Sermons

Summary: God has chosen us for a specific purpose at this time in human history. If we will follow Him, he will lead us into the fullness of His truth. We must order our loves rightly.

John 1:19-51

Contrasts characterize the Gospel of John. John presents two alternatives: Light or darkness, Truth or falsehood, Life, or death. Some words that we encounter repeatedly are Truth and witness, testify, bear witness, and record. The fourth Gospel uses these words 47 times. The other three Gospels combined use them twenty times. The book of Acts, 29 times. These words come from a word that we get the word martyr. The martyrs were early (and present-day) Christians who laid down their lives for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

We read the word witness last week when we talked about John the Baptist. The fourth Gospel, like the Synoptics, has the ministry of John the Baptist preceding and preparing the way for the Lord. In verse 7, we read that John "came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe." John's witness pointed the eyewitnesses who would become the early disciples and apostles to Jesus. In verse 15, we read again of John bearing witness of Jesus, and crying out, "This was He of Whom I spake, He that comes after me is preferred before me: for he was before me..."

As we begin looking at our text tonight, we are again met with "this is the record of John."

The Gospel of John uses a literary device called inclusio. Here we find John the Baptist's witness about Jesus beginning the book and then at the end of the book, we read about the writer of the Gospel:

John 20:30-31 KJV

"And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."

John 21:24 NKJV

"This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen."

A declaration of testimony brackets the words and ministry of Jesus in the Fourth Gospel. A testimony is "a formal written or spoken statement, especially one given in a court of law." it is "evidence or proof provided by the existence or appearance of something." The purpose of a testimony is to convince hearers of the validity of something or someone.

So, the author of the fourth Gospel says that the testimonies of the preaching of John the Baptist and the Beloved Disciple should be convincing evidence of the Gospel. One testimony in the past, at the time of the writing, and one present testimony, both of which would live on in written form. The Gospel of John is a book of testimony, a record, for all to see.

"At the beginning of John's Gospel, the first two disciples of Jesus are initially unnamed, but one is soon revealed as Andrew (1:35-42). At the end of John's Gospel, two unnamed disciples go night fishing with Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, and the two sons of Zebedee, whose names John and James are never cited in the Gospel, either (21:1-9)." (https://bible.org/seriespage/11-eyewitness-testimony-johns-gospel)

The point is that the fourth Gospel is based on eyewitness testimony. He is saying, this is what we saw and heard. This is what we experienced.

"John uses God's heavenly lawsuit motif in Isaiah 40-55. God calls the Servant of the LORD and his own people Israel, as witnesses. In John, this trial takes place against everyone who doubts the deity of his Son, who is vindicated. Jesus plays the witnessing role in place of the Servant of the LORD, and Jesus' followers take the role of Israel. The decisive verdict against the world is delivered on the cross. In the first phase of the heavenly trial in John, God calls on seven witnesses, a number that is significant in John (note the seven miraculous signs: 2:1-11, 4:43-54, 5:1-15, 6:1-14, 6:16-21, 9:1-41, 11:1-44). The witnesses appear, in this order: John (1:7, etc.); Jesus himself (3:11, etc.); the Samaritan woman (4:39); God the Father himself (5:32); Jesus' works or signs (5:36); the Scriptures (5:39); and the crowd who testifies about Jesus' raising Lazarus (12:17). In the second phase of the heavenly trial in John, after the resurrection and ascension and beyond John's narrative (story), then the Paraclete (the Holy Spirit) and the disciples go out to testify about Christ's nature and works (15:26-27). To incorporate all of the witnesses, the Beloved Disciple wrote his Gospel. So now Jesus' testimony about himself, coupled with his Father's testimony about his Son (8:12-18), and Jesus' other supporting witnesses can live on in John's Gospel until Jesus' Second Coming (21:22-25)."

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