The Gospel of John

Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.  (Jn. 21:25, ESV)

As most of you know, this past Lord’s Day I finished preaching through the Gospel of John, after about 7 ½ years, and some 215 sermons.  All praise to God alone!  I will undoubtedly be doing some occasional sermons from John here and there – I’m actually set to preach from Jn. 13:34,35 on March 11, with a message entitled “What’s Love Got to Do With It?”  But I’m planning to begin preaching through the book of First Peter in the very near future, which I’m eagerly and soberly anticipating.

One of the things I mentioned in last Sunday’s sermon was that while we have finished the exposition of John’s Gospel, we have only just begun to comprehend and digest the greatness of God’s glory in Jesus Christ therein revealed.  With that in mind, here are a couple of choice observations about John’s final words in Jn. 21:25, for your encouragement:

“Not only ought we to take into account the number of Christ’s works, but we ought also to consider their importance and magnitude. The majesty of Christ, which by its infinity swallowed up, if I may so speak, not only the senses of men, but heaven and earth, gave a miraculous display of its own splendor in those works. If the Evangelist, casting his eyes on that brightness, exclaims in astonishment, that even the whole world could not contain a full narrative, ought we to wonder at it? (John Calvin, Commentary on Jn. 21:25)

 

“It is fitting for us to bring our study of the Gospel to a close with the reminder of the limitations of our knowledge.  It is well for us to be appreciative of the knowledge we have and to show a due gratitude to God for what he has revealed.  But we should not exaggerate.  Our knowledge of the truth is at best partial.  The reader who appreciates the significance of these final words is kept humble.”  (Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John, Eerdmans Publishing Company: 1995, pg. 777)

Striving by His grace to Behold, Believe, and Behave faithfully with you!

Pray for One Another

God has made abundantly clear in His Word that His children are to love and serve one another (Jn. 13:34,35; Phil. 2:1-8). Growing and excelling in such love, by His power and for His glory, is absolutely non-negotiable.

Assuming you are passionately pursuing loving one another in the love of Christ – which is one of the most fundamental evidences of truly being born of God (1 Jn. 4:7,8) – have you considered the importance of PRAYER as a key expression of love for others? Hear this exhortation from God, through Paul, in Eph. 6:18:

“…praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints…” (ESV)

Beloved, this is a divine, authoritative command – we MUST PRAY for one another! And we must do so according to God’s will, zealous for God’s agenda and purposes in one another’s lives. This is exactly what Paul exemplified in his prayers for the Ephesians (Eph. 1:15-21; 3:14-21). Are we learning to pray this way for each other??

I often talk with believers in our church who don’t know how they should be ministering to others. Here’s my first response: begin by praying specifically and regularly for every member of RCG! It doesn’t matter if you know them well or not – you can pray for them according to God’s will! Practically, why not be committed to praying through one page of our church directory each day, and just keep doing this on a daily basis? Begin praying in this way for others, and you’ll discover countless other ways to minister!

God does amazing things as we pray for one another, not the least of which is transforming our own selfish hearts to His purposes and care for His people. As we genuinely pray His will for our brothers and sisters in Christ, we begin to think and act differently toward them. We begin to really care about their lives, about their circumstances, about their souls. And all to the glory of our Great Savior and Lord!

Oh beloved…pray, pray, pray for one another!!!

Conference on November 9-11, 2012

What follows is a bit longer than what I normally write, but please read!!

We had a rich and fruitful time at our Member Meeting this past Lord’s Day evening, and greatly missed those of you who were absent.  One of the items I mentioned is that I’ve been interacting with a man named Jonathan Leeman, and have now confirmed with him to come and teach a weekend conference for us at RCG.  Please mark these dates on your calendar:  Nov. 9-11 of this year.   Jonathan is an elder at Capitol Hill Baptist Church, and is on the staff of 9Marks Ministries (you can read Leeman’s postings on the 9Marks blog here ).

Our interest in hosting Jonathan for a conference revolves around one of the excellent books he’s written entitled The Church and the Surprising Offense of God’s Love:  Rediscovering the Doctrines of Church Membership and Discipline (yes, a bit of a mouthful!).  Here’s the book’s description from Amazon:

When the world speaks of “love,” it often means unconditional acceptance. Many churches have adopted this mind-set in their practice of membership and discipline-if they have not done away with such structures entirely. “Yet God’s love and God’s gospel are different than what the world expects,” writes Jonathan Leeman.  They’re centered in his character, which draws a clear boundary between what is holy and what is not. It’s this line that the local church should represent in its member practices, because the careful exercise of such authority “is God’s means for guarding the gospel, marking off a people, and thereby defining his love for the world.”

Myself and the other elders see great benefit in having Jonathan come to unpack these truths more fully for all of us in the concentrated format of a weekend conference.  We believe this will be a timely opportunity to deepen our biblical understanding and zeal of God’s plan for His church, and be all the more protected against the countless misguided and unbiblical views of the church so rampant in our world today.  Again, please mark Nov. 9-11 on your calendar for this conference – more details will be forthcoming.

Certainly, I would encourage you to purchase and read Jonathan’s book.  But please note:  the book is pretty detailed and dense, coming in at just under 400 pages.  You might want to wait until two smaller separate books by Leeman, one on church membership, and one on church discipline, are scheduled to be published at the end of April.  Both of these will be under 150 pages each, and might be a bit more manageable.  Either way, you’ll be greatly blessed through what Jonathan’s written.

May God help us all to rightly love and cherish His Bride, the church (Eph. 5:25-27)!

Resources for Your Edification

Resources, resources!! As we all know, the internet provides access to an endless web of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Well, here is a great resource for your edification called Precept Austin. You can learn about the website and it’s curator for yourself, but I’ve found it to be an excellent, biblically solid (for the most part) resource. And particularly when it comes to Bible Commentaries, I’ve found this to be one of the most exhaustive collections of generally solid commentaries (and sermons), available on the web. The commentaries are easily accessible according to all 66 books of the Bible – quite voluminous!

I would encourage you to familiarize yourself with this very helpful website, and use it as a resource in your own Bible study and growth in Christ. Who knows – what you discover and benefit from here might even help you keep those preachers of yours on their toes!

 

Grace upon grace,

Greg