Summary: (PowerPoint Slides and Cell Study Notes freely available by emailing Emile@Wolfaardt.com) Discovering the phenomenal truth that from everlasting to everlasting, the eternal sovereign God had you on His mind.
Journeying With John
“In the Beginning”
I want to welcome you to the start of the one of most profound journeys you have ever taken in your life. I have asked God that this journey will be the most Jesus revealing, truth establishing, perspective shaping, ministry empowering and life transforming trips you have ever experienced. It is my prayer that the ‘you’ sitting here this morning will be completely transformed in the weeks and months that lie ahead. I am not preaching for your admiration or confirmation - but for your transformation.
I will introduce you to John shortly, and then simply step out of the way and let John guides us the rest of the way. Now I must warn you, the ride may not be short, and it might not always be easy but it will always be worth it - you will be glad you made it. Each week our hearts will resonate with the wonder and glory of God, the richness and righteousness of Jesus, the power and purity of truth and the fulness and fruitfulness of the grace and mercy of God. I must warn you that John will guide us back deeper back than man has ever gone, into eternity past - and then he will sweep us further forward than man has ever ventured, into eternity future. Then John will bring us back and so profoundly reinterpret the present through the eyes of Jesus that it will, I suggest to you this morning, if you will listen, completely transform our lives. John is huge - but he is meticulously careful not to take center stage or to have the spotlight fall on him. Instead you will find again and again and again, he steps into the shadows and focus our attention on Jesus Christ.
So let’s meet John - The Apostle of Love. He is known as The Apostle of Love because more than any other writer in the New Testament he speaks of love, he exemplifies love, he loves and is loved. As a matter of fact, even though he writes only five books in the New Testament (as opposed to Paul’s 13) he used love more than any other writer. Of the four gospels, Matthew used the word ‘love’ 13 times, Mark 5 times, Luke 15 times and John 57 times. If you want to know about love, read John. Read his gospel, then read the 3 short epistles he wrote. In those few pages he uses the word love 53 times. And, of course, he wrote the book of revelation while in exile on the Isle of Patmos in the Aegean Sea. Paul in his 13 books uses the word ‘love 114 times, John in his 5 books 117 times.
He is, I would suggest to you, one of the most unsung heroes of the Bible. Because of his eventual gentleness and self-effacing attitude, we sometimes tend to think of John as being naturally retiring and mild mannered, perhaps even somewhat effeminate. But the truth is that he was profoundly strong, incredibly bold and sometimes even offensively in your face. After all, he is also know, with his brother James, as a ‘Son of Thunder.’
Where Paul is the theologian of the New Testament, I would suggest to you that John is the mystic of the New Testament. I realize that term may cause some of you problems, but frankly, you will just have to deal with that. You see my friend, and this may surprise you to hear it stated but you will know it to be true, the truth is that true mysticism and true theology are not contradictory, they are complimentary. They belong together. There is an undeniable mysticism in true theology - and the Bible is full of examples of this. How can you even talk about love and unity with God and not recognize the mysticism in that? How can you try and comprehend the nature of God and not see the mysticism in that? While many mystics may have earned a bad reputation, and dragged the word ‘mysticism’ down with them, there is wonderful mysticism in the Bible that fascinates, entices, lures and even charms the mind. Paul, speaking of the union between God and man calls it a great mystery. Well when you journey with John you will find yourself journeying into the unsearchable richness, the unfathomable romance, the enigmatic mysticism of God. And it is not that John and John alone travel down the road of mysticism. The truth is that in Paul’s theology there is great mysticism, and there is in John’s mysticism a great theology.
John - the Apostle of Love - do you realize that he was the first to recognize the Lord on the shore of Galilee and was the first disciple to see the risen Christ.