Tuesday, September 27, 2016

John 1 (Part 2)

 John 1:19-28 – Jesus Revealed to the World

John now continues writing about John the Baptist in John 1:19-18.  John the Baptist lived in the desert, he wore clothes made from camels’ hair, and he ate strange food.  He was the son of the priest, Zechariah.  He was not a political leader, but was powerful and many people listened to his message recognizing his authority was from God.  He told people to repent and be baptized.

The Jewish leaders asked John the Baptist questions:  Who are you? (Implying are you the Messiah).  Are you Elijah? Are you a prophet?  What do you say about yourself?  Why do you baptize?  John the Baptist replied, “I am not the Christ.”John 1:20.  “I am the voice of one calling in the desert.  Make straight the way for the Lord.” John 1:23.  “I baptized with water, but among you stand one you do not know.  He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose scandals I am not worthy to untie.”John 1:26-27. 

We learn a lot about John the Baptist.  He was a bold preacher and knew the Scriptures.  He never took the glory for himself.  He teaches us to be bold, to know the Scriptures and to be ready to quote it, and to be humble and always give Jesus the glory.

John’s baptisms with water were only a symbol of true spiritual cleansing.  Baptism is a witness for others.  The true cleansing was done by Jesus’ blood on the cross.  His baptisms only prepared for the real baptism with the Holy Spirit.

John 1:29-34 – Jesus’ Baptism

John the Baptist is the first to introduce Jesus to the World.  The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him.  “Look the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!  This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’  I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.” – John 1:29-31. 

Jesus is the Lamb of God.  Remember the story in Exodus 12 of the deliverance of the people of Israel from Egypt when the Israelites sacrificed an unblemished male lamb and put its blood on the doorposts so the angel would pass over their houses and not kill their 1st born?  Jesus is without blemish or sin.  Jesus is the Ultimate Passover Lamb.   He is our Deliver.

“Then John gave this testimony:  I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him.  I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’  I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”John 1:32-34.  For more on Jesus’ baptism see the other Gospels – Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:21-22.

God had previously told John that this sign of the Holy Spirit will show Jesus is the promised Messiah.  Jesus being baptized shows He is identifying with sinners.  This was His first public event of His ministry.  It was a picture of His death and resurrection.

Acts 2:38 tells us to repent, be baptized and our sins will be forgiven.  Then you will receive the Holy Spirit.  In John 7:38-39 we see that the Spirit is not given to believers until Jesus is glorified.  Today since He has been glorified, we receive the Holy Spirit when we first believe.  1 Cor. 12:13 tells us we are all baptized by 1 Spirit into 1 body whether Jew or Gentile.  When baptized we become Christians and are members of His church with Christ as the Head.  Each of Christ’s members has different roles and is dependent upon each other.

What does it mean to be baptized with the Holy Spirit?  Our baptism is only a symbol and witness for others.  We are baptized because Christ commands it of us.  It doesn’t save us.  Belief saves us.  When you first believe you are saved, you are baptized and sealed with His Spirit.  This is a one-time physical thing.  It occurs once for every believer – it’s a new birth.  All believers are baptized into Christ.  When our faith is exercised and we believe, the Holy Spirit indwells in us.  This is different from being filled with the Holy Spirit.  Being filled with the Spirit is proof of our salvation.  It is a continuous activity.  It is a daily thing.  When you are truly filled with the Holy Spirit; you will show the love of Jesus; you show self-control; you walk with the Lord and you obey Him.  He continually fills us with His Spirit as we stay in the Word and grow our faith.  We yield to His control.  His influence affects our character.  How we live our life is a witness to others. 

Are you truly filled with the Holy Spirit?

John 1:35-51 – Jesus Calls His Disciples

After Jesus was baptized John the Baptist and two of his disciples saw Jesus.  John pointed Jesus out to them.  Andrew was the 1st disciple of John and began to follow Jesus.  He told Simon Peter that they had found the Messiah.  Then Jesus found Philip and asked him to follow Him.  Then Philip found Nathanael and told him about Jesus.  (John 1:36-45). 

Andrew and John responded to Jesus because John the Baptist told them He is the Lamb of God.  He is the One who takes away the sin of the world.  Jesus asked them “What do you want?”John 1:38.  Jesus wanted them to know their own hearts and exactly what they were doing.    Why do you study the Bible or go to church?  Do you just go to make friends or because you are lonely?  Do you go just because you think you should?  Jesus knew the heart of Andrew and John just as He knows ours.  He wants us to clarify it in our minds.  He wants us to be committed to Him and always be willing to stand firm is all circumstances.
Philip couldn’t keep the good news to himself.  He found Nathanael and told him they had found the Messiah.  At first Nathanael doubts who Jesus is, but Philip didn’t argue with him.  He just said to come and see for yourself.  We should be like Philip.  Invite others and tell them to see for themselves.  Nathanael knew the law and was a thinking person.  He was honest and said exactly what he thought and asked questions.
Then Jesus showed Nathanael a small miracle of telling him He saw him earlier under the fig tree.  This convinced Nathanael and he calls Him Rabbi.  Nathanael now saw Jesus as the Messiah.  Jesus said, “You shall see greater things than that….  I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” John 1:50-51.  Jesus’ words can be better understood by referring to Gen. 28:10-22 – the ladder to heaven.  Jesus is the ladder from earth to heaven.  He is the only way to God.  “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”John 14:6  All the disciples would soon see Jesus do many miracles like opening the eyes of the blind, making the lame walk, feeding 5,000 with 5 loaves and 2 fishes, and even raise the dead.

The disciples of John the Baptist proved they believed in John’s words about Jesus by following Him and telling others and bringing them to Jesus.  True disciples tell others they have found Jesus and invite others to find Him, too.  They had been waiting for hundreds of years for the Messiah and now they found Him.  Messiah means Anointed One.

Do you believe that Jesus is the unique Son of God?
Do you believe Jesus is the Lamb of God and sacrificed His life on the cross for your sins?
If you are a Christian, are you a true disciple?
How have you invited others to find Jesus?
Have you confessed your sins to Him?
If you have yet accepted Jesus as Savior, will you prayerfully study the book of John and “come and see”?

Wow!  I love the book of John.  Next time we will study John 2.  Have a blessed day and thanks for visiting my site.  Hope to see you here again.

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

John 1 (Part 1)

John 1:1-5 – Jesus Is God

Jesus is the Word and has always existed.  He is the One and only true God.  He is part of the Trinity.  He created everything.  He gave us life.  He is THE GOD.  His purpose is of life in all things we are to do.

John starts out his book with the words, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.”John 1:1-2.  This shows us that Jesus is God and was there at creation.  Genesis 1:26 uses the word “us” indicating God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit were there – “Let us make man in our image.”  The Word is described as Jesus and it is also is referred to as the Bible.  The Word whether it is Jesus or spoken or written is powerful.  It contains the power of life and death.  The Word of God gave everything the power to exist.    This Word is Jesus.  Even Jesus called Himself God. “Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM’”.John 8:58.  Believing who Jesus says He is, is basic to the Christian faith.  He is our saving faith.  He is our Lord.  He is the center of all creation.  He is the center of our Christian belief.

John goes on to say that “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”John 1:3.   All things mean everything in the universe.  Christ is the Creator.  He is part of the Trinity along with God the Father and the Holy Spirit.  He was involved with every aspect of creation.

“In him was life, and that life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.”John 1:4-5.  We see in many Scripture the symbols of light and darkness.  Light refers to biblical truth, holiness, purity, and Jesus Himself.  Darkness refers to lies, sin, spiritual blindness, and Satan who is the prince of the power of the air who promotes spiritual darkness and rebellion against God. 

Examples of light in the world are those who speak Biblical truth and enlighten the world.  They know God and live accordingly.  Examples of darkness in the world are those who are spiritual blind.  They don’t know Jesus.  They are evil and live in sin and enjoy it.

Do you believe Jesus is who He says He is?

John 1:6-18 – Jesus Has a Plan and a Purpose

“There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John.  He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe.”John 1:6-7.   This is referring to John the Baptist not John the author of this book.  This can be confusing.  John wrote that John the Baptist was not the light, but that Jesus was.  The true Light would be coming into the world.

What does it mean to believe?  Even Satan believes.  To really believe is to believe in Jesus, to know that He exists, and to follow Him in His every Word and in every area of life.  It is to trust Him, recognize Him as Savior, and that He is the only way to the Father.  When we believe, we become a child of God and are part of His family.  It means to make a decision of the mind and accept facts as truth.  We desire to belong to Christ and commit to live as Christ lived and have Christ as our example.  Once we truly believe we are a new creation and have a new life, an eternal life. 

This is not easy to always follow and do His every Word.  We are only human, but we are to never give up and keep on trying.  He is there to guide and direct us and also forgive us when we fall short.

John said that Jesus would be coming into the world, but the world would not recognize Him.  Even His own, the Jews would not receive Him.  The world as a whole rejected their Creator and Deliverer, though some did receive Him.  All who receive Him become the children of God or are born again. (John 1:10-13) 

People are still rejecting Jesus today.  They think He was only a teacher or prophet and that there are others ways to Heaven.  Satan has filled them with doubt and self-absorption, pride and lust for the world’s desires.  People are taught to be independent and be self-reliant.  So what do they do?  They think they don’t need Jesus, whoever He says He is.  They think Hell isn’t real.  They simple do not believe He is God.  They don’t take Jesus at His Word. 

What does it mean to receive Him?  It means to accept Him as the Son of God and to receive Him into our very being.  When we do this, we are preoccupied with Jesus in our thoughts, conversations, and all activities.  We act like Jesus.  He becomes our example.

Have you received Jesus as your Lord and Savior?
Do your actions show that you believe?

We will discuss being born again in chapter 3.  Think about these questions.
Have you been born again?
Are you still living the same old life of darkness?
Are you blinded in your sin?
If so, what will you do about it?

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”John 1:14.  The Word or Jesus was born of flesh through Mary, but has the Spirit of God.  Jesus became human just like us.  God is a Spirit.  When we die our bodies will die, but since we are made in the image of God our spirit will live on either in heaven or hell. 

We celebrate Jesus’ birth each Christmas and hear how He came as a baby by the virgin Mary.  This was the prophecy many years ago.  In Isaiah 7:14“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign;  Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel”.  

Jesus is “full of grace and truth”.  We are called to be imitators of Jesus.  We are not to be judgmental, but give people grace.  We are also to be truthful in all we do.

Are you always truthful?
Are you graceful forgiving others when they offend you?

John goes on to say that Jesus existed before him and that we have all received grace.  The law was given to Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus.  (John 1:15-17).  The law didn’t show God’s grace, but demanded holiness.  It was given so people would know the moral standards God expected of them; however, no one could obey all these laws and rules.  They are too difficult so God sent Jesus.  God wants to forgive us for our sins.  We must repent.  When we repent of our sins, trust and believe in Jesus we are forgiven.  Jesus comes to give us grace and truth.  Jesus didn’t come to replace the law, but to complete it.

“No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.”John 1:18.  No one can see the face of God, but of course Jesus has.  We see Jesus in the flesh, but not God the Father who is in heaven.  To see Jesus is to see God.

What would you do if you saw God?
Would your life change?
If you are a Christian, has your life changed and have you truly seen God?

I love the song “I Can Only Imagine”.

I can only imagine what it will be like
When I walk by Your side
I can only imagine what my eyes will see
When Your face is before me
I can only imagine

Surrounded by Your glory
What will my heart feel?
Will I dance for You Jesus?
Or in awe of You be still?

Will I stand in Your presence
Or to my knees will I fall?
Will I sing, Hallelujah?
Will I be able to speak at all?
I can only imagine
I can only imagine

Whether you use the words saved, born again or eternal life, they all describe a new life in Jesus.  When you receive Him as your Savior, He gives you a new birth and a new identity.  He is the light in the darkness.  As you study the book of John ask God to help you to be the kind of witness John was.  Next time we will study John 1 Part 2.  Have a blessed day and thanks for visiting my site.  Hope to see you here again.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Introduction to John

We finished our study of Revelation in the spring where we learned the author was John, one of Jesus’ disciples.  John was the brother of James and son of Zebedee.  John also wrote 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John, and the Gospel of John.  Now we are going to find out more about John as we study the 4th Gospel.  John was called “the one that Jesus loved”.  Jesus loved and trusted John so much that He entrusted His own mother to him at His crucifixion.  John was very close to Jesus and knew Him more than anyone else. 

This gospel of John is the most read book of the Bible.  New believers are told to read it first.  It is the single most important book written.  Its purpose is that you would believe in Jesus.  It introduces Jesus not from His birth like the other Gospels, but from the beginning - before creation.

Believe is used 90 times in this book – life 364 times and world 77 times.  The key truth is that Jesus is God and we are to magnify Him.  John calls us to believe and Jesus’ actions call us to follow Him.  When we follow Him, He grows and matures us.

The 4 Gospels were written by 4 different men, and all represent Jesus as the Christ.  They all have different aims.  This is God’s way to give us a richer picture of His Son.  John emphasizes the deity of Christ and introduces Him as The Word.  He was God and existed before the beginning of time.  He is The Creator of all things.

Some key verses are:   “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” John 1:1  “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.” John 1:14.

This entire book shows that God took the form of flesh and dwelt among us.  John shows us that Jesus was very much human and stresses Jesus’ relationships with individuals.  John tells why he wrote this book.  “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”John 20:31

In the book of John we see Jesus as the Light of the world, the Truth, the Way, the Life.  John calls Him the Lamb of God.  “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.’”John 14:6.

Next week we will begin our study John 1.  I am sure this will be an exciting study.  Have a blessed day and thanks for visiting my site.  Hope to see you here next time.

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