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                                        LESSON 1 – GLEANINGS IN GOSPEL OF JOHN BIBLE STUDY

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MAILBOX BIBLE COURSE

LESSON 1:  GLEANINGS IN JOHN BIBLE STUDY

These are devotional thoughts compiled by J. R. Littleproud in a Sunday school manual.

(Please read the allotted portion in Lesson Text carefully)

THE WORD WAS GOD

LESSON TEXT –

John 1:1-18 (KJV) - 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. 15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. 16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. 18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

MEMORY VERSES

Adults = John 1:1-2 (KJV) - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.

Children = John 1:1 (KJV) - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

TRUTH TO BE EMPHASIZED - Jesus Christ was God come in the flesh.

He came to give life to a dying world. As many as received Him, to them He gave the power to become the children of God.

I. JESUS IN ETERNITY

He Is the Eternal Word (John 1:1-2 (KJV) - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.)

As our thoughts are expressed in words, so Jesus as the Word reveals God. But to reveal God He must Himself be God for only God can reveal God.

John’s story begins before the pendulum of time began to swing, before there was anything in existence; in the beginning HE WAS - He had no beginning. He was WITH God - that speaks of fellowship (see John 17:5); He WAS GOD - that declares His Deity; and v.2, His eternal relationship as the Son with the Father.

II.    JESUS IN CREATION

He Is the Great Creator (John 1:3 (KJV) - All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.)

It was as THE WORD that Jesus created all things and it was His word by which they were created. “He spake and it was.” “He commanded, and they were created” (Psalm 148:5 (KJV) - Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created). Also creation is His BOOK: “Day unto day uttereth speech” (Psalm 19:2-4 (KJV) - 2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. 3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. 4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun).

III. JESUS IN HISTORY

He Is Life and Light (John 1:4-5 (KJV) - 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.)

Man as a sinner is in darkness, dead in trespasses and sins, and in the dark as to things spiritual. Light shone into that darkness when Jesus came to reveal God. Jesus was the Light of the world - He dispels the darkness. “In Him was life” - He is the death of death. All live who come to Him as the Light.

IV.     JESUS IN PROPHECY

 He Fulfils Prophecy (John 1:6-8 (KJV) - 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light)

Before Jesus came, John witnessed concerning Him as the One who would come. He was His forerunner. John declared that the shining of the Light would not be for Israel only, as the glory cloud in the holiest was, but it would be for all men

V. JESUS IN REJECTION

He Was Unknown by the World (John 1:9-10 (KJV) - 9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.)

He who created light in the beginning came into His own creation to brighten the darkness, but the darkness remained darkness, for it could not receive the light. Men love darkness more than light. The reason? Because their deeds are evil.

VI. JESUS IN RECEPTION

He Is Received by Faith (John 1:11-13 (KJV) - 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.)

“As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.”

VII. JESUS IN INCARNATION

He Reveals the Father (John 1:14 (KJV) - 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.)

To make known the love of God to man, Jesus was a Man. He came in human flesh – “He pitched His tent among our tents,” to display God’s love, God’s glory, God’s grace and God’s truth. It was like the tabernacle of old. Within the unattractive exterior there was a display of divine glory that only the believer could behold. We behold His glory when we “believe on His name.”

From John 1:12, we learn that to receive Christ is the same as to believe in Him. The word “believe” in John 5:24 (KJV) - Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. is “commit.” To receive Christ is to believe in Him and to commit oneself to Him, like a patient commits himself to a doctor.

John, the brother of James, was one of the three disciples who were close to Jesus. From the Bible we learn little about John’s life after Jesus went back to heaven. We know he was a leader in the church at Jerusalem (Galatians 2:9 (KJV) - And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.). He may have lived there till Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in AD. 70. When that happened all the Christians in Jerusalem were scattered to foreign countries. Reliable writings of early Christians say that John came to live in Ephesus in the latter part of his life. He did not die until about A.D. 100 when he was over 90 years old.

John lived to see false teachers who taught wrong things about who Jesus is. This was very serious, because nobody can be saved who does not believe right things about Jesus. They must believe that Jesus is God’s Son who came to this earth and became the Man Jesus and that the Man Jesus is truly the Son of God (2 John 1:7 (KJV) - For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist; 1 John 4:2,3,15 (KJV) 2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God). He is God and Man in one Person.

So when John was likely around 90 years old the Spirit of God guided him to write a book to prove who Jesus is. He proved it by what Jesus said and did. He wrote this book in order that people would believe that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of God and so have eternal life (John 20:31 (KJV) - But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name). He carefully planned his book for this purpose. It is the Gospel of John in our Bible. He tells us a lot about Jesus’ life, that the other Gospel writers do not tell.

Since it was John’s special purpose to convince people that the Man Jesus is the Son of God who came from heaven, he tells us who Jesus was before He came to earth right at the beginning (John 1:1-18 (KJV) - 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. 15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. 16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. 18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him).

John calls Jesus by a name that no other writer uses - The Word. This name tells us what His work in the Godhead is. We use words to communicate with people. By words, we let others know how we feel and what we think. This is the only way others can get to know us. Jesus is called The Word because it is His work to show what God is like. All that God wants us to know about Himself is shown to us by the Lord Jesus. It was not only when He came to earth that He was The Word. He always showed what God is like, farther back than our minds can go - even back before anything was created. When everything began The Word was already making known what God was like. There never was a time when He was not God and did not display God. That means that He is eternal. There was no time when He began to live. He was not born or created, for He always was.

The Word was always with God. More than that, He was God. That means that God is more than One Person, but still the Bible says that there is only one God (Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (KJV) - 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.). The Word is the second Person in the Godhead. In one short sentence the Spirit of God tells us that (1) The Word is eternal, (2) He is a Person and (3) He is God.

John says Jesus is the One who created every single thing. He is the Creator and Source of all life - spirit life (angels), human life, animal life, vegetable life, all life that we know and any we do not know. He not only made all living things, but He keeps them alive. He is the Sustainer of all life (John 1:4 (KJV) - In him was life; and the life was the light of men; Hebrews 1:3 (KJV) - Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Colossians 1:17 (KJV) - And he is before all things, and by him all things consist). Did you know that this Person, The Word, gives you every breath you breathe, the food, water and all other things you need to keep you alive. People are kept in darkness by Satan so that they do not realize this (John 1:5 (KJV) - And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not).

We use words to explain things and ideas to others. How complicated some things look till we have them explained, or better still, if someone shows us how to do them. The Word showed men what God is like by the way He acted with mankind, especially Israel, all down through history. But The Word left heaven and became a Man of flesh and blood just like we are, except He had a holy, sinless nature. Remember He never stopped being what He was. It was the Word who came to earth and became a Man. He did that to show us what God is like by living with us. He did not show us what God looks like, but He showed us how God thinks and acts by the things He said and did. As people watched the Lord Jesus living here, they saw the glory of God as only He who is God could show it (John 1:14 (KJV) - And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth; Hebrews 1:1-3 (KJV) - 1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high). God had a witness ready to announce to the world who this Person was. That was John the Baptist. He told the people that, though Jesus was born into this world after him, yet He ranked far ahead of him, because He was living long before John the Baptist was born.

At the end of this opening section of John’s book, he plainly tells us who the Word is - He is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. When John says He is the “only begotten” Son, he is not talking about a birth. He is talking about the relationship between these two Persons of the Godhead. The relationship and love between The Word and God the Father is unique. That is, there is no other like it. It is like that of an only son to a father. They are both of one kind—God.

Even though the world and everything in it was made by The Word, yet the people in the world did not recognize who He is. He came to the things that belonged to Him, but His own people, the Jews, would not take Him in. He did not go back to heaven in disgust and give up mankind. He said that all who would make Him welcome in their lives would be given the right to become sons of God. That does not mean they will be sons like the only begotten Son of God. Only He who is God could be that. But we are born into God’s family by the new birth when we believe on His name.

We cannot become sons of God by inheriting it through our natural birth. It does not run in the blood, even though your parents may be born again. All we inherit from our parents, whoever they are, is the fallen nature of Adam. We cannot become a son of God by anything we ourselves decide to do for God. Nor can any other man do anything to make us sons of God. No baptism or ceremony performed over us can do it. God is the only One who can make us sons of God by His Spirit. He does this when He sees that we have received the Lord Jesus and believed on Him. That means to turn to Him and rest on Him to save me (John 1:12 (KJV) - But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name).

John tells us great mysteries about God. The Spirit of God does not tell us these things so that we can understand all about God. God is so great that the best of human minds cannot understand all about Him. We should expect the Creator to have mysteries beyond the understanding of the creatures He created. God tells us these things for us to believe Him and worship Him. Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Have you received Him and believed on His name? He is the true God and eternal life (1 John 5:20 (KJV) - And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life).

TEST - LESSON 1:  GLEANINGS IN JOHN BIBLE STUDY

TRUE OR FALSE

1. There never was a time when Jesus was not God and did not display God.
2. As per question one, this means that Jesus is not eternal.
3. He was not born or created, for He always was.
4. There was no time when Jesus began to live.
5. The Word was always with God. More than that, He was God.

Please fill in the blanks with CAPITAL LETTERS

6. The ___ gives you every _____ you breathe, the ___, ____ and all you need to ___ you _____.
7. The Word is ____ ____, the ____ of God. He is the “only ______” Son,
8. The ____ and love between the ___ and ___ the Father is ______
9. In one short sentence the Spirit of God tells us that
(1) __________,
(2) __________
(3) __________.
10. The Word is the _______ _________ in the ____head.

Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God? ________
Have you received Him and believed on His name? __________

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Updated Feb 22nd 2015 by Harold Smith