Emory Baptist Church
Are You Concerned About What Concerns Jesus?

Are You Concerned About What Concerns Jesus?

January 31, 2022

If you have your Bibles this morning, please take them and find John 2:12.  I want to share with you a message entitled, “Are You Concerned about What Concerns Jesus?” 

 

Last Sunday morning, we were at a wedding feast with Jesus and His mother and His disciples.  Today, we find ourselves in Capernaum and Jerusalem.  Most likely, it is the early spring AD 30. 

 

 

  1. Jesus was Passionate about Righteousness, John 12:12-17.

12 After this He went down to Capernaum, He, His mother, His brothers, and His disciples; and they did not stay there many days.  13 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. 15 When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. 16 And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” 17 Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.”

 

Before we get to the temple in Jerusalem, 2:12 tells us that Jesus and His family and His disciples when down to Capernaum.  I want to make two observations here that the casual observer might overlook. 

 

First, notice John’s use of direction.  When John says they went down to Capernaum, he isn’t talking about south but elevation.  Cana was in the hills.  Capernaum was in the valley of the Sea of Galilee. 

 

We see that again in 2:13. Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  Jerusalem wasn’t north of Capernaum, but it was higher in elevation than Capernaum.  This why Psalms 120-134 are called Psalms of Ascent.  The Israelites sang those songs when they specifically ascend up to the temple in Jerusalem. 

 

The second thing I want you to notice in verse 12 is the presence of Jesus’ brothers.  This fact lets us know that Mary was only a virgin until Christ was born.  Jesus had younger half-brothers from Joseph and Mary.  Since Joseph wasn’t mentioned here, he was probably already deceased.

 

In 2:13, we see that the Passover was near.  Remember that the Passover is the celebration and remembering when angel of the Lord passed over Egypt and killed the first-born Egyptians and spared the Israelites. 

 

Consequently, He freed the nation of Israel from Egyptian slavery.  Each and every year, the Passover was celebrated in Jerusalem with thousands of Jews in attendance.  Jesus and His family and His disciples were there also.  See Exodus 12:12-16.

 

12 ‘For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. 13 Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.  14 ‘So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance. 15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day there shall be a holy convocation, and on the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation for you. No manner of work shall be done on them; but that which everyone must eat—that only may be prepared by you.

 

When He came to the temple, He found it in disastrous shape.  More than likely, Jesus was in the court of the Gentiles, which was the outer court.  It had been turned into what we might think of as a bazaar or flea market of sorts. 

 

Remember, Jews came from all over and were expected to make their sacrifices and pay their taxes.  Rather than travel with their animals for sacrifice, they began to buy their animals for sacrifice here in Jerusalem in the court of the Gentiles. 

 

The text says there were oxen and sheep and doves and all of their waste, and as you can imagine if you know some simple economics, the prices were less than fair. 

 

When demand is high and supply is low, prices are high.  They were greatly inflated. 

 

Not only were animals being sold for sacrifice at outrageous prices, but Jewish currency was required to pay the annual temple tax.  Therefore, if you need to exchange your Roman currency for the required Jewish currency, that service was available as well but also at inflated exchange rates.  The temple, which was a place of worship, had been turned into a first-class racket. 

 

Jesus wouldn’t stand for it.  Jesus was righteously angry, and in verse 15, we see His passion for righteousness. 

 

He made a whip and turned the animals loose and turned over the tables and the money boxes.  He cleansed the temple for the first time.  By the way, the Synoptic Gospels tell us that Jesus did this again during the last week of His life.

 

Pandemonium ensued.  Animals were running here and there.  Merchants were chasing coins all over.  It was chaos, and Jesus charged them not to make His Father’s house a place of business, and His disciples remembered Psalm 69:9. 

 

9 Because zeal for Your house has eaten me up,

And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.

 

Jesus was passionate about righteousness.  It matters to Him what happens in this place.  It isn’t a place to be entertained or a place to be taken lightly, but it is a place to worship God and lift up Jesus and minister to people’s needs.  Jesus was passionate about righteousness.

 

 

  1. Jesus Predicted His Resurrection, John 2:18-22.

18 So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?”  19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”  20 Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”  21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body. 22 Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.

 

After all the animals had been released and Jesus had a made a real mess of things, the Jews wanted to know who or what authorized Him to do all this?  They wanted a sign to demonstrate His authority. 

 

In one way, Jesus obliged.  He told them of a sign in future.  He told them to destroy the temple, and He would raise it up again in three days. 

 

They thought He was talking about the physical temple.  It took years to build and wasn’t even finished.  However, writing after Jesus was crucified and resurrected, John tells us that He was talking about His body and predicting His resurrection from the dead.

 

Again, her are few more observations that the casual reader might miss.  First, generally speaking, lost people don’t understand spiritual truth likes these unbelieving Jews.  Therefore, we have to pray for God to give them eyes to see and ears to hear.  These Jews thought Jesus was talking about the temple when Jesus was predicting His resurrection.

 

Second, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the difference maker.  It sets Christianity apart.  Judaism doesn’t have a resurrected Savior.  Islam doesn’t have a resurrected Savior.  Hinduism and Buddhism doesn’t have resurrected Saviors. 

The resurrection of Jesus makes Christianity unique and supreme.  Consequently, this ultimate sign or miracle authenticates all that Jesus ever did and said.    

 

 

  1. Jesus Passed on Renown, John 2:23-25.

23 Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. 24 But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, 25 and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.

 

While in Jerusalem, Jesus, evidently, performed multiple miracles or signs that obviously got the crowds stirred up.  However, Jesus wasn’t looking for renown or popularity. 

 

The end of verse 24 says He knew the heart of man.  He knew these folks had only gotten excited about the supernatural and where here today and gone tomorrow. 

 

In same way, brothers and sisters, Jesus knows your heart this morning and if you’re a member of the body of Christ so that your ticket is punched to heaven or if you have surrendered your life to Him as your Lord and Savior. 

 

By the way, in reality, I’m not certain that simply having your ticket punched means you’ll be in heaven.  I believe you have to have been born-again. 

 

 

Conclusion

So what can we conclude regarding Jesus’ clearing the temple?  Do we have temples today like this?  Well, not exactly, but it is interesting how Paul used this word in 1 Corinthians 3 and 1 Corinthians 6.

 

3:16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.

 

6:19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

 

In chapter 3, the temple of God is the local church, and Jesus is concerned or passionate about who is in the local church and what the local does, specifically their holiness.

 

In chapter 6, the temple of God is not the local church but the individual Christians.  However, that makes perfect sense because the parts make up the whole.

 

Therefore, Christian, because Jesus is concerned about our righteousness, He is concerned about your righteousness and how you live and talk and recreate and parent and spend your money and work and treat your spouse. 

 

So I pray that you are concerned about the righteousness of your temple because Jesus is concerned about the righteousness of our temple.

Turning Your Water into Wine

Turning Your Water into Wine

January 24, 2022

The purpose of John’s gospel is to reveal the signs or miracles in the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ to prove His identity.  Jesus performed miracles to demonstrate His true identity so that those who saw and heard might believe in Him as Lord and Savior.  We saw that in our first message from this book as we looked at 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.

 

In today’s text, we see the first of thirty-five plus miracles to come in twenty-one chapters of the gospel of John.  Today’s message is entitled, “Turning Your Water into Wine.”

 

 

  1. An Invitation for Jesus to Intervene, 2:1-3

1 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. 3 And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” 

 

Verse 1 begins with “on the third day.”  As we have seen before, this is a time marker probably regarding the last time marker in John 1:43.  Today’s scene is three days from when Jesus called Phillip and Nathaniel, and it probably took three days of travel time from Bethsaida to Cana.

 

The situation here is a wedding, and Jesus and His disciples and His mother were all in attendance.  It was probably the wedding of a family member or close friend of Jesus’ family. 

 

The fact that Jesus’ attends this wedding and his first miracle takes place at this wedding should not be lost on us.  Jesus is pro-marriage.  He is pro-family.  He is not about living together.  He is not about multiple wives or multiple husbands or homosexual unions or homosexual marriages.  Jesus is pro-marriage and pro-family. 

 

In this day and time, weddings differed than what we know today.  Marriages were arranged by the parents of the bride and groom.  The bride was between thirteen and fifteen years of age.  The groom was between eighteen and twenty-four years of age. 

 

The marriage was arranged and contracted but not consummated as quickly as we do.  Once the contract had been formalized, there was what is called a betrothal period of between two and twelve months. 

 

During this time, the bride lived with her parents, and the groom lived with his parents, but they were still considered married.  This was the context when Joseph found Mary to be with child.  They were in the betrothal period.

 

After the betrothal period, the groom and his wedding party made their way to the bride and her home, and brought her and her wedding party back to his house.  Then the wedding feast began and last up to seven days.  This was a joyous, festive occasion with lots of social interaction including food and drink of which the groom and his family were completely responsible.

 

However, this joyful situation turns tragic in verse 3.  The wine ran out.  This was the faux pas or all faux passes.  This would have been social embarrassment for the couple but especially for the groom and his family. 

 

When we see Jesus’ mother taking this very proactive position, we can again conclude that this was a close family member, and perhaps she had some type of official responsibility at the wedding feast.  She came to her son and by implication was inviting Him to intervene. 

 

We also can infer from this that Joseph was out of the picture at this time.  Christian tradition holds to Joseph dying sometime in Jesus’ teen years.

 

 

  1. An Explanation of Jesus’ Timing, 2:4-5

4 Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.”  5 His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”

 

Notice Jesus’ response to His mother in 2:4. In our minds, it may seem rude.  He says, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with me?”  As Bro. Ronnie would say, “Not my circus; not my monkeys.”

 

However, actually, it would be akin to our ma’am or madam.  He then essentially says that this is not His problem solve.  Why?

 

For His time has not yet come.  That means the full revelation of His character on the cross as the Son of God and the Savior of the world.  Regardless, Mary told the servants to do whatever He said.

 

 

  • A Demonstration of Jesus’ Power, 2:6-10

6 Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. 9 When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. 10 And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!”  11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.

 

Even though Jesus was not obligated to help out in this situation, we see His kindness and grace sparing this young married couple and their family from colossal social embarrassment. 

 

In 2:6, we are introduced to six stone waterpots that was used for the guests to wash their hands before eating.  John tells us that there was about 120 to 180 gallons of water here.  We see this behavior described in Mark 7:3-4.

 

3 For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of the elders. 4 When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other things which they have received and hold, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches.

 

Seeing these, Jesus instructed the servants to the fill them with water all the way to the top.  Something special is about to happen, but Jesus doesn’t want anyone to think that a bait and switched has occurred.  The water was all the way to the top so you couldn’t add wine to the pots. 

 

He then told the servants to draw out what was now in the pots and take it to the headwaiter or what John calls the master of the feast.  They did. 

 

Somewhere along the way, Jesus turned that water into wine, some 120 to 180 gallons of wine.  One commentator estimated around 2,400 servings.

 

That fact doesn’t need to escape you either.  Jesus blessed this couple not only for this particular situation but with wine for days to come. 

 

When the headwaiter tasted the new, fresh, sweet wine, he was caught off guard, and he went to commend the groom.  Most of the time, the good wine is served first, and people drink it and get intoxicated, and their senses are dulled.  The poorer wine is then brought out, and at this point, it isn’t that important because the people are intoxicated, and they don’t care.  However, that wasn’t true here.

 

In this case, the good wine was served at the end.  For this, the headwaiter was surprised and impressed.

 

The reality is that the groom and his family had not planned well.  However, Jesus stepped in and bailed them out, but why? 

 

In verse 11, we find the significance or the reason behind all of Jesus’ miracles.  He did what He did to demonstrate who He was so that men and women and boys and girls might believe in Him as Lord and Savior.

 

One more point before I conclude.  Jesus did what He did in response to Mary’s surrender and the servants obedience. Don’t miss that.

 

 

Conclusion

First, Jesus was different, and Christianity is better than Judaism.  As for Jesus, He was not just a man. He wasn’t just a son or just a brother.  He was the God-man, and this story demonstrates such.  He was the promised Messiah.  Jesus was God!

 

As for Christianity compared to Judaism, we see that in verse six and following.  Notice how John mentioned the Jewish custom of purification.  When Jesus turned the water into wine, He was demonstrating that Christianity will be more joyful and abundant than religion, especially Judaism. 

 

Religion is man’s attempt to reach God.  Christianity is God’s success in reaching man.  Christianity provides the joy and abundance of earthly life and eternal life that Judaism cannot.

 

Second, Jesus’ timing is not our timing. As a follower of Christ, not only should surrender our will to Jesus but also our watch to Jesus.  It is so hard to wait, but waiting maybe exactly what God wants for you because His timing is perfect every time.

 

Third, Jesus can still turn water into wine today.  He does when He turns a sinner into saint, when He turns sick to health, when He turns a rocky marriage into a prospering marriage, when He turns an addict into sobriety. 

 

All across the room this morning, there are people whose wine has run out.  Today, Jesus can turn you water to wine through surrender and obedience.  See Romans 8:28.   

 

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Jesus is Our Only Ladder!

Jesus is Our Only Ladder!

January 16, 2022

This morning, we come to the end of John 1, and I want to share a message with you entitled, “Jesus Is Your Only Ladder!”

 

Last Sunday, we saw we were introduced to Andrew and Peter as some of Jesus’ first disciples.  Today, we are going to be introduced to Phillip and Nathanael. 

 

 

Exposition

43.

In verse 43, we see another one of John the Apostle’s time markers.  It is the next day, and Jesus went to Galilee.  When He got there, He found Phillip.  By the way, on Wednesday nights now, we are digging deeper in John’s Gospel. 

 

It is not a repeat of Sunday morning, but it is in addition to Sunday morning.  This coming Wednesday, we are going to look at the often maligned doctrine of election.  Notice that it wasn’t that Phillip that found Jesus.  Jesus wasn’t lost.  It was Jesus who found Phillip because he was lost, and I would say the same about me and you if you are a follower of Christ.

 

As I said last Sunday, at first, when Jesus said to Phillip to follow Him, He was speaking literally.  He wanted Phillip to literally follow behind Him.  However, this term would evolve to mean following Jesus as a disciple.

 

44.

From verse 44, we know that Phillip was probably a fisherman like Andrew and Peter.  That is because of where he was from.  Bethsaida means house of fishing or house of fishermen. 

 

45.

In verse 45, we see that Phillip couldn’t keep quiet about what he had discovered much like Andrew last week.  Andrew found Peter and told Peter and brought Peter.  Phillip did the same.

 

Phillip found Nathanael and told Nathanael, and in verse 46 with his invitation to come and see, he brought Nathanael to Jesus.

 

More than likely, this Nathanael is who Matthew, Mark, and Luke call Bartholomew.  The synoptic gospels never mention a Nathanael but always pair Phillip with Bartholomew. 

 

Similarly, John never mentions a Bartholomew but always pairs Phillip with Nathanael.  Perhaps this man’s name was Nathanael Bartholomew, which means Nathanael son of Tolmai.

 

What did Phillip tell Nathanael after he found him?  Not exactly the same, but in a similar way, Phillip told Nathanael that Jesus was who the Old Testament promised. 

 

Moses wrote about the promised Messiah in the law.  The Old Testament prophets also wrote about the promised Messiah, and Jesus was Him.

 

Even though He was born in Bethlehem, He had moved to Nazareth and was raised there.  We also know that even though Joseph wasn’t Jesus’ biological father, he was His adoptive father.  Did you ever think about that?  Joseph adopted Jesus as his Son?

 

46.

Verse 46 contains Nathanael response to Phillip.  Evidently, he was very impressed or partial to Nazareth. 

 

Nathanael couldn’t believe that anything good could come from Nazareth.  He probably thought the promised Messiah would come from Jerusalem.

 

Perhaps it was a rival or competing community.  However, Phillip invited him to investigate for himself with the invitation of “Come and see.”

 

By the way, here is great example of handling conflict.  When Phillip heard Nathanael’s response, notice that he didn’t argue with him.  He simply asked him to see for himself. 

 

47.

In verse 47, we come back to Jesus, and Jesus saw Nathanael.  He saw him physically, but He also saw him spiritually. 

 

He described Nathanael as a fine, upstanding Israelite.  Your translation may say without any deceit or without guile or guileless.  Literally, this word for deceit means bait or a trap.  There was nothing about Nathanael that would try to trick you or trap you.  Compared to Jacob, who name and character was deceiver, Nathanael was a good man.

 

48.

Nathanael needed to know how Jesus knew him.  Had they met before?  Had their paths crossed previously?

 

How did Jesus know him?  In fact, He was the promised Messiah, and He was the Son of God who knew all through His omniscience.

 

By the way, Jesus everything about you as well.  Do you remember Psalm 139?  Listen to Psalm 139:1-8.

 

1 O Lord, You have searched me and known me.

2 You know my sitting down and my rising up;

You understand my thought afar off.

3 You comprehend my path and my lying down,

And are acquainted with all my ways.

4 For there is not a word on my tongue,

But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.

5 You have hedged me behind and before,

And laid Your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;

It is high, I cannot attain it.

 

7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?

Or where can I flee from Your presence?

8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;

If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.

9 If I take the wings of the morning,

And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,

And Your right hand shall hold me.

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”

Even the night shall be light about me;

12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,

But the night shines as the day;

The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

 

13 For You formed my inward parts;

You covered me in my mother’s womb.

14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Marvelous are Your works,

And that my soul knows very well.

15 My frame was not hidden from You,

When I was made in secret,

And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.

And in Your book they all were written,

The days fashioned for me,

When as yet there were none of them.

 

17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!

How great is the sum of them!

18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;

When I awake, I am still with You.

 

Jesus answered that He saw Nathanael under the fig tree.  Because of what Jesus has already said about him and because of what Jesus will say shortly, Nathanael was probably under the fig tree reading the Old Testament.  Regardless, Jesus, because He was God’s Son, the promised Messiah, Jesus already knew everything about him even though had not previously met.

 

49.

In verse 49, that was all Nathanael needed to hear.  Jesus’ omniscience was proof enough for Nathanael to confess Jesus as the Son of God and King of Israel.  Jesus was Nathanael’s promised Messiah.

 

  1.  

In verse 50, Jesus promised Nathanael that he would see greater things than simply knowing about him before they met.  Beginning next Sunday morning in John 2, commentators tell us that there are some 35+ miracles in John’s gospel that certainly Nathanael witnessed as well.

 

51.

Finally, in verse 51, Jesus was more than likely referencing what Nathanael was studying under the fig tree.  The story is found in in Genesis 28.

 

In Genesis 28:10-17, Jacob had stolen Esau’s birthright, and he was running for his life.  While sleeping at night outside with his head on a rock, Jacob had a vision of angels ascending and descending from heaven to earth on a ladder. 

 

God promised Jacob of his descendants in that land.  Jacob responded with recognizing the grace of God and His presence.

 

Here in 1:51, Jesus equates Himself with ladder.  He is God’s connection with man on the earth.  He is God in the flesh, fully man and fully God, and our only hope for heaven.

 

 

Conclusion

Allow me to make this clear.  Last week, the garland around the baptistery needed to be taken down.  However, nobody that I knew of was tall enough to do it on their own.  Therefore, we need some type of elevation assistance. 

 

I won’t tell you what Ronnie and Chris and I did with scaffolding and a ladder to get that garland down for fear of an appointment with OSHA tomorrow morning.  However, the point is that the scaffolding and ladder was necessary for the reality of the garland being around the baptistery no more.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, listen closely.  You and I need a ladder to get to God the Father in heaven, and our ladder is being a good person.  Our ladder isn’t giving more money.  Our ladder isn’t who is our father or mother or grandfather or grandmother.

 

Our one and only ladder is Jesus Christ.  That is what Jesus said here and in John 14:6 and Peter in Acts 4:12 and Paul in Romans 5:1.

 

6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

 

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.”

 

1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Secondly, one lighted torch lights another.  Back at our Christmas Eve Service, I lit my candle from the Christ Candle.  I then lit Christy’s candle.  Christy and I then lit your candles one by one. 

 

Andrew found and told and brought Peter.  Phillip found and told and brought Nathanael.  What about you?  Has your torch not been lit?  Lighted torches light others.  If you want first century Christianity like on the pages of Scriptures, you need to starting living like first century Christians.

Operation Andrew
The Prestige

The Prestige

January 10, 2022
The First Christmas

The First Christmas

December 20, 2021

Statisticians tell us that our world’s current population exceeds seven billion people.  That is a seven with nine zeros. 

 

Those same statisticians tell us that in all of human history, approximately 105-110 billion people have ever lived.  That is one hundred and five with nine zeros.

 

Of that one hundred and five billion, some have been male and some have been female.  Some have been red and yellow and black and white.  Some have gone on to be doctors, lawyers, and Indian chiefs.

 

However, there is no more significant birth than that we celebrate this time of year, and that is the birth of Jesus Christ.  This morning, we consider the first Christmas.

 

I hope and pray that all of you will have an encouraging and joyful Christmas this next week. However, when we think about the first Christmas, there were some other emotions that we were prominent.

 

In Luke 1:29 and 34, Mary was worried and confused.

 

29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was…34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”

 

In Matthew 1:19, Joseph was hurt and brokenhearted.

 

19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.

 

In Luke 2:9, the shepherds were afraid.

 

9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.

 

Regardless of your Christmas this year, I want you to know that as evidenced by the first Christmas, God wants to share eternity with you.  Think about that.  God didn’t just create for 70 and 80 and 90 years of living on earth.  He created you for billions of years of living with Him in eternity.  We know that because of the first Christmas.

 

 

  1. The First Christmas was Detailed by God, Matthew 1:18-21.

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

 

Verses 18-25 of Matthew 1 tells us of the first Christmas in Matthew’s Gospel.  Luke 2 also speaks of the first Christmas. 

 

Our story today begins with Joseph and Mary.  We know that Joseph was probably a carpenter. As for Mary, she very well could have been a young teen ager at this time.  It was not uncommon for Jewish girls to be married as young as twelve years of age. 

 

Verse 18 says that they were betrothed.  This would be similar to our engagement but more significant.  Jewish families would often arrange the marriages of their children.  The prospective groom’s family would enter a contract that included paying money to the bride’s father for wedding expenses. 

 

After the arrangement, the couple was considered to be in the betrothal period.  This time could last up to one year and served as a probationary period.  Even though the couple was considered married at this point, they did not live together and were not physically intimate. 

 

After the probationary period, the groom would send for the bride, and a weeklong wedding feast would ensue.  This was a weeklong celebration that included both families and the community. 

 

Once the wedding feast was over, the bride and groom would finally consummate the marriage physically.  However, at this point, up and to this point, they had kept themselves pure, but verse 18 introduces a dilemma for Joseph. It was revealed that Mary is pregnant.  The problem was that Joseph was not the father. 

 

Joseph had two options.  If Joseph wasn’t the father, the only other human explanation was that Mary had been unfaithful.  Believe it or not, the OT allowed capital punishment for adultery or he could choose to quietly divorce her. 

 

As you can see in verse 19, his initial choice was the latter.  He was going to quietly divorce her because even though it appeared that he had been wronged, he was a kind and compassionate man. 

 

But how did all this happen?  Verse 18 simply says, “She was found with child of the Holy Spirit.”  This was a miracle by the Spirit of God.

 

The conception of Jesus was miraculous.  It was mysterious, and it was marvelous.  It was in no way sexual or improper. 

 

Science cannot explain it.  Our finite minds can’t comprehend it.  However, the Holy Spirit accomplished it. 

 

A third detail to note about the birth of Christ is the message for the world.    

 

Mary was going to have a baby boy who was to be named Jesus, and here’s the message for the world and how we know that God wants to spend eternity with us.  Jesus was going to save His people from their sins. 

 

Please don’t miss the implication.  The implication is that we are sinners and separated from God because of our sin.  In other words, we are in need of a Savior because we cannot save ourselves.  Therefore, God made salvation possible for anyone who would turn from his or her sins and turn to Jesus Christ in faith because He created us to spend eternity with Him. 

 

If you are here this morning and you’re trying to live a good enough life to save yourself, it will never happen.  We can’t be good enough, but we don’t have to be.  We only have to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. 

 

 

  1. The First Christmas was Described Long Ago, Matthew 1:22-23.

22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” 

 

Beginning in verse 22, we see that the birth of Jesus was declared long ago by the Lord and through His prophets.  In other words, the birth of Jesus is a fulfillment of prophecy.

 

Even though these men were human, it was God, the Lord, speaking through them.  Therefore, these prophecies were made by God but through men and about the Savior. 

 

Dave Reagan’s Lamb & Lion Ministry says there are at least 19 fulfilled prophecies in the birth of Christ, but I’ll just remind you of three.

 

Micah 5:2, 2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”

 

Luke 2:4-6, 4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.

 

Isaiah 9:6, 6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder.  And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

 

Matthew 1:21, 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

 

Isaiah 7:14, 14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

 

Matthew 1:23, 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

 

 

  • The First Christmas Demands a Response, Matthew 1:24-25.

24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.

 

In the last two verses of Matthew 1, we see Joseph’s commitment to the Lord, and that commitment is seen in one word, “obedience.” 

 

We see that here and elsewhere. 

 

Look at Matthew 2:13-14. What did Joseph do?  He did as the angel of the Lord commanded him.

 

13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”  14 When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt.

 

Look at Matthew 2:19-21. What did Joseph do? He did as the angel of the Lord commanded him.

 

19 Now when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.” 21 Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel.

 

Joseph obeyed personally.  Joseph obeyed in his marriage.  Joseph obeyed in his parenting.

 

Unfortunately, he is often the forgotten man of Christmas. 

 

We don’t ever hear Joseph speak.  Therefore, we don’t ever hear him quoted.  We don’t normally sing about Joseph.  We sing about Jesus and Mary and the angels and the shepherds and the wise men and Bethlehem, but not generally about Joseph.

 

However, Joseph shouldn’t be a forgotten man.  His response to the first Christmas should be commended and followed.

 

 

Conclusion

How will you respond this morning to the first Christmas?  Remember, God wants to spend eternity with you.  We know that because Jesus came to save His people from their sins.

 

If you have never received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you will die in your sins and spend eternity in hell separated from God.  However, if the Holy Spirit is convicting you of your lostness and has given you faith to believe, would you call on Jesus this morning to save you?

 

For others, your response to the first Christmas needs to be obedience.  Will you be obedient to forgive someone who has hurt you?  Will you be obedient to say, “I’m sorry?”  Will you be obedient to loving your spouse?  Will you be obedient to obeying your parents?  Will you be obedient to be baptized as Jesus was?  Will you be obedient in uniting with a local church?  Will you be obedient in sharing the message of the first Christmas?

Who was John the Baptist?

Who was John the Baptist?

December 5, 2021

In our brief time so far in John’s gospel, we have considered John the Apostle, and we have considered Jesus the Word.  This morning, we are going to turn our attention to John the Baptist.

 

 

  1. The Message of John the Baptist, 1:19-23

19 Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”  20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.”  21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?”  He said, “I am not.”  “Are you the Prophet?”  And he answered, “No.”  22 Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?”  23 He said: “I am ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Make straight the way of the Lord,”’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” 

 

We see in 1:19 that John was beginning to gain popularity to the degree that the Jews sent priests and Levites to find out more about him.  They wanted to see who was the source of all the hype, and they went to him and asked, “Who are you?”

 

Before we go any further, let’s consider also what Mark and Luke say him.

 

Luke 1:14-17, 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

 

He was set aside to be a Nazirite which meant he wouldn’t cut his hair or touch anything dead or drink any alcohol.  He would be filled with the Holy Spirit.  He would be a forerunner to the Messiah like Elijah was, and he would help get Israel ready for the Christ.

 

Luke 1:57-66, 57 Now Elizabeth’s full time came for her to be delivered, and she brought forth a son. 58 When her neighbors and relatives heard how the Lord had shown great mercy to her, they rejoiced with her.  59 So it was, on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him by the name of his father, Zacharias. 60 His mother answered and said, “No; he shall be called John.”  61 But they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name.” 62 So they made signs to his father—what he would have him called.  63 And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, “His name is John.” So they all marveled. 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God. 65 Then fear came on all who dwelt around them; and all these sayings were discussed throughout all the hill country of Judea. 66 And all those who heard them kept them in their hearts, saying, “What kind of child will this be?” And the hand of the Lord was with him.

 

He was the son of Zacharias and Elizabeth.  As a Jew, he was circumcised.  He was chosen by God to be named John and chosen for his mission.

 

Luke 1:76-80, 76 “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, 77 To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins, 78 Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; 79 To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.”  80 So the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel.

 

He would be a prophet of God.  He would speak the message of salvation.  He lived in the desert until his public ministry.

 

Mark 1:6, 6 Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.

 

He was a rustic dresser with camel’s hair and a leather belt while eating locusts and honey.

 

Now we return to our primary text to see how John answered this question of “Who are you?” 

 

First, he denied that he was the Christ.  The construction of the sentence shows his emphatic denial of being the Christ, the one to save Israel of her sins.

 

Second, he was asked if he was Elijah.  Even though he could be compared to Elijah and even though he certainly was a like Elijah in multiple ways, he denied being Elijah.

 

Third, he was asked about being the Prophet.  This is a reference to Deuteronomy 18:15, and notice how the NKJV capitalizes Prophet. 

 

15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren.

 

Yes, John was a prophet like Moses, but again, he was not THE Prophet.

 

However, if he wasn’t the Christ and he wasn’t Elijah and he wasn’t THE Prophet, then who was John the Baptist?

 

John answered with the utmost humility.  He said he simply was a voice as he pointed back to another Old Testament prophet.  He quoted from Isaiah 40:3.

 

3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God.”

Simply put, John’s message was get ready.  Get ready for the promised Messiah. 

 

In Old Testament times, workers were sent a head of the King’s entourage to smooth the ground and make the dirt roads or the way as easy and smooth to travel on as possible.  That was John’s message.  Get your lives ready for the Lord.

 

 

  1. The Method of John the Baptist, 1:24-26b

24 Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees. 25 And they asked him, saying, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, saying, “I baptize with water.”

 

John had a very specific method or demonstration for his message.  He baptized folks. 

 

Let me take just a moment to clarify the meaning of words.  If you drink Dr. Pepper religiously, I would bet that you also agree that Dr. Thunder is not Dr. Pepper.  Yes, they are both brown, carbonated beverages in maroon cans.  However, Dr. Thunder is not Dr. Pepper.

 

The word baptize means immerse.  It doesn’t mean sprinkle, and it doesn’t mean pour.  Therefore, what our Methodist and Presbyterian and Luther friends do at the church, even though it is down in a church and uses water, sprinkling is not baptism.

 

However, it was strange because he wasn’t baptizing Gentiles converting to Judaism.  He was baptizing Jews. 

 

The Pharisees noticed this and wonder why.  Specifically, they wanted to know what gave him the right to baptize anyone since he didn’t have a special title like Christ or Elijah or the Prophet.

 

Rather than even talking too much about his baptism and what it meant, John wanted to talk about his Messiah. 

 

By the way, I will be sharing in the coming weeks what is the difference between John’s baptism and Christian baptism.

 

 

  • The Messiah of John the Baptist, 1:26b-28

but there stands One among you whom you do not know. 27 It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.”  28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

 

According to the end of verse 26, Jesus was evidently present or at least close by.  However, the Pharisees didn’t know Him.

 

As John said last week, even though Jesus was younger than John by six months, He was to be preferred because He has always been.  He is God.

 

John understand who he was in light of who Jesus was.  John was not even worthy to untie His sandals because Jesus was the promised Messiah.  Jesus was John’s Messiah.  Jesus was and is the Christ!

 

 

Conclusion

What does all of this mean for us this morning?

 

First, like John the Baptist, my message is get ready for Jesus.  If you have never received into your life as Lord and Savior, One you rely on and commit to and obey, I invite you to do to receive Him.

 

Second, if you have been saved and you claim Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life, are you ready for His return?  You’re not if you’re living in sin.  You’re not if your relationships around you aren’t in order.  You’re not if your life is not well pleasing to Him.  See 2 Corinthians 5:9-10.

 

9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

 

 

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?

 

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App