Emory Baptist Church
What is So Special about Jesus?

What is So Special about Jesus?

November 28, 2021

We find ourselves in John’s Gospel this morning, and please find chapter one and verse fourteen.  Today, I want to share a message with you entitled, “What Makes Jesus Special?” 

 

In the recent Sundays, we have asked, “Who Is the Real Jesus” and “Are You a Child of God?”  In answering today’s question, I want you to see five realities that make Jesus special.

 

 

  1. His Humanity, 1:14a

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…

 

We know that John is talking about Jesus when he uses Word.  Jesus is the mouth of God, and that verse reminds that He was God in the flesh.

 

He didn’t lose His deity, but God took on humanity.  Jesus ate and drank and slept and went to the bathroom and got hungry and tired and fished and cooked. 

 

The word “dwelt” literally means tabernacled and comes from the Old Testament referencing when the presence of God was in the Tabernacle.  See Exodus 40:34.

 

34 Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

 

This reality is also described by Paul in the Philippians 2:5-8.

 

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

 

Finally, we will celebrate and sing about this reality next month.  Wesley wrote in Hark the Herald Angels Sing:

 

Veiled in flesh the Godhead see

Hail the incarnate deity

Pleased as man with men to dwell

Jesus, our Emmanuel

Pleased as man with men to dwell

Jesus, our Emmanuel.

 

 

  1. His Deity, 1:14b

and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. 

 

The end of verse one reminds of Jesus’ deity.  Not only is He fully man, but He is also fully God as He is God’s Son. 

 

We are children of God if we have received Jesus as Lord and Savior.  However, God only has one Son, and it is Jesus. 

 

However, don’t think that Jesus’ deity somehow began.  It has always been, and we learned that from 1:1.  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word with God, and the Word was God. 

 

Paul reminded the Colossian Church of Jesus deity in Colossians 2:9.

 

9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

 

Finally, He is gracious, and He is the truth.  Whatever He says and does or said and did is right.

 

  1. His Exclusivity, 1:15-16

15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’”  16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.

 

In verse fifteen, we are reminded that John the Baptist bore witness or testified of Jesus.  We saw that last week. 

 

Notice what else John said.  He said Jesus was preferred or superior to him. What is ironic about that? 

 

In the OT, the older is presumed to be superior.  How is older John the Baptist or Jesus?  John the Baptist is six months older than his cousin Jesus. 

 

Therefore, it would be assumed that John the Baptist is preferred or superior.  However, it is Jesus because He was before John.  How is that?  Jesus is eternal.

 

In verse sixteen, John the Apostle reminds us who have received Him as Lord and Savior are blessed again and again.  That is what grace for grace means.  When one act of grace or God’s blessing ends or runs out, another one begins. 

 

 

  1. His Generosity, 1:17

17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

 

In the OT, the law was unable to save.  It was impossible to keep.  No human could perfectly keep all six hundred plus laws for a lifetime. 

 

However, the law did make it perfectly clear that humanity needed a Savior.  His name is Jesus.  See Galatians 3:24.

 

24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

 

Jesus perfectly kept the law for thirty-three years and was a sinless Savior.  Consequently, our faith in a sinless Savior is how we are made right with God.

 

The law was not generous.  However, Jesus was generous and full of grace and truth.

 

  1. His Intimacy, 1:18

18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

 

Verse eighteen can be a little confusing.  What John means is that no one has ever seen the fullest essence of God.

 

However, because of Jesus’ intimacy with the Father, He is able to declare or explain or literally exegete Him. 

 

When John speaks of Jesus’ intimacy with the Father, he compares it to his intimacy with Jesus.  See John 13:34.

 

23 Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.

 

John was intimate with Jesus.  However, Jesus was more intimate with the Father. 

 

 

Conclusion

In light of how special Jesus is, if you haven’t received Him today, would you? 

 

If you have received Him today, would you point others to Him specifically with your words?

 

Are You a Child of God?

Are You a Child of God?

November 21, 2021

Last Sunday morning, we began looking at John’s gospel, and we were answering the questioning of who is the real Jesus.  Today, we continue in chapter 1 and answer another question.  Are you a child of God? 

 

This morning, not only will we continue to talk about Jesus, but John the Apostle of Love introduces us to another John.  If you have your Bibles, would you please join me in John 1:6, and please stand in honor of God’s word.

 

 

  1. A Man Named John, 1:6-8

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

 

First of all, consider his dawning in verse 6.  John the Apostle moves from the heavenly to the earthly in introducing us to another John.  However, this is not John the Apostle but John the Baptist. 

 

Even though that is never how John the Apostle describes the Baptizer, we know that any time you see the name John in this gospel, it is referencing this man of John 1:6 as John the Apostle never names himself in this gospel. 

 

Verse 6 tells us that John the Baptist came from God.  God is his dawning or origin or source. 

 

God had been silent for approximately 400 years since Malachi, but now John the Baptist is introduced, and he will speak for God like an OT prophet.

 

Second, consider his duty in verse 7.  John’s duty or mission was crystal clear.  He came as a witness of Jesus or to testify about the Light that we know was Jesus.  He didn’t come for any other reason.  Remember what Matthew said in 3:1-3.

 

1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” 3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.’”

 

Third, consider his difference that we see in verse 8.  John the Baptist was not Jesus.  He was not the Light.  He was different than the Light. 

 

 

  1. The Light Who was Jesus, 1:7-11

7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.  10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.

 

Last week in John 1:1-5, we identified Jesus as the Word and Light.  We see that again today in verse 7.  The NKJV helps us in our efforts by capitalizing Light in verses 7-9.

 

In thinking about light, we know that shines out the darkness and provides guidance and direction.  Consequently, light is a beautiful illustration of Jesus. 

 

He shines out the darkness in our hearts convicting us that we fall short of His sinless perfection and need Him as Lord and Savior.  Once we believe, He then provides guidance and direction for life as we consider what would Jesus do and attempt to follow His lead.

 

As the true Light, He was the real thing and not a shadow or a representation.  The OT pointed to the true Light and foreshadowed the true Light, but the NT revealed the true Light…the Light who was Jesus.

 

And when He came into the world, He gave light to every man.  Now that statement can have at least two meanings.  First of all, the reality of Jesus and who He was, a sinless Savior, enlightens every man and every woman to the fact that we are in need of a Savior.  No one is excluded: rich or poor, male or female, black or white, educated or not.  Man needed and still needs a Savior. 

 

Furthermore, perhaps this verse speaks to a person’s conscience and an inherited ability to know the difference between right and wrong and good and bad.  Remember what Paul wrote in Romans 1:18-21.

 

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

 

This is what we call general revelation.  Man can look around at God’s creation and know that there is a God, and man is not God.  However, in order to be saved, man must receive God’s Special Revelation, which is the Light who is Jesus.

 

Verse 10 says that Jesus was in the world and even made the world.  We said that last week as well.  However, the world didn’t know Him.  The world didn’t recognize Him as Messiah. 

 

Furthermore, verse 11 says He came to His own people, the Jews, and they didn’t receive Him.  They rejected Him, and Isaiah 53:1-3 prophesied that very reality hundreds of years earlier. 

 

1 Who has believed our report?  And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?  2 For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground.  He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him.  3 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.  And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

 

 

  • The Children Born of God, 1:12-13

12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

 

Beginning in verse 12, even though many rejected Jesus as the Christ, some received Him, and to them, He gave the right or privilege of becoming a child of God. 

 

Let’s be clear about what this verse says.  Not everyone has God as their Father, only those who have received Jesus, His Son, only those who believe in His name and His character, only those who have been born-again, born of God. 

 

Did you catch that?  We all aren’t God’s children.  You aren’t a child of God unless you have received His Son. 

 

What does it mean to receive Jesus?  It is more than simply intellectual affirmation of His existence.  It means to rely on Him, commit to Him, and obey Him.

 

To believe in His name is to believe that salvation is found only in Jesus. Remember what Peter said in Acts 4:12?

 

12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

 

To be born of God means to be born again.  We all have been born physically, but to be born again and of God means to be born spiritually. 

 

And just like in physical birth, you can’t make yourself be born again.  That is God’s work.  It is not the will of the flesh or the will of man.  It is you answer the call to be saved, and God causing you to be born again.

 

 

Invitation

Today’s invitation is very simple.  First, there are some of you here today who have never received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and if you haven’t received Him, by default, you have rejected Him. 

 

Consequently, you are not a child of God.  Furthermore, if you died today, you would spend an eternity in hell because God would say He never know you because you haven’t received His Son.  Will you receive the Light who was Jesus today?  Will you rely on Him, commit to Him, and obey Him?

 

For those of you have received the Light, are you reflecting the Light?  That was John’s duty, and that is our duty.  Our duty and mission and goal should be to reflect the Light of Jesus in our lives, in our families, in our very being.  Will you reflect the Light today?

Who is the Real Jesus?

Who is the Real Jesus?

November 14, 2021

If you have your Bibles this morning, I invite you to find John 1:1.  Today, we begin our study of the Gospel according to John.  If you are new to EBC or visiting EBC, for the foreseeable future, every Sunday morning except the one before Christmas and Easter Sunday, we will be here. 

 

This morning, I want to build today’s message around three headings: the person of John the Apostle, the purpose of John’s gospel, and the prologue about John’s Jesus.

 

 

  1. The Person of John the Apostle

Even though his name is never mentioned specifically in this book, church history and tradition tell us that John is the writer of this gospel that bears his name.  God’s Word tell us that John had a brother named James, and together, they were sons of Zebedee also called the sons of thunder. 

 

Mark 3:17, 17 James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, to whom He gave the name Boanerges, that is, “Sons of Thunder”.

 

It is really amazing how Jesus changed John’s life and demeanor.  When Jesus first called him, he was a son of thunder.  He was brash and loud.  At the end of his life, he was known as the Apostle of Love.

 

It is John who was Jesus’ closest friends, and with Peter and James, formed His inner circle of three.  It is John who was one of the first eye-witnesses of the empty tomb and the resurrected Lord.  It is John, the beloved disciple, who wrote this book along with 1, 2, and 3 John and the Revelation making him the second most prolific writer of our New Testament only behind Paul. 

 

 

  1. The Purpose of John’s Gospel

John 20:30-31, 30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 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 purpose of the gospel according to John is two-fold.  First, it is apologetic.  That means this book of the Bible makes a defense.  John sought to prove that Jesus was the promised Messiah.  He did this through his 7 signs and 7 I AM statement. 

 

Second, it is evangelistic.  He invites Jew and Gentile alike to believe that Jesus is the Christ and accepting Him as Lord and Savior is the only way to have eternal life.

 

 

  • The Prologue about John’s Jesus

Prologue simply means beginning. John even starts his gospel with, “In the beginning.”  That is the same way that Genesis 1:1 begins. 

 

It is also interesting with whom this gospel begins.  Matthew’s gospel begins with Abraham.  Mark’s gospel begins with John the Baptist.  Luke’s gospel begins with Theophilus.  John’s gospel begins with the Word or Jesus, and here are three truths about John’s Jesus, the real Jesus.

 

 

  1. Jesus is Equally God, 1:1-2.

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.

 

Verse 1 talks about the “Word.”  If you will look down at 1:14, we know from this verse and following that the “Word” is Christ. 

 

John 1:14, 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

 

Christ was in the beginning, and He was with God.  That literally means He was face-to-face with God.

 

Then, John took that idea one step further, Christ is God.  The Father and the Son are two distinct persons, but the same God. 

 

John testified to this truth throughout his gospel, but was explicit here.  See John 1:18 and 20:28.

 

John 1:18, 18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

 

John 20:28, 28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

 

We also see this explicitly in Paul’s letter to the Colossian Church.  See Colossians 1:15.

 

Colossians 1:15, 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

 

In verse 2, John simply summarized verse 1.  Jesus was in the beginning with God.

 

 

  1. Jesus is the Eternal Creator.

3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

 

Verse 3 tells us that all things came into being through Jesus.  To say it negatively, nothing has ever been created apart from Him. 

 

Regardless of when you believe the earth was created, whether thousands of years ago or millions of years of ago, Jesus was there, and Jesus did it. Jesus was the creator.

 

This is also the testimony of the rest of the NT.  See 1 Corinthians 8:6, Colossians 1:16, Hebrews 1:2.

 

1 Corinthians 8:6, 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.

 

Colossians 1:16, 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.

 

Hebrews 1:1-2, 1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds.

 

Remember also that I said Jesus was the eternal Creator meaning that Jesus has always been.  We can see that in how John contrasts Jesus, the Creator, with His creation. 

 

In verse 1, was is the past tense of the verb to be.  John uses it on 4 occasions in the first two verses.  However, when talking about creation in verse 3, he says creation came into being.  Jesus has always been or eternal.  Creation came into being.  Creation had a definite beginning.

 

 

  1. Jesus is the Effective Light.

4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

 

Verse 4 tells us that Jesus was life, and the life was the light of men.  The word for life here is not “bios,” which means physical life, but it is “zoe,” which means eternal life. 

 

Also, notice that in these two verses, life and the light cannot be separated.  They are synonymous.

 

Verses 5 says that light shines (present tense) and is still shining today, and it is shining in the darkness.  However, the darkness cannot comprehend it. 

 

Literally, the darkness could not overcome the light because the light is more powerful or effective.  Satan tried to overcome Jesus with the cross, but Jesus overcame Satan with the resurrection.  He is the effective Light.

 

 

 

 

Application

Let me now draw three points of application from our text to our world of faith.  First, to have the eternal life that John speaks of in 1:4, you can’t believe like our Jehovah’s Witness friends believe.  Instead of translating the end of verse 1 as the Word was God, their copy of the Bible, the New World Translation, reads, “the Word was a god.”  Jesus is not one God among many, but the one and only God, and you cannot believe otherwise and receive eternal life.

 

Second, to have the eternal life that John speaks of in 1:4, you can’t believe like our Mormon friends.  They don’t believe that Jesus always has been but that He was created or born or begotten.  They fail to recognize the reality of 1:1-2 and that He is eternal and has always been, and you cannot believe otherwise and inherit eternal life.

 

Finally, to have the eternal life that John speaks of in 1:4, you can’t believe like our Unitarian friends.  They don’t believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven.  He is one way among many ways.  However, that is not what 1:4 says.  In Him and only in Him is life, and He and only He is the Light of men, and you cannot believe otherwise and inherit eternal life.

 

 

Invitation

My invitation is two-fold.  First, have you trusted in John’s Jesus, the real Jesus for your salvation?  Have you trusted in the Jesus that is God, the Jesus that is eternal, the Jesus that is creator and the Jesus that is the light of men?  If not, will you trust Him today as Lord and Savior?

 

Second, if you are saved, will you let the real Jesus have complete control of your life to the extent that you become a bold witness for Him each and every day?  There is so much misconception about Jesus, but John speaks of the real Jesus.  Will you speak of the real Jesus with your family, friends, and coworkers?

 

Steps to Peace With God
Every Believer a Witness, Session 7: Appropriating Divine Power
Every Believer a Witness, Session 6: Developing Know-How, Part 4
Every Believer a Witness, Session 5: Developing Know-How, Part 3
Living in a Camper, Looking for a Castle
Every Believer a Witness, Session 4: Defeating Fear
Every Believer a Witness, Session 3: Developing Know-How, Part 2
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