The Life and the Light of the Word | Advent 2023: The Light Has Come | John 1:1-5 | Pastor J.M. Lee

Advent 2023: The Light Has Come  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  29:06
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Good morning! My name is John Lee and I serve Mission Church as the Lead pastor. I am honored and humbled to be with you this morning.....especially as we launch a new 4 week Advent series.
If you have a Bible…please turn to John 1:1. And when you find it.... and if you are able to....please stand for the reading of God’s Word.
John 1:1–5 (CSB)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.
This is the Word of the Lord
Let’s Pray
So....what’s the deal with Advent? Well....Advent means “coming” or “arrival” and the season of Advent has historically been a time in which the Church looks back to the long-foretold first coming of the Messiah.... and in turn.....we learn to look forward to Christ’s return. Advent is also a season of preparation … it’s a rhythm in which... we as Christians pause.....we intentionally slow down....and we recognize that the world in which we live is broken....and we rest and find hope in the truth that Jesus is returning…and when He does…He will restore us and His Creation back to what it was intended to be!
‌Let’s be honest.....We all feel the effects of living in a broken world.....and if we slow down long enough ....we can sense a cosmic ache…we can feel a deep desire within ourselves and a longing throughout creation for things to be made right.
‌And.....well....our collective tendency is to ignore the pain......we downplay the world’s brokenness….. and we numb our feelings of despair.
‌But the Advent season.....it welcomes us to focus our hearts on the first and second coming of Jesus…and by doing so we’re invited to face up to the darkness ....so that..... we can properly appreciate the light.
‌You see....the world might try to mask its brokenness and dull the pain of our suffering.....but the refreshing news is that Scripture is honest about the truth of our reality....and at the same time it invites us to experience a supernatural joy, hope, love, and peace amidst the mess.
‌So where might we be going this Advent? Well…the Gospel of John stands out amongst the other Gospel birth narratives....in that ...John doesn’t tell the Christmas story the way we’re used to hearing it. There’s no mention of Mary and Joseph going to Bethlehem, no mention of a decree going out from Caesar Augustus, no mention of a crowded inn or a baby laid in a manger.
John takes an altogether different approach.....and by doing so he provides us with a theological explanation for Jesus coming into our world....beginning with Christ’s eternal origin before the creation of all things.....and over the next four weeks.....John is going to presents us with the profound and indescribable.....the infinite and unsearchable…the intimate and incomprehensible reality of God.
You see....This morning we embark on a journey into the heart of a narrative that weaves through the pages of Scripture—a story of creation's beauty, humanity's fall, and the promised redemption that echoes through the corridors of time.
I‌t’s true......We live in a world that has been shrouded by darkness....and as we walk through the shadows..... it's impossible to ignore the signs of brokenness. The fingerprints of sin are evident in the disobedient hearts of man, our fractured systems, and the weary world around us…all of which is yearning and longing for restoration. Yes, it’s true.....there is an active presence of evil that bears witness to a reality marred by the consequences of disobedience and separation from God....and this reality can be overwhelming....for it seems like the shadows are stretching across various aspects of our society....intensifying the prevailing darkness.
‌Which leads me to wonder..... How can we live in this dark and decaying world with an unwavering faith and an unflinching hope? Well…our text this morning is helpful …for it reminds us that…in the beginning … it was God who spoke light into the darkness…and today…that same Light…continues to shine into the darkness of life’s storm....offering us hope and peace. You see…in the face of sin’s impact…Jesus…the life and light of men…provides the answer to our mess. We see this clearly in our text as we explore…what could be....the most important question there is to consider.....Who is Jesus?
Many say that Jesus was a great philosopher. Some say that he was a good man or a good moral teacher. While others proclaim that Jesus was no more than another prophet who came to point people to God...…but.... the clear testimony of the Bible is that Jesus of Nazareth was more than a good man or wise prophet....but....rather..... Jesus is God. Look at verse 1
John 1:1 (CSB)
1 In the beginning was the Word ...
Now…..Who or what is the Word? …. Well……John’s choice and his use of the greek word “LOGOS”…which is translated into English as “WORD” … was intentional.... for .....John was writing to an audience that consisted of both Jews…who would have been familiar with the Old Testament and he was also writing to Gentiles who would have had no idea of the Old Testament prophecies relating to the Jewish savior, known as the Messiah or Christ
So in a genius move....John uses a word that everyone in his audience would had been familiar with....you see…in the Greco-Roman world..... everyone would have been familiar with the concept of the Logos. The Stoic philosophers often spoke of the Logos and they taught that it was the thing from which everything else in the world sprang from…they also believed that the Logos connected everything in existence. In fact... Plato…referred to the idea of Logos and spoke of it as the ideal version of a man from which all other men were derived....while......other philosophers spoke of Logos as one’s sense of reason or logic.
The point is this.....John was drawing from an idea that a wide variety of readers would have been familiar with....and He starts with this idea....and then instantly flips it on its head....giving it his own meaning. You see.... in all the philosophic mentions and studies of Logos…they all speak of the Logos as an impersonal concept or thing…but John flips the script and speaks of the Logos as a person and He places this person in a specific place and time..... “In the Beginning”
Which to John’s Jewish audience…their minds would have instantly gone to the first book of the Old Testament…you see....It’s not by accident that the first three words of John’s gospel echo the first three words of the Bible. Consider Genesis 1:1.
Genesis 1:1 (CSB)
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
You see…John is placing the Word where we would expect God to be.... “In the beginning...”
Now the question is begging to be asked…..Who is the Word? Well.... the subject of John’s Gospel is none other than Jesus Christ......and John is connecting Jesus with creation and claiming that Jesus existed before creation.....in other words.... Jesus existed before the world began....before there was time…Jesus was. You see.....If we were to hit the rewind button on history and go all the wayback to the very beginning.......before God created the world out of nothing… Jesus was there....eternally existing with God the Father.
I am reminded of Jesus’s own testimony in John 17:5
John 17:5 (CSB)
5 Now, Father, glorify me in your presence with that glory I had with you before the world existed.
Now…it’s important to see that the creation account in Genesis contains no hint of the creation of God.... and here in John 1:1 there is no hint of the creation of Jesus....brothers and sisters.......Jesus has always existed.
In other words.....without apology or qualification.....John goes back in time before Bethlehem where Jesus was born…before Nazareth where he was conceived.....and indeed…he goes back beyond the beginning of time itself, and allows us a glimpse of a glorious person who has an eternal existence.
John continues...
John 1:1 (CSB)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God...
This word... “with” …it implies a personal and intimate connection…it describes the eternal preexistent relationship between God the Father and God the Son. In other words....John is saying “Look....you know that thing…the Logos…that you think holds everything together and from which everything is derived? You know that thing…the Logos.... that you believe allows you to have understanding and gives you the ability to reason? Well.....the Logos isn’t a thing... He is a distinct divine person.....and His name is Jesus…and Jesus eternally existed WITH God.”
John continues…look back at the text...
John 1:1–2 (CSB)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.
Everything that can be said of God ….can also be said of Jesus…in other words.... Jesus is of the same character and quality as God. Now it’s important to note that ...John was Jewish…which meant that he was monotheistic…meaning he worshiped only one God…..which speaks to the fact that he would never refer to someone or something else as a “God.” And yet……John answers the question… Who is Jesus?…. by saying something absolutely amazing… John is emphatically declaring that Jesus is God! .....and this declaration points to what we call the Trinity… which is one God existing as three persons.....God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit..
So....the Word was BOTH with God and the Word was God…..meaning……The Word is both DISTINCT from God the Father…while also being the SAME as God.…and......there was never a time in which the Word was not…for the Word is God…… and was with God in the beginning! And not only was Jesus present at creation but He was also active in creation.
Again....John is drawing our attention back to the creation account in Genesis 1 and how God created the heavens and the earth through his spoken Word. Turn in your Bible to page 1 and notice all of the times in which God spoke during creation
Genesis 1:3 (CSB)
3 ... God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
Genesis 1:6 (CSB)
6 Then God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters, separating water from water.”
Genesis 1:9 (CSB)
9 Then God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so.
Genesis 1:14 (CSB)
14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night. They will serve as signs for seasons and for days and years.
Genesis 1:20 (CSB)
20 Then God said, “Let the water swarm with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.”
Genesis 1:24 (CSB)
24 Then God said, “Let the earth produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that crawl, and the wildlife of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so.
Genesis 1:26 (CSB)
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.”
Brothers and Sisters......clearly......God created ALL of creation through His spoken Word .... which is why John says…in v3
John 1:3 (CSB)
3 All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created.
Underline or make note of this phrase, “All things.” You see...John chooses his words very carefully and by doing so he’s drawing our attention to each individual thing Jesus created....he’s shining a spotlight on everything from the largest whale to the smallest amoeba… from the sunflower seed to the redwood tree, from the beautiful sunset to the tiny lightning bug, Jesus Christ designed and created all of it.
Consider
Colossians 1:16 (CSB)
16 For everything was created by him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through him and for him.
Not only were all things created through Jesus but they were created for Jesus. Think about it......did you know…There are about one hundred billion stars in the average galaxy…….and there are at least one hundred million galaxies in the known universe. Einstein believed that we have scanned with our largest telescopes only one billionth of theoretical space. This means that there are probably something like ten octillion stars in space……..that’s 10 with twenty-seven zeros behind it. And Jesus created them all! And………Not only is he the Creator of the macrocosm of the universe, but also of the microcosm of the smallest atom. Church ….this speaks to the truth that we can trust Jesus with everything. Because everything was created through Jesus and because everything was created for Him …which means..... well......He knows exactly what you need…..whenever you need it. Think about it! Nothing that has been created was created apart from Jesus and for everything that exists …He provides....and He sustains. JESUS IS GOD…JESUS IS the CREATOR…AND JESUS IS THE SUSTAINER! Tell me… Have you entrusted your life to him? Is Jesus the center of your life? As you live in this dark and decaying word.... are you looking to Jesus with an unwavering faith and with an unflinching hope?
John continues...... Look at v4
John 1:4–5 (CSB)
4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.
Now……this word Darkness ……it’s not simply referring to the absence of light.…but rather… John is referring to evil.
Consider what Jesus says in John 3:19
John 3:19 (CSB)
19 This is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.
Brothers and sisters.... it is impossible for you and I to simply be indifferent towards evil or indifferent towards Jesus. In fact....John says, “If we love the dark…if we love evil...…then we will hate Jesus! Which speaks to the greatest problem that you and I face today......which is not necessarily the evil that exists out in the world but it’s the evil that exists inside each and everyone of us.
And.....the Bible calls this evil sin.....and sin is rejecting or ignoring God, disobeying his rule and law, and not receiving the good life he offers. And sin separates us from God. It makes us rebels and outlaws who have committed crimes deserving death. Friends....sin has caused a rift between us and God and it destroys us and everything around us. Consider Romans 6:23
Romans 6:23 (CSB)
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
You see..…sin….it does’t just make you bad….but……sin made you dead. In fact without Jesus we are dead in our sin. And friends…..this is who we are……and If we hooked ourselves up to a spiritual heart monitor…… you would hear one long beep…….it would show a flat line……because….the truth is……apart from God’s intervening power and grace we are all spiritually dead. consider Ephesians 2.
Ephesians 2:1–3 (CSB)
1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins 2 in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit now working in the disobedient. 3 We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also.
So.... what does it mean to be dead in sin? Well....death is fundamentally separation…you see…when a person dies their soul is separated from their physical body....and if you have ever attended a funeral or a wake…you know this to be true… especially as you walk in and greet the family who are mourning the death of their loved one…you can feel the separation that has taken place between them and the one they love.....and when you walk up to the coffin to view the deceased ....all you see is a shell…yes …the body is still present but the part of the person that made them who they were …is gone…their soul has been separated from their body and all that remains is a decaying worn out husk.
And....In the same way that physical death is the separation of the soul from the body …spiritual death is the separation of the soul from God. Just as physical death separates the soul from the body…sin separates us from the sinless God of the universe.....and when physical death occurs before you can repent of your sin and trust in Jesus for salvation....that separation caused by sin becomes permanent......and God…the just judge….will punish sin by eternal separation from him in hell.
You see…the Christmas season is not a time to celebrate Jesus coming to give us a good life....in fact Jesus did not come so that you and I might be moral…or good…or happy..... No! Jesus came to make dead people alive.....look back at verse 4 gain
John 1:4–5 (CSB)
4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.
Brothers and sisters…Jesus is the Light and the Light is Life!!! And there is no place with the slightest crack that can withhold the LIGHT OF HIS PRESENCE. John tells us that, “The light shines in the darkness.” In other words.... Jesus is continually bombarding every corner of our dark hearts through the work of his Holy Spirit. And when Jesus comes into our lives.... it is good…..but……….. if we’re honest…… it doesn’t alway feel good.
Tell me…..have you ever gone to see a movie in a dark theater…and after the movie you walked outside into the bright Las Vegas summer sun? It hurts! So what do you do?? Well..... Immediately you reach for your sunglasses to shield your eyes from the suns painful rays…..The light hurts.
And for some of you here this morning……that is the case right now. There are areas in your life in which Jesus is shining into ……..and like the sunglasses you’re searching for something to shield you from the shame, guilt and the brokenness that the light exposes.
But……..what happens when you stay in the light? Well…..Your eyes adjust and they no longer hurt. In the same way…..Jesus is not shining to hurt you, but to heal you..He is shining to give you life.. Tell me….where might the light of Jesus be shining in your life? Where are you tempted to retreat….to run…to hide …in order to escape the light? Where do you need Jesus’s healing this morning? Wherever or whatever it is……Run to him…repent of your sin…and trust in Christ....for only Jesus provides the healing and the rest your soul so desperately needs.
Mission Church.....In the grand narrative of existence......Jesus embarked on a mission to infuse our lives with purpose.....to mend the fractures in our present reality and reshape the trajectory of our eternal destiny. The question this morning is this... How do you receive spiritual life? The answer resounds in placing an unwavering faith and trust in Jesus Christ (John 11:25).
In fact Jesus said Himself in John 11:25…He said....
John 11:25 (CSB)
25 “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, even if he dies, will live.
Friends....In an act of faith.......a profound transformation unfolds…you see..... Jesus reconciles you with the Father....He erases the chasm that once separated you from Him...and He adopts you as His son or daughter.
And now…as a son or daughter of the King you're future is eternally secure in the glorious kingdom of God…for the Light of Life…Jesus Christ shouldered the weight of God's judgment on your sin, and His triumph over death and the grave becomes your own.
Brothers and Sisters.....you were once dead in your sin but in Christ you have life. You were once cut off from God but you have been reconciled. You were once a spiritual corpse but you now have the life of God flowing through you. You were once dead but God has made you alive.
So this Christmas let us celebrate the truth that Jesus came to call people from death to life so that we might …by faith.... live in a vibrant relationship with God. And as a community of faith....we pursue a life that shines the light of life to the dark world around us …demonstrating the goodness and grace of our Lord and declaring the good news of the Kingdom of God until He returns.
Let’s Pray
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