Belonging To God: The Church
Lesson 6

Lesson Six

Continuing Jesus Christ’s Work in This World

Texts: see references in the lesson

The gospel of John gives significant emphasis to this: (a) Jesus came from God, and (b) Jesus’ work/mission was determined by God, not by Jesus.


In regard to the fact that Jesus came from God, read the Gospel of John 1:14-18; John the baptizer’s (Baptist) statement in 1:29-34; and also the conversation between Nathanael and Jesus in 1:49-51.  John 3:16 speaks of God “giving” Jesus, and 1 John 4:9, 10 speaks of the giving of Jesus as a manifestation of God’s love because God sent His son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Jesus is spoken of as God’s “sent” in passages such as John 3:34; 4:34; 5:23, 24, 30, 36; 6:29, 38, 39, 44, 57; 7:16-18, 28, 29, 33; etc.  Note Jesus is presented as the unique son of God, the lamb of God, God’s messenger, God’s representative and spokesman, the one who explains God, and the one who will return to his sender, but never the one who is God’s brother. 


Jesus stressed the fact in John that he was God’s spokesman who surrendered himself to God’s will.  Therefore God determined what Jesus said, what Jesus did, and the focus of Jesus’ ministry.  Consider statements in John declared by Jesus in 3:34; 5:19, 30; 6:38; 8:28; 12:49, 50; 14:10; and 17:9-13.  Paul wrote about Jesus’ surrender to God (as an example of humility for the Christians at Philippi) and Jesus’ glorification by God (as a declaration of the trustworthiness of God’s assurances) in Philippians 2:5-11. Note Paul emphasized the significance of Jesus’ name as the God-raised Christ -- to Christians, the resurrected Jesus is King.  The position and work of a king was something the first-century Christians understood.


The study of how things will be after death or at the return of the resurrected Jesus is called eschatology.  There is no clear, definite explanation of all eschatological matters given in one scripture in the Bible.  Though some people are quite definite in their eschatological views, most of those views have selected a particular scripture or a specific hypothesis as a basis for their eschatological views.


The New Testament presents the resurrected Jesus as a king who ascends to a temporary rule of Lord at God’s right hand (a place of great honor, but not on God’s throne itself [Mark 16:19; Luke 22:69; Acts 7:55, 56; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3, 8:1, 10:12, 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22]).  Jesus Christ rules now.  His rule will continue as Lord until he defeats everything that opposes God.  When that is accomplished, the resurrected Jesus will return all things to God (including himself) that God may rule as the all in all (see 1 Corinthians 15:24-28).  At the moment Jesus is Lord as he continues to defeat God’s enemies.  After judgment is completed, God will rule.


Allow Jesus’ last words to eleven of his twelve disciples [John 13:31-16:33] to emphasize his mission.  In this conversation, Jesus (a) calls to God [14:1-3, 6]; (b) calls to God’s work (values) [14:11, 12]; (c) calls to God’s glorification [14:13; consider also 13:31-35]; (d) calls to obedience [14:15, 21, 23; 15:1-10]; and (e) calls to be witnesses for him [15:27]  These words were directed to the men he called, not to us.  We cannot be the kind of disciples in the same sense as were these men Jesus personally selected.  You are challenged to see Jesus’ mission in Jesus’ last recorded conversation with these men—come to the Father; do the Father’s work; bring glory to the Father; obey the teachings; and be witnesses to Jesus’ identity.


Carefully note the context.  Jesus came only to the Jewish people.  There is very little evidence that Jesus traveled outside of Jewish territory—such trips were infrequent and brief.  Very few gentiles benefited from Jesus’ miraculous acts.  Within 24 hours the religious leaders of the Jews will “manufacture” Jesus’ death.  The Roman soldiers actually killed Jesus after Pilates’ (the Roman governor) condemnation of Jesus (see Matthew 27:22-26, 27-31; 33-36; Mark 15:10).  Ironically, the people who were supposed to know God the best and who represented God to a nation were the people who insisted on Jesus’ crucifixion.


The challenge confronting us is the challenge to continue Jesus’ ministry 2000 years later.  How do we do that?  (a) We call people to God.  (b) Those that come to God are urged to accept God’s work in this world.  If we accept the call to God, we live by (exist in) God’s values.  That means we have to know what God’s values are and how to exhibit those values in the way we live.  (c) We exist to give glory to God.  God is not shamed by what we say or how we act.  In fact, people who seek God or more likely to come to God if such people have contact with us.  (d) We do not exist to tell others what to do, but to show others what to do.  We do not exist to find fault with the lives of the ungodly and unrighteous, but we live to obey God.  We do not seek to “earn” or “deserve” anything (there is nothing to earn or deserve), but we seek to show appreciation for what God through Jesus Christ has done for us.  Jesus showed us how to surrender to God’s will.  By obeying Jesus, we yield to God’s values.  One of the ways we give expression to our love for God and for Jesus is by being obedient.  (e) We can be witness.  We cannot be witnesses of what we did not see.  However, we can be witnesses of the way God has touched our lives, and the peace and joy God has brought us through Jesus.  We can verify who Jesus is by the impact Jesus has on who we are.



For Thought and Discussion


1. The gospel of John gives emphasis to what two things?


2. The gospel of John presents Jesus as what six things?


3. The gospel of John never presents Jesus as what?


4. Jesus stressed the fact that he was God’s spokesman who did what?


5. God determined what?


6. Basically, what is eschatology?  One scripture does not clearly, definitely do what?


7. Most people who are definite about eschatological views do at least one of what two things?


8. The New Testament presents the resurrected Jesus as what?  When and how long will he be that king?


9. What is John 13:31 to John 16:33?


10. List five things Jesus emphasized about his ministry.


11. Discuss the context of the conversation in the gospel of John.


12. What challenge confronts us?

Link to Teacher's Guide Lesson 6

Copyright © 2009
David Chadwell & West-Ark Church of Christ

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