Thursday, September 17, 2020

73. John 1-10 (Thru the Bible #38)

Thru the Bible #38: John 1-10. J. Vernon McGee. 1995. 180 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: It is generally assumed that the Gospel of John is easy to understand. Often you hear the cliche, “The Gospel of John is the simple gospel.” And the simplicity of the language has deceived a great many folk.

I am reading the Bible in 2020 using the daily M'Cheyne (Robert Murray M'Cheyne) plan. I thought it would add a layer of substance to in addition to the four chapters a day, to also read commentaries for those chapters. For that I am using Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible. But the plan goes through the New Testament (and Psalms, I believe) twice. So now that I've finished Henry's commentary for the New Testament, I am tackling the New Testament commentary section of J. Vernon McGee's series.

This is not my first time reading J. Vernon McGee. I've read probably twenty or so of his commentaries. (Most recently his volume on 1 Corinthians.) I honestly can't recall if I've read his volume on the Gospel of John before. 

Overall, I like his laidback, casual, straightforward, tell it like it is approach to teaching Scripture. There is something so grounded and down to earth about him. Each reader is "his" friend. It's hard not to feel like he is a friend too.

One of the things that I love about McGee's commentaries is that he just speaks timeless truths. He almost always leaves me thinking!!! IF I was reading this in a traditional book format, I would probably find myself underlining, putting stars, putting exclamation points, and a couple of AMENS. (With only a few question marks or zahs thrown in.)

  • We will never grow spiritually by singing “O Little Town of Bethlehem” umpteen times at Christmas. John won’t take us to Bethlehem because he wants you and me to grow as believers.
  • John takes us down the silent corridors of eternity, through the vast emptiness of space, to a beginning that is not a beginning at all. “In the beginning was the Word” (John 1:1).
  • The Christian who has come to a knowledge of Christ and faith in Him doesn’t need to have the Virgin Birth gone over again; he already believes that. Therefore, when he comes to the Gospel of John, he finds sheer delight and joy unspeakable as he reads and studies it.
  • The Gospel of John is for those who already believe. When you come to chapters thirteen through seventeen you can write a sign over it, For Believers Only and you could put under that, All Others Stay Out. I don’t think that section was ever meant for an unbeliever.
  • Man does not know God; man is in rebellion against God; man is in sin that blinds him to God. In the Lord Jesus Christ there is life, and the life that He gives is the light of men. In fact, His life is the only thing that can kindle light in the heart of an individual. An unregenerate man has no spiritual life within him. This is the reason that when you present to him Jesus Christ, he says, “I don’t get it. I don’t understand that at all.”
  • A great many people do not seem to recognize that unbelief and atheism go naturally with the natural man.
  • Obviously atheism precludes the possibility of being Christian, yet unbelief has moved into our seminaries and pulpits across the land. The world does not know Him.
  • Some people treat the church and the cause of Christ as something so cheap that at times it becomes necessary to sound an alarm.
  • There are two things that we need to note here. One is that we must be born again. The other is that the Son of Man must be lifted up. They are related. It takes the death of Christ and the resurrection of Christ—He must be lifted up. Since He has been lifted up, since He bore our penalty, the Spirit of God can regenerate us. And we must be born again—that is the only way God can receive us.
  • It doesn’t say that God’s love saved the world, because the love of God could never save a sinner. God does not save by love, friends. God saves by grace! “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8–9).
  • But God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever (you can write your name in here and I can write mine) believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Notice that with the word believe is the little preposition in which means to believe in Christ. That is, we trust Him as the One who bore the penalty for our sins. This is a personal thing. We must each believe that He died in our place and in our stead. My friend, you must believe that He died for you.
  • The world is lost. You and I live in a lost world, and we’ll not wait until the final judgment to see that we are lost. Our position is something like a man who is in prison being asked whether or not he will accept a pardon. That is the gospel. It is not telling a man that he is on trial. He is already condemned. He is already in prison waiting for execution. But the gospel tells him a pardon is offered to him.
  • You can influence someone that no preacher can reach. In fact, nobody else can reach that individual but you. You have that influence over that individual. Be very sure that you bring him face to face with Christ.
  • Although I don’t find Him on every page, I believe He is on every page of the Pentateuch. He says, “Moses … wrote of me.” I think He is on every page of the Bible.
  • Friend, the mission of Jesus was not to restore our physical bodies. He wants to be Lord of our hearts.
  • Man has always felt that if he could just work at it, he could be saved. Man feels thoroughly capable of working out his own salvation. He feels competent to do it, and he feels that God must accept his works.
  • There is a theological argument that rages today on election or free will. There are some people who put all their eggs in the basket of election. There are others who put all their eggs in the basket of free will. I’m not proposing to reconcile the two because I have discovered that I cannot.
  • Election and free will are both in this verse. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me” states a truth, and that is election. But wait a minute! “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” is also true, and “him that cometh to me” is free will. I don’t know how to reconcile them, but they are both true.
  • The Father gives men to Christ, but men have to come. And the ones that come are the ones, apparently, whom the Father gives to Him. You and I are down here, and we don’t see into the machinery of heaven.
  • We have the right to be the judge of others provided we meet the requirement. That requirement is sinlessness. May I say to you, my friend, I don’t know about you, but that takes me out of the stone-throwing business.
  • One is not lost because he is a murderer, or a liar, or a thief, or an adulterer, or because he has borne false witness or committed other sins. A person does these things because he is lost and does not believe in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ forgives sins. He is the Savior. He died for the sins of the whole world. Any person who comes to the Lord Jesus Christ is forgiven.
  • The truth shall make you free. The truth is that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. He is the Truth. First we come to Him as our Savior. Then as we go on with Him, we know by experience that we are free. We are free from the penalty of sin—we don’t need to lie awake at night worrying about going to hell. He doesn’t even ask us to live the Christian life. He asks us to trust Him and let Him live His life through us. When we yield to Him, we are free.
  • It is our responsibility to get out the Word of God, and there our responsibility ends. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to open the heart of the listener and cause him to obey the Word. We should present the Light of the World to people, but the Holy Spirit must open the eyes.
  • It may be true that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but after a man is sick, it’s pretty important to get that pound of cure for him.
  • God has created you and me for His glory. He did not create us that we might try to be a somebody down here. He created us for His glory. If we miss that, we miss the entire purpose of our creation.
  • Unless the Son of God, by means of the Holy Spirit, opens our eyes so that we can see spiritual things, we will remain blind as bats.
  • It is the most wonderful thing in the world to know that, when we give out the Word of God, Jesus is calling His sheep. The Spirit of God is the Porter who does the opening, and the sheep will hear. Our Lord will lead His sheep out of a legal system, perhaps even out of a church where they’re not being fed. They will follow Him. You cannot permanently fool God’s sheep.
  • I believe that you can fool some of God’s people some of the time, but I don’t think you can fool God’s people all the time. For a time, God’s sheep may think they hear Him but eventually discover that it is not His voice. Then they will turn to the teaching of the Word of God because they know their Shepherd.
  • Wherever we find people who are eager for the Word of God, we know they are His sheep.
  • The Lord Jesus Christ has a threefold relationship to this flock which is known as His church. First of all He is the Good Shepherd, and He defines the Good Shepherd in verse 11: “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” Then He is the Great Shepherd, for we read in the magnificent benediction given in Hebrews 13:20: “Now the God of peace, who brought again from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep with the blood of an eternal covenant, even our Lord Jesus, make you perfect in every good thing to do his will …” (ASV). So today He is the Great Shepherd of the sheep, as seen in Psalm 23. But wait, that does not give the total picture. He is also the Chief Shepherd. This speaks of the future.
  • Modern cult leaders actually get rich off the people. In contrast to this, the Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep, and He protects His own.
  • Friend, when He gives to them eternal life, that means they don’t earn it and they don’t work for it. He gives it to them. Note that it is eternal life. It is forever. If it plays out in a week, or in a year, or until they sin, then it is not eternal life after all. They are not really His sheep if the life does not last forever.
  • When I say to you that He gives me eternal life and I shall never perish, you may accuse me of bragging. No, my friend, I am not bragging on myself; I’m bragging about my Shepherd. I have a wonderful Shepherd. He won’t lose any of His sheep. If He starts with one hundred, He will not end with ninety-nine. If one gets lost, He will go out and find it. None will be lost.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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