‘It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all.
The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.’ (John 6:63)
Dear brothers and sisters,
Jesus’ words here tell us the stark truth that in and of ourselves we have no resources to help people come to the eternal life that we so long to share and they so desperately need.
No matter how clever our apologetic arguments, how attractive our church community, how slick our website, how beautiful our building, how good our coffee (!), none of it has any power to give spiritual life: ‘the flesh is no help at all.’
But there is power available. And it lies in God. The power to bring the spiritually dead to life comes from God the Spirit alone: ‘it is the Spirit who gives life.’
How then is the life-giving Spirit of God at work? Jesus tells us here. It is through his own divine, life-giving words. It is as Jesus’ words are heard that the Spirit is powerfully at work to bring the dead to life.
There are many ways to bring people to Jesus’ words. But one of the simplest and most effective ways is to open the Bible with them so they can read it directly for themselves. Whenever that happens something truly profound is taking place. What looks ordinary outwardly is in fact a supernatural encounter. God the Spirit is powerfully at work in their lives as they hear Jesus’ words of spirit and life.
Some of us will have the confidence to be able to do that without any assistance. But many of us will find it a nerve-racking experience.
The Word 121 is a brilliant resource that has been designed to help. It is a series of booklets with the text of John’s gospel on one side of the page and some basic explanatory comments on the other. It is designed so that anyone – no matter nervous or inexperienced – can open Jesus’ words with an unbelieving friend.
We will hear more about it as a resource in time. But for the moment it would be worthwhile checking out the website. It explains how the booklets work, gives access to free printable copies and provides lots of supporting material.
Opening up John’s gospel with an unbelieving friend would be a natural and fitting thing for us to be seeking to do as we listen to John on Sundays ourselves. Why not pray that the Lord would give you a clear opportunity to ask someone to do that with you over the coming weeks?
It is exciting to think what God might do as others come to hear Jesus’ words of spirit and life for themselves.
I so look forward to seeing you on Sunday.
Your brother in Christ,