Pastor David B. Curtis


Media #944 MP3 Audio File Video File

Believing You May Have Life

John 20:30-31

Delivered 01/27/19

We are finishing up chapter 20, we have been looking at the post-resurrection appearances of Yeshua. We saw that Yeshua's first post resurrection appearance was to Mary, Lazarus' sister at dawn on Sunday morning. Then a little later that day Yeshua appeared to two disciples who were on their way to the town of Emmaus. Then later that day Yeshua appeared to the apostles and others who were most likely in the upper room. But Thomas was not with them. So, the next Sunday Yeshua shows up again in a locked room, but this time Thomas is there, and the Lord tells Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe." To which Thomas responds:

Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" John 20:28 ESV

Thomas' profession of faith is one of the strongest statements affirming the deity of Yeshua in Sacred Scripture! John began his Gospel by stating that Yeshua, the Word, is God. Thomas' confession brings that opening statement to its climax. The deity of Christ forms an inclusio to the Gospel. In literature, inclusio is a literary device based on a concentric principle, also known as bracketing or an envelope structure, which consists of creating a frame by placing similar material at the beginning and end of a section.

So, this Gospel begins and ends with the affirmation that Yeshua is Yahweh. And in between these, the book is loaded with reference after reference to the fact that Yeshua is Yahweh. Lazarus' emphasis is on the deity of Yeshua. We see Yeshua's deity in the various miracles He performs. We also see His deity in the seven "I am" statements in this Gospel:

Yeshua said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am." John 8:58 ESV

A literal translation would read, "Before Abraham was brought into being, I exist." The statement, therefore, is not that Christ came into existence before Abraham did, but that He already existed before Abraham was brought into being. In other words, Christ existed before creation, or eternally. Yeshua, in claiming to be "I Am," was asserting equality with Yahweh Himself, who was revealed as the "I Am That I Am"—the self-existent, eternal God.

In this Gospel we are all being called to the faith that Thomas expresses, that Yeshua is Yahweh.

Yeshua said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." John 20:29 ESV

Who is this saying is blessed? We are! It's all who have believed in Yeshua even though we have never seen Him.

The Forth Gospel only records two times that Yeshua pronounced a blessing. In the upper room, after He washed the disciples' feet and commanded them to follow His example, He said:

If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. John 13:17 ESV

The first "if" is a first class condition which is assumed to be true from the author's perspective. "Since you know these things." The second "if" in this verse is a third class conditional, which means potential action. Since we know, we should do. This reflects the Hebrew verb shema, "hear so as to do" (Deut. 6:4). Anybody want to be blessed? Yeshua promised God's blessing on those who practice humble service.

When Yeshua tells Thomas, "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed"that includes all who have believed in Christ since He ascended into heaven, including you and me.

Now Yeshua did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; John 20:30 ESV

In the Greek text has the particles "men oun" here which connect verses 30-31 with what precedes. The most common meaning of "oun" is "therefore." Those who have not seen the risen Christ and yet have believed are blessed; therefore this book has been composed to the end that you may believe.

"Yeshua did many other signs"we can't be sure what John had in mind when he referred to other "signs"? Some see him as referring to the signs that He was truly alive, post-resurrection signs. Most interpreters believe that John meant the same kind of signs as the seven miracles that he focused on in the first 12 chapters.

If you take all the miracles that Lazarus records and add all the ones that Matthew, Mark, and Luke record, you have a list of about forty separate miracles that Yeshua did. But I doubt that sums up all the miracles that Yeshua did. For three years His life was marked by miracles, we know that He essentially banished disease from the land of Israel for the duration of His ministry.

Now there are also many other things that Yeshua did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. John 21:25 ESV

We can conclude that there were many miracles that Yeshua did that weren't written about.

"In the presence of the disciples"—these signs were done in the presence of His disciples. They were eyewitnesses to all of these signs and they are credible witnesses.

"Which are not written in this book"—this could suggest that these other signs are not recorded in this book, but in other books. But I think the point here is that Lazarus has been selective in his use of material. He chose to record only those incidents from the life and ministry of Yeshua, which support his purpose in writing the Gospel.

but these are written so that you may believe that Yeshua is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20:31 ESV

This summarizes Lazarus' theology as well as articulating his purpose. His purpose was clearly evangelistic. This book is probably the most effective evangelistic tool available.

The implication of this primary evangelistic purpose is that John meant unbelievers when he wrote "you."

"But these are written"—what does "these" refer to? It goes back to "signs," these signs are written that you may believe. The use of "signs" has been a major theme of this Gospel. Do you remember what the first twelve chapters of this book were called? The Book of Signs. When we talk about signs we're simply defining the purpose of a miracle. You could use the word "miracle," but using the word "sign" gives us an indication of the purpose of the miracle. What's the purpose of a sign? A sign is to point to something.

Yeshua performed supernatural acts that had greater significance beyond the miracle. Each miracle was a sign that pointed to a theological truth and John has built his Gospel around 7 theologically significant public signs that point to Yeshua's divinity, and His claim that He is the Messiah.

So, in our text, Lazarus is informing his unbelieving readers about the "bottom line" of all that he has written. He has one goal for the unbeliever: He wants to demonstrate as clearly and as forcefully as he can that Yeshua not only claimed to be the Messiah, the Son of God, but that by many miraculous signs He proved it! The last and greatest of these signs was His resurrection from the dead.

But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. John 5:36 ESV

By His "works," Yeshua mainly meant the miracles that He did. His miracles were unique signs that He had been sent by the Father.

do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father." John 10:36-38 ESV

The "works" of Yeshua are to authenticate His mission in the eyes of the people and to support His claims to divinity. Only God can heal a man who had been lame from birth. Only God gives sight to the blind.

Lazarus calls these miracles "signs" because they point to Yeshua as God. He picked out seven signs leading up to His resurrection in chapter 11. The number seven is a significant number to the Jews; there was sacredness in the number seven. It pictures completion, perfection. These signs were chosen for a particular reason, these signs point to Him as the Messiah of Israel and also the Son of God.

It is my opinion that Yeshua actually performed 9 miracles in this Gospel, 6 of which are not recorded in the Synoptic Gospels. I see two of the seven as not being signs because only His disciples were present. I think the two miracles that are recorded in this book that are not signs are, Yeshua walking on water and teleporting the boat to shore, and the miraculous catch of fish in John 21:1-14. This makes the seventh sign the greatest "sign" of all, the resurrection of Yeshua from the dead!

Let's look at these seven signs that were recorded for the purpose of bringing men to faith in Christ. The First sign came in chapter 2 where Yeshua did His first miracle in His public ministry at Cana. Up until this point in His life, at least 30 years of life He had never done a miracle. Despite what the Quran might say. Yes, the Quran describes Yeshua as a miracle working boy who was able to create birds from clay and raise the dead to life:

Then will Allah say: "O Jesus the son of Mary! Recount My favour to thee and to thy mother. Behold! I strengthened thee with the holy spirit, so that thou didst speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. Behold! I taught thee the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel and behold! thou makest out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, by My leave, and thou breathest into it and it becometh a bird by My leave, and thou healest those born blind, and the lepers, by My leave. And behold! thou bringest forth the dead by My leave. And behold! I did restrain the Children of Israel from (violence to) thee when thou didst show them the clear Signs, and the unbelievers among them said: 'This is nothing but evident magic.' (Qur'an, Surah 005.110)

Where did the Quran get this information about Yeshua? It seems to come from a single pseudepigraphical Gospel called the Infancy Gospel of Thomas.

The Scriptures teach us that Yeshua's first miracle was:

This, the first of his signs, Yeshua did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him. John 2:11 ESV

The Greek word used for sign is semeion, which means: "a mark, an indication or a token." It can also mean: "an event that is an indication or confirmation of intervention by transcendent powers or miracle." It is used of miraculous acts as tokens of divine authority and power. These works performed by Yeshua are not just supernatural miracles, but are signs that unveil the glory and power of God working through Yeshua the Messiah.

Yeshua's miracles were not random acts, done on a whim and intended only to impress people with His incredible divine power. They were the Spirit acting through Yeshua, attesting to His deity. In Acts 2:22, Peter will say of Yeshua that He was:

"Men of Israel, listen to these words: Yeshua the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— Acts 2:22 NASB

So Yeshua turning water to wine was a sign. It was a miracle that had significance. Its significance appears to be that it showed that Yeshua had the same power to create that God demonstrated in the Creation. Thus it pointed to Yeshua being the Creator God.

The Second sign miracle in John's Gospel is the healing of a nobleman's son, who was ill to the point of death.

The father knew that was the hour when Yeshua had said to him, "Your son will live." And he himself believed, and all his household. This was now the second sign that Yeshua did when he had come from Judea to Galilee. John 4:53-54 ESV

Lazarus, interestingly, called this miracle the "second sign" that Yeshua performed, even though He did other miracles in both Galilee and Judea, after He had changed the water to wine (cf. 2:23; 3:2). This is the "second" of seven miracles that Lazarus labeled in his Gospel as signs.

The Thirdsign occurs in chapter 5, it is the healing of the lame man at the pool of Bethesda. He had been there paralyzed for 38 years. Yeshua came along, healed him instantaneously and told him to stand up, pick up his pallet and walk after not taking a step for 38 years. This is an incredible miracle of complete restoration. Yeshua said to him,

Yeshua said to him, "Get up, pick up your pallet and walk." Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk. Now it was the Sabbath on that day. John 5:8-9 NASB

Yeshua speaks, and immediately the man become well. Thirty eight years of disability healed in an instant. Normally we couldn't use muscles that we have not used for a long time because they atrophy, but this man had the full use of his muscles instantaneously. The prophets had predicted that when Messiah came, He would heal the lame. Here was proof—for all Jerusalem to see—that Messiah had appeared.

In chapter 6, we come to the Fourth sign, and here we see Yeshua's power over nature. He creates food to feed up to 20,000 people. He starts with two fish and five biscuits, but He feeds up to 20,000 people, gives them all they can possibly eat, and has twelve baskets left over for the twelve apostles.

When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, "This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!" John 6:14 ESV

The people saw Yeshua as the one promised in Deuteronomy 18:15-20; the "new Moses," the One who is to be the Messiah. Certain segments of Judaism expected the Messiah to repeat the miracle of the manna. Thus, the feeding of the five thousand enabled Yeshua to affirm His messianic ministry without uttering a single word about messiahship.

The Fifth Sign is controversial, some see it as Yeshua walking on water and stilling the storm on the sea of Galilee.

When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Yeshua walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened. But he said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid." Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going. John 6:19-21 ESV

Since there are seven signs I don't see this as one of them. This is a private miracle done only for the disciples. So, I see the fifth sign as Yeshua healing the man who was born blind in chapter 9.

Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man's eyes with the mud and said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. John 9:6-7 ESV

This man, who was blind from birth, now sees. There are more miracles of the giving of sight to the blind recorded of Yeshua than healings in any other category. What does this miracle tell us? One of the signs of the coming of the Messiah would be that He would open the eyes of blind:

Then the eyes of the blind will be opened And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Isaiah 35:5 NASB

Isaiah chapter 42 says that as the servant of Yahweh, part of His ministry will be to open the eyes of the blind. It is in fulfillment of these prophecies that Yeshua gives sight to the blind. As the Light of the World, He has defeated the darkness (cf. 1:5). Thus the miracle recorded here has significance for John as one of the seven "sign-miracles" which he employs to point to Yeshua's identity and messiahship.

But something else that is significant about it is that in the Tanakh the opening of men's eyes is connected with the ministry of Yahweh:

The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; The LORD raises up those who are bowed down; The LORD loves the righteous; Psalms 146:8 NASB

So, we find two things then in this sign, an evidence of the fact that He is the Messiah. And secondly, confirmation of the fact that the Messiah is Himself Yahweh. So, this is a very important miracle identifying Him as the one for whom Israel was waiting. If you don't see the deity of Christ, if you don't see that Yeshua is Yahweh, in this Gospel something is wrong with your eyes.

The Sixth sign is found in chapter 11, which is raising Lazarus from the dead. He has been in the tomb for four days, his body is in a state of decay, and yet Yeshua raises him from the dead.

When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out." The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Yeshua said to them, "Unbind him, and let him go." John 11:43-44 ESV

"The man who had died came out"—what this means is that Yeshua reconstitutes the putrefying flesh; He renews the dehydrated blood; He restores the body fluids; He reverses the cold, hard stiffness of death; He resuscitates the heart and the lungs. All of this and more, simply by the power of His Word.

Because He is the resurrection, and the life, His voice commands the one who has been dead for four days. By His words He calls forth life out of death. Just as in the original creative act at the beginning of time the Word of God summoned into existence all that is, so here the living Word, the Son of God, speaks life into him who was dead. In this 6th sign Yeshua has given back physical life as a sign of His power to give eternal life, and as a promise that on "The Last Day" He will raise the dead!

Power over death, power over blindness, power over nature, power over deformity, power over illness, power to create. This is evidence that He is God, the Son.

That is the last sign/miracle in the Book of Signs, but it's only six. What is the seventh sign/miracle? The final sign, the seventh sign, comes in chapter 20, and is the resurrection of Christ. Part of the "these are written" is Yeshua's resurrection because it is the fulfillment of His promise that He would rise from the dead, therefore verifying that everything He told us about Himself is true: He is the Messiah, the eternal Son of God. We can be confident, therefore, that He will accomplish everything else that He has promised.

Well Christ's resurrection is definitely a miracle, a great sign, but it's not in the Book of Signs. Well, maybe it is, this sign was predicted back in chapter 2:

So the Jews said to him, "What sign do you show us for doing these things?" Yeshua answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." John 2:18-19 ESV

So, the Jews ask for a sign and Yeshua tells them that the raising of the Temple in three days is a sign.

The Jews then said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?" But he was speaking about the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Yeshua had spoken. John 2:20-22 ESV

So the sign that Yeshua gives them is His resurrection. They would destroy the Temple, His body, and He would raise it in three days. His resurrection then will be the sign from heaven that ultimately validates His claim to be the Son of God. Chapter 20 records this sign. He had the power Himself to rise from the dead to conquer death. These seven signs are given to us as evidences that Yeshua is the Messiah, the Son of God.

Now let me just add here that it takes more than signs to bring someone to faith in Christ.

Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, John 12:37 ESV

In the context of these verses it tells us that they didn't believe because they couldn't believe. Their hearts were blind. Signs don't help a blind man, what he first needs is sight. We believe the Bible, because the Spirit of God has given us faith. We weren't argued into believing the Bible, we were led by divine power into believing the Bible.

Lazarus tells us that he wrote about these seven signs, "So that you may believe that Yeshua is the Christ, the Son of God"he wrote this Gospel to lead his readers to the type of faith that Thomas just articulated. The word "Christ" here is the Greek translation of the Hebrew term "Messiah" which is literally "an anointed One." It was the descendant of David who was prophesied to bring in the New Age of righteousness. Yeshua of Nazareth (John 1:45) is the Jewish Messiah (John 11:27). He is the One whom God sent to be the Savior of the world (John 3:17; 4:42; 12:47). He is (John 1:29) "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"

"Son of God"—is an expression which for Jews functioned in many ways, as synonyms with "Christ" or "Messiah."

Nathanael answered Him, "Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel." John 1:49 NASB

"You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel"—in the Tanakh Messiah was to be the Son of God and King of Israel. From the time of David on, the Messiah was known as "the Son of God" in a unique way. The psalmist says in Psalm 2, "The Messiah will also be the Son of God," and that's what John 20:31 says.

Chapter 20 ends with, "So that you may believe … and that by believing you may have life in his name"—what must wedo to receive eternal life? We have to believe. "And that by believing"—in the Greek this is, kai hina pisteuo, which is a hina purpose clause, in order that by believing you may have life. The goal of Lazarus' writing these truths about Yeshua is so that we may personally believe in Him unto eternal life. If we miss that, we miss everything! We must believe.

Why am I stressing this? I'm stressing the necessity of faith because there are those under the umbrella of Preterism who say we don't need faith. They are Universalist. Universalism is the teaching that God, through the atonement of Yeshua, will ultimately bring reconciliation between Himself and all people throughout history. This reconciliation will occur regardless of whether they have trusted in or rejected Yeshua as Savior during their lifetime. They teach that everyone will be saved, whether they believe or not. And this is another gospel, a false gospel that doesn't require the faith that the Bible demands.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 ESV

It is only those who believe in Him that do not perish. All who do not believe in Him perish.

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. John 3:18 ESV

The unbeliever is condemned, under the wrath of God.

I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins." John 8:24 ESV

There's only one thing that prevents you from dying in your sin and being damned forever and that is belief that Yeshua is Yahweh. Belief of the truth, nothing more and nothing less, is what separates the saved from the damned.

Now understanding that this is what the Bible teaches; listen to what Cindye Coates, from the ministry, The Porch has to say, See Video clip.

So she is saying that she was born saved. But the Bible teaches that we are all born in sin, separated from a holy God. How could she have been saved two thousand years ago when you cannot be saved until you believe:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV

So, we are saved by grace "…through faith…"—when he says "though faith," he's talking about the instrumentality of our salvation. The biblical ordo salutis is that Yahweh, in His grace, gives us life, then we hear and respond to the Gospel by faith and are then saved. We believe, that is our response, God doesn't believe. We believe. But that response is something created in us by God. By grace are ye saved through the instrumentality of faith. Faith is understanding and assent to the propositions of the Gospel. Let me just add here that a person must hear the Gospel before they can understand and assent to it. They cannot believe what they don't know. Faith is belief or trust in Christ and Christ alone for our salvation. Notice what Peter preached:

To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name." Acts 10:43 ESV

The only people that are forgiven are those who believe. The whole world is not saved.

Cindye goes on to say, Video clip.

So, this stripper doesn't have to believe, she doesn't need to see herself as a sinner, she is already righteous, everybody is righteous. Therefore there is no need to share the Gospel.

Has God reconciled the whole world to Himself? Cindye Coates says that, "the world" has been reconciled to God. She takes the "world" here as ever human being. She is saying that all people are righteous; we just need to let them know that they are righteous. She says that people sin because they have bad habits, not because they're sinners.

Let's look at the text that Cindye is using to justify her Universalism.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

Who is the new creation? It is those "in Christ", it is not everyone. "In Christ" is one of Paul's favorite metaphors to describe the Christian. It speaks of our position in Christ.

All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 ESV

It says that God through Christ "reconciled us to Himself" who is the "us" here? It is those in Christ, it is believers. Only believers are reconciled to God. Yeshua became believers' reconciliation, now they must become the means of sharing the Gospel of reconciliation with others.

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:20 ESV

He doesn't say go tell everybody they are all reconciled. No, He says, go and beg people to, "Be reconciled to God"—this is a present passive imperative. The passive voice could be translated "let God reconcile you to Himself"; "allow yourselves to be reconciled." God only reconciles those who believe, Not all people believe, and those who don't believe perish.

Someone may say, but the text says that God was reconciling the world to Himself:

that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:19 ESV

Yes, it does say that, but what does it mean? Who is the world? Does "world" mean every single individual, without exception, without distinction?

What does the Bible teach about the term "world"? The word "world" is from the Greek term "kosmos." If you look up all uses of kosmos you will see that it is used in different senses. In our text it is simply a term for humanity, God was in Christ reconciling humanity to Himself. The word "world" or kosmos often has a relative rather than an absolute meaning. For example:

So the Pharisees said to one another, "You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him." John 12:19 ESV

Was everyone in the world going after Yeshua? Was everybody equally, without distinction and without exception, going after Christ? No, look who is speaking, the Pharisees. They didn't go after Him. So, it's obvious the term "world" does not, in certain context, refer to everyone.

And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship." Acts 19:27 ESV

Did everyone in the world worship Diana? No!

First, I thank my God through Yeshua the Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. Romans 1:8 ESV

Was everyone in the world speaking of the faith of the Roman believers? I don't think so. So what does "world" mean in our text? In 2 Corinthians 5 Paul is using "world" to refer to Jews and Gentiles, all nationalities of men.

If God was going to reconcile every single person it would mean that He loved every single person. If God loved everybody equally, without distinction, without exception, how can Yeshua say, with reference to His disciples:

I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. John 17:9 ESV

If God loved the whole world, why didn't Yeshua pray for the world? Now I realize that most people believe that God loves everybody. But the idea that God loves everybody is a modern belief. The writings of the church fathers, the Reformers or the Puritans, will be searched in vain for any such concept. The fact is that the love of God is a truth for the saints only. With the exception of John 3:16, not once in the four Gospels do we read of the Lord Yeshua telling sinners that God loved them. In the book of Acts, which records the evangelistic labors and messages of the apostles, God's love is never referred to at all. Does that seem odd to you? But when we come to the Epistles, which are addressed to the saints, we have a full presentation of the truth:

For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives." Hebrews 12:6 ESV

God's love is restricted to the members of His own family. If He loves all men, then the distinction and limitation here mentioned is quite meaningless. God only chastens whom He loves, which is a reference to believers, the elect.

Lazarus wrote this Gospel so that people would believe:

but these are written so that you may believe that Yeshua is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20:31 ESV

It is only by believing in Christ that anyone will have life. Apart from faith men perish. We are all called to present the Gospel to a lost world. We are not to tell people that they are righteous, but sinners in need of a Savior.

I see Universalism as an attack on the Gospel. Over and over the Bible calls upon man to "believe on the Lord Yeshua the Christ" for salvation. But Universalism says, "You don't need to believe in Yeshua, all will be saved." The Philippian jailor asked, "What must I do to be saved?" And the answer of the apostles was, "Believe on the Lord Yeshua the Christ." But the Universalist would answer the jailor, "You don't have to do anything, all men will be saved."

Bereans, just because someone holds a correct doctrine of eschatology, just because they believe that the Lord returned in AD 70 does not make them our brother. Much more important than the Doctrine of Eschatology is the Doctrine of Soteriology, how is a person saved. Let me close with Paul's words to the Galatians:

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. Galatians 1:6-8
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