The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his [glory], the [glory] of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14
Today is another special day in the life of The Seed. Last week, we remembered our baptism. We were able to let go of our past and draw a new name to begin the New Year. Over the past few weeks, I have been challenging you to consider what is the “One Word” that God is speaking to you this year. One Word that God wants you work on. What one Word God does God want to work in you and through you. One Word that God wants to use to touch you and heal you. One Word that God wants to use to fill you and use you. What is the One Word that God has for you this year? Maybe you know what that word is right now. Maybe as you read His Living Word, the Holy Spirit will give you a word. I truly believe that God has a word for each and every one of us.
It is a new year! We have a new beginning! On Wednesday night at “Get a Life Group” we decided to dig into the first book of the Bible --- Genesis. Here is the opening of the Bible: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.”[i]
In the beginning God creates! God creates light and separates the light from the darkness. Day 1 is done! Next, God creates the waters, skies, land and separates them all. God creates all of the seed-bearing plants, stars, moon, sun and animals and says that they are good! Last, but not least, God creates humankind, male and female in God’s image and says this is very good.
Do you know that you are created and knit together in your mother’s womb and God says that when you were created that it was very good? In Psalm 139 the writer tells us that we were knit together in our mother’s womb and that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. This is how it is actually recorded in the Bible, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”[ii]
Words. These are wonderful words to ponder today as we open the Gospel of John.
Before we turn to God’s Living Word, let us come to our Living Lord and pray. “God of all words, Come and fill our hearts and minds with Your Living Word. Help us to see You, hear You, feel You and praise You this morning and every morning. Amen”
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 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. 6 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his [glory], the [glory] of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ ” 16 From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.[iii]
In the Gospel of John, we have a wonderful illustration presented of who Jesus is. Jesus is the Eternal Word! Jesus is the Creative Word! Jesus is the Incarnate Word! Incarnate means that God became flesh. God became a human like us with flesh and bones. The actual meaning of verse fourteen is that God moved into our neighborhood and pitched a tent. The WORD became flesh and lived among us. The Word, Jesus, wants to come and live in our hearts.
So What? What is the ONE WORD that wants to come and pitch a tent in your heart this year!? Where is Jesus moving in your life? What one word will allow God’s Word, Jesus Christ in the flesh through the Holy Spirit, to come in and get bigger and bigger in your life.
I love reading C.S. Lewis. He has written many books. One of the most famous series that he’s written is called “The Chronicles of Narnia.” There a powerful seen in the book, “Prince Caspian.” Lucy, one of the main characters sees Aslan the Lion, the Christ figure, again after many years. This is how Lewis records the exchange:
“Welcome, child,” he said.
“Aslan,” said Lucy, “you’re bigger.”
“That is because you are older, little one,” answered he.
“Not because you are?”
“I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”[iv]
It is my hope and prayer that every year we remain in God’s Word and that we find God bigger each year! We find God more creative! We find God more powerful! We find God more loving! We find God more gracious! We find God more comforting! My prayer for us is that we will find God!
In the opening prologue of the Gospel of John there is so much for us to look at. We really don’t have time to uncover all of the gold and all of the wonderful words God has for us. I encourage you to go home this week, read and reread the first eighteen verses of John and let the Holy Spirit speak to you!
What is the one word that God is speaking to you?
General William F. Dean was a prized prisoner of the Communists during the Korean struggle. One day, the General was advised that he had five minutes in which to write a letter to his family. It appeared to be the end. Calmly he accepted the order and proceeded to write. In the body of this now-historic letter appears a single line worthy of remembrance: “Tell Bill the word is integrity.”[v]
One Word --- Was
“In the beginning was the Word.” There never was a time when Christ did not exist. The word “was” is used six times in the opening four verses. In the Greek “was” is an imperfect verb. This means that the writer portrays the action as being done in the past and this action continues into the future. In fact, the entire first verse bears this sense. “In the beginning was the continuing the Word, and the Word was continuing with God, and the Word was continually God.” Or as one of pastor once put it accurately (though ungrammatically), “Jesus always was was-ing!”
This is precisely it. Jesus Christ was preexistent. He always was continuing.
“In the beginning was the Word…” As I’ve spent time reading my Greek and Hebrew and studying, I found a brilliant explanation for the opening verse of Genesis. You might say that “In the beginning was communication.” When I do premarital and marital counseling I usually say, “Communication is the life blood of any relationship. Without communication there can be no relationship.”
“Communication is the life blood of any relationship.”
God wanted a relationship with us. God revealed that relationship in and through the Living Word who was with God and is God! When we realize that Jesus was always “the Word,” we need to remember that Jesus has always loved us. The nature of love is to express itself, to find an object to love. We, YOU AND I, are the object of God’s love. We are the object of Christ’s love and we are the object of the Holy Spirit’s love.
I read an interesting word about love! “Just one letter of the alphabet makes all the difference between us now,” said a recently-converted young woman to an unsaved friend, who could not understand the great change that had come over her. “You love the world,” she said, “and I love the Word.”[vi]
Maybe an early so what for us is --- What do you love? The world or the word? The Word has continually loved you from the beginning. The Word has continually communicated love to you from the beginning. So what number 1: What do you love?
In verses 4–13 the metaphor of Christ as light stresses the revelation, rejection, and reception of his love as Christ came into the world.
One Word --- Light
In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” John 1:4-5
ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων· 5 καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει, καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν. John 1:4-5
I have to say that these two little verses in the opening of John’s letter are deep and profound. I have spent many hours reading and looking up the words in Greek. I have even tried to memorize these words in English and Greek. I have dug into the meaning of each word. What does it mean to say that in Jesus was life and that His life is the light of each and every person? John is trying to tell us that the one who created light came to earth as the light to shine into our darkness. Imagine the thought of Jesus coming into our lives as light! This should warm our hearts and open our eyes. What love God has for us.
Wherever light is, darkness is dispelled. No place can withhold its presence. When John writes, “The light shines in the darkness.” He literally means that this light shines continually in the darkness. This means that Christ is continually shining into every corner of our world with His light and love. It means that Christ is continually bombarding every heart of darkness through the work of his Holy Spirit in nature, conscience, and the Scriptures.
Think of it. The One who said, “Let there be light” became light so we can see His love!
I went to see the movie “The Darkest Hour” this past week. What a powerful movie about all that was going on during WWII. Did you know that during WWII London was bombed 57 nights straight? It was called the “blitzkrieg” (lightning war). During the blackouts in London, on a clear night a lighted match could be seen for twenty miles from the air. One scene of the movie shows Churchill outside on a rooftop in London lighting his cigar—from about 20 miles above the earth.
Our Lord is just like that; a light shining in the darkness. John says, “The light shines in the darkness” (v. 5), and the result is seen in verse 9, “The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.” Not only does the light shine in darkness—it enlightens every person. There is not a single person who has not been enlightened by that light!
The SO WHAT question for you today is: what is the word --- the “One Word” --- that God wants to give you to enlighten you, to bring light into your world?
John tells us that many reject the light. The world did not recognize the Light. The world did not receive Jesus.
Each and every day we are given a choice: to believe and receive. Each day we can choose to look for the light in our lives.
A story is told of a poor family who was farming some land during the Depression. There was one son in this family, and his parents wanted the best for him. So they scrimped and saved so they could send him to college. After he had been gone for a year or so, his parents, who loved him very much, wanted to see him again. Again, they saved, sold some things, and went to visit their son. They arrived on campus, poorly dressed in their farm clothes. Seeing their son with some other boys, the father ran over to him. “Son, son, it is your father,” he said. The son looked at his father without showing any sign of recognition. The father said again, “Son, it’s your father and mother. We’ve come to see you.” The boy, perhaps embarrassed by his parents’ poverty, turned to the other students and said, “I don’t know who this is. He must be crazy.” How absurd, how horrible.[vii]
Before you judge this young man, stop. Don’t we have a common thread with him? Aren’t there times when we are guilty of the same thing? “I don’t know who this is. You must be crazy.” I remember plenty of times when Christ was trying to shine His light into my life that I ignored Him. I don’t know how many times I rejected the light. You see, I was like the young lady who loved the world more than the word.
For 18 long months, I watched my wife as she accepted Christ and grew in the light of the living WORD. Every single day she would read her bible and gather up the courage to walk into the room and say, “Please, just read this one sentence. I have it highlighted.” I am ashamed to say that after she handed the bible to me and left the room, I would close the bible and throw it on the floor. I thought Jac was trying to rock my world. She wasn’t. Jesus was. Jesus was shining HIS LIGHT into my life. For 18 months, I shut the door and loved the world. On a cold, January night in 1981—I finally got down on my knees to open up that bible that I had tossed onto the floor. I decided to give God a chance.
My word for the year is HOPE. It’s my prayer for each of us and for all whom we love. HOPE. HEAVEN’S ONE PROMISE: EMMANUEL.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. --- In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—
God, in the beginning you created LIGHT and you separated the darkness from the light. You always do…separate the darkness from the light. Sometimes, Lord, we love the darkness more than we love the light. Sometimes we love the WORLD more than we love the WORD. Forgive us. Change our hearts today. Help us to love the light. Help us to love the WORD. Teach us that no matter where we’ve been, no matter what we’ve said or done—you have moved into our neighborhood and you want to pitch your tent WITHIN us. Thank you for moving into my neighborhood 38 years ago. Thank you for loving me, for forgiving me, and for shining your marvelous light into my heart, mind, soul and life. I now love the WORD.
And all of God’s people said, “AMEN.”
The Seed Christian Fellowship
Rancho Cucamonga, California 91701
January 21, 2018
Pastor Dave Peters
[i]The Holy Bible: New International Version. (1984). (Ge 1:1–4). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
[ii] The Holy Bible: New International Version. (1984). (Ps 139:14). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
[iii] The Holy Bible: New International Version. (1984). (Jn 1:1–18). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
[iv] C. S. Lewis, Prince Caspian (London, Collins, n.d.), p. 124.
[v] Jones, G. C. (1986). 1000 illustrations for preaching and teaching (p. 195). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
[vi] Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times (p. 1268). Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc.
[vii] Hughes, R. K. (1999). John: that you may believe (p. 26). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.