Introduction to John
Topic: The Gospel Passage: John 20:30–20:31
Thank you, Joanne. That was great, wasn’t it? Did you guys enjoy the cookout last Sunday? Yeah? It was a blessing, wasn’t it? I want to say a special thank you to the Roseboom family, to everyone else who made that happen. That was a great time.
And I want to let you know as well that Richard Caldwell had a great time. On the way back to the airport, he just kept bragging and bragging about you guys. He actually said this, he said, “I know ministry can be tough from time to time, but it always helps to hear this from an outsider.” He says, “You have a great church.” He said, “Just from talking to these people, you can tell they really love the Lord.”
I just want to echo that. You guys do love the Lord. You are a great church. Every preacher that comes through here says that. After they meet you guys and see my view from the house, you know, they stop praying for me. They think I'm spoiled rotten here. But I just want to tell you to keep it up. Keep on doing what you're doing. Just excel still more.
And with that said, this morning, we're starting a new series here at Grace Fellowship on the Gospel of John. So, if you want to go ahead and turn there with me (if you're not already there) to the Gospel of John.
And as you're doing that, just a review of some things that we've talked about. If you remember, when I first came to GFC, we did a series called Foundations of the Church where we talked about some foundational or fundamental issues of the church. Like, what the church is and what the church does. We talked about what the perfect church looks like and talked about church membership, and church leadership, just some foundational things. If you missed that, all that material is on the website. You can see it there.
Then we went to the book of first Peter. And we put that foundation to the test by talking about suffering. We talked about how the church suffers, how it should suffer, how it should handle trials and temptations. I told you that a church that suffers together, stays together. If you can weather the storm of suffering together as a church, you can make it. And you can survive as a congregation.
And then our third series together was the book of Romans. We just finished that up. And we said that this is how you do all of that. This is how you survive times of suffering; you do it through the Gospel. Paul begins the book of Romans by saying, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
That word “power” there in Romans refers to lots of things. But one thing it refers to is “perseverance”. The Gospel helps you to persevere. It helps you to keep on keeping on as a church. It reminds you that Jesus has been through it too. Jesus has had a hard life too, and you can persevere because He persevered, amen? You can endure because your Saviour endured. I mean the Bible says Jesus was a “man of sorrows and familiar with suffering.” He was “smitten by God and afflicted,” but He triumphed over it at the cross and you can too, if you trust in Him.
And that leads us to the Gospel of John this morning. Starting today, and over the next couple of months, we're going to look at Jesus' life through the eyes of one of His disciples, the Apostle John. As you know, John was one of the Twelve Apostles. He was one of Jesus' closest disciples on earth, which means that he saw Jesus close up. He saw how the Saviour suffered and he wrote about it in this book for all to see. And we're going to look at that over the next couple of months.
And let me introduce it to you this way. On the December second, 2015, two terrorists, a husband and wife, walked into a government building in San Bernardino, California and open fired; killing 14 and injuring several others. The building was used to give services to the handicapped, so it was a horrific event. And the terrorists said they did this for political reasons because it was related to the US government.
But, in the midst of the tragedy, several heroes emerged that we found out about later. One of the heroes was a man named Shannon Johnson, who died while shielding a co-worker from the gunfire. He actually put his body between her and the terrorist and died in the process. Her name was Denise Pereira. She was 27-years-old, and she later said this about the event. She said,
On Wednesday morning, December second at 10:55 AM, my friends and I were seated next to each other at a table joking about how we thought the large clock on the wall might be broken because time seemed to be moving so slowly. I would have never guessed that only five minutes later, we would be huddled next to each other under the same table using a fallen chair as a shield from 60 rounds of bullets being fired across the room. While I can't remember every single second that played out that morning, I do remember how Shannon Johnson put his arm around me behind the chair, and said, “I got you.” He said, “I got you,” right before he died.
And I mention that story because in a sense, that's what Jesus did for us on the cross. He said, “I got you. I got you.” He said, “I'll protect you, I will take care of you. Nothing will harm you anymore, nothing will cause you pain in eternity because I took your pain on Myself. I suffered so you wouldn't have to.”
A man once asked why God doesn't do something about all the evil in this world. And he was told, “God did do something, He sent Jesus Christ.” And he's right. God does care about the evil in this world, and God does care about your pain. God does care about your suffering; that's why He sent His son. That's why He sent Jesus Christ. And I mention that because I think a lot of people today are forgetting it. I mention that because I think a lot of people today, Christians even, are acting like it doesn't matter, because we can be saved some other way.
A recent survey went out in the States that said that 57% of Evangelical Christians believe you can go to heaven many different ways. You don't have to be a Christian, you don't have to know Jesus Christ, any road can take you there. Which raises the question then, what did He die for? Right? I mean what was the point? And that was in the States.
On the Canadian side of things, in 2014, The Vancouver Sun published an article, which said that there are about 80 million liberal Christians in the United States and Canada. 80 million non-Evangelical Christians. And the article said, “They set themselves apart by embracing homosexuality and evolution. They accept abortion and female leadership in the church, women preachers, that sort of thing.” But what the article didn't say, I guess it just didn't go into, is that many of those liberal Christians (maybe not all of them, but many of them) reject Jesus Christ; the true Jesus, the Biblical Jesus, because they reject His deity and say, “He was just a man.” They reject His substitutionary atonement and say, “He did not die for that, He just died as a martyr.” And they reject His resurrection and ascension into heaven.
We might add this, it’s not just the Protestants who are doing this, the Catholics are getting in on this too. Some of you heard the story recently about a little boy who went to the Pope and asked if his father was in heaven, his atheist father, his father who rejected Jesus Christ. And the Pope said, “Yes.” He said, “If he was a good atheist, then he's in heaven.” I would say that is rejecting Jesus Christ. That's ignoring what He came for.
And I just mention those examples because you see this happening everywhere, it's all over the place. Even some churches that don't reject Him, kind of put Christ on the shelf and get all caught up in their programs and buildings and numbers, and they only mention Him around Easter or Christmas. And I might add as well, that it's always been this way in the church. There’s nothing new, this tendency to forget the Lord Jesus.
So for instance, the seven churches in the book of Revelation were rebuked for doing this. They were rebuked for forgetting Jesus Christ. You would think in the first century that wouldn’t be a problem. But you read the book of Revelation, you turn to chapters two and three, to the church in Ephesus, it said, “But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” That means your first love toward Me, your first love toward Christ. He said, “You love other things but not Me. You prioritize other things but not Me.”
To the church in Sardis it said, “I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.” That means dead to Me, dead to Christ. To the church at Laodicea, He said, “I know your deeds, that you're neither cold nor hot.” That means cold or hot toward Jesus. And I might add, that that attitude makes God angry. God is furious when people do that to His church. You see that in the book of Revelation as well.
To the church at Laodicea, He said, “So because you’re lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” That's God's way of saying, “You make Me want to puke.” It’s actually the only time in Scripture where that phrase is used, that I'm aware of anyway. He says, “You make Me want to vomit because you have grown apathetic towards Me.”
To the church in Ephesus, He said, “I'm going to remove your lampstand.” Which is another way of saying, “I'm going to shut this thing down.” Why? Because this is His church, and if you forget that, God will remind you; either in this life or the next. Because this is Christ’s bride and if you reject that, there will be consequences.
Listen Friends, the church will not be judged by its faithfulness to numbers. The church will be judged by its faithfulness to Jesus Christ. Amen? The church is not going to be judged by how many cars are in the parking lot. It's going to be judged by how loyal we were to the Son of God. And we need to remember that as a church.
You know, I told you last week we're coming up on our second anniversary here at Grace Fellowship. We were incorporated on June 13th, 2016. And yes, we're not actually there yet. You guys reminded me that last week. I was trying to give you a happy birthday last week and, anyway. You're almost two-years-old now. Congratulations, happy early birthday.
But on the outset, we have to remember what's at stake here. We have to remember what God wants us to do, what God cares about. And He doesn't care how big we are. And He doesn't care how popular we are on the Internet. I mean God doesn't wake up every morning and see how many likes we got on Facebook. That's not a priority to Him. And He doesn't care how big our budget is, and He doesn't care how much money we have in the bank, and He doesn't care how happy we are, those kinds of things. He cares how faithful we are to Jesus Christ. That's what matters to Him. He cares about loyalty to His Son. That's what we'll be judged by. That's what we're held accountable to. You forget Jesus and you forget everything.
I can say it this way, you don't outgrow Christ as a church, you grow into Him. You don't move past Him as you get older as a church, you move deeper and deeper into the person of Christ.
It was said that when Martin Luther died, his friends found a scrap of paper in his pocket that said, “We're all beggars.” It was the last thing Martin Luther wrote. We're all beggars. We can do nothing on our own apart from Christ. We bring nothing to the table.
We're going to look at some of these here in a moment. But there's something like 50 different titles for Jesus in the Bible, something like 50 of them. And they all go back to this idea of our needing Him. So, for instance, the Bible says Jesus is our Advocate, because when we sin, we need an advocate with God. We need someone to step in and say, “This one is mine, he is forgiven, don't judge him eternally.” If you didn't have that, you'd be lost. If you didn't have that, you would go to hell.
And He's called Our Deliverer because when life is messed up, we need that. We need someone to deliver us. And He's called The Mighty One to remind us that He's mighty enough to do that. There's nothing that's ever going to come your way that Jesus can't handle. He is named Emmanuel to remind you that God is with you. Do you ever feel like God has abandoned you? Not if you know Emanuel. The King of Kings to remind you that He is King. He's in control. He's the Rock to remind you that He won't change. The Alpha and the Omega to remind you that He is sovereign. He was there at the beginning, He'll be there at the end.
But all of this is to say, the church can't forget Him because we can't do anything without His help. We are entirely dependent upon Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact, the more you grow in the faith, the more you realize that.
Richard Caldwell did such a good job of explaining this last week, and I have to repeat what he said. But he said that in the Christian life, you start with the general principles and then you move to the specifics. Some of you guys remember that from the conference? He said you start with the big picture first. And the big picture is this: we need Jesus Christ. We can do nothing on our own, and then you get into parenting and marriage and being a man of God and all that. He said some men try to be fathers and husbands on their own strength, on their own power, without Christ and they fail. And it's the same way with the church. We will fail, apart from Him.
And that leads to our passage for this morning, because the Gospel of John is all about Jesus Christ. That's why we're focusing on that today. From start to finish, it's all about His power and His might. That's the theme of the book. That's the big picture John wants you to get. And to see this, I want to draw your attention to the end of it, the passage Quentin just read to us. So, if you want to look in John chapter 20, you may already be there.
In John chapter 20, Jesus tells us why He wrote this Gospel. Most authors do that at the beginning of the book. It's kind of interesting, John does it here at the end. He kind of draws it to a close on this note, or starts drawing it to a close. And if you look in chapter 20:30-31, this is why the Apostle wrote this book. He says, “30 Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that by believing you may have life in His name.”
Now, we're going to look at a lot of things in this text. But I want you to notice that John says, “I wrote so that you may believe. I wrote so that you don't forget about Christ.” He said, “There was more I could have said. There were many other signs I could have mentioned.” If you want to look down at the very end of the Gospel of John, he makes an interesting comment on that in chapter 21:25. This is actually how he wraps the book up. But in verse 25 at the end of chapter 21, he says, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.” John says, “But I wrote these things, in this book, so that you may believe and have life in His name.”
The Gospel of John is a Gospel of belief. We could say it's a Gospel of reminding us of the importance of Jesus Christ. And that's what I want to talk to you about this morning. So, if you're taking notes, in John 20:30-31, I just want you to see three reasons why John wrote this Gospel. This is an introduction this morning, this is the beginning of the series. We'll be getting into the actual meat of the book itself starting next week. But this week, let's just introduce it by talking about three reasons why John wrote this Gospel.
With all these people forgetting about Jesus, John says, “I wrote so that you will remember Him.” With all these people pushing Him to the side and focusing on other things, John says, “I want Christ to be at the forefront of your minds.”
Just a little background on this real quickly. Most scholars believe John wrote this at the end of his life, as an old man. Which is interesting, because that means as an old man, John says, “I could not push Him to the side. Later in life, I couldn't forget about him. I didn't get to a point in my 70s and 80s and 90s, when I didn't need Him anymore.” John said, “I always needed Him. I always turn to Him for help.”
And in this passage at the end, he tells us three reasons why he wrote about Christ. And the first one is this, the first reason is this: to show you some signs. John wrote his book to show you some signs to give you proof or evidence that Jesus was God. He wasn't just a man. If you look at verse 30 again, it says, “Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written that you may believe...”
John starts this verse off with the word “therefore” tying it back to Jesus’ conversation with Thomas right above this. If you remember in that conversation, which we heard earlier, Thomas says, “Unless I see the scars in His hands and put my fingers in the imprints of the nails, I will not believe.” Almost a crude statement he's saying. It’s almost sarcastic. So, Jesus appears to him, He shows that to him. We don't know if Thomas actually did touch the scars and all that.
But Jesus appears to Thomas, and He says in verse 29, Jesus says to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who do not see, and yet still believe.” And then John says in verse 30, “Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed but these have been written so that you may believe.” In other words, John says, “I’m writing so that you may believe, you people who did not see His hands in sight.” John says, “I'm writing that you may be saved.” And I'm talking to you guys, I’m talking about myself, because you didn't actually physically see Jesus. At the time John wrote this, there were very few people who had actually seen Jesus.
Church history tells us that John was the last Apostle, and that He died at the close of the first century. And Jesus died around AD 30-AD 33. Which means he's writing this stuff 60 something years (around there) after it happened, which means that almost all the eyewitnesses were gone. He might have been the only one left. And John says, “I'm writing this for the rest of you. For those who did not see Jesus. I want to give you some signs.”
The word “signs” could translate to “miracles”. There were actually several words for miracles in the Greek language. There was dunamis which means “power”. It emphasized the strength of the miracle, the power of the miracle. Another word was paradoxon which means “paradox”. It emphasized the mystery of the miracle or the strangeness of it. And then there was this word sémeion or “sign,” which emphasized the meaning of the miracle, the purpose of it. John says here that Jesus’ miracles had purpose. They had meaning. He didn't do them just to do them, He wasn't performing them just to show off, there was something greater going on here.
As you're driving down the Highway 1 from Vancouver, you see signs for Chilliwack, right? And you see road markers that say, “80 kilometres to Chilliwack” or “40 kilometers Chilliwack,” and you understand there's something greater going on behind those signs. You understand if you follow that sign, it will take you somewhere. It will take you to our beautiful town of Chilliwack. The same way with Jesus’ miracles, if you follow them, they will take you somewhere. If you obey them, or understand them, you'll end up in heaven.
And just to show you this, there are seven miracles in the Gospel of John. I'm not going to turn here for the sake of time. But if you're taking notes, you can just jot them down if you like. There are seven signs that John recorded. And I'll go through these quickly for the sake of time.
But, the first one is in chapter two where Jesus turns water into wine. That’s the first sign in the Gospel of John. Jesus turns water into wine. He’s at a wedding in Cana, a small town. He’s at a feast, and the couple ran out of wine, which was an embarrassing thing to do back then. It was very shameful, because wine was part of the celebration. It was part of showing hospitality to your guests. And if you ran you ran out of that, it was very disgraceful.
So, to help with that, Jesus turns water into wine. The text says He filled six stone water pots full of the stuff, about 150 gallons worth. If you do the math there (I don't know how much that is in litres, I didn't look that up), but if you imagine 150 big milk jugs full of wine, that's about the amount that He did. Which means that the people at the celebration probably didn't drink all of that. The couple could have sold it and made a decent amount of money. It was also kind of like a wedding gift for them. But the point is, Jesus starts off His ministry that way; doing an amazing, gracious miracle.
Then in John chapter four, He heals a nobleman’s son who was sick. The man's child was sick, his little boy was dying. The text says he was a nobleman, a rich man, a wealthy man. He might have been part of Herod's court. And He comes to Jesus, this nobody peasant, and he says, “Come down Sir, before my child dies.” Jesus says, “Go, and your son will live.” And the man believed, and his son was saved; another amazing miracle.
I'm going to speed up here for the sake of time. Then in chapter six, Jesus feeds the 5,000 or the 5,000 men not counting women and children. If you counted the women and children, it could have come up to about 15,000 or more, because they were on their way to the Passover. And if they were on their way to the Passover, these men were probably taking their families. Which means Jesus could have fed upwards of 15 to 20,000 people with a lunch of a little boy.
Then He walks on water. Then He heals a man born blind. Then He raises Lazarus from the dead. As a matter of fact, it's interesting if you read about Him raising Lazarus from the dead. He raises Lazarus from the dead, and the Jewish leaders are so angry at that event, that they talk about killing Lazarus. I mean what was the point? He’ll raise him from the dead again, you know.
But John mentions all of this to give you some signs. He mentions all of this to prove that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. And in the passage here, in John 20, it says there were other signs, meaning this doesn't cover them all, it just touches a few of them. And it says, “Jesus also performed them in the presence of His disciples.” Meaning they were public miracles, they weren’t done in a corner. And John's point is you can't ignore this. You can't push it to the side and forget about it.
C.S. Lewis said, “You can call Jesus demon-possessed, and you can call Him crazy, but you can't say He was just a man.” You just don't have that option. You read the story of a life like this and you can't come to that conclusion. Kenneth Scott Latourette, the historian said, “As the centuries passed, the evidence is accumulating, that based on His effect on history, Jesus is the most influential man who has ever lived, because He was more than just a man.”
If you think about it, when you see a sign, you have two options, right? You can either follow it or reject it. You can go towards Chilliwack or you can go away from Chilliwack. But those are your two options. It's the same way with Jesus Christ. When you see these miracles, when you read about them and hear about them, you can either head towards Christ or away from Christ. You can either go towards heaven or away from it.
Which leads me to ask, which way are you going today? What are you doing with the signs? Are you following Jesus or rejecting Him? Are you heading towards heaven, towards what the signs point to, or are you going away? Are you coming to Him for help? Are you crying out for His mercy? Or are you saying, “I can do this on my own?”
I just mentioned that all of these people are forgetting about Jesus, but are you forgetting about Him today? Is Sunday morning the only time you think about Jesus Christ? When's the last time you said, “Lord, I can't do this on my own? I can't parent on my own, I can't be a husband on my own, I can't be a wife on my own. I need Your help.” When's the last time we said that as a church?
Let me tell you something church, if we're ever doing things that don't require Jesus Christ, if we're ever doing things and we don't need His help, then we’re failing. You know, if you think about it, only a fool would ignore a sign that said, “This way to heaven.” Right? And that's what John says here.
On a personal note, by the way, I have a very poor sense of direction. I don't know if you guys have picked that up about me or not, but I get lost all the time. I can't tell north from south. To me, it's just left and right and straight and backwards. But I can follow a sign, right? I can tell a miracle when I see one. And John said that he wrote that you would see these miracles and believe.
And that leads to the next reason why John wrote this Gospel. And that is so that you may believe. He wrote to show you the signs, and he wrote so that you may believe; so that you would act on what you saw; so that you would look at the sign and follow it; not just read the sign that says, “This way to heaven,” but you would actually go this way to heaven.
And he says in verse 30, he goes on, he says, “Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God...”
The word “believe” here is an important one in the Gospel of John, because it occurs 96 times in the Gospel. 96 times, more than any other book in the Bible. It's about five times per chapter. And it doesn't mean what some people today think when they say “believe”. When some people today say, “I believe something,” they mean, “I believe I can fly. I believe I can touch the sky.” That kind of stuff. Well, John says you can believe that all you want to, but if you jump out of a building and start flapping your arms, you’re going to go down, right?
When John says “believe”, he doesn't mean you create reality, he means you affirm reality. He doesn't mean you make something true (I believe I can fly), he means you acknowledge what is already true.
So, for instance, this Gospel was written so that you would believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. You don't make Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, He already is those things. You just need to affirm it. That's why John wrote this book.
And to unpack this a little bit, there's actually two titles for Jesus here if you notice in the text. The first is Christ or Christos in Greek, which comes from the Hebrew word Messiah. It's actually the Greek translation of that word. John wrote so that you would believe that Jesus is the Messiah the Old Testament talked about, so that you would believe He is the Saviour the Jews look forward to. And he wrote so that you would believe He is the Son of God. That's the second title John gives you here; the Son of God.
And if you noticed that phrase is capitalized in your Bibles. “Son of God” is capitalized because it's a title for Jesus. And it has a definite article in front of it. The Son of God. The specific Son of God, not any Son of God, not any child of God, one child of God. And in the way it's used here, it means that Jesus is divine. What God is, He is. What God has, He has. Just like a son inherits the nature of his father, Jesus had the nature of God.
I was talking with a gentleman one day from the Jehovah's Witness. And he was trying to tell me that the Bible says Jesus is the Son of God. That means He was created. And I said, “No, that's not the point. The point is, He's the Son of God because He has the same nature that God has.” That's the point, right? Your son has your nature, your substance, your being.
And just to show you this, there are seven “I AM” statements in the Gospel of John. I just mentioned seven signs to you, but there's also seven “I AM” statements. And again, I'm giving you all these just as an overview of the book because we're going to walk through these one at a time when we go through it. But seven statements to show that Jesus is the Son of God.
The first one is found in John six, where it says, “I am the bread of life.” I am the bread of life. Which means, “I am food for your soul. I am what you need to survive. Just as you can't live without food, you can't live without Me,” Jesus says. “Just as you would starve to death without bread, you would starve to death without Me.”
We could say it this way, you never come to a point when you stop needing to eat, right? In some ways, the older you get, the more you eat. I mean I eat a lot more than my four-year-old, right? And you never come to a point when you stop needing Jesus Christ. And the more you grow in Him, the more you realize you need Him.
And that's just the first statement, but let me just comment on that. A man doesn't talk like that, right? A mere man doesn't say, “I am the bread of life.” An Angel doesn't say that. I mean if an angel said that, it would be blasphemy. As a matter of fact, Satan was thrown out of heaven for talking like that. Those are the words of God. Those are the words of the Son of God.
Then in John chapter eight, He goes on and He says, “I am the Light of the world.” Meaning that everything else is darkness. Everything else is shadow. “You can't see anything without Me,” Jesus says. “You can't know anything in the spiritual realm without going through Me.”
We don't see much darkness this time of year in Canada; I'm still learning about Canada. But, it doesn't get dark until like ten o'clock at night, right? Or something like that. And even then, the stars are out and the moon is up. Jesus says, “Without Me, everything is sheer blackness, you can't see anything.” Again, a man would not say that.
In chapter ten, He says, “I am the door of the sheep and the good shepherd.” Those are some other titles. In chapter 11, He says, “I am the resurrection and the life.” In chapter 14, He says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Notice Jesus doesn't say, “I am a way, a truth, and a life, one choice among many. One option among several religions.” He says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father but through Me.” That is about as exclusive and specific as you could get.
In chapter 15, He says, “I am the true vine.” Which is another way of saying, “I am the life.” But only God could talk like that, right? Only the Creator could say those types of things. This is why the Jews in the Gospel of John, you're going to find out, hated Jesus, because He said things like this. And they understood Him. And in John 10:33, it says they tried to stone Him, and Jesus says, “Why are you stoning Me?” And they said, “Because you being a man, make yourself out to be God.” They got it. He was. And because of this, He was one of a kind.
You know, the story is told of an evangelist who was preaching on the streets of Ireland when a heckler started saying, “What about the shamrock? What about the shamrock?” Every time the evangelist opened his mouth to say something, this heckler broke in, “What about the shamrock? What about the shamrock?” And so, finally the preacher got annoyed and he raised his voice and he shouted, “On Christ, the solid rock I stand, all other rocks are sham rocks.” Thought you guys might like an Irish joke in there, to shake things up a bit. But that's what John says. That's what he's saying in this Gospel. “All other rocks are sham rocks; all other religions are false because none of them offered this.”
Mohammed said, “I know the way to heaven.” Jesus said, “I am the way to heaven.” Do you see the difference there? Those two things are nothing alike. Buddha said, “I know the truth,” Jesus said, “I am the truth. “
We can say it this way, God is not a God of confusion. Which means, there's not many breads of life. There is one Bread of Life, one Saviour, one Son of God. And He's easy to find. There's not a little bread over here and a little bread over there. There's not a little bread in this religion and a little bread in that one. All the bread has been put into one place, Jesus says. All of life has been put into one place. Which is why you can't forget Him; the point of the Gospel of John.
And that leads to a final reason why John wrote this Gospel. He writes to show you the signs. The signs pointing to Him, the signs pointing to Christ. And he writes so that you may believe. So, that you may have faith in those statements He makes about Himself, “I am the bread of life, I am the light of the world.” It leads to a final reason why John wrote this Gospel. And this one brings it all together, and that is: so that you may have life. John writes so that you may have life. Not only that you may see life, but that you may have life for yourself. Not only that you may only believe in life, but that you may keep it for yourself.
I think we all understand that our sin makes us dead to God, it takes away our life, right? John says that Jesus came so that you can have it back. And if you read the entirety of the passage, it says it this way: John says, “Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so 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 says, “If you believe and follow the signs, and trust in this Christ, this bread of life, you can have life.”
“Life” is a very general term here. John doesn't go into what that refers to, but there are several different types of life in the Bible. Just a few of them here: There's judicial life or life by the law. When you sin, you die by the law, right? You’re punished by it, by God's law. John says, “If you believe in Jesus, you get your life back. If you trust in Jesus, the punishment is over because He takes the punishment in your place.” So that's one way to look at the word “life” here.
It also refers to spiritual life, because when you believe in Jesus, His spirit lives inside of you. John 3:3 says, “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” That's what this is referring to here. When you trust in Christ, you are born again. “You become a new creation,” Second Corinthians says.
And finally, I think we all know this one, it refers to eternal life. Because if you believe in Jesus, you can have life in eternity. You can go to heaven and not experience the second death. But John's point is that you can have all of this if you believe in Jesus. All this can be yours if you trust in Him.
To highlight this phrase in verse 31, “in His name” could be translated “through His name”. You know, if you guys after the service you want to go outside, you go through the door, right? Hopefully the sermon’s not too bad, you don’t run through the door, “Get me out of here.” But, you go through the door. John says, “If you want life, you go through Jesus Christ.” That's how you get it. You get it through His person, you get it through His character, you get it through His attributes.
And let me tell you how this applies to your life this morning, let's put all this together in this passage. I mentioned parenting earlier because we talked about that last weekend, parenting and marriage, because Dr. Caldwell talked about that. I'm guessing that for some of you here this morning (and I don't have anybody in mind), but I'm guessing for some of you, maybe, your parenting feels dead right now. Your family feels dead. Maybe, for some of you, your marriage feels dead. It feels like there's no life in it.
You know, I mean judicially it's dead because there's no forgiveness. Every time one of you messes up in the marriage, you attack, you pounce on each other. And then spiritually it feels dead because you don't pray together and read your Bible together. Maybe, the marriage or the family feels, maybe, it feels eternally dead because one of you is lost. There's an eternal separation going on.
Let me ask you this, what do you do about that? Where do you go for help? John says you go to Jesus. You go to Jesus Christ. You run to Jesus, you cry out to Jesus. You ask Jesus for help, and He will help you, He will put life back into your marriage.
And maybe, some of you are in sin this morning. It doesn't relate to your family or your home, but you keep looking at things you shouldn’t look at on the computer. You keep thinking about things, lustful thoughts you shouldn't lust after. Maybe, it's not that sin, maybe, it's another sin like anger. You have an anger problem and you know that.
What do you do? Where do you go for help? Same place. You go to Jesus. You cry out to Jesus, you run to Jesus, and He will help you. He will be your Advocate and your Redeemer. He will be your Deliverer and your Mighty One. He will put life back into your heart. He will put life back into your soul.
Listen, He's the Son of God and He can save anything. He's the bread of life and He can give life to anyone. If you come to Him, He won't let you down.
I was talking with a man the other day about all the broken homes in Chilliwack. His particular job made him work with a lot of broken families and broken homes. And He, himself, was broken up about it. He was torn up about all the devastation in the town. And He told me (I think it was out of despair), but He said, “We don't know what to do about it.” He said, “We don't know how to fix it,” and the guy was a professing Christian. And I said, “Yes, we do.” I said, “We tell them about Jesus. He can fix anything. We tell them about the Son of God, He can save anything. We tell them about the Christ, He can give life to anything.” That's why you can't forget Him this morning. That's why you can't push Him to the side. Jesus is everything for us.
One author said, “Christ is the center of Christianity, all else is just circumference.”
And that's what we're going to be talking about in the Gospel of John. So, if you would be praying for us in this series, we want to be getting our arms around this person of Jesus Christ, and what He can do for us, what He can do for our church, and what we need to do in service to Him and trusting in Him and believing in Him.
And next week, if you’d like to know more, we’ll be in John chapter one, come back for that. But for now, let's close in a word of prayer.
Father, we do thank You, Lord, for Your Word and for this Gospel. We thank You for this reminder from the Apostle John, that we never outgrow Jesus Christ. We can never forget about Him. We can never put Him on the shelf. We can never ignore Him. And Lord, I pray for our brothers and sisters in the church here this morning. I know they love Your Son deeply; that's why they're here. Lord, I just pray as we grow as a church, that we would never forget Him. And He would always be at the forefront of our minds.
I do pray a special prayer Father, for any who are here, who don't know Jesus Christ, who have never trusted in Him before. That this series would awaken their heart to their need for salvation. That you would show them all they’re missing in Christ, the bread of life, Light of the world, the way, the truth, and the life. They're missing all of that. And I pray You would draw them to the Saviour.
Father, thank You for sending Your Son, thank You for caring about the evil in this world, and thank You that You've never left us alone. We have help, we have a Redeemer; Jesus Christ, the Son of God. We pray this in His name, amen.