That you might Believe- An overview of John

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An introductory sermon on the Gospel of John. An overview of the purpose of the book of John



We are about to begin a brand new study through the gospel of John.
But before we dive deep into the text I want us to look at the book as a whole.
Our goal (today)
To see the gospel of John in its entirety.
To understand the truths the apostle John intended for his original audience to glean
To embrace why this book is still so important for us today.
The gospel of John is one of the simplest books of the Bible to understand .
This is why so many people begin their bible study in this book.
In fact we as a church use a four part Bible study called the John Studies.
These consist of 4 Bible studies that are all based in the book of John.
Transition: So who is author of the gospel of John?


One of the most undisputed authorships in the Bible is the gospel Gospel of John, Even though John never mentions himself by name in the book.
the fourth gospel was written by John the Apostle, son of Zebedee and brother of James. It is believed that this gospel was written toward the end of his life between 90–100 a.d.. John 1:1
John was one of the twelve disciples, In fact he was one of the first 4 called by Jesus to publically follow hIm.
Although John never mentions his own name in his writings he always refers to himself as the beloved disciple - the disciple loved by Jesus.
We see examples of this in
John 12:23 “Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved” .
(John 19:26 “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”
So Why does John not mention himself by name?
I believe that John explains his reasoning for not including his own name in the book is John 3:30 “He must increase, but I must decrease.””
John wants the name of Jesus Alone to be exalted
John is so in love with Jesus that He wants to make sure this book is all about Jesus and nothing about himself.
And so when it comes to the author of the gospel of John- It is written by some one who loved Jesus, by someone who walked with Jesus, by someone who was an eye witness to the ministry of Jesus and by someone who gave his entire life to serve Jesus.
and this is why John in his final note to the reader says in (John 21:24 “This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.”
Transition: Because we can trust the author we can trust the message of the offer
So what was Johns purpose for writing his gospel?

The Purpose of The Gospel of John

Illustration: Term Paper Thesis
How many of you have ever written a Research paper in college?
When I was in college I had to write dozens of research papers.
at Bible College I wrote papers about Theology, about doctrine, about Culture, and about Christian living
at Iowa State I wrote papers on the history of America, on the Government , and on Scientific discoveries.
The one thing that always had to be clear -no matter the topic- was the thesis of my paper-
What point am I trying to prove?
What is the purpose of my paper?
The apostle John Makes his thesis very clear in the gospel.
Usually the thesis statement is at the end of the very first paragraph, but John waits until the end of his book to give the reader the clear purpose statement of his book.
Look with me at John 20:30-31 “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
John’s Thesis statement , His Purpose in writing this gospel is 2 fold
For the reader to To Believe in the deity of Jesus Christ
Which means to believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God
For the Reader to To Gain eternal Life with God.
Which means to live in Heaven forever with God.
Transition ; and this brings us the overarching theme of the book John

The Theme of the Gospel of John

John accomplished this purpose in His gospel by giving us the proof that Jesus is who He claims to be and that belief in Him is the only way to gain eternal life.
The over arcing theme of the gospel of John can be summarized in one word “Believe.”
In Fact John uses this verb Believe 98 times in this book to emphesis His thesis, which is more than the other 3 gospels combined.
The other common words used in the book are Jesus, the Father, Life, Love, the world, Golory, Recieve, and Eternal.
These are nto just overused words in the book of John but they are the words of the the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The theme of the Book of John is the gospel that brings salvation
John spent 3 years at Jesus’s side watching and participation in His earthly ministry,. He heard Jesus’s stories, He listened to Jesus’ sermons, he watched Jesus perform many miracles, He listened to Jesus pray, and he was there during Jesus’S final days before his death. but John tells us that he didn’t include all of theses accounts in this book.
he chose certain ones that what would help us believe that Jesus is who He claimed to be.

The Central Character of the Gospel of John:

John doesn’t waste any time in introducing the central character of His story. . In chapter one John begins to build the case that the gospel is all about Jesus. and that he alone has the authority to bring salvation to mankind.
John 1:1-6 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John wants to make sure the reader understands from the beginng that Jesus is the central theme of this book.
and for the rest of the 21 chapters - this book is all about Jesus and the proof that He is God.
The Central Character of the Gospel of John is Jesus Christ the Son of God
Elmer towns in his commentary on John Describes the centrality of Jesus through this book by showing the reader that Jesus is central to every chapter in this bool
(we see )Christ as the Word of God
Christ as the creator God
Christ as the Savior
Christ as the water of life
Christ as Deity
Christ as the Bread of Life
Christ as the Heavenly One
Christ as the light in Darkness
Christ as the light of the Word
Christ as the Good Shepherd
Christ as the resurrection and Life
Christ as the Center of Attraction of all history
Christ as the Servant
Christ as the coming One
Christ as the Vine
Christ as the Preeminent One
Christ as the Intercessor
Christ as the Faithful One
Christ as the Lamb of God
Christ as the Victorious One
Christ as the Risen Savior
When it comes to the gospel of John -we need to understand it is all about Jesus.
The central character in the gospel of John is Jesus Christ the Son of God.

The 8 witness of Christ’s deity in this gospel of John.

Transition: John so eloquently gives us a chronological story of the ministry of Christ, in fact he covers 3 years of Jesus ministry on earth in this book, but like we mentioned before His purpose was ”to include only those things that would help us to believe in Jesus
Through out the book John builds a case that Jesus is who he claims to be so that the ready can come to the conclusion that what He says must be truth.
Illustration: Court room- Witnesses prove the case.-
How many of you have every had to do jury duty?
I have have been summoned for jury duty 4 times in my life, in 3 different counties
1st time I was in story county and was a student at ISU.
I was selected to sit on a jury and the first day we showed up they told us the case was settled and sent us home
2nd time I was in Polk county and the same thing happened the case was settled after 1 day of trial.
the 3rd time I was selected again on polk county for jury duty
(joke- I dont know what Im doing wrong but apparently Im not passionate enough about anything to not get selected)
this time however the case went to trial,
it was a case of fraud- the DHS was suing a lady for spending her grandmas money before her grandma was put into a nursing home.
for 2 days the prosecuting attorney put one person after another n the stand to try and prove her point as to why these people committed fraud.
When she was done- the defense attorney did the same thing. He put person after person on the stand to be a witness for the defendant
some witness gave an eye witness account to what they saw and heard
others were character witnesses about the defendant
others gave expert testimony to prove the defendants guilt or innocents
In the end I people we had to listen to 9 people who gave testimony of what they believed to be truth,
the point is this- because we as the jury could hear these 9 different testimonies we were able to come to a unanimous decision together about what was truth.
There is something about our human nature that we want to see proof before we fully commit to believing anything.
The apostle John understands our human nature to want to see the proof that Jesus is who he claims to be.
and so Built into the story line of John’s Gospel we can see 8 witnesses of Christ’s deity.
witnesses that prove Jesus is who he claims to be.
lets look at these 8 witnesses.
The testimony of John the Baptist .
John 1:32-34 “And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him[Jesus]. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
John the Baptist was a prophet sent to prophecy of the coming Messiah and He bore witness that Jesus was that Messiah.
The testimony of the Disciples.
John 15:27And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.
The testimony of Moses.
John 5:46 “For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for He wrote of me.”
The Old Testament prophets wrote about Jesus and testified about His coming
In fact Jesus fulfilled all of the OT Messianic prophecies which totaled more than 400.
scientist calculated that The odds of one man fulfilling just 48 of these prophesies would is 1 with 157 zeros behind it.
The point is that Jesus did the impossible and fulfilled all of the prophesies and the testimony of moses and the other OT prophet prove it .
The testimony of The Father.
JOHN 5:37 “And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen,”
The testimony of _the Holy Spirit.
John 15:26 ““But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.
Testimony ofJesus:
in chapter 8 When Jesus is questioned about His deity He Takes it a step farther and says I am not just the Son of God But I AM God.
John 8:58 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the solemn truth, before Abraham came into existence, I am!
( This was a tremendous assertion of Jesus Christ.
Jesus in this one statement is making Himself equal with Old Testament deity.
Every Jew who would hear Jesus Claim to be” I am” would instantly think of Jehovah’s words to Moses in the Old Testament,
Exodus 3:13-14 “Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’ ”
we need to understand that When Jesus Identified himself as “I Am”- He was making the claim that He was Jehovah God - the God of the old testament- and the God of Moses.
and for a man to make this claim would have been the sin of blasphemy in the minds of the Jews who heard Jesus speaking.., this is why we read in John 10 that after Jesus made this claim the crowd immediately picked up stones to kill.
When Christ claimed to be I am , He was saying I Am the self- existent one- Comparable to no other.
Jesus was claiming to be “God manifest in the flesh to mankind.”
So When Christ said, “Before Abraham was I am” he meant: Abraham came into existence at a point in time just like all other human beings, but I exist outside of time, I am without a beginning, and without an ending. I am Alpha and Omega.
8 times John Records Jesus using the name “I am” to reveal His character to the world.
The 8 I Ams of Jesus
I Am the bread of Life (ch. 6)
John 6:35 “Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”
I Am the light of the world (ch. 8)
JOHN 8:12 “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.””
I Am the Door (ch. 10)
JOHN 10:9 “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.”
I Am the good shepherd (ch. 10)
JOHN 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
I Am the resurrection and the Life ( ch. 11)
JOHN 11:25 “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,”
I Am the way the truth and the life (ch. 14)
John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
I Am the vine (ch.15)
John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
I Am….I am (Several times Jesus simply calls himself I am- I am your God)
Transition: Jesus not only claimed to be God with His words but He also did what only God could do. He performed super natural miracles.
the 7th witness of Jesus is the testimony of Jesus Miracles
The testimony of Jesus’s Miracles.
John 10:37-38 “If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”
in this passage Jesus gives us the purpose of miracles
To display God’s power
To prove Jesus’s Deity
To produce faith from unbelief
John uses the greek word Semeia which means A Sign 17 times to emphasize the 8 miracles of Jesus that he recorded in his book.
John chooses to use the word Sign to describe these super natural works of Jesus because he does not want the reader to get caught up in the work itself but to understand the message of the miracle.
Turning water into wine (ch. 2) - This proves Jesus has power of creation
Healing of a nobleman’s son (ch. 4) - Jesus has Power over space
Jesus didn’t have to be present for the miracle to happen- he spoke the words and it was done.
Healing of a lame man (ch. 5) - Jesus has power over time
Scripture says that this man was crippled all of his life- But Jesus healed him instantly.
Feeding of the 5,000 (ch. 6) - Jesus has power over provisions
he took 5 small loaves of bread and 2 fish and with it he fed over 5000 people until they were all full
Jesus has the power to meet all of our physical needs and to provide all that we want.
Walking on water (ch. 6) - Jesus has power over natural law
he broke natural law-he did the imposible- He did what no human being could do He walked on water and did not sink.
Healing the blind man (ch 9) - jesus has power over physical laws
there was no medical help to heal this mans blindness, but jesus had power of this mans body and healed him completely
Raising Lazarus from the dead (ch. 11) -jesus has power over death
the Prophet Samuel said in 1 Samuel 2:6 “The Lord brings death and gives life” CSB
Jesus did what only God can do - he gave life to someone who was dead.
Miraculous catch of fish (ch. 21) Jesus has complete power over all things in life
He had power over nature by providing the fish
he had power over physical law by giving peter the strength to lift the nets full of fish into the boat
Jesus was proving to his disciples that He has all power and there is nothing he can not do including rising from the dead.
These miracles in an of themselves were proof that Jesus possessed divine power. Power only deity could have.
All of these miraculous signs were done so that those who witnessed them would turn from unbelief to belief.
They were a physical witness that Jesus was who he claimed to be, because only God possess this kind of power.
Transition: Finally the last witness John Calls in defense of Christ deity is...
The testimony of Changed Lives
There is no better testimony for Christ deity than from those who experienced Gods grace and love in their life personally through Jesus.
John 4:39 “Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.”
The Samaritan town proclaimed Jesus because they experienced Jesus power in their lives
John 9:38 the blind man after being healed said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.”
The blind man proclaimed Jesus after he experienced Jesus power in His life.
John 12:17 of
the crowd that saw Lazarus come out of the grave Continues to proclaim Jesus because they witnessed his power
Transition: The gospel of John systematically builds the case for Christ’s deity. John beautifully piles on witness after witness to prove Jesus is truly who he claims to be.

THE GOSPEL OF JOHN COMPARED to the Synoptic Gospels

When we compare the gospel of john to the 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke
The gospel of John is special. It is unique from the other’s in that It presents Christ as the eternal Son of God.
Matthew – a Jewish tax collector -wrote primarily for the Jewish audience. and he Presents Christ, as the king, of the Jews. the awaited Messiah , the promised heir to the throne of Son of David.
Mark – wrote primarily for Roman readers. He Presents Christ as The servant of God. He focuses in on the ministry of Jesus meeting peoples needs.
Luke – wrote primarily for the greeks and He presents Christ as the Perfect Man. And as physician himself, He focuses in on Christ’s compassionate humanity.
John – presents Christ as The Son of God the heavenly eternal Son who came to earth in all of His glory and power. and when John wrote this book his intended audience was the world.
we see this in
John 1:10 “He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.”
John 3:16 ““For God so loved the world, .”
Matthew, Mark, and Luke are called the synoptic gospels because they record many of the same stories, often in a similar sequence of time with one another.
They set forth the The Human relationship of Jesus Christ to others; while the Gospel of John sets forth His Spiritual Relationship to those who have accepted Him as Savior..
The Synoptics give the ministry of Christ in Galilee. John records the ministry of Christ in Judea.
The Synoptics record about one year of Christ’s earthly ministry but John gives details from over three years of His ministry.
The Synoptics, for the most part, gives a record of Christ’s deeds; John gives a record of His Words. (878 verses – 419 contain the words of our Lord).
The Synoptics give a record of Christ’s Humanity; the Gospel of John gives a record of His Deity.


John’s Thesis for His book is summed up in one word. BELIEVE
Our contemporary American culture is all about belief right now - we hear it over and over and over again on the radio on the television and on social media.
- Our culture is trying to convince us that it doesn't matter what or who you believe in, as long as you believe in Belief.
As long as a person has faith in something their life will be better off.
the want us to believe that there are many ways for fulfillment in this life
there are many ways to get right with God in this life
there are many ways for you to gain eternal life in this life.
The gospel of John doesn't teach us to just believe in something . John is describing a belief that is so much deeper than just believing in belief. Johns teaching on belief is infinitely more life changing than any modern, pop culture philosophy of today.
If you want to gain eternal life You must ask yourself 3 questions that the gospel of John will so elequently answer for you,
What do I need to believe?
What does it mean to truly believe?
What do i do in order to believe?
Over the next few weeks we as a church are going to see Jesus Christ the Son of God- in all his glory, in all of his perfection and in all of his deity.
We are embarking on journey together that will be saturated with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
John’s purpose in writing this gospel is that YOU MAY BELIEVE
that after you read the evidence in his book, you will see the proof that Jesus is the Son of God So that you might believe in His name so that through this belief you will gain eternal life.
John 3:16 ““For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Don' fall into the lies of this world. don’t just believe in belief- the Bible is so clear there is only one way to heaven and that is through belief in Jesus Christ.
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