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John: Who is this Man?

The fourth Gospel holds peculiar significance to me for many reasons, but especially because it is written by the disciple closest to our Lord. When you read the Gospel of Matthew, you are reading the record of our Lord as seen through the eyes of a devoted disciple. Mark and Luke, of course, were dedicated Christians who knew and loved Jesus Christ, though they learned about him largely through the testimony of others, but John is one who leaned upon his breast. He was of that inner circle which included Peter and James, who went with our Lord through the most intimate circumstances of his ministry and heard more than any of the others. Therefore, we open this book with a sense of anticipation. Here is the testimony of our Lord's closest friend.

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Who is Jesus? (John 1:1-4)

This morning we are beginning studies in the Gospel according to John. This gospel was written by the disciple of whom it was said, "Jesus loved him." John was the closest intimate of our Lord during the days of his ministry, so this constitutes a very important gospel.

30 Sep 2018

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Hello Darkness (John 1:5-13)

In the prologue to the Gospel of John, the apostle is setting forth a summary of who Jesus really is. Last week we looked at who Jesus is eternally, and why the world cannot forget him. Here is a quotation from a very well known personality, who found he could not forget Jesus:

29 Sep 2018

Rank #2

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The Stranger of Galilee (John 1:14-18)

Who was Jesus -- visibly? What did men see when they looked at him, when they heard him teach, when they followed him and lived with him? A great many images of Christ today are far removed from the biblical picture of him. They range all the way from "gentle Jesus meek and mild" -- a sort of harmless, gentle spirit whom no one need take very seriously -- to a fiery-eyed radical, all set to burn everything to the ground and overthrow the establishment. In the midst of these contradictory images, our heart longs sometimes to say, "Will the real Jesus please stand up?" That, of course, is who we are looking at in the Gospel of John -- the real Jesus, Jesus as he really was.

28 Sep 2018

Rank #3

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Call the First Witness! (John 1:19-34)

A remarkable religious phenomenon broke out in the United States in the year 1948. It started in a tent near the Hollywood area of Los Angeles, under the preaching of a young evangelist by the name of Billy Graham. The crowds were a little sparse in that tent at first, but as the preaching went on they began to grow. Finally certain rather prominent Hollywood celebrities came to the meetings and were converted. At first, as often happens with gatherings of that sort, the press totally ignored them. But when some of the well-known names of Hollywood became involved, the media began to take an interest in what was happening. Eventually reporters were sent to investigate and to interview this rather strange young preacher, who dressed in pistachio-colored suits, wore flaming red ties, spoke with a pronounced Southern accent, and yet had incredible appeal to the masses. It was evident that God was doing something there. That was the beginning of Billy Graham's career. As news of those meetings spread across the country, other cities invited him to come and preach. He went on to Boston, where all of New England seemed to turn out to hear him. Thus began the great Crusades that swept across America in the latter part of the '40's and '50's under Billy Graham's ministry.

27 Sep 2018

Rank #4

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The Man who Knew Men (John 1:35-51)

Next year is election year. Political drums are already beating. Already banners are beginning to fly, and the politicians are beginning to spout as we head toward that three-ring circus by which we choose the leaders of the world for the next four years. I could not help but note the contrast with the passage we have this morning from the Gospel of John. Here Jesus chooses the men who will change the course of world history for twenty centuries to come. What a difference!

26 Sep 2018

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Water to Wine (John 2:1-11)

In the second chapter of John's gospel we have the account of the first miracle of our Lord. The scene has now shifted from Judea, where John the Baptist was baptizing in the river Jordan, to seventy miles north, the area of Galilee. Jesus and his disciples have walked all that way.

25 Sep 2018

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The Temple Cleanser (John 2:12-25)

We are coming to that dramatic moment in the Gospel of John when our Lord first cleansed the temple. This may seem a rather strange passage for Mother's Day, but any mother who has had to clean out a teenagers' room after months of nagging will identify fully with this account!

24 Sep 2018

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Born of the Spirit (John 3:1-16)

Everyone today is familiar with the term "born again." It has become so popular that it is used for all kinds of situations that have nothing to do with the way the New Testament uses it. If a football team has a bad season and the next year comes to life again and does much better, the sports writers say it has been born again. I heard a man say last week that his marriage, which had been threatened but was now recovered, had been "born again." I read in the paper that the Equal Rights Amendment, which is again being pushed hard by the women's movement, has now been "born again." If all this happened in line with the New Testament view of that term it would be very encouraging. How nice to know that football teams, women's movements and marriages are born again! But obviously that is not the way they use the term; rather they are referring to a kind of renewal.

23 Sep 2018

Rank #8

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The Best Possible News (John 3:16-36)

The section in the Gospel of John to which we come this morning begins with the world's best known Bible verse. I have been in meetings where people were giving memory verses, and before long someone always stood up and quoted John 3:16, and everybody else said, "Oh, he's given my verse!"

22 Sep 2018

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The Man Who Understood Woman (John 4:1-42)

The story of Jesus and the woman at the well of Samaria helps us deal with many modern issues. Here Jesus crosses the barrier of race prejudice and interacts with a race hated and rejected by the Jews. That helps us greatly in our own bigoted, prejudicial society. Our Lord encounters a moral outcast and displays for our instruction the proper approach to take with such a person. In this story he also settles a theological quarrel that had been going on for centuries as to the proper place and manner of worship. We, too, are still wrestling with those issues today, so this account is of great value to us.

21 Sep 2018

Rank #10