Thursday, September 17, 2020

74. John 11-21

John 11-21 (Thru the Bible #39) J. Vernon McGee. 1995. 192 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.)

*Note, I would have included the first sentence of *this* section of the gospel of John but I didn't highlight that. I thought the book separated at chapter 13? I don't know why. 

  • Jesus loved Lazarus when he was sick. Not only that, Jesus will let Lazarus die—but He still loves him.
  • The soul never dies, nor does the soul ever sleep.
  • Death is a reality, an awful reality of the body. But, remember, the resurrection is also reality.
  • Many of our churches are turning away from God and the things of God. They are no longer places of delightful fellowship and blessing. So perhaps the church will return to homes where true fellowship with Christ will be found.
  • The glory of God is seen in that cross. That is why He could say that the time had come for Him to be glorified. Friend, He was glorified when He died for you and me. He was glorified when He came forth from that tomb. Mercy and pardon and forgiveness are found at that cross.
  • You haven’t seen Jesus until you have seen that He is the One who died for you on the cross. He is the One who died for the sins of the world.
  • My friend, the most dangerous thing in the world is to hear the gospel and then turn your back on it. If you just go on listening and listening and do not accept it and act upon it, there comes the time when you cannot hear and you cannot see. God is God, and it is He who has the final word.
  • It is more important to know the Word of God than it is to partake of Communion. There is no blessing in Communion apart from a knowledge of the Word of God.
  • Our Lord Jesus came down to this earth, took upon Himself our humanity, and was made in the likeness of a servant. He did all this because He loved us. He could have gone out free, but He died on the cross to provide salvation for us. He did this to establish a wonderful relationship for us and to make it possible for us to have fellowship with Him. He has become a slave because He loves us.
  • It is the Word of God that will keep the believer clean. And when we sin, how are we cleansed? “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Too many people treat sin as a light matter.
  • That is the amazing thing and the most wonderful thing in the world. God loves us! He loves you and me, not because we are worth loving, but He loves us in spite of the fact that we are absolutely, totally depraved. We belong to that kind of human race. If you deny that, look around you.
  • We are going to spend all eternity with Him. For those of us who love Him, the goal of our lives is to come to know Him.
  • The peace He is talking about here is not the peace of sins forgiven. This is the glorious, wonderful peace that comes to the heart of those who are fully yielded to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the peace of heart and mind of those who are in the will of God.
  • In the Old Testament it is prophesied that the Lord Jesus would grow up before Him as a tender plant and as a root out of the dry ground. Think how often the Father intervened to save Jesus from the Devil who wished to slay Him. The Father is the One who cared for the Vine, and He will care for the branches, too.
  • There are tremendous words like propitiation, reconciliation, and redemption that cover particular phases of salvation, but the entire spectrum of salvation is in the phrase “in Christ.” There are only two groups of people: those who are in Christ and those who are not in Christ. How do you get “in Christ”? By the new birth.
  • This passage is directed to believers, to those who are already in Christ. Jesus is not talking about how a person gets saved. He is not actually talking about salvation at all in this passage. Rather, He is talking about fruit-bearing, and that is the next word we wish to mark. Fruit is mentioned six times in the first ten verses. We will find as we go further that there are three degrees of fruitbearing: fruit, more fruit, and much fruit. The whole theme here is fruit-bearing.
  • One of the reasons so many of God’s children get hurt by this method of pruning is that they get so far from God, so far out of fellowship. The closer we are to God, the less it will hurt.
  • The purging is accomplished by the Word of God. The cleansing power of the Word of God is a wonderful thing. We hear so much today about modern wash-day miracles, but I’ve never found them to be as miraculous as the claims made for them. The only true wash-day miracle is the cleansing power of the Word of God.
  • There are light views among believers today that you can live any kind of life so long as you are fundamental in your belief of salvation by the grace of God. Believe me, God uses the Word of God to reveal to us when we are not walking according to His will.
  • I don’t think that you will ever be clean before God if you don’t study the Word of God. I believe that the people who are really dangerous are the ones who are as active as termites in our churches but who are reluctant to study the Word of God. I consider them the most dangerous element against the Word of God and the cause of Christ in this world. My friend, we need to study the Word of God and apply it to our lives.
  • The professing church, instead of taking the position of Christ, has gone out into the world, boasting that they are going to convert the world. They, of course, haven’t done it in over nineteen hundred years. In their attempt they always try to popularize religion, make it very attractive to the world. You will find that today there are churches using all kinds of devices to attract the ungodly. Today music has come down to the level of the world. They say, “We have to do this to win the world.” Who told them they were going to win the world? I’m not talking about liberal churches now—they went off the track years ago—I am talking about fundamental churches. Today fundamental churches are going off the track. In them you will find enemies of the Word of God!
  • Friend, if you stand for the Word of God, you will find that the world won’t love you. You will experience the hatred that Christ experienced. “These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.” He is warning them ahead of time in order to strengthen them and let them know what is coming. He loves them right on through to the very end, and He lets them know that He will be with them and that He understands what they are going through.
  • The Spirit of God wants to present evidence in your heart and in my heart to bring us to a place of conviction, and that, of course, means a place of decision. There must be a conviction before we can turn in faith and trust to Jesus Christ.
  • If you do not trust Him, you are lost. It is just as simple as that. It is just as important as that. This is a decision that every man must make. The man today, whoever he is, if he is rejecting Jesus Christ, is, in the sight of God, the greatest sinner.
  • We cannot stand in God’s presence if we are nothing more than pardoned criminals. Christ has made over to us His righteousness. That is the righteousness Paul spoke of: “… that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith” (Phil. 3:8–9). He not only subtracts our sin, but He adds His righteousness. If we are to have any standing before God, we must be in Christ and He is our righteousness. Either we have as much right in heaven as Christ Himself has, or we have no right there at all. He was delivered for our offenses, and He was raised again for our justification (righteousness).
  • My friend, you are not on trial. God has already declared you a lost sinner, and He has already judged you—“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). We live in a world that has already been judged and is like the man waiting in death row for his execution. The judgment against all of us is “Guilty” because all our own righteousnesses are as filthy rags in the sight of God. If we had to stand before God in our own filthy rags, we would not only be ashamed of ourselves, but we would also see how guilty we are.
  • Notice the seven steps that are here: (1) The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, has come; (2) He will guide you into all truth; (3) He will not speak of Himself; (4) He shall speak whatsoever He shall hear; (5) He will show you things to come; (6) He shall glorify Jesus; and (7) He shall receive of mine and show it unto you.
  • Jesus Christ was made sin for us, friend. There was a rent in the Godhead as well as a rent in the veil. Yet at that very moment, God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself.
  • It is the longest prayer in the Bible, although it would take you only three minutes to read it. I think that is a good indication of the length of public prayers. If you can’t say all you’ve got to say in three minutes, then you’ve got too much to say.
  • This is the prayer which John Knox read over and over in his lifetime. When he was on his deathbed, his wife asked him, “Where do you want me to read?” He replied, “Read where I first put my anchor down, in the seventeenth chapter of John.”
  • Every instrument should be tuned up before it is played. Before you and I begin to pray for others, we need to pray for ourselves. That is not selfishness; it is essential.
  • The church is God’s love gift to Jesus Christ. So He gives eternal life to as many “as thou hast given him.” This brings up the question of election and free will, and I don’t want to go into that extensively. There are extreme Calvinists and extreme Arminians, and the truth is probably somewhere between the two.
  • If God would somehow reveal to me who are the elect ones, I would give the gospel only to them. But God does not do this. He has said that whosoever will may come. That is a legitimate offer to every person. You have no excuse to offer at all if you will not come to Him. It will be your condemnation that you turned down the offer that God has made to you.
  • Does election shut out certain people? No. Life eternal is to know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. Do you have a desire to know the true God and Jesus Christ? Then you are not shut out. You must be one of the elect. He gives eternal life to those who have heard the call and have responded down in their hearts. They have come to Christ of their own free will.
  • Future tense for God is just as accurate as past tense.
  • The reason we know so little about election is because it is God’s side, and there are a lot of things that God knows that we don’t know.
  • Jesus Christ does not pray for the world today. His ministry of intercession is for His own who are in the world. He doesn’t pray for the world; He died for the world. What more could He do for the world? He has sent the Holy Spirit into the world to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Jesus Christ prays for His own.
  • The Word of God causes problems in the world today. The Bible is the most revolutionary Book in the world. It is revolutionary to teach that you cannot save yourself, that only Christ can save you. And you can’t make this world better. Only Jesus Christ can do that. That’s revolutionary, and the world doesn’t want to hear that. They’d rather plant a few flowers and try to clean up pollution. The problem is that the pollution is in the human heart.
  • “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Even in this dark hour when He was yielding Himself as the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world, He revealed His deity—and they fell backwards! He revealed to these men that He was absolutely in charge, and they could not arrest Him without His permission. They didn’t fall forward to worship Him. They fell backward in fear and in absolute dismay.
  • They are seeking Jesus of Nazareth. Well, here He is, but He is the Lord of glory. My friend, whom do you see? Do you know who He is? The unsaved man doesn’t know Him. People may even read the Bible and be very religious and very moral and not see that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Son of the living God.
  • “My kingdom is not of this world.” The preposition is the Greek ek, meaning “out of.” Literally, He said “My kingdom is out of this world.” He is not saying that His kingdom is not going to be on this earth someday, as He is going to rule as King of kings and Lord of lords and “… the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:9). But His kingdom is not going to be of this world system. It will not be a power structure built on politics. It will not come through worldly measures. Jesus will not be elected King by either the Democrats or the Republicans or by the United Nations. It is not going to be built by war and turmoil and hatred and bitterness.
  • From the standpoint of God, the cross is a propitiation. It is the mercy seat where God can extend mercy to you and to me. It is the place where full satisfaction was made, so that a holy, righteous God can reach down and save sinners. The very throne of God, the place of judgment, is transformed into the place of mercy where you and I can find mercy instead of the judgment we deserve. Jesus Christ bore our guilt, and God is satisfied.
  • From the standpoint of the Lord Jesus, it is a sacrifice. He is the Savior, and He makes Himself an offering for sin. He is a sweet-smelling savor to God. It is also an act of obedience for Him. Paul tells us in Philippians 2:8 that he became obedient to death, even the death of the cross.
  • From the standpoint of you and me, believers in Christ Jesus, it was a substitution. He took my place and He took your place. He was the sinless One suffering for the sinner. He was the just One suffering for the unjust. “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Pet. 2:24).
  • From the standpoint of Satan, it was a triumph and also a defeat. It was a triumph for Satan to bruise the heel of the woman’s seed as had been foretold way back in Genesis 3. It was a defeat because the head of Satan is yet to be crushed: “… that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb. 2:14).
  • From the standpoint of the world, the cross is nothing but a brutal murder.
  • There are a great many of us today who read the Bible but still do not know certain scriptures. I believe there are two reasons for this. One is that we may read a passage many times and each time see things in the passage that we have never seen before. The Holy Spirit gives us further light as we study and read the passages over and over again. Also I believe that we must experience some of the scriptures to understand their meaning. The trials and sufferings and experiences of life explain their meaning to us.
  • What is it that forgives sins? Even God cannot just arbitrarily forgive sins. Forgiveness of sins is only and alone through the blood of Jesus Christ. Back in the Old Testament, the forgiveness of sins was based on the fact that Christ would come and die. God saved “on credit” in the Old Testament until Christ would come and pay the penalty. Today God forgives our sins when we believe that Christ died for them.
  • We have the only thing that will bring forgiveness to the world. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ. My friend, what are you doing?
  • “Come and dine”—what an invitation! Jesus did say, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel” (see Mark 16:15), but He would rather you would come and have breakfast with Him before you go. The lovely part is that the resurrected Lord, God Himself, feeds them. If only we would sit today and let Him feed us! He wants to feed His own.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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