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The Scriptorium

Life, or Not

The issue with Jesus is clear.

The Gospel of John: John 3.22-36

Read and meditate on John 3.36.

The issue, where receiving the words of Jesus is concerned, is life, or not. Jesus, Peter will later insist, has the words of life. The Spirit and Word of Jesus give life, as we shall see. All who believe in Jesus will never die, but live forever, as Jesus will explain before raising Lazarus. Here in John 3, the apostle has put down the defining marker of Jesus’ work: Life! Everlasting life!

                                        36“And all
who come to Him, and on His mercy call,
believing in Him, shall not come to strife,
but have the gift of everlasting life.
And they shall not see life, but know the grim
abiding wrath of God, who do not Him

- John 3.19-21

1.  How would you explain the idea of “everlasting life” to an unbelieving friend? Complete the following brief prayer: Lord, I thank You that I have everlasting life, because…

2.  Based on what we’ve seen in this chapter, how is John using the verb believe here? What does it mean to believe in Jesus? How might you be able to tell if someone believes in Jesus? Lord, I believe in You! Help me…

3.  Paul says that those who have not received Jesus are still dead in their trespasses and sins. They’re walking around, looking for all the world like they’re alive, but they’re dead (Eph. 2.1-3). Is he right? Are lost people dead? In what sense? How should this affect us, as we think about the lost people in our lives? Lord, I live and work and have my everyday life among dead people! Help me to live so that…

4.  John is rehearsing the Good News of everlasting life, to all who hear the Son of God and believe in Him. But he conveys that Good News against the backdrop of impending judgment and wrath. Should we include the coming judgment of God when we share the Gospel? Lord, when I’m talking to others about You, let me share the whole Gospel, including…

5.  Believing in Jesus is only an “option” when we realize the alternative is not merely believing in something else, but placing oneself under the wrath and coming judgment of God. God’s wrath is even now being revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of those who suppress the knowledge of God and prefer idols to Him (Rom. 1.18-32). The Gospel brings freedom from wrath and the reality, hope, and joy of everlasting life. Who in your Personal Mission Field needs to hear the Gospel from you? Bring together into one prayer the prayers you composed from questions 1-4.

“‘Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life.’ Why? Because he has done the work of God, seeing that this is the work of God that you should believe in the one whom he has sent. ‘But whoever does not believe in the Son will not have life, but the wrath of God remains on him’; not ‘will come upon him’ but ‘remains on him.’ He is abandoned, not healed.” Augustine (354-430 AD)

John reminds us that the Good News is good precisely because the bad news is so bad. People must be warned of the bad news so that they can understand the Good News for what it is. How would you incorporate the bad news with the Good in your presentation of the Gospel?

Closing Prayer
Fill their faces with shame,
That they may seek Your name, O LORD.
Let them be confounded and dismayed forever;
Yes, let them be put to shame and perish,
That they may know that You, whose name alone is the LORD,
Are the Most High over all the earth.

Psalm 83.16-18

Psalm 83.16-18 (St. Chrysostom: We Have Not Known Thee As We Ought)
Fill with dishonor every face that they may seek Your Name, O Lord.
Bring them to shame, dismay, and disgrace, and let them perish under Your Word,
That they may learn Your infinite worth, O God Most High of all the earth!

T. M. Moore

Visit The Ailbe Seminary, where our course, One in Twelve: Introduction to Christian Worldview, can show you how Jesus is central to all aspects of life in the world – and beyond! Our course is free, and you can study at your own pace, watching videos and using the free materials provided.

We are happy to offer each week’s Scriptorium studies in a free weekly PDF, suitable for personal or group use. You can download all the studies in our series on the Gospel of John by clicking here. Please prayerfully consider sharing with The Fellowship of Ailbe through your giving. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series IV a and b: John, edited by Joel C. Elowsky, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006. Verse translation of John by T. M. Moore.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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