“It is He Himself (Christ) who rules His church, He feeds it, He cares for it, He brings to it those wandering sheep which are still astray; and those which are already in His church He watches over, leads and provides for them, so that they may be daily purified more and more from sins and all the sadness which is brought about by sins, that they may be saved and continually led on and encouraged to grow in piety and blessedness. And the Lord conducts and exercises this rule in the house of Jacob, that is, in the church, eternally; He is and dwells with His people until the end of the world – although not in a tangible sense or in the way of this world, which He has left behind, but nonetheless truly and actually. He acts as a King in His kingdom, a Master with His disciples, a faithful Shepherd with His flock, a Bridegroom with His bride, a Doctor with those who are ill, One who bestows discipline on those who need it.” (pg.13)
Matt Smethurst is managing editor of The Gospel Coalition. He has served as both a deacon and an elder at Third Avenue Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, and is now in the process of planting River City Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia.
Listen to his conversation about his book with Crossway.
10 Quotes from Deacons
A church without biblical deacons may exhibit signs of health for a while, but over time its health will suffer. (pg. 21)
When deacons flourish, the whole congregation wins. (pg. 22)
Deaconing is not training wheels for eldering. (pg. 33)
Deacons are like a congregation’s Special Ops force, carrying out unseen assignments with fortitude and joy. (pg. 39)
Public ministry is impossible without private service. Had the seven not freed the apostles to focus on teaching and prayer (Acts 6:4), the gospel would not have spread (Acts 6:7). (pg. 56)
Deacons serve at the elders’ pleasure not because elders are ultimate, but because Jesus is. (pg. 80)
No doubt locations and circumstances vary greatly, but the common denominator – the heartbeat – of diaconal work remains the same: self-giving service for the good of Christ’s church and the glory of his name. (pg. 116)
The world has always measured greatness by the standard a person receives, not by what he gives. But Jesus radically reverses our fallen logic. (pg. 122)
Deacon, your office has an expiration date, but your status as the King’s servant will never end. (pg. 127)
Faithful deacons should see their fingerprints in the unity of their congregation, for which Jesus prayed (John 17:22). (pg. 132)
Andreas Kostenberger is research professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology and Director of the Center for Biblical Studies at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has written numerous books, including The Theology of John’s Gospel and Letters,Encountering John, and The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament.
To purchase a copy of Signs of the Messiah, check out Lexham Press.
Given Dr. Kostenberger’s credentials, he is a go-to scholar on the Gospel of John. When he writes a book on the Gospels, it would be a good thing for pastors, seminary students, and lay people to pick it up. This work is especially geared for everyone. Anyone and everyone should be able to pick up this book and read.
Signs of the Messiah gives a great overview of the Gospel of John for a new believer or a Christian who has studied this Gospel for a long time. It is under 200 pages so it is accessible for many.
This work is broken into 3 Parts:
1. Authorship, Prologue, and Cana Cycle (John 1-4)
2. Festival Cycle (John 5-10)
3. Conclusion to the Book of Signs (John 11-12) and Book of Exaltation (John 13-21)
*This would be a great book to use while you are walking through the Gospel of John. The figures/charts in this book are helpful to show the overview of the Signs while also showing their connection throughout the whole Gospel of John. If you miss the signs, you miss major points in this Gospel.
One of the figures on page 35 lays out the 7 Signs in John:
1. Turning water into wine (John 2:1-12)
2. Clearing the Temple (John 2:13-22)
3. Healing the Gentile Centurion’s son (John 4:46-54)
4. Healing the lame man in Jerusalem (John 5:1-15)
5. Feeding the Five Thousand (John 6:1-15)
6. Healing the man born blind (John 9)
7. Raising Lazarus, foreshadowing Jesus resurrection (John 11)
It also contains other figures/charts such as a comparison of Nicodemus and the Samaritan Woman in John 3 and 4. It has discussion questions and other recommended reading as well.
After you read this book and you walk through the Scriptures, it will lead you to rejoice in Jesus! If you need to walk through a concise book on the Signs in John or need a book to read on the Gospel of John, put this on your list.
We only get one life and it will soon pass. Only what is done for Christ will last.
*I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Have you started an Advent devotional with your family? If you haven’t, I made a Family Worship Guide for Advent for my church. I made it available on Amazon (Paperback and Kindle).
Evan Knies is from West Monroe, LA. He is married to Lauren and father to Maesyn. He is a graduate of Boyce College and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He serves at North Hills Church. You can follow him on Twitter @Evan_Knies.