Meeting Jesus: The “I Am” Sayings of Jesus by R.C. Sproul. Banner of Truth. 88 pages. 2019
In this short book – the only one authored by R.C. Sproul that has been published by Banner of Truth – Dr. Sproul looks at looks at eight “I am” sayings of Jesus recorded in the Gospel of John which reveal his true identity and teach us the truth about him. Those sayings are:
- The Bread of Life
- The Light of the World
- The Door
- The Good Shepherd
- The Resurrection and the Life
- The Way, the Truth and the Life
- The True Vine
- Before Abraham Was, ‘I Am”
This book reads like the content may have been originally delivered as sermons, or as a teaching series from Ligonier Ministries. Interestingly, there is no “Introduction” or information about the author, as you would normally find in a book.
Sproul, who died in 2017, was a spiritual mentor for me. In this book, he characteristically delivers solid theological teaching in an easy-to-understand manner. Below are ten of my favorite quotes from the book:
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BOOK CLUB ~ The Gospel According to Jesus by John MacArthur
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- It was God who sent the manna; it came from heaven. Therefore, it is critical for Jesus to identify himself with this same kind of provision that God gave in the Old Testament. When Jesus proclaims this truth, he’s speaking about his origin.
- Every person that the Father gives to the Son comes to the Son, and all of those who come to the Son are never cast out. Instead, they receive their nourishment from the one whom the Father sent on their behalf. They feed upon and are strengthened by the bread of life, which not only sustains us in our earthly existence, but also gives life everlasting. And just as with the statement of his origins, this claim caused great uproar and discussion.
- When God the Holy Spirit actively draws a person to Jesus, that person comes to Jesus.
- When we see God manifesting himself in Scripture, he does it repeatedly with overpowering experiences of light.
- There’s no passage in all of Scripture that more clearly affirms the deity of Christ than the prologue of John’s Gospel.
- If Jesus ever made a statement that was politically incorrect, it is this one. What Jesus is saying about himself is that the kingdom is exclusive, not inclusive, and the sheepfold does not have fifteen different doors and ways to enter. There is only one door and, as the New Testament repeats time and again, there is only one mediator between God and man – Christ himself. The flock of God has one shepherd and the only way into the sheepfold is through the one who is the door. That is offensive to the inclusive, pluralistic culture in which we live.
- Our pluralistic culture claims there are many ways to God, insisting that it does not matter what you believe. Whether you are a Buddhist, Hindu or Taoist, it is taught that all roads lead to God. But this all-inclusive concept is on a direct collision course with what the Scriptures teach about salvation and Christ – that he is the monogenēs, ‘the only begotten,’ of the Father.
- We need to remember that God never promises his people that they will not enter the valley of the shadow of death. The absolute promise God gives to his people is that he will never send us through it alone.
- Jesus is raised from the dead for us, so that we will also participate in that resurrection. That is at the core of the hope of the Christian faith.
- For the Christian, the resurrection is a magnificent entrance to the supreme setting of human life. It’s at the heart of the Christian faith. Without it, Christianity is simply empty, irrelevant and vainly moralistic in the eyes of the modern person.
- A Liturgy for Seasons of Uncertainty. In this short video, Kristyn Getty reads “A Liturgy for Seasons of Uncertainty” by Douglas McKelvey, from the book Every Moment Holy, Vol. 2: Death, Grief, and Hope.
- Book Review: Devoted to God’s Church. Mark Redfern reviews Sinclair Ferguson’s latest book Devoted to God’s Church. He writes “Devoted to God’s Church is a wonderful discipling tool. It is both theological and practical. It would make an excellent book to give to new guests in your church who want to know more about what it means to belong to the body of Christ. You could also use it as an accessible book for a new member’s classes. Pastors could utilize it for training future leaders. Small groups could incorporate it in group discussion. The uses are as broad as the church.”
- A Brief Review of Two Resources for Helping Anxious and Depressed Teens. Kevin Halloran reviews two new books by David Murray. He writes “I expect parents to find these books a godsend for coaching their kids through anxiety. And it might just help them think through their own anxiety and faith as well.”
- Trembling at Sin, Marveling at Grace. The doctrine of God’s providence is the theme of John Piper’s new book Providence (which we will begin going through next time). He is celebrating the real-life impact the doctrine of providence makes on our lives. There are a total of ten implications. On the previous episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast, Piper looked at how providence confronts our lethargic worship. That was implication number one. Here is implication number two.
- My Reviews on Goodreads. Check out more than 330 of my book reviews on Goodreads.
BOOK CLUB – Won’t you read along with us?
We are reading through John MacArthur’s classic book The Gospel According to Jesus. What did Jesus mean when He said, “Follow me”? MacArthur tackled that seemingly simple question and provided the evangelical world with the biblical answer. For many, the reality of Jesus’ demands has proved thoroughly searching, profoundly disturbing, and uncomfortably invasive; and yet, heeding His words is eternally rewarding. The 20th anniversary edition of the book has revised and expanded the original version to handle contemporary challenges. The debate over what some have called “lordship salvation” hasn’t ended—every generation must face the demands Christ’s lordship. Will you read along with us?
This week we complete our review of this book by looking at Appendix 2: The Gospel According to Historic Christianity and Appendix 3: Answers to Common Questions. Here are a few takeaways from these appendices:
- All the greatest saints throughout centuries of church history have repudiated the notion that salvation effects anything less than the complete transformation of a believer’s character, behavior, and way of life.
- The clear conviction of all the leading Reformers was that true faith inevitably manifests itself in good works.
- Virtually all the creeds that came out of the Reformation identified good works as the inevitable expression of saving faith.
- The Puritans in particular wrote much about the nature of saving faith and the role of righteous works in the life of the believer.
- Any doctrine that makes surrender to Christ’s lordship optional is bad teaching. Clearly it is a departure from what Christians have always affirmed.
- Within days after this book’s initial publication, I began to receive mail from readers. In the first few weeks alone, I answered more letters about this book than I had ever received on any other subject. Here are some responses that represent the issues most commonly raised.
That concludes our review of this landmark book. Next time, we’ll begin our review of John Piper’s much anticipated new book Providence.