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The Word Made Flesh

January 26, 2009

This morning we are returning to our subject; the coming of God in a human body. There is no doubt that this is a very great mystery as we are talking about the union of humanity and divinity. But regardless of whether or not we are able to fully grasp the immensity of the event, this is exactly what happened on the day that Mary gave birth to her firstborn Son. Just listen to the momentous words of our text which is found in (John 1:14‑18) “And the Word (Christ) became flesh, (that is He took on a human body) and dwelt among us,

 

This is what the Christmas story is all about. I hesitate to use the term ‘story’ because a story can be the relation of an event either real or fictitious and indeed what we are dealing with is much more than a story: it is the account, a relating of an actual event in history. And the Author of the Bible is God who cannot lie. So we have the understanding that the Bible is relating to us the actual historical account of Jesus Christ, God the Son stooping to dwell with humanity; humbling Himself in obedience to His Father and taking on the body of a man for the purpose of being the perfect, once for all sacrifice for our sins.

 

God chose human instruments to lay down in perfect order the account of the arrival of the Savior of mankind and in this case our human guide through the truth of scripture is the apostle John. And, John, speaking as an eyewitness says, we that is John and the other disciples beheld His glory, we saw Him with our own eyes from the time that He called us to follow Him, to the Mount of Transfiguration when the veil of flesh was lifted for a brief moment during His earthly sojourn; to the Cross where we watched Him pour out His lifeblood and take on the sins of the world, and finally to the resurrection, when He visited us and demonstrated that He truly is the Savior of all who will come to Him by faith. 

 

So the testimony of John is this: “We saw the Messiah. We are eyewitnesses.”  And that is why, in his epistle, John begins by saying, “What was from the beginning, what we have seen and heard and our hands have handled concerning the word of life. the life was manifested and we have beheld His glory,”glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.  There is no way to even begin to grasp the full magnitude of what John has just said. Consider the words of the writer of the book of Hebrews who says of Jesus that “He is the exact representation of the Glory of God” and Paul in His letter to the Colossians says that “in Him all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form.” 

 

We are dealing with something far beyond the capacity of our finite minds: a great and mighty moment in History when God became a man. More than that He became our substitute, and He is our only hope of deliverance from the penalty due us for our sins. Therefore we as sinners must look to Him for in Him alone is eternal life. He is the only Savior, the only one who can deliver us from the wrath of God. In verse 15 John (the Baptist) 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.’” 16 For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. 17 For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

 

Here is a plain declaration of our only hope for deliverance from our sins and the fact that Jesus Christ is God in a body. In these passages we see the Word made flesh. We see God coming down from heaven to live among us. We see God walking among us in a human body. Is it any wonder that His messages were so powerful! Is it any wonder that the disciples dropped everything when He said “Follow Me! The magnitude of what it was like to be in the presence of the eternal Son of God can be seen, for instance, in the incident when the temple guards who had been sent to arrest Jesus came back empty handed. 

This was just not done. When the Chief priests sent you out to do something, well by gum you better do it. But they had not taken into account the nature of the One whom they were dealing with. The Temple police were stupefied, stunned into submission by Him who said, “No man takes My life from Me. I lay it down of My own accord…” They returned without their proposed prisoner and when the Chief Priests asked why they had come back without Jesus, they said, “Never has a man spoken the way this man speaks.” (John 7:46) You see, this is what happens when people hear the voice of God.

 

He came to earth to preach the kingdom of God. Indeed His first message was “Repent for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand! The writer of Hebrews declares that “that now is the time, today is the day of salvation.” Now is the time to repent for the kingdom of God is at hand. Is this not the most momentous thing you have ever heard? Here we are, going through our lives, practicing sin and rebellion, walking in darkness…when suddenly…there shone a great light…from the everlasting Father…full of grace and truth.

 

And it was sheer grace for Him to come to earth at all. I mean really; why should He bother such sinful subjects as us. We are nothing but sin on a stick! Why shouldn’t He wipe us out with a wave of His Omnipotent hand, or just let us destroy ourselves? What did we ever do to deserve His coming to us? I tell you nothing! We have done nothing but rebel. We have given Him a gutful of heartache and a mountain of disobedience as we have stored up wrath for the day of wrath when God’s judgment will be revealed to unbelievers.

 

But here is where grace and mercy come in. It is precisely because we were evil and helpless to do anything else that He came. Yes we were His enemies, kicking against Him at every turn, rebelling against His authority and thumbing our noses at His commandments. And for our disobedience and sinfulness mankind deserves hell and damnation for all eternity. And against this backdrop of horror and sinfulness the grace of God is magnified all the more for God Himself stooped to reach down to fallen man and provided Himself a Lamb for the sacrifice. He Himself provided a way of escape from the eternal judgment that will be poured out upon those who will not look to Him for forgiveness and deliverance from the wages of sin which they have surely labored by the sweat of their brow to earn.

 

Now there are many people in this world who would say that this is hate speech…this message of mercy and deliverance from eternal damnation. The reason they deem it so is because they love their sin so much that they will never relinquish their grip…even if it costs them their souls. So when we plead with them to turn away from that which will kill them, we are called ‘haters!’ When we declare the whole truth and then point them to the One who can give them eternal life and freedom from judgment, well we are just being religious bigots. We are said to be exclusionary when we say that there is only one way to heaven. “Why, what about all the other religions in the world?  Surely there are many roads to the same place. There are many good people in those other religions. Are you saying that they are all wrong?” YES I AM! And I am merely repeating the words of Jesus Christ Himself who declared: I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. Joh 14:6 

 

 

When Jesus came, heaven was opened and mankind saw God in the flesh.  In (John 14:6‑11) told His disciples as much. Thomas had just asked Jesus to show them the way to heaven.  And so  Jesus said^ to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me. Then in verse {7} He kind of scolds Thomas and the other disciples . He says“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.” Now this is a pretty heavy statement. But quite plain as well.  But in verse {8} Philip seemingly not hearing what Jesus just said, (replied)^ to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” {9} Jesus said^ to him, “HAVE I BEEN SO LONG WITH YOU, AND YET YOU HAVE NOT COME TO KNOW ME, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say, ‘Show us the Father’?  So Jesus is saying here that those who has seen Christ Jesus, to those whom the Lord has revealed Himself in salvation, these have seen the Father. This is a wonderful  picture of the divinity of Christ.   Jesus said “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me and we are one. Therefore those who would wish to say that Jesus is not God are in error. They are losers.

 

Paul in (Col 2:9) said For in Christ all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form,   This is what Jesus is talking about.  In Jesus there is the union of God and man. That is why Jesus said to Philip that in seeing Jesus they were seeing the Father.  We who are born again know God and His Son Jesus Christ.  The Word dwells in us and among us.  And we have beheld His glory.   We have been shown the glory of God in the gracious revelation of His Son to us through salvation.  Our eyes that were once blind, now can see for He has laid His healing hand upon us and we have been healed. We who walked in darkness have seen a great light, a holy light, the light of the Eternal Father in the person of His Son Jesus Christ.

 

The word was made flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus  is God in the flesh, God in a body. And this God become a man laid His hand upon us and removed the stony heart from our bodies and has given us a heart of flesh, a heart that beats after our Lord  like the heard of the dear that pants for the water brook.  His graciousness knows no bounds to those who love Him, to those who call upon His name, who have been called by Him.

To those of us who have been born again,  Jesus is Lord, He is the eternal, preexistent Word of  God,  dwelling  among, and in us. John the Baptist bore witness of the deity of Jesus, of His Heavenly origin in verses  (15‑17).  It says  John bore witness of Jesus, 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.'” John bore witness to the deity of Christ, to His eternality.  He bore witness that Jesus is very God of very God. His mission was to preach to all who would hear that God had come in the flesh to save His people from their sins.

 

So who was this wild man running around in the desert, looking like Tarzan,  eating locusts and honey?  Who was this man who fervently and fearlessly preached the gospel, called on men to repent of their sins and baptized those who had brought forth fruit demonstrating that they had repented?   Jesus said that of all the men who have been born of women there has not been a greater one than John the Baptist.  He was the greatest living man who was ever born according to Jesus.

 

But John knew His place. He knew exactly who he was and why he had come.  He said that he was not worthy to stoop down and untie the shoes of Jesus.  He not only knew  who he was but he also realized the scope of who Jesus was. He even spoke of the preexistence of Christ, that He was eternal while John was finite. Jesus was Immanuel, God in the flesh, while John was the messenger boy who was sent to announce to the world that their Messiah had come.

 

John never put on a show.  There was no haughtiness in him.  He never thought too highly of himself. He had been sent by God and equipped by God to perform the ministry that he had been called to do.  Some of the Pharisees thought that he might be the Messiah.  And later on, after he had pointed out Jesus and proclaimed that He was the Messiah, the Pharisees sought to spur him to jealousy because more people were going to Jesus to be baptized than to John. But what did John say? Look with me at  (John 3:27‑30)  John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing, unless it has been given him from heaven. {28} “You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ I told you that I had come as a voice crying in the wilderness, and to prepare the way for the Messiah.

{29} “He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. And so this joy of mine has been made full. {30} “He must increase, but I must decrease. 

 

John knew that his time was almost finished.   But he never lost sight of why he had come and Who it was that He had come to announce.  To the end he proclaimed that the Messiah had come, that Jesus was the Messiah, the Saviour.

He knew that it wasn’t he that would save sinners from their sins. It wasn’t he who was the holy one of Israel. He wasn’t the Messiah. He knew his place. And He also knew His Lord. He knew that God had come to earth to save His people from their sins.  And I say that because of His coming none of us, saint or sinner will ever be the same again, {16} For (John said) of HIS fulness we have all received, and grace upon grace.  We as believers have experienced the blessed fruits of the fulness of the grace of God in that we were saved from death to life, from darkness to light, from bondage to sin, self and Satan to freedom and pardon in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

The grace that we have received can never be measured. It is as boundless as eternity and as infinite as the One who lavished it upon us. And this grace is continuously manifesting itself every day. Jeremiah the Prophet said in (Lam 3:22‑23)  The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed NEVER CEASE , For His compassions NEVER FAIL. {23} They are new EVERY MORNING;   Great is Thy faithfulness.  So we have received grace piled up upon grace , an immeasurable supply of grace.  Salvation is one manifestation of grace after another. 

 

Here are just some of the manifestations of the grace of God that we have received. We have partaken of the divine nature in salvation.  We have received Christ Himself into our hearts and lives and have been made partakers of His fulness. He dwells within us and we walk by faith in Him. The scriptures tell us that by His stripes we are healed.  In and of ourselves we can do nothing but we can do all things though Him who dwells within us, strengthening us and giving of Himself to us. His strength is made perfect in our weakness and we are made perfect in Him.

Jesus Christ, living through us, manifests Himself to a lost and fallen world,  proving that He is real and is the Saviour of all who will call upon His name.  We are His witnesses, not through our own strength, but through His divine power and presence in our lives. We who have been made partakers with Christ have died to ourselves and it is no longer we who live but Christ. We are all wrapped up in Christ Jesus our Lord, the living Word of God, God in the flesh who came to earth in a body to save His people from their sins.

 

It is Christ in us that alone makes the difference. And we who are in Him, who walk not according to the world but according to His will and His word, we are His witnesses.  We are living epistles and our lives preach to a lost and dying world  that God  has come in the flesh to save sinners.  The evidence of our changed lives proclaim the mighty power of God who makes old things new, and changes sinners into saints.

 

The Word was made flesh dwelt among us.  In (Phil 2:5‑8) Paul gives us an interesting description of this event, kind of an insiders view.  And here also we see the heart attitude of Christ. This is a good lesson in how we are to be.  Paul says (5) Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, {6} who, although He existed in the form of God, that is, He being God the Son, existed in a face to face relationship with God, a unique relationship that only He can lay claim to.   This speaks of His eternality, that He, Christ is Himself divine, that He and the Father are one. 

 

But He did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, or another way of saying this is that He did not think of His equality with God as something that He needed to cling to,  as if His divinity could have slipped from His grasp. His divinity was part of who He is and it was never in danger of being removed from Him.  But in taking on a human body He also limited Himself to time and space. He was still divine as seen by His omniscience and His miracles.  But Paul says that Jesus  limited Himself  to time and space when He took on a body of flesh and bone and {7} says that ……emptied Himself, becoming completely submissive to the Father, taking the form of a bond‑servant, that is a love slave. So He emptied Himself, taking on the form of a bond servant and being made in the likeness of men. 

We see in these passages that the infinite, the Mighty God, the everlasting Father, the prince of peace, humbled Himself to come to earth. 

 

He was clothed in flesh, {8} And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us for the purpose of being our substitute.  He came to die in our place and through His suffering and death we who have answered the heavenly call to repent, we have  received the fulness of His salvation and grace upon grace. Christ came to pour out grace upon all whom the Father had given to Him. This was not a legalistic, ritualistic thing. The purpose of His coming was to establish a relationship between God and man through His sacrifice in our place.

 

 

Back in our text, in verse {17} John says, For the Law was given through Moses; God gave the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai.  He gave Moses the Ten Commandment, the Levitical Laws  and the sacrificial system.  He laid down the law and said this is the way you must go. 

 

But Paul says in  (Rom 3:20)  because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.  Now is there a contradiction here? Did God change His mind?  Not at all. You see, the purpose of the Law was to show us the standard of perfection that God requires of us.  Seeing the perfect standard of the Law would drive us to despair of ever reaching heaven by ourselves, of ever being good enough in God’s  sight.   It shows is that in our flesh no good thing dwells, and that we cannot produce within ourselves, the righteousness necessary to be acceptable to God. His standard is so high that we cannot ever hope to attain it.  Therefore we must see that we need help.

 

In this case the help lies in the righteousness of another, Jesus Christ the Righteous Lord of Heaven and earth.  We must turn to Him for as the rest of verse (17) states,  grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.  Here is the personification of grace and truth. Here is Jesus Christ, the Righteous One in whom all our hopes rest. 

While we were hopeless and helpless, Jesus Christ came, the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.  While we were empty and dead in trespasses and sins Jesus Christ came.  Paul in  (Gal 4:4‑5)  says that…….when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, (Jesus Christ) born of a woman, born under the Law, {5} in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.  This was the purpose of His coming and He fulfilled this purpose completely. He purchased us from sin’s slave market and adopted us as His children.  We who have been born again, have come to know Him who is the Truth, Him who is the Word of God. 

 

Though we have come to know Him, though He has revealed Himself to us in the salvation of our souls, yet we haven’t  physically seen Him. This is a problem for some but  Jesus said in the 20th chapter of  John’s gospel that those who haven’t seen  Him in the physical sense,  and have yet believed are blessed.

 

In this account, Jesus had revealed Himself to some of His disciples. This of course was after the resurrection.  In  (John 20:24‑29)  the disciples were locked behind closed doors, But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. {25} The other disciples therefore were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I shall see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” {26} And after eight days again His disciples were inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came^, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst, and said, “Peace be with you.” {27} Then He said^ to Thomas, “Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing.” {28} Thomas answered and said to Him, “MY LORD AND MY GOD!” {29} Jesus said^ to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”

 

No one, not even Benny Hinn or Paul and Jan Crouch have seen God the Father or God the Son.  Moses got as close to seeing Him as any living man did, though to Him God revealed His afterglow. 

But no one has seen Him face to face, for God told Moses that no one could look upon Him and live.  Try as we might we cannot come up with a true representation of God though men have tried.  Michelangelo did his best in the Sistine Chapel. But since he had never seen God, his rendition is a lie.

 

However Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, God in a human body,  has revealed God so that He could say that the one  who has seen the Son has seen the Father. Look through the gospels and you will see the character of God, the attributes of God, the Holiness of God. You will see God through the works of His hands and you will see Him through His Son. In (Heb 1:1‑3) we read, God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, {2} in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. {3} And He Christ is the radiance of the Father’s…….. glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high; The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. And we have beheld His glory.

 

Do you wish to see God?  Then look to Jesus Christ the only begotten of the Father. Look to Jesus Who is Eternal life. Look to Jesus who is God in the flesh. He is the exact representation of His nature. He is the radiance of the Father’s glory. In Him the fulness of deity dwells in bodily form. Look to Jesus the Word made flesh. Look to Jesus for the salvation of your never dying souls.  Look to Jesus who is grace and truth. Look to Jesus who is the preexistent God, Who was face to face with God from all eternity, Who in fact is God. Look to Jesus and see the only begotten of the Father.  Look to Jesus and you will see God and seeing Him you will live.  Jesus told His disciples ,  “After a little while the world will behold Me no more; but you will behold Me; because I live, you shall live also. {John 14:19} Look to Christ Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith. Look to Jesus and live.

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