God With Us

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Sermon Notes & Audio

Scripture Focus- John 1:14-18

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The Gospel of John is an eyewitness account from the Apostle John, who was in the inner circle of Jesus’ disciples along with his brother James, as well as Peter. The opening verses of the Gospel of John serve as an introduction to the book, and also an introduction to Jesus The Word.

Jesus is the Word “Logos”: He is Eternal, God, Creator, Life

The theme of John-

John 20:30-31 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and by believing you may have life in His name.

 John always uses the word ‘believe’ in the present tense. To believe is to have an active, continuous, living trust in Jesus. In whom you place your faith and believe in, is a matter of life and death, and is a matter of eternity.

A person becomes a child of God by believing. John 1:12 But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.

 The Word became flesh. . .

 This verse teaches The Doctrine of the Incarnation-

To incarnate means to become flesh. The incarnation of Jesus is when God became a man. This describes what happened when the second person of the Trinity, the eternal Son of God, “became flesh”. He was miraculously conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit. The Divine Nature of the Son was perfectly united with human nature in one divine Person. Jesus was both “truly God and truly man.”

Hypostatic Union- hypostatic means personal- so the hypostatic union is the personal union of Jesus’ two natures. It is the joining of the divine and human into one. Jesus has two complete natures- one fully divine and one fully human. These two natures are united in one person in the God-man. Jesus is not two persons, He is one person- the God Man.

In the early Christian era many divisions broke out concerning the true nature of Jesus. Heresies rose up early on, concerning who Jesus really was. This was to be expected. The early church had been warned it would happen.

 2 Peter 2:1-2 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, and will bring swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their unrestrained ways, and the way of truth will be blasphemed because of them.

Apollinarianism taught that Jesus could not have had a human mind; instead, he had a human body and lower soul (the seat of the emotions) but a divine mind.

Gnosticism taught that Jesus only appeared to be a true man.

Arianism asserted that Jesus is the Son of God, created by God the Father, distinct from the Father and therefore subordinate to the Father.

Docetism said that Jesus only appeared or seemed to be human.

Nestorianism emphasized the disunion between the human and divine natures of Jesus. It implied that the Son of God and the man, Jesus, shared the same body but retained two separate personhoods.

The early church made definitive statements about the incarnation and the nature of Jesus. Nicea (325); Constantinople (381), Ephesus (431); Chalcedon (451). The councils declared that Jesus was both fully God, and fully man. These two natures, human and divine, were hypostatically united into the one personhood of Jesus. In the incarnation, God took on flesh, the infinite entered into the finite, eternity entered time, and the Creator entered His creation, to rescue and redeem sinners.

C.S. Lewis wrote about the incarnation in his book ‘Miracles’- “God descends to re-ascend. He comes down; down from the heights of absolute being into time and space, down into humanity … down to the very roots and sea-bed of the Nature He has created. But He goes down to come up again and bring the ruined world up with Him. One has the picture of a strong man stooping lower and lower to get himself underneath some great complicated burden. He must stoop in order to lift, he must almost disappear under the load before he incredibly straightens his back and marches off with the whole mass swaying on his shoulders.”

Three implications of the incarnation- God with us:

Jesus is the revelation of God with us.

V14 The Word became flesh, and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory of the one and only son from the Father. V18 No one has ever seen God. The One and Only Son who is at the Father’s side- He has revealed Him

 The Word. . .took up residence among us- NIV- made his dwelling among us KJV- dwelt among us NLT- made His home among us

 The idea of ‘taking up residence’ or dwelling among us, is only found here in the NT and in the Book of Revelation, further demonstrating the Apostle John was the writer of both. It literally means ‘to dwell in a tent’ or ‘to tabernacle’. This connects back to the Tabernacle, the place of worship, where the Divine Presence of God was present in the wilderness with Israel on their journey to the Promised Land.

Jesus pitched His tent on earth for thirty-three years. The tabernacle in the Old Testament (Exodus 36-39) foreshadowed the coming of Jesus. The importance of the chapters in Exodus which deal with the tabernacle has been well stated- “God created the whole world in six days, but he used forty days to instruct Moses about the tabernacle. Little over one chapter was needed to describe the structure of the world, but six were used for the tabernacle.”

(Misc. Sacrocum I, 1712, pp.394f. as cited by Brevard S. Childs, The Book of Exodus; Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1974, p. 547.)

A.W. Pink in his exposition of the Gospel of John, drew some comparisons between the Tabernacle, and Jesus-

The tabernacle was temporary. It was a temporary tent, and was to be moved from place to place during the journeys of the children of Israel. It is estimated they had the Tabernacle for about 35 years. So it was with Jesus in His stay on this earth. His stay was but a brief one—less than 35 years; and was constantly on the move—serving, loving, helping.

The tabernacle was for use in the wilderness. After Israel settled in Canaan, the tabernacle was replaced by the temple. During their pilgrimage from Egypt to the promised land, the tabernacle was God’s provision for them. The conditions of Jesus’ life on earth were similar. The manger-cradle, the Nazarite-carpenter’s bench, the fact that the Son of man had nowhere to lay His head, and He had a borrowed tomb.

The tabernacle was unattractive in appearance. Unlike the costly and magnificent temple of Solomon, there was nothing in the externals of the tabernacle to please the eye. Nothing but plain boards and skins. So it was with Jesus. To the unbelieving gaze of Israel He had no form nor comeliness; and when they beheld Him, their eyes saw in Him no beauty that they should desire Him.

The tabernacle was God’s dwelling place. In the midst of Israel’s camp, He took up His place. Between the cherubim upon the mercy-seat He made His throne. In the holy of holies He manifested His presence in the Shekinah glory. During His years on earth, Jesus tabernacled among men, God had His dwelling place in Israel.

The tabernacle was the place where God met with men, it was a place of worship. It was called “the tent of meeting.” If an Israelite wanted to draw near to God, He had to come to the door of the tabernacle. Jesus is the meeting place between God and men, He is the only Mediator between God and man.

The tabernacle was the center of Israel’s camp. The Levites, the priests, stayed near the Tabernacle. The tabernacle was the gathering center. It was a beautiful foreshadowing of the Lord Jesus who brings us together in His church.

The tabernacle was the place where the Law was preserved. The first two tables of stone, on which Jehovah had inscribed the ten commandments were broken (Exodus 32:19); but the second set was placed in the ark in the tabernacle for safe keeping (Deuteronomy 10:2-5). It was there, within the holy of holies, the tablets of the Law were preserved intact. Jesus came as the perfect fulfillment of the Law.

The tabernacle was the place where sacrifice was made. In the outer court was the brazen altar, to which the animals were brought, for sacrifice. The blood was shed and atonement was made for sin. So it was with the Lord Jesus. The Cross was the altar upon which God’s Lamb was slain, where His precious blood was shed, and where atonement was made for sin.

“We observed his glory” Eternity will be too short to exhaust a study of the glory of God. No subject should be closer to the heart of the believer.  “We observed his glory” focuses on the excellency, and perfections of Jesus.

Matthew 17- Jesus took Peter, James, and John up on a high mountain. He was transformed in front of them and the face of Jesus shone like the sun. Even His clothes became as white as the light. Moses and Elijah appeared there on the mountain with Jesus as well. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here! If You want, I will make three tabernacles here: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”  A bright cloud covered them and the voice of God the Father came down- “This is My beloved Son, I take delight in Him, Listen to Him!”

V18 No one has ever seen God. The One and Only Son who is at the Father’s side- He has revealed Him.

Jesus has revealed God to us, He has displayed the Father to us. ‘The Father’s side’, relates to His proximity to, and personal intimacy with the Father. The God whom no person has seen at any time, has been fully “declared” by the Son.

Jesus is the revelation of God with us!

Jesus is the grace of God with us.

In explaining the grace of God, V16 explains v14 and v17 elaborates on both of them.

 V14 full of grace and truth, v16 we have all received grace after grace from His fullness.

 Jesus was full of grace, and grace after grace came from His fullness. The word fullness is used by Paul in Colossians 1:19 For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him. It is out of the fullness of Jesus we receive grace.

 Grace after grace- indicates we have received grace, and we continue to receive grace for every need that comes up.

John the Baptist bore witness and testified concerning Jesus- v15 The One coming after me has surpassed me, because He existed before me. He gave witness of the supremacy of Jesus. John the Baptist was born six months before Jesus, but John the Baptist refers to the eternal existence of Jesus in that Jesus existed before him.

V17 for the law was given through Moses, grace. . . came through Jesus Christ.

 The full name “Jesus Christ” is used here the first time in John, then four times in 1 John, and five times in Revelation. A contrast is shown between what was “given” by Moses, and what “came” through Jesus Christ. The law was not Moses’ to give, it came from God. Moses was an agent of God. Jesus manifested the grace of God with us, as God in the flesh. There was nothing wrong with the Law. The Law was holy, and good but could not justify sinners. It exposed guilt and corruption, but did not save- it showed the need for a Savior.  The Law demanded righteousness, grace brought righteousness. The Law sentences to death, grace brings to life.

Grace overflows in Jesus. Blessing after blessing comes through Jesus.

Martin Luther put it this way- “The sun is not dimmed and darkened by shining on so many people or by providing the entire world with its light and splendor. It retains its light intact. It loses nothing; it is immeasurable, perhaps able to illumine ten more worlds. I supposed that a hundred thousand candles can be ignited from one light, and still this light will not lose any of its brilliance. . .Thus Christ, our Lord, to whom we must flee and of whom we must ask all, is an interminable well, the chief source of all grace. . .Even if the whole world were to draw from this fountain enough grace and truth to transform all people into angels, still it would not lose as much as a drop. This fountain constantly overflows with sheer grace.”

God has a daily supply of grace for us. Grace is the generosity of love reaching out toward us, giving itself to us. To those who come to Christ, God’s promise is that every day we can take a new supply of his love. We can know that we are loved. We know we are cherished, protected, and blessed. We are strengthened, kept, and supported by his love; grace upon grace, day after day, like the manna to the Israelites in the wilderness. So God gives us a daily supply of love. Because we have been loved, when we reach out in love to someone else, when we give as fully and freely as we have received, then we fulfill the Law, for love is the fulfilling of the Law.

This grace is available for salvation, and to take care of everything we need. Are you in need of God’s grace for salvation? Do you need God’s grace in another area of your life?

Jesus is the truth of God with us.

V14 full of truth v17 truth came through Jesus Christ

 What is truth? The idea of it is not well received in our society. The consequences of rejecting truth are evident in peoples’ lives all around us.

Over half of the uses of “truth” in the NT are in John’s Gospel. Truth is defined as what is consistent with the mind, will, character, glory, and person of God. Jesus is the self-expression of truth. Truth is the author, source, determiner, arbiter, standard, and judge of truth. All truth is determined by God and His eternal glory.

Wikipedia turned 15 years old this week. It is huge with more than 5 million articles in English alone. It is reasonably factual, updated quickly, and insists that the web is the only source of reliable information. There are editors that watch over it and delete and update as needed. But the problem is, the information can be edited, changed, added to, updated and so forth. In that sense, it is unreliable, and not trustworthy.

Truth is what corresponds to reality. Reality is not an illusion. Truth exists and is absolute. Whatever is true is whatever is absolute reality. Truth is unchanging and reliable because of the source of truth.

God is the God of truth (Psalm 31:5)

The Word of God is truth (I Peter 1:23)

 The Son of God is source of all truth, the embodiment and expression of truth, and the example to us of truth-

Jesus said, John 14:6 I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

 Jesus used the definite article- the truth- for emphasis because He is the only truth.

 Truth is not a principle. Truth is a person: Jesus Christ. This is what separates Jesus from every other leader of every other faith. They say- I am looking for truth, or teaching truth, or pointing to truth. Jesus says- I am the truth.

Jesus prayed, John 17:17 Sanctify them by the truth, Your word is truth.

 Truth is life transforming because when we conform to the truth, we conform to the image of Jesus.

 How can we experience God with us?

 V18 No one has ever seen God. The One and Only Son- the One who is at the Father’s side- He has revealed Him.

 To experience God with us, it starts by following Jesus- We learn who He is, what He does, how He thinks, and what He wants for our lives. We cannot experience God with us unless we invest time and effort in getting to know Him. A neglected relationship cannot grow in depth.

Since He speaks to us primarily through His Word, we need to spend time in it. Pray as you read the Word, meditate on it and ask the Lord- How does this apply to my life? Be still, and listen, draw near to God and He will draw near to you.