During the Feast of Dedication (John 10:22) and only three months away from crucifixion, Jesus is confronted for the final time in His public ministry by the Jewish religious leaders. Jesus’s desire for these religious leaders to believe is an act of His mercy, an attribute of God manifested in Christ. Though not mentioned in this passage, the twelve disciples are witnessing the debate between Jesus and the religious unbelief at Solomon’s portico (John 10:23). It was customary for open theological debates to occur during festivals and for followers to be near their Rabbi. Jesus’s followers were only three years old in Christ or less. Though Jesus is specifically addressing unbelief, He is mindful of those listening to Him and how His words might strengthen them. Just as Peter had to be instructed by Paul (Galatians 2), it is normal for the followers of Jesus to become unsettled at times by circumstances and situations.
The timing of this text is during the end of the week of the Feast of Tabernacle, about a half year before Jesus goes to the cross. Jesus is in a debate with religious unbelief, confronting their own sin. He identifies for them what true belief is and what saving faith looks like in the believer’s life. Jesus presents three tests of genuine saving faith for unbelief to consider: the test of fatherhood, the test of the use of God’s Word in a believer’s life, and the test of the works of God’s children.
John 8:31-59 focuses on the truth of the Word of God. The second test of genuine saving faith and of true discipleship is evidenced in our relationship with and responsibility to the Word of God in our lives.
As Jesus continues to teach from the temple during the Feast of Tabernacle, He interacts with religious unbelief. We learn from John 8:30-31 that some have proclaimed faith in Jesus. The life of a true believer will bear forth the fruit of repentance. While some profess faith in Christ, others confess faith in Him. This passage in John helps us discern between profession and confession. Earlier in this book, we read how some professed faith in Jesus as King, trying to forcibly crown Him. However, these people did not confess Him as Savior and Lord. John writes his gospel with the purpose of proving that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, so that we might believe, and in believing, that we might have life through His name, not just professing but confessing Him as Lord.
We are continuing the discussion of 3 witnesses or testimonies from God the Father that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.The first verified witness was John the Baptist. Some who heard his message saw the fruit, but the majority rejected the message of John the Baptist.
John, the Gospel writer, details the next two witnesses beginning in John 5:36:“But the testimony I have is greater than the testimony of John; for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish—the very works that I do—testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me.”
Jesus modeled for us perfectly how to trust and obey the Father with divine purpose. Philippians 2 explains how Jesus was obedient even unto death on the cross. Even the beginning of His public obedience had as its aim His duty on the cross of Calvary. This model of obedience unto gospel purpose is for each believer to follow from the moment of conversion until the point of heavenly transformation.
2 Timothy 4 gives reminders by way of command of how to nurture that which has been established at Grace Church of Mentor these past seventy-five years and how to maintain it for the next seventy-five years. Timothy is instructed by Paul to preach the Word (2 Tim. 4:2). Through the preaching of the Word, that which has been established for the gospel is nurtured, cared for, and maintained. The necessity of caring for each other is understood by Paul’s encouragement to Timothy to make every effort to come to him by winter (2 Tim. 4:9, 21). That which has been established is nurtured by the interdependent, mutual care of the flock. Galatians 6 teaches that we need to sow exceedingly in caring for one another so that we can reap what is eternal.
John begins his Gospel giving a simple, profound answer to this question. John introduces Jesus differently than the 3 synoptic Gospel writers. He does not mention Jesus' name until John 1:17, instead calling him by the name "the Word" for most of John 1:1-18.
Growing deeper in understanding our faith naturally leads to living it out in a meaningful way.
We will take this week and next to study some practical ways to implement what we learned in Deuteronomy 6:4-7 two weeks ago. Any home, whether you are married or single, with or without children, must practice these things.
This week, we will find 3 ways dads can guide their homes to bring increased stability and spiritual progress to every soul in their family.
As we prepare to "re-enter" society following shutdowns on a national and international level, we are preparing ourselves for more change. Though the natural rhythms of life remain the same, they may look different from what we were used to before the pandemic. But we will be okay by God's grace. Our circumstances and cultures may change, but God's beauty and order do not. Some of our spiritual habits should never change either.
One thing you can find almost anywhere you go, including in hotel rooms, is a Bible. When a person opens a copy of God's Word, what should they expect? How do you approach the Bible?
Psalm 12 expresses how David felt when he had been abandoned by godly friends. In Psalm 13, David is so alone, he feels he has been abandoned by God Himself. This feeling is prompted by the length of his suffering. Perseverance in a long time of difficulty is perhaps the most trying to our minds and hearts.
David's struggle will feel familiar to many people of God. In a marathon of trust, we often ask similar questions. Is God one who abandons? Through David's wrestling, we will learn that God's character and work confessed in prayer sustains us during long, drawn-out periods of suffering.
Survival shows intrigue us when we see how shockingly few things are necessary to survive in a wilderness. The world we live in is an extreme, fallen, undiscerning spiritual wilderness, but the Lord has provided us with the simple yet essential tools of spiritual survival for daily living.
Alva J. McClain said, "the person who knows well the first 11 chapters of the book of Romans knows more about the philosophy of human history than all the wisest historians that the world has ever seen. There is a philosophy of history here that is unmatched. It makes the historians on the earth appear like children playing with their toys." This passage simplifies what man has complicated. Paul reflects on the beauty of simplicity in salvation: humanity is composed of 2 groups of people, who both have 1 Savior. God has given our biggest difficulty the simplest solution in Jesus Christ.
The author of Hebrews was waging war against the authorities in his culture. Culture is always a powerful force that shapes people as people shape it. Those on the fringes of popular culture are perhaps the most honest in applying culture to their lives, living in harmony with the ideals they are being taught.
Is there any reason to question culture's place in our life? If so, who can we trust? Hebrews 1:1-3 tells us that Jesus Christ has the authority to speak with pointed help as we evaluate the proper place of culture in our lives.
As humans, we need to understand the axioms of existence. What is the big picture? What are the fundamental presuppositions of the universe? As we read the book of Psalms, what is the underlying galvanizing reality that underpins them all?
Independence Day weekend is filled with national interest, with many looking to our government for happiness. Psalm 1, however, identifies the individual and their relationship to God's Word as the true source of happiness. Your relationship to God’s Word determines your state of being.
God's Word has tremendous protective value in the development of our spirit. Many places in Scripture affirm its transformative power and stress the importance of memorizing and applying the Bible.
The context of Hebrews is the superiority of Jesus Christ. The writer pauses to give a parenthesis of warning in Hebrews 5:11-6:3. He assumes that his audience is saved, but has instruction to give regarding how they handle the Word of God. We can learn five aspects of growth from this passage.
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