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Sermon Series on the Gospel of John

(oldest content first)

The Great "I Am" (John 8v39-57)

As opposition to Jesus intensifies, the leading theologians of Jerusalem attempt to discredit Jesus by dismissing him as a heretic and liar.

Jesus responds by declaring that they cannot rely on their religion or race for their salvation. Jesus boldly declares Himself to be Eternal God, the great I Am.

This declaration of divinity demands a decision from those who heard Jesus' words. Could this man truly be God incarnate? Should He be rejected as a blasphemer or worshipped as God? It is a question we all must ask ourselves. 

Jesus, The Great "I Am" - Shane Angland
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The Healing of the man born blind (John 9:1-17)

In this sixth sign recorded by John’s Gospel Jesus heals a man who was blind since birth. The healing provides Jesus the opportunity to remind his disciples not to oversimplify human sickness and suffering without taking into account that God can use all things, even pain and suffering, to bring glory.

In healing the man Jesus testifies to His identity as Messiah and Light of the World. The light of world shines in the midst of darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.

The spiritual blindness of many around Jesus to who He is
reveals their need for Jesus to open their eyes too.

The Healing of the man born blind - (Shane)
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Jesus' Power to Heal (spiritual) Blindness (John 9)

In the second part of Jesus’s sixth sign we see the man who was cured of his blindness finally come to see who Christ really is. This enlightenment to the Gospel through the work of Christ is in stark contrast to the reaction of the religious leaders who continue in their vocal opposition to Jesus.

John’s account presents us with the all important question, can we truly see God for who He is? According to Jesus no-one can see the truth unless God takes away their spiritual blindness.

In fact, it is those who claim enlightenment on their own terms that remain in their blindness.

(Apologies for the abrupt start of the recording!)

Jesus power to heal spirtual blindness - (Shane)
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The Good Shepherd - John 10:1-21

Following the controversy of the healing of the man born blind on the Sabbath Jesus teaches in a parable the meaning of his mission and identity. Jesus is the Door, the only way to salvation.

Many false teachers falsely have claimed to know they way to God, but only the Incarnate Word is the Door. Likewise, Jesus claims to be the Good Shepherd, the archetype saviour and leader of God’s people.

Christ as Door and Shepherd shows us that He is the way to salvation and also the One who leads us in our journey of faith. The reaction of the crowds is to dismiss Jesus as a mad man, a view once shared by His own family.

We can take courage and be comforted knowing that Jesus is the Good Shepherd because Christ will lead us through all things and guide our path.

The Good Shepherd - John 10v1-20 - (Shane)
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The Unity of the Father and the Son (John 10v22-42)

As the public ministry of Jesus ends, the question comes back around to the identity of Jesus.

Is He the long hoped for Messiah?

The religious leaders surround Jesus in the Temple grounds as they attempt to press Him for an answer.  Whereas Jesus’s detractors wished to force Him into claiming to be merely the Son of David,  Jesus replies that He is the Son of God! Accusations of blasphemy follow but Jesus avoids death and challenges his accusers to consider if it is blasphemy to confess the deity of the Son of God who is one with the Father in divine essence.

The Gospel is a work of God and the earthly ministry of Christ is not man making himself god, but of God making Himself man. The Gospel begins with God.

The Unity of the Father and the Son - (Shane)
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God speaks even when He seems silent! (John 11)

The seventh and final sign in the public ministry of Jesus is the Raising of Lazarus. Mary and Martha sent an urgent request for Jesus to come and save their brother who was dying. Instead of returning to Judea to help Lazarus Jesus remained where He was. This decision of Jesus was in order to follow the will of His Father and the subsequent death and resurrection of Lazarus would be for revealing of God’s glory.

We should not suppose that when we, like Mary and Martha, encounter the silence of God that God has abandoned us or turned His back on us. The death of Lazarus was a devastating loss for Mary and Martha and when Jesus did arrive, Lazarus had been dead and buried for four days! Both Mary and Martha ask Jesus why He did not come when they had asked.

Jesus responds by teaching that He is the Resurrection and the Life, and He goes with the sisters to the tomb of Lazarus where He weeps with them. God is not indifferent to our prayers or silent in the face of our pain. In Christ, God has entered into our world to share our pain and ultimately to speak life and hope to us, even in the silence.

God speaks even when He seems silent - (Shane)
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Jesus the True Anointed High Priest (John 11:48ff)

Following the raising to life of Lazarus the Jewish High Priest and religious leaders plot to murder both Jesus and Lazarus. The High Priest Caiaphas considered Jesus a dangerous false prophet and feared that Israel would be led astray by this false Messiah. Jesus, it was decided should be sacrificed in order to save the nation of Israel from the retaliation of Rome.

The Evangelist notes with heavy irony that the plan of Caiaphas was actually a prophesy of the unfolding plan of God. Jesus would indeed be offered up as a sacrifice for sin, but not according to the plan of Caiaphas. Instead this was the plan of God from all eternity, for as John has noted, the Gospel begins with God.

As Passover approached, Jesus arrives outside Jerusalem and is anointed by Mary with expensive perfume. The disingenuous response of Judas is rebuked by Jesus. Mary, whose faith has come through the crisis of chapter 11, now responds in love and devotion to Christ. Again the action had wider implications that Mary could even see and is a prophetic foreshadowing of Christ’s death.

Christ, the true anointed High Priest prepares to offer the final sacrifice of Himself for the sins of the world. Such a High Priest as Christ is the true revelation of God, one with the Father according to the Divine Nature, one with us according to our human nature. He offers intercession for His people.

Jesus the True Anointed High Priest - (Shane)
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The Triumphant Entry (John 12:12-26)

The final Passover in John’s Gospel approaches. The pilgrims gather at Jerusalem and Jesus approaches the city on a lowly donkey.

As the crowds cry out Hosanna in jubilation there is concern among the religious leaders and confusion among the disciples. Jesus here is fulfilling Israel’s longed for Messianic hope.

The anointed one has come to Zion.

Yet the crowds fail to see what is really happening. Not a political revolutionary but the Pascal Lamb who will take away the sin of the world. As Israel’s leaders turn away from Jesus in disbelief, Gentiles come to Him. The hour of the glorification of Jesus is at hand.

But what kind of glory is the cross?

Why does Jesus view his impending death as His glory? The Cross is the glory of God because in it we have victory over death and sin. Just as Jesus followed the road to Calvary in obedience so too must all his disciples.

Every disciple of Christ is called to die to self and embrace Christ as their life. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer so aptly put it,  "When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”

The Triumphant Entry - John 12v12-26 - (Shane)
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The Theology of the Cross (John 12:27-50)

Jesus’ expresses the pain in His soul as the hour of the Crucifixion approaches.

Many followers of Jesus still resist His clear teaching that the Messiah will be crucified!

But how and why would God’s Messiah be killed in such a way?

The heart of this discussion is the theology of the Cross: To believe in the revelation of God in Christ Jesus which points to the Cross as the Glory of God.

The Cross can leave no room for self-glory. The Cross reveals our utter inability to save ourselves through merit or self-righteousness. But crowds that follow Jesus do not believe this, nor can they, blinded to the truth in fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy.

The question remains for us, do we have a Theology of the Cross that centres our confidence and hope not in self but in the perfect and complete wok of God on calvary for us?

The Theology of the Cross - (Shane)
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To Imitate the Master (John 13:12-20)

Following the washing of His disciples’ feet, Jesus asks them if they understand what He has done?

 

The disciples struggle to accept the lowly position that Christ has taken and as the Cross approaches Christ teaches the disciples that His heart for them is to give Himself for them.

The self-sacrificial love of Christ which is manifest on the Cross and anticipated in the washing of the disciples’ feet is also the call for all disciples of Christ to represent this love to others.

 

Christ’s call to imitate Him is a call for those who truly believe in Christ

to fulfil their call to discipleship. 

To imitate the Master - (Shane)
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The Betrayal of Judas (John 13:21-30)

Christ warns the disciples that there is one who sits at the Passover meal that will betray Him.

Despite knowing who will betray Him, Jesus honours Judas at the last supper by offering him a portion of bread. Judas however leaves the meal in order to carry out his betrayal.
 

The Last Supper reminds us of Christ’s love for the lost in His reaching out to Judas. Christ is the supreme High Priest who is touched with the feeling of our infirmities, having experience the human condition Himself.
 

We see at the Last Supper that despite the impending crucifixion,
God’s plan of salvation is not overcome by evil; rather evil is overcome with good.

The Betrayal of Judas - (Shane)
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A New Commandment (John 13:31-38)

This passage is where the church historically celebrated as Maundy Thursday.
Jesus shares with His disciples a “New Commandment”,
that is to love one another as Christ has love them.

In the Latin Bible the phrase “New Commandment” is rendered as mandatum novum.

This commandment to love is only understood in light of the Cross, where God’s love for us is demonstrated. We are reminded that
the love of God for us is undeserved, unearned, and unending.

The love of Christ for His disciples is a love that is not owed to them for their obedience but is rooted in the grace of God. So too our love for one another should be based on God’s free love for us as demonstrated at the Cross. By this love, will all people know that we are disciples of Christ.

John 13:31-38 - A New Commandment - (Shane)
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The Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:1-14)

It is Passover night, the disciples sitting at the table with Christ experience both hope and fear.
Jesus moves to encourage and strengthen their faith in Him

by reminding them that He is going to prepare a place for them.

Thomas asks Christ where it is that He is going and how can they know the way, prompting Jesus to remind Him that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

The lesson for us today, is that Christ is the only Way to reconciliation with God because He is the means of that reconciliation. Christ is the Truth because He illuminates the hearts of His disciples to the reality of who they are and Who God is.

Finally, Christ is the Life, because through faith in Him there is eternal life. The call to faith, is the call to prayer. It is the call to seek to conform our will to God’s by believing in Christ as Saviour.

The Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14) - (Shane)
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The Spirit of Truth, Our Helper (John 14:15-24)

Jesus reminds His disciples that if they love Him they will obey His commandments.

To love Christ is to trust Him at His word and obey Him.

Such love is impossible without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, who Jesus promises His disciples will receive. The indwelling of God in the life of the believer is

the indwelling of the Triune God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Whereas the world cannot see or receive God as He truly is, the one united to Christ by faith

is united to the life of God, and God dwells with them.

The call to obedience, is a reminder that love is the true and real motivating factor for the Christian. Obedience is empowered by the love of God, and this love is only possible because the Holy Spirit indwells the life of the believer. 

The Spirit of Truth, Our Helper (John 14) - (Shane)
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Seeking the Peace of God (John 14:25-31)

Jesus continues to teach the disciples that they will not be left alone when He leaves them. The Holy Spirit will be sent to encourage and bring to mind the teaching of Christ.

Knowing the uncertainty and fear in His disciples this night, Jesus reassures them of His plan for them and that He will leave them His peace.

The Shalom of God is not determined by how we feel, nor by our circumstances. Rather it is rooted in the reality of who God is. The Triune God who saves the lost and restores life anew.

The disciples can take courage that the Peace of God will be won for them when Christ conquers death on the Cross.

We too can enter into the Peace of God, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and faith in the perfect work of Christ for us.

John 14:25-31 Seeking the Peace of God - (Shane)
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The True Vine (John 15:1-11)

As the Passover meal concludes Jesus turns to his remaining 11 disciples to remind them of an important truth: He is the True Vine. Jesus draws from a well know metaphor for Israel found in the OT as the Vine of God.

In contrast to Israel, whom the OT prophets consistently describe as a fruitless and dead vine, Jesus is the True Vine. He alone fulfils the mission of Israel, He alone fulfils and completes the OT law by His obedience to the Father.

The disciples can take courage in their identity as those who are loved by God and are united to Christ through faith. The absolute sufficiency of Christ is highlighted by Jesus’ charge to His disciples that apart from Him they can do nothing.

The Christian life is a life of remaining in the sufficiency of Christ.

The life of faith holds fast to Christ no matter what.

John 15:1-11 - The True Vine - (Shane)
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United in Love (John 15:12)

As the hour of betrayal and Crucifixion approaches, Jesus reminds His disciples of
His central commandment, Love one another.

Love is not the only commandment of God but it is the most important. It encapsulates all others and without it there is no benefit for the Church.

As the people of God, the Church is called to love one another. This includes, but is not limited to, our fellow Christian brothers and sisters. Just as the love of God extended to those who were lost in sin, so too our love must to reach all, both within and outside the Church.

The basis and possibility for such love in the life of the Christian is made possible because of the Cross where God demonstrated His love for us.

This commandment shows us our need for divine grace and the power of the Holy Spirit to love others as Christ has loved us.

United in Love (John 15:12) - (Shane)
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John 15:18-16:4 - The Power to Overcome

As the Last Supper continues Jesus instructs His disciples about the coming persecution.

Jesus reminds them that because the world rejected His message and person, the disciples too will face opposition and even open persecution as they stand with Christ and the Gospel.

Far from disillusionment, Jesus encourages His disciples to remember His word to them and know that the Holy Spirit will be their Helper.

 

Today the Church too faces persecution in different parts of the world, as well as the day to day fiery trials, and the ongoing struggle with sin. We should always remember God’s word to us, that His promises of Grace are sure, and always rely on the Holy Spirit as our helper.

The Power to Overcome (Jn 15v18ff) - (Shane)
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Chosen by God (John 15:12-17)

Jesus reminds His disciples that the love in its highest expression is always self sacrificial.

Christ’s command to His disciples to love one another as He loved them is daunting.

The disciples, like us, were people who frequently failed to love one another. Yet the command of Christ is only possible because of the victory of the Cross and the grace that God promises us.


Jesus reminds us that we did not seek after God, but that God sought after us. God’s love for us is not based on our works of merit but in His sovereign and free decision to choose us.

Christ’s command is simple, profound, and life changing; love one another.

Chosen by God -(John 15:12-17) - (Shane)
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John 15:18-16:4 - The Power to Overcome

As the Last Supper continues Jesus instructs His disciples about the coming persecution.

Jesus reminds them that because the world rejected His message and person, the disciples too will face opposition and even open persecution as they stand with Christ and the Gospel.

Far from disillusionment, Jesus encourages His disciples to remember His word to them and know that the Holy Spirit will be their Helper.

 

Today the Church too faces persecution in different parts of the world, as well as the day to day fiery trials, and the ongoing struggle with sin. We should always remember God’s word to us, that His promises of Grace are sure, and always rely on the Holy Spirit as our helper.

The Power to Overcome (Jn 15v18ff) - (Shane)
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The Work of the Holy Spirit (John 16:4b-15)

Jesus reminds his disciples that, despite what troubles they will face, they will have the Holy Spirit with them to help them. The disciples hear what Jesus is saying, but they don’t believe Jesus’s words of comfort. Instead of looking to Christ and believing in His word, they turn inwards and focus on their own fears and doubts. They fear that Jesus will leave them alone in the world.

However, Christ’s departure will be their blessing because the Holy Spirit will come and lead them into all truth. The challenge for us, is to look to Christ, and believe in His promises. We can be confident that the indwelling Holy Spirit is the source of life of the Christian Church and vital to our daily lives.

The work of the Holy Spirit (Jn 16) - (Shane)
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Sorrow to Joy - John 16:16-24

The disciples failed to understand Jesus’s mission of salvation in light of the Cross. Their view of God had no room for the Cross. As the hour of the crucifixion approached, they wonder what Jesus means when He speaks of His coming departure. The nearness of the coming hour of Christ’s passion and their ignorance concerning its meaning troubles them.

Jesus teaches His disciples that although the sorrow they were about to experience would be intense, it would soon give way to joy. Their real need was not an easy answer as where Jesus was going but rather spiritual preparation to face this uncertainty with joy and confidence in God’s faithfulness.

As Christians we too will go through times of suffering and pain in this fallen world. While our pain is for a short while, our salvation is eternal as it is found in God.

We view life through the power of the Cross and Christ’s victory for us.

Sorrow to Joy - John 16v16-24 - (Shane)
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John 16:25–33 - Christ has Overcome the World

Despite the Apostles' pride in their assumed understanding of Jesus’ mission, they still fail to understand or believe what Jesus intends to accomplish at Calvary. Their understanding of what God is doing still has no room for the Cross.

Christ’s words to His disciples are both a rebuke and an encouragement. He rebukes their pride and reminds them once again that He will stand strong even when they desert Him.

It is the love of the Father that gave Christ to the world to save it from sin and death and it is the faithfulness of God, not mankind (even Apostles), that ensures the Victory of the Cross.

Let us draw strength from the Cross of Christ, as we stand in the victory of Christ over the world.

Jn 16:25–33 Christ has Overcome the World - (Shane)
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John 17:1-5 "Looking to God"

Jesus closes the Last Supper with His disciples with a powerful prayer.

John 17 has been described as the High Priestly Prayer; in it Christ prepares Himself for the coming sacrifice of Calvary where He will offer Himself as the sacrifice for our sin. In addition, Christ prays that the Father will now reveal His glory.

Like other prayers in John’s Gospel this prayer is not simply a private outpouring of the heart but a further revelation of who God is and a lesson for the disciples on the Cross. As Jesus lifts His eyes to heaven, we are reminded on the importance of prayer as our looking unto God and away from ourselves. Martin Luther described sin and unbelief as the movement of the heart inwards towards oneself and away from God and others (Incurvatus in se).

As Christ looked to the Father in His hour of need, so too we should lift our eyes up to God the Father in prayer and look unto Christ.

No matter what circumstances we face in this life, we can look up and know God’s will will be done.

John 17:1-5 "Looking to God" - (Shane)
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John 17:6-10 "The Manifestation of God’s Name"

In this heart-warming, encouraging sermon, Shane shows how Jesus’ claim to have manifested the name of the Father is best understood as Christ’s revelation of the heart of God.

As the prologue to John’s Gospel reminds us: No one has ever seen God. The only one, himself God, who is in closest fellowship with the Father, has made God known (John 1:18).

Christ has revealed to us the very heart of God through His life and mission to the lost.

Christ thanks the Father for his disciples and in this we are encouraged to know that Christ as our High Priest speaks of His Church from the perspective of eternity.

Whereas we often stumble and fall in this world,

Christ sees us as we will be, perfectly reflecting the glory of God.

The Manifestation of God’s Name (Jn 17:6-10) - (Shane)
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John 17:11–19 - "Set Apart for God"

Jesus prays for His disciples that God the Father will keep them in the power of God’s name.

Jesus’s prayer teaches us that the same power that enabled and sustained Jesus in His earthly ministry is the same power that equips, enables and sustains the Christian in their life.

This is the meaning of sanctification, being set apart for God.

Jesus prays that His disciples will be set apart for God as Jesus too set Himself apart for God’s work. Our call to sanctification is a call to remain in the Name of God, that is the power of God, as we are conformed to the image of Christ.

John 17:11–19 Set Apart for God - (Shane)
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John  18:1-11 - "In the Garden"

Jesus crosses the Kidron Valley with the eleven to prepare Himself for His coming betrayal and Crucifixion. As Judas arrives with a band of soldiers Jesus presents Himself to His enemies as the One Who Is, their surprise is palpable. God through Jesus, is ever seeking the lost and reaching out even to those who hate Him. Christ’s commitment and submission to the will of the Father is in stark contrast to the first Adam who likewise was tempted in a garden but chose to exalt his will over the command of God. As we look to Christ, the One who offered Himself as the one true sacrifice for sin we are called to embrace Christ’s work for us and trust God that His ways are perfect.

John 18:1-11 In the Garden - (Shane)
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John 18:12-24 - "Christ Alone"

As Jesus is arrested and taken to the High Priest we are confronted with the ultimate rejection of God. Christ is rejected by His culture, His people, His closest followers, and the religious leaders. As Jesus is questioned by Hannas and Caiaphas, Peter succumbs to the fear and doubt in his heart and denies Christ. Our passage highlights that without Christ man is lost, spiritually blind and in opposition to God. Yet despite this, Christ stood steadfast and spoke the truth. He stood alone. In this we are reminded that it is Christ Alone that is the basis and sure foundation of our salvation.

John 18:12-24 - "Christ Alone" - (Shane)
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John 18:25-32 The Sacred and Secular Rejection of Christ

One of the rallying cries of the Reformation was Solus Christus, or "Only Christ". Christ alone is sufficient for our salvation. It is His work for us that we receive by faith. Solus Christus remains a core expression of Evangelical theology.

In today’s passage we see Christ stand alone while all those around Him deny Him. Peter denies he knows Christ. The Sanhedrin denies that Christ is Messiah, and Pilate denies Christ justice in the secular courts.

In all this we are reminded again that as Christ stood alone, 

He was accomplishing our salvation by standing in our place.

John 18:25-32 The Rejection of Christ - (Shane)
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What is Truth? (John 18:33–38)

Jesus stands before Pilate and is questioned by him. Pilate is incredulous that the man bound before him is actually the true King of the Jews. Pilate, like the Sanhedrin, is blind to the truth of who Christ is. Pilate seeks the way of glory, he is blind to the way of the Cross.

Jesus teaches us here that He alone is the true King of Kings and Truth itself. Our call is to listen to Christ, the voice of truth, and follow in the way of the Cross where we find God’s true will for our lives. The way of Glory seeks for glory in everything that this world values most. It seeks for truth in the outward things of this world and fails to see God’s truth. The way of the Cross, however, seeks the Truth in what God has spoken, definitively through Christ for us.

What is Truth? - (Shane)
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