Orwell Bible Church


John 8

The Law of Moses condemned both parties in adultery (Lev 20:10), but the Pharisees condemned only the woman, attempting to trick Jesus so they could denounce him (vv. 1-6). Jesus, unlike these sinful men, exercised true judgment (vv. 7-11).

In verses 12-59 the apostle John relates a back-and-forth between Jesus and Jews at the treasury (v. 20, where people gave their tithes) about who he was. Each time (1) the Jews denied what Jesus said and then (2) Jesus maintained what he said, supported it, and pointed out the reason for and result of the Jews’ unbelief. As you go through the four main sections here, note truths about Jesus and aspects of unbelief—you will learn a lot!

(1) Jesus is the true witness from the Father, but unbelieving Jews deny Jesus and thus the Father, 12-19
(2) Through Jesus would be crucified he would live again and go to the Father in heaven where he came from, but the Jews were of the world and would die in their sins, 21-30
(3) Jesus is the truth who came from God and frees believing sinners, but the Jews depended on their Jewishness as Satan’s slaves of sin, 31-47
(4) Jesus is the eternal God, greater than Abraham, but unbelieving Jews denied that and thus dishonored him, 48-59

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Jesus is equal with God and thus by nature can only and always do what God does (vv. 28-29, 38).
  2. Jesus necessarily had to speak the truth that he is God, the Savior and Lord. He could not deny this (v. 66) for that would be to deny himself (2 Tim 2:23).
  3. True faith is not merely a head knowledge, mental agreement; it is abiding, submissive, unreserved trust in Jesus (v. 31). Only that kind of faith is saving faith (v. 32), and Jesus gives life and freedom from sin to those who truly believe in him (vv. 12, 32, 52).
  4. Sinners cannot help but sin for they are the slaves of sin (v. 34), readily doing the will of their father the devil (v. 44), unable and unwilling to trust in Christ (vv. 43, 45, 47)

John 7

The events of this chapter occur six months before Jesus’ crucifixion and are characterized by increasing divisions (note v. 43). Divisions because of Christ existed even in his own family who thought it would be best for Jesus to publicize himself as much as possible in Jerusalem (vv. 3-5) which Jesus rejected and instead quietly went there (vv. 6-10).

Upon arriving in Jerusalem, Jews already had divided opinions about Jesus (vv. 11-13). Jesus declared God’s truth to them, which can only be known by faith and is proven by a God-glorifying life (vv. 14-18). Jesus then showed unbelieving Jews that the couldn’t see the truth because they didn’t want to see it (vv. 19-24).  

The differing opinions about Jesus are on full display in verses 25-36, with some denying he was the Christ (vv. 25-30), some saying he was the Redeemer (v. 31), and others viewing him as just a troublemaker to be dealt with (vv. 32-36). Jesus invited anyone to believe in him so that they would experience the life-giving ministry of the Holy Spirit (vv. 37-39). John the apostle summarized the growing divisions and tensions existing between Jesus and the Jews (vv. 40-52).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Faith is necessary for right knowledge (v. 17). True faith has truth that is believed, welcomed, and submitted to. the readiness or willingness to obey God is essential to faith (the submissive aspect). Without faith one will not have right knowledge. What about you—is your “faith” just head knowledge? Nice feelings? Or is there real submissive acceptance and obedience?
  2. Everyone believes something about Jesus, but only what God declares about him in the Scriptures is correct. Judging by appearance or tradition always results in rejection of and hostility toward who Jesus really is. What controls what you believe?
  3. The Spirit’s ministry in Christians is essential (vv. 38-39). The Spirit enables believers to understand the significance of the Scriptures (1 Cor 2:14-16), baptizes (1 Cor 12:13), controls (Eph 5:18), assures (Rom 8:16), convicts (Rom 8:14; Gal 5:18), intercedes (Rom 8:26), is the earnest of salvation (Eph 1:14), and his fruit evidences his control of a believer’s life (Gal 5:22-23).

John 6

Jesus’ feeding of the 5,000 shows his ability to give life, to make something out of nothing. After feeding the crowd Jesus left the area because the people responded wrongly to what he did (vv. 1-15). He and the disciples then went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (vv. 16-21). The people—viewing Jesus as merely a miracle worker and wanting free food—followed him there (vv. 22-26).

Jesus reproved them for their wrong aim and assessment and taught them about faith (vv. 27-65). Sinners must “come to Christ” (note v. 35, come=believe) to have eternal life. No one of themselves can or will trust in Christ (v. 44). God the Father has chosen to save some sinners, and each of the elect will be saved by faith in Christ (vv. 37, 39). God must “draw” (cause to be born again) sinners to him, then they will believe (vv. 44-45, 63, 65). Everyone who believes has eternal life (vv. 35, 39-40, 44, 47, 51, 54, 58).

Those who were following Jesus as a mere miracle worker who would give them free food rejected what Jesus said and stopped following him (“disciples,” vv. 60-61, 66). They did not believe Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Jesus’ teaching in verses 53-58 was not about the Lord’s Supper. It would be another year from this time until Jesus taught the Lord’s Supper. If this did refer to Communion, that would be essential for salvation, leaving the thief on the cross out of heaven and enabling millions of godless people into heaven. Jesus taught that the Lord’s Supper was for believers to remember his death, not for sinners to gain salvation (1 Cor 11:24-25).
  2. Jesus’ teaching in verses 53-58 is about true saving faith. “Flesh” refers to the true Person of Christ and “blood” his anticipated sacrificial death. “Eat and drink” are figures of speech for saving faith. Read verses 40 and 54, and you’ll see how “eat…drink” is just another way of saying “see…believe,” and that all the other words are exactly the same. As one “eats and drinks” what is good, pleasing, and desirable, so one truly trusts in Christ who readily, entirely, accepts and depends on Jesus for salvation.
  3. With this said, what/who are you depending on for eternal life? If you say you “believe” in Jesus, is your belief like eating vegetables you hate or a favorite meal?

John 5

Here John the apostle relates how the Jews sought to kill Jesus, first for healing a man on the Sabbath (and thus “working,” vv. 1-16) and second for “blasphemy” by calling God his Father, thus making himself equal with God (vv. 17-18). Jesus did not deny being God! In fact, he spoke more to support that truth in verses 19-23. Jesus then teaches that as God in the flesh (“the Son of God”) he is sinner’s only hope of eternal life (vv. 24-26) and is their future judge (vv. 27-29).

Jesus does not stop talking about his equality with God the Father. Jesus does exactly as the Father directs him (v. 30). His testimony is consistent with all other testimony (v. 31), namely, John the Baptist (vv. 33-35), Jesus’ works (v. 36), and the Father himself (vv. 37-38).

Despite such truth and testimony Jesus said the Jews, despite their in-depth knowledge of the Scriptures (v. 39) they did not believe because out of their hatred of God, believing others, and disbelief in his Word they chose not to (vv. 40-47).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Jesus of Nazareth is the eternal God in the flesh. Despite many insisting Jesus never called himself God, Jesus’ own words in this chapter indisputably demonstrate this. Indeed, the Jews knew exactly what Jesus was saying! (v. 18)
  2. Unbelievers are entirely responsible for their unbelief. This may seem obvious, but human tendency is to shift the blame to someone else. Jesus gets to the root issues of unbelief here: hatred of God and an unwillingness to repent and trust in Christ.
  3. The Bible says that Jesus is God. The Bible is God’s Word, what God himself said. God is perfect, so his Word, the Bible is perfect, without error. And Jesus said that the Scriptures testify of him. The problem is never with the Bible, and always with unbelievers (vv. 39, 47).

John 4

Jesus’ travel through Samaria, contact with a Samaritan, and a Samaritan woman were amazing because “Jews have no dealings with Samaritans” (v. 9). Jesus, however, “needed to go through Samaria” (v. 4). This event shows that every person, regardless of background, culture, religion, or gender is lost and needs salvation found only in Jesus Christ. Listen and learn from Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman! He pointed her to salvation in him (vv. 7-14) and called her to repent of her sins and wrong beliefs (vv. 15-26). Watch the effects of her testimony in others (vv. 39-42)!

Jesus then returned to Galilee (vv. 43-45). The word of Jesus’ turning the water into wine had so spread throughout the region that people viewed Jesus as a miracle worker. Such individuals did not believe in Jesus for who he was but for what he did. The nobleman (a government official) and all in his home however did believe in Jesus for who he was—the Christ the Son of God (vv. 49-54).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Faithful gospel ministry involves teaching the necessity of faith in Christ and repentance from sin and wrong worship. The Samaritan woman’s faith was wrong (v. 22)
  2. True worship is the believer’s right response to God’s truth (“worship in spirit and in truth”). Jesus did not say the Samaritan’s woman’s worship was a non-essential issue of personal preference but wrong doctrine! Worship does matter; Who is worshiped must control how one worships. Worship isn’t about an amazing experience, that makes the focus of worship oneself, not God!

True saving faith does not rest on “Jesus/God proving himself to you” but on who Jesus is. The signs and miracles Jesus did were mere stamps of approval on who Jesus was and what he taught. Do you believe in Jesus? What is the basis of your faith? What does your faith rest on?

John 3

John the apostle, the author of this gospel, included Jesus’ nighttime meeting with the Pharisee Nicodemus (vv. 1-21) to show that one must be born again and believe in Jesus to have eternal life. Nicodemus assumed he would be in the coming kingdom because he was a law-keeping Jew, but Jesus corrected his wrong assumption. Merely being religious, doing good things, and knowing a lot of truth isn’t enough. One’s sins must be forgiven (“born of water,” v. 5; cf. Ezek 36:25) and receive spiritual life (“born of the Spirit,” v. 5; cf. Ezek 36:26-27).

As the news about Jesus began to spread John the Baptist’s disciples grew jealous (vv. 22-26). John the Baptist reminded them that (1) God showed them grace thought they didn’t deserve it (v. 27); (2) they heard him say he wasn’t the Christ but pointed all to him (vv. 28-29); (3) he cared only for God’s glory, not his own reputation (v. 30). John the Baptist then indisputably declared Jesus to be God (v. 31), the One who speaks God’s truth (vv. 32-34), the Ruler over all things (v. 35), the Source and Giver of salvation (v. 36).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. The new birth—regeneration—is the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit known only by its effects (vv. 8). Unless God the Holy Spirit gives new spiritual life to the spiritually dead they will stay dead in trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1-5). Those to whom God gives spiritual life immediately believe in Christ (Acts 16:14).
  2. Sinners must believe in Jesus to be saved from death. There is an eternity’s difference between belief and unbelief (vv. 18-21). Unbelievers are already condemned (v. 18b), love sin (“darkness,” v. 9), and thus hate and will not believe in Christ (“come to the light,” v. 20). What is your response to who Jesus is?
  3. Serving the Lord is always about his glory, never self-glory or even self-preservation. John the Baptist would eventually be put to death. Beware the temptation to focus on “our” efforts—they should be Christ’s efforts!

John 2

Jesus’ first miracle was transforming water into wine at a wedding in Cana of Galilee (vv. 1-12). This was the first of seven miracles that John the apostle and author wrote about (Jesus did many more such works, see 21:25). John described this miracle as a “sign,” resulting in Jesus’ disciples believing him to be who he said he was (v. 11).

The Passover was a time when Israel remembered their deliverance from Egypt (Exod 12) and was one of three festivals Jews annually attended (Lev 23). While in Jerusalem Jesus forcibly removed those who turned the temple from a place of prayer and praise into an abusive and lucrative business (vv. 13-22). Though many “believed” in Jesus (v. 23), Jesus did not accept every profession as genuine (vv. 24-25).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Miracles are supernatural acts of God that infrequently occurred in biblical history. Miracles served as supporting signs of God’s messengers and their message, verifying such were truly from him. Jesus’ miracles were not an end in themselves but were evidence that his message was true.
  2. The institutions and ordinances God ordains must serve God’s purposes. Believers have a responsibility to guard them against sinful twisting and perverting for whatever purpose.
  3. There is such a thing as false faith, and Jesus knows true from false believers (vv. 23-25). John’s gospel will detail what true faith looks like.

John 1

Each gospel has a specific reason it was written. John states his reason in 20:31, that readers would “believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you would have life in his name.” Thus the overall theme of John’s gospel is who Jesus is. True faith has biblical knowledge that must be understood, welcomed, and completely relied on (this is what faith is). John accomplishes his purpose by pointing to Jesus’ public ministry over three years (chapters 1-12), his private ministry to the disciples on one night (chapters 13-17), and his suffering, death, resurrection, and ministry to his followers (chapters 18-22).

John begins by declaring that Jesus is the Word made flesh (vv. 1-18). The eternal Son created everything and everyone. Though when he became a man very few believed in him, whoever did became God’s child. John then told of John the Baptist’s ministry (vv. 19-34), how he faithfully testified that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God (vv. 29, 34). The last part of this introduction to Jesus focuses on early followers of Jesus who believed him to be the Christ, the Son of God, the King of Israel (vv. 35-51).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Only those who believe, welcome, and receive Jesus as the promised Messiah, the eternal Son of God made flesh, become children of God (v. 12). Many say that “all are God’s children” and then conclude that everyone will go to heaven, but this is a lie.
  2. The only way the Father can truly be known is through Jesus Christ (v. 18). Only the eternal Son has been with the Father forever (v. 1). Only the Son is of the same essence as God the Father (v. 1). Thus only the Son can make the Father truly known (v. 18).
  3. Jesus’ identity is firmly based in the Old Testament. The OT said a descendant of David would come and rule Israel, a King (2 Sam 7:16). This is what Nathaniel was thinking of when he said, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” (John 1:49).

2 Thessalonians 3

The third and last concern Paul wrote the Thessalonians about was the report that some of them weren’t working (vv. 6-18). Jesus as the Head of the church instructed his church in Thessalonica and every other church since then through Paul and the other apostles and prophets (Eph 2:20). What is said here in 2 Thessalonians 3 and the rest of the NT is Jesus’ will for his churches.

If a professing believer’s life is not in line with Christian truth (“walks disorderly…tradition,” v. 6), the church must discipline him by withdrawing fellowship and not keeping company with him so that he will be ashamed of his sin and repent of such (vv. 6, 14; cf. Matt 18:15-17).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Prayer is essential for unbelievers to hear and believe the gospel message (v. 1). Christian, our confidence for “success” in gospel ministry must never lie with external things but always with God’s gracious power (cf. 1 Cor 2:1-5).
  2. Christians and churches must not have working fellowship with Christian brothers and ministries who flagrantly disobey Christian truth (vv. 6, 14). This is required for church members; it is therefore also true for churches, Christian ministries, and the like.
  3. Always depend on the Lord for every blessing and help. The Lord is faithful to establish and guard believers (v. 3), direct hearts into his love and patience (v. 5), give peace in every way (v. 16), and grant his grace (v. 18).

2 Thessalonians 2

2 Thessalonians 2

Someone had falsely written the Thessalonian church in Paul’s name that the Day of the Lord  (DOL) had come (v. 2). Paul told the church to remember what he told them when he was with them (v. 5); they should thus view the letter as a harmful forgery.

The Thessalonians were afraid the persecutions they were experiencing were tell-tale signs that the DOL had come. The DOL is the future period that will consist of God’s judgment on unbelievers followed by blessing in the Kingdom. Here Paul teaches them that (1) before the DOL they would be gathered together to Christ (v. 1; cf. 1 Thess 4:16-18); (2) the “Restrainer” (the Holy Spirit in the church) of the “mystery of lawlessness” (the Antichrist) would be removed when they were gathered to Christ (vv. 6-7); (3) then the Antichrist would be revealed, beginning the DOL (vv. 3-4, 8-10); and (4) God’s judgment would fall on all who follow the Antichrist (vv. 1-12).

The Thessalonians were to remember that their salvation through Christ enables them to look forward to Christ’s return, not dread it (vv. 13-15).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Being unfamiliar with basic Christian truth (such as the end times!) makes one easy prey for error and lies that unsettle the soul. Christian, learn God’s truth and stand fast in it! (v. 15)
  2. The Holy Spirit currently works through the church to hold back the power and effects of sin in society. Look where there are few true Christians and there will be rampant sin and corruption. Christian, the aim is not to reform society but to proclaim Christ! When God saves souls then society is changed!
  3. The basis of God’s judgment is always unbelief (v. 10).

2 Thessalonians 1

2 Thessalonians 1

Paul wrote this second letter to the Thessalonian church a month or two after his first, as he had received another concerning report about them. The church continued to experience severe persecution (1:1-12), someone impersonating Paul wrote a letter to them saying the Day of the Lord had come (2:1-17), and some of the Christians there were not working (3:6-18). Paul thus sought to encourage them and correct these problems.

The Thessalonian church must continue enduring persecution as faithful Christians should (vv. 3-4). Though evil men caused Christians to suffer, believers must remember that when Jesus returns God will judge the wicked with vengeance and everlasting destruction and be glorified in his saints (vv. 5-10). Paul thus prayed they would so endure so that Jesus would be glorified in them on that day (vv. 11-12).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Christian virtues such as faith, love, and patience never depend on circumstances but must always be present and growing (vv. 3-4).
  2. In this life it is normal for Christians to suffer for their faith (v. 5b; cf. Phil 1:29; 2 Tim 3:12). Christian, do not live for or expect unending ease and comfort in this life; that will not happen until Christ establishes his kingdom (v. 5b)!
  3. God sees, knows, and will righteously judge the wicked. Christian, you must not take vengeance now but leave that to the Lord (Rom 12:19).
  4. God gave promises for his saints, and Christians must pray for God to fulfill those (vv. 11-12). Paul had just said what God’s will was for them (v. 10) and then he immediately prayed for that very thing (vv. 11-12)! God uses prayer to accomplish his purposes. Do you know God’s will, plan, and promises as given in the Bible? Are you praying for your brothers and sisters according to God’s Word?

1 Thessalonians 4

1 Thessalonians 4

Having addressed issues affecting the Thessalonians’ relationship with Paul in chapters 2-3, Paul now deals with several problems they had. Chapter four looks at three problems: sexual purity (vv. 1-8), their conduct with each other and the outside world (vv. 9-12), and the state of Christians who died (vv. 13-18).

God’s clear will for Christians is sexual purity (vv. 1-8). Christians must be controlled by Jesus’ commands (vv. 1-3); this means they must control their bodies with honor and holiness (v. 4), not passionate lust (v. 5). Why? Because God called Christians to be holy, not to be impure (v. 7).

Christians must love one another (vv. 9-10), working hard in their homes and at their jobs so their needs will be met and they will have a good testimony to unbelievers (vv. 11-12).

Evidently some Thessalonian Christians were concerned about the eternal state of Christians who died before Jesus came (v. 13). They so anticipated Christ’s return they never thought about Christians dying before then! Paul teaches that when Jesus returns to the clouds Christians who died will be raised from the dead, and then living Christians will be “caught up” (the Latin word for this phrase is rapturo, so this is often called the “rapture”) with their resurrected brethren to meet the Lord in the air (vv. 16-17).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Jesus wants Christians to continually grow more like him by obeying his commands (vv. 1-2, 10). Note, Jesus is pleased when Christians obey his commands. That’s why Jesus gave such! It is sad that some professing Christians downplay “commands” and “obedience.” Jesus didn’t! To be sure, no one is saved because they obey, but no one is saved who doesn’t obey.
  2. Christ’s coming to the clouds to gather his church to himself (the “rapture”) can and will happen at any moment (vv. 13-18). Jesus didn’t give this truth to cause divisions in churches! Jesus didn’t put this in the Bible to ignore it or treat it as unimportant! Jesus gave this truth to encourage godly living and give godly comfort (v. 18).
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