Our last two sermons are what I would call ‘doctrinal sermons’. We looked at the doctrine of the God’s Law and of God’s Gospel. Then we looked at the broader truth of the doctrine of Scripture being our exclusive rule for faith and practice. Perhaps we could label these things the basics of our holy faith. (Acts 6:7, 13:8, 14:22, 16:5)
Today I would like to continue in this vein. This morning I want to look at my favorite subject in the Bible and that is Jesus Christ. God the Holy Spirit used John chapter ten in my conversion to Christ. This gospel was my favorite for my first year or so as a born-again Christian. I think I read it something like forty times that first year.
I chose chapter one because it so gloriously shows us both the divinity of Christ and the humanity of Christ. And it does so in a heavenly but simple style. So simple that even a newborn babe in Christ Jesus can adore His perfections. (Jn.3:1-16, I Jn.2:12-13, Heb.5:13, I Cor.3:1-3)
Remember Jesus says that unless you are converted like a little children that you will not enter the kingdom of God. (Mt.18:3-4) Beloved, come to the holy Scriptures with childlike faith. Look like a trusting and loving child upon the Son of the Father’s love. (Mt.3:17) And simply believe what you read. And love the One you read about. (Jn.12:35-50, WLC 160)
With our sermon today I want to fill up our minds with truths about our Jesus so that our hearts would overflow with love for Him. Then we would live our lives for His glory. Our minds for Christ. Our hearts for Christ. And our bodies for Christ.
What is the language of the apostle Paul? To live is Christ. And to die is gain. And it is gain because we go from knowing Christ dimly as in a mirror by faith in this world to being in His immediate presence, seeing Him in all His glory! (I Cor.13:12-13, Gal.2:20, 2 Cor.5:7, Phil.1:17-25)
Let me read verses 1 to 18. In verses 1-5, the eternality and divinity of Christ. In verses 6-13, the proclamation and the reception of Christ. In verses 14-18, the incarnation of Christ. Chronologically this is the outline of the passage.
But I am going to follow, I think, the logical outline. 1. Christ is true Deity. 2. Christ is true Humanity. 3. Then the preaching of the God-Man Jesus and then the believing in our Immanuel Savior unto our eternal salvation.
What we will do this morning is to focus on the first point, the deity of Christ, v.1-5. In the next two weeks we can unpack the other two truths, if the Lord wills. (Jas.4:12-15)
Let me begin by saying that truth matters. True objective truth matters. And I mean religious truth and especially as it relates to Jesus Christ.
Beloved, we are justified by faith alone in Christ alone. (Rom.3:28, 5:1, Gal.3:11-29) But we must believe in the true Christ. Belief in false Christs do not save. Christ prayed, Father sanctify them in Thy truth, Thy word is truth. (Jn.17:17)
The Bible is necessary to know the true Christ savingly. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ. (Rom.10:1-17)
See our passage for this morning.
V.1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
V.2. He was in the beginning with God.
V.3. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
V.4. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.
V.5. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
As we begin, remember John is going to just say some things which are beyond our full or complete comprehension.
We cannot perfectly fully plumb the depths of what John says. We can understand in part by Spirit-gifted faith in the Spirit inspired word.
But because we are finite creatures of time and space, even as true Believers, we cannot fully explain the infinite perfections of Christ’s blessed being. We can say things like eternity or infinity. Maybe even write a sentence or two. But can we really fully understand boundless time or space? Un-createdness?
Paul says in I Corinthians that heaven is so wonderful that it has not even entered the mind of man. (I Cor.2:9) God corrects even believing righteous Job at the end of that book, were you there Job when I created? Do you know this or that? Job at the end says, I will close my mouth before You and repent and believe Your word. (Job 40:1-7, 42:1-6)
I say this, because those who reject Christ are often quick to chide believers in Christ for believing in Someone that we cannot fully explain all that He is and why that He is. Oh beloved how dishonest and devilish unbelief is. (Rom.8:7, 2 Cor.2:15-16, I Cor.2:10-16)
What unbeliever can fully perfectly explain how electricity works, or even how a combustion engine works, or what lives at the bottom of Marianas trench but they still believe in all of these things. Despite only knowing in part. Unbelief is not intellectual. It is spiritual and moral rebellion against God. (Rom.1:18-32, Rom.8:7)
And think of this. What kind of a god would it be if puny man could utterly know all about this ‘god’, that there were no mysteries about this ‘god’ beyond the capacities of man?(Isa.44:9-28)
I will tell you beloved. This false god of man’s own understand is man himself. (Gen.3:1-8) The unbeliever’s god is self. Based on what they think and based on what they feel. (Judges 21:25, 17:6, Dt.12:8, Jer.23:36, 18:12, Jn.8:47)
Christ speaks of Himself and His gospel as the mystery of the kingdom of God that only those with graced faith or graced eyes and ears can believe, see, and hear. (Mt.4:11) The apostle Paul says that the preaching of Jesus is the revelation of a (divine) mystery. (Rom.16:25, I Cor.2:7, Eph.1:9, Eph.2:1-9) And part of this mystery about Christ is that He is Deity come in the flesh.
Look at what the Bible, which is the holy infallible word of God says. The apostle John is clearly referring to Jesus as the Word. (Jn.1:1,14, I Jn.1:1, Rev.19:13, Heb.1:2) We are told, that in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.
Christ is eternal uncreated underived independent God. (Exod.3:13-14) There was never a time when Jesus the Son of God was not. He was before all things. (Col.1:17, Jn.17:5)
Christ is the great I AM (Yahweh) in the flesh – Immanuel, God with us. (Isa.7:14) As Christ says seven times in the book of John, the equivalent of Yahweh in Greek is Ego Eimi, I AM that I AM. The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus because He said, before Abraham was – I AM. They knew Christ said He was God. (Jn.8:54-59)
Just stated. Not apologized for. Not even defended. Not reconciled with seemingly opposing ideas. Jesus is eternal God. He is the same in substance with God. First sentence of this gospel. Christ is God!
This is doctrine beloved. This is propositional truth. This is part of the system of sound words that we are required to hold on to because the written word brings us to the Living Eternal Word. (I Tim.4:6, 6:3, 2 Tim.1:13, Jude 1:4) This is the One that we believe in. This is the One we love. Our Savior is fully God. He had no beginning. He has no end. He is the divine Alpha and Omega. (Rev.1:8, 21:6, 22:13) Let me read you two Scriptures.
Isaiah 9:6. For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (Jn.17:1-5)
Colossians 1:15. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. 19 For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him. (Equality with God the Father – Phil.2:6)
I want to say something about the doctrine of Christ’s Deity. And perhaps about doctrine or teaching in general.
The other day I watched a show called Poly Pastor’s Kids or Poly PKs. It is about Polynesian adults that grew up with their father as a Christian pastor. It was interesting and sad to watch so many of these people describe some of the painful experiences associated with being a part of a Christian community where the people are not yet glorified, we still have sin. Some of the people walked away because they saw hypocrisy in the church. Some of the people walked away because they wanted to enjoy the world and their sin. But one fellow was so stunning in his honesty. He said, I walked away from the church, not because I had a problem with my pastor dad, not because I had a problem with the people. I walked away because I had a problem with Christianity!
It was the doctrines, the teachings of the Bible that he rejected. That’s honesty. That’s terrifying. But it is honest.
Beloved, we do not (I do not) call people to come to church (for salvation), join the church, come find friends at the church, enjoy the social life, come because it is good for the socialization of your children, or it helps to be part of a community, it preserves the culture, or anything like this.
You hear things like this all the time. Oh I like the church building, the windows are nice. I like the music. I like the pot-luck get togethers. I like the community. I like the rituals. Oh all these things may have their place IF they keep their right place. Many people have come to the church that have never come to Christ.
The church does not save. Community will not save you. Experiences do not save. Friends do not save. Cultural commonality does not save.
Come to Christ. Christ alone saves. And Christ who is God in the flesh saves. And you MUST believe in Him. You must believe the truth about Jesus. The truth about the Divine Christ will set you free from the wrath of God and from the wages of sin. (Jn.8:32) And nothing else.
Christ told us to beware of false Christs. (Mt.24:1-25) Non-divine Christs are false Christs. Non-divine Christs cannot save. There is no Good News if Christ is not fully God and fully man. There is no true Christianity without the divinity of Christ.
Ask yourself, if a person believes Jesus is just a man or just an angel, are they saved? Are they true Believers on their way to heaven? (see William Taft quote on the divinity of Christ) No. If Christ were a mere man and He received worship, which He did, would He be holy God? Oh beloved, stay in the Bible, stay away from deceivers. (I Cor.15:33, 2 Cor.6:14-18, 2 Jn.1:7)
The divine attributes and works.
Our text says that Christ, the Word, not only has uncreated eternality. But that God the Father created all things through God the Son. And to complete the idea is, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
John 1:3. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. (Ps.40:8)
Hebrews 1:8 But of the Son He says, “YOUR THRONE, O GOD, IS FOREVER AND EVER, AND THE RIGHTEOUS SCEPTER IS THE SCEPTER OF HIS KINGDOM. (Heb.1:1-8)
Our text says that Christ the eternal word has light and life in Himself. Christ is holy. Not holy as we are holy in Him. Our holiness is derived from His holiness. His holiness is essential to His eternal Being. Christ is God spotless, pure, without shadow without sin, all righteousness. IN Himself. (Jn.5:26, 6:48,53, 11:25)
Christ, the eternal Word has life in Himself. He is the uncreated source of all other life. All creation has their existence due to His eternal existence.
John 1:4. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
Romans 11:36. For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
Only God come in the flesh could keep the Law of God perfectly. Only God come in the flesh could sustain the wrath of God and rise from the dead.
Matthew 1:21 She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Matthew 14:33 And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!” (Mt.16:16, 25:31, 28:18, Mk.8:38, Rom.1:7, 9:5, I Cor.1:1-13, 2:8, 2 Cor.5:10, Gal.2:20, 4:4, Phil.2:6, Col.2:9, I Tim.3:16, Heb.1:1-8, 4:14, 5:8)
Beloved, Christ forgives sins. (Mt.9:1-6) Christ gives life from the dead. (Lk.7:14) Christ receives worship. Thomas said to Jesus, my Lord and my GOD! (Jn.20:28, Mt.28:9) Angels worship Him. Oh beloved this is our Christ.
The next thing we see is that the Word is also being distinguished from God (the Father). Though this is not a full expression of the doctrine of the Trinity, it is a partial revelation of the Godhead. God the Father is God. God the Son is God. And we are told elsewhere that God the Holy Spirit is God.
Acts 5:1. But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? 4 “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” (see. Isa.48:16-17, 63:9-10, Gen.1:1)
Martin Luther said this verse is against all forms of Arianism and Sabellianism or modalism.
Arianism is a heretical teaching that Jesus is just a mere man or an elevated creature like an angel. Men or angels are just creatures. They are not the uncreated Creator God. Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons are modern Arians. The JWs believe that Christ is the arch angel Michael. So they translate their Bible in John 1:1 that Jesus was a ‘lower case g’ god. But that is not what the text says. And the Mormons believe Christ is spirit brother with Lucifer! Beloved that is blasphemy. It is taking the name of God in vain. (Exod.20:7)
Arians may claim to believe Jesus is God, but they mean, less than God the Father. And Arians believe the Holy Spirit is just a force or a power, certainly not divine God.
And modalism is another form of Unitarianism denying the truth of the Trinity. They say something like this, the Father morphs into the Son and the Son morphs into the Spirit.
I John 2:22. Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. I Jn.5:10-13)
Beloved, the Bible attributes divine names, titles, attributes, works and worship to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. And these three are one God. Mystery? Yes. True? Yes. The Bible says it. Our faith shouts, glory!
Beloved, truth matters. Truth on Christ matters eternally. Believe in this One.
He has all authority and ability to save you forever! It is love to God to believe everything He reveals about Himself in His word. It is love to others to tell them the truth about Christ.
Beloved, this is the Christ you believe in.
John 6:35. Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.
John 8:12. Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”
John 10:10. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. 11 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.
John 11: 23. Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” (Jn.14:6, 15:1)
1. How many true Gods are there? (Deut. 6:4-5, Jer. 10:10, Exod.20:1-20, Isa.45:22, Mk.12:28-34, I Cor.8:6) What is polytheism? What is pantheism? What is atheism? What is monotheism? What is Unitarianism? What is monotheistic Trinitarianism?
2. God speaks of Himself in the Bible in certain places in the plural. The word ‘God’ in Hebrew is Elohim, this word is also in the plural. The NT uses a Greek word which means ‘Godhead’ What does this teach us about the nature of God? (Gen.1:26-27, Gen.11:7-8, Gen.1:26, Mt. 28:19; John 10:30, Acts 17:29, Rom.1:20, Col.2:9, Mt.3:13-17, Mt.28:19)
3. God the Father is referred to as God in the Bible. What do we learn about His nature and works? (Dt.32:6, Jer.3:4-19, Isa.63:16-17, Mt.5:45, 6:6-15, Rom.8:15, I Jn.1:3, John 1:14-18, 5:17-26, 8:54, 14:12-13)
4. Who is the angel of the LORD? (Gen.16:9-13, Gen.18:1-21, 19:1-22, Mt.11:27, Jn.1:18, Jn.6:46, Jdg.13:17-23, see Isa.9:6)
5. Christ as Son of God denotes what nature of Christ? Christ as Son of Man denotes what nature of Christ? (Ps.2:7, Mk.1:1, Jn.1:34, Acts 13:33, Heb.1:1-5, Mt.26:64, WLC 40)
6. What are some divine names given to Christ? (Isa.9:6, I Tim.3:16, Jn.1:1-14, Jn.20:28, Rom.9:5, Mt.1:21-25, Isa.7:14, Mk.1:24, Jn.6:69)
7. What are some divine attributes applied to Christ? (Isa.9:6, Rev.1:8, Mt.18:20, 28:20, Jn.2:24, 21:17, Phil.3:21, Rev.1:8, Phil.2:6)
8. What are some divine works performed by Christ? (Heb.1:2, Mt.9:2, Jn.15:16, Eph.4:11-12, Mt.9:2-7, Lk.10:22, Jn.1:3, 3:35, Eph.1:22, Col.1:17, Heb.1:10-12, Jn.5:22)
9. What does Christ’s reception of divine worship teach us about Christ? (Jn.5:22,14:1, I Cor.15:19, 2 Cor.13:13, Heb.1:1-8, Mt.2:11, Mt.14:33, 28:9, 28:17) Pre
10. Why was it necessary for our Mediator-Savior Christ to be God? (Acts 2:24-25, Rom. 1:4, Rom. 4:25, Heb. 9:14, Acts 20:28, Heb. 9:14, Heb. 7:25-28, Rom. 3:24-26, Eph. 1:6, Mt. 3:17, Titus 2:13-14, Gal. 4:6, Lk. 1:68-74, Heb. 5:8-9, Heb. 9:11-15, Isa.7:14, Ps.110:1, Mal.3:1, Mt.3:3)
11. Interact with these quotes. President Thomas Jefferson: The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His Father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. (Phil.2:10-11, Mt.25:31-33, 41-46, Jn.3:36) President William Howard Taft: I am a Unitarian. I believe in God. I do not believe in the divinity of Christ. And there are many postulates (doctrines) of the orthodox creed to which I cannot subscribe. (I Cor.1:18-31, 2:10-16, 2 Cor.2:14-17, Rom.8:7, Mt.19:24, Eph.2:1-9, Mt.22:14, 7:13-14, 13:10-17, Jude 1:18-25, Ps.73