Sermon: Truth, the Foundation of Saving Faith John 21:24-25

Truth, the Foundation of Saving Faith

John 21:24-25

Truth Taught- Believing God’s Word brings eternal life

Introduction

Dr Grudem in his Systematic Theology tells us that saving faith includes three key components: Knowledge, Approval, and Personal Trust.

Knowledge- In order to possess saving faith we must have some level of truth, some level of true knowledge…

Romans 10:14 (ESV)

14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?

Knowledge alone is not saving faith. Along with knowledge must come approval or agreement with this knowledge, however, knowledge and agreement still is not saving faith.
John 3:1–2 (ESV)

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.”

Nicodemus had knowledge and he and the others agreed with it, they knew Jesus had come from God but still Nicodemus still did not possess saving faith. He still lacked the third component, which is Personal Trust.

When Grudem uses the phrase Personal Trust he means that once the evidence is gathered namely, truth that is agreed with then saving faith is seen when that person fully trust Christ based on the knowledge they have, the agreement with it and trust that Christ is everything the Bible tells us He is.

Here’s a definition of what I’m talking about…
Saving Faith is trust in Jesus Christ as a living person for forgiveness of sins and for eternal life with God. [1]
Trust in Christ is more than just believing facts about Him. One can believe facts like 2+2=4 or the capitol of Ohio is Columbus or even that Jesus was a real person who lived 2000 years ago. None of these facts will save a person.

Human Need

Now, what we’ve been given throughout John’s Gospel is more than enough truth that’s been proven by evidence to have the knowledge we need…to be able to agree with the truth presented…and then to fully trust Jesus Christ for our salvation.

John 1:11–13 (ESV)

11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

John 3:16–18 (ESV)

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. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

Father, You have Gathered Your people that You may let us hear Your words, so that we may learn to fear You all the days that we live on the earth, and that we may also teach our children…amen

John 21:24–25 (ESV)

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.

25 Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

As we consider this truth that John is claiming for all he has written, I think in order to close out the Book of John properly we must think through the key verses that He gave us back in…

John 20:30–31 (ESV)

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 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.

So, in the closing verses we see John tells us that much more could have been written. In John 21:25 the final verse of the book he tells us that in his estimation probably with a little hyperbole thrown it writes that the entire would could not contain everything that could have been written concerning all Jesus did and taught. This if we look to 20:30…Jesus did many other things not written in this book. Since this is true, namely, much more could have been written why did John write what he wrote.
In order to close out the Gospel of John, I’d like to walk through pieces of it and review and perhaps even discover the reason John wrote what he wrote and how certain portions really give us insight and understanding as to why these things were included and others not.

Because John’s purpose in writing is to help us believe all the truths about Jesus we must first look at WHAT we are to believe?

  1. What We Should Believe

What is the substance of our belief? We cannot just believe but rather we must believe something. So what does John tell us we must believe?

He gives us two things we must believe in John 20:31

31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God

  1. We should believe Jesus is the Christ
    The word Χριστός (Christos), translated as both Messiahand Christ, occurs 19 times in the Gospel of John. ^[1]^. The word is first used in the prologue (1:17). Messiah was an OT expectation held by most observant Jews, so there is particular significance that the first time that Jesus is called the Messiah is where John contrasts Jesus and the Law of Moses.

John 1:14–17 (ESV)

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Throughout the gospel, many people discuss whether Jesus is the Messiah, and the discussions form part of the structure of the first half of John. Early in the gospel, John declares that he (John the Baptist) is not the Messiah, but that he is preparing the way (1:20-23). He says it again later, in context to Jesus’ ministry eclipsing his, and clearly indicates that Jesus was the Messiah whom he was preparing the way for (3:26-30). John pointed his disciples towards Jesus very early in the gospel, and they also believed that he was the Messiah (1:41, 49). By chapter 4, people outside of the circle of disciples were beginning to suspect that Jesus was the Messiah. Significantly, the first was a Samaritan woman (4:29). After the feeding of the 5000, the Galileans attempt to make Jesus King through force, which is a clear reference to the kingly expectations of the Messiah (6:15). Chapter 7 contains an extended discussion amongst the crowds in Jerusalem about Jesus, and the focal point is whether he is the Messiah. Many of the people believe that he is, and others believe that he is not (7:41-44). In the raising of Lazarus – which is a critical point in the Gospel – Mary declares that Jesus is the Messiah (11:27).[2]

John also writes so we see that not only is Jesus the Messiah but that He is also the Son of God.

  1. We should believe Jesus is the Son of God

Jesus calls himself the Son of Man 11 times in John’s gospel. The title is most likely a reference to Daniel 7:13-14, in which Daniel describes one of his apocalyptic visions.
Daniel 7:13–14 (ESV)
13 “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. 14 And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.
This Son of Man figure was part of the Jewish expectations for the new age and the redemption of God’s people that is foretold by the Old Testament. Many Jews expected the son of man to be the Messiah. As Daniel says, he is to be the ruler of God’s future eternal kingdom (see Son of Man article for more detail). By calling himself the Son of Man, Jesus is claiming to be God’s future King who would rule forever. This title is important in the eschatology of this Gospel, as it is a key clue that God’s future Kingdom was being created through Jesus.
The passages where Jesus calls himself the Son of Man teach key themes of John. The Son of Man in Daniel is given authority to rule over the world. Jesus states that God has given him authority to judge at the Resurrection because he is the Son of Man (5:27). He also has the ability to give life to those who “eat his flesh and drink his blood” (John 6:27, 53). Jesus then calls the man healed from blindness to have faith in the Son of Man, whom he clearly says is himself (John 9:35-37).
Son of God
From the beginning of His ministry, Jesus was surrounded by people who recognized His unique status . John the Baptist saw the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus at His baptism and heard the voice from heaven, as did everyone present, declaring Jesus, the One on who the Spirit descended to be the Son of God (john 1:34). When Nathaniel met Jesus he was surprised by Jesus’ omniscience and declared Him to be the Son of God (John 1:49).
We quote John 3:16 many times and discover contained within it the declaration that God sent His only Son.
In John 3:13, Jesus states that he descended from heaven, and in John 6:62 he states that he will return there. In John 3:13-15, after stating that he has come from heaven, Jesus continues saying that he will be “lifted up” so that those who believe in him will have eternal life. He does not elaborate on what “lifted up” means at the time, but this is a clear reference to his crucifixion. In John 8:28, Jesus says that this will be proof of his claims about himself. In his last public speech, Jesus announces that the time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified – by which he means his death and resurrection. By being glorified in this way, he also glorifies God (John 13:31).
John 5:19–29 (ESV)

19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. 22 For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.
Son of Man and Son of God both point us to Jesus’ deity. We must believe the fact that Jesus is God the Son.
John tells us then, that to be given eternal life we must receive Jesus by believing in His name which John goes on to explain that believing in His name is believing that He is the Messiah King and the Son of God.

  1. Why We Should Believe

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God

John specifically recorded signs so we would believe. These miraculous pointers are given as evidence to back up the claims of Jesus. Jesus taught a great truth then substantiated that truth with a miracle that only God could do. As Jesus did these signs He was proving who He was (God the Son) and the fact that God the Father had sent Him and has given Him His full endorsement.

The first sign recorded in John was the “water into wine” event in Cana.

John 2:1–12 (ESV)

On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

12 After this he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers and his disciples, and they stayed there for a few days.

The first sign occurred at a wedding in Cana. This sign transpired because the hosts of the wedding feast ran out of wine (v. 3). Bloomberg notes that ―inability to provide for the festivities would have caused the host of the holiday party acute social embarrassment and shame. The wedding party’s running out of wine may be seen as symbolizing the spiritual barrenness of first century Judaism, especially against an OT background that viewed wine (but never drunkenness) as a sign of joy and God’s blessing (Psa. 104:15; Prov. 3:10; Matt. 26:29). The main thrust of the

event has nothing to do with what was the makeup of the wine (alcoholic or not), but rather the Messiah’s kingdom being manifested. Wine/wedding celebrations in the O.T. were a picture of the Messianic era had come (Isa. 54:4-8; 62:4-5; Jer. 31:12-13; Hos. 2:14-23; Amos 9:13-14). Jesus is bringing the wine of the new age, a joy that transcends and replaces the old ―water of Jewish ritual. Verse 11 says this sign ―manifested his glory. This miracle showed the glory of Jesus as the sovereign Creator and ruler of the material universe and also as the merciful God who provides abundantly for his people’s needs.[3]

John gives proof after proof through seven signs or miracles that point to Jesus being the Messiah, Son of God.

He gives us documented first hand evidence. He was there and witnessed all he writes to us in John.
1 John 1:1–4 (ESV)

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

Do you see the firsthand evidence? John says I’ve touched Him, seen Him, heard Him. And I know beyond any doubt that there is eternal life in Him.

Many unbelievers today question the validity of these miracles…did they really happen? We see all along the way that the issue wasn’t whether or not they took place, because there were hundreds of witnesses. Even Jesus’ archenemies, the Pharisees and the rulers of the Jews never denied the validity of the signs.

John 12:17–19 (ESV)

17 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. 18 The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.”

Conclusion…

John offered a sufficient witness to divine truth in this Gospel.  There are those people who spend their lives trying to find the so-called ‘lost sayings of Jesus’ or to explain the ‘hidden years of Jesus’.  John assures us that “…there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books which were written.”  In other words, the Bible is a miracle of brevity in light of its divine subject!  The world could have been filled with page after page of material explaining, declaring, and illuminating us on our great Redeemer.  But John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, was selective.  What he wrote was enough–enough for you and me to understand the simple gospel truth that leads to eternal life.
As you read and hear the Gospel of John, you are either condemned because you have rejected the Christ of this gospel; or you are humbled that such a mighty God would condescend to men of low degree to accomplish your redemption through Christ. There’s hope for sinners living under the weight of condemnation:  flee to Jesus Christ.  He bore the load of your guilt before the judgment of God.  If He sets you free, you are free indeed.[4]

 

[1] Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem page 710

[2] https://www.theopedia.com/messiah-in-the-gospel-of-john

[3] https://austind90.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/jesus_-seven-messianic-signs.pdf

[4] http://archive.southwoodsbc.org/sermons/john_21.24-25.php

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