So That You May Believe

So That You May Believe
June 17, 2018
Passage: John 20:20-31
Service Type:

We think about in life and the things that we believe. Where do they come from? As we go through life, what are those things that you believe, and how do you believe them?

  • Practical experience helps us to determine our beliefs
  • We believe things because we assume
  • We can figure out what we believe because of evidence
  • John wants us to believe because there are these signs, and that we have this evidence.
  • Seeing is believing
  • For us, we have God's word

"And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name." - John 20:30-31

That You May Believe, These Signs

Signs. That's what John always calls the mighty works of Jesus. We'll focus on seven of them. Then, John records Christ's resurrection. Finally, one last miracle after He has risen.

  1. Changing of water into wind of the best quality, John 2:1-11
  2. Making an official's son well from a great distance, John 4:46-54
  3. Healing a man invalid for a long time, John 5:1-13
  4. Feeding five thousand more than enough from very little, John 6:1-14
  5. Walking on the water against the wind, John 6:16-21
  6. Opening the eyes of  a blind man from birth, John 9:1-12
  7. Raising Lazarus from the tomb after four days, John 11:1-46
  8. Jesus Resurrection, John 20
  9. Second draught of fishes, John 21:4-11

John describes these miracles in a way that points to something more significant than any of the events themselves. They were not performances for show. They were not for selfish promotion. But, they were for underlying the claims and the teachings of the one doing them.

We see the responses of the observers, we learn what they did with the evidence of what they witnessed.

  1. Changing of water into wind of the best quality, John 2:1-11
    • His disciples believed.
  2. Making an official's son well from a great distance, John 4:46-54
    • The man believed His word.
  3. Healing a man invalid for a long time, John 5:9-16
    • The Jews accused Him and persecuted Him.
  4. Feeding five thousand more than enough from very little, John 6:13-15
    • They sought to make Him a King.
  5. Walking on the water against the wind, John 6:16-21
    • They were afraid.
  6. Opening the eyes of  a blind man from birth, John 9:8-12
    • The sought to discredit Him.
  7. Raising Lazarus from the tomb after four days, John 11:45-46
    • Many believed.
    • The Counsel sought to kill Him.
  8. Jesus Resurrection, John 20:26-29
    • Thomas had to see, but once seeing, believed.
  9. When he spoke, John 7:40
    • People either believed or chose to believe or sought to destroy Him.

These signs never merely reassured or comforted. They bring us to a fork in the road where we have to make a choice. Many people do not want to take a look at the scriptures because they'll be faced with that fork in the road. Will it be a fear that moves toward trust; or fear that moves toward rejection.

That Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God

John makes it clear that this is what these signs are for.

  1. They occur against the background of what John the Baptist said about him.
    • John 1:29,34 - John the baptist knows who He is, and testifies to it, and bears witness to it.
    • John 10:41-42
  2. They are what Scriptures always have said the Christ would do.
    • John 5:39-40, 46 - How can we not receive Christ with all of these signs? We see that He's saying that the scriptures foretold that He would come.
  3. They are explained and applied by the "I Am" statements of Jesus, and by the conversations that occur within the text.
    • John 10:2-30
    • John 11:41-42

The signs around which John is build may; then, be considered as demonstrations of what His being the Christ means in practice.

  1. He is the source of the better quality, John 2:10.
    Turning the water into the best quality, pure quality of wine.
  2. He is the Lord of healing, John 4:51.
    He was able to heal from a distance.
  3. He is the deliverer, John 5:14
    He was able to heal the lame man.
  4. He is the provider of the deeper need, John 6:27
    He give food which does not perish.
  5. He is the Ruler of all nature, John 6:18-19
    He walked on the water.
  6. He is the Master over misfortune, John 9:11
    He maid the blind man to see.
  7. And, he is the one who has the keys of death itself, John 11:43-43.
    He raised Lazarus from the dead.
  8. He overcame death.

His being the Son means that he can do these things. His being the Christ means he will do what fulfills the needs of His people.

So That You may Believe

Beyond any claim Jesus makes, this is the claim of John: what is written here is enough to intellectually support my desire to believe.

When we have concerns about life do we consider what Jesus can do? Or, do we think we are removed from Him?

  • If I come along in dread that I may be lacking, or in fear of what people may think, I can see that in Jesus the source of a better part that does not run out.
  • If it seems the concerns of my life are far removed by time and distance, I may see in Jesus the Lord of everywhere and everything, all the time.
  • If I have just gotten so used to the way things are that I'm good with it, I should recognize Jesus as the deliverer from the worse fate.
  • If my interests are all this-world-centered and bound by temporary desires and selfishness, I must understand Jesus as the provider of the deepest and most lasting needs.
  • If things seem so out-of-control, and the peril is so real, that weariness and fear are taking over, I can know the ruler of all nature is still present. We can be at peace, with Him.
  • If I was born into misfortunes that are not fair and have always had to deal with limitations, I didn't choose or create, I can believe in the master who opens eyes and sets people free. He can set us free.
  • If pain has invaded my world, and robbed me of someone dear to me, and left me with deep grief and a sense of my own mortality, I may know the Christ who has the keys of death and all that is unseen.

But there have been some things about believing running in the background all the way though John. We should notice them.

  • The verb "believe" appears 98 times in this book. The noun form, "belief" never does. Believing is an act. It's opposite is not so much "unbelief" as it is "disobedience." - John 3:36, John 6:29.
  • They had to act in order to receive the blessing that he offered. This concept is indicated in the Lord's dealings with people in these events:
    • "Draw some out and take it to the master," John 2:8.
    • "Go; your son will live," John 4:50.
    • "Get up, take up your bed, and walk," John 5:8.
    • Have the poeple sit down," John 6:10.
    • "Do not be afraid," John 6:20.
    • "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam," John 9:7.
    • "Take away the stone," John 11:39.
    • To Mary at the tomb, "Go and tell," John 20:18

In these people's lives, and in ours, the Lord blesses while believing action is occurring. He blesses people as they are doing what he says just because he is the one who says it.

So That You may Believe and Have Life in His Name

Throughout John the issue is not avoiding death, which we already have, but it is having life, which we don't have. Unless, someone who can do so gives it to us. Which means, HE CAN, John 3:17-19.

  • Life may be understood in light of the implications of his claims and the outcomes of these sings.
  • It is no longer being under judgment and condemnation; it is knowledge of God, satisfaction, a sense of well being, and enjoyment, and eternal in duration.
  • The presence of Jesus presents us with opportunity; life is available but it has to be chosen and lived.

John ultimately brings us fact to face with the moral implications of the case.

  • Which do we prefer: life in Christ, or what we already have?
  • In John, unbelief does not turn out to be so much and evidence issue as a moral one, John 12:37-43.
  • And believing, once begun, will grow and develop until it becomes your nature, John 6:68-69.

We see what the Lord has said and done, "so that we may believe." Do you believe? If you believe, do you recognize Him for who He is, and what you may have life based on His work, and under His rule?

"If you change the belief first, changing the action becomes easier." - Peter McWilliams

Speaker: David Wiesemann, Elder Oak Grove Church of Christ
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