Monday, November 23, 2015

DVD Review: Doctrines of Grace in the Gospel of John

The Doctrines of Grace in John. Steven Lawson. 2011. Ligonier. Twelve 23-Minute Messages. [Source: Borrowed from Friend]

Watching this made me GIDDY. Why???? Two or three reasons come to mind. First. It's a teaching series focused on the gospel of John. Second. DOCTRINES OF GRACE. I haven't always been Reformed, in fact, I was raised in a denomination where the idea that we didn't have free will--in the matter of salvation--would have been seen as outrageously ridiculous. But as an adult, as I've read the Bible--the whole Bible--for myself I've come to embrace the doctrines of grace. Embrace may not be a strong enough term though!!! For in the doctrines of grace are hidden--or not so hidden--reasons to REJOICE. Third. Steve Lawson. I haven't watched him before, but, I am a big fan of his books.

So how excited was I to watch The Doctrines of Grace in John?! Well, I watched all twelve messages--and took notes, of course--all in one day!!! We "walk" at least four, or maybe five, times through the gospel of John. One "walk through the gospel" is focusing on Radical Depravity, for example. The next "walk" might focus on "Sovereign Election." The next on "Definite Atonement," etc. I love how he looks at specific verses and passages and discusses them at length. He lets the Bible do the talking and persuading!!!! Yes, he mainly stays in John. But he does reference other books of the Bible.

Here are just a handful of verses discussed throughout the series!
The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:9-13, ESV
Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3, ESV
If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” John 3:12-21, ESV
The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. John 3:35, 36, ESV
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:37-40, ESV
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. John 6:44-47, ESV
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” John 6:63-65, ESV
The twelve messages:

  • Laying the Foundation
  • Radical Depravity, Part 1
  • Radical Depravity, Part 2
  • Sovereign Election, Part 1
  • Sovereign Election, Part 2
  • Definite Atonement, Part 1
  • Definite Atonement, Part 2
  • Irresistible Call, Part 1  
  • Irresistible Call, Part 2
  • Preserving Grace, Part 1
  • Preserving Grace, Part 2
  • This Changes Everything!

From "Laying The Foundation"

  • Jesus had more to say about the sovereignty of God in salvation than anyone else in the Bible
  • John has a dual focus. One "track" is the free offer of the gospel in an evangelical manner. "The arms of Christ are wide open as we read the gospel of John." Human responsibility. The second "track" is the sovereignty of God in salvation. We need to, "put our arms around the entire Bible." 
  • Introduces the subject of the doctrines of grace: Radical Depravity, Sovereign Election, Definite Atonement, Irresistible Call, Preserving Grace. All 5 stand or fall together. There is organic unity within the 5. All elevate God and humble man.

From "Radical Depravity" parts one and two

  • Once set in place you're begging for sovereign election
  • Radical = comprehensive; it effects the whole person: the mind, the emotion, the will
  • Nine points that show where we once were and where he found us, that show the natural state of man without the Spirit, without God: 1) Spiritual Ignorance (John 1:9-11, 13) 2) Spiritual Blindness (John 3:3) 3) Spiritual Hatred (John 3:19-20) 4) Spiritual Defiance (John 3:36) 5) Spiritual Death (John 5:25, Colossians 2:13, Ephesians 2:5) 6) Spiritual Inability (John 6:44, 65, 66) 7) Spiritual Slavery (John 8:34) 8) Spiritual Bondage (John 8:44) 9) Spiritual Deafness (John 8:43, 47)
  • "What can a dead man do?" "Stink!" 
  • Do you see what a miracle it is that we are saved? Should we not be grateful? 

From "Sovereign Election" parts one and two

  • How can anyone be saved? "BUT GOD" 
  • "God's choice is the root. Our choice is the fruit. God's choice is the cause. Our choice is the effect."
  • I believe, there are seven points in these lectures. He wasn't as good at mentioning numbers this time!
  • They are: Divine Choice: John 1:12-13; Loving Choice: John 6:37-39; Previous Choice: John 10:1-3; Distinguishing Choice: John 13:18, Romans 8:29; Purposing Choice: John 15:16; Saving Choice: John 15:19; Sovereign Choice: John 17:1-2, 6, 9, 24. 
  • This shows not only his love for us, but, also love for His Son.
  • This is your testimony and story--"but he called them by name"
  • God has never learned anything.
  • None of us want what is fair. What is fair is that we all suffer in hell forever.

From "Definite Atonement" parts one and two

  • Sometimes called Particular Redemption
  • Heart of the doctrines of grace is the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ for sinners. Middle of the 5 Points. Heart of what we believe.
  • Asks two questions: 1) For whom did Jesus die? 2) What did he accomplish in that saving death? The answer to the second question will answer the first. Intent and Extent.
  • "Not one drop of his blood was shed in vain. All for whom He died for he saved. It was a triumphant death, a glorious death. He did not shed his blood in defeat. All for whom he died upon that cross he purchased their salvation. He secured their redemption. Jesus in his death did not merely make people savable." 
  • Jesus fulfilled the very purpose for which He came into this world.
  • It was a real atonement (John 1:29); a specific atonement (John 3:14, 15, 16); an exact atonement (John 6:37-39); an exclusive atonement (John 10:11, 15, 17, 18, 30; John 11:49-52; John 12:32-33; John 15:13); a priestly atonement (John 17); and a triumphant atonement (John 19:30)
  • John 10 is the Lord's own commentary on his own death
  • Those for whom he prayed (in John 17) are those for whom he died on the cross and those for whom he continues to make intercession for in heaven right now
  • The word world is used ten different ways in the gospel of John

From "Irresistible Call" parts one and two

  • "Regeneration is the life of God in the soul of man."
  • I didn't catch the official names of all the points in this lecture. But I did get all the Scripture references. John 1:12, 13; John 3:3, 5, 8; John 5:24, 25; John 6:37, 44; John 10:1,2, 3, 4,5.
  • The greek work translated "draw" means dragging, hauling, or towing. 
  • At the same time he's drawing us, he's giving us a new heart. 
  • It is not believe and then be born again; it is be born again and then believe.
  • Imparting life to the dead.
  • "To come to Christ is to be resurrected."
  • God gives the gift of repentance. God gives the gift of faith. "Repentance" and "faith" are not something that we can work up ourselves. They do not come from within. They are gifts. It has to be granted to us to believe. 

From "Preserving Grace, parts 1 and 2"

  • Also called "Eternal Security"
  • This is the truth that makes the doctrines of grace so sweet.
  • John 3:15. John 3:36. Eternal Life. Have in present tense. Not will have. Eternal life begins the moment you believe in Christ. "Eternal life" used 17 times in John. First time in John 3:15. It has to do with both quality and duration. 
  • John 3:16. Never Perish. "What part of "not perish" do we not understand? 
  • John 4:14 Never thirst. 
  • John 5:24. Never condemned
  • John 6:39, 40, 44, 54,  Never Lost
  • John 6:51 Live Forever
  • John 10:27, 28, 29, Forever Secure
  • John 11:25-26 Never Die
  • John 14:16, 17 Never Abandon
  • John 17 "All roads lead to John 17" "This prayer will always be answered

From "This Changes Everything"

  • His testimony of how he came to believe/embrace the doctrines of grace; his background, etc.
  • 9 reasons why he feels believing the doctrines of grace changes EVERYTHING. I agree with all of them. 
  • "There is no greater comfort or no greater peace on your deathbed than those found in the doctrines of grace."
  • "These are not just truths to live by but truths to die by."

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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