Sermon for Sunday January 31st, 2010
THE DEITY OF JESUS by Bruce Ball
Today’s Text: JOHN 1:1-9
As I was preparing my sermon for today, I kept going back to thinking that one of my main goals is to preach and teach the Bible in a down-to-earth, interesting, and easily understood format so everyone, even those not familiar with God’s Word, could understand it in a way that would let everyone see the wonderful lessons God is giving us in this book.
You will find that many people will dispute different parts of the Bible. There are others who dispute the entire Bible. Then, there are those who truly do believe that the entire Bible is the 100% accurate and inerrant Word of God, from start to end.
To those who dispute any of God’s Holy Word, let me give you this analogy. You can go stand in the middle of the freeway, close your eyes, and adamantly state that no car is going to come along and run you over. That may be what you truly believe, but that does not alter the truth. And, the truth of the matter is that there ARE cars coming and they WILL run you over if you don’t wise up and get smart!
It may tend to make you feel enlightened, or feel smarter by saying there is no God, but that does not alter the truth; there really IS a God, and that God WILL judge you for your actions and your words. So, use your own discretion in what you do and say, but do not act surprised when you end up ‘paying the price’ for your wrongful ways.
I believe that there is only one possible way to believe everything in this book. And, that is by having faith. We talked last week about faith being the absolute belief in something that you are not able to physically see. But, if we believe that God inspired men to write this book, we must also believe every single word that it says.
I am reminded of the rich man who stood up in his church one morning and vowed that he was going to devote the rest of his life, living by faith that God would supply his every need.
He promptly made arrangements to give all his money and possessions away; and then he moved from his mansion on the hill to a rented dingy house on the ‘other side of the tracks.’
His first night there, he got on his knees and prayed that the Lord would send him some food. Confidently, the next morning, he got up, went to the door and opened it. He looked all around the porch to see if there was any food. There wasn’t.
Disappointed, and hungry, he got back on his knees and asked God to send him food. He told God that he was going to starve to death if he didn’t receive any food, and he was totally depending on God to supply that food.
That night, he again went to sleep, praying for God to send him food. The next morning, he awoke very hungry and ran to the door, just to open it and, again find no food. He got back on his knees and this time, he was very emphatic as he asked God to quit stalling and hurry up with the food! After praying like this for over an hour, he heard God whisper to him to go outside and look up. Being an obedient believer, he went out on his porch and looked up. On the other side of the street was a big sign that read,
“DAY LABORERS WANTED – LUNCH PROVIDED”.
The moral of that story is simple. If we profess to have faith in the Lord, then we must be willing to be quiet enough to listen to Him as He whispers to us. Too many times, we, as Christians, claim that we believe in God and that we truly trust Him, but then we turn around and try to take care of everything ourselves! That doesn’t prove we have faith in anyone but ourselves, does it?
I am going to start in the book of JOHN, in the New Testament. It is the fourth book, the fourth Gospel and one of the most read of all books in the Bible.
1. JESUS IS GOD
Last week, I spoke of time eternal. I told of how God was here before time and God will be after time. God is eternal, and as humans, we barely comprehend that since we have never personally experienced anything eternal. Our entire basis for eternity is based solely upon faith.
‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’
God did not have a beginning. He existed for all eternity. If we were able to trace time back to its very start, we would find that God was there, even before that. When we read that ‘the Word was with God’, we see that He had a distinct personality. If you had no personality, it would be impossible to think of and make up words, right? We continue, in verse 1, to read ‘ ….and the word was God.’
The Bible teaches us that there is one God, but that one God has three separate Persons in the God-head. They are God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. In this first verse, two of the Persons in the God-head are mentioned: God the Father and God the Son, who is the Word.
This verse says very clearly that Jesus was God. It does not say that Jesus (the Word) was like a god or god-like. The last five words of verse 1 says very clearly, ‘… and the Word was God.’
When I used to hear people talking about the Trinity, or the God-head based upon three separate Persons, I couldn’t even begin to understand what they were talking about! Then, I heard a child once say that the Trinity is very similar to a clover. A clover has three separate leaves, but they all make up one clover. See, God is three entities. God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit (God’s Spirit sent to us when Jesus ascended into Heaven).
‘He was with God in the beginning.’
At first glance, this might seem like it is mere repetition of verse 1, but it is not. This verse clearly shows that Jesus was with God – in the beginning – or, forever ago. Some say that Jesus first became a god (small ‘g’) after his resurrection. This verse emphatically disputes that flawed reasoning, and it tells us that Jesus was God, and He was with God at the very start of eternity.
2. JESUS IS THE CREATOR
‘Through Him, all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.’
This verse does not tell us that He was made. It tells us that ‘through Him, all other things were made’. See, Jesus, as God is the Creator. When the verse says that ‘without Him, nothing was made that has been made’, it merely means that there is no possible exception. If something has been made, He made it - period.
And, as the Creator, He is superior to everything He made. All three persons in the God head were involved in the creation.
GENESIS 1:1 – “God created the Heavens and the earth.”
GENESIS 1:2 – “The Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”
COLOSSIANS 1:16b – “All things were created through Him and for Him.”
‘In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.’
This does not mean that Jesus ‘possessed’ life. It means that He is the source of life. The word LIFE here, in the original text, means both the physical and the spiritual life. When we were born we received the physical life, and when we were born again, we received the spiritual life of God.
The same One who supplies us with life, is the LIGHT OF MEN. He provides us with guidance and direction in this dark world. Everyone on earth can exist, but it is quite another thing to know the real purpose of life and know how to live so that we can realize our goal – the reward of sitting at the Table of Grace eternal, with the Godhead. The same One who gives us life, gives us light so that we may see the path we need to travel.
There are 7 titles to our Lord Jesus in this opening chapter of JOHN.
1. THE WORD - vs. 1 & 14
2. THE LIGHT - vs. 5 & 7
3. THE LAMB OF GOD - vs. 29 & 36
4. THE SON OF GOD - vs. 34 & 49
5. THE CHRIST (MESSIAH) - vs. 41
6. THE KING OF ISRAEL - vs. 49
7. THE SON OF MAN - vs. 51
This book with the above references, are indicative of the entire Bible, that being to attest to the deity of Jesus Christ as Lord, as God.
‘The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.”
When Adam and Eve sinned by being disobedient, they allowed sin to be brought into this world. At that moment, and continuing until the second coming of Christ, that sin allows mankind to remain in a spiritual darkness. It has separated man from God to the extent that we now must be INTRODUCED to Jesus as our Savior, in order to really know God.
Many think they are Christians, because they know ABOUT God. They know ABOUT Jesus Christ. But that is not the same thing as KNOWING them. You may know ABOUT Tiger Woods. You may know ABOUT Saddam Hussein ….. but do you KNOW them? We are ‘in the dark’ when it comes to personal knowledge of these men.
Mankind now lives in the darkness that is without God. Into this darkness, comes Jesus Christ, as the light of men, as a light shining in the darkness.
There are two main schools of thoughts when we refer to the part in verse 5 that says, ‘but the darkness has not understood it.’ One thought is that mankind, in its darkness without God, did not understand who Jesus was when He came, therefore, they rejected Him.
The other thought is found in the NKJV, and that says, ‘the darkness did not overcome it’. That thought is that, no matter how much they tried, mankind – in all its disbelief – could not put out the light of Jesus Christ. That we could not prevent the true light from shining in our darkened state that is without God.
3. JESUS IS THE SON OF MAN
‘There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John.’
A lot of people think this verse refers to the same John who wrote this book. It does not. It refers to John the Baptist who was the cousin of Jesus. John the Baptist was a forerunner of Christ. He was sent to pave the way, so to speak, for Jesus. He was sent to tell the people to get ready to receive the Savior.
‘He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through Him, all men might believe.’
Today, we use public relations campaigns and advertisements to tell us of many things, including ways in which we need to think and act politically. John the Baptist was a precursor to the P.R. ads. He came in advance of Christ to testify to others of the light of Christ that would soon be introduced to this world. He did this so people could get ready and look forward to seeing and hearing Jesus – so they could get ready to put their trust in Him for their eternal life.
‘He himself was not the light: He came as a witness to the light.’
John refers to John the Baptist, and confirms that John the Baptist was not the Savior. That John the Baptist was not the Christ, but that he only came to introduce the Christ. If John had tried to attract attention to himself, he would have been unfaithful to the task that God anointed him for. Therefore, he pointed people in the direction of Jesus Christ.
There are some religious cults in the world that believe in and worship John the Baptist as the Savior. One of these is in Iraq. Now we would think that the Muslims would hunt down and persecute ALL Christians, but that is not the case.
Muslims persecute all Christians who believe in Jesus as the Christ. Those who worship John the Baptist are not really bothered by the Islamic clerics and warriors. This tells me two things.
Firstly, that those cults are wrong, because they do not heed the entire and total Word of God, because it plainly states here in JOHN 1:8, that John the Baptist was not the Messiah.
It also tells me that the only reason people persecute others, is that they feel they have something to fear form them. If they do not persecute those who follow John the Baptist, they must instinctively know they have no reason to fear their leader. However, they will persecute (even unto the death) of Christians, because they know that they DO have reason to fear our leader unless they humble themselves and accept Jesus.
‘The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.’
Other men, throughout the ages, have tried to pass themselves off as the true light. They have tried to tell others that they were the only answer to eternal bliss and happiness. The truth is, John the Baptist came to introduce the only TRUE light.
We must understand that Jesus brought the light of God into this world of darkness. Now that does not mean that every man has that light. For one to have that eternal light, one must consciously see the need to have Jesus as their Lord. That is the only way to Heaven.
I read in the paper this week, where somebody wrote an editorial and said there must be some reason for the Bible. The last line in his letter said that there were many roads, all leading to the same home. That is very wrong. Here in verse 9, it tells us that Jesus was the TRUE LIGHT.
'Again, in JOHN 3:16, it says –
‘For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.’
In JOHN 3:18, it says –
‘Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.’
There are many conflicting things in today’s world, aren’t there? We hear many ways in which we should talk, many ways in which we should act and many ways in which we should believe. We are creatures who need consistency. We do not do well with constant change, do we? Today, it depends on who you talk to, and which day of the week you talk to them, as to what we should believe.
There is only one true constant in our lives: The constant of Jesus Christ. There was an elderly lady named Virginia who lived in a care facility in Mesa, Arizona. She had spent her life as an atheist, refusing to acknowledge God. We visited there every week for over a year.
Finally, one day she asked me to pray for her. We held hands and I prayed a very simple prayer of faith with her and she repeated every sentence I said. It was there, on that couch, that Virginia accepted Jesus as her Savior. She had no deep understanding of Him, but she did have faith IN Him. She believed, even though she didn’t fully understand. But that was okay, because we are called to believe, not to understand.
If you wait to have children until you can afford it, you will never have them. If you wait until you know everything about God before you accept His Son as your Savior, you never will.
God wants you to step out in faith, not knowledge. He wants you to step out in trust, not knowledge. He wants you to listen to Him as He whispers to your heart.
Are you ready today to do as Virginia did; to receive Jesus in pure faith? If you would like to open your heart up to the Lord, and to receive all the blessings from His storehouse of love, just get up from where you are right now and come to me. I will go with you to the throne of God as you ask Jesus into your heart.