Friday, March 15, 2019

The Narrow Way of Jesus Christ: Leaving Churchianity for the Radical Way of Holiness


Is it possible that we’ve missed the fullness of the narrow way of Christ in our modern day ‘nominal’ Christianity? Could we have missed the standard and not even realized it? Many of us belong to churches that we find ourselves fitting well into, movements and practices that encompass perhaps an hour church service, and maybe a Bible study once a week, or a small group, and perhaps a bit of prayer. 


We go through the motions, and we do express worship, we listen intently to the sermon, but often times we have this nagging feeling deep in our hearts, that tells us something is wrong, something is off, despite all the puffy phrases from the pastor saying things like, “God loves you unconditionally” and “There is no way you can ever get away from his love.” And “Jesus loves you just the way you are.” And so on and so forth. Despite all of that, we sometimes sit and tremble, wondering and worrying that perhaps we have terribly fallen short of the radical new testament standard of total devotion to Christ. Have you ever felt that way?

In my own analysis, I’ve done several things in response to this feeling. First, I remind myself of the preachers soft words about how easy and free the Christian life is. Freedom in Christ, freedom, grace through faith, and I squash those lingering concerns in my mind as simple attacks by the enemy, attempting to try to make me “earn my salvation” or “trying to fill me with guilt and weigh me down in my past sins.” Or such pithy sayings. I squash the guilt and concern I have, because I cannot stand it. And it doesn’t fit with the message from the pulpit and the youth leaders, and most everyone in my church who does exactly the same thing.

But if I’m to be honest with myself, those attempts to quash the feeling of concern and dread I have seldom seem to suffice. The words seem empty, though true they may be, I look at them and say yes, these things are true, they are part of the scriptures, but there is much more in the scriptures that seems to be left out because it seems a trifle hard. There is something missing though, something missing from my Christian walk. I want more of God. I want more of the Christian way. I want to go deeper. Indeed, I despise the surfacy gospel, and I must go deeper. I must have more of it. I want it to truly transform me. I want all of God, all of Christ, and all of His Spirit.

Then there is the second option that I sometimes consider, and of a recent time, have begun to pursue, at first with a half-hearted measure, but now more and more seriously, and fully, with a fuller heart, though I would be lying if I said that I have given it my whole heart and mind and muchness to the expedition.

And it does appear to be quite an expedition. An expedition into a bright, shining forest of wonder, yet also inlayen with darkness, danger, and certain extreme difficulties. This way seems to me to be the road of humble holiness, the path of meek sanctification and the road to everlasting glory.

It is the terrifying and shocking realization that much of modern Christianity is so temporal and focused on this world and it’s concerns that we have largely missed the gospel’s radical narrow way of set-apartness and total life transformation, total allegiance and all out devotion to Christ.

Could it be my friends that we live in such an all-encompassing bubble of sleepy Christianity, of worldly Christianity that we don’t realize that we’ve become stuck on the journey of faith? We as pilgrim’s on our progress through this life were journeying through a dark and uncertain place, along a path long trodden by tens of millions throughout history, but could it be that while we were on that journey, we stopped at a village of cultural religion, a counterfeit half-measure of the true way, and gave up our journey to sit in the wells of a double-minded faith that triggers small delights of joy and peace, while missing the fullness of the Christian message? I think it could very well be so. And though I often look up to the preacher on the platform, preaching of grace, grace, and more grace, hyper grace, and no concern for sin or holiness, I am distracted, and I soon begin to stare out the window of the chapel, toward that opening in the woods that leads down the dangerous, difficult, radical path of holiness and intense intimacy with God our creator!

Now, having found this path, and desired to walk along it, though only a few of the thousands of church attenders will join me, now find myself having trodden for two years nearly down that jungle path, and I will now tell you a bit about it, and I will certainly urge you to break ranks and join me on this rugged road to true holy, Spirit filled, radical, intimate Christianity with a real, living Jesus Christ.

I had become increasingly centered on orthodoxy, or what one might call the doctrinal truths of the faith.  I found myself examining the scriptures extensively and also concerning myself with the various apologetics that circle around the scriptures, in areas like the sciences, histories, and philosophies that show evidence for the faith.  This is a good thing to do, and a great blessing to my walk.

But I believe I was lacking in the orthopathy, the practice of the deep emotional and relational aspect of the faith.  I was not fully allowing the supernatural nature of the scriptures and the living God to transform my interaction with reality.  Oh what a blessing it has been and continues to be! These may not be accurately relayed as orthopathy, but something else probably, a willingness to interact with the supernatural aspects of the Christian faith.

Why was this difficult?  Because at once it became increasingly dangerous to a person of orthodoxy.  What does one so focused on doctirnal truth and apologetics do with things like dreams, visions, hours in prayer, fasting, or even miraculous healings, and prophetic words, and deeper spiritual disciplines!  They can at first appear risky or concerning to one centered on doctrinal truth.  

And at times for good reason, as these concerns of the faith are often open to abuse, because they leave the door open for charletons to peddle their wears, or spooky spiritualist types to play their games and garner attention for themselves.  

Then again, if I were to say I were so focused on doctrinal truth in it's entirety, and then neglect the portions of scripture that clearly detail these aspects of the faith simply because they appear dangerous, I would be a hypocrite speaking out of both sides of my mouth.  

But it was God who called me toward this deeper experience of my faith, to a more radical, one might say 'whacky' Spirit filled experience of my faith.  And that need not impede on doctrinal/scriptural truth at all.  The scriptures leave ample room for it.  They truly, truly do.  Though sometimes we say that, and then quietly avoid those topics no matter the cost.  I refuse to do that, and I'm glad I did refuse.

Because to experience God in orthpathy, in emotional connection, in prayer, in fasting, in longer prayer, in longer fasting, in spiritual disciplines, in believing for miracles, and stepping into risky proclamation and spiritual warfare one finds beautiful extensions of the faith.  

I find a greater connection to God.  Not because I've found some special knowledge or hidden way, but simply because God has revealed Himself more and more.  He does it for all us.  Sometimes we refuse to make the time though, and our walk is hindered. We must carve out time, large, large swaths of time.  

In this day and age we condemn those who attempt certain set times of the day for prayer, and mouth platitudes about ones whole life needing to be prayerful, but then we neglect prayer entirely, but feel quite superior, and self-righteous having rebuked that 'legalistic spirit' of 'scheduled prayer.'  Sadly, with a few words we've removed prayer.  We pray for 30 seconds, or 10 minutes, when we should be in prayer for hours.  That phrase will upset some, but I don't care.  I'm tired of the platitudes and excuses about 'legalism' that cause us to neglect prayer and feel self-righteous about it.  We've learned to neglect prayer, fasting, the study of scripture, spiritual disciplines, and a true living daily relationship with God, and it shows.  It really really shows.  And when someone dare encourages us to set a pattern, to live out a method in our lives, we call them a legalist.  How sad, how sad indeed. 

I think it was desire in me to live out what I saw happening in other parts of the world.  I heard reports of the power of the Spirit moving in Iraq, in the middle east, and greatly across much of Africa, and of course China.  These believers are on fire, they are Spirit filled, and they spread the gospels.  Their worship is alive, passionate, and filled with power.  They have learned to expect miraculous occurrences, and then they see them happen!  They've learned to discipline themselves, fasting for weeks, praying for days on end, and when someone here in the west suggests we pray for an entire hour, they are hounded out of the room as a 'legalist."  We in the west, and our expression of religion has become in some ways quite drab.  Our dedication is minimal.  We run about greatly, but we get very little done.  Maybe it's because we've neglected these things.

So I decided, over much time of praying about this, and seeing these things happening on other continents, and I decided I wanted to partake in this.  I want to try to do what they do, to really connect with God on a deeper level.  I decided I wanted to try to be as sold out for Christ as they are.Sofar I've just begun to scratch the surface.  But I hope you'll join me on this journey and come out of churchianity and into the true, total, transformational way of radical dedication to Christ in all of life's times and in all fullness of Spiritual power.  


Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Repair the Temple of God: It's Time to Be Set Apart as Holy


Since the early beginnings of the church, in the book of Acts, the apostles had to deal with false teachers. They had to deal with persecution. They had to deal with Gnosticism and the gnostic gospel forgeries. They had to deal with the bishops of Rome and later the corruption of the papacy. And today we face our own struggles as the church.

Today we deal with leaders in the church of God, who don’t really love or trust the word of God. They prefer to alter the word, to reshape the word, based on their own ideology, and worldview. We face various theological struggles in our day and age, that threaten to divide and destroy the church. More and more we face celebrity pastors who we listened to and respected, now being uncovered as abusive, or sexually immoral. On TV we see prosperity teachers gathering money from unsuspecting victims. And what a terrible witness this is to the world, of the gospel of Christ.

And I sense that God is generating a separation within the churches, between those who truly love the Lord and His word, and those who are just playing church, those who are living in perpetual sin, and those who are teaching falsehood as truth. Over the past six months, as I’ve prayed and studied the scriptures, God keeps bringing me to scriptures that say this: Rebuild the temple. Repair my temple. Build up the temple of God. And I couldn’t figure out what God meant by that. 


So I had to ask myself, what is the temple of God, in the new testament? We are the temple of God. And Jesus Christ means to return to Earth, to claim his people and establish his kingdom on this very Earth. But are we really ready for Him to return? Are we really prepared? 

The temple of God, the body of Christ, is in need of growth in holiness. We need to set ourselves apart for the Lord, and stop living with one foot in sin and one foot in God’s kingdom. It’s time to fully commit ourselves to God, to be totally sold out. No more sin, no more selfishness and self-seeking. 

Is there a sin in your life right now that needs to be removed by the Spirit of God?  God will certainly remove this sin, this defect, this addiction if you cry out to Him day and night for freedom from it.  Many sins are common in the church, especially issues like gossip (speaking evil of others in a spirit of cruelty), back-biting (striking back at someone verbally/physically), dissensions (waging a manipulative sort of quiet war of dissension against someone else, or a leader or a pastor or coworker), lust (entertaining fantasizing in the mind about someone), gluttony (consistently over-eating in a way which dishonors God), various addictions (drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, social media, pornography, television, etc), unforgiveness (refusing to forgive completely those who have hurt us), and many other sins of the flesh.  If you struggle with sin as a Christian please realize that God will help you and set you free.  Please also realize that action may be necessary, like meeting with your pastor or a Christian counselor, or attending a group like Celebrate Recovery.  

God has called us to be holy and pure in His sight.  If we do not live in holiness, we will not inherit eternal life. It’s time to be truly holy before God. It’s time to go all the way. Isn’t that what we all long for? 

We long for a time of great revival, a time of great awakening, a time when God does mighty deeds in his church. Do you know what the key to this is? A truly set apart church, a truly holy church, that practices holiness within, and holiness toward the world. It doesn’t start with others, or with some organization, or some set of ideas, it starts with you, and me, deciding that we’re going to take God’s teachings seriously. To truly live for Him, no more half in and half out.

No more 90% to God and 10% for me. 100% all in for God. Total love for God. Total trust in His word. Total surrender to His will. Nothing less will do. Is this possible? Many think it isn’t. But I know it’s more than possible. It’s inevitable, because His Spirit lives in us. Maybe we so much don’t think that it’s impossible, it’s that we realize there will be a cost, which is the death of self. So we really don’t think it’s impossible, we just quietly don’t want to pay the price, of losing ourselves completely in Christ. But imagine what can happen when we do that. Imagine what you will do for Christ when your all in for Him.

This is your destiny my friends. This is what you were meant for, from birth. Your destiny, the very meaning of life is that you would come to know God through Jesus Christ His son, to live for Him, to lose yourself in Him, and thus find yourself forever. Your future, if you give it all up for God, is in the new heavens, and new earth, in the new city of God. Paradise. And that isn’t the end of the journey, that is just the beginning.

Let it cut deep, accept the Spirit’s leading. God is separating us, setting us apart, God is calling us as Moses called his people and his leaders, “Come to me if you stand with the Lord.” Come to Him. Lose yourself completely in Him. Yes, we’ve all sinned. Many of us as Christians have continued to live in quiet, hidden sin. Now it’s time to return to Him. Now it’s time to be set apart. Now it’s time to lose ourselves in His holy love for us. Stand with God. Because we know that the sheep and the goats will be separated. Be one of the obedient sheep, who follows Jesus completely, whole heartedly, sincerely.

I'd like to ask for you who are reading to pray.  Please pray.  Pray hard and pray often.  Don't just pray for five minutes, or twenty minutes.  Pray for an hour.  Pray for two hours.  Pray for eight hours.  Fast and pray all day.  Pray for days, pray for weeks, pray for 40 days.  


Prayers:
1. We’re going to pray for God to make the Salvation Army a holy army of love. 

2. We’re going to pray that God would make each of us holy set apart to Him. 

3. We’re going to pray for the church across America, that the church overall would repent, turn to God, and learn to live in holiness.

4. We’re praying for God to set us apart, just as he set apart the Israelites, just like he set apart the twelve disciples, just like he set apart the Apostle Paul, and just like he calls all his saints to be set apart in these last days. 



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Sunday, March 3, 2019

The Exodus from Egypt: The Golden Calf at Mt. Sinai




Audio Message:


The desert air is cold. A wind blows through the camp, and the smell of frankincense hints in the air from some distant shrubs along the arid landscape. You stand outside a small tent, and in all directions tents dot the landscape, beyond your vision. You’ve woken up early, and darkness still covers the land, with just a few hints of sunlight in the far distance. You look down at your hands, to the scars of the shackles you used to wear in Egypt. Now your free, or so it seems, but something in you longs for the slavery again, yet this raw excitement fills you, because you’ve found something greater, a whole new way of life, with a God of the universe. You smile looking up at the star filling the sky. Then you gaze at it again, a giant beam of fire licking the night sky, standing there like a pillar, unfueled, yet ceaselessly burning. You watch, as the first hints of the light of the morning touch it, and the pillar is suddenly replaced, by a strand of cloud, as the morning roosters start crowing.

Imagine it… 2 and a half million people traveling through the wilderness, they must’ve looked like a mighty stream from above. And now they’d come to a stop, around an ancient mountain.

Today we’re talking about The Exiles at Mt Sinai. We’re going to consider concepts like being set apart by God and the high cost of sin. So the Israelites had been delivered by God from slavery in Egypt, and they’d traveled for some time in the wilderness.

Soon God had led them to make camp near Mt. Sinai. And we see here an amazing close encounter happen between God and man. The culmination of these events is that the Israelites and God enter into a binding covenant, based around the 10 commandments, and the rest of the law. God says, I’ve called you to be set apart as holy, different, starkly different from the world. And this is how you do it, you live by my laws.

Notice the order of events: Did God come to the Israelites while they were slaves in Egypt and say, alright, here are the laws you have to live by, and if you can measure up, then I’ll set you free. No. Freedom comes first, then comes holiness.

Similarly, today, God has saved each of us, before we were holy. We come to Jesus Christ completely helpless, sinful, a hot mess and he saves us like that. And how is he able to do that? God takes all that sin upon us, and he transfers it to Jesus Christ, crucified on the cross. He deletes our sin, with the heavy price of Jesus own blood, the blood of the son of God. Then our sins are gone. And much more, we are reborn, given the Holy Spirit, and set on a course of progressive sanctification. Have your sins been crucified with Jesus? Take a moment now to receive that.

We see Moses repeatedly acting as a mediator, between God and man, as one who intercedes for the people, and stands before God as a representative of the people. Does that remind you of anyone from the new testament? Jesus.

Next Moses is called up to the mountain top to meet with God. Has God ever called you to the mountain top? Is he calling you today, to come to the mountain top, and receive something from Him? A gift? A freedom from sin? A new cleansing in holiness?

But while Moses is high up with God, time passes, weeks and weeks go by, and the people down below become impatient. And they appeal to Moses’ second in command, Aaron, to make them a god to go before them. Something physical that they can see, so they can worship God in such a way. Aaron gathers gold from the people, and they fashion it into a golden calf, set up an altar, and they even declare a day “To the Lord” in which they bring their burnt offers to the calf, and make sacrifices to God, mediated by this gold idol. Then after this solemn time of offerings, they throw a party, and everything goes crazy from there.

Today when we study this story, we think to ourselves: How foolish could these people possibly be? They’ve personally seen God split open the water, and they walked on dry ground. How could they do this!

But how often do we do the same thing in our Christian life? We saw God deliver us from sin. He gave our lives meaning. We were out there chasing after sin, sinning in all sorts of ways, lying, stealing, enslaved to lust, manipulation, and God didn’t hold that against us, He saved us anyway. We saw the transformation. We saw our lives go from darkness to light.

But one day we see one of those old sins, and we jump right back into the mud pile. And once that first compromise is made, it so quickly can become a new habit of behavior. And Satan has just built a beachhead in our hearts.

If we allow sin to live in us too long as Christians, it begins to separate us from God. Instead we must allow the Holy Spirit to convict us, and cooperate in His process of change in us. Early in my walk as a Christian I struggled with just such sins in my life, and I had to dig into Christian books, and prayer, and accountability relationships. And I had to fight those battles, to be free from sin.

Maybe we aren’t so different from the Israelites and their golden calf. Maybe our golden calves are just a bit more modern, and socially acceptable.

So as the golden calf rises up in the camp, God tells Moses what is happening below, and He says, “I see what they’re doing.” And Moses is led to intercede for the people, and ask God for mercy, which God grants. Did God really change his mind? I don’t think so. God wanted Moses to learn to intercede for his people in that moment. And he did.

So Moses goes down with the stones tablets, and Moses is so upset at what he sees that he throws down the tablets, and they smash on the ground.

Moses asks Aaron, “What is going on?” And Aaron is like, “Bro, I swear, the people threw their gold in the fire and out came this calf. Isn’t that crazy?” So Aaron lies, and Moses goes to work.

Exodus chapter 32:26-29 says, “Moses stood at the entrance to the camp and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.” And all the Levites rallied to him.

27 Then he said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.’” 28 The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died. 29 Then Moses said, “You have been set apart to the Lord today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and he has blessed you this day.”

What do we do with all of this? What most scholars believe is that this was dealing with the instigators behind the golden calf incident. Possibly some of them were Egyptians who had gone with the Israelites into the wilderness. These corrupt leaders of the people had been the ones orchestrating this rebellion. And God ordered their deaths to prevent sin from infecting the camp once again. This is where we struggle to understand the seriousness of sin. We’re appalled at the slaughter of three thousand people, even if it’s ordered by God. But maybe that’s because we don’t take sin seriously enough. Sin is like an infectious disease, that spread so quickly, and ruins people’s lives. We’re pretty tolerant of sin in our day and age. But God isn’t. God knows sin must be confronted and dealt with, or it will spread, and lead to more chaos, sorrow, and suffering for humanity.

How do we understand these events in our modern context? Obviously God doesn’t order us to go and kill false teachers. That’s not how things work in the new testament period. We are told as Christians to pray for those who persecute us, and love our enemies, and to speak out against false teachers. We know that ultimately God himself will deal with false teachers at the last judgment at the end of time.

To us today, three thousand years later, these events seem alien and difficult to understand. But maybe it’s because we tend to be pretty cavalier about sin today in the modern church. God isn’t so cavalier about it.

These events give us a stark contrast, the contrast of the way the modern church sometimes portrays God, as a god who doesn’t care about sin, and just wants to bless us, and the God of the Bible, who is much more complicated than that. The real God of the Bible cares about things like justice and truth, and goodness and holiness! God is pure love, and full of mercy and grace, yet also a powerful mighty Being of glory, sovereignty and judgment. He is so infinitely beyond us that we can only glimpse a mere image of His expansive omnipotent nature. To exclude the aspects of God we don’t like, or find uncomfortable, is to make a false god in our own image, in fact, it is to make a golden calf of a sort, and call it god.

In the incident of the golden calf, we see a tragic event for God’s people. They’ve failed God already, and it seems like they’ve only just begun their journey. In fact, we know that they will continue to fail God in various ways throughout their wilderness trek. And at the end of Exodus 32 we see that God even strikes some of the people in the camp with a plague as punishment for their sin.

Have you ever had a time in your life when it felt like God was disciplining you? I’ve certainly had those times in my life. But thankfully the story doesn’t end with discipline and punishment. The page turns, and things get better.

Flip the page in your Bible, to chapter 33. Despite all the Israelites have done, once again God and Moses speak. And God still promises, verse 3, You will go to the land flowing with milk and honey. But Moses insists, “Lord we need you to go there with us.” And God replies, verse 14, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” And again in verse 17, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” And Moses asks God to “Show Me your Glory.” And God shows Moses his glory. Basically he is asking God: “I need to know who you really are.” Have you ever asked God that? Do it. I dare you. You won’t be disappointed.

In the final analysis, despite everything that had happened, Moses interceded for the people, and the covenant that was broken was restored. And today in the same way, when we fall short, when we fall into sin, when we set up our golden calves, the very best thing we can do is come to God, ask for forgiveness, and repent. Then we begin to move in a new holy direction. We ask to see God, and God shows us his glory.

One of the greatest things a saint can do, is go even deeper with God, to a new level of intimacy. Make a declaration before God: I want more of you. Lord, show me your glory. Lord, break every chain of sin in my life. Lord, I confess my need in this area. Lord, I throw my golden calf into the fire and I repent.


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Saturday, March 2, 2019

The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved: The Character & Personality of John



He was the sage who wrote the most beautiful, eloquent, and theologically deep description of the life of Jesus. He followed Jesus all the way to the cross when the rest of the disciples fled. He was so humble and self-effacing that he only mentioned himself in his gospel account as ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’ (John 13:23 NIV). And at the end of his life he encountered the risen Christ once again, and was given an extended vision of the end of the world (Revelation 1 NIV). Today we are looking at the character and life of the apostle John.

The Apostle John was one of the sons of Zebedee, a fisherman, along with his brother James (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 1982). John was most likely the younger brother as he is always listed second to James (Chadwick, 2017). John was on a boat fishing with his father Zebedee when Jesus called him to “come and follow me.” Before following Jesus, John and his brother had been followers of John the Baptist. His mother was Salome. He was one of Jesus’ inner circle, being present at the healing of Jairus’ daughter and the transfiguration. John and his brother James were referred by Jesus as the ‘sons of thunder’ perhaps because of their passion and zeal for the faith (Chadwick, 2017). It is traditionally believed that John’s mother Salome was the sister of Mary the mother of Jesus, which would make him and Jesus cousins (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 1982). John authored the gospel of John, as well as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John. According to most traditional sources, the apostle John is the same “John of Patmos” who recorded the book of Revelation, though some dispute this claim (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 1982). The author of Revelation claims to be “John” though no further identification is given (Walton & Keener, 2016, p. 2216). The apostle John’s authorship is generally supported by early church tradition (Walton & Keener, 2016, p. 2216).

Let us consider the Apostle John’s character. He was certainly prone to error just as any of the other disciples were. Him and his brother desired to be the greatest in the kingdom of God, and requested Jesus would do it for them (Mark 10:37 NIV). He forbade a man to cast out demons in the name of Jesus because he was not a follower with them, but was rebuked by Jesus for doing so (Luke 9:49-50 NIV). He had also desired to cast down fire on a village that rejected the teachings of Jesus along with his brother James (Luke 9:54-55).

Yet we see the apostle John is a thoughtful, deep thinker who followed Jesus faithfully as one of the inner circle of disciples (Matthew 17:1-9, Mark 5:37 NIV). In his gospel he refers to himself rarely, and quietly accounts the fact that he stayed with Jesus all the way through the crucifixion when the rest of the disciples fled. He was trusted so thoroughly by Jesus Christ that when Jesus was upon the cross he looked at John and his mother Mary and said, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother” (John 19:26-27). His love and devotional to Jesus seemed to go beyond Peter, James, or any of the other disciples, as he loyally followed Jesus through his passion and to the cross itself. This would’ve taken great courage and fierce loyalty. Later in life John would be the one whom Jesus would trust his revelation of the end times to through a vision. John would record Jesus’ instructions to the seven churches of Asia Minor in Revelation as well.

Beyond what is recorded in the gospels and epistles, John’s history and actions outside the scriptures fades into myth and legend (Chadwick, 2017). Polycrates and St. Irenaeus, early church fathers indicated that John died in Ephesus and that his tomb was there (Chadwick, 2017). During the second century it was reported by Tertullian, another church father, that John was dropped into a giant pot of boiling oil but miraculously came out unburned (Chadwick, 2017). Other legends went around that John was martyred in some way (Chadwick, 2017).

In conclusion, the apostle John famously wrote in his gospel account, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:1-5). John’s gospel gives us a look at the life of Jesus in deeper theological context. It gives us a greater understanding of God’s love, the hope of everlasting life, and brings out the fullness of the passion of Jesus Christ. He was a zealous and devoted man, though not immune to error and sin, he was part of Jesus’ inner circle, and entrusted with the care of Jesus’ mother Mary. Overall, the Apostle John through his simple, yet provocative life gives us a picture of a quiet, thoughtful, yet imperfect man made into a hero by the power of a loving God. 





References
Chadwick, H. (2017, August 29). St. John the Apostle. Retrieved January 25, 2019, from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Saint-John-the-Apostle
Silva, M., & Tenney, M. C. (2009). The Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible: Volume 3, H-L. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. (1982). Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Pub.