John’s Gospel: Reflections on John’s Gospel, Part 2 (Morality vs. Following Jesus)

Morality and John

Notice how very little moralizing we find in John. How many do’s and don’t’s are there? How many rules? How many restrictions?

You see, it’s not that God doesn’t care about our morality, but that morality is not the path to pleasing God. We like to think that we’ve been saved so we’ll be good moral people. We then define “good, moral” to mean something like “doesn’t hurt other people intentionally.” And that misses the point.

It’s not entirely wrong, but it’s certainly not right because there’s a world full of people who try not to intentionally hurt others — and who are damned. Indeed, by defining the purpose of salvation as making us good, moral people, we cheapen the cross — so much so that many people figure they’re already good and moral and so have no need for Christianity, Christ, and the cross. Continue reading

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John’s Gospel: Reflections on John’s Gospel, Part 1 (Saved by Faith, Without Apology)

Wow! It’s been so much fun working through John these last few months. I’m not used to sticking with one subject for so long, but I’ve found the study intensely rewarding.

There’s clearly something special about John. The comments and page views for John have held up much, much better than for other textual studies I’ve done.

(I suspect it’s the appeal of the book’s central character.) Continue reading

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John’s Gospel: Reflections on Chapter 21

Chapter 21 has a definite tacked-on feeling to it. There’s the restoration of Peter. There’s a refutation of a rumor about the author. And that’s about it.

The chapter certainly contains the words of Jesus, but it seems more about recording how Jesus restored Peter after his denials and correcting a rumor about how long the author might live. It really is as though the Gospel proper ended at the end of chapter 20 (which reads like the ending), and then the last chapter was added to pick up a couple of issues of concern to the author.

After all, the last two verse of chapter 20 read like the end of a book — Continue reading

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Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes and Leadership Training for Christ

I’ve had two readers contact me in just the last few days, asking my opinion on Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes (LTLL).

And then the Christian Chronicle just ran a story on both LTLL and Leadership Training for Christ (LTC). LTC is an alternative program to LTLL.

I have absolutely no personal experience with either program. My congregation has never been involved with either, nor has the church I grew up in. Continue reading

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John’s Gospel: Chapter 21:18-25 (“Follow me!”)

(John 21:18-19 ESV) 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.”  19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”

According to history, Peter was crucified. He is said to have insisted on being crucified upside down, because he considered himself unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as Jesus. Continue reading

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John’s Gospel: Chapter 21:1-17 (“Feed my lambs”)

(John 21:1 ESV) After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way.

The Sea of Tiberias is usually called the Sea of Galilee. Continue reading

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The Holy Spirit: Why Do So Many Prefer a Spirit Who No Longer Acts? Part 2

I grew up in a Church of Christ that denied the effective personal indwelling of the Spirit.

We accepted those who denied a personal indwelling (“word only”), and we accepted those who believed in a personal indwelling — so long as this indwelling only did “safe” things — such as bringing forgiveness and helping us in our prayers. But nothing more was allowed.

I was in high school from 1968 to ’72 and at Lipscomb from 1972-1975, which was the height of the charismatic movement in the Churches of Christ. Continue reading

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The Holy Spirit: Why Do So Many Prefer a Spirit Who No Longer Acts? Part 1

I get emails —

Thank you for oneinjesus.info; never enough said.

My Bible class is viewing Francis Chan’s Basic Series. Last week’s lesson was on the Holy Spirit.

Soon came the statement of some that the Holy Spirit acts  in / through/ by the Word and not in/ through/ in relation to the person in the physical  plane. Continue reading

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John’s Gospel: Reflections on Chapter 20

We know that the resurrection of Jesus is good news. After all, death is bad news. Resurrection is kind of the opposite of death. Hence: good news!

But Jesus had already raised Lazarus. He’d proven that God could bring the dead back to life. Why did Jesus need to die and be resurrected to defeat death? He’d already beaten death!

Well, Lazarus was resuscitated — restored to life — but would die again. Death was merely postponed, not defeated. Continue reading

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John’s Gospel: Chapter 20:21-31 (“My Lord and my God!”)

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(John 20:21 ESV)  21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”

The disciples were commissioned by Jesus to continue his mission. “Peace be with you” is not merely a polite greeting. Coming from the lips of Jesus, it’s a blessing and a promise of his protection. Continue reading

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