The Gospel of John
1. I am going to speak this evening on the doctrine of Christ. You may think I am referring to His virgin birth, His sinless life, His vicarious death, His ascension into heaven, His intercessory work for us, and His second coming.
2. I am not referring to those important doctrines, but rather I am referring to the marvelous teachings of Christ (cf. John 7:14-17).
3. Two weeks ago (last week Bro. Van Gelderen preached) we noted that the feast of tabernacles provides the background of the narrative from the beginning of John 7 up till the middle of chapter 10.
4. “Now about the midst of the feast (of tabernacles) Jesus went up into the temple, and taught” (7:14). The feast lasted a week.
5. This was customary back in those days. Different Pharisees and Sadducees would take a spot in the outer court of the temple and expound the law of Moses. Crowds would gather round their favorite rabbi. Among these various and diverse teachers, our Lord would take His place. The Bible tells us that the Jews were amazed at His doctrine (7:14, 15; cf. Matt. 7:28, 29; 13:54-58).
I. CHRIST’S DOCTRINE IS GOD’S DOCTRINE (7:16).
1. Our Lord knew not only the letter of the law and the prophets, He knew the spirit and intent of every Scripture. This is seen clearly in the Sermon on the Mount, and in other places where our Lord expounded on the OT Scriptures (cf. Luke 24:25-27).
2. I should stop for a moment and make an application. Our Lord’s mind was saturated with the Word of God. And if we want to make ourselves useful in our service for God we too must saturate ourselves with the Word of God. Other books have their place but the Bible must come first.
3. Secondly, our Lord rebuked others (both His disciples as well as His adversaries) for not knowing the Word of God (cf. Luke 24:25-27; Matt. 22:29).
4. Remember what our Lord said to Nicodemus? “Art thou a master of Israel, and knoweth not these things?” (John 3:10).
5. Here is another important application: Our Lord was able to teach in such a marvelous way because He was filled with the Holy Spirit. In fulfillment of Isaiah 61, Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel…” (Luke 4:18).
6. If our Lord – God manifest in the flesh – needed the power of the Holy Spirit in order to effectively teach and preach and win souls, how much more do we?
8. Furthermore, it is stressed that, “He whom God hath sent (Jesus) speaketh the words of God” (John 3:34; cf. 7:16).
9. This repetition – “He that sent me” and “The Father that sent me” – is meant to emphasize that Christ’s doctrine was God’s doctrine. This is was the source of our Lord’s authority.
10.Understanding this means believing in Jesus – His authority, His Sonship, His credentials as the promised Messiah, and His deity. This brings us to our next point.
II. CHRIST’S DOCTRINE IS LEARNED IN THE SCHOOL OF OBEDIENCE (7:17).
1. The Scofield margin says, “If any man willeth to do His will…”
2. Our Lord explained that only those who are willing to submit to God’s will are able to grasp His teachings and recognize that they are from God (7:17).
3. We have heard a lot of preaching this week on the “surrendered life.” This is what our Lord is saying here in 7:17.
5. One hundred years ago, A. T. Pierson was a well-known preacher and author. Referring to John 7:17, A. T. Pierson wrote these words, “This is a law that prevails only in the spiritual sphere, and does not hold true in the intellectual. In the intellectual sphere a man believes a thing because he knows it to be true; in the spiritual (sphere) a man knows a thing to be true because he believes it. In the intellectual sphere he does because he knows; in the spiritual he knows because he does” (The Bible and Spiritual Criticism, p. 23).
6. Dr. Pierson’s book is a scholarly defense of the inerrant Word of God, published at a time when the so-called “higher critics” were attacking the Bible. What makes Dr. Pierson’s book so remarkable is that it is a collection of lectures delivered extemporaneously in England back in 1904.
7. Hebrews 11:3 says, “By faith we understand…” – NOT, “By intellectualism we understand” or “By scholarship we understand.” I am all for scholarship, but without faith it is worse than useless.
8. Bro. Van Gelderen and I were discussing these things the other day and he mentioned how D L Moody had no formal education, and God used him in a mighty way. Then Moody started his Bible institute to train preachers and soulwinners and missionaries and Bible teachers. It was a simple, unaccredited school with no interest in degrees or worldly scholarship.
9. But Moody sent his son to Yale and by the time his son graduated he was all mixed up!
III. CHRIST’S DOCTRINE GLORIFIES GOD (7:18).
1. One of our Lord’s credentials as the Messiah was His concern for the glory of God rather than His own glory (7:18).
2. The Jewish leaders professed to be seeking God’s glory, but they were insincere and hypocritical. For example, they claimed to glory in the law of Moses, but they consistently violated the law of Moses. The 6th commandment says, “Thou shalt not kill” (Ex. 20:13), but they were determined to kill Jesus (7:19; cf. 7:1, 25; 5:18; 7:30).
3. Whenever there is enmity against the truth of God’s Word, there will be enmity against those who faithfully proclaim God’s Word (7:19, 20; cf. 7:1, 7).
5. The Pharisees said our Lord was casting out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of the devils (Matt. 12:24).
6. You will recall that the Jewish leaders were very upset at Jesus because He had healed the impotent man on the Sabbath day (7:21; cf. 5:5-18). Our Lord deliberately healed on the Sabbath day and He often performed miracles on the Sabbath day. He was deliberately confronting the hypocrisy of the Pharisees (cf. 7:21-24).
7. Moses legislated circumcision for the eighth day (Lev. 12:3). If the eighth day happened to fall on a sabbath day (which often was the case), the duty of circumcision (which obviously involved work) took precedence over the duty of Sabbath rest.
8. Our Lord was trying to show them that the healing and restoration of a man was as important than the fulfilling of a religious ceremony. The Jewish leaders failed to understand this and so our Lord said they lacked good judgment (7:24).
9. There are many religious people who lack good judgment. A big part of the problem is an unwillingness to submit to the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 7:17).
10. Please allow me to apply this Biblical principle for today. Works of mercy (healing the sick man) and works of necessity (our Lord uses the example of circumcision) are permitted on the Lord’s Day. In my opinion these are the only exceptions.
11. Too many Christians dishonor the Lord’s Day. D L Moody would not even ride a trolley car on the Lord’s Day. He would not even read the newspaper on the Lord’s Day.
12. By the way, have you noticed how wicked and vulgar the papers are on Sunday? I believe it is intentional.
13. There was not a Jew who did not venerate Moses. W. Graham Scroggie said, “These Jews claimed kinship with Moses, but Moses would not have owned one of them. Natural relations are forfeited by moral apostasy.”
14. The Jews also revere the memory of Abraham. But in the next chapter, our Lord refuted their boast that they were children of Abraham (8:31-44).
16. However there is no suggestion in the NT that the seventh day sabbath was permanent. In fact the NT teaches that the early Christians worshipped on the first day of the week, the day our Lord rose from the dead (cf. John 20:19; Acts 20:7; I Cor. 16:1, 2).
1. Before we conclude this exposition, let me make an application. Our Lord said in John 7:16, “My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me.” Let us apply that principle as we witness, and as we teach and preach the Word of God. This is God’s doctrine, not ours (cf. Gal. 1:11, 12).
2. Secondly, we can have assurance and spiritual discernment through complete surrender to the will of God and the authority of God’s Word (7:17).
3. Over the years people have said to me, “You seem so certain about what you preach.” I do not know how any one can effectively preach if he was not certain that what he was preaching was absolutely true.
4. “Wherever the heart is right God gives the capacity to apprehend His truth” (A W Pink). If a man’s heart is not right, why should God enlighten him?
5. This was brought out throughout the week – with the emphasis on a clean heart, surrendering to the will of God, being led by the Holy Spirit, etc.
6. Our Lord said He was not seeking His own glory but the glory of Him that sent Him (7:18). If we seek the glory of God, He will keep us from unrighteousness and error (7:18).
7. I have seen many Christians fall by the wayside. Some have been entangled in doctrinal error. Some have grown bitter and resentful. Some have fallen into wicked sin and immorality. And this is because they did not seek the glory of God (7:18).