Understanding the Gospel of John

The Gospel of John is a treasure for students of the New Testament. It can fill our days and sustain us for many years. Yet, we must develop an appreciation for what the author is trying to accomplish.

Matthew, Mark and Luke were edifying their readers and bringing souls to Jesus. However, false doctrines about Christ were arising and needed to be addressed.

Who better to do so than the man who was probably the closest to Jesus among all those on earth? (John 13:23-25). Continue reading “Understanding the Gospel of John”

Do these two things ever distract you?

“I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” (Luke 4:43)

There are numerous things that vie for our attention in this digital age. Computers, smart phones, tablets, social media apps – they all ring, bleep, notify, chime and alarm us of the next seemingly important thing. Much of the time, it is just social candy that distracts us from more nourishing things in life.

This is also true spiritually. We can easily become distracted from our mission and purpose as Christians, if we’re not careful. Here are a couple of things that can distract us: Continue reading “Do these two things ever distract you?”

Two sermons, two very different reactions

We will guard our hearts no matter what happens. We will rationalize or pretend whatever is necessary to bring our lives into some kind of equilibrium. It’s the human way.

While we hear with our ears, we interpret the data through our hearts and minds. That is the real battlefield in terms of the gospel.

We find an excellent example in Acts where two similar messages evoked diametrically opposed reactions. Continue reading “Two sermons, two very different reactions”

Political activism can distract us from the Christian mission

Niccolo Machiavelli said, “Politics have no relation to morals.” Sadly, this is sometimes true of those who passionately follow politics. Losing our focus on spiritual principles, we live in an adversarial world of anger and myth.

Our passion becomes our overriding force and everything is filtered through it. Seeing the world through political lenses rather than the spiritual can distort our understanding of God’s word and endanger us spiritually. Continue reading “Political activism can distract us from the Christian mission”

How dare we take the gospel to those people!

God instructed Peter to carry the gospel to the Gentiles and the members of the household of Cornelius were immersed into Christ (Acts 10; 2:38).

Despite his obedience and proclamation that God was no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34), Peter continued to struggle with his prejudice (Galatians 2:11-16).

Shortly after Cornelius and his household were added to the Church (cf. Acts 2:47), Christian Jews demanded to know why Peter would do such an abominable thing (Acts 11). Continue reading “How dare we take the gospel to those people!”

Learning is change

We were exploring the implications of Romans 15:4 and I asked the question, “What is learning?” One of the young women in my Bible class gave this answer: “Learning is change.” It was simply profound.

Several years ago I was listening to an online lecture while doing some painting. The speaker (Jody Apple) gave the most profound summary of the purpose of the Bible I have heard to this day:

“Here’s where you are; here’s where you need to be. Change.” Continue reading “Learning is change”