submitted Himself to do the Father’s will (Matt. 26:39-44; cf. Rom. 5:19; Phil. 2:5-8), which included enduring the illegal trials of His accusers, as well as the eventual beatings and crucifixion.  It was prophesied in Scripture that Jesus would suffer and die (Gen. 3:15; Ps. 22:16-18; Isa. 50:4-7; 52:14; 53:3-12; Matt. 26:67; Mark 10:32-34).  As Christians, we are called to a life of obedience to God; which means learning and living His Word (2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16-17; 1 Pet. 2:2). Obedience marks the life of the one who claims to know and love God (John 14:15; 1 John 2:3-5).  Obedience to God also means embracing unjust suffering, just as Christ did (1 Pet. 1:19-24; 3:14-17; 4:19).

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John 18:1-27

June 4, 2017

The Central Idea of the Text is that Jesus is betrayed by Judas and brought before Jewish authorities for trial.  Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane knowing Judas would come there with Jewish and Roman soldiers to arrest Him and take Him to the Jewish officials to be tried (John 18:1-16). Annas—the high priest—questioned Jesus about His disciples as well as His teaching (John 18:19), perhaps to learn how many disciples He had and if there were any secret teachings he did not know about. Jesus declared He’d spoken openly and requested His captors question those who’d heard His messages (John 18:20-21). A Jewish officer struck Jesus because of the way He answered the high priest (John 18:22), and Jesus challenged his right to strike Him (John 18:23). Jesus was then sent to Caiaphas for further questioning (John 18:24). It was during the trial that Peter denied the Lord three times (John 18:17-18; 25-27). John did not reveal Peter’s curses (Matt. 26:74), Jesus’ look (Luke 22:61), or Peter’s bitter weeping (Matt. 26:75). 

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The Doctrine of Sanctification

May 20, 2017

To be sanctified (Heb. קָדָשׁ qadash Grk. ἁγιάζω hagiazo) means to be set apart.  God’s essential nature is holy; therefore, He is set apart as righteous (Lev. 11:44-45).  In God’s creation, sanctification has the idea of being set apart for special purpose.  In the OT, sanctification included certain days (Gen. 2:3; cf. Ex. 20:8), people and animals (Ex. 13:2), the nation of Israel (Ex. 19:6), and everything associated with worship, including the altar, its utensils, the laver for washing, and those who executed the priestly ceremonies (Ex. 40:10-13).  In the NT, we are said to be positionally sanctified in union with Christ (1 Cor. 1:2; Heb. 10:10, 14), experientially sanctified because of our obedience to God’s Word (John 17:17; 1 Pet. 1:14-16), and will be eternally sanctified when we leave this world and enter heaven (1 John 3:1-3; Rom. 8:29-30; Jude 24-25). 

 

Positional and eternal sanctification are accomplished entirely by God (monergism).  However, experiential sanctification is a collaboration (synergism) in which God directs and empowers us to be set apart from the world to do His will (John 17:17; 1 Pet. 1:14-16).  The means of experiential sanctification is by learning and living God’s Word (John 17:17; Rom. 12:1-2; Eph. 4:1, 11-14; Col. 3:1-2; 2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16-17; 1 Pet. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:18), and walking in dependence on the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18, Gal. 5:16, 25).  The place where sanctification occurs is in Satan’s world (John 17:14-16; cf. 15:19). 

 

Believers live in a world that is currently under Satan’s control.  Like Joseph in Egypt, or Daniel in Babylon, we serve as God’s ambassadors to a fallen world that is hostile toward us.  Some Christians seek to avoid worldly conflict by withdrawing from it, pursuing monasticism; whereas others avoid conflict by embracing the world and its values.  Biblically, we are to be in the world, in regular contact with unbelievers, graciously lovingly and living God’s will in opposition to the world’s values, and sharing Christ with those who will listen.  We cannot change the world, but we can avoid being forced into its mold by learning and living God’s Word, and sharing the Gospel message that others might be saved out of it.  God Himself will eventually destroy Satan and his world-system and will create a new universe.  Until then, “according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells” (2 Pet. 3:13). 

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John 17:1-26

May 20, 2017

The Central Idea of the Text is that Jesus prays for: 1) the Father to be glorified through Jesus’ obedience and return to heaven (John 17:1-5), 2) the disciples’ walk with the Father, their protection from Satan and his world-system, and their sanctification in truth (John 17:6-19), and 3) for future believers’ unity, and that we will see Jesus’ glory in heaven (John 17:20-26).

Jesus knew His “hour” had come, and though suffering lay ahead, He was concerned about the Father’s glory and the wellbeing of the disciples.  Jesus spoke about eternal life, which is forever-life in relationship with God (John 10:28; 17:3).  In contrast, eternal-death is forever separation from God in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:14-15).  Jesus glorified the Father on earth by doing His will (John 17:4), and anticipates returning to His heavenly glory after His ascension (John 17:5).  While on earth, Jesus revealed the Father to the disciples, who were given to Jesus as a gift (John 17:6, 9).  The disciples accepted, understood and believed Jesus’ teaching that He was from the Father (John 17:7-8).  Jesus specifically prayed for the disciples and was glorified in them (John 17:9-10).  He asked the Father to keep them in His name, just as He had guided and guarded them (John 17:11-12).  He requested they may have joy in a hateful world controlled by Satan (John 17:13-16).  He prayed for their sanctification which is related to their divine mission (John 17:17-19), and the mission, unity, and future home of those who would believe in Jesus through their teaching (John 17:20-26).

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Summary of the Upper Room Discourse

May 6, 2017

Jesus knew He was about to be betrayed and face illegal trials, mockings, beatings, crucifixion, and the wrath of God for our sin.  He also knew His disciples would be shaken by these events and would scatter and hide in fear (John 16:32; cf. Matt. 26:56; John 20:19).  Because He loved them, Jesus prepared them for the trials ahead (John 13:1; 16:33).  He instilled knowledge that would result in fruitful lives after His resurrection when their faith was strengthened.  Jesus taught His disciples to model humility and forgiveness (John 13:1-17), to love as He loves (John 13:34; 15:11-17), to know they have a home in heaven prepared for them (John 14:1-6), to pray to the Father in His name (John 14:13-14; 16:23-26), to expect the coming of the Holy Spirit after His departure (John 14:26; 16:7-15), to abide in fellowship with Him that they may bear fruit (John 15:1-10, 16), to expect hatred and persecution from the world (John 15:18-27; 16:1-4), to anticipate grief and joy (John 16:16-22), to accept that Jesus will return to the Father (John 16:5, 10, 28; cf. 13:1-3), to realize they are loved by God the Father (John 16:27), that the disciples would fail Him as He went to the cross (John 16:32), and to know that Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection and ascension will finalize victory over Satan and his world-system (John 16:11, 33).  As a result of these truths, the disciples who lived by faith would have an unshakable peace and courage while living in a hateful and hostile world (John 16:33). 

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John 16:16-33

May 6, 2017

The Central Idea of the Text is that Jesus summarizes His discourse (begun in John chapter 13) by explaining His death, resurrection, ascension, and victory over Satan’s world-system. At first, the disciples were confused about what Jesus was saying (John 16:16-18), and He eased into an answer concerning His death, burial, resurrection and ascension, because He knew it was difficult for them to accept (John 16:19-22, 25). Major life changes can be challenging. He also explained the importance of prayer after His ascension back to heaven, as the disciples would need to look to the Father to accomplish His will (John 16:23-24). The Father loved them and was glad to answer their prayers because they had loved Jesus and believed in Him (John 16:26-27). Jesus finally clarified Himself concerning His leaving them to go back to the Father (John 16:28), and the disciples were confident they understood Him (John 16:29-30). However, Jesus’ answer concerning their abandoning Him (because of persecution) implies they did not fully grasp the magnitude of His words (John 16:31-32). Jesus closed His discourse with the proleptic statement that His disciples would know peace because He has overcome Satan’s world-system (John 16:33). 

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John 16:1-15

April 30, 2017

Jesus warned His disciples of future persecution so they would not stumble and fall away from the faith when it came (John 16:1-4).  Jesus also revealed that He was going to leave them and go back to the Father (John 16:5), and this caused them sorrow (John 16:6).  Jesus explained that it was to their advantage that He leave (John 16:7), for His departure would inaugurate the future ministry of the Holy Spirit, Who will convict the world concerning sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8-11).  Jesus had other things to reveal to the disciples, but the coming Holy Spirit would be the One to communicate that knowledge (John 16:12-15).

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John 15:18 - Satan’s World System

April 22, 2017

Since the Fall of Adam, God has temporarily granted Satan permission to govern this world (Matt. 4:8-9; John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 6:12; 1 John 5:19).  Satan, and those who follow him (both demons and people), are ultimately under God’s sovereign control, and even their evil plans and actions are used for His good purposes (Gen. 50:20; Ps. 76:10; Job 1:6-12; Acts 2:22-23; 4:27-28; Rom. 8:28; 2 Cor. 12:7-10).  Satan governs by means of a system he’s created, which Scripture calls the κόσμος kosmos.  The world, or world-system, consists of those philosophies, values and practices that influence humanity to think and behave contrary to God and His Word. 

  • "The kosmos is a vast order or system that Satan has promoted which conforms to his ideals, aims, and methods. It is civilization now functioning apart from God-a civilization in which none of its promoters really expect God to share; who assign to God no consideration in respect to their projects, nor do they ascribe any causality to Him. This system embraces its godless governments, conflicts, armaments, jealousies; its education, culture, religions of morality, and pride. It is that sphere in which man lives. It is what he sees, what he employs. To the uncounted multitude it is all they ever know so long as they live on this earth. It is properly styled “The Satanic System” which phrase is in many instances a justified interpretation of the so-meaningful word, kosmos."[1]

Satan’s world-system is not changeable and cannot be modified to conform to God’s will.  At the core of Satan’s world-system is a directive for mankind to function apart from God.  Worldly-minded persons embrace Satan’s system and love their own because they share the same values of selfishness that exclude God.  By promoting the gospel and biblical teaching, Christians disrupt Satan’s kingdom by calling out of it a people for God.  When a person comes to Christ for salvation, they are transferred from Satan’s kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of God’s Son (Acts 26:18; Col. 1:13-14), and become ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20).  The lifetime of worldly thinking that shaped our values and behaviors are not suddenly eradicated at the moment of salvation.  Rather, God calls us to be transformed in our thinking by renewing our minds and living by faith in His Word (Rom. 12:1-2).  Though Christians have the capacity, we are not to love the world (John 16:33; 17:14-16; 1 John 2:15).  The Christian who loves the world makes himself the enemy of God (Jam. 4:4).  Those who love God and His Word share a mutual love for each other.  By learning God’s Word, Christians can identify worldly conversations and either avoid them or disrupt them by interjecting biblical truth.  This should be done in love and grace (Eph. 4:15; Col. 4:6), not by argumentation (2 Tim. 2:24-26).  When we learn God’s Word, obey His commands, and show love to others, we are rebelling against Satan’s world-system and sowing the seeds of spiritual insurrection in the lives of those who live and walk in Satan’s kingdom.  

 

[1] Lewis S. Chafer, “Angelology Part 4” Bibliotheca Sacra 99 (1942): 282-283.

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John 15:18-27

April 22, 2017

The Central Idea of the Text is that Jesus warns His disciples they will be hated and persecuted because He has chosen them out of world (John 15:18-20).  There is no rational excuse for those who hate Jesus and reject Him as Savior.  Jesus’ words and works testified to His being the Messiah sent from God the Father (John 15:21-25).  The Holy Spirit, whom Jesus and the Father would send, would testify of Him (John 15:26), and believers who walk with Christ will bear witness as well (John 15:27).

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John 15:1-17

April 22, 2017

The Central Idea of the Text is that Jesus commands His disciples to abide in Him that they might bear fruit (John 15:1-10), and His primary command is that they love one another (John 15:12, 17). Jesus presented Himself metaphorically as the true vine and His Father as the vinedresser (John 15:1). The metaphor originally referred to Israel as a divinely planted vine that should have produced the fruit of obedience, righteousness and justice; but instead, it produced bloodshed and a cry of distress (Isa. 5:1-7). Jesus is the true vine in that He obeyed God and bore the fruit that Israel should have produced. Jesus spoke of no fruit, fruit, and more fruit (John 15:2), which implies stages of productivity in the life of an obedient believer. Jesus also explained that every branch that does not bear fruit is taken away (John 15:2). The Greek verb αἴρω airo—translated takes away—can mean either to take away (John 20:2) or to raise up (John 8:59). The former is a picture of judgment, whereas the latter a picture of encouragement. The former seems consistent with the language of the text (John 15:6). The metaphor of fire is a picture of judgment, which can occur in this life (1 Cor. 11:30; 1 John 5:16), as well as the next (1 Cor. 3:10-15), but it is not a judgment that results in the loss of salvation, which is guaranteed by Christ (John 6:37; 10:27-29). Jesus explained that those who abide in Him will produce fruit. To abide in Christ means the believer stays with Christ and obeys His word (John 15:10). Fruit is the outward evidence of inward spiritual health and is produced for the benefit of others. Fruit comes in the life of the believer who walks with Christ (John 15:4). Good fruit refers to one’s character (Gal. 5:22-23), good works (Col. 1:9-10), good words (Prov. 10:21; 11:30), and praise to God (Heb. 13:15). The fruit of an abiding believer is seen in a transformed life (John 15:2; cf. Gal. 5:22-23), answered prayer (John 15:7), an attitude of joy (John 15:11), and love for others (John 15:9, 12-13, 17). Jesus commands His disciples to love each other (John 15:12), and He identifies self-sacrifice as love’s greatest expression (John 15:13); something Jesus would model for them. Jesus loved His disciples by example (John 13:1-17), by teaching (John 13:18-17:26), by ensuring they were provided for after His departure (John 14:16-17), and by dying as their substitute (John 18-19). Our love for others is modeled on Jesus’ love for us. 

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John 14:23 - God’s Love to Us

April 22, 2017

God is love (1 John 4:8), and He demonstrated His love for us through His Son, Jesus, who humbled Himself to do the Father’s will (Mark 10:45; Phil. 2:5-8).  God loved us and gave His Son to die for us (John 3:16; Rom. 5:8; 1 John 4:10).  He loved us while we were helpless sinners who were in a state of hostility toward Him (Rom. 5:6-10).  He loved us while we were dead in our sins, under wrath, and living in disobedience (Eph. 2:1-3).  The benefits of God’s love for those who believe include: forgiveness of sins (Eph. 1:7), eternal life (John 10:28), the gift of righteousness (Rom. 5:17; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:9), justification before God (Rom. 3:24-28; 8:33-34), peace with God (Rom. 5:1), spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3), union with the body of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18), the indwelling and sealing of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19; Eph. 1:13), deliverance from the domain of darkness (Col. 1:13), citizenship in heaven (Philip. 3:20), a future resurrection body (1 Cor. 15:50-58), and a future home in heaven (John 14:1-3).  The more we understand and accept His love for us, the more our lives will respond in thankful-obedience to Him (John 14:15, 21, 23-24, 31; 1 John 2:3; 5:3), and will manifest love to others (1 John 4:11, 19-21), even our enemies (Matt. 5:44-45; Luke 6:27-28; 35). 

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John 14:15-31

April 22, 2017

The Central Idea of the Text is that Jesus reveals that those who love Him will obey Him, just as He loves and obeys the Father (John 14:15, 21, 23-24, 31). Jesus was leaving His disciples, but He was not leaving them defenseless.  He would request the Father to send the Holy Spirit in His place to help the disciples continue in His will (John 14:16-18).  The disciples would see Jesus after His resurrection, and this would prove Jesus’ words that He and the Father are closely united (John 14:19-20).  Jesus reiterated that those who love Him will keep His commandments (John 14:21).  Judas (not Iscariot) was confused that Jesus would not disclose Himself to the world (John 14:22), most likely because he understood Messiah would be a public figure (see Matt. 24:30).  It appears Jesus did not answer Judas’ question, but stayed on course concerning loving-obedience and the coming ministry role of the Holy Spirit (John 14:23-26).  Jesus provided relational peace with God (John 14:27; cf. Rom. 5:1), which gives mental peace (Phil. 4:7).  Jesus reiterated that He was going back to the Father (John 14:28a; cf. John 13:33; 14:1-3), but their lack of love kept them from rejoicing over this news (John 14:28b).  Jesus explained that His prophetic words—after they came to pass—would strengthen their faith (John 14:29).  Satan’s powerful forces were marshalled against Jesus to attack and crucify Him; however, Jesus declared that Satan had no legal claim on Him (John 14:30).  Lastly, the world would know Jesus loved the Father because of His obedience to Him (John 14:31).

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John 14:1 - Dealing with Adversity and Stress

April 22, 2017

The events leading up to the cross—and Jesus’ words about leaving them—had shaken the disciples and Jesus knew it.  Their souls had become troubled and Jesus sought to stabilize them by strengthening their faith.  The word troubled translates the Greek verb ταράσσω tarasso, which means “to cause inward turmoil, stir up, disturb, unsettle, throw into confusion.[1]  The passive form of the verb means they had received troubling circumstances into their souls.  The pressures of life are inevitable and none of us are completely impervious to them.  Even Jesus—in His humanity—was troubled when facing the cross (John 12:27; 13:21); however, He was sustained by keeping focus on the Father’s will (John 4:34; 5:30; John 6:38; cf. Matt. 26:39), and there was joy in the midst of the trial (Heb. 12:2).  Each believer is responsible for what he/she allows to enter their heart (Prov. 4:23).  Adversity is unavoidable, but how we handle it is optional.  The believer cannot always control negative circumstances, but neither does he/she have to be controlled by them.  God’s Word—applied by faith—provides a shield for the soul that can stabilize the believer in times of adversity (Eph. 6:16; 1 Pet. 5:8-9; 1 John 5:4). Mental and emotional stability is obtained when the believer looks to God (Prov. 3:5-6; Isa. 26:3-4; Jer. 17:7-8), learns His Word (2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16-17; 1 Pet. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:18), walks in dependence on the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18; Gal. 5:16, 25), lives by faith (Heb. 10:38; 11:1, 6), becomes thankful for adversity (Rom. 5:3-5; Eph. 5:20; 2 Cor. 12:7-10; Jam. 1:2-4), develops a discipline of prayer (Col. 4:2; Phil. 4:6-7; 1 Thess. 5:17), and learns to focus on God in everything (2 Cor. 10:5; Phil. 4:8; Col. 3:1-2).

 

[1] William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker, and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 990.

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John 14:1-14

April 22, 2017

The Central Idea of the Text is that Jesus comforts His disciples by telling them He’s going to prepare a place for them in Heaven, that He is the Way to get there, and that they should believe in Him and pray in His name. Jesus had been rejected by the leaders of Israel (John 11:57), and He’d told the disciples He was going to die (John 12:32-33; cf. Matt. 17:22-23; 20:17-19), that one of them would betray Him (John 13:21), that He was leaving them (John 13:33), and that Peter would deny Him three times (John 13:38).  All of this troubled the disciples.  Though Jesus is facing the cross, He seeks to comfort His troubled disciples by having them look to Him in faith.  Jesus also points them to the future in heaven, where He is going to prepare a place for them and will return to take them there (John 14:1-4).  Thomas asks about the way, and Jesus declares, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).  The early church was called the Way because of its identification with Jesus (see Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14, 22).  Philip asks to see the Father—a theophany—and Jesus explains that if one has known Him, he also knows the Father.  This is because Jesus and the Father are closely identified, and the works of the Father can be seen in Jesus (John 14:7-11).  Jesus then points out that because He is going to the Father, that His disciples will perform greater works than He’d performed, and that whatever they asked in His name, that He would do for them (John 14:12-14).  To pray in Jesus’ name means to pray according to His will (see 1 John 5:14-15).

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John 13:34 - To Love Like Christ

April 22, 2017

Love is an act of the will that obeys God and seeks His best in others.  God commanded the Israelites to “love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deut. 6:5) and to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18).  Jesus provided a new commandment to love as He loves (John 13:34-35; 15:12).  Jesus’ love modeled obedience to the Father (John 14:31), commitment to His disciples (John 13:1), and humility and sacrifice for the undeserving (John 13:1-17; 1 John 3:16).  Christian love is modeled on the life and teaching of Jesus Christ (Matt. 5:44-47; Luke 6:32-35; John 13:34; 14:15; 15:12; 1 Cor. 13:4-8a; Eph. 5:1-2; 1 John 3:23; 4:10-11).

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John 13:18-38

April 22, 2017

The Central Idea of the Text is that Jesus focuses on glorifying the Father and teaching the disciples to love one another. While eating with His disciples, Jesus identified Judas as the one who would betray Him; a betrayal that ultimately served God’s purpose for Jesus to go to the cross and die a substitutionary death.  Judas was the consummate hypocrite, for none of his friends suspected him of evil intent.  For years, Judas accepted Jesus’ gracious provision for him, but not His love. The Giver of grace found no place in the heart of Judas.  Jesus called Judas to walk with Him, knowing he would betray Him (John 6:70-71), and He protected his identity throughout His years of ministry, permitting the disciples to have false assumptions about him, right up the end (John 13:21-22).  If the disciples had known Judas’ true identity, it’s possible they would have turned against Judas, much like Peter turned against Malchus (John 18:10).  After receiving the morsel of bread, Satan entered Judas and both set their wills against Jesus; however, Jesus was in control of the situation, using both to bring about the cross.  After revealing Judas’ identity to John, Jesus sent Judas out to betray Him (John 13:27).  Jesus sought the Father’s glory by doing His will (John 13:31-32; cf. John 17:4), and teaching the disciples to love one another as He had loved them (John 13:31-35).  Peter seemingly ignored Jesus’ words about love and expressed a concern about His going away.  Jesus graciously comforted Peter by stating that he would be separated only for a short time and would be joined to Him later (John 13:36).  Peter then claimed he would die for the Lord, but Jesus explained that Peter would actually deny Him three times (John 13:37-38).

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John 13:17 - The Glory of Humility

April 22, 2017

In relation to God, Christian humility is not a sense of worthlessness, but unworthiness of the Lord’s love and blessings (Eph. 2:8-9).  In relation to others, humility is not thinking less of self, but more of others (Philip. 2:3-4).  True Christian humility is voluntary—or self-imposed—as the believer surrenders his personal desires in loving service to others for their spiritual and material benefit.  Humility has the notion of child-like dependence, as Jesus taught His disciples (Matt. 18:3-4).  The greatest display of humility is found in God the Son who left His glory in heaven (Phi. 2:5-8; cf. John 17:5), became a man (John 1:1, 14; Heb. 10:5), became the servant of others (Mark 10:45; John 13:1-17), and ultimately “humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phi. 2:8).  The glory of humility is seen at the cross (John 12:23, 32-33), where Jesus gave His life as an atoning substitutionary sacrifice for others (Rom. 5:6-10; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; 2 Pet. 3:18).

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John 13:1-17

April 22, 2017

The Central Idea of the Text is that Jesus provided an object lesson for the disciples that demonstrated forgiveness and humble service to others.  Jesus was under great pressure, knowing He was about to suffer crucifixion (Matt. 26:37-38); yet, He kept focus and demonstrated love and humility toward the disciples.  Jesus willingly laid aside His garments and put on the garments of a slave in order to teach humility.  No one forced Jesus into service, but rather, He humbled Himself and became the servant of others (Mark 10:45; Philip. 2:3-8).  Laying aside His garments and taking the towel of a humble servant was analogous to God the Son coming into the world and taking upon Himself humanity.  The Christian learns humility by looking to Christ.  Jesus’ object lesson is a picture of forgiveness and humble service to the undeserving.  Jesus stated to His disciples, “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14).  Here, the Lord instructed His disciples to forgive and humbly serve each other (cf. Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:12-13; 1 Pet. 5:5).

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John 12:42 - When Believer’s Hide

April 22, 2017

Because of persecution, there have been times, and are times, when God’s people hide (κρύπτω kruptoto hide) themselves, or are hidden by others.  There appear to be both just and sinful reasons for hiding.  By faith, Moses’ parents hid him from Pharaoh (Heb. 11:23).  Obadiah hid one hundred prophets of the Lord and provided food and water for them (1 Kings 18:1-4).  These were true prophets, for a false prophet would not have been afraid of the public hostility of Ahab and Jezebel.  It is recorded that Jesus “hid Himself” (κρύπτω krupto) from an attack by the Jewish leadership (John 8:59).  Certainly there was no sin in Jesus’ action.  In contrast, it appears Elijah, in a state of irrational fear, ran for his life and hid in a cave (1 Kings 19:1-10).  He thought he was the last prophet in Israel and was unaware of 7000 faithful Israelites who had not bowed the knee to Baal (1 Kings 19:18).  It would seem these 7000 believers were concealing their faith for fear of persecution; otherwise, Elijah would have known about them and not thought he was the last of God’s prophets (1 Ki. 19:10).  Some of the Jewish leadership in Jesus’ day had “believed in Him” (John 12:42a); however, “because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue” (Joh 12:42b).  These believers chose to hide their faith for sinful reasons, because “they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God” (John 12:42-43).  One could argue that Peter was hiding from persecution when he denied the Lord three times (Matt. 26:33-35, 69-75).  Scripture reveals Joseph of Arimathea was “a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one (κρύπτω krupto) for fear of the Jews” (John 19:38).  However, after the crucifixion, he exposed his faith for all to see, and apparently did not fear oppression.  Spiritual maturity and strong faith leads the believer to overcome fear and to live confidently in God’s will, seeking God’s glory over personal protection.

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John 12:37-50

April 22, 2017

The Central Idea of the Text is that Jesus’ signs and teaching hardened those who were negative (John 12:37-41, 47-48) and softened those who were positive (John 12:42-46). Jesus had performed many signs as a witness that He is Messiah; however, no amount of evidence would suffice for those who were negative to Him and His message (John 12:37).  Isaiah too had experienced negative volition concerning the message God gave him for Israel (Isa. 6:8-13; 53:1; John 12:38-41).  Though most did not believe in Jesus as Messiah, there were some who did, even among the rulers, though they loved the approval of men more than God (John 12:42-43).  Jesus’ final public words revealed that to believe in Him was the same as believing in the Father who sent Him (John 12:44-45).  Jesus came as the Light into a world of darkness and those who believe in Him are transferred to His kingdom (John 12:46; cf. Col. 1:13-14).  Those who reject Jesus’ words will, eventually, be judged by those words (John 12:47-50). 

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John 12:21 - The Doctrine of Providence

April 22, 2017
  • "Providence is normally defined in Christian theology as the unceasing activity of the Creator whereby, in overflowing bounty and goodwill (Ps. 145:9 cf. Mt. 5:45–48), he upholds his creatures in ordered existence (Acts 17:28; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3), guides and governs all events, circumstances and free acts of angels and men (cf. Ps. 107; Jb. 1:12; 2:6; Gn. 45:5–8), and directs everything to its appointed goal, for his own glory (cf. Eph. 1:9–12)."[1]

God’s providence refers to His wise and personal acts, whereby He creates and controls circumstances in order to direct history according to His predetermined plan, all for His glory and the benefit of His elect.  People live in the flow of history, and are moved by the circumstances God controls.  The Lord “does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’” (Dan 4:35).  God is good and “works all things after the counsel of His will” (Eph. 1:11; cf. Ps. 103:19; 135:6; Dan. 4:35), and “causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28).  By His sovereign will God created all things in heaven and earth, and sustains and directs them as He desires.  God “is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Col. 1:17).  The Lord knows all things at all times.  He knows when a sparrow falls to the ground (Matt. 10:29), and the ever-changing number of hairs on our head (Matt. 10:30).  He knows our thoughts before we think them (Ps. 139:2), and our words before we speak them (Ps. 139:4).  He knows our wickedness (Jer. 17:9; Mark 7:21-22), and chooses to love us by grace, in spite of our sinfulness (Matt. 5:45; Rom. 5:6-10; Eph. 2:1-9).  Some He elects to purpose, even from the womb (Jer. 1:5; Gal. 1:15).  Because God is righteous, all His actions are just.  Because He is loving and good, He directs all things for the benefit of His elect.  The wicked are also under God’s sovereign control, and He uses them for His own ends (Prov. 16:4).  God’s sovereignty, expressed through His providential control, produces confidence in those who know He is directing all things after the counsel of His will.  The growing believer knows “it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).  Where the Bible is silent, the believer seeks to discern God’s will through His providential direction as He guides people circumstantially.  The growing believer takes great delight in knowing God is in control of His creation and is directing all things according to His providential plan.

 

 

[1] J. I. Packer, “Providence” in New Bible Dictionary, ed. D. R. W. Wood, I. H. Marshall, A. R. Millard and D. J. Wiseman, 3rd ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 979.

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John 12:20-36

April 22, 2017

The Central Idea of the Text is that Jesus recognized His hour had come for him to glorify the Father by going to the cross.  Jesus was rejected by the Jewish leadership (John 5:18; 10:33; 19:7), and would soon be rejected by the majority in Israel (John 12:34, 37).  However, there were many Jews who did believe in Jesus (John 12:10-11, 42), and it appears Gentiles were drawn to Him as well (John 12:20).  Philip and Andrew came to Jesus and told Him the Gentiles wished to see Him (John 12:21-22), and this led Jesus to speak about His death which would glorify His Father (John 12:23).  It appears Jesus’ death hinted at the provision of salvation for Gentiles who would form part of the body of Christ, the church (see John 10:16; Eph. 2:11-19).  Jesus spoke paradoxically about dying to live, and sacrificing to benefit (John 12:24-26).  The sacrificial death and humiliation of the cross would result in God’s glory and salvation to others.  People who love God first and value the things He values will, by comparison, hate the values of this world.  Though the cross was difficult to face, Jesus knew He was in God’s will, and sought the Father’s glory (John 12:27; 28a).   The Father publicly affirmed Jesus’ course (John 12:28b), though others did not understand the Father’s revelation (John 12:29; cf. Rom. 1:18-21).  Divine revelation does not always lead to illumination, as God must open the heart to understand it (Luke 24:44-45; Acts 16:14).  God’s revelation was for the benefit of those who heard it, because it affirmed the Father’s will concerning the cross.  Jesus then explained that judgment was upon the world (John 12:31), and this refers to Satan and his world-system which is hostile to God.  Satan defeated himself when he tried to defeat Jesus.  Jesus then explained that He was going to die by crucifixion (John 12:32-33); however, those who heard Him were perplexed, because dying on a cross did not fit their preconceived ideas about the Messiah, whom they believed would live forever (John 12:34).  Jesus then pressed upon His followers to walk in the light of His presence while they had it (John 12:35), explaining that those who believe in Him will become children of light (John 12:36; cf. John 8:12; Eph. 5:8-10).  God’s unseen providential hand was controlling the circumstances in the life of Christ to bring Him to the cross for His glory and the benefit of others.  It was God’s providence that put the Lord Jesus on the cross to be crucified by the hands of godless men (Acts 2:23; 4:27-28).  Jesus died a substitutionary death, even for those who crucified Him (Rom. 3:25; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; 1 John 2:2; 4:10).

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