Tuesday, February 7, 2017
John had one purpose for writing his gospel. He makes it very clear in the 31st verse of the 20th chapter. At this point the Word of God says, "But these things are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in His name." This story was not written to entertain readers. It was not written to correct any theological heresies. It was not written to make a name for the author. It was written for one single and one most important purpose. John wanted people to believe in Jesus. His is a gospel bent toward the persuasive.
It often seems that we have forgotten why a man would write with such a purpose. It seems strange that a man would write with such a passion for one single thing. So much of what we hear as the gospel these days lacks the urgency of this message from John, the disciple of Jesus. Too often the preachers sound the message in a "take it or leave it--it doesn't really matter" fashion. Seldom do we hear the call to believe now instead of when you have time to get to it. Sermons have become little talks to make folks feel comforted or good about themselves instead of hard words that the Spirit can use to bring listeners to a place of being convicted and convinced of the sin present in the heart.
When I was learning to preach, no sermon was considered finished until some kind of invitation was offered. The idea was that preaching was to be persuasive and not informational; thus, people should always be given an opportunity to respond in some way. In that context, it was not unusual to invite people to believe in Jesus as their Savior. It is unfortunate such is no longer the norm because the need of people to hear a persuasive invitational word has not changed.