The Apostle John

Scripture: 3 John 1:4, Luke 5:1-11, John 21:25
Date: 08/16/2008 
Lesson: 7
John was "the apostle Christ loved." He has a special message forus through his eyewitness of the life-giving Messiah.
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Good morning, Happy Sabbath. We're so glad that you are joining us for another "central study hour," coming to you from Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church in California. We're just glad that you are tuning in from across the country and around the world this morning to worship with us, whether you're listening on the radio, watching live on our website at, or watching 3 weeks delayed on the various television networks. We are so glad that you are part of our Sabbath school family here at central church. We're gonna sing some of your favorites at this time like we usually do.

So pull out your hymnals, and turn to 111. This is a request from rick in Minnesota; leon in australia; zoretta in venezuela; francine in jamaica; justin in Oregon; rahel and lesile in the Philippines and lani in jamaica. , All 3 verses. [Music] You know one of the biggest mysteries is seeing someone who before they met Christ and then after, when they're converted. It is a miracle.

And science can't explain it, but it is a mystery. It's a miracle. And God is able to do that in each of our lives. Our next song you will find on in your hymnals, 530, "it is well with my soul." This is from steve and cody David in australia. And cody is 12 years old.

And he says he loves Jesus. Lupe and charlene in American samoa; jason and mary in Canada; joy in belgium; janice in jamaica--and she wanted to dedicate this to her friend beverly houson--hapias in zimbabwe; rhonda in Michigan; leta in New York; jim, diane, jamie, and buffy in florida; eric in aruba; yvonne in Georgia; natalie in Arizona; janet and Georgia and Jeremiah in saint lucia. And unfortunately for Jeremiah, his brother mitchell was tragically killed on jan 15 of this year. And he wanted to sing this song in his memory. So we will do that this morning, , "it is well with my soul," all 3 verses.

[Music] Father in Heaven, we pray that it is well with our souls this morning. We just pray that you would come and be with those who are hurting this morning, that you'll give them strength, that you will put your arms around them. This world is a dreadful place. We know the devil is hard at work because he knows his time is short. And he wants to cause as much pain as he possibly can.

And father we just pray that in spite of that, that you would bring comfort and you would bring peace to those who are suffering this morning. We pray that you'll be with each and every one who is here, that is come to study Your Word together and those that are joining us from across the country and around the world as we study together this morning, that we'll all receive the blessing that you have for us. And be with our speaker as well. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time, our lesson study is going to be brought to us by our administrative pastor here at central church, pastor harold white.

Thank you debbie and the musicians. We love that music. And don't you love that song, "it is well with my soul?" Powerful song, especially when you think about the man who wrote it, wrote it shortly after he lost his wife and I think two daughters. It's a powerful song, powerful story. Well welcome to each and every one of you here in Sacramento and everybody who is joining us from wherever you are, on the radio, live internet, or on some television program.

We're glad that you have joined us this morning. We--if you've never been to Sacramento, we get our spells of nice, warm heat. And then we have such a wonderful thing called delta breezes. And we all look forward to those delta breezes. This morning we have a special offer to share with you.

It's offer number 736, "steps to Christ." This is something you need in your library. And all you have to do is go to or 866-788-3966. We have a wonderful lesson this morning. It's entitled chapter 7 in our lesson's quarterly, "the apostle John." And if you would take your little quarterly with you and read along with me the memory text this morning. It's found in 3 John, verse 4, niv version.

Would you read that with me? "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." This is written by a senior at this time. He's well up in age. And everybody probably he thinks of as his children, children in the Lord. John is a very remarkable disciple. And I suppose one of the most beloved.

When we think of people in the Bible, people who wrote the Bible, he's probably one of the most beloved in our minds. Perhaps because he was The Son of thunder and changed so dramatically to become the disciple of love, disciple on the subject of love. He was a disciple who cared for the mother of Jesus after Jesus' death. And of course, he's the beloved disciple that gave us the most, probably the most important book in the Bible for our times, the book of Revelation. So many reasons why he is so beloved.

To get us started this morning, somebody has a text I handed to them I think: Mark 1:19-20. "And when he had gone a little farther thence, he saw James The Son of zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets. And straightway he called them, and they left their father zebedee in the ship with their hired servants, and went after him." It makes it sound so all of the sudden, doesn't it? I mean they're out there working with The Father. Jesus comes along and simply says, you know, "come and follow me." But you gotta have the concept in your mind I'm sure that they had heard of Jesus. Don't you think so? It wasn't just the first time they ever heard of this man.

They probably knew about the baptism. Maybe they weren't there at the baptism when John the baptist baptized Jesus, because they're probably out fishing, but they'd heard about it, heard about some of the facts surrounding it. And evidently this was a religious family, probably had been studying the Scriptures, looking for the Messiah to come. There had been many other false Messiahs that had risen to renown. And of course they all fizzled out because they weren't the Messiah.

But there was something about Jesus. He had a charisma about him without being outwardly charismatic, as we think of the word charismatic. He had a charisma about him that drew men to him. And so you kind of get this concept that they knew about Jesus. They had heard about him.

And they--we're of course referring to John. The Bible refers to him as one of The Sons of thunder. And as you think about it, John was the youngest disciple. From what we know from history, his father was very successful, a man of means. And his mother was one of the women that followed the disciples and Christ all around, to and fro, and their ministry.

And also we know something about her mother we're going to get to a little bit later in the lesson, how she wanted her sons to sit on the right and the left hand in Christ's kingdom. So very assertive person, very--oh, this was a mover and-- a mover and a shaker family. And so John probably came to his personality quite naturally, a son of thunder, a man of action, get things done. And I suppose when he saw Jesus, mild-mannered Jesus, and he had this charisma about him, thinking probably in the back of his mind, "I'll link up with him and I can add a little pizzazz to his ministry." But it wasn't long when he saw that the crowds flocked out to Jesus. And he didn't need any help as far as pizzazz went.

He certainly had much of it himself. But as you think about John being called, it wasn't like I said on the spur of the moment, the first time they had heard about Jesus. It'd be like somebody--teacher's quarterly brought out this concept, like a son or daughter coming home. Maybe they took a trip to chicago. They come home on the plane.

They tell you, their parents, "well, I'm getting married tomorrow with this man I met on the plane from chicago." You say, "wait a minute." You'd probably have some concerns about that, wouldn't you? Very--i think this was a very religious family. As I said, probably studying the Scriptures, looking forward to the Messiah coming. And there is no record of The Father putting up a protest. You know, if it hadn't been so the Spirit there, he would have probably stepped forward and said, "wait a minute. Follow you where? To do what? And how are you going to provide for my sons? You don't even have a boat.

You're not a fisherman. I hear you're a carpenter, but you don't even have a shop. How are my sons gonna make it with you?" No, they knew that he was claiming to be the one. And so there was a definite interest there. Well, as we get back to--ah see, Sunday's lesson is entitled, "a special calling.

" And John had a special calling to be sure. You have a special calling. We all have a special calling. Maybe not to be an apostle. Maybe not to write a book such as fantastic as the book of Revelation, but you have a calling.

But when you think about a special calling, what makes it special? Isn't it purpose and also probably the person extending the call? Absolutely. Purpose and person. The purpose for this call was the highest purpose on earth, to follow Jesus, become a leader and a worker in his ministry. And the person, the highest person in the universe was calling John. And the highest person in the universe is calling us.

It's always interesting to me that of the 12, Judas did not receive a specific call. He kind of just lashed himself on to the 12--to the other disciples. And Jesus didn't turn him away. Accepted him, but he did not extend a special call to Judas. But John did have this special invitation.

You do; I do. Let's get back to these two reasons of making a call special. One was for the purpose. When you think about the purpose, first of all, it was to follow Jesus. That's the first thing.

And Jesus was probably thinking in the back of his mind, "the first things we need to do here with John is he needs to fall in love with me. He needs to understand who I am, what my mission is, and he needs to understand that I am the Messiah." That had to be engrained in John's mind. And when you read his writings, that was one truth that was engrained in John's mind. And it comes very forcefully through in his writings. Praise God it does.

John's Gospel is often referred to as the Spiritual Gospel. Also John needed to be reeducated, just like the other disciples did, just like most of the Jewish nation needed to be reeducated. That Christ kingdom was not going to be a kingdom here now on this earth at that time. But Christ's kingdom was much broader than that. So we need to be reeducated in that.

And through this process of falling in love and getting to understand who Jesus was, he was preparing John for what he would become, one of the great leaders in the new testament church and a spokesman for God in written word, the spoken word, and even the prophetic word. So he was preparing him for that. When we are first called by Christ, we know not where he will take us. If you think back to when you first gave your life to Jesus, you probably couldn't imagine where you are now today. The first sermon I ever preached, I was so nervous I could not believe.

I went down in the basement of this little church in the Sabbath school room and I was just literally shaking. And I thought I couldn't do this. There's no way I can do this. And so, you know, God does lead us. And he does instruct us.

And he does help us, little-by-little over the years, doesn't he? Just like he did with John. Christ understood the work that he had to do with each of his disciples. In the case of John, it reminded me of the story I read one time about a Greek artist. His name was timonthes or timothes and--timanthes--he had studied under one of the great tutors of his day. And several years he did this.

And finally after several years, it seemed to have paid off because he produced a brilliant piece of art. But unfortunately for timanthes, he became engrossed in his own painting. And for several days he just came in and just stared at his painting, just spent the whole day engrossed in his painting. One morning he came in and somebody had painted all over, ruining his picture, his piece of art, totally ruined it. And he was just irate.

And he went to his tutor and said--and found out it was his tutor who painted all over it. He said, "I had to because it was your expertise was being stifled. Your growth was being stifled. Now start all over and try to do better." And so he did and actually produced something that is called "the sacrifice of iphigenia." Maybe that's--you've probably heard of it. That's one of the finest paintings of antiquity, I understand.

In John's life, you had to be made all over again. And that's a little bit like all of us, right? You have to be born again. And that's what happened to John. He was born again. He became a new creature because he allowed Jesus to do the work in him.

So this special calling was a transformation, a metamorphous. John didn't realize what was in store for him. As The Son of thunder, he probably felt quite confident and even proud. We understand--we know that he did feel quite proud. Thunder and lightening come from the heavens, but I don't think sons of thunders will make it to heaven, not as sons of thunders at least.

It's a metamorphous that needs to take place. And I was thinking in my mind, what is a metamorphous of a son of thunder? Is that a rainbow? Sounds good to me. I'm not sure, but it sounds good. So it comes back to us. We all have a special calling.

We should always be seeking: what does God want us to become? We all have a special calling. It's that lifelong process called sanctification. Even the apostle Paul, in his maturity, he says, "I have not yet arrived." He was still metamorphosing. Yes, that is a word, by the way, metamorphosing. He was still transforming into all that God wanted him to be.

Well, let's move on to Monday's lesson. And somebody has Mark 10:35-45. Who has Mark 10? "Then James and John, The Sons of zebedee, came to him, saying, 'teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask.' And he said to them, 'what do you want me to do for you?' They said to him, 'grant us that we may sit, one on your right hand and the other on your left, in your glory.' But Jesus said to them, 'you do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?' They said to him, 'we are able.' So Jesus said to them, 'you will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized; but to sit on my right hand and on my left is not mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared.' And when the ten heard it, they began to be greatly displeased with James and John. But Jesus called them to himself and said to them, 'you know that those who are considered rulers over the gentiles Lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.

Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even The Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.'" Okay, thank you very much. In Matthew's account or rendition of this, it pretty much makes their mother the spokesman. Either way, I'm sure all three were present, probably all speaking up, wanting to be on the right and on the left hand in Christ's kingdom.

They came by their aggressiveness these sons of thunders quite naturally. But their mother probably had no doubt a large influence on them. Jesus asked them if they can drink from the cup that he will drink from. And full of pride and confidence they said, "yes." And confidence isn't a bad thing as long as the confidence is in the right person, right? And not so much in ourselves. Now we need to have somebody else who has the verse Luke 9:54, who has that verse for us? Luke 9:54, "when the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, 'Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?'" All right, this was when they had gone into samaria, tried to get some things from the samaritans.

And they saw that they were headed toward Jerusalem. So the samaritan says, "no way. We're not gonna give you anything. We're not going to be hospitable at all. And so James and John were ready to bring fire down upon them.

That's a son-of-thunder-type attitude. Sons of thunders have zeal. And zeal is not bad as long as it's not misdirected. Zeal is a good thing. But a son-of-thunder zeal is a bad thing, because it does more harm for the church probably than it does good.

Maybe you can think back to times in your own life that you fell into this category. You come to believe these truths and, "let's get it on. Let's take out a big ad in the newspaper and tell the whole world what the Mark of the beast is." Right? "Let's get it on." Well, we need to share the truth, but we need to do it as lovingly and tactfully as possibly, because otherwise we drive people away, right? And sons of thunders are kind of like that. They will want to excommunicate somebody who eats something they don't think they should be eating. Sons of thunders err on the side of justice, rather than mercy.

And actually it should be just the other way around, right? If we err, we should err on the side of mercy. Some people don't have to worry too much about a son-of-thunder personality. There are a kind of people who say, "well, I don't want to make waves about anything." And I kind of envy that type of person, except if the whole church was of that nature, then the church would kind of just go with the flow and anything would be okay. And that's not something that can take place either. So we must not lose our zeal for the truth, but we must lose the corrosive approach to sharing that truth.

The lesson makes a statement on Monday where it says, "what a contrast we can see in the John depicted here in these accounts and the one who writes the letters he does later. What a changed man. What a changed personality." My wife is taking some classes in college just this summer. And some of the classes were for early childhood development. And one of the buzz words in this process of education today, especially preschool children is stabilize and stabilize these children.

A lot of children come from unstable circumstances. And it gave a little story about this man whose desire was to go to a hospital. And he would go and he would read, just sit down and read to all the children that wanted to hear him read. Well he got to the hospital one day and they said, "would you go to the icu unit quickly? There's a little girl in there just carrying on so wildly; we can't control her." So he walked in to the ic unit. And he sat down beside her bed.

And he just sat there. He didn't do anything. Didn't say anything. And she was carrying on frantically. After a little bit she says, "what are you doing here?" And he says, "well, I came here to sit, just to sit.

And if you don't want me to sit here, I will go away. I often come to the hospital to read to children who want me to read to them. If they don't want me to read to them, I don't read to them. And if you don't want me to read to you, I won't read to you. If you don't want me to sit here, I won't sit here.

" She just kept on carrying on. Pretty soon, she says, "read to me." So he started reading. And within a matter of a few minutes, she was calm and fell asleep. She was stabilized. And as you think about a son of thunder spending so much time with the word, the word was speaking to him daily.

Jesus Christ is the word. John became stabilized. We all must become stabilized by the word. That's why the word is so important. The word should be with us wherever we go.

The word is a stabilizing influence in our lives, isn't it? Nothing else can stabilize us like the written word. We should read it. We should listen to it. We should digest it every chance we have, stabilized. Do you feel stabilized this morning? I hope so.

If you spent time in the word this past week, you probably feel stabilized today. If you neglected your study, you probably feel a little bit shaky. So I just want to encourage you to be stabilized. Get your emotions under control. And the best way to do that is with the Word of God.

Now this morning I want to do something a little bit different. I want to jump over Tuesday's and Wednesday's and go to Thursday's lesson before we go back to Tuesday. And somebody has the verse John, verse 11. "Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God, but he that doeth evil has not seen God.

" Okay, thank you very much. Thursday's lesson is entitled, "spending time with Jesus." I think we all have this concept that if we could have been like the disciples, if we could have only spent as much physical time with Jesus, that would be so much better than living here in the 21st century and never having seen Jesus or God in any way physically. But we need to dismiss that concept. Spending time with Jesus today in His Word is perhaps even more beneficial because to have the truths of God's Word unfold to the disciples, you actually had to be with him day in and day out for 3 and a 1/2 years to get the truth, after all of those years of misguided information that had been put out by the priests and the leaders of the church. Now, we can get such a panoramic view in such a short time if we apply ourselves.

We can get the big picture very quickly. And so as we have this panoramic view that helps us to follow that which is good, as this verse is telling us, and avoid that which is evil, it's very easy to do that for us today. We have it right at our fingertips any time we wanted. Whom and what we follow will determine who we become. Right? That's a tried and true principle of the Bible.

We become what we behold. It's always fascinating to me to see little children who are so uncanny exactly like one of their parents. Isn't that fascinating? I mean down to the little bitty things that they do. It's just amazing, because first of all, they're part of them. But secondly is because they're influenced by them every day.

They hear and they see and they respond by doing. A little story perhaps you've heard this before, but it certainly applies to this concept. This ceo of a big company, insurance company, were driving down the road with his wife one day on the interstate highway. And he noticed his gas gauge was getting down toward empty. So he looked, kept looking for an exit.

And finally he saw one, pulled off, and there wasn't much around, but there was a gas station, a one-pump gas station. So he pulled in. And this is back in the days where you actually had attendants who waited on you. Or perhaps in Oregon, they still do that in Oregon. But he said, "fill it up with gas.

And check the oil if you would please." So he gets out of the car and he's walking around the parking lot stretching his legs. And as he comes back towards the car, he notices that his wife and this gas attendant is really engaged in a conversation. And so, you know, he doesn't think too much about it. He pays the attendant and starts to get in his car. And he sees this attendant waving to his wife and said, "it's been really great talking with you.

" So as they drove out of the station, the man said, "did you happen to know that man?" She says, "yeah, by the way I did." She said, "I went to school with him. We actually dated for a year steady." The ceo said to himself, "boy, you sure are lucky that you married me instead of him. You'd be the wife of a gas station attendant if you would have married him," feeling quite confident in himself. And she says, "no, if I would have married him, he would have been the ceo of a big insurance company. And you'd be the gas station attendant.

" She had the full confidence that behind every good man is a good woman, right? Her influence rubbed off on him. And every influence we have with other people rub off on us, good or bad. And that's what the text is saying this morning. Follow that which is good. Avoid that which is evil.

And the more you associate yourself with God and his people--that doesn't mean we exclude the world, because that's our mission field. We need to go out and share this goodness with the world. But we certainly do need to surround ourselves with good. Can you say, "amen" to that? That's right. The fact that John associated so close with Jesus shaped him into become the man that he became.

Now had he neglected this special calling, he probably would have been a good fisherman just like his father. But just imagine what he would have missed out on, such an exciting life, such a privileged life to be with Jesus, to be a leader in the church as he became. And then to receive those visions, especially in the book of Revelation. He had the distinct privilege also of caring for the mother of the Savior of the world until her dying day. So it's just amazing some of the things he would have missed out on.

Now let me ask you a question; can you spend a lot of time reading the Bible and not really getting to know Jesus? Yes you can. And a lot of people do it. A lot of people study the Bible so that they can get to an understanding of what's right. Because ingrained in all of us is this desire, we want to be right, right? So we study to be right. We study to be right.

But if you miss the most important reason for studying the Bible is to get acquainted and close to Jesus, then you've missed the most important reason. In fact, in the history of this church, there have been people who studied the theme of all themes, righteousness by faith. They studied it for hours. And I ran across some of these individuals in the past. And they can be kind of cantankerous sometimes if you don't agree with them.

They miss the whole reason. They missed Jesus somewhere along the line, because Jesus wasn't cantankerous. Was he? No. He was loving. He was kind.

So, study the Bible so that we know what the truth is, yes. So that we can be able to share it, yes. But first of all and foremost that we become like Jesus. We get to know Jesus. Christ our righteousness is more than a theology; it's an experience.

And it's one that John had. It comes through clearly in his writings that he had a righteousness experience with his Savior. Now let's go back to Tuesday's lesson, "the witness of John." I think it becomes much more authentic to view his witness now that we know what quality time he spent with Christ. Somebody has John 21:25. "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." That's a fascinating verse, isn't it? I mean it just makes you wish that some more had been saved and written, because there's so much to tell that we could spend a long time reading it I guess. But do you think John covered enough? He covered a lot, didn't he? He covered a wide range of the ministry and teachings and truth of God's Word. And I love the information that was brought out in the lesson about the Greek word, "logos." "A Jewish reader," it says, "would certainly understand that the word, 'logos,' referred to the Word of God that created the world." How was the world created? By the word. God spoke and it came into existence. I have people sometimes ask me about cremation.

And one of the reasons they ask, "what does the Bible say about it? Is it wrong? Is it okay?" And one of the things they're concerned about is can God gather up all of our ashes and recreate us again? Well, first of all, there are people who have been washed out to sea or the ocean that are much more scattered than your ashes would be if you were cremated. Secondly, God created everything out of nothing in the beginning. And if he can do it once, you think he can do it again? I believe he could. And I think he probably would have the capabilities of gathering our ashes or our remains if that's how he chooses to do it. I'm not sure.

But that's what it meant to the Jewish mind. That should mean the same to us. It also encompassed the law, the testimony and the teachings. And of course the Greeks, as the lesson points out, used the word logos as, "that which kept the universe together." And I like one sentence that was in the quarterly. It says, "the symmetry of a leaf, the harmony of the seasons, the stars in the sky all were kept in balance by the logos.

" Powerful word, this thing, tHis Word, logos. But then John does something incredible in his writings. He ties all of this to a person. Jesus is the word. He is the one that encompasses all of this that we come to know and understand about tHis Word, the word, or logos.

He is that. And that's mind-boggling, especially to the people back then. We've come to say, "oh yeah, we know that." But it's really fantastic. And it's really the most important thing we could think of. There's hardly anything you can compare to on earth.

I mean when we think of personal computers, microsoft programs and all that goes with it, and we think of bill gates, right? But bill gates does not become a computer, never will be able to become a computer. And yes he was the human mind behind it, but there was a divine mind behind any human mind that ever does anything creative or good. So everything--there's nothing on earth to compare to what John was saying when he equated the word to the person of Jesus. Now a brief overview of the Gospel of John would look something like this. Chapter 1 is an introduction and also introduces us to John the baptist and the disciples.

Chapters 2 through 12 reveals the signs and miracles of God's glory to the world. Chapter 13 through 20 is about his passion, starting with the Lord's supper and through the resurrection. Chapter 21 is an epilogue, Jesus appearing in Galilee. In the Gospel of John you have many contrasts. And this would have been very important to John because he saw himself in all these contrasts: life versus death, light versus darkness, love versus hatred, spirit versus flesh, and freedom versus bondage.

All of these he had experienced when he was The Son of thunder. He was striving for the first place. He was bondaged, in bondage to pride and self-seeking. From life he came to--from death he came to life. And so even up to the last night where the communion service took place, he was living in darkness, trying to be who would be the greatest in Christ's kingdom, still striving for self-prominence.

So all of those took place in John's life. And John makes it so clear with his witness that it isn't something he just read from a book. He experienced it, right? Firsthand. And that's what makes a witness so powerful. We can give a witness for Christ, but it must be more than just something that we've even read out of the Bible.

When we give our witness, it must be something that we have experienced with Jesus personally. And that does so much more for our own witness. It wasn't very long ago my mother was in the hospital. She's 85 years old. And she was losing blood.

And every time her blood count would go way down, she'd get so weak she could hardly do anything. And they couldn't find out where she was losing the blood. And so they would give her a blood transfusion while they kept searching. And every time she had a blood transfusion, she would regain her vitality and act just as good and normal as she had before. I thought, you know, that's so much like us.

We need to have that daily blood transfusion of Jesus, don't we? Or we lose our spiritual vitality. And that's why we must remain people of the word. Now I must be careful to throw in something else at this point. That which is written is very important too though, because the disciples spent this and a 1/2 years with Jesus, but after his resurrection and ascension back to heaven, they went back to the word and they saw an exact fulfillment from the prophetic word in the old testament that Jesus fulfilled every one of those prophecies. And so it was getting back into the word that made the difference.

Now you can't have one without the other. You need an experience. Maybe you come to Christ in a terrible time of sickness or an accident. You come to Jesus. Without a Bible, the Bible may have not even been around, but you need to follow that experience up with the Word of God, don't you? Because you'll grow weak and you'll need spiritual food for the new person that you are.

The author of this beautiful book that I was showing you, that is the free offer for the week. And page 112 writes this, "do you ask why I believe in Jesus? Because he is to me a divine Savior. Why do I believe the Bible? Because I have found it to be the voice of God to my soul." And that's what it is, isn't it? Well, we must move on very quickly because there's an important part of the lesson on Wednesday. Would somebody read John 20:31? Who has that? "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, The Son of God, and that believing ye may have life through his name." Amen. Now if you could pass that off right on up to Pauline up here, right in the row in front of you.

And she has 1 John 5:11-13. "And this is what God hs testified: he has given us eternal life, and this life is in his son. Whosoever has The Son has life; whosoever does not have God's son does not have life. I have written this to you who believe in the name of The Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life." Okay, thank you very much. About 39 years ago, these were the verses, especially those last ones that were read from John, these were the verses that changed my life completely.

I had been studying. I had been studying these great and wonderful themes and topics. But somebody asked me once--in fact it was pastor roger mcquiston, if he's out there listening. I want to thank you again, roger, for asking this question. He asked me, it was part of a new witnessing program called new testament witnessing, and he asked me, he said, "if you were to die tonight, would you have the assurance of eternal life?" And that thought never crossed my mind in my life.

I didn't know that a person could even come close to answering that kind of a question having been raised in another church that was completely different. And never studying the Bible, I couldn't--i had no idea how to answer that question. And so he began to answer it very carefully for me, turning to those verses in especially John 5. "I've written these things that you may know--you may know, that you have eternal life." Right now you may know it. Man, that made a whole world of difference.

The plan of salvation began to open up to my mind. And it made such a fantastic difference in my life. I hope that you have that understanding that eternal life begins right here and now if and when you accept Jesus as your Savior. Now we're not saying, "once saved, always saved." That's one of the most dreadful teachings in our world today. But we need to have such a daily walk with Jesus that we know that if we were to die today, we would have eternal life with him.

We fall. We sin. But if we sin, we get up and we confess our sins. "He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins." And we are then still kept in his love and his righteousness and we put our trust in that righteousness, not our own filthy rags. So we can have that peace that passes all understanding by knowing that I'm living eternal life right now.

I may go to sleep for awhile, but I'll wake up and just keep on living eternally with Jesus, because Jesus is my Savior. We need to come to the place where John had certainly arrived. He loved Jesus more than life itself. You can't help but see that and feel that when you read what he wrote. He used the phrase often in the Gospel.

He used the phrase when referring to himself as, "the disciple whom Jesus loved." Do you know that Jesus loves you? If that gets a little foggy at times, we need to go back to kindergarten and sing, "Jesus loves me, this I know." Why? "For the Bible tells me so." It doesn't hurt us to go back to kindergarten every now and then, does it? Well, boy, we're running out of time. But as you think of John, you can't hardly talk about John without referring to that masterpiece that God wrote through him, the book of Revelation, the book for our day, for our times. And something I think we overlook is this book probably was a huge blessing for the Christians living then. Sometimes we think about the book of Revelation that it was a locked up, sealed up book with no potential blessings for anybody until after the time of the end. And it is true that many of the truths were sealed up, not understood until the time of the end.

But after--when John was writing this, he was the last of the disciples living. He was the last of those who had actually seen Jesus. And so you can imagine some of the challenges that faced the early church. All the people that had personally witnessed Christ, gone. And so things began to fade a little bit.

In fact, it is a time of history when emperors came forth and they were requiring people to worship them even as deity in some of them. And so God helps John write this book where it puts Jesus in his proper place, standing at the throne of God as king of Kings, Lord of Lords in all his glory. And he's the only one we should bow down and worship. And so it was a tremendous blessing to the people of his day I believe. Even though they couldn't understand everything, it makes you wonder, did John even understand everything he wrote? And certainly he most likely didn't.

He understood the general theme, good versus bad, this Great Controversy. But some of the particulars, he probably didn't understand. There was a question in the lesson, it says, "why is the idea of Jesus as just a great moral teacher not good enough?" Well, that's a whole subject in itself. But the thought that bombarded my mind was we'd still be in the dilemma of the sin problem without a solution. Jesus was a solution to the sin problem, right? We would be confined to the concept that "the wages of sin is death.

" We'd still be on death row permanently without Jesus having come as a Messiah. Sin is so offensive that it took the divine sacrifice of Christ. He couldn't be just a good teacher. He had to be a divine son or satan would have had some right to say some of the things he accused God of about not being fair. He says, "God, you're not fair.

I want to be the creator." A created being, being the creator, it's as impossible as a created being being a Savior. It took divinity to pay that price. So no, it's not good enough that Jesus was just a good moral teacher. He was The Son of God in the flesh. And that is something that John zeroed in on time and time again so that we could have a full understanding of who he was and who he is.

If it wasn't Jesus, there's not time left in this world for the Savior to come. Years after a.d. 34? We don't have 1810 years until the end of the world comes. Even non-Christians don't think we have that long of a world to live in. I need to say again, point out the special offering for today, "steps to Christ," offer 736.

You do want to get this book if you don't have it. -Study-more. So, well let me leave you with this thought. Philosopher bertrand russell was asked if he was willing to die for his beliefs.

He replied, "of course not, after all, I may be wrong." John was not in that category. "Would you be willing to die for your belief, John?" "Of course I would." "Why?" "'Cause I know everything that I am saying, everything that I am writing is 100% true. I am not following cunningly devised fables. I'm following the word. And the word is truth.

" That's where we all need to be today. Life is like a ten-speed bicycle. Many of the gears most people never use. John used all of his gears. Don't you think? He used all of his gears for Christ and the Kingdom of God.

And that's what God wants to do through us. If you're willing, God will indeed use you to that end. Are you willing? Amen. God bless you. This are wonderful lessons, aren't they? Again, thank you for everyone joining us.

Wherever you're joining us from, we appreciate every one of you. We enjoy hearing from you. As you send in your e-mails, I thoroughly enjoy your comments. So please feel free to do that. And again, thank you all here for being with us this morning as we studied about the beloved John the disciple.

In a world surrounded by darkness, there is a voice that whispers to every young heart, calling them to seek, pressing them on, urging them to find the treasure of truth. Those who follow the path will discover eternal riches beyond their wildest dreams. Join us now for an "Amazing Adventure, a journey for life with Jesus," an Amazing Facts satellite series just for kids. Live from Dallas, Texas. Register now.

Take the journey. If you've missed any of our Amazing Facts programs, visit our website at There you'll find an archive of all our television and radio programs, including "Amazing Facts presents." One location, so many possibilities,

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