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  • The gospel of John, what a wonderful place to be in the time of darkness to shine

  • the light, right? We have been introduced to the Lord Jesus Christ in this gospel. He

  • is the Word. He is the Life. He is the Light, as we learned in the first four verses; and

  • the fifth verse began to expand on that concept of light, and we came all the way down into

  • verse 13 last time. So pick it up at John 1:14; let me read it to you.

  • And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the

  • only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John testified about Him and cried

  • out, saying, ‘This was He of whom I said, “He who comes after me has a higher rank

  • than I, for He existed before me.”’ For of His fullness we have all received, and

  • grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through

  • Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom

  • of the Father, he has explained Him.”

  • John opens his gospel with 18 verses that we would call a prologue, a prologue. This

  • is John talking theologically. Starting in verse 19 he goes into the narrative part of

  • it in which he starts to tell the story of Jesuslife in the world. And he goes into

  • the statements that Jesus makes and the works that He does and the miracles He performs,

  • and gives us the wonderful story all the way to the cross and the resurrection. But in

  • the opening prologue he makes his thesis statement. And the statement in the opening prologue

  • is that Jesus is God in human flesh. That He is the Creator of the universe who has

  • become a part of His creation. He is pure, eternal being who has become a man. That is

  • John’s message, that Jesus is not a created man; He is God in human flesh. And that, dear

  • friends, that is the most essential doctrine in the Christian faith. That is it. And that

  • is why there have been and continue to be so many heresies concerning Jesus Christ,

  • concerning the essence, or the nature, or the person of Jesus Christ. This is the important

  • doctrine in the Christian faith. It must be known; it must be believed for someone to

  • escape hell and enter heaven, that Jesus is God.

  • Summed up in four words at the beginning of verse 14, “The Word became flesh.” “The

  • Word became flesh.” That is the central truth of Christianity. That is the theme of

  • John’s gospel. And that is the required conviction for anyone who will escape hell,

  • to understand thatthe Word became flesh.”

  • Now weve already learned in the opening thirteen verses that what that is saying is

  • that the one, true, eternal God became human. That the infinite One became finite; that

  • the eternal One entered time; that the omnipresent One became confined in the space of a human

  • body; that the invisible One became visible. The true church of Jesus Christ has always

  • believed that. It has always proclaimed that. It has always demanded that. Any other view

  • of Christ is unacceptable; it is a damning heresy. This is the only view of Christ by

  • which someone can escape hell and enter heaven. This is the reason John makes such a case

  • out of the deity of Jesus Christ.

  • He gives his purpose in chapter 20, verse 31 at the end of his gospel. “These have

  • been written”—everything in the gospel up to this point—“so that you may believe

  • that Jesus is the anointed One, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life

  • in His name.” The only way to have eternal life is by believing in Himbelieving who

  • He is, first of all, and what He has done.

  • So in His opening prologue, John talks about the nature of Jesus Christ. He introduces

  • Him as the Word. This is a metaphor which speaks of Christ as coming from God, as God

  • revealing Himself, disclosing Himself, speaking. And he says, “The Word was in the beginning.”

  • In other words, He already existed when everything that began, beganwhich means He’s eternal.

  • He was with God, which means though He was God, He was at the same time distinct from

  • God. He was with God and was God. That is Trinitarian. There is one God and yet three

  • persons. Jesus is God and yet He is with God. The theology here is profound. And in the

  • beginning when everything came into existence that came into existence, Hewas”—the

  • verbto be,” pure being; He eternally existed.

  • To prove that, everything that came into being came into being through Him, and without Him

  • did not anything come into being that came into beingand that because He is life.

  • He has life in Himself. He is the Creator. And the Creator whose eternal being, verse

  • 5 says, came into the darkness of this world like a light. And that’s how he introduces

  • this incredible bookthe arrival of the Light, the very life of God, the very Word

  • of God into the world.

  • Now I think it would be safe to say that John was legitimately obsessed with this great

  • foundational doctrine. And again I urge you, whenever anybody talks about religion and

  • gets to Jesus, you want to focus right down on what Jesus they are talking about. Are

  • they talking about the One who is the eternal God? The One who is the Creator, who existed

  • infinitely forever? Or are they talking about some other Jesus? John is obsessed with this.

  • In the last century, the last decade, rather, of the first centuryin the ninetieshe

  • wrote his gospel and he also wrote three epistles. And just to show you what was so much on his

  • heart, turn to 1 John for a moment, 1 John. And John launches his epistle, and he’s

  • writing this epistle to believers to identify for them the marks of true salvation. And

  • listen how he starts. He starts very much like he started his gospel. “What was from

  • the beginning,” that’s Christ, who when the beginning began already existed because

  • He’s eternal. “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with

  • our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, namely the Word of Lifeand

  • the life was manifested.” There is very parallel language. The eternal Word, life

  • itself, manifested itself in the world, John said, and we saw it with our own eyes. And

  • we looked at it, and we heard, and we touched Him with our hands. “Weve seen,” he

  • says in verse 2, we testify, we proclaim to you the eternal lifeyou could capitalize

  • that, The Eternal Life, meaning the Son of God—“which was with the Father and was

  • manifested to usand weve seen and we heard and we proclaim to you.” He can’t

  • get over this. John is absolutely blown away by the fact that he has heard, he has seen,

  • he has looked deeply into the face of, and he has touched the Creator of the universe

  • in a human form. I think this would be something to obsess about. That’s where John is. And

  • what we have seen and heard and touched, we declare to youso,” verse 3, “you may

  • have fellowship with us,” so that you may come into the kingdom, believing in Him, and

  • our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these are things

  • we write, so that your joy may be made complete,” because complete joy can only be found in

  • knowing Him.

  • You know, John never got over it. You wonder why John refers to himself in his gospel,

  • not by his name, but he calls himselfthe disciple whom Jesus loved,” orthe disciple

  • who leaned on Jesus”—because he never, ever could fathom the reality that this is

  • the eternal Creator God, the One true God in human form; and He loves me; and He walks

  • with me; and He talks with me; and I touch Him; and I fellowship with Him; and I can’t

  • get over it. This is the obsession of all of his writing.

  • In chapter 2 of 1 John, down in verse 22, he says, “Who is the liar...Who is the liar

  • but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies

  • the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son doesn’t have the Father; the one who

  • confesses the Son has the Father also. As for you, let that abide in you which you heard

  • from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning [from the apostles, from us]

  • abides in you, you will abide in the Son and in the Father.” Again he goes back that

  • if you tamper with who Christ is, you will alienate yourself from Godvery, very serious

  • to John.

  • Chapter 4, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit.” Don’t believe every claim, every

  • teacher, every spirit behind every teacher. Test the spirits, see whether theyre from

  • God because there’s so many false prophets in the world. How do you know when someone’s

  • a false prophet? “By this you know the Spirit of God [that is behind the true Spirit]: every

  • spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.” Those who

  • affirm the deity and humanity of Jesus Christ, theyre from God. “Every spirit that doesn’t

  • confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of antichrist, of which you have heard

  • that it is coming, and now already in the world.”

  • John is absolutely crystal clear that one’s view of Jesus Christ is determinative, determinative.

  • Down in verse 12, same chapter: “No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another,

  • God abides in us, His love is perfected...and it’s by this we know that we abide in Him

  • and He in us, because He’s given us His Spirit. We have seen and testified that the

  • Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is

  • the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.”

  • If you tamper with the deity of Jesus Christ, you are not in the kingdom of God. Chapter

  • 5, he’s not finished. Verse 1, “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born

  • of God.” That simple. “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.”

  • Verse 4, “Whoever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has

  • overcome the worldour faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes

  • that Jesus is the Son of God?” And finally, down in verse 20, “We know that the Son

  • of God is come,” “we know that the Son of God is come.” Weve seen Him, heard

  • Him, touched Him, “and is given to us understanding so that we may know Him who is true. And we

  • are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.”

  • In the second letter, after the first epistle, verse 7, he says: “Many deceivers are gone

  • out into the world...who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This

  • is a deceiver and antichrist.” Verse 9, “Anyone who goes beyond doesn’t abide

  • in the teaching of Christ, doesn’t have God; the one who abides in this teaching...has

  • the Father and the Son.” Soif anybody comes to you and doesn’t have that teaching,

  • don’t let him in your house, don’t give him a greeting,” because you would be a

  • partaker in his evil deed. It’s all about Christ and who Christ is.

  • Now with that in mind, you can go back to the first chapter of the gospel of John. It

  • is therefore not surprising that of all of the Christian doctrines there has no single

  • doctrine been more assaulted and attacked than the truth concerning the incarnation

  • of Jesus Christ. There have been all kinds of Jesuses, all kinds of Christs offered to

  • the world. And in the future, we are warned that as we get closer to the coming of Christ,

  • false Christs will multiply, false Jesuses will multiply, and we have to be discerning

  • about whether people are speaking of the true Christ.

  • To put it another way, it is as damning to believe in the wrong Jesus as to believe in

  • no Jesus. To believe in the wrong Jesus is as damning as to believe youre saved by

  • a rock, some animistic religion. You can’t be saved by believing the wrong thing about

  • Christ. You must believe in His deity and humanity. And that’s why John is so compelled

  • at this point.

  • Now in verses 14 to 18 we come to the crescendo, “And the Word became flesh,” “the Word

  • became flesh.” The Word, meaning the preincarnate Son of God whose eternal being became flesh

  • (sarx). Sometimes the wordfleshis used in a moral sense, deeds of the fleshlike

  • Romans 8, Galatians 5. But sometimes it’s used in a physical sense, and that’s the

  • way it’s used here. Romans 1:3 says that Jesus was the Son of David, “according to

  • the flesh,” humanly speaking. So sometimes it has a moral component, and other times

  • it’s just talking about a physical componentand that’s what it is here. The eternal Word

  • became human, that’s what it means; the eternal Word became human. So you have the

  • God/Man. The eternal God who is pure eternal being, and not becoming at all as His creatures

  • are, becomes a part of His creation. God and man are joined in one person, never again

  • to be separated. Listen to that. They are joined in one person, never again to be separated,

  • yet never confounded and never mixed. His human nature, His human nature does not overpower

  • His divine nature; His divine nature does not overpower His human nature. They are both

  • perfect and distinct and indivisible and yet unmingled and unmixed.

  • The deity of Christ is not diminished by His humanity, nor is His humanity overpowered

  • by His deity. And maybe I can illustrate that by saying this: when you see Christ in heaven,

  • He will be exactly the same God/Man that He was when He walked on earthin the post-resurrection

  • form of the body that the disciples spent forty days with. He is the same Christ. He

  • doesn’t become a floating fog in heaven, as some of these silly people say who take

  • fake trips to heaven and then make up things. He is exactly who He is. He will be who He

  • was on earthfully man, fully God in the same way He walked on earth.

  • And let me take it a step further. His humanity is not the humanity of Adam before his fall.

  • He does not have a pre-Fall humanity. Some people think that, yes, He’s fully man;

  • but He’s fully man in the sense of Adam was before the Fall. That is not true. He

  • is fully man in the sense that Adam was after the Fall. How do you know that? Because He

  • lived and grew and died, and that is a factor of fallen condition. Furthermore, if He was

  • not in the form of man after the Fall, He would have no ability to understand our weaknesses

  • and our infirmities and be tempted in all points as we are tempted, and come out as

  • a merciful, sympathetic High Priest. So He is truly human in the sense that we are human

  • in the post-Fall realm. With one exception: no sin. He is without sinholy, harmless,

  • undefiled, separate from sinners, without sin forever. Second Corinthians 5, He knew

  • no sin.

  • So this One, John says, this God/Man, “the Word became flesh.” And then He says, “And

  • dwelt among us,” “dwelt among us” (skenoo means to pitch your tent). He brought His

  • tent to us and He settled down in our world. For thirty-three years He lived in our worldtook

  • on the form of a man; came and became one of us, Hebrews 2, Philippians 2; grew in wisdom,

  • stature, favor with God and man. You can’t deny that. That’s 1 John. I just read it

  • to you (4:2 and 3). If you deny that Jesus came in the flesh, that the Son of God was

  • an actual man, then that’s heresy and you don’t know God. God in human form dwelt

  • with us.

  • How did we know He was God? John gives us three very important statements and theyre

  • tied to three wordsclear evidence that this is God. First word, glory; second word,

  • grace; third word, God. And well just look at this briefly. I know youre familiar

  • with it.

  • Back to verse 14, first point: the incarnate Christ displays divine glory. The incarnate

  • Christ displays divine glory. John says in verse 14, “And we saw His glory.” “We

  • saw His glory.” And it was glory that belongs to the monogenes of the Father, and it was

  • full of grace and truth. We saw His glory.

  • What is glory? What does that mean? You have to go back to the Old Testament to pick up

  • on that, really. God’s glory is intrinsic to His nature; it is who He is. It is the

  • sum of His attributes. Take all the attributes of God and you can list them; all of the attributes

  • of God in perfect complex are His glory, His intrinsic innate gloryall of His attributes.

  • But then there is also His manifest glory. And He manifests His glory symbolically and

  • in reality. Let me tell you what I mean.

  • Moses in Exodus 33 says, “Show me Your glory. I want to see Your glory.” And the Lord

  • says, in effect, “Okay, I’ll show you My glory, but I have to warn you, I can’t

  • show it all to you because no man could see My face and live” (Exodus 33:20). “So

  • the Lord said, ‘There’s a place by Me, and you can stand there on the rock; and it

  • will come about, while My glory is passing by, I’ll put you in the cleft of the rock

  • and I’ll cover you with My hand until I pass by.” And what youre going to see

  • is the edges of My glory shining across the cover. You can see the fringes of My glory,

  • because if you saw My full glory, you’d be incinerated in a millisecond.

  • What is this kind of glory? What is this? This is God’s nature, God’s essence that

  • the eternal complex of all that He isthe all-glorious God manifest in blazing light,

  • manifest in blazing light. I think that’s something of what Adam and Eve saw when they

  • walked and talked with God in the garden, because God is invisible, called repeatedly

  • the invisible God. So what did they see? They walked with the Shekinah. They walked with

  • the presence of God manifest in light to some degree. And maybe they were able to absorb

  • more of His glory since they were unfallen, and once they fell they had to be kicked out

  • because they could no longer look at His glory or fellowship with Him. Moses says, “Show

  • me Your glory,” and God says, “I’ll let you see the afterglow; I’ll let you

  • see the back part; I’ll let you see the edges or you’d be incinerated in a millisecond.

  • That’s the powerful majesty and glory of God that would destroy us because were

  • sinners.

  • And then the glory is defined. Moses said, “Show me Your glory,” and He said, “Okay”—God

  • didverse 19, “I’ll make all My goodness pass before you. I’ll proclaim the name