Home Media Sermons by Pastor Nicki Coertze Non-series Sermons . The Glory of God in the flesh

. The Glory of God in the flesh

THE GLORY OF GOD IN THE FLESH

http://www.onemanshow.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/The-Word-became-flesh-and.jpgJohn 1:14-18 (ESV) 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”) 16 And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”

Introduction.

It is such a privilege to preach the Word of God this first Sunday after Christmas and the last Sunday after the year to a family that we dearly love. This morning is not a Christmas sermon per sé, but is very applicable to this time of the year where we celebrate the coming of God in the flesh to this world. The world is so caught up in the trappings of Christmas and the Christmas story, that many forget about the real reason why Jesus came to the earth. There is something so much bigger at stake than that. The words in verse 14 that says the Logos ‘dwelt among us’ literally means that the Logos ‘tabernacled’ among us.

 

On Christmas morning we spoke about the miracle of Christmas as seen in the birth of Christ, from this verse before us this morning we can talk about His life on earth and we can speak about His glory that was revealed to us. Not only did the disciples behold the glory of God in Christ but those of us who are born from above have also beheld the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

But the key question I want to ask today is: ‘what kind of glory is this that John beheld after the incarnation and how does it impact us in this Christmas season and every day?’

 

And so this morning I want us to look at verse 15-18 and think deeper about the glory of the incarnate Word. Now we do not have time to think too deep, so for that reason I am going to simply glance over three of the points and spend more time on one of them. The first thing I want you to see today is:

Point 1. The pre-eminence of the Logos.

In spite of Christmas being about Christ for most people today this is not a reality. Christ is very secondary for most people. Even the early church that adopted the 25th which was a holiday for different reasons as a day to remember the birth of our Lord had many other warped ideas. But for us, it has to be about the pre-eminence of the Logos or otherwise put, the pre-eminence of Christ.

John 1:15 (ESV) 15 John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”

The Greek word here for crying out is' krazo' {krad'-zo} which literally means to scream or to cry out aloud. John wants the world to know that He who came after him surpassed him or is before him. What does John mean? It is like a riddle. Think of John saying: “my cousin who is born six months after me is older than me, who is he?” Or let me give you another way to put this: “I am older than my mother and I made my mother, who am I?”

Now remember that John preceded Jesus in birth and in ministry yet John the Baptist declared of Him, that He who comes after him ranks before him.

I don’t have time to dig into this deeply but John is saying two things to us here. Firstly that Christ is pre-eminent in position and secondly He is pre-eminent in time.

He is not just a baby in the manger that suddenly appeared out of nowhere, no, He is God with us, He is the one of whom we read in Hebrews 1:1-2 (ESV) 1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.”

So before the Word became flesh He was pre-eminent as creator of the universe and after the Word became flesh He remained pre-eminent as the God-man, Jesus Christ. He is the Babe of Bethlehem but He also is Emmanuel – God with us. This speaks of His glory. But not only do we see that the Word incarnate was pre-eminent; we also see that He is perfect.

Point 2. The perfection of the Logos.

John also presents to you the perfection of the God-man Jesus Christ. John 1:16 (ESV) 16 And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”

 

This is an amazing statement of the deity of Christ. You can never make this statement about anybody who is just a man. Take note of the words; “from His fullness.” Think of anything that any man has ever done for us. Do you realize that we have not actually received from that man but from God simply by means of that human being? Even the gifts you have received this Christmas are because of God’s grace. James reminds us in James 1:17 (ESV) “17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”

 

Now while God works through man as His instruments, John is telling us that Jesus is not just an instrument, Jesus Himself is the source. We have received from Him. Do we realise that in that baby lying in the manger, dwelt all the perfections of the Godhead in bodily form. That is why Paul can say in Colossians 2:9-10 (ESV)
“9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.”

Do you realise that if this was not true that Christmas will have no meaning for you. Spurgeon put it well when he said: “With a Saviour less than divine you have a religion less than saving.” Two days ago there were people filling churches because it was Christmas who have no idea that in Jesus you have the fullness of God. All the divine attributes and all I ever need are in Christ. Everything that man was originally meant to be namely every strength and every virtue is found in the Son of man with no mixture of error, with no taint of sin, with absolutely no weakness, no imbalance. All the attributes of deity and all the attributes of humanity in their perfect and complete form are found in Him, He did not loose any of His attributes. He is still omnipotent, He is still omniscient, He is still omnipresent and so we can go on and on.

Point 3. The provider and provision in the Logos.

John also wants to tell you on this morning that the Logos is our provider. Look again at John 1:16 (ESV) 16 From His fullness, we have all received, grace upon grace.”

What better message can we have for the Christmas season, than that from the fullness of His grace or from Him we have received one blessing after another?  Here Jesus is pictured for us like a fountain, and flowing from the Son of God to the people of God is grace upon grace or blessing upon blessing. That is why Jesus could say to the women at the well that everyone who drinks from Him will never thirst again

But notice this that Jesus is the provider and he is the provision. Let me highlight a few quick thoughts of what we see in Him as our fountain.

3.1 He is an inexhaustible fountain.

The gifts that you received this Christmas is only for you but John tells us in verse 16 that “from His fullness we have all received.”

Realise this that every one of us, every believer in this place has received from the fountain who is Christ and yet His fullness is not diminished at all is it? He is still the fountain and there will always be in Jesus in this age of grace enough to save all sinners who will come to Him. Most here this morning have drunk of Christ and you understand the true meaning of Christmas but to anyone in this place this morning who is not saved, but are willing to repent of their sin and to come to Christ for salvation, there is fullness in Him that is enough to save you.

He is not lacking in resources, He is not lacking in supply. He is an inexhaustible fountain.

3.2 He is an exclusive fountain.

John tells us in verse 16 that “from His fullness we have all received.” From Him alone and from His fullness alone we have all received grace upon grace, blessing upon blessing.

There is no other fountain but Jesus and there is no other source for salvation. I have quoted Acts 4:12 many times over the last few weeks that says: “12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

I love the way Spurgeon says things and he is worthy of quoting here: “If Christ was not God, we are not Christians; we are deceived dupes, we are idolaters, as bad as the heathen whom we now pity. It is making a man into a god if Christ be not God.” You come to Jesus as the fountain of salvation, and receive Him in His fullness, or you are lost forever. There is no other option.

So He is an inexhaustible fountain and an exclusive fountain.

3.3 He is an ever present fountain.

Back to verse 16: “from His fullness we have all received grace upon grace”.

Aren’t you grateful? You did not just draw from Christ on the day that you were saved. Where are you receiving your life from today? We have not just received grace according to verse 16, but we are receiving grace upon grace. We are saved by grace and we are kept by grace.

There are three ways in which we can interpret this statement properly. For this morning I want to share two. One is the idea of abundance. Literally grace stacked upon grace. That is true isn’t it? When we came to Christ we did not receive grace in some small portion, we also did not just receive grace in an adequate portion like we got just enough grace. What did we find when we came to Christ? We found abundant grace, overflowing grace, grace stacked upon grace.

There is another way it can be translated properly. It can also be translated ‘grace following grace’, new grace, never ending grace. Where one grace ends, another grace begins. It is like waves rolling in.

Does the Word of God not declare that “His mercies are new every morning?” So Jesus is an inexhaustible fountain, He is an exclusive fountain, and He is an ever present fountain.

3.4 He is a personal fountain.

This we see again in John 1:16 (ESV) 16 And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” Who is the ‘we’? I believe the same ones he has in mind when he says in verse 14 that “we have seen His glory”.

He is talking about His disciples then, but by implication it also talks about all His disciples even today.  It is true that God gives common grace to the whole world, but if you talk about grace and truth realized, then it is only seen in those who have been saved, those who have believed in Him, those who have trusted in Him.

When you trust in Christ you receive these things. He is not just a fountain to some of God’s people. John is able to write ‘we have all received…’

All believers in this room have the same testimony don’t we? We were all born sinners, children of wrath by nature, deserving of the wrath of God, and God has saved us through His Son, and now His Son is supplying for every single one of us. We have all received from His fullness grace, following grace, new grace every morning because He is a personal fountain.

3.5 He is an all sufficient fountain.

Look at John 1:17 (ESV) 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Do we need any other source, any other supplier, any other provision, any other provider, no John says; He is sufficient. Moses was sufficient for the task God gave him to do, the law was given through Moses. God used Moses as a mediator as an instrument and God gave His law through Moses, but Moses was not sufficient for what Christ has done for us. Grace and truth had been realized only in Jesus.

The picture is this; Jesus is the fulfilment and the embodiment of everything the law prepared us for. So He came to bring us into the reality and into the full experience of everything the Old Testament prepared us for and pointed us to in Him. He is the end of it all; He is the fulfilment of it all. He is our all sufficient fountain.

AW Pink gives a great comparison between Law and Grace which should help us understand this verse: “i) Law addresses men as members of the old creation; Grace makes men members of a new creation. ii) Law manifested what was in Man – sin; Grace manifests what is in God – Love. iii) Law demanded righteousness from men; Grace brings righteousness to men. iv) Law sentences a living man to death; Grace brings a dead man to life. v) Law speaks of what men must do for God; Grace tells of what Christ has done for men. vi) Law gives knowledge of sin; Grace puts away sin. vii) Law brought God out to men; Grace brings men in to God.”

What is the nature of the incarnation? The word became flesh. The eternal Word, glorious in eternity past comes to earth and He becomes flesh.

There is lastly one more thing that we see in the text.

Point 4. The proclamation of the Logos.

John 1:18 (ESV) 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”

What is the nature of the incarnation? Just this, namely that when you saw the Lord Jesus Christ, you were seeing in visible form which was before invisible. This very one, born in Bethlehem is God, He is the one who has explained God, He has exegeted God, He has declared God, He has made Him who is invisible, visible. He has made the unknowable knowable. The message of Christmas is more than Jesus coming to the earth to save sinners. Jesus came to the earth to make God known, and our duty is to know God and to make Him known.

Implications.

This morning I present to you the true gift of Christmas namely Christ as an inexhaustible fountain. He is the one who is pre-eminent, He is the one who is perfect, He is our provider, but He is also our provision and our message for today is to proclaim Christ who came to make God known. I want to ask you this morning. Have you been to the fountain, are you drinking from the Son of God, have you tasted to see that He is good, have you received Him as your Lord and Saviour? That is such a different message than many will experience about Jesus Christ today.

 

You see, this world is happy to let Jesus Christ be a baby in a manger, but not willing to let Him be the sovereign King and Lord that He is. Yet that is the central truth of the Christmas story: the Child of Christmas is God! Lots of people who would otherwise gladly embrace Jesus as Messiah do not want Him to be God. They will welcome Him as a son of David, but not as the Son of God. They do not mind celebrating the birth of a baby, but they do not want to hear about the Lord of lords. They sing of His nativity, but brazenly reject His authority. They adore Him as an infant, but will not pay homage to Him as the God-man. They can tolerate the trappings of Christmas, carols, a manger, shepherds, wise men, and Joseph and Mary, but they cannot bear the advent of God in human flesh.

 

Consequently the world ignores the core of all Christmas truth, and instead of honouring Jesus at Christmas, they are actually mocking Him. If you have been to the fountain and you have received Christ, can I ask you today, Is He still pre-eminent in your life? Does He have the reign in your life, or are there other things in your life that have pre-eminence?

 

Have you lost your desire for the living water and you are running after the pleasures of the world. I must agree, the world does have pleasures, but it’s like my experience of Chinese tea, as soon as you’ve drunk it you’re hungry all over again. Can I invite you back to Christ, come drink from Him, come drink from the fullness of Him, come drink grace upon grace and you will never thirst again. The good news this morning is this. No matter what your past is, no matter what you ever did, no matter how unsave-able you feel that you are, there is sufficient living water found in Jesus, to forgive you of all your sins and to make you a child of God. If today you would repent of your sins and take Him into your life as Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ will give to you today grace upon grace and truth from God.

 

Amen!

Soli Deo Gloria

Christ Baptist Church:- 27 December 2015