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Gems in the Gospel of John

Part 97 – John 21:24
1 John 1: 4 – The joy of the Gospel


‘We write this to make our joy complete’ says John. And even before we start into the epistle proper that simple statement raises a big question. Who are the ‘we’? (I am going to call it an epistle, even although that word really means ‘letter’. It is a slightly posh word, appropriate here because it has no statement about who wrote it, or who it was to, or any of the other things we expect to find in a true letter. It is more like an essay, a statement of intent, a document to be sent to many people.

So an epistle it is.) Because neither the Gospel of John nor this epistle ever says who wrote them we cannot be sure who they were. The writers of the very early church very soon decided that John, one of the sons of Boanerges, the apostle, the beloved disciple, was the author of both. The decision makes good sense so I am going to refer to the writer as John and assume it was the same person as the writer of the gospel. Both assumptions seem to be very likely right. The other assumption we must make is that this epistle was written after the gospel, although, as we saw in the last study of the gospel John was probably very old when he wrote the gospel and it may even have been put together by some close helper. That person, a close disciple of John, may also have had a hand in this letter, compiling it on the basis of things John had said and taught in his old age in the city of Ephesus. That is important to note because quite a lot of the things he says in this epistle seem to refer to a particular atmosphere and line of teaching which was building up in the fellowship of which John was, or had been, a part and probably the leader.

Another reason for assuming the direct authorship of John is the tone of these first few verses. They clearly refer back quite deliberately to the opening words of the Gospel, which in turn refer back to the opening words of the book of Genesis. ‘In the beginning’ figures large in all three places. But then John goes on here to express his joy at what he has been privileged to be a part of. Had he been a child he would quite clearly have been jumping up and down with exuberant joy at what had happened. We heard, we saw, we touched, he says – obviously meaning he heard and saw and touched Jesus. He wants to share the emotions those facts and the attitudes that they caused to erupt in him that he enjoys so much. That way he feels that he will be able to establish a joint shared delight with his readers in the words, the actions and the meaning of Jesus, his life, death and resurrection.

I started off accepting that verse 4 is about ‘our joy’ but you will note that the footnote in your Bible almost certainly suggests it might equally be ‘your joy’ and since we are the recipients of the epistle that is now ‘our joy’. Wow! . Let us try to believe and therefore to act in the sort of way that John does, even if our experience is necessarily not as exciting as his, for we do not hear, see and touch the real living Jesus, the Son of God, as he did.

Think back. Count up the top moments of your walk as a Christian follower of Jesus and rejoice. Perhaps, like me, you are too old to literally jump up and down with joy but do so in your heart, in your imagination. He is worthy. He is glorious. He is our promise of eternal life as John has just pointed out.

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Partakers Friday Prayers!

12th May 2017

 

We pray together and when Christians pray together, from different nations, different churches and different denominations – that reveals Church unity! Come! Let us pray together!

 

Prayers for those unemployed

Today we are praying for those who looking for work! Download or listen to the mp3 file and pray with us!

For we ask these things O Father God, through the name of Your Son, Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us. Amen

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Think Spot – 8th May 2017

 

When we are going through a difficult time it is sometimes hard to believe that you are the apple of Gods eye.

God gave me a picture once. 
I asked God what I was worth. God tied a tag round my neck with a piece of string, the kind of price tag that they have in old fashioned shops.  The tag read £10, then he removed the tag and replaced it with one that read £100, then he removed that one and replaced it with one that had £1000 on it. He replaced the £1000 price tag with one that read £100,000 and then replaced that one with a million pound price tag. The final price tag simply had ONE LIFE written on it.   I find it mind blowing that God chose to let His Son die a hideously painful death so that I can enjoy a personal relationship with him that I am so valuable that even if I was the only human being that existed, God would have allowed Jesus to die on a cross for me.

Remind yourself of this fact frequently and you will get a glimpse of your father’s heart. He loves you to bits and is proud of you no matter what you have done in the past – if you have said sorry and meant it – it is forgotten. The slate is completely clean.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.

God’s love for you is unconditional. God created us with a thirst to be secure, to have self worth and to have a sense of our own significance. That thirst is intended to be quenched by God himself, by His unconditional love for us and unconditional acceptance of our work.

1 John 3:1 says “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God.! And that is what we are!”
Ephesians 2:10 says “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepares for us in advance to do.”

Unfortunately many of us try and get our security and sense of self worth from our spouses or parents.  Whilst that can be okay if we have a particularly adoring spouse or an encouraging mum and dad, it goes badly wrong if we have a critical spouse or a parent that withholds praise. Our self esteem really suffers in the case of a verbally critical spouse or parent and is affected just as badly by someone who is slow to give praise.

Galatians 4:7 “Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out ‘Abba, Father.’ So you are no longer a slave but a son and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.”

Our aim should be to please God and fulfil his purposes for our lives. If it is we will discover a sense of security, value and significance in God and then it will not matter if our boss does not appreciate us or if our spouse criticises us.

We should be aiming to enjoy God, to have a life of worship and to get to know God better each day. God adores us and considers us adorable. He is proud of our achievements but is so much more thrilled with our efforts to get to know Him better.

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Exploring The Bible

14. New Testament

2 Thessalonians -A.D. 51-52

 

G’day and welcome to our series, “Exploring the Bible” This is also the title of our latest book available on Amazon by clicking here or visiting PulpTheology.com

Key Verses:

  • 2 Thessalonians 2:3
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:6

 

The Thessalonian church is still enduring persecution. They are also worried about what will happen when the Lord returns. Indeed, some of them believed it had already occurred.

Timothy is encouraged to counter with sound doctrine any false teaching particularly in regards to the Mosaic Law, to develop Church leaders and encourage godly Christian living.Central to this letter is Paul’s concern for them over this. Paul says that certain events, which had not happened, must occur before that day comes. Paul also exhorts them to continue growing spiritually and to correct both doctrinal and practical problems arising in the church.

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Gems in the Gospel of John

Part 96 – John 21:24
Where next?


This great gospel has a curious ending. 21: 25 “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written” is, on the face of it, an almost childish statement. What does it really mean and why is it there? The last two verses of the gospel contain references to 3 apparently different people: ‘the disciple who testifies to these things’, ‘we’ and ‘I’. Who are they all? ‘The disciple’ is in all probability a reference to the ‘disciple that Jesus loved’ who has appeared several times in the gospel and we assume, on the evidence of the very early church, was young John the apostle who eventually went to live in Ephesus, founded a church there, gathered a devoted group of disciples round him, live to a grand old age, and either wrote, dictated, or left the gospel to be constructed by someone else from his notes and teachings. The ‘we’ who ‘know that his testimony is true’ are probably members of that small circle of his disciples and the ‘I’ is one of them who did the actual writing down of the words on the first and original scroll – a quite highly skilled task not to be undertaken by an untrained scribe,


This all relates to the situation that Jesus mentioned in 5:31 and 8:14 when he said “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true (or valid)” and “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going.” In their culture it was absolutely necessary to have more than one witness to anything important. Deut 19: 15 “One witness is not enough to convict anyone accused of any crime or offense they may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” laid down a very important and unbreakable requirement of Jewish practice. Jesus complied with it, so do the folk who put together the final version of this Gospel, one of the greatest writings mankind has ever produced, if not the very greatest.

It has been a truly wonderful experience to write all these little ‘gems’ as I have called them, working my way through from ‘In the beginning’ to this ‘testimony is true’. I suppose the very last verse which says “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written” is no longer true if taken literally! We are no longer limited to papyrus or paper but have the enormous capacity of modern computer storage where everything could be written down in computer-talk, but there is not enough room in our hearts for all the wonder and the glory of what John wrote on a papyrus scroll nearly 2000 years ago. Oh, that we may all make the most of who we are: Peter-like active, talkative, quick to respond and to make mistakes, having an immediate impact on those we meet; or John-like cautious, not moving far from our home base, prone to thinking and writing for almost too long and leaving a long legacy. Or all the many of us somewhere in between those two extremes.

John almost certainly didn’t stop there. We cannot be 100 percent sure that he wrote the epistle we call 1 John but it seems very likely. There we shall see that he did not have an entirely easy time. His fellowship group had its rebels and dissidents just the same as we will all encounter. But he persevered through to old age. What about you? Can you gather a group of friends and challenge them to study this wonderful letter in detail? I have written notes for our group and would be happy to send you a copy. Contact me at rogmarg.kirby@gmail.com

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Partakers Friday Prayers!

5th May 2017

 

We pray together and when Christians pray together, including across the internet and from different times, different nations, different churches and different denominations – that reveals Church unity!


My Heavenly Father,
I thank You,
through Jesus Christ, Your beloved Son,
that You kept me safe from all evil and danger last night.
Save me, I pray, today
as well, from every evil and sin,
so that all I do and the way that I live will please you.
I put myself in your care, body and soul and all that I have.
Let Your holy Angels be with me,
so that the evil enemy will not gain power over me.
Amen

 

(A Morning Prayer of Martin Luther)

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Think Spot – 1st May 2017

 

G’day! Welcome to Partakers Think Spot at the start of new week on Monday the 5th of May 2015.

Luke 2:42-52 – Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it.

Thinking he was in their company, they travelled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. ; Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.When his parents saw him, they were astonished.

His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” “Why were you searching for me?” he asked.

“Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them. Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

Matthew 13:53-55 – When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked.  “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?

 

Wise

Jesus is the ultimate wise man! As we read the Gospels, we see that when Jesus spoke words, people were amazed! They were astounded that He spoke with wisdom, elegance and yet with authority. They had never heard anyone speak like He did – with both grace and authority.

The same is true today, if we are listening. That is why we read the Bible to find out what He would say to us. That is why we seek to hear Him speak to us and why we speak to Him. That is why preaching is to be seen as an act of worship – by both the preacher and the listener! Jesus’ wisdom meaning I can ask Him for advice and seek His imagination to solve problems!

As you go into this week ask Jesus to help you, guide and speak to you through the Bible, regardless of what situation you face! Jesus, Son of God, the ultimate wise man!

Prayer

A prayer to help you into this new week. Father, we thank you for your Son, Jesus Christ! We thank you for the Bible! We thank you for godly men and women who preach and teach this wisdom of Jesus to us, explaining and exploring how we can put this wisdom into practise! May the Holy Spirit within each believer, rebuke and counsel, as that believer seeks to live a life worthy of Jesus Christ. Amen!

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