While preaching doctrine from the Gospel of John, make ready to deal with Bible ethics, based on doctrine. The Bible contains almost as much ethics as doctrine. After Easter, believers new and old need doctrine and ethics. The latter more difficult! Commentaries: G. C. Findlay (Exp. Grk. Test.); H. L. Goudge (Eng.). The lists here suggest too many sermons before midsummer. Save time for the later parts.
Introductory: “The Welfare of the Local Church” (12:27, RSV). I. Present Perils. II. Moral Problems. III. Christian Ideals. Like the Apostle, answer local questions, and lead up to vital doctrines. Unless local conditions call for the first topic, pass it by. In such a course, begin and end strongly.
“The Folly of Church Cliques” (1:10). “The Supremacy of the Cross” (2:2). In Columbia, South Carolina, during World War I, the government closed the red-light district. Later the city fathers planned to let it open. After an evening sermon, “The Folly of Segregating Sin” (Rom. 14:13, Augustine’s text), I received an anonymous card: “1 Cor. 2:2 is better than segregation. Preach the Gospel!” Paul did so by looking at city sin in the light from the Cross. Only a pulpit coward would ignore such a local issue. Incidentally, the red-light district did not reopen.
“The Christian a Farmer for God” (3:6, in a rural church). “The Believer a Builder for God” (3:10b). When the Apostle employs the singular, as here, do likewise. Who can “improve” a Bible text about one person? “The Holiness of the Believer’s Body” (6:10). Church-coiners often think that goodness has to do only with a soul, an idea foreign to the Gospel. “The Declaration of Christian Dependence” (8:12. RSV). In dealing with a matter neither right nor wrong, a believer should ...1
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