The Bible: Written So That You May Believe (John 20:30-31)

Written by admin on Jun 16, 2019 in - No Comments

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Introduction

I invite you to turn with me in your Bibles this morning to the Gospel of John. Our passage for today’s sermon will be John 20:30-31. If you do not have a Bible with you today, or if you’d like to follow along in the translation I will be preaching from, I encourage you to make use of one of the pew Bibles where you can find this passage located on page 907.

Now the reason I have decided to veer away from Genesis this morning and select this passage for today’s sermon is because one of the verses within this passage—John 20:31—was our theme verse for this past week’s Vacation Bible School. And so, before I get started with our passage for today, let me just say that we had an awesome time this week at VBS. We had somewhere around 40 kids participate this week, and about 20 volunteers helping in a variety of different ways. So, thank you to everyone who attended and everyone who helped out in one way or another. It has been amazing to watch our Vacation Bible School grow over the past several years. And this year was no exception and probably the best yet in many different ways.

So why is it that we have Vacation Bible School each and every summer? What is our purpose behind it? Well, while we are happy to give parents a break for a couple of hours each night, that is not really our main purpose. No, the main reason for Vacation Bible School is to teach kids about the Bible. Imagine that. And when you consider the name, that makes sense, doesn’t it? It is Vacation Bible School after all.

But why are we so interested in teaching kids about the Bible? Well, I suspect that if you went out and polled people as they walked down the street and asked them the question, “Why are churches so interested in teaching kids about the Bible?” that many of them would say something like: “Well, because the Bible teaches about right and wrong. It has some things to say about how to act and how to treat others—do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And these are the kind of things that our kids need to learn.”

And, those are very, very important things for children to learn. And the Bible does have a lot to say about how we ought to act and how we ought to treat others. But, that is not the primary reason we teach our children the Bible, and it is not the Bible’s primary concern. No, the main message of the Bible is a message that points us to Jesus Christ. And the reason we have Vacation Bible School and teach our kids the Bible at Vacation Bible School is to teach them about and point them to Jesus. To teach them that Jesus was the Son of God who came and died on the cross to secure forgiveness for our sins and to offer us the free gift of eternal life. That’s why we do Vacation Bible School.

But, that’s no different than the reason we do anything at this church—or at least it ought not to be. That’s right, every gathering and function we have at Monte Sano Baptist Church ought to in some way help ourselves and/or other people know more and more about Jesus and the salvation that is available in and through him. And that’s why we are so serious about the Bible at this church. That’s why we teach from it in Sunday School. That’s why I preach from it each Sunday morning. That’s why we study it even more on Wednesday nights. That’s why our kids memorize it in Awana. It’s because the Bible tells us about Jesus, and we must know and believe the things the Bible tells us about Jesus, in order to receive forgiveness for our sins and God’s free gift of eternal life.

And these are some of the things our kids learned this week about Jesus. Some of the things we taught them helped answer questions like:

  • Who was Jesus?
  • Why did he come?
  • What did he do?
  • How can we find out?
  • How can we be sure?

And, it hit me this week, that these lessons our kids learned at Vacation Bible School are lessons that are important for adults as well. Because the truth is, there are many adults in the world today who don’t know Jesus or know much about Jesus. There are many adults who don’t know who Jesus really is, who don’t know why he came to Earth, who don’t know where to discover the truth about him, and who don’t know how we can be sure these things about Jesus are even true.

But, our theme verse for this past week’s Vacation Bible School and our passage for today’s sermon help us answer these questions. And so, I want to spend the remainder of our time together this morning, looking at the things we can learn about God’s written Word and what it tells us about Jesus from John 20:30-31. And hopefully, by doing so, we will all walk out of here knowing more about Jesus, and more about the good news we call the gospel than we knew when we walked in this morning.

So, if you haven’t already, please turn with me in your Bibles to John 20, and follow along as I read from verses 30-31.

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:30–31 ESV)

God’s Word Was Written To Tell Us About Jesus

Now, it might relieve you to know that I can’t go into too much detail on these verses today because as the Bible teacher and commentator, Don Carson, says, “To expound in detail each word and phrase (from just verse 31) would be to expound the [whole] book [of John].”1 The fact is, there is just so much we could cover in these verses that I have had to really pick and choose what to discuss.

And interestingly, that is exactly what John tells us he had to do when he was writing his Gospel account. That’s right, in verse 30, John says, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book.” In other words, “I have not told you everything I know about Jesus.” And if you look over with me one chapter, to John 21:25, he tells us why. In John 21:25, John says,

Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. (John 21:25 ESV)

In other words, “If I were to write everything I knew about Jesus, it would be more than any of us could ever read.” And for this reason, John admits that his gospel account does not tell us every detail about Jesus’s life and ministry, but only contains a representative sample of the things Jesus did during his time on this Earth. And this is true for the other gospels as well. While they do tell us the story of Jesus’s life and ministry, they only contain a sampling of the things that Jesus did.

And this is not a problem, because the truth is, it is not necessary for us to know every detail about the life of Jesus, it is only necessary for us to know the things that God wants us to know about Jesus. And this is true for the rest of the Bible as well. The Bible doesn’t tell us everything about God and his creation, and about his plans for the world, but it does tell us everything we need to know in order to place our faith in Jesus Christ and receive forgiveness from sins, rescue from death, and the free gift of eternal life that is available through him. And so, what John is saying here is that while there are many other amazing things that occurred during Jesus’s life, he has only chosen to include some of those things in this written portrait of Jesus we know as the Gospel of John.

And one of the ways that John chose to paint this portrait of Jesus—this portrait that tells us about who he was and what he did—was by telling us about some of the signs and wonders that Jesus did while he was on this Earth. Did you notice that in verse 30? John says, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples.” Yes, John’s Gospel contains details about many of the miraculous things that Jesus did during the three years he shared with his disciples. And these were signs and wonders, that while often done for mercy and compassion’s sake, were primarily done to prove that Jesus was who he claimed to be, and to produce faith in the hearts of those who witnessed them first hand, and within the hearts of those who did not see with their own eyes but are now reading what is written about them in this book.

For example, in John 2, we have the details about the day that Jesus turned water into wine. In John 4, John tells us about the day Jesus healed the Roman official’s son who was nearly dead—and how he did this without even going to see the boy. And in John 5, we have the story about the day Jesus healed a man who had been sick and barely able to walk for 38 years. Then in John 6, we are told about how Jesus was able to feed 5,000 men, plus their wives and children, with only five loaves of bread and two fish. And then later in John 6, we have John’s account of the time that Jesus walked on water. And in John 9, we have the story of how Jesus healed a man who had been blind from birth—not only physically blind but also spiritually blind. And in John 11, we have the remarkable story about Jesus raising his friend Lazarus from the dead with nothing more than words from his mouth.

And as great as these signs were and as much as they tell us about Jesus—he has control over the things he has created, he is able to heal and give hope where there was none, he is able to make something out of nothing, he can and does make the spiritually blind see the truth, he is able to give life to the dead. Yes, as much as they tell us about Jesus, the most miraculous thing Jesus ever did, was to come out of his own grave and show himself to his disciples—beginning with the women bright and early on that first Easter morning, then later to the men he had called and taught for 3 years, and ultimately to as many as 500 people at one time.

Yes, there was no other sign that more clearly proved that Jesus was who he claimed to be than his own resurrection from the dead on the third day after he was crucified—a resurrection that took place just as he said it would. So, if you are wondering how we can know that Jesus is who he claimed to be, and if you are wondering how we can know if this whole Christian faith stuff is true, it is because of the resurrection. And if you doubt the historicity of it, I encourage you to do a sincere and legitimate study of it and see if you can come up with a better explanation of what happened to Jesus’s body.

So, John’s Gospel is full of the accounts of Jesus’s signs and miracles, the greatest of which was his own resurrection. And the other gospels contain these sorts of details and stories as well. And, while we don’t have near enough time to get into it this morning, even the Old Testament was written to point us to Jesus. We’ve seen that some in our study from the book of Genesis, but it is true throughout the rest of the Old Testament as well. You see, the Bible is God’s Word, and it was written to tell us about Jesus. That is the first thing I want you to take away from this passage today. Yes, the Bible has a lot to say about how we ought to live and how we ought to treat others, but the primary purpose of the Bible is to tell us about Jesus. That is why we have Vacation Bible School, and that is why we study the Bible each and every week at Monte Sano Baptist Church. We study it because the Bible is the place where we learn about Jesus.

God’s Word Was Written So That We Would Believe

But, we don’t just want our kids at Vacation Bible School to learn historical facts about Jesus, and I don’t want any of us to simply know the details of his life. No, what I want is for you to believe what is written about Jesus in God’s Word. And that was John’s aim as well when he wrote this Gospel. He had evangelistic intentions. Look back with me at our verses for this morning. John says,

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe (John 20:30–31 ESV)

So, the second thing our passage for today tells us about Jesus is that God’s Word was written so that we would believe the things it says about Jesus. And John even tells us some of the things we must believe about Jesus in these verses. Do you see them? In verse 31, John says, “these [things] are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” Yes, that is what John wants you to believe about Jesus. He wants you to believe that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah, and not just that, but also the one and only Son of God.

Now, these are significant claims, and they have enormous implications. Yes, if Jesus is the Christ figure (or the Messiah) long-anticipated by the Old Testament people of God, and if he truly is the Son of God, then what we personally conclude about these claims will have serious ramifications. You see, if Jesus is the Messiah, then he is the one God has sent to deliver his people from their bondage. He is the one who has been greatly anticipated for thousands of years. And he is the only hope God’s people have for rescue and salvation. That’s what it means for him to be the Christ or the Messiah.

And to be the Son of God elevates the identity of Jesus far beyond what God’s people had ever expected for their Messiah. They were looking for God to raise up someone among them who would rescue them from the bondage of their earthly oppressors. They were looking for someone like their beloved King David, who would conquer their enemies and rule over them as a king. And the enemies they had in mind were empires like Babylon and Rome.

But God’s plan for the Messiah was much bigger than that. While God’s people were looking for liberation from human enemies, Jesus came, as the Son of God, to do something much more significant. He came, as God in the flesh, to liberate us from our greatest enemies—the enemies of sin and death. You see, for Jesus to be the Son of God, means that he shares the attributes and characteristics of God, including his divine nature. In other words, Jesus and God are One—God the Father and God the Son. That is, in fact, how John starts his Gospel. He begins by saying, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1 ESV). And he goes on to tell us that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14 ESV). In other words, God has come to us in the person of Jesus Christ. He has come to Earth and set up residence among us as both God and man.

And if you glance up with me just a few verses to John 20:28, you will see that the poor guy we refer to as doubting Thomas, gets it right. After seeing the nail holes in the hands of the resurrected Jesus, and after seeing the remnants of the gaping wound in his side, he looks at Jesus and rightly responds with the words, “My Lord and my God!”

Yes, old doubting Thomas got it right, didn’t he? And notice what Jesus says back to him. He says, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29 ESV). Friends, Jesus was thinking of us here. He was thinking of the day when his original disciples would be dead and gone, and all we’d have were their writings to point us to the truth. And that is why the Apostle Paul can say that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17 ESV).

God’s Word was written so that we might hear it and believe everything it teaches us about Jesus. He truly was the Jewish Messiah who came to deliver God’s people—not in the way they were expecting but in a much bigger way. And he truly was the Son of God who came to live among us as God in the flesh. That, my friends, is what John wants us to believe about Jesus. He wants us to truly believe that Jesus was the only son of God who, according to John 3:16, came so that “whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” And this brings me to my final point for today.

God’s Word Was Written So We Could Have Eternal Life

So far we have seen that God’s Word was written to tell us about Jesus, and we have seen that God’s Word Was Written So That We Would Believe—not just believe that Jesus was some kind of miracle worker who could do things that no one could explain, but believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. And the final thing we learn from this passage about Jesus and about God’s Word is that God’s Word was written so we could have eternal life in Jesus Christ. Let me read the passage to you again and emphasize what John says at the end. He says,

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:30–31 ESV)

Friends, the result of believing what God’s Word tells us about Jesus is that we will have life—eternal life—in and through him. We’ve already seen what John 3:16 promises. It says, that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Friends, of all the things Jesus accomplished for us, the greatest was that through his resurrection, he defeated death for us as well. And as those who are trusting in his death and resurrection to have implications in our own lives, we can know that one day we will rise victorious over death as he did. “For the wages of sin is death,” the Apostle Paul tells us. But, he goes on to say that “the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23 ESV). Friends, that is the hope we have as Christians. And the reason we have this hope today is because we have God’s Word. Without God’s Word, we would be in the dark.

You see, it was only for a short while that people were saved by seeing and hearing from Jesus directly. But now, the written Word of God is how we come to know about Jesus. And it is by believing what we are told about Jesus in God’s Word that results in life in his name.

Conclusion

And so, that is why Vacation Bible School is all about teaching the Bible. And that is why we are so concerned about teaching the Bible at every opportunity we have at this church. It is because God’s Word was written to tell us about Jesus. And because God’s Word was written so that we would believe what the Bible tells us about Jesus. And that by believing we would have life—eternal life, resurrection life—in his name.

We want this for our children, and I want it for each and every one of you. So, what are you believing about Jesus today? Are you believing that he was the One sent by God to rescue us from our sins, from Satan, and from death? Are you believing that he is the One promised by God to come and crush the head of the serpent? Are you believing that he was God in the flesh who came to Earth to pay the price for your sins that you could never pay—a price that only God could pay? And are you believing that in his resurrection he defeated death not only for himself but also for you? Yes, friend, what are you believing about Jesus today?

Friends, everything we need to know about Jesus is found in God’s Word. And it was written so that we would believe in Jesus and have life in and through him. And what we believe about him ultimately determines whether we perish forever or live forever. The Bible is clear on this. It was written so that you may believe. So be sure that you know what you are believing about Jesus today.

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  1. D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, Pillar New Testament Commentary. Accordance electronic ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991), 661. ↩︎