Orwell Bible Church

John 11

This is last miracle John recorded providing needed truth so that sinners would believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Christ, the Son of God (20:20-31). John has said that Jesus is the water of life (4:14), the bread of life (6:35), the light of life (8:12), and here that Jesus as the life gives life (11:25-26).

Sickness and death are the effects and judgment of sin everyone experiences because everyone has sinned (cf. Rom 3:23; 6:23). While Lazarus—a true believer in the Lord—was going to die, God would be glorified through it (vv. 1-6). When Jesus determined to go to Judea the disciples were alarmed because of what might happen to him (vv. 7-10), but Jesus would go to raise Lazarus from the dead so that they would believe in him (vv. 11-16).

Upon arriving, Jesus encouraged Lazarus’ sisters Martha and Mary that whoever believes in him would not experience eternal death (vv. 25-26). Jesus’ life-giving authority over death and the grave is graphically portrayed here by his commands, “take away the stone” (v. 39) and “Lazarus, come forth!” (v. 43). Lazarus—the man dead and buried for four days—was literally raised from the dead by Jesus! Only God can raise the dead, and this miracle shows Jesus to be God.

Despite this indisputable miracle Jews who were eyewitnesses determined not only to kill Jesus but Lazarus (vv. 45-57; 12:9-11)!

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Sickness and death bring a whirlpool of emotions so Christians must rely on Jesus, the unchanging Savior and God. He not only is unaffected by sin and death, he defeated them!
  2. Jesus as the God-man experienced and expressed genuine sorrow because of his deep love for Lazarus. It is not sinful to sorrow; deep feeling is not something to be ashamed of. True sympathy is Christ-like. Being cold, stoic, and unmoved in the sight of sorrow is no sign of grace.
  3. Jesus is affected by your infirmities and troubles. Christian, in troubled times pour your heart out to him; he knows what you go through and truly cares.
  4. The peace of your soul and life after death depends on definite faith in Jesus Christ. This must be settled in your mind, grasped tightly in your heart, and relied on entirely with your will. You must believe, welcome, and submissively trust in no one and nothing less than Jesus the eternal God.
  5. Christian, when you lie down in the grave you can do so in the full assurance that you will rise again. You can thus face death with soul comfort, free from any worry or fear.

John 10

After Jesus healed the man born blind (chap. 9) the religious leaders removed the healed man from their synagogue because he believed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God (9:34). After Jesus told the religious leaders they were blinded to spiritual truth (9:39-41) he then told them the truths in chapter ten. Jesus contrasted himself with who they werein their “ministry,” making it very clear they were not true shepherds.

Jesus shepherds the sheep while false teachers steal them (vv. 1-6). Jesus saves the sheep while false teachers kill them (vv. 7-10). While false teachers only serve as “shepherds” for money (vv. 11-13) Jesus as the “Good Shepherd” died for the sheep, intimately knows them (vv. 14-15), and gathers them (vv. 16-18). Though some listening were open to what Jesus said, the false religious leaders responded by calling Jesus a demon-possessed crazy man (vv. 19-21).

Three months later at a feast there was another conflict between Jesus and the religious leaders (vv. 22-39). Jesus told them that they rejected him because of their sin (vv. 25-26) while believers follow Jesus because he and the Father save them (vv. 27-30). The Jews then wanted to kill Jesus, because by calling God his Father he made himself equal with God (vv. 31-33). Jesus relied on Scripture’s authority (vv. 34-36) and pointed them to his person and works (vv. 37-38), maintaining that he indeed was God in the flesh.

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Beware of those who say they care about you but only care about your money!
  2. When Jesus saves sinners and brings them into his care no one can threaten or remove them. Some like to say that no one can take them out of God’s hands but they can take themselves out. This fails to recognize the figure of speech Jesus uses: “hand” represents God’s power, and God is all-powerful. For someone to say they can thwart or undo God’s power is to say they’re more powerful than God!
  3. There is no greater authority than the Word of God. Jesus relied on Scripture, you must too!

John 9

This event occurred on a Sabbath (v. 14) while Jesus was still in Jerusalem, probably shortly after the Feast of Tabernacles (7:2, 10), less than six months before his crucifixion. The apostle John describes an indisputable miracle Jesus did, healing a man who was born blind. Remember that John recorded select miracles proving that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God, the Christ and King of Israel promised in the OT (20:30-31). This miracle—giving sight to the blind—was right in line with the promised Christ’s work (cf. Isa 35:5; 42:7).

John contrasts the Pharisees’ spiritual blindness with the healed blind man’s spiritual sight in verses 10-41. Note how the healed blind man’s understanding of who Jesus was grew: first he understood Jesus as simply “a man” (v. 11), then “a prophet” (v. 17), then one “from God,” (v. 33), and finally as the Son of God (vv. 35-38). In contrast were the Pharisees, who firmly believed Jesus was not from God (v. 16), not the Christ (v. 22), a sinner (v. 24), and not from heaven (v. 30).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Jesus’ power to heal was because he was God in the flesh, not because mud and water somehow had healing properties. The man born blind did not attribute his healing to the mud and water but to Jesus (v. 30, “He has opened my eyes”). His sight was immediately, not gradually restored. Jesus is God, the promised Christ!
  2. As your understanding grows about who Jesus so will your faith. The more you learn about Jesus, the greater your faith will be.
  3. Jesus came to save sinners, giving spiritual sight to the spiritually blind (vv. 39-41). Eternal life must be received by faith, so if one does not believe, then he remains lost in sin and judged by Christ.

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 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).
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