AMAZING GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH BIBLE STUDY, SERIES ON KNOWING JESUS, BY REV. JOHN KWASI FOSU

General Introduction :  Jesus as both the revelation of God and as God in John 1
As already pointed out in our previous lesson, in John’s Gospel, Jesus is presented as the one who makes God known. Jesus reveals God to humanity so that people might know God and be set free and transformed by that revelation. Thus, the theme of John’s Gospel is that Jesus is the Son of God (20:30-31) and in this first chapter He proves His claim. By the designation, the Son of God, is meant God becoming human. The Christian doctrine that God became a human being in the person of Jesus Christ is known as incarnation.

Lesson 2, Jesus’ names and titles prove he is God’s Son
This lesson seeks to present who Jesus is by way of his names and titles. This significance of Jesus’ personality by way of the office he came to fulfil.

Jesus as the Word (1:1-3, 14)
In Genesis 1, God created everything through His Word. Colossians 1:16 and 2 Peter 3:5 indicate that this Word was Christ. While God can be known in part through nature and history, He is known in full through His Son (Hebrews 1:1-2). Jesus as the Word brings grace and truth (1:14 and 17). But if people will not receive Him, this same Word will come in wrath and judgment (Revelation 19:13). The Bible is the written Word of God and Jesus is the living, incarnate Word of God.

Jesus as the Light (1:4-13)
God’s first creative act in Genesis 1 was producing light, for life comes from light. Jesus is the true light, that is, the original light from which all light has its source. In John’s Gospel, you find a conflict between light (God, eternal life) and darkness (satan, eternal death). This is indicated in 1:5— “The light shines [present tense] in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it”. [Note 3:19-21, 8:12 and 12:46] Second Corinthians 4:3-6 pictures salvation as the entrance of light into the dark heart of the sinner (see also Genesis 1:1-3).

Jesus as the Son of God (1:15-18, 30-34, 49)
It was this claim that aroused the Jews to persecute the Messiah (10:30-36). Note the seven persons in John’s Gospel who called the Messiah the Son of God: John the Baptist (1:34), Nathanael (1:49), Peter (6:69), the healed blind man (9:35-38), Martha (11:27), Thomas (20:28) and the Apostle John (20:30-31). The sinner who will not believe that Jesus is God’s Son cannot be saved (8:24).

Jesus as the Messiah (1:19-28, 35-42)
The “Messiah” means the Anointed One. The Jews were expecting their Messiah to appear, and therefore they questioned John. Even the Samaritans were looking for Him (4:25, 42). Any Jew who said that Jesus was the Messiah was thrown out of the synagogue (9:22).

Jesus as the Lamb of God (1:29, 35-36)
John’s announcement is the answer to Isaac’s question, “Where is the lamb for the burnt offering” (Genesis 22:7)? The Passover Lamb in Exodus 12 and the Sacrificial Lamb in Isaiah 53 point to the Messiah. There were many lambs slain in Old Testament history, but the Messiah is the Lamb of God, the unique one. The blood of lambs slain in the tabernacle or temple merely covered sin (Hebrews 10:1-4), but Jesus’ blood takes away sin. The lambs offered in Old Testament days were for Israel alone, but Jesus died for the sins of the whole world.

Jesus as the King of Israel (1:43-49).
Israel’s people were tired of Roman rule and wanted a king. Because the Messiah fed them, they wanted to make Him King (6:15), but He left the crowd. Later, he offered Himself as their King (recorded in 12:12-19) but the chief priests said, “We have no king but Caesar!” (19:15)

Jesus as the Son of Man (1:50-51).
This title comes from Daniel 7:13-14, and every Jew knew that it described God. (Note the Jews’ question in John 12:34.) The Messiah alludes in 1:51 to “Jacob’s ladder” in Genesis 28:10-17. Jesus Christ is “God’s ladder” between earth and heaven, revealing God to men and taking men to God.

Questions
1. State three titles of Jesus from John 1.
2. How is Jesus’ Kingship different from the notion of kingship in African traditional societies?
3. What does it mean to you when Jesus is described as the Lamb of God?
4. How does Jesus’ title “Light” relate to salvation experience?

INTRODUCING THE THEME OF JOHN’S GOSPEL: JESUS AS THE DIVINE SON OF GOD – PREPARED BY REV. JOHN KWASI FOSU, PASTOR IN CHARGE, AMAZING GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH, HAMBURG

Introduction
Forming essential part of our theme for this year, 2018 which is knowing Jesus and making him known, today’s bible study begins our studies on the Gospel of John. It is to say that we are seeking and desiring to know Christ better by our journey through the gospel of John. This lesson thus purposes to give a brief overview of the Gospel of John.

The Essential core message of the Gospel of John
God spoke and the heavens and the earth were created. He spoke again and the water and lands were filled with plants and creatures that were growing and multiplying. He spoke again, and man and woman were formed. The man and woman were thinking and speaking.

Eternal, infinite, unlimited—He was, is and always will be the Maker and Lord of all that exists. Then He came in the flesh to the Earth. The mighty Creator became part of His creation. He was limited by time and space and susceptible to age, sickness and death. Controlled by love, He came to rescue and save, offering forgiveness and life.

He is the Word — He is Jesus, the Messiah, the Christ. It is this truth that the apostle John presents in this book. It is not the life of Jesus. It is the powerful argument for the incarnation—God becoming human flesh. Jesus was, and is, the very heaven-sent Son of God and the only source of eternal life.

The Theme and Purpose of the Gospel of John (John 20:30-31)
John’s theme is Jesus the Messiah, the prophesied one, the only source of salvation, the divine Son of God. His book deals with the seven signs that illustrate and prove Jesus’ true identity as God’s Son. These signs were seen by dependable witnesses (His disciples and others) and therefore are trustworthy. John wants men to believe in Jesus the Messiah as Lord and receive new life through His name.

Comparing the four Gospels
The first three Gospels are called “The Synoptic Gospels” from a Greek word that means “to see together.” Matthew, Mark and Luke all view the life of the Messiah in a similar way, each with his own emphasis.

– Matthew pictures the Messiah as the King of the Jews.
– Mark shows the Messiah as the Servant and writes to the Romans.
– Luke views the Messiah as the Son of Man, writing to the Greeks.
– John presents the Messiah as the Son of God, and writes to the whole world.

While the first three Gospels deal primarily with the events in the life of Christ, John deals with the spiritual meanings of these events. He goes deeper and presents truths that are not emphasized in the other Gospels. For example, all four Gospels record the feeding of the 5,000, but only John gives the great sermon on the Bread of Life (chapter 6) that explains the meaning of the miracle. This is why John uses the word “sign” instead of “miracle,” for a “sign” is a miracle that carries a message with it.

The Messiah in John’s Gospel
John emphasizes the Person of Christ as well as His work. He reports several sermons in which the Messiah talks about Himself and explains His mission. John speaks of Jesus’ true identity through the titles he is given — Word, the One and Only, Lamb of God, Son of God, true bread, life, resurrection and vine. Jesus affirmed his pre-existence and eternal deity with the following statements, which are the seven “I AM” statements of the Messiah, the Christ.

– I AM the Bread of life – 6:35, 41, 48, 51
– I AM the Light of the world—8:12; 9:5
– I AM the Door of the sheep—10:7, 9
– I AM the Good Shepherd—10:11, 14
– I AM the Resurrection and the Life—11:25
– I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life—14:6
– I AM the True Vine—15:1, 5

These names, of course, speak of His deity, for God’s name is I AM (see Exodus 3:14). Note these other occasions when the Messiah uses the I AM to speak of Himself: 4:26; 8:28, 58; 13:19; 18:5-6, 8. As you read this Gospel, you come to realize that Jesus is the very Son of God!

Because Jesus is God, He has the nature, ability and right to offer eternal life. When He died on the cross, He was the perfect sacrifice and the only mediator between God and people (14:6). Because Jesus became a man, He identified fully with us–enduring temptation, persecution, hardship and suffering. And when He died on the cross, He really died— He was not pretending. An all-powerful God demonstrated His love for us— “For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son” (3:16). As believers in Jesus Christ, we must affirm both sides of His nature and not exclude or diminish one side in favor of the other. Jesus is fully God and fully man.

The Signs in John’s Gospel
Out of the many miracles that the Messiah performed, John selected seven to prove His deity. These seven signs are given in a specific order (note 4:54– “This was the second miraculous sign”) and form a picture of salvation.

The first three signs show how salvation comes to the sinner:
1. Water into wine (2:1-11) – salvation is through the Word
2. Healing the nobleman’s son (4:46-54) – salvation is through faith
3. Healing the paralytic (5:1-9) – salvation is by grace

The last four signs show the results of salvation in the believer:
4. Feeding the 5,000 (6:1-14) – salvation brings satisfaction
5. Jesus walks on the water (6:16-21) – salvation brings peace
6. Healing the blind man (9:1-7) – salvation brings light
7. Raising of Lazarus (11:38-45) – salvation brings life

Because of the resurrection of Jesus (20:1-29), He proved beyond all doubt that He is the Son of God and conquered death. As a result, our sins can be forgiven, and we can have eternal life. Of course, each of the seven signs reveals the deity of Jesus the Messiah (see 5:20, 36).

Conclusion
Today’s study has sought to briefly give an overview of John’s Gospel. Essentially, the core message of John is his teaching that Jesus is the divine Son of God. Moreover, by looking at the I AM statements of Jesus in John’s Gospel, the person and work of Jesus have been briefly surveyed. Importantly, what brings out the deity of Jesus Christ into clarity is John’s records of seven signs in his Gospel. It is important to know how Jesus is presented especially in the Gospel of John for developing our intimate relationship with him.

Questions
1. What is the essential truth that Apostle John presents in his Gospel with reference to John 20:30-31?
2. How is John’s Gospel different from the other three Gospels?
3. State any three IAM Statements in the Gospel of John. What do they mean to you personally?
4. Identify three signs in John’s Gospel that show how salvation comes to the believer.

EXPOSITORY TEACHINGS ON THE LORD’S SUPPER (1 Cor 11:17-34) – PEPARED BY REV. JOHN KWASI FOSU, PASTOR OF AMAZING GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH, HAMBURG

Introduction
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper constitute the two main ordinances in the Baptist Church. This is to say that, contrary to other views that see Baptism and The Lords Supper as Sacraments, Baptists see them as ordinances thus placing much emphasis on their obedience and symbolic significance.

What is the meaning of the Lord’s Supper?
The early church remembered that Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper on the night of the Passover meal (Luke 22:13 –20). Just as Passover celebrated deliverance from slavery in Egypt, so the Lord’s Supper celebrates deliverance from sin by the Messiah’s death.

In verse 24, when Jesus said, “This is my body,” we believe that the bread and the wine symbolize the Messiah’s body and blood.

In verse 25, what is this new covenant? In the old covenant, people could approach God only through the priest and the sacrificial system. Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross, resulted in the new covenant or agreement between God and us. Now all people can personally approach God and communicate with Him. The people of Israel first entered into this agreement after their exodus from Egypt (Exodus 24). It was designed to point to the day when Jesus the Messiah would come. The new covenant completes, rather than replaces, the old covenant. It fulfilled everything the old covenant looked forward to (Jeremiah 31:31-34). Eating the bread and drinking the cup shows that we are remembering the Messiah’s death for us and renewing our commitment to serve Him.
How do we remember the Messiah in the Lord’s Supper? By thinking about what he did and why he did it. If the Lord’s Supper becomes just a ritual or a pious habit, it no longer remembers Jesus, and it loses its significance.
The Corinthian believers were not observing the Lord’s Supper in a right way. The following gives instances of the disorder:

a. Disorder at the Lord’s Supper (11:1-22)
In verses 17 – 19, when there are divisions and factions (heresies) in the church, even though they seem hidden, they will show up in the public meetings. The Lord’s Supper speaks of the unity of believers. The divisions in the church would negate this wonderful message.

Verses 20-23 speak of selfish motives. The early church often held a “love feast,” a fellowship meal, in conjunction with the Lord’s Supper. But at Corinth, the rich came with their large amounts of food while the poor sat on the side with a piece of bread. “Eat at home!” Paul commands them. “Your gluttony and drunkenness are a disgrace to the Lord!” (verse 22). If believers do not love one another, they can never partake of the Lord’s Supper and be blessed.

b. The Consequences of This Disorder (11:23-30)

They were judged instead of blessed (verses 23-29).
Apparently, the Messiah had given Paul instructions about the Lord’s Supper personally, for the apostle was not in the Upper Room when the ordinance was instituted. Paul’s words speak of the broken body and shed blood of the Messiah for His church, which are a constant reminder of His love and His coming again. We look back to the cross and forward to His coming. But the Supper had ceased to be a blessing to the church at Corinth, for the way they abused it was a cause of judgment. Their meetings were “for the worse, not the better” (verse 17)! This is the way spiritual matters always work: if our hearts are not right, whatever should be a blessing becomes a curse.

They were chastened (verse 30).
God allowed sickness and even death to come to the Corinthian church because it was partaking of the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner. Paul never tells us we must be “worthy” to eat at the Lord’s Table; for if that were the case no one would be able to partake. Though we are not worthy, we can partake in a worthy manner by understanding what the Supper means. It means having a heart free from sin, being filled with love for Jesus and His people and being willing to obey His Word. Believers often think they can “get away” with carelessness in church, but this is impossible. If our hearts are not right, God has to discipline us to bring us to the place of blessing.

c. The Correction of This Disorder (11:31-34)

Self-judgment (verses 31-32)
When we face our sins honestly and judge them and confess them, then God will not discipline us. “Let a man examine himself” is Paul’s command in verse 28. At the Lord’s Supper, we take three “looks”: we look within and confess our sins. We look back and remember Calvary. We look ahead and eagerly anticipate His return. The principle is clear: if we do not judge our sins, God will have to judge us.

Mutual love (verse 33)
“Don’t think only of yourself!” Paul wrote; “think of others.” This is love of the believer: putting others ahead of ourselves. How few believers obey this principle when it comes to worship. Often, we come to church asking, “Will I get anything out of the service today?” We should be asking, “What can I say or do that will give somebody else a blessing?”

Spiritual discernment (verse 34)
While there is nothing wrong with church fellowship meals, the place to eat is at home. However, if for fellowship purposes we are to eat together, let us eat to the glory of God. For the church primarily purposes to build one another spiritually that all might be able to go out to win others.

The Significance of the Lord’s Supper
The Significance of Baptist could be deduced from the various names used to describe the event. These include:
1. The Last Supper – remembering us of Christ’s historic celebration with his disciples. It seems also to have a reflection of the future last supper with the Lord
2. The Lord’s Supper – Drawing our attention to the fact that it is Jesus who instituted it. The drink and bread respectfully symbolize his shared blood and body broken for us.
3. The Communion – Emphasizing the fellowship aspect of the celebration and so reminds us of love for one another since we are all in one body of Christ.
4. Euchariste – From the Greek verb indicating our appreciation to God and so our thanksgiving to God for giving us his life.

Conclusion
To sum all these up with some suggestions for taking the Lord’s Supper:
1. We should take the Lord’s Supper thoughtfully because we are proclaiming that Jesus died for our sins (11:26).
2. We should take it worthily, with due reverence and respect (11:27).
3. We should examine ourselves for any unconfessed sin or resentful attitude (11:28).
4. We should be considerate of others (11:33), waiting until everyone is there and then eating in an orderly and unified manner.

As Christians, the Lord Jesus invites us to dine with him through the celebration of the Lord’s supper. As an ordinance, the Lord’s Supper is significant to us by reason of its past or historic, present and futuristic meaning. We are therefore encouraged to celebrate the Lord’s supper even as we have responded to faith in the Lord as our saviour.