Monday, April 14, 2014

Book Reviews: And He Dwelt Among Us

And He Dwelt Among Us: Teachings From the Gospel of John. A.W. Tozer. 2009. Regal. 224 pages. [Source: Bought]

A.W. Tozer is one of my favorite writers. He's not a favorite because I agree with him theologically 100% of the time. He's a favorite because he was a man--a preacher, a writer--who loved God zealously, passionately. His love of Christ, his desire to glorify Christ, is seen in his writings, in his sermons. This is a collection of sermons from the gospel of John--my favorite gospel. I knew it would be a great book!

Chapter titles:

  • God Has Put Everlasting Into Our Souls (John 1:1)
  • A Time Before Time Began (John 1:3-5)
  • The Beauteous World As Made By Him (John 1:10)
  • The Tragic Side of Christ Becoming Flesh (John 1:11)
  • The Mystery of the Word Made Flesh (John 1:14)
  • The Old Testament Messiah Versus The New Testament Christ (John 1:29-37)
  • What Really Matters to God? (John 3:16)
  • The Personal Application of Christ's Coming Into the World (John 3:17)
  • Perfect Harmony and Unity in the Trinity (John 5:19)
  • The Eternal Christ Is Both Judge and Savior (John 5:22-29)
  • The Wonder and Mystery of the Eternal Christ Identifying with Man (John 6:1-13)
  • Living Victoriously in Two Kingdoms (John 5:24)
  • The Importance of a Proper Concept of God (John 14:7-11)

I absolutely loved, loved, loved this one. It would be a great introduction to Tozer's work.

Favorite quotes:
Any kind of sin will damn any man that does not get free from it by the blood of the Lamb.
John uses some very simple words: “He was,” “in Him was,” “He was with,” “He was God,” “He was in.” Although these are very simple words, they are the root of theology and the root of all truth.
The story of pity and mercy and redeeming love are all here in two words: “He came.” All the pity that God is capable of feeling, all the mercy that He is capable of showing and all the redeeming grace that He could pour out of His heart are at least suggested here in two simple words: “He came.”
This world we buy, sell, kick around, lord over and take by force of arms—this world is Christ’s world; He made it and He owns it all.
Here we have the “Light of the world,” the very Son of God, and we cannot get up enough steam or enthusiasm even to keep from looking bored when we talk about Him.
It must always be kept in mind that what God thinks about a man is more important than what a man thinks about himself.
It was what Jesus was that made Him the glorious person that John writes about. His glory lay in the fact that He was perfect in a loveless world; He was purity in an impure world; He was meekness in a harsh and quarrelsome world. Everything that the world was, Christ was the exact opposite. That was what made Him glorious. “We beheld his glory” referred to the deathless devotion of Christ and His patient suffering and unquenchable life, and the grace and truth at work in Him. He was the glory of the only begotten Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. That was what made Jesus wonderful. That was His glory among men.
It is hard to find anything to compare with this 25-word text. [John 3:16] To me it is as a diamond expertly cut by craftsmen. In order for a diamond to be made, it must crystallize under tremendous pressure. It does not take much for me to put this text in that category. This text has come under the tremendous pressure of the triune God to such a point that it has been crystallized into a shining diamond of truth. A truth so powerful that its brilliance dazzles the believing heart.
I can restate this phrase by simply saying it means I mean something to God. Once that phrase is stated, nothing more needs to be said. That sums up in compressed, pressurized fashion the whole intent of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation.
When you read, “God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world” (John 3:17), think in personal terms. The cross is not mentioned in John 3:17, and the cross is not mentioned in John 3:16. We sometimes imagine that we have to open our mouths and in one great big sentence say all the theology there is to say. God is not so squeamish. He says it all somewhere in the Book, and the cross stands out like a great, bright, shining pillar in the middle of the Scriptures. Without that cross on which the Savior died there could be no Scripture, no revelation, no redemption. But He did not say anything about the cross here. He simply said He sent His Son and He gave His Son—those two words, “sent” and “gave.” He gave His Son, He sent His Son. Later the text develops the truth that in giving His Son, He gave Him to die on the cross; but He did not say so here.
Single yourself out, not somebody else, but you. Jesus Christ came not to condemn you but to save you, knowing your name, knowing all about you, knowing your weight right now, knowing your age, knowing what you do, knowing where you live, knowing what you ate for supper and what you will eat for breakfast, where you will sleep tonight, how much your clothing cost, who your parents were. He knows you individually as though there were not another person in the entire world. He died for you as certainly as if you had been the only lost one. He knows the worst about you and is the One who loves you the most.
God knows that the most mature of us still need coddling sometimes, and so He is quick to overlook our ignorance, but He is never quick to overlook our sins.
You come to Jesus Christ as you are, weary and worn and sad. Come to Jesus Christ as you are, sinful and tired and without self-confidence, knowing that you cannot live it, and knowing that, you come anyway. Hear the words of Jesus and believe on the Father and the Son. Trust the words of Jesus, that is, believe on Him, and God will give you eternal life and promise you that you will never come into judgment or condemnation.
God has given Him authority to judge mankind so that He is both the judge and the Savior of man. That makes me both love Him and fear Him; love Him because He is my Savior, and fear Him because He is my judge. Unfortunately, the ten-cent-store Jesus being preached now by many men is not the Jesus that will come to judge the world. This plastic, painted Christ who has no spine and no justice, but is a soft and pliant friend to everybody, if He is the only Christ, then we might as well close our books, bar our doors and make a bakery or garage out of our church buildings. The popular Christ being preached now is not the Christ of God nor the Christ of the Bible nor the Christ we must deal with finally. For the Christ that we deal with has eyes as a flame of fire. And His feet are like burnished brass; and out of His mouth cometh a sharp two-edged sword (see Rev. 1:14-16). He will be the judge of humanity. You can leave your loved ones in His hands knowing that He Himself suffered, knowing that He knows all, no mistakes can be made, there can be no miscarriage of justice, because He knows all that can be known. It was said one time as an afterthought that Jesus need not that any should testify of man, for He knew what was in man. “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (John 5:28-29). This coming out of the grave will be at the invitation of the Son of God Himself. Like an army file officer, He will command and they will stand on their feet, a great army to receive judgment, and the judgment will be based strangely enough upon the kind of life they lived in this world. That is another forgotten doctrine, but it is here. They that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. And this is the judge of all. Jesus Christ our Lord, the judge with the flaming eyes, is the one with whom we must deal. We cannot escape it. They can shrug Him off and drive away in a cloud of fumes, but everyone must come back and deal with Him finally. Be sure of one thing, He will either be Savior now or judge then. And the tenderness and sympathy of the Savior now will be laid aside while the justice and severity of the judge comes to the front. Without canceling out one, He will exercise both. So that Jesus Christ is both the Lord and the judge of men as well as the Savior of men.
Which is He going to be for you: Savior or Judge? He will be one or the other. If He is the first, He will not be the second. But if He is not the Savior, He will be the Judge. I, for my part, cannot afford to face Him as my Judge. I must have His protecting blood and face Him as my Savior now. He knows too much about me for me to brazenly barge into His presence and let Him judge me.
It is not what a church believes that matters so much as what that church believes enough to emphasize. It is not what a preacher will admit theologically when you pin him down and make him talk; it is what he believes with sufficient urgency to make it a living, constant part of his message.
The horrible travesty we have in America today is Christianity without holiness. If you say you accept Jesus, and then go raise hell, you have not accepted Jesus at all. You are a deceived man. You are no better off than if you had never heard of God. The very first qualities of Christianity are holiness, purity, right living, right thinking and right longing. But we have a Christianity today that has no holiness in it. The Son of God was a holy Son. The Father is the holy Father in heaven. And the Holy Ghost is the Holy Ghost. Our Bible is the Holy Bible, and the Church is called the holy Church. Heaven is a holy heaven, and the angels are holy angels. Therefore, we ought to take seriously the biblical doctrine of spirituality and holiness.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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