The Gospel of John is a portrait of Jesus Christ in his saving work and word with a focus on the last three years of his life, especially his death and resurrection. Its purpose is given clearly in John 20:30–31.
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book, but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.
The book is written clearly to help people believe, to bring about faith. However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that if you’re a believer already it’s not for your soul. There’s a lot of people who think that sentence means “This book is written to make unbelievers believers, so I’ll read Romans.”
- Listen to John 15:6: “If anyone does not abide in me, he’s thrown away like a branch and withers. Branches are gathered and thrown into the fire and burned.”
- Listen to John 8:31: “If you abide, remain, in my word you are truly my disciples.”
If you just take those two words, 15:6 and 8:31, what’s clear is that when John says “I’m writing these words that you might believe and have life,” he means keep on believing as well as become a believer. If you stop believing, you were never saved. You will be picked out, gathered in a bundle and thrown into the fire.
“Those who abide in me,” means keep on trusting me, believing me. That’s what branches do in vines, they draw down life. They trust the vine to give them what they need. They don’t go looking for it on Wall Street — especially now. Do not make the mistake of thinking, “Oh John, that’s the simple gospel for unbelievers, and I need meat.” That is a colossal mistake.
When he says, “These things are written so that you may believe,” he means, “John Piper, you get up in the morning and read this book, and I’ll keep you a believer. You leave me and my word — you think you can make it on your own without this word — you will perish forever.” And yes, chapter ten teaches nobody can pluck us out of his hand (John 10:28). If you’re his, you’ll feed on his word.
Read, watch, or listen to the full message: