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The only way to understand this Bible is by trusting the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit inspired this word and now He’s got to put light on it. We’ll never see the Lord apart from total reliance on God’s Holy Spirit. Before we go prayer, I want to share a verse from Acts 9:8, talking about the Apostle Paul when he first came to the Lord, and it says, “Though his eyes were open, he could see nothing.” I think it’s very possible that we come with our eyes open, and then miss what the Lord has. We want our eyes open and our heart open and our spirit open, and we want God to unveil Christ to us. Let’s pray together, and then we’ll look in the word.
Heavenly Father, we thank You so much for the indwelling Holy Spirit. We know that it’s Your delight to turn the eyes of our heart to the Lord Jesus. We pray that in a fresh way, in a living way, we might behold Him again this morning. We commit our meditation unto You and trust, Lord, that You’ll protect Your children from anything that’s flesh and blood and of man, and that You’ll instruct our hearts and take us to Yourself. Thank You that we can trust You for this, and we claim it in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Alright, we have finished our brief study of the Lord Jesus illustrated in the life and ministries of his servants Elijah and Elisha. Those lessons are online, and you can download them or there are CD’s you can take. Though we finished with Elijah and Elisha, we have not finished our desire to behold the Lord. Every time we gather together it’s to see Him; that’s why we study the Bible, to see the Lord.
This morning I’m going to introduce the next section of our meditations, our series. We’re going to behold the Lord Jesus in one of the most familiar books in the New Testament, and I’m referring to the gospel of John. I know some precious saints have recently gone through the gospel of John and they were meeting at Jay’s home. There’s no end to the water of life in any part of the Bible, and even if you’ve recently been through John, we can dip our buckets in and find a lot more of the living water, because there’s no end.
It’s my purpose in an introduction lesson to discover the heart of the Lord in the entire book; it’s an overview of the whole book. I want to get beyond the verse by verse and story by story. We want to know why God put this book in the Bible, why did He inspire it? If John were removed from your Bible, what would you lose that nothing, no other book gives in the same way; what is the distinctive revelation of Christ in this wonderful book? That’s what we’re going to do. I’m not going to begin with chapter 1:1 and do the preface 1-18. We’ll get to that eventually, but in an introduction lesson I’m not concerned with the academics; I’m not going to be dealing with, “Did John really write it, and when did he write it and where was he when he wrote it and who did he write it to and what’s the background and what’s the political background and what’s the cultural background and what’s the religious background.” That will all come as we look at the book together.
I’m not going to a particular outline, although I hope to give you a direction, but sometimes you can get an outline that’s very good, and yet it doesn’t touch your heart. It’ll give you the content of the book, but it won’t touch your heart. For example, here is a common outline for the gospel of John; chapter 1-5 His Judean ministry, chapter 6-10:22, His Galilean ministry, and then the end of the book. Chapters 13-21, His Jerusalem ministry. Is that true? The answer is yes, but that does nothing for my heart, just to know that it’s divided that way. Some have suggested, and this is a popular outline, to take the verses John 16:28 which is in four parts. It says, “I’ve come forth from the Father, I’ve come into the world, I’m leaving the world again, and I’m going to the Father.” They just take that verse and outline John. The first 18 verses, “I came forth from the Father.” Chapter 1:19 to chapter 12, “I’ve come into the world.” Chapter 13-17, “I’m leaving the world.” And then the end of the book, “I’m going to the Father.”
There are many ways to outline it, but I want it to touch my heart. I want a spiritual understanding of this book. Clearly, you could take the book; there’s a tabernacle, an outer court section, there’s a holy place section, and a Holy of Holies section. That will give me the content. So, I’m not condemning outlines. They’re very helpful, but it’s not a substitute for knowing the Lord and beholding the Lord. If they help you see the Lord, then fine, but if it just fills your brain with other thoughts and information, I think we can do without that.
To introduce this wonderful book, I’m going to suggest a few observations that are very general and very broad that include the entire book. I’m going to give you three general impressions about the gospel of John as a whole, and then we’ll get into some more meat. My first general impression is this, and you’ll see how general it is, that the gospel of John is different than the gospel of Matthew, Mark and Luke. It’s different. Actually, there’s quite a few differences, but let me give you the main difference, the main difference between the gospel of John and the other three gospels. You’ve probably heard the technical word “synoptic gospels”. If you’re familiar with the word “optic”, if you have bad eyes you go to an optometrist; it has to do with seeing. And “syn” just means “with”. So, it’s “with the same eyes”. So, Matthew, Mark and Luke are synoptic gospels because they look at things the same way, and often they tell the same stories in a slightly different way.
Matthew, Mark and Luke give you the outside view of our Lord Jesus; it’s the history. We see His life, His birth, His baptism, the temptation in the wilderness, His transfiguration on the mountain, the Lord’s Table, His agony in Gethsemane, His death, resurrection and ascension. Those are the facts, and Matthew, Mark and Luke go over those facts. They trace the history of Christ pretty much with the same outlook. There’s a different emphasis; one is a king and one is a servant, and one is the Son of Man, and so on. But it’s generally the same. The message of Matthew, Mark and Luke is, “Let’s see the Lord, let’s listen to the Lord, let’s follow the Lord, let’s see what the Lord did, let’s look at His thirty-six miracles, let’s look at His parables, let’s walk with the Lord.” It’s a history of the Lord Jesus from three different sets of eyes.
The gospel of John is different. Matthew, Mark and Luke have a lot of parables. John has only two parables in the whole book, and many think they’re not even parables. For example, the sheep and the shepherd, John 10. Is that a parable or is that just an illustration? The vine and the branches in chapter 15, is that a parable? Matthew, Mark and Luke mention thirty-six miracles Jesus did. John only mentions two of those. He gives you six of his own, but he only mentions two of those miracles; the feeding of the five thousand and walking on the water. Those are the only two he mentions.
John is not looking at things the same way Matthew, Mark and Luke look at them. They are reporters; they’re following Jesus and they’re reporters. John is a commentator; he’s not a reporter. He’s not trying to tell you where Jesus went, and that He went here and there, and He did this or that, and He said this or the other thing, and how He felt, this way or that way. John is different in that he’s the one that explains the life of Jesus. I want to take you to the last verse in the preface, the first 18 verses are an introduction to John. The last verse is verse 18, “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father; He has explained Him.” I want to focus on that last expression, “He,” Jesus, “has explained Him,” the Father, God, the Father.
When I went to Bible school, I not only had trouble passing all my classes (that’s why it took me so many years to get through three years), but when I arrived I even had a hard time understanding what I was supposed to study. They handed me a paper called a “syllabus”. I had not clue what a syllabus was, but on the syllabus it told me the classes that I would be taking. I was excited to see what classes I was taking. Here is what I was offered: soteriology, eschatology, hermeneutics, homiletics, humanities, anthropology, Greek and nomology. I had no clue? Whatever happened to reading, writing and arithmetic, recess and lunch? That’s was the curriculum I knew about. In my first class they explained that you need hermeneutics and that’s how to study the Bible.
So, I went into the hermeneutics, and here was my first lesson. “In this lesson, students, we’re going to know the difference between exegesis and eisegesis.” I was wondering why I even went to school, with all those fifty cent words and 75 cent words. I thought exegesis had something to do with Jesus, but it’s with a “g” and not a “j”. It’s not Jesus. Some of you probably know because you are exegetes already. “Ex” means “out of”, and “eis” means “putting in”. God has put things in your Bible, and if you’re going to be student of the Bible, you want to take out what God put in, and that’s exegesis. They were teaching us how important it is not to put into the Bible your own ideas, your own theories, but to take out what God put in. So, we had to be exegetes, and he was teaching us how to take out.
Once again that verse, John 1:18, “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” The Greek word, and I hope I’m pronouncing it correctly, for “explained Him” is exzegetsoto – exegete. Jesus exegetes the Father. He tells us everything that is in God. Right early in the book, the difference between the gospel of John and the synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke are just giving you the facts, and John is exegeting them; John is explaining them.
The book of John is a gospel of explanation. He gives the inside view of Jesus. John’s presentation of Christ is not primarily the history. Of course, there’s history, but that’s not his emphasis. It’s a gospel of revelation; it’s a gospel of explanation; it’s a gospel where Christ the Word, the Son of God, is going to explain who God is. That’s what this wonderful book is. All of the students who have ever studied seriously the gospel of John, they link it with Colossians 1 and with Hebrews 1, the great chapters on the deity of Christ. The gospel of John presents God, the deity of Christ, and Jesus is God, and it presents that.
When you read the gospel of John, it’s because God wants you to know Him. Jesus got in some trouble because He identified Himself with the “I AM” in the Old Testament. John 8:58, “Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.’ Therefore, they picked up stones to throw at Him. Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple.” He was presenting Himself as the Almighty God of the Old Testament, the I AM. Seven times in the book, John 6:35 “I’m the bread of life”, John 8:12 “I am the light of the world”, John 10:7 “I am the door of the sheep”, John 10:11&14 “I’m the good shepherd”, John 11:25 “I’m the resurrection and the life”, John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth and the life”, John 15:1 “I am the true vine”.
The gospel of John records fourteen conversations that Jesus had with individuals or groups in order to explain things. It’s a book of explanation. He doesn’t just multiply loaves. He doesn’t just talk about multiplying loaves. He then gives a long discourse on the bread of life, explaining what that means. He didn’t just say, “I’m the light of the world.” He gives a whole chapter with the blind man explaining what that means. Over and over again, this is a book of explanation. To Nicodemus, the new birth; He explains everything. We’re going to miss God’s heart if we study this gospel, the one that Jesus wants to exegete, explain God, if we miss God. That’s the purpose of this book. It’s all about the revelation of the Lord.
As we study this book together, one of my prayers is that God would open our hearts to all of Jesus’ explanations of who God is, and the book is just filled with it. It’s a book of illumination, a book of explanation, and a book of revelation, and a book of light; God explains His Father to us, in all His fullness. That’s the first observation.
The second observation is that I hope it presses us to the heart of God; this book is (It’s going to sound like a contradiction, but it’s not) profoundly simple. When I call this book simple, I’m not saying that somebody can understand it apart from the Holy Spirit. We need the Holy Spirit for the simplest thing. This book is written in a simple way. Children can read and understand the words in this book, but we need the Holy Spirit. I’m not saying that you can understand any part of this Bible apart from the Holy Spirit. No, a thousand times no; we need God’s light. It’s a mistake to think that the gospel of John is simple in the sense that there’s no excuse not to understand what’s in John, because it’s so simple. Even though it’s simple words, it’s based on simplicity, we need the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, when a person comes to trust Jesus for the first time, people have this idea, “Give them the gospel of John.” You have these little gospels that you hand out. You give them John because that’s simple, and they can read the gospel of John and understand. But it’s not so easy. It is simple but we need the Holy Spirit. It would be as dark as midnight if we don’t have the Holy Spirit.
On the level of earth, there’s no book in the Bible simpler than in John’s writing, 1&2&3 John also carries this idea, with simpler words. There are more monosyllables in the gospel of John than anywhere else. It’s such a simple book. Sixty times he uses the word “Jew”. Eighteen times he uses the word “light”. Forty times he uses the word “glory”. Fifty-two times he uses the word “life”. The word “know”, fifty-five times in this book, “that you might know”. He uses the word “world” seventy-nine times. He uses “believe” ninety-eight times. He uses the word “faith” a hundred times. The word “Father” a hundred eighteen times. And you know the whole idea that you would come to the Lord, that He wants you to come? Three hundred times in this book he invites you to come to the Lord. It’s so simple; he’s got such simple words, but they’re not fifty cent words and seventy-five cent words; they’re simple, simple words.
Listen to John 14:20, “In that day, you will know that I am in My Father and you in Me and I in you.” Can you get any words simpler than those words? Take those words one at a time—in, that, they, you, will, know, I, am, in, my, Father. Father is the only word that’s not monosyllable. It’s two syllables in there. That is simple as far as the words are concerned, but do you understand that verse? We need the Holy Spirit. What does it mean, “I am in the Father, and you are in Me, and I am in You?” They’re simple words, but oh, it drives us to the Holy Spirit. We need the Holy Spirit. There’s no bottom to the simplest words. You are going to be in heaven a million years, and you’re not going to come to the end of John 3:16. There’s no end to it.
Take the very first word in the book; these are simple words. “In the beginning was the word; the word was with God and the word was God.” Every one of those words is a simple word. What is included in that passage? It’s amazing. John 17:26 are all one syllable words, “I have made your name known to them; I will make it known, so that the love with which you loved Me may be in them and I in them.” Simple words! Do you ever get to the bottom, that God the Father loves you as much as He loves God, the Son. You need the Holy Spirit for that. Simple words need to be explained, and the gospel of John is a book of explanation. He wants to take those simple words, and he wants to bring us right to the depth, so that we might know God; he’s going to exegete his Father.
Part of John’s profound simplicity is explaining, for example, the Old Testament. When John refers to the Old Testament passages, he takes time to explain it. I’m not saying you need to be expert in the Old Testament in order to understand the gospel of John. No, because he explains it. So much of the Old Testament becomes clear because of John. Seven times John says, “That it might be fulfilled.” John makes a hundred twenty-four references to the Old Testament in the gospel of John. He refers by name to Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Elijah, David, Isaiah, Micah and Zachariah. He directly quotes Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Psalms, Isaiah, Zachariah. It’s a simple book, but he is taking the whole Bible and has explained it. Don’t just read John la, la, la, and don’t just say, “That’s a simple book, and I know all the stories.” Read John to know God. If all we had was Matthew, Mark and Luke, we would think that Jesus’ ministry lasted one year, but because we have the gospel of John, he explains that there were four Passovers and that the ministry of Christ lasted three and a half years. It’s a book of explanation, and a book to show us God.
I want to give a third observation. It’s not only a book of revelation, and it’s not only profoundly simple if you have the Holy Spirit, for example for simplicity, Matthew 11:27, “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father,” Jesus talking, “and no one knows the Son except the Father, nor does anyone know the Father except the Son,” and notice this last phrase, “and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” The only One who knows God, the Father is Jesus, and you, if you let Him reveal Him; me, if I allow Him to reveal Him.
I found this little poem in an old Puritan book; I don’t know who wrote it.
My pail I’m often dropping deep into this well,
It never touches bottom, however deep it fell.
And though I keep on dipping, by study, faith and prayer,
I have no power to measure the living water there.
That’s exactly what you’re going to get in John; you can dip and dip your pail. I love in John, somebody said with the woman at the well, “The well is deep, and you have no pail.” Well, we have a pail; the water is deep, but we’re not going to reach the bottom.
My third observation in the gospel of John is that it’s a heart book; it’s all about union with Him; it’s all about fellowship; it’s all about relationship. Probably one of the strongest evidences that it’s a heart book is the man John, himself, this Son of Zebedee. We don’t usually think of John as the one who had a dramatic conversion and was changed from this to this. We don’t think of him. We think of Peter; he had a dramatic conversion. We think of the Apostle Paul; he had a dramatic conversion. But when John first met Jesus, he needed a dramatic conversion. He was a tough fisherman, like Peter. That was his occupation, and he had a quick temper. Do you remember the nickname Jesus gave him and his brother? It’s Mark 3:17, “James, the son of Zebedee and John, the brother of James, to them He gave the name ‘Benay-Regah’, which means ‘sons of thunder’.” He called John a son of thunder. Why would he give to him a name like that? Luke 9 records one reason. Jesus went through Samaria, and they didn’t give him a great reception in Samaria, and so John goes to Jesus and says, “Do you want us to call down fire like Elijah did and wipe out all the Samaritans?” Jesus said, “You’re just a son of thunder.” In fact, He answers him in Luke 9:55&56, “He turned and rebuked them, and said, ‘You do not know what kind of spirit you are of, for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.’”
Another time someone that they didn’t know began to cast out demons in the name of Jesus, and so John went to Jesus to report that, John 9:38, “John said to Him, ‘Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name. We tried to prevent him because he was not following us.’” Isn’t that amazing! How dare God use somebody not from my church; you’ve got to become one of us! That was John’s attitude, and he just said, “He’s not one of us, and we don’t know him, and I tried to shut him up,” and Jesus said in verse 39, “Do not hinder him; there is no one who performs a miracle in My name and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me. He who is not against us is for us.”
The reason I’m emphasizing the fact that John was short-fused and easily agitated and a son of thunder is because he had an amazing conversion. Usually, when people think of John, they think of John 13:25, “He, leaning back thus on Jesus’ bosom, said to Him, ‘Lord, who is it?’” They picture John, the youngest disciple as the one who just laid back on Jesus’ bosom. They remember the expression, “the disciple whom Jesus love,” and five times, 13:23, 19:26, 20:2, 21:7, 21:20, he’s called “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. He’s one of the inner three, Peter, James and John, and had the great privilege; he was invited to go up to the Mount of Transfiguration and see the glory of the Lord. He was an eye-witness to the raising of Jairus’ daughter in the Upper Room. He was the one who was invited to go into the Garden of Gethsemane with the Lord. He was a privileged one. And because of that view of John, laying on Jesus’ bosom, the disciple whom Jesus loved, some even think that he was a Mama’s boy; he was a sissy. I have one commentary that calls him “effeminate”. He was not effeminate. He’s a son of thunder, but Jesus changed him, and he became a lover of Jesus. It’s a tremendous thing that John would let us know.
Do you know when the gospel of John was written? The answer is that the best scholarship places it about 90 AD. In other words, that’s twenty years after the destruction of Jerusalem, and what that means practically is that John walked in fellowship with the Lord for more than seventy years before he wrote this book. We are going to study a book that was written by a lover of the Lord Jesus, a son of thunder turned into a lover of the Lord Jesus, and he’d been walking with the Lord for seventy years, and now we’re going to see his experience. I love to talk to older saints who have walked with the Lord for a while. It’s so refreshing. I don’t usually talk much. I’ll throw out a question. I want them to talk. I want to hear how the Lord has guided them and protected them and watched over them and taught them. It’s thrilling. I’m happy to come to this book, this old saint, “Grampa John”, is going to teach us about the Lord.
So, John gives us the inner look at Jesus, the spiritual look. Many commentators just call it “the mystic look” because it’s spiritual and has to do with the heart. All the books in the Bible are designed to make us lovers of Jesus, but I think none as much as this wonderful gospel of John. In the simplest way with the simplest words, by the power of Holy Spirit, the Apostle John brings us, and explains God, and brings us into a rich and deep fellowship with Him.
Those are the three observations. As we come to John, realize that it’s a book of explanation. When we come to John, realize it’s simple, simple words, and that you need the Holy Spirit to even begin to understand. Then understand this is a book for the heart; it’s a book to take you into an intimate union with the Lord Jesus.
Hold that, please. Before I close this introduction, I want to give you the key to understanding the whole book; it will give you direction. It’s not really an outline; it’s sort of an outline. It’s a direction. First listen to how the book closes, John 21:25, “And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.” Jesus’ life was so full that Matthew, Mark, Luke and now John with his selective story, doesn’t begin to tell the story. All the books in the world couldn’t be enough to contain what our Lord Jesus said and did. The key that will give us a guide, and this is the guide we’re going to follow as we go through the gospel of John, is chapter 20:30&31, “Therefore, many other signs Jesus performed in the presence of the disciples which are not written in this book, but these have been written so that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, you may have life in His name.”
This is very wonderful, brothers and sisters in Christ, because in many books of the Bible you have to hunt for the theme, and hunt for the purpose. Why did he write this book? What is included in this book? Searching diligently, you say, “Well, I think this is the theme, and this is the great revelation of Christ,” and then someone will come along and say, “Well, that’s not really the theme; the theme is this and that.” You’re left on your own, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to find the theme. There are many books in the Bible I have never taught. The reason I haven’t taught them is because I’ve never learned it; I haven’t seen the revelation of Christ in many books. I’ve taught one book already, but you’ll not find it online. I had more than forty lessons in the gospel of Isaiah. I took them offline; they were forty devotions from Isaiah but it wasn’t Isaiah because it wasn’t the revelation of Christ. So, from my own heart, there’s many, but John is different. John said, “This is the reason I wrote.” He gives you the theme and tells you why he wrote and he invites you to follow that path. It’s not only book studies where you have to find the theme, but even through history, men and women of God have not agreed on, “What do you think is the great revelation of the Lord?”
I’m going to give you some saints, and I’m only choosing the popular ones. There were others, but I think you might be familiar with these names. If they were all alive today, and they’re not, they’re from way back in the reformation and before, but if they were all alive today and I said while we’re all on one stage, “Alright, Luther, tell me what the great message of God?” He would say, “Faith alone, and the Bible alone, that’s the message of the Lord.” I say, “Calvin, do you agree with that?” He’d say, “Well, I think the emphasis should be on the sovereignty of God, and election and predestination.” I’d say, “James Arminius, do you agree?” He’d say, “I think human responsibility is what it should be. We should emphasize responsibility.” I say, “Darby, what do you think?” He’d say, “No, no, it’s all about worship and all about gathering at the Lord’s Table and remembering the Lord.” I say, “Willian Carey, Hudson Taylor, what do you think?” They’d say, “Missions; God has a missionary heart; He wants to reach the lost. That’s what it’s about.” I say, “Watchman Nee, what do you think?” He’d say, “Identification with Christ. You need to have these identification principles.” I say, “Billy Graham, do you agree with that?” He’d say, “Evangelism, people have got to get saved.” I say, “Ray Steadman, what do you think?” He’d say, “I think body life; we’ve got to have the church as one; we’re a body and we need to have the body. It’s all about the body.” I say, “Major Ian Thomas, what do you think?” He’d say, “It’s union with Christ; that’s the great message of all.” I say, “Wesley, do you agree with that?” He’d say, “No, we’ve got to be holy; that’s the message of God.” I say, “George Mueller, what do you think?” He’d say, “I think it’s faithfulness. God is faithful, and He’ll provide all of our needs.” I say, “D. L. Moody, what do you think?” He’d say, “It’s the love of God; it’s all about the love of God.” I’ve never read anyone more thorough on the love of God than Dwight Limon Moody.
Who is right? The answer is that they’re all right. You see, what happens is that from time to time, some of God’s great truths are buried in ritual and in formality, and God rescues those truths and raises up individuals to emphasize those truths, and God brings them back. The problem is, when God raises someone to emphasize the truth, they get a following, and then people flock after that truth, and then there is sectarian division, and then you’ve got denominations here and there and each one emphasizing a different truth. That’s why I like the gospel of John, because he doesn’t do that. If I were on that stage, and I’m not worthy to be put into the same category as the list I gave you, but I would say, “That’s all wrong. The message is the exchanged life; it’s the progressive revelation of the Lord Jesus through the Holy Spirit unveiling of Him in this Bible.” That would be my idea. God rescues, recovers lost truth, and I think one of the worse things is that we can have sectarian followings and groups and cliques that go after those truths.
I’m sorry, I got off on a tangent. Let’s come back to the gospel of John. The point I was going to make is that in the gospel of John I don’t have to search and I don’t have to dig and I don’t have to wonder and I don’t have to guess at the theme. I’ll read it again, John 20:31, “These things have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, you may have life in His name.” This book is selective, and he tells us, and now I’m going to outline it, “I’ve written this book for three reasons, and I have this purpose, and everything is going to tell us about these three reasons. Verse 31, “That you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.”
He’s not writing so you’ll be a full-time worker. He’s not writing to make you or me a theologian. He’s not writing so we can defend the faith against heretics. He’s not writing to teach us how to build and establish churches. He’s not writing even to give us an accurate history of the life of our Lord Jesus. He tells us why. Verse 31, “That we might know Him, the Christ, the Son of God.” Secondly, “That you might believe, that you might trust Him.” We’re going to come to John and say, “Why did he write this?” He wants you to know God; he wants you to trust God. And then finally he wants you to find life in His name.
If we go through the gospel of John together and we’re not increased in our knowledge of God, and if we’re not established and trusting God, if we’re not enjoying more of life in the Lord, we’re wasting our time coming to this marvelous book. That’s going to be our roadmap; that’s going to be the guide, the path we take to know Him, to trust Him, to enjoy Him. That’s why God gave us this wonderful gospel. Every one of the chapters tells us how to know Him, trust Him and enjoy Him. The eight miracles that he chooses tell us how to know Him, trust Him and enjoy Him. The fourteen discourses that he has in this book are how to know Him, trust Him and enjoy Him. Everyone of the Old Testament passages he quotes, so we will know Him, trust Him and enjoy Him. All of the imagery that he selects—the new birth, the temple, the wind, the bride and the groom, the shepherd and the sheep, the lamp, the door, the vine are that we might know Him, that we might trust Him and that we might enjoy Him. Fifteen individuals he takes aside and explains things, so that they might know Him, trust Him and enjoy Him. Everything in this wonderful gospel is to reveal God, to reveal faith, and to show us what life is. There’s no end to the revelation of the Lord.
Do you realize that ninety-eight times, and I think I said it already, he uses the word “believe”, and a hundred times he uses the word “faith”, and a hundred and ten times he uses the word “know”, and three hundred times he invites us to come to Him, to know Him, to trust, and to enjoy Him. John is not going to make a theologian out of any of us, but I hope he makes some lovers of Jesus out of us.
It’s a devotional book, and devotion means to stimulate devotion toward Him. He wants to stimulate our hearts, so that we can know Him more intimately, and trust Him more thoroughly and enjoy Him more fully. Sixty different times in this book he calls attention to life. In this book life is not a thing. In this book life is a Person. We think of eternal life as life that goes on and on and on and never ends. He’s not talking about duration when he talks about eternal life. He’s talking about a quality life. What is eternal life? The answer is that it’s the life of the Eternal One living in me, the life of the Eternal One living in you.
Listen to John 17:3, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” In his first epistle, chapter 5:11, “The testimony is this, God has given us eternal life. This life is in His Son. He who has the Son, has the life. He who does not have the Son of God, does not have life.” So, I hope this gives you a taste for this wonderful book. I’m excited to study this book, and I hope you are, as well, because when we’re done, we’re going to know Him and we’re going to trust Him more, and we’re going to enjoy Him.
As we close, there are many revelations of Christ in this book, and the book as a whole, what is the greatest revelation of Christ in the gospel of John? How does God reveal Jesus in the whole book? What is the great revelation. John 1:1, “In the beginning was the word, the word was with God and the word was God.” The first title of our Lord Jesus is the word, the word of God. Now, a word is how we communicate. We use words. This is God’s great desire; He wants to be known, He wants to convey, He wants to communicate, He wants to talk to you, He wants to explain things. 1 Timothy 2:5 says, “There’s one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” God wants to be known, but there’s only mediator, there’s only one way He can be known.
I don’t know Greek, but I thank the Lord that I have sources where they know the Greek, and there’s a treasure in Hebrews 1:2, “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and many ways, in these last days has spoken unto us in His Son.” If you notice, the word “His” is in italics. When you are in the Bible and you read a word and it’s in italics, do you know what that means? It’s not in the original. The publisher put it in there to help you, and the word “His” is not in the original. “In these last days He’s spoken unto us in Son,” not His Son. What does that mean? Well, I think you would know if I said to you, “He’s spoken unto us in English. He’s spoken unto us in Spanish. He’s spoken unto us in German. He’s spoken unto us in Chinese. He’s spoken unto us in Korean. He’s spoken unto us in French.” He’s spoken unto us in Son; Jesus is the language of God, the only language, the whole language. Jesus is a language.
You might say, “I hardly know English, and I’m not bilingual.” Yes, you are, because you know English and you know Jesus. Jesus is the language of God, the word, the communication, the explanation. So, we’ll close with that great revelation. How is Christ revealed in this book of John? He’s God’s language, and He wants to talk to you and He wants to tell you how to know Him, and how to trust Him, and how you can enjoy Him.
Father, we thank You for this wonderful book You’ve given in our Bible, and we just pray, Lord, that as we study it together, the purpose for which You inspired it might become true in our life, and that we would know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that we might believe in Him and find life in His name. Work this in us, we pray. In Jesus name. Amen.