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Scripture Reading: John 1:6-13
1. Book and movie, The Case for Christ (Lee Strobel, 1979 reporter with The Chicago Tribune - Ford Pinto fuel tank expose). The movie tells how Strobel used his journalism training to investigate the resurrection of Jesus, leading him from atheism to belief in Jesus Christ. Strobel analyzed:
a. Reliability of the manuscripts (over 5,300; Now ~5700).
b. 500 witnesses at once (1 Cor. 15:6); Testimony of women.
c. Alleged discrepancies of resurrection accounts.
d. Swoon theory (debunked).
e. Finally, he was asked: “How much evidence will it take before you believe?”
2. All the while, his wife Leslie started going to the Willow Creek Community Church (Bill Hybels), was “saved,” later baptized.
3. The movie related the moment Strobel told his wife he believed the evidence, and he asked, “Now what?”
a. He turned to John 1:12 for his answer, applying it this way: “believe + receive = become”. He prayed, and believed he was saved/became a Christian. (Notes: The Case for Christ, 269)
b. One would wish Strobel had used his investigative skills to examine more of the Scriptures to understand the true meaning of John 1:12, in order to be saved the Bible way.
4. Strobel says he was “trained to respond to the facts, wherever they lead” (267). Let us do that with the facts about “Receiving Jesus.”
I. FIRST, WHAT JOHN 1:12 ACTUALLY SAYS.
-received (believed) = right to become a child of God-
A. Receive: “to take, have, hold, obtain, accept.”
-cf. Evidence presented: Mark 6:1-6 (Nazareth did not receive Jesus) v. John 4:43-45 (Galilee did receive Him).
B. Explanation: “Those who Believe in His Name.”
1. Believers are those who “receive” (take hold of) Christ.
2. Receive Jesus...believe, Jno. 5:42-44.
3. “As many as” – Universal offering of salvation to believers.
C. Right to Become a Child of God (exousia, freedom of action, right to act; power, authority).
1. Authority (power) to become a child of God.
2. Believer (receiver) is given leave or permission to become a child of God.
3. Not at child of God at the point you “receive” (believe), but have the right to act to become one.
a. Unto (in order to, in the direction of) salvation, Rom. 10:9-10.
4. “To become” – Born of God, Jno. 1:13.
a. Right to be born again, Jno. 3:2-5.
b. Purification comes in “obeying the truth,” 1 Pet. 1:22-23.
5. BTW, where is prayer anywhere in John 1:12?
* Meaning of John 1:12: All who receive (believe in) Jesus Christ have the right (authority, power, permission) to become children of God. New birth is available to all who believe, Jno. 1:13.
II. BIBLE EXAMPLES OF JOHN 1:12-13 (RECEIVING JESUS).
A. Great Commission, Mk. 16:15-16.
-Believe (receive) + baptized = Saved; unbeliever (not receive) condemned in sin.
B. Pentecost, Acts 2:22, 36-41.
-Words convicted sinners and produced believers who “received” apostle’s words; these were baptized (children of God).
C. Ethiopian Eunuch, Acts 8:35-39.
-Heard and believed in Jesus (received Him); Learned he needed to be baptized to become a child of God (born of God).
D. Saul of Tarsus, Acts 9:3-11; 22:12-16.
1. Saul believed (accepted) Jesus is Son of God.
2. Saul repented and prayed for 3 days, but still had sin.
3. “What are you waiting for?” (You have permission to become a child of God!) Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins...
1. How much (more) evidence will it take for you to believe and obey?
2. Millions have been led astray by false teaching that belief + receive = become – The evidence of truth rejects this explanation and application.
Lee Strobel on how he received Jesus:
“So, on November 8, 1981, I talked with God in a heartfelt and unedited prayer, admitting and turning from my wrongdoing, and receiving the gift of forgiveness and eternal life through Jesus. I told him that with his help I wanted to follow him and his ways from here on out.
“There were no lightning bolts, no audible replies, no tingly sensations. I know that some people feel a rush of emotion at such a moment; as for me, however, there was something else that was equally exhilarating: there was the rush of reason.” (The Case for Christ, 269)
By: Joe R. Price
Posted: April 20, 2017