Examining the Gospel of John: How we can apply John’s views to the church today

In evangelism, the book of John is quite often used to engage the unbeliever and to introduce the deity of Christ. John, is a book focused on what theologists term Christology. For this reason I have chosen to begin my studies with an examination of his gospel. To introduce the subject of John, I am including here a brief summary of the major Johannine themes. These include: God, the Christ, salvation, the Spirit, the new covenant community, and last things. The book of John presents each of these and they all continue to be relevant to the modern Bible student.

The gospel according to John is unique in that it presents Jesus as the Lamb of God, who is sent to take away the sins of the world, and God the Father, as responsible for His missionary assignment. Throughout his book, the emphasis is on faith, and belief in Jesus Christ as not only the Messiah but also the only path to the Father and heaven. The purpose of His coming was in order that the logos would become flesh and the nature of God might be revealed to both the Jew and Gentile. As both Divine and human, Jesus qualified as the sinless, substitutionary atonement (between God and man) necessary to appease God’s wrath. His death on the cross offers salvation to everyone who believes and comes to Him by faith. This is made possible by the convicting work of the Holy Spirit, and His ministry of indwelling, teaching, guiding, witnessing, and convicting men of sin. Once sealed by the Holy Spirit, believers become part of a loving, unified community, or living organism, mobilized to fulfill the Great Commission. [1] John stresses the importance of born again believers proclaiming that the kingdom of God has come and eternal life is given to those who repent of their sins. The fulfillment of the promise of everlasting life or eternal judgment (described in John’s gospel) will occur when Jesus Christ returns.

Like the disciples before us, Believers today are commissioned by Christ to boldly declare the certainty of a sinner’s forgiveness (by the Father) because of His atoning sacrifice of His Son on the cross. Once an unbeliever repents and believes the gospel, he or she has assurance of everlasting life; sadly the opposite is also true and those who do not repent perish to an eternity separated from God, in Hell. Jesus stressed His Deity and John recorded the proof of His claims. John’s gospel was written in order that the Way to the Father might be made known because the fatal, unforgivable, and eternal sin is failure to believe in Him as Messiah and God incarnate. Dr. Elmer Towns writes in his book titled, Gospel of John: Believe and live, “By using this title of God, Jesus was claiming a unique relationship with God. The Jews understood this to be a claim to be equal with God in nature.”[2] This very important fact is denied by every religion in the world. Therefore, evangelism by church members must include an apologetic approach in order to prove through the use of scripture and secular historians the Deity/Messiahship of Jesus Christ.

Towns, Elmer. The Gospel of John: Believe and Live . Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers , 1990.

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