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The Word in the World  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  41:53
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The Word in the World

The Word in the World
The Word Eternal
Most of you know the story of Frosty the Snowman. This fictional child's tale about a magic hat that brings to life a snowman. Imagine, however, that it wasn't a snowman that came to life but rather the words on the page of a book. Imagine that as you're reading the very words jumped off the page and acted out the story, lived out what you were reading.
As we celebrate the birth of Jesus this morning, the incarnation - which is the theological term for God becoming a human - that is what we are talking about - the word becoming a living breathing person. Look with me at John 1.
John 1:1–3 HCSB
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created.
For Mark and Luke the coming of Jesus begins with John the Baptist, for Matthew, it goes back to Abraham, but for John the coming of Jesus goes back much farther...all the way back to creation and then back some more...
John wants us to know that the story of Jesus goes back much further than we could think or imagine, it goes back to the beginning of time, actually it goes back prior to that.
How is this possible? Because Jesus existed prior to all of this - in fact though the incarnation occurred at a moment in time, Jesus always existed! That's what John is saying.
Verse 1 alone is actually saying that from eternity past (there is no article in front of "beginning" in Greek so this is not referring just to creation or the beginning of time) the Word was existing and still is existing (imperfect for the the verb to be "was".
R. Kent Hughes translates it this way (Preaching the Word:John)
“In the beginning was continuing the Word, and the Word was continuing with God, and the Word was continually God.”
So before time began what was existing? A relationship between the Word and God the Father. The Word was WITH God. This was a face to face, social, intimate relationship. This is the very relationship which overflows in love to mankind and the rest of God's creation.
Not only was the Word always existing and in an intimate relationship with the Father, the Word was God! Here again, there is no definite article before God. This is the best way John could say that Jesus was completely and fully God but was distinct from God the Father. Remember, at this point there is nothing created so it is just God existing.
So there is a singular God but within this one God there is a plurality -God the Father (referred to simply as God here in John 1), God the Son (referred to here as the Word and not identified as Jesus until John 1:14, 17 and God the Holy Spirit as will be discovered later in the Gospel. (in what came to be called the Trinity in an attempt to understand and put a name to this concept of three in one).
Thus in the opening verse of John's Gospel we learn that Jesus is eternal, personal, and God himself.
God's Word, the revealing of Himself in speech, which is powerful enough to cause action, has always existed. In Gen 1 the word of God caused the light to spring forth and darkness scurried away. Here we will see as the Word springs forth, darkness will not triumph, though it will not easily accept the light either.
The Word, the cause of creation and creator of all things according to John 1.3 has come into the world. Col 1:15-16 written by the Apostle Paul further unpacks this stating that Jesus made everything as well.
In John 1.4-5 John tells us that the Word (Jesus) is life itself (probably referring to eternal life based on usage in rest of John. The Word as we've already seen has always existed thus He contains or is life itself. This life shines His light into the darkness but those who life in darkness, whose minds are darkened (Rom 1, Eph) do not understand it.
In John 1:6-8 John tells how another John (the Baptist or Baptizer) was a witness and a testifier of these events and of the Word's life on earth.
In John 1:9-10 John tells us that when the non-created Word came to visit His created world, the created world did not recognize its very own creator. Like a child who did not recognize its parent, it continued on in blind oblivion.
In John 1:11-13 John tells us the Word (Jesus) came to His own created, chosen out people but even they did not recognize Him. However, there is hope for some do recognize that the Word is the giver of life and light and sustainer of all life and some do receive entrance into His life - into eternal life - by believing and receiving this revelation from God, this Word sent by God, this end days message to God's creation. These people who receive this revelation will be given new life, a life that John unpacks later in the Gospel, a life that begins He says by being
John 1:13 HCSB
who were born, not of blood, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.
In Joh 3 Jesus specifically expounds on this idea with Nicodemus, who under the cloak of darkness comes to visit the Light (Jesus). Jesus tells Nicodemus in no uncertain terms that He, and all of mankind must be born from above, born anew, born by the Spirit, re-born by the living Word who had come to light the way through darkness. This spiritual truth is lost on Nicodemus as he thinks only in physical terms of birth but Jesus doesn't let up, He says in
John 3:3 HCSB
Jesus replied, “I assure you: Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Jesus follows up with Nicodemus by saying
John 3:7–8 HCSB
Do not be amazed that I told you that you must be born again. The wind blows where it pleases, and you hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
Jesus never gave multiple ways back to the Father and He doesn't here either, it is through Him - a combination of the Word of God and the Spirit of God re-making, re-birthing, re-creating you - this glimpse into what God plans to do with all of His creation - re-make it, beginning with us! And what is the authority that Jesus has for this - as he tells Nicodemus in
John 3:13 HCSB
No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descended from heaven —the Son of Man.
And here again we have what John was trying to get across in John 1 - that the Heavenly became Humanly - that of all the good gifts from above, there is One that came down from heaven with the full intention of going back - with the desire to have many sons and daughters brought back with Him.
But we're getting a little bit ahead of ourselves because John didn't lay all this out in John 1. So let's return back to John 1 and we pick up after John has told us about the hope of being born again, from above, but most people reject this light - whether due to pride, ignorance, love of sin or other reasons.
But the great revelation that John is building up to begins to be understood as we come to John 1:14 and will be fully understood when we hit John 1:17.
In John 1:14 John continues
John 1:14 HCSB
The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
And here we begin to see the awesomeness that John has been leading up to - the always existing Word came to His creation, in flesh - in human form (cf. Phil 2:5-11) -something he had not previously been-and lived temporarily (took up residence is tented or tabernacled - a temporary home or shelter). And yet, John says He still remained the One and Only Son - in other words He was still the eternal divine Word - still God - but now God in the flesh.
So John, the Apostle who saw this with his own eyes - says the Word who is the Son, coming from the Father as direct special and supernatural revelation came and lived on planet earth - this is the Birth of Christ - though John has not yet said this is Jesus. This is the incarnation, when the heavenly became humanly, when as Thomas Torrance says, the Lord of the Covenant became His own human partner to fulfill the covenant made with humanity. The eternal became temporal, bringing the temporal human history into the eternal.
The outrageousness of this idea is still held to today as Jews cannot imagine God becoming like one of His creatures, as philosophers think this makes no sense - and yet 2,000 years later those of us who have received and believed this revelation know it to be as true as John the Apostle who was there.

The sarx egeneto of Jn. 1:14 is to be compared with the egeneto (impf. of ginomai G1181) in v. 3. The significance is that all things “came into being”—what was not came to be. Similarly, what the Word previously was not, he came to be, that is, “flesh” (v. 14). We are not to conclude, however, that from being God alone he became man alone, for he continued to be the “only begotten” (v. 18), manifesting the Father’s GLORY.

Just as the TABERNACLE was a real feature of the Israelite camp, and enshrined the manifestation of the glory and presence of God, so was Christ in “real presence” among men, and in and from him shone the divine glory—the glory primarily of love and moral grandeur (cf. Exod. 33:18–19; other aspects of his divine glory were hidden—see below).

In the [becoming flesh] we have something unique, a relation between God and man, the creator and the creature, which has no parallel anywhere in creation. [changing skins]
John the Baptist clearly understood this as the Apostle John tells us
John 1:15–17 HCSB
(John testified concerning Him and exclaimed, “This was the One of whom I said, ‘The One coming after me has surpassed me, because He existed before me.’ ”) Indeed, we have all received grace after grace from His fullness, for the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Thus John the Baptist understood that the Word existed before he (JB) and was greater than himself. And here, for the first time in John's Gospel we find the name of Jesus, the "other name" if you will of the Word - the human name of the physical manifestation of God as a man.
This same Jesus that said in
John 8:58 HCSB
Jesus said to them, “I assure you: Before Abraham was, I am.”
and in
John 17:5 HCSB
Now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence with that glory I had with You before the world existed.
Oh, it wasn't just John the Baptist or John the Apostle, Jesus himself declared that He always existed, that He existed before the world was created, that He was with the Father (God) prior to His coming in human form.
The Apostle continues in verse 18 saying
John 1:18 HCSB
No one has ever seen God. The One and Only Son — the One who is at the Father’s side — He has revealed Him.
In Jn. 1:18 one purpose of the incarnation is explicitly stated: that this was God’s word to human beings; this was he who has “declared” (exēgēsato—the verb has no object), that is, opened to mortals the divine mysteries (v. 18). The clearly attested reading monogenēs theos (read in apposition, “only-begotten, God”) emphatically asserts that he who was made flesh is the unique Son, none less than God. This makes his REVELATION an immediate and direct and therefore a truly authentic representation and manifestation of God.
As the Word, his life on earth is a revelation; as the [one and only] only-begotten, God, incarnate, he can be the “lamb of God” able to “take away the sins of the world” (Jn. 1:29). It is because of who he is that his works become “signs” (2:11; 20:30), and his personal claims can be taken at fullest value. Silva, Moisés, and Merrill Chapin Tenney. The Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible, H-L 2009 : 299. Print.
And thus the revelation of God the Father in His Son comes as the fulcrum in God's plan to redeem the world. For though Hebrews 1:1-3 agrees with John
Hebrews 1:1–3 HCSB
Long ago God spoke to the fathers by the prophets at different times and in different ways. In these last days, He has spoken to us by His Son. God has appointed Him heir of all things and made the universe through Him. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of His nature, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
We miss the point if we don't see that in God's plan the incarnation was the way to the crucifixion which was the way to the resurrection which was the way to the ascension which is the only way to your own Resurrection. Thus the incarnation, the sweet birth of a little boy in Bethlehem two thousand years ago is not only a time for resounding joy, it is also a witness of the continuing actions of a good and gracious God who is intent on repairing the damaged done by his prize creatures, humanity, in their rebellion in the Garden.
All that happened up to this point in human history was God's actions setting up the stage to bring about what man had failed to bring about time after time. Even David, the man after God's own heart was also a king of bloodshed who sinned. Thus the only way for God to bring back His lost people was for Him to become one of them and fulfill the promise of human faithfulness himself, to take on the human sinfulness himself. And this is the gloriousness of the incarnation, the birth of Jesus - that it was the path to conquering sin and death and that it was a resounding voice to the world shouting their is still a King - and He is coming back for His people.
When we begin with his incarnation, and with his birth at Bethlehem, we are beginning right away with the atonement, for his birth, as the beginning of his incarnate person is one end of the atoning work, with the resurrection and ascension as the other end.
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