When Deity Dissolved Over Dying

Today’s message from John 11:28-37 is now on the web. You can listen to the audio here.

Here is the quote by B. B. Warfield characterizing the depth of emotion displayed by Jesus as fundamentally rage.

It is death that is the object of his wrath, and behind death him who has the power of death, and whom he has come into the world to destroy. Tears of sympathy may fill his eyes, but this is incidental. His soul is held by rage: and he advances to the tomb, in Calvin’s words again, “as a champion who prepares for conflict.” The raising of Lazarus thus becomes, not an isolated marvel, but — as indeed it is presented throughout the whole narrative (compare especially, verses 24-26) — a decisive instance and open symbol of Jesus’ conquest of death and hell. What John does for us in this particular statement is to uncover to us the heart of Jesus, as he wins for us our salvation. Not in cold unconcern, but in flaming wrath against the foe, Jesus smites in our behalf. He has not only saved us from the evils which oppress us; he has felt for and with us in our oppression, and under the impulse of these feelings has wrought out our redemption.

Praise God for Jesus our champion who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel (2 Tim. 1:10)!

Why Believe in Someone So Many Despised As a Blasphemer (1)

Today’s message from John 10:32-41 is now available online. You can listen to it here.

Here’s how I summarized the theme and our necessary response:

Because Jesus successfully defended Himself from the charge of blaspheming God in His claims, we should believe in and follow Him as the Messiah, the Son of God. We face three lines of evidence in the way Jesus rebuts the Jews’ accusations — His works, God’s law, and John the Baptist’s testimony. How do you respond when brought face-to-face to the many good works from the Father Jesus’ did, especially His resurrection? Do you believe and worship or doubt? Worse than doubt, do you outright reject? John shows us the hard-hearted unbelief of the Jews again in hopes that if necessary, we might see ourselves in them and change our ways and believe in Him. Do it today.

Next week, Lord willing, we will finish the chapter with part two of this message.

How To Tell the True Shepherd from the False (Part 2)

This morning’s sermon on John 10:7-10 is now on the web. You can listen to it here.

Here is the story from the Bible scholar Sir George Adam Smith that so well illustrates what Jesus meant by His astonishing statement, I am the door of the sheep (v. 7 & 9).

He was one day traveling in Palestine with a guide, and came across a shepherd and his sheep. He fell into conversation with him. The man showed him the fold into which the sheep were led at night. It consisted of four walls, with a way in. Sir George said to him, “That is where they go at night?” “Yes,” said the shepherd, “and when they are in there they are perfectly safe.” “But there is no door,” said Sir George. “I am the door,” said the shepherd. He was not a Christian so he was not speaking the language of the New Testament. Rather, he was speaking from a Mid-Eastern shepherd’s point-of-view. Sir George looked at him and said, “What do you mean you are the door?” Said the shepherd, “When the light has gone, and all the sheep are inside, I lie in that open place, and no sheep ever goes out but across my body, and no wolf comes in unless he crosses my body; I am the door.”

Because Jesus is the door of the sheep, we should believe in Him as the Messiah and follow Him as opposed to false and harmful impostors. There are two implications that result. As the door Jesus alone dictates legitimate access to the sheep (7-8) and Jesus alone enables maximum benefit for the sheep (9-10) – salvation, security, sustenance, and satisfaction. This is the abundant life Jesus came to give!

How to Tell the True Shepherd from the False (Part One)

Today’s message from John 10:1-6, the setup to the Good Shepherd Discourse, is now on the web. You can listen to it here.

Here’s how I summarized the message at the end:

Because Jesus is the true and Good Shepherd, we should believe in Him as Messiah and follow Him as opposed to false and harmful impostors.

You can tell the difference between the true and false shepherd by the true shepherd’s positive intent, legitimate access, and authoritative voice to call out effectively and lead out exclusively.

Have you been called out by Jesus?

If you have, understand that He goes before you as one who leads. Whatever you are facing maritally, parentally, vocationally, economically, whatever, He knows every detail about your situation and means to do you well as your good shepherd.

If you haven’t, you may need to come out of Judaism even like the man born blind. Or maybe materialism, or humanism, or philosophy, or mysticism or a host of other false shepherds that climb up another way and take sheep captive and do them harm. Come John 10:11 He will tell us how He came to calls us out and leads us into what Psalm 23 describes as green pastures and beside quiet waters – The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He dies in their place. He bears their punishment before a holy God so they might be forgiven. Do you hear this message? Jesus the true shepherd is calling. Believe, come out, follow.

May He give us grace to hear His voice as we move into another week of following Him.

Back to John's Fulminating Majesty

Tomorrow, Lord willing, we will return to our study of John’s gospel.

I will tackle the disputed text in John 7:53-8:11, the woman caught in adultery (pictured along side).

Though a questionable text for reasons I will explain, I do believe it should be preached for reasons I hope also to explain. And nonetheless, it bears the marks of the rest of John’s gospel in what John Calvin called its fulminating in majesty. He used the phrase in the Institutes of the Christian Religion in his argument for the authority of Scripture in the face of detractors who would deny, as the catechism puts it, the heavenliness of its doctrine. Webster defines fulminate as to flash or strike with lightning. Here are Calvin’s words:

John, again, fulminating in majesty, strikes down more powerfully than any thunderbolt the petulance of those who refuse to submit to the obedience of faith. Let all those acute censors, whose highest pleasure it is to banish a reverential regard of Scripture from their own and other men’s hearts, come forward; let them read the Gospel of John, and, willing or unwilling, they will find a thousand sentences which will at least arouse them from their sloth; nay, which will burn into their consciences as with a hot iron, and check their derision (chapter 8, section 11).

Oh that God might grant an anointing from heaven upon the preaching of His word from John’s gospel and the hearing thereof that arouses from our sloth and burns into our consciences with a hot iron, not to check our derision hopefully but to advance His glory and our joy!