01-14-18 – The Gospel of John – John 1: 35-51

The Gospel of John…   John 1:35-51

 

Now that Jesus has been revealed as the Messiah, the Lamb of God on John will begin to take a back seat… we won’t hear much of John the Baptist again until Chap. 3.

 

John the Baptist points his Disciples to Jesus.

John 1:35-51 NLT – 35 The following day John was again standing with two of his disciples.36 As Jesus walked by, John looked at him and declared, “Look! There is the Lamb of God!”

37 When John’s two disciples heard this, they followed Jesus. 38 Jesus looked around and saw them following. “What do you want?” he asked them. They replied, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” 39 “Come and see” he said. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon when they went with him to the place where he was staying, and they remained with him the rest of the day.

 

If we’ve discovered Jesus… the Answer… the Savior…  Why are we pointing people to anything else but Him?!

  • The Church… Bible…   Ministry…  Service…  Fellowship… Good deeds? Those are all great things but is that really what people need the most?! Don’t point people to things that won’t give them eternal life!  

 

 

Vs. 38 – 38 Jesus looked around and saw them following. “What do you want?” he asked them. They replied, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”

 

What’s your motive for following me?  IF we follow Jesus for any other reason than to KNOW Him than to be His Disciple and Become like Him…  our motive is wrong. 

 

To KNOW Him is eternal life.  Eternal life isn’t about Heaven.  Eternal life isn’t about being saved from hell.  Those are “by-products” of KNOWING JESUS and having eternal life in Him!

John 17:3 – And this is eternal life, that they KNOW you the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

Matthew 7:23 – I never KNEW you, get away from me, depart from me.

 

They just wanted to go deeper.  And the only way to go deeper, to get to know Jesus is by spending time with Him.    (Reading, studying God’s Word / Prayer / Worship / Obedience )

 

 

Education of these “Disciples.”

Rabbi – Rabbi was a name given to teachers by their students.  It literally means “my Master.”  It was used to show honor and respect to the teacher.

 

Education in Jesus day…

  • At birth you would begin to learn the language, and reading and writing at home.
  • Age 5 one is ready for the scriptures. They’re taught in local synagogues by the Rabbis. They read, study, memorize, and learn the Torah (First 5 books of the Bible).
  • Age 10, the best students would enter a secondary school and study the Oral Torah and Greek. (Greek was the language of business and politics.)
  • Age 13, Fulfilling of the Commandments. Bar Mitzvah.  The age of accountability when a young person would reach the age of fulfilling the commands of the Torah.
  • Age 13-15 the best students would search for a Teacher (Rabbi) to Most Rabbi’s would select their followers who were called “Talmidim” which means “Disciple.”  One who leaves home to study, follow the ways of their teacher or to “become like their teacher – what the teacher is.” 
  • Age 15 – Those continuing to study and follow a Rabbi would begin to make their own interpretations of the Scriptures.
  • Age 30 – Authority given for teaching others and making Disciples. Most Rabbi’s were Torah Teachers (teachers of the law).
  • Very few Rabbi’s reached the level of Authority. (One who could make new interpretations and qualified to pass legal judgments)

 

What we read about Jesus fits the description of a Rabbi at the “advanced level of authority.”  NO one had the authority Jesus had! 

 

Luke 2:47.  All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.   Vs. 52 NLT – Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.

Sermon on the Mount.  Matthew 5-7 Jesus teaching with incredible authority.

 

Matt. 7:24-29 NLT – 24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” 28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 for he taught with real authority—quite unlike their teachers of religious law.

 

Luke 12, Jesus was teaching on hypocrisy…  Vs. 13, Someone called from the crowd, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.”  People viewed Jesus as a Rabbi with Authority who could settle legal arguments/judgments.

 

Even the leading teacher of Israel (Nicodemus) comes to Jesus in John 3.  “Rabbi, we all know that God has sent you to teach us.”

 

Jesus, Himself in Matthew 28:18-20 – 18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

 

 

Jesus answers Andrew, John and James… request.

39 “Come and see” he said. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon when they went with him to the place where he was staying, and they remained with him the rest of the day.

 

How many of us have gone beyond the “introduction to Jesus” and are really seeking Him… to get to KNOW Him!   If we don’t WANT to know more of God and Jesus Christ and go deeper, spend time getting to know Him… then we don’t really KNOW Him at all.

 

A lot of people have been introduced to Jesus and that’s it!  That’s where they stop.  They aren’t following at all.  We ARE NOT Disciples of Jesus unless we’ve moved beyond the introduction and are “FOLLOWING!”

 

  1. 40 – 40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of these men who heard what John said and then followed Jesus.41 Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means “Christ”).

42 Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus. Looking intently at Simon, Jesus said, “Your name is Simon, son of John—but you will be called Cephas” (which means “Peter”).

 

One of the first signs of a Disciple… a Follower of Jesus is they want to bring people to meet Jesus!   

 

When Jesus sees Peter, He doesn’t see a rough, crude, abrasive, impulsive, unstable, insecure, fouled mouth fisherman.   Jesus sees a Rock!   “Your name is Simon, son of John—but you will be called Cephas” (which means “Peter”).

 

The Lord knows what Peter is but he also sees what he will become. Through the power of the Holy Spirit and Peter’s Surrender, Sacrifice, Service and Sharing of His Faith Peter would become one of the foundational stones (rocks) of the early Church and Christianity.

 

Praise God, Jesus doesn’t focus on what we are… and doesn’t leave us there.  He sees us for what we can be… with HIS POWER as we Acknowledge Him, Confess our Sins, Trust in Him thru Faith and Repentance and then strive to Become like Him!

 

  1. 43 – 43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Come, follow me.”44 Philip was from Bethsaida, Andrew and Peter’s hometown.

Sometimes it’s not Disciples who introduce us to Jesus.  Sometimes it’s Christ himself who seeks us out.   John doesn’t say how Jesus knew Philip but Jesus found him and wanted Him to be one of His Disciples.

 

Vs. 45 – 45 Philip went to look for Nathanael and told him, “We have found the very person Moses and the prophets wrote about! His name is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth.”

 

Just like Andrew…  Philip wants to bring someone else to meet Jesus.

 

We have found the very person Moses and the Prophets wrote about!  His name is Jesus the son of Joseph from Nazareth.  Again, these guys were not uneducated, ignorant men. They had studied God’s word they knew the Law and the Prophets.

 

 

Vs. 46.46 “Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” “Come and see for yourself,” Philip replied.

Nazareth was a small town on the wrong side of the tracks.  It was also home to a garrison of Roman Soldiers.  (10 – 20K depending on how many units were there.)

Jews thought contact with gentiles (especially Roman soldiers, of who they were under control) made them “unclean.”  

Nathanael could have let his prejudice of Nazareth or his way of thinking keep him from meeting Jesus and becoming one of His Disciples!  Nathanael would have missed out! 

 

 

Vs. 4747 As they approached, Jesus said, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of complete integrity.” 48 “How do you know about me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus replied, “I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you.”  49 Then Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God—the King of Israel!”

50 Jesus asked him, “Do you believe this just because I told you I had seen you under the fig tree?  You will see greater things than this.” 51 Then he said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.

 

Jesus makes a reference to Gen 28:12.  Jacob’s dream of a stairway between the earth and heaven and the Lord’s promise to be with him to watch over him and fulfill His promises through his family.  

Jesus reveals to Nathanael and the others that HE is that Stairway.  Adam and Eve created a gap between man and God with their sin.  Jesus is the stairway that allows all men to be restored to God.

Understanding what a Disciple really is helps us understand that there’s more to following Jesus than simply being “introduced” to Him!

There’s more to being a Disciple than knowing ABOUT Him.  Knowing about His life… knowing about his death and resurrection and even Believing all that is written in God’s word about Him.

 

Real Disciples “Seek” Jesus to get to KNOW Him…  they “Follow” to “become as He is” and they bring others to meet Him. 

 

The word “Christian” means = Little Christ!  

– Is that who we’re seeking?

– Are we getting to know Him?

– Is that who we’re following?

– Is that what we’re becoming?

– Are we bringing people to meet Jesus!

 

Or have we made this thing called Christianity something other than that?

01-07-18 – The Gospel of John – John 1:19-34 – John the Baptist… A Voice announcing the Messiah

The Gospel of John…   John 1:1-18

 

We started out at the end to get a better understanding of the beginning.  John 20:30-31 NIV – 30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe (continue believing) that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

 

4 Main points from last week:

  1. The Word (Jesus) is Eternal…
  2. The Word (Jesus) is Creator…
  3. The Word (Jesus) is THE Source of all Life…
  4. The Word (Jesus) reveals God the Father.

 

John 1:19-34 – A Man sent from God, to announce the Messiah’s coming! – John the Baptist.

19 Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders (Those Jewish leaders who would later oppose Jesus) in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was.20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.” 21 They asked him, “Then who are you?  Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” 22 Finally they said, “Who are you?  Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’” (Isaiah 40:3) 24 Now the Pharisees who had been sent25 questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”

26 “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. 27 He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” 28 This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

 

NOTE: At least a 4 – 6 week gap between Vs. 28 and 29.  Jesus Baptism and Temptation in the Dessert take place after Vs. 28 but before Vs. 29.  John doesn’t give us a specific account of Jesus Baptism and the Temptation of Jesus that we find in Matthew, Mark and Luke.

 

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, (wasn’t sure if he were the Messiah) but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”

32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him.33 And I myself did not know him, (recognize him as Messiah) but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’34 I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”

 

Religious leaders begin questioning John, his calling and Ministry:

God’s been silent for 400 years.  Now all of a sudden God is speaking through some wild, long haired, camel leather wearing, guy who lives in the desert eating bugs.

 

He’s not authorized by the Religious leaders, didn’t go to seminary, sat under no one’s teaching… and never ordained.

 

There’s very little known about John:

  • Father was Zacharias, mother was Elizabeth, cousin to Mary (Jesus Mother).
  • Zacharias and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, obeyed all the Lord’s commands and regulations. In their old age without no children.  Until God allowed her get pregnant with John.  Luke 1:11-17 – 11 While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the incense altar. 12 Zechariah was shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw him. But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John.14 You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. 16 And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God.17 He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.”

 

  • Zacharias was from the Tribe of Levi, a Levite, the Tribe of Priests of the Nation of Israel. (Same as Moses, Aaron)  John was also a Levite.
  • Before John’s birth, a Nazarite Vow was given to him (Vs. 15) meaning he was chosen to separate himself from the world, and to the Lord.
  • John chose to separate himself from the world by living in the desert until God called him around the age of 26-27. (Luke 3)

 

  • He Wore Camel hair leathers, with a leather belt… Ate bugs, grasshoppers and honey and lived in the desert. Drank no wine, fermented drinks, no grape juice, grapes.
  • No cutting his hair while under the Nazerite vow. (At the completion of the vow they would offer their hair as a sacrifice to God.)
  • Could not go near or around a dead body.

 

He’s completely the opposite of any of the Religious leaders of the day.  But He’s God’s man!  The Religious leaders are NOT thrilled (actually threatened) by JohnAnd the questions begin…  Who are you?

 

I’m not the Messiah…  I’m not Elijah…  I’m not the Prophet?    I’m the voice…  clearing the way for the LORD…  John quoted Isaiah 40:3.

Isaiah 40:3-5 –  “A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. “Let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; And let the rough ground become a plain, And the rugged terrain a broad valley; Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, And all flesh will see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

 

John 1:25- “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. 27 He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”

 

Baptism isn’t something that originated with Christianity.  Baptism was born from the “ceremonial cleansing” that would take place when folks converted to Judaism.  (This was reserved for the Priests at the Temple)

 

But John was Baptizing… John was calling on everyone to repent… to be washed clean – Baptized.  Including the Jews, which was outrageous to the Religious leaders.

 

Matthew 3:7-10 NLTBut when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to watch him baptize, (or coming to be Baptized) he denounced them. “You brood of snakes!” he exclaimed. “Who warned you to flee the coming wrath? Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones.10 Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.

 

John baptized in the name of the one coming after him (Acts 19:4) and baptized in the name of Jesus. (Acts 19:5)  A person repented of his/her sin and was ready to place their faith in the one coming after John.

John was foreshadowing the Cross…  I baptize with water but He will baptize with the Holy Spirit.  John’s Baptism is external…  Jesus Baptism is internal.

 

 

Lessons learned from John the Baptist:

 

  1. John the Baptist was an ordinary man who lived an extraordinary life for God!  

What moved the great men/women of the Bible from ordinary men & women to Extraordinary Men & Women!

The Power of God!  We can do NOTHING apart from HIM!   AND, He’s given us all that we need to be Extraordinary for Him!

 

Serious Devotion to the LORD?  There’s a Seriousness for the LORD, about the LORD. There’s a Devotion, Dedication and Desire to honor and obey Him with my life!   I’m willing to: Surrender; Sacrifice; Serve; Sharing my Faith.

 

John 17:15-18 – Jesus Praying/communicating with God the Father. 15 I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one.16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do.17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.18 Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world.

 

Look at the Disciples of Christ after Jesus’ Resurrection.  Ordinary men changed to EXTRAORDINARY Men of God…  1. They had the Holy Spirit (Power) of God.  2. They Trusted and Obeyed    3. They were Serious. 

 

  1. John was a voice but not the Word! John was a lamp but not the light.

There hadn’t been a Prophet in Israel for 400 Years!  The Prophet was God’s Man!  God spoke through the Prophets to the people of Israel!

In John Chapter 3:30, He was approached about Jesus gaining popularity….  John simply said, He must increase, I must decrease.

Paul said in Galatians 2:20-21NCV20 I was put to death on the cross with Christ, and I do not live anymore—it is Christ who lives in me. I still live in my body, but I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself to save me.

We never move from ordinary to extraordinary unless we clearly understand our role, our purpose and unless HE increases and I decrease!

 

  1. John was useful to God… (God created Him, gave Him as specific purpose… ) but John was not indispensable.  (Indispensable meaning “absolutely necessary” to God and for God.) In other words, God doesn’t “need” us but wants to use us in His plans and for His purposes.  

John didn’t believe the papers, the hype, the news media, the internet and all that they said about him on face-book.  Even though he probably had more likes than Jesus!

We have to be so careful that we don’t think and act as if Ministry can’t get along without us…  The Church can’t function without me.  God can’t get along without me.

 

Our sense of worth and importance is in our Purpose NOT our Position!

Purpose = Relationship with God, thru Jesus Christ.  Seek Him, Know Him!

IF that’s right it doesn’t matter about my position and how HE uses me!

 

  1. John was extremely successful for God but remained a man of Humility.

Jesus said this of John the Baptist…   “Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist.”  (Matt. 11:11)

 

CS Lewis said, Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.

Chuck Swindoll said, “Humility is seeing ourselves as God sees us.   Humility is understanding our place in the Lord’s plan while giving preference to the welfare of others over self.”

John the Baptist lived up to that statement.  His life characterized by Humility.   I’m not the Messiah… Elijah… the Prophet (Although he was the last Prophet of the Old Test.)…  I’m not worthy to take His sandals off.   I’m just a voice… I’m just a witness for Jesus!

12-31-17 – The Gospel of John – John 1:1-18 – God With Us!

The Gospel of John…   John 1:1-18

  • Do you want a better understanding of who Jesus is?
  • An in-depth look at Jesus Life, Ministry, Message, Death and Resurrection… from an eyewitness, someone who was there through it all?
  • To confirm and secure your Faith in Jesus?
  • Maybe you’re still searching for Spiritual Truth? And you want to know what Truth is?
  • To confirm that Jesus is the Son of God, and God.
  • Are you hungry, thirsty for greater spiritual knowledge and understanding of Christ to be like Christ?

 

I don’t think any other book of the Bible has more focus on Jesus and those things listed than the Gospel of John.  

John 20:30-31 NIV – 30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe (continue believing) that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

 

That’s a great motivator for going through the Gospel of John and a great resolution for each of us in 2018… That we may believe, (continue believing) that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God and that by believing we may have life in His name!

 

Who was John:

  • Son of Zebedee. Younger brother of James.
  • Family owned and operated a Fishing business.  Partners with Peter and Andrew.
  • Disciple of John the Baptist.
  • Became a Faithful Disciple of Jesus. Part of the Inner Circle…  (Peter, James and John.)
  • Became a “Pillar” of the early Church.
  • The Gospel of John was written somewhere between 90-95 AD, only 50 years after the events of Jesus crucifixion. He also wrote 1, 2, 3 John, and the Book of Revelation.
  • The last of the Disciples to die, was not martyred, died of old age in Ephesus, modern day Turkey.

 

 

Verse 1-5 is a Prologue or an Introduction… John is basically laying the foundation for the book of John.   Everything He will share with us about the Life, Ministry, Message, Death and Resurrection of Jesus can be traced back to this introduction.  

 

John 1:1-18 NIV – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”)

16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

 

4 Main points:

  1. The Word is Eternal.  Jesus had no beginning and He will have no end.

 

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

The “Word” (Logos in Greek) was a reference to the mind of God.  The “Word” was a universal divine “reason or plan” that gave order, form and meaning.

 

Sounds like a great definition of Jesus to me!   And it did to John. Jesus is the universal divine reason and plan of God that brought order, form meaning to life!

 

John was an eyewitness to that… He saw first-hand His living, working, teaching, dying, resurrection and transfiguration.

 

On the Isle of Patmos when John saw Jesus in Heaven…  that definitely confirmed what John already knew about Him!  Rev. 1:8 – “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

 

The one verse that secures this for me was in John 17:5, Jesus Prayer in the garden before His arrest.  And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

 

  1. The Word is Creator – All Things were made through Him.

John 1:3 – Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

“In the beginning” is a creation word.   In other words…  In the creation…  before anything was…  was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.

 

This is critical because the world (satan) would have us to believe that Jesus wasn’t there…  Jesus Himself was a created being and if that’s so, then He’s not God…   If He’s not God then my sins, your sins are NOT covered under the Blood of Christ and we are NOT forgiven.

 

Many think Jesus is no different than Mohammad, Buddha, Ghandi, etc…

 

John is revealing Jesus is co-equal, co-eternal, co-existent with God the Father!   HE IS GOD!

 

John is pointing us back to the beginning…   Gen 1:26 NIV – 26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

 

Did you catch that…  “Let us… make mankind in our image”   Who is us?  Our image?  God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

 

  1. The Word is THE Source of Life. There is no life apart from Christ.

John 1:4-8 NIV – In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.  The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

 

God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit breathed the breath of life into all of creation with just the spoken Word!

 

God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit literally breathed the breath of life into Adam and Eve (mankind)… (into their nostrils…)

 

All of Life is associated with and connected to Jesus.  Colossians 1:17 – He existed before anything else, and He holds all creation together.

 

There’s a deeper connection with mankind than the rest of creation.  So much so that Jesus Christ would step out of Heaven to come and die for us…  so we can be restored to God!

Ephesians 2:10 ESV – For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Revelation 4:11 ESV – “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

Colossians 1:16 – For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

 

Anyone who has Acknowledged Christ, Confessed their Sin and Trusted in Christ through Faith and Repentance is bought and brought back from death to LIFE…  From darkness to the LIGHT!

 

We receive a NEW LIFE and the LIGHT of Christ (through the Holy Spirit)… (Regeneration = New Birth)  And we become a witness of and the reflection of Christ as He shines in us and through us. 

 

HE’s the Source we’re simply a reflection of the source!   (Sun and Moon.)

 

But “Many” prefer Darkness and Death to the Light and Life of Jesus Christ!  

WE all live in Homes, Apartments…  and we have electricity.  We have lights in our homes, apartments…  We can choose to turn on the lights or stay in the dark.  The light is available to us… we simply have to turn it on through Faith!

 

  1. The Word, reveals God the Father. (Although Christ was human, He was God and He revealed the Father to us.)                                                                                                  

John 1:14-18 NIV – 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”)

16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

 

God expressed His Nature, Holiness, Glory and His Supremacy to us in Jesus Christ.  

  • He’s greater than Moses… and all the prophets.
  • He’s greater than Abraham, the Father of the Nation of Israel.
  • He’s greater than John the Baptist… 400 years since a prophet in Israel.   Jesus said, no one born of a woman was greater than John!

 

Colossians 1:15-20 NLT – Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, 16 for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. 17 He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. 18 Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything. 19 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, 20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

 

Hebrews 1:3 CSB – The Son is the radiance (reflection) of God’s glory and the exact expression (representation) of his nature, sustaining all things by his powerful word.

12-24-17 – “Celebrating the Gift!”

Celebrating the Gift….

G – For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son.   He gave us THE gift of Love, Forgiveness, Hope, Peace, Joy, and Eternal Life! He gave Himself

I – The Incarnation of Christ.  God with us! He gave us the “greatest” gift that could be given… Himself!

F – God gave so we could experience Forgiveness and Freedom from our Sins!  

T– God gave so we could be ‘Transformed’ to become more and more like Christ as we Trust and Obey Him. 

Don’t just celebrate the “birth” of Christ at Christmas…  Celebrate the GIFT of God in Jesus Christ!!

The Christmas Story:

Luke 1 – 2:1-20

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, (John the Baptist’s Mother) God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David.28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”

29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”

35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month.37 For the word of God will never fail.”

38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.

Mary Visits Elizabeth – 39 A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town 40 where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth.41 At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit…

56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back to her own home.

Matthew 1:18-25 – New Living Translation (NLT)

18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.

20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:

23 “Look! The virgin will conceive a child!  She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”

24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. 25 But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.

The Birth of Jesus  – Luke 2:1-20 –  At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire.(This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census.And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child.

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born.She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger (a feeding trough for animals, in a stable) because there was no lodging available for them.

The Shepherds and Angels – That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified,10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

 

The Birth of Christ.  The Gift of God in Jesus Christ was and still is the GREATEST Gift that’s ever been given to mankind! 

Celebrate the Gift of God! 

G – For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son.   He gave us THE gift of Love, Forgiveness, Hope, Peace, Joy, and Eternal Life! He gave Himself

I – The Incarnation of Christ.  God with us! He gave us the “greatest” gift that could be given… Himself!

F – God gave so we could experience Forgiveness and Freedom from our Sins!   We experience His Forgiveness and Freedom when we:

– Acknowledging Him as the Savior

– Confessing our sin

– Trusting in Him thru Faith and repentance.

T– God gave so we could be ‘Transformed’ to become more and more like Christ as we Trust and Obey Him.  

Have you accepted the GIFT of God?  Embraced it, put it on, are you living in the Gift!    

Today as we celebrate the GIFT of God in Jesus Christ we remember… Jesus was born to die.  He died that we may live!   Just as HE was resurrected to New life we also should live resurrected lives in Him!

Merry CHRISTmas!

12-17-17 – “The Greatest Gift – Transformed as we Trust and Obey”

The GIFT… Christmas Sermon Series.

“G” – God so loved that He gave…  HIMSELF!

1 John 4:9-10 NCV – This is how God showed his love to us: He sent his one and only Son into the world so that we could have life through him. 10 This is what real love is: It is not our love for God; it is God’s love for us. He sent his Son to die in our place to take away our sins.

 

“I” – The Incarnation of Christ.  God in the Flesh…. God with us! 

John 1:14 NCV – 14 The Word became a human and lived among us. We saw his glory—the glory that belongs to the only Son of the Father—and he was full of grace and truth.

 

“F” – God’s Forgiveness!   

Ephesians 1:7 – In HIM we have the forgiveness of sins…

 

“T” – The Gift of God in Jesus Christ… Brings Transformation as we Trust and Obey!

 

When we respond and A.C.T. accepting the gift of God…  (Acknowledging Him as Lord, Confessing our sin, Trusting in Him by Faith and Repentance) we are Forgiven and Free in Christ…  and the Holy Spirit of God takes up residence in our heart and we experience a new spiritual birth.  Jesus said in John 3:3 – “Unless you are born again you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

Born Again = Regeneration.   (Churchy Word…)

 

We’re Saved… from the Wrath of God through what Christ did on the cross.  In Him we have the forgiveness of sins, and we are set Free.  (Salvation or Justification.)

 

That’s it right?  We’re in!  We’re good!  Got my ticket! 

 

God accepts us right where we are but he doesn’t leave us there!

In our TRUST and OBEDIENCE we begin the process of being “Transformed” into the image of Christ.  (Sanctification) Which is a life-long process.

 

It’s the Holy Spirit of God in us that Transforms us, helps us, convicts us, encourages and equips us…  However, we must choose to Trust and Obey! 

 

Paul said in Phil.  2:12-13 – work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

 

Paul wasn’t suggesting that someone work FOR their Salvation or that they could lose their Salvation!  (Salvation is based on the finished work of Jesus Christ and Christ alone!)

He’s simply stating that we must continually Trust, Obey, Learn, Grow, Develop, Disciple, Mentor, Mature, as we Follow Christ in order to be Transformed.

 

Phil 3: 12-14 NLT12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

 

Ephesians 4:21-24 NLT21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him,22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

 

How are we Transformed?   5 Areas where we continually TRUST and OBEY…

 

  1. Seek God… the things of God… Develop a hunger and thirst for God to know more about this incredible Gift we have in Jesus Christ! WE NEVER STOP SEEKING GOD!

 

We seek Him through His Word: One of the best ways to seek God is through reading, studying, discussing His word.

 

Psalm 119:2 NIV – Blessed (Happy, Joyful) are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart.

 

Psalm 119:11 – I have hidden it in my heart, that I may not sin against You.

 

2 Peter 1:3-4 CSBHis divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. By these he has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.

 

We seek Him through “Trust and Obedience” to His Word:

 

Psalm 9:10 NIV – Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

 

Psalm 37:5 ESV – Commit your way to the LORD; Trust in Him, and He will act.

 

John 17:17 – Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

 

John 14:15 – If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

 

John 15:10-11 NLT  – 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow.

 

We seek Him through Prayer:

Psalm 145:18-19 – The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them.

 

Matthew 7:7-8 – “Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

 

We seek Him through Continuous Repentance:

Isaiah 59:2 NLT – It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.

 

James 4:8 NLT – Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.

 

We seek Him through Worship: Worship is a Lifestyle, not music, a day of the week or time of day!  The greatest expression of worship is give and live my life for Him!   

 

Romans 12:1-2 NCV – So brothers and sisters, since God has shown us great mercy, I beg you to offer your lives as a living sacrifice to him. Your offering must be only for God and pleasing to him, which is the spiritual way for you to worship. Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect.

 

1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV – So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

 

  1. There’s an INCREASING Devotion, Desire, and Dedication to Christ.

 

  • You won’t Trust and Obey someone you don’t know… Relationship!
  • Repentance!
  • The closer we are to the Lord the more we develop a hatred for sin and things that dishonor Him.

 

Our devotion (love), desire and dedication to the Lord should be so great that by comparison it appears as if we hate the world and things of the world! 

 

Luke 14:26-27 NLT26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.

 

  1. Our World view “Should” change to a “Biblical” World view.

 

World view =  Value system.  Our Philosophy, Ideology, Theology about Life, God, Mankind, etc…

 

George Barna Stats:  Only 17% of people who say they are “Born Again” have a “Biblical World View.”   (Down 2% from 2009)

 

17%… That’s like only 50 out of 320 of us here today.

 

2 Corinthians 5:17 – If anyone belongs to Christ, there is a new creation. The old things have gone; everything is made new!

 

  1. We develop a greater love for others.  

 

If we don’t love others how can we say we love God?  Our love for others proves that we belong to Him!

 

1 John 4:7-8 CSB – Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

John 13:34-35 NLT34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

 

 

5. IF we’re in the Family of God… we’re on a Mission for God! We Fulfill or accomplish the Mission!  

 

 

John 17:18 NLT – Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world.   MSG – “In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world.”

 

 

What is our Mission?

  • Love God… heart, mind soul, strength – Worship Him.
  • Love others… as ourselves.
  • To Serve God and serve others.
  • To use my SHAPE [Explain SHAPE] to be his witness, be His ambassador, introduce people to Him, make Disciples who follow Him, and advance His Kingdom!

 

 

As we’re TRANSFORMED we are accomplishing, fulfilling the Mission! 

 

CONCLUSION:

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 NLT17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

The veil (Holy of Holies) has been removed  (Curtain torn) and not only do we see Him but we get to experience a personal one on one relationship with Him and we are Transformed to be like Him as we Trust and Obey!

 

Most of the time we are too focused on (and wrapped up in) what we’re doing rather than what we’re becoming!

 

The Gift of God in Jesus Christ ‘Transforms’ us if we are developing the relationship with Him through Trust and Obedience. 

 

Are we being ‘Transformed?’ 

 

 

12-10-17 – “The Greatest Gift – Forgiveness”

The GIFT… Christmas Sermon Series.

The Greatest Gift ever given was given by God!  And He GAVE HIMSELF!

 

G – God so loved that He gave…

1 John 4:9-10 NCV – This is how God showed his love to us: He sent his one and only Son into the world so that we could have life through him. 10 This is what real love is: It is not our love for God; it is God’s love for us. He sent his Son to die in our place to take away our sins.

 

“I” – The Incarnation of Christ… God in the Flesh…. God with us!  Jesus Christ left Heaven gave up his divine rights and privileges to be the Sacrifice for us, and our Sins…  that through Him we could be restored to God!

John 1:14 NCV – 14 The Word became a human and lived among us. We saw his glory—the glory that belongs to the only Son of the Father—and he was full of grace and truth.

Phil. 2: 6-8 NLT – Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

 

F – God’s Forgiveness!  The GREATEST Gift that’s ever been given is the Love of God in Jesus Christ that provides our Forgiveness and purchased our FREEDOM from Sin! 

 

Forgiveness =  To wipe the slate clean… the debt you owe is paid in full. The mistakes you’ve made are erased.

 

No one “deserves” to be forgiven…  We’ve all sinned.  Every one of us… And the Justice of God demands that someone pay the price for the sin.

 

Forgiveness is an act of love, mercy and grace.  It’s a decision NOT to hold something against someone despite what they have done nevertheless someone has to pay the price for the mistake, for the sin!

 

Forgiveness is our Greatest Need!

 

  • If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator/teacher.
  • If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist.
  • If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist.
  • If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer.

 

But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Sacrifice… a Savior.

Colossians 1:13-14 – For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.

1 John 2:2 – He himself is the sacrifice that atones (pays) for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.

Matthew 26:28 (At the last supper before Jesus crucifixion) For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Luke 24:46-47 –  “This is what is written: The Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead the third day, 47 and repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

 

When we think about God’s Gift of Forgiveness & Freedom in Christ we need to make sure we have the “right” perspective.

Forgiveness has absolutely NOTHING to do with usThe only reason there is “Forgiveness of sin” the only reason there is Freedom is because of the Gift of God in Jesus Christ!

 

Ephesians 1:7 – In HIM we have the forgiveness of sins…

 

Oswald Chambers: “Never build your case for forgiveness on the idea that God is our Father and He will forgive us because He loves us. That contradicts the revealed truth of God in Jesus Christ. It makes the Cross unnecessary, and the redemption “much ado about nothing.” God forgives sin only because of the death of Christ. God could forgive people in no other way than by the death of His Son, and Jesus is exalted as Savior because of His death…

The greatest note of triumph ever sounded in the ears of a startled universe was that sounded on the Cross of Christ— “It is finished!” (John 19:30). That is the final word in the redemption of humankind.

 

We are Forgiven…   We are Free…  Because of the Finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross!  

 

 God draws all men to Himself.

John 16:8 – The Holy Spirit convicts the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.

Whether you’re a Follower of Christ or not, the Holy Spirit convicts us concerning Sin, Righteousness and Judgment.  And it’s up to us to respond to that conviction.

 

How do we respond…  We A.C.T.  in order to receive the Gift: 

Acknowledge our Sin… that we are in need of a Savior!

Romans 3:23-26 NCV – 23 Everyone has sinned and fallen short of God’s glorious standard, 24 and all need to be made right with God by his grace, which is a free gift. They need to be made free from sin through Jesus Christ.

 

Confess our sins! Stop making excuses, and playing the Blame game. 

1 John 1:9 NCV – But if we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right. He will cleanse us from all the wrongs we have done.

 

There must be sincere, heartfelt sorrow for our sins.

2 Corinthians 7:10 –  10 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.

 

Trust: (Faith in Christ & Repentance: Two sides of the same coin.)

Faith in Christ – Romans 3:23-26 NCV – 23 Everyone has sinned and fallen short of God’s glorious standard, 24 and all need to be made right with God by his grace, which is a free gift. They need to be made free from sin through Jesus Christ. 25 God sent him to die in our place to take away our sins. We receive forgiveness through faith in the blood of Jesus’ death. This showed that God always does what is right and fair, as in the past when he was patient and did not punish people for their sins. 26 And God gave Jesus to show today that he does what is right. God did this so he could judge rightly and so he could make right any person who has faith in Jesus.

 

Romans 10:9-10 –  If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.

 

We’re saved by Grace through faith apart from anything we do (works) however, the faith that saves us always changes us. 

 

Repentance = A Change of Mind… that leads to a change of Behavior and Will.

2 Corinthians 5:17 – If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation.  Old things have passed away.

Romans 12:1-2 So brothers and sisters, since God has shown us great mercy, I beg you to offer your lives as a living sacrifice to him. Your offering must be only for God and pleasing to him, which is the spiritual way for you to worship. Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect.

Eph. 4:22-2422 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

 

John 8:31-36 – Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings.32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  [Obedience leads to our knowledge and understanding of Christ which leads to Freedom!]

33 “But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?”

34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. 35 A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.

 

CONCLUSION:

The purpose of God’s Gift in Jesus Christ is our Forgiveness… our Freedom! 

Romans 8:1-2 – So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.

12-3-17 – “The Greatest Gift” 2 of 4

The GREATEST GIFT…

Last week we started to look at the GREATEST GIFT that’s even been given…

God didn’t just give us ‘A Gift’ He gave us THE GREATEST GIFT HE COULD GIVE…  He gave Himself!   

 

John 3:16-17 NLT – 16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

1 John 4:9-10 NCV – This is how God showed his love to us: He sent his one and only Son into the world so that we could have life through him. 10 This is what real love is: It is not our love for God; it is God’s love for us. He sent his Son to die in our place to take away our sins.

 

The Bible is a Love Story…  It’s a love story about God’s never ending, unexplainable, undeniable, overwhelming, amazing Love and His pursuit of (US) His creation. 

 

G – God So Loved…

I – The Incarnation of Christ  – God’s Pursuit of us. 

 

What is Incarnation?

John 1:14 NCV – 14 The Word became a human and lived among us. We saw his glory—the glory that belongs to the only Son of the Father—and he was full of grace and truth.

 

God first announced the promise of the Jesus (the Messiah) to the serpent after the fall of Man.

Gen 3:15 NCV – I will make you and the woman enemies to each other.
Your descendants and her descendants will be enemies. One of her descendants will crush your head, and you will bite his heel.”

 

700 years before Christ, the prophet Isaiah & Micah told of Jesus coming: 

Isaiah 7:1414 The Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be pregnant. She will have a son, and she will name him Immanuel. (Give Him a name meaning: God With Us.)

Isaiah 9:6 – For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”

Micah 5:2 NLT – But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah (Eph – Ra – thah) are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf.

 

Matthew 1:18- NLT – 18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Luke 1:26-38 – A more detailed account of Jesus birth.

Philippians 2:6-8 NLT – Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.Instead, he gave up his divine privileges (emptied Himself); he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form,he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

 

Jesus IS GOD!

John 5:58 – I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I AM!

John 10:30 – I and the Father are one.

John 14:8-9 – Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you?

 

Colossians 1:19-20 NLT – For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, 20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

 

For many this idea of “Incarnation” Jesus being God and becoming Human is a major stumbling Block…   even for some who claim to be Christians!

 

Galatians 4:4-5 NCV – But when the right time came, God sent his Son who was born of a woman and lived under the law. God did this so he could buy freedom for those who were under the law and so we could become his children.

 

Why did Jesus need to come in the Flesh?   Sacrifice.

God initiated blood sacrifices in the Old Test. as a covering for sin and also as a foreshadowing of the Messiah – Jesus Christ.  Heb. 9:22 –  Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. 

 

God took a life (earthly life) to cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness and shame (symbolizing their sin). 

 

He told Moses in Leviticus 17:11 NLT11 for the life of the body is in its blood. I have given you the blood on the altar to purify you, making you right with the Lord. It is the blood, given in exchange for a life, that makes purification possible.

 

God gave the last innocent life…  Jesus Christ gave up his life to cover sin once and for all!  A Heavenly Lamb!

 

Why a Virgin Birth?

Jesus was born under the law but not under the curse of sin. Jesus wasn’t born of a man (or he would have been born into sin).  THEREFORE, HE WAS PERFECT AND THE PERFECT SACRIFICE FOR GOD AND MANKIND!

Hebrews 4:15 ESV – For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Hebrews 9:12-17 NCV12 Christ entered the Most Holy Place only once—and for all time. He did not take with him the blood of goats and calves. His sacrifice was his own blood, and by it he set us free from sin forever.

2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

 

 

Does it really matter?  YES!  It’s one of the foundational truths of God’s word and one of the most important truths of our Faith.   Without the Incarnation of Christ what do we have?  

 

If Jesus is NOT God, there is no Forgiveness of sin.  There is no Savior.  There is no resurrection.  Jesus is a liar, God’s a liar and if that’s the case how can there be a Holy God?

 

 

The Purpose of the “Incarnation” is NOT just that of a sacrifice for God and for us.  It’s also to show us how to live in a way that Pleases God.  

 

  1. To do the Father’s will. John 6:38 CSB38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.
  2. To reveal and bear witness to the truth. John 18:37 CSB – 37 Pilate said, “So you are a king! ”Jesus answered, “You are the one saying I am a king. This is why I was born and came into the world: to tell people the truth. And everyone who belongs to the truth listens to me.”
  3. To bring light to the darkness. John 12:46 NLT46 I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark.
  4. To bring true judgment. John 9:39 MSG39 Jesus then said, “I came into the world to bring everything into the clear light of day, making all the distinctions clear, so that those who have never seen will see, and those who have made a great pretense of seeing will be exposed as blind.”

 

  1. To bring us abundant life. John 10:10 NLT10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

 

  1. To be restored to the right relationship with God the Father. John 14:6 NLTJesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.

 

CONCLUSION:

How can someone accept the Gift of God and deny the Incarnation of Christ?  You can’t!

1 John 4:1-2 CSB –  Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  This is how you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming; even now it is already in the world.

 

I is for Incarnation of Christ and it’s also for the Identity of Jesus!  His identity is absolutely critical since He is the foundation of our Christian Faith, Biblical Doctrine, all Truth and all that represents God.

 

The incarnation of Christ is extremely important.  The incarnation of Christ “God with us” affects every single area of the Christian Faith.

 

Without it there is no Sacrifice, no Savior and no Salvation!  There would be NO forgiveness of sin!   What kind of sick gift would that be from God?  That’s not love, that’s just cruel.

 

The Incarnation and the Identity of Christ…  if we deny that there is no such thing as Christmas!