THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

Program Air Date - 11-9-03

LESSON TITLE: GOD'S CHOSEN AND INSPIRED WRITERS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT: "GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN"

WELCOME

How wonderful it is to know God and to have the health, strength, and will-power to give this time to Him on this Lord's Day morning. Thank you for putting God first today and choosing to commit this time of offering to His service.

Today, we will again be uplifted through our commitment to serving God as commanded, as we approach His almighty throne. How enjoyable it will be to worship our God through prayer, song and the study of His matchless Word. Won't you do your part this morning to see that our worship together is acceptable so that our glorious creator may be glorified?

Now, as we begin our offering to God, will you bow with me in prayer! (PRAYER)

How exciting it is to watch the first steps of a small little baby. And how many things a child has to learn as they begin to walk and become mobile in this life. Even as adults we often wonder which way to go or which road to take. This morning, we want to begin with a song that reminds us that God will show us the way, for He has laid down the steps and gone before us. So, won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing, "Each Step I Take."

(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

We mentioned earlier those first steps in life that a baby takes and whether you are talking about a baby in a literal sense or a baby in a spiritual sense, we all have to begin somewhere to become what we are today.

The good thing is, we can count on a lot of help on the way. Again whether we are talking about the first steps of a child or the first steps of a new child of God we all need help. That parent there beside us holding our hand. That loving individual ready to catch us when we fall. Well in our physical parents we have that help and thus we learn to walk, we grow and we become the adults we are. Spiritually speaking, we also have the parent - God in heaven. Again, He is there, holding our hand, ready to catch us when we fall.

I think that David understood this when He said, "Our help is in the name of the LORD, Who made heaven and earth," Psalm 124:8. Wow, what a statement! Yes, we have help, and it comes from God Himself - but consider the power of this God who extends to us this helping hand. The verse said, He is the one, "who made heaven and earth." Now think about that for a minute. If our God is able to make heaven and earth, and if he is able to make us and even breath into our bodies the brethren of life - Just what can't he do? The same Old Testament writer goes on to say, "He is our help and our shield," Psalm 33:20. In Psalm 30:10, he again clarifies that God is our, "Helper!" In chapter 55:4, we read, "God is my helper; The Lord is with those who uphold my life." How wonderful it is to know that our God is there and that He is not only willing but able to uphold our lives.

Why not trust more in the Lord and turn your life over to Him. And not according to what you want or think, but according to what He desires according to His loving and precious Will. Are you relying on the help of God? Are you completely submitting to His will?

Today we will be continuing our series on "God's Chosen and Inspired Writers Of The New Testament!" Our next lesson in the series will deal with the, "Gospel According to John!" So stay with us and after our next song together, I will be leading us in the main thoughts of the day. But for now let's join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "Christ We Do all Adore Thee."

(SONG # 2)

LESSON

Speaker: Ray Sullins

Thank you so much for continuing with us this morning as we now have the privilege of going to God's Word and studying directly those things that might pertain to us, make us better servants in His kingdom.

Today, we will again continue our series as has been said in relationship to those writers of the Bible. And so far, we've been having a good study together in looking at some of those who wrote the gospel accounts. We find there men like Matthew, Mark and Luke, great men of God. Matthew being a man who clarified so well to the Jew what the gospel was all about encompassing Jesus Christ in the coming of His kingdom and how that soon He would establish something that all men would be drawn to.

We see men like Mark, as well, who so beautifully through the Roman and to those maybe of the gentile world as well as Luke who did a fine job in helping those from a very maybe educated way to understand those things of Christ, to help us to see things that maybe others of the gospel writers did not really clarify for us and to maybe look even deeper into those things and to understand them better from more maybe of an educated standpoint or point of view.

But today, we want to look at a man no doubt who as well has his own information given directly in relationship to those things of God and given again in a very special way, showing us the individuality of these accounts which were written of the gospel, the use that God made of these special writers as they were inspired, as He breathed through them His message but yet still using their own personalities to decipher for us a special message to help us better understand, to equip us more perfectly in those things pertaining to the creator.

Now in John as we look there we do find a vast amount of information unlike some of the others that we have found that there is little said about, but John really is discussed quite a bit. I don't think there is a reason that maybe he stands out for that, but I think we can notice that he was special in some ways, not only to Christ, but to others. John must have been a very likable person, it seems, especially as we know that Jesus very much loved him as we'll speak about in just a moment.

But if you'll notice with me in Matthew chapter 4. This is the first place that we begin to see some of those who were called, if you will, by Christ Himself as special workers, that is disciples, men that we refer to as apostles, those who were eyewitnesses with Christ, those who had been chosen by Him, and those who had really been exhorted by Him to do the work, to follow His Will, to preach to others those things pertaining again to the Will of the Father and again primarily the kingdom. In verse 18, we see men there who are mentioned, Peter and Andrew, how they were called to follow Him so that He might make them fishers of men.

In chapter 4 as well, in verse 21, it goes on to talk about to other men. It says there that "as He was going from here to there, He saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee and John, his brother. They were in a boat with Zebedee, their father, mending their nets," and it says that "He called them." There we see clearly that John and James as are mentioned here were busy about their work and specifically here mentioning that they were working actually in a family business with their father. But what does Jesus do as He is passing by, as He has just done with Peter and his brother? He calls them and He says, "Follow me."

Notice their response. In verse 22, "they immediately left the boat and their father and followed Him." These men didn't need any time to think about it. They didn't ask questions of Jesus or really maybe say, "Well, we'll come later. We've got to first finish these nets." They immediately followed Jesus. Jesus knew the character of these men. He knew the quality of these men. When He said, "Follow me," it's no great wonder or really amazement that we should find in the fact that these two men, as well as Peter and Andrew, that James and John immediately followed Christ. So here we find their father, Zebedee. Here we find two brothers, two brothers that are called to be disciples, apostles just like Matthew had been called. But as we have already seen, Mark and Luke were not apostles although very special no doubt still in the very service of Christ.

But here we see John, a called apostle of Jesus Christ, a fisherman by trade, a man though yet who was willing to give up all that he knew and all that he had to follow Christ and to be a special servant.

If you'll turn over several chapters really in Matthew as well to around Matthew chapter 20, we find out even more about this man, John. We find out more about his life, about who he was. In verse 20 in fact, we find again this word "Zebedee" coming up. In fact, their mother, it says there, "the mother of the Zebedees." That almost doesn't make sense somewhat, but James and John there. Who was their mother? Well she is being mentioned there and she comes to Jesus, and she kneels down. He says, "What do you wish?" She begins in an unknowing way to say, "Well, in the kingdom of God, I want one of my sons to be on the right hand and one to be on the left hand. I want them to serve right by your side." Well she obviously didn't understand the thought of the kingdom here. So many of the Jews were confused by this spiritual concept. But yet, she asked this and here the mother, the mother of James and John are brought out.

Well if you turn over further just several chapters to Matthew 27, again we see this same mother who is mentioned there and there in chapter 27 in verse 55 and verse 56, we see that it was the mother of John who is there among those who were ministering to Christ, who were helping to care for Him and taking care of some of the needs the needs that Jesus had as He was doing the work of the Lord.

Another parallel verse over in Mark that we've already considered, Mark 15, verses 40 & 41 again mentions further the name of this lady as it is referred to as Salome. Well here we have a beautiful picture, a father, Zebedee, the mother of the Zebedees and now Salome, the mother, who loved her sons enough to even go to Jesus and say, "I want them to be next to your side." So we see a family unit, a good unit, a man, John, who had been brought up in no doubt a family that seems to have been a good family, a hardworking family, a family that knew God, that loved God, who had the ability to have faith in God and so we see that John no doubt had a great start in his life, a great start to then be chosen by Jesus Christ Himself to be one of those twelve, those twelve specific men whom for years He would commit the Word to, the gospel to, the Will of the Father so that they might go out through the Great Commission and teach all nations, all peoples, every creature that gospel so that all might truly be saved.

Well if you'll go now to the book of John, we find some further information that is recorded by this man himself, this apostle, in connection to Jesus Christ that helps us further to understand the relationship that was taking place, the relationship there in the life of this man, God, God in the flesh, Jesus and this called apostle. We find there in John chapter 13 that there he is referred to in a very endearing way, a way that really again maybe not sets him apart from the others, but again shows how close he was to Christ, how well liked he was, as there in chapter 13 and verse 23, we read there that "leaning on Jesus, on His bosom, was one of the disciples the one whom He loved." That again speaking clearly of John, the special man, John.

I think further we see how special John was as we turn over to chapter 19 of the same book, John again, and we begin to see unfolding there Jesus on the cross and how that there standing at the base of the cross was the mother of Jesus. We find some women like Mary who is mentioned there and then we find John. Where is everybody else? Well, most had forsaken Him as we know, but now even as John had forsaken was returning and was there with His mother, that is the mother of Jesus, and as they were standing there, we find that he speaks there in verse 26 to this disciple and he says there, "the one whom He loves, standing beside His mother, woman behold your son." And then in the next verse, verse 27, "Son or friend or beloved disciple, behold your mother." He says, "Take care of her. Now I'm dying here on a cross. There is no way I can fulfill the functions that I would have as an earthly son toward my mother." So He says, "John, one that I trust, one who is beloved to me, one that I care about so much, the one whom I love, I trust you now to take care of my mother as I am breathing my last breaths." Again, showing the great relationship, the great confidence, the great situation here between these two.

Then if you'll notice it was later as recorded in Mark 16 that this same man's mother, Salome again, or the one there that was referred to as the "Zebedee's mother" was there in relationship to anointing the body of Jesus. So again, a family involved, a family of faith, a family who had taken and grasped and laid hold on the gift of life, the bread of life, Jesus Christ, and those who were now willing to give of their time and efforts and all that they had to really see that Christ and His Will and the Will of the Father be made known to the world.

Well we see that John later also is very much involved in the work of the Lord, not just as Christ was alive and in the service of his latter days, and being maybe endowed by Christ or asked by Him to do special things with His family in caring for His mother. We also see here that later he's involved as well in many things. In the book there of Luke 22 and verse 8, we find there that it's referenced that he and Peter are asked to go and prepare a special place for the Passover. So here a very special maybe job is laid out to Peter and also John, special men who were trusted to do a special work by Christ. So that's mentioned there in Luke.

Again in Mark chapter 3 and verse 17, he's referred to as the "son of thunder." There again, one who must have been bold and courageous and being willing to stand up, stand up and to be counted worthy and to do that which God had asked him to do and to let others know about who he was, what he was all about in the service of God.

In the book of Galatians, in Galatians chapter 2 and verse 9, we see there that this same John is referred to as being a leader in the church at Jerusalem. So this man was one who got around also. He traveled around preaching and teaching. We see at times in life that he was settled down and working strongly in areas, teaching the things of Christ, the gospel. Why? He had learned it directly from Christ and been commissioned by Christ to preach the gospel to the world.

John not only gives us the great account here, the gospel account, but he goes on to write other beautiful and excellent books like 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John. He writes us the book of Revelation that he really had the special revelation of Jesus Christ that was there on the Isle of Patmos as he was there exiled and as he really was writing those things that Jesus Christ Himself wanted the seven churches of Asia to know, and so he again wrote those things, edifying things for us, encouraging things for us to know that as the church we have a work to do, but even as the church we have problems and we can fix those problems if we'll focus on God.

So as we look at all these things coming together, we see that John lived an excellent life. He lived a beautiful life and probably lived somewhere to 100 AD when he die or possibly as many believe was even killed because of his beliefs. Many even believe that he was buried there in Ephesus. But as we see all of these things coming together again, what continues to help us focus on this man was his commitment to God, his commitment to Christ.

If there was one thing I could say overall about the gospel of John that stands out, there's so many things that stand out in all of his books, but in the gospel of John as we focus there, one thing that stands out over everything else is his clarity of who Jesus was, the son of God. Probably one of the most familiar verses of all times in all of the world is John 3:16 telling us that whoever really knows God and believes in God, whoever has the ability to do those things can be saved. Salvation is found in Jesus Christ and God loved the world so much that He gave His son so that we might be saved and whoever responds can receive that great gift of God.

But even before that, we find in John 1 the clarifying factors of who Jesus was that He was in the beginning, that He was God, that He was with God, He was the one that was made flesh in verse 14 and dwelt among men. This Jesus Christ, John says, is not only from God and the son of God, but John helps us better than any other writer to know that Jesus Christ is God. He is deity. He is one that must not only be considered as the son of God, but God Himself who came in the flesh and who returned now and is at the right hand of the Father as God the son serving and ruling as head, Lord and Savior of His church.

I encourage all of us to dive into the gospel according to John, to find out what he says to us more about Jesus the Christ, deity, to know truly what the Will of God is so that in all things as we look at the life of Christ, we might exemplify it until we are found faithful in the end receiving the reward.

(SONG # 3 - "He Lives!"

CLOSING COMMENTS

What a blessing it has been to join together in the things of God this morning. Thank you for doing your part in making all these things to be according to His Will. As always, we invite you back every Lord's Day morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this offering for God!

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How thankful we should be for the beloved apostle John, who helps us to know better our Christ - and to see and understand Him so much more clearly. Jesus truly is the Son of God!

(Program closing)