This is the third and final sermon in the Christmas themed series preached on December 19th, 2010.
Christmas – a time for celebration part 3
Celebrate the Word becoming flesh.
John 1:1-5 NIV – 1 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 all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:9-14 NIV – 9 The true light that gives light to everyone 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 did receive 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 Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Introduction: This is the third sermon in our series entitled, “Christmas – a time for celebration.” In the first sermon we preached about celebrating the Redeemer. Last time we looked at celebrating the new Genesis.
Today we are going to be preaching from the subject, “Celebrate the Word becoming flesh.” Let’s begin unpacking our text and our theme this morning.
The story of Christmas doesn’t begin in a manger, but at creation. (vv. 1-5)
John 1:1-5 – 1 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 all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
- Now last time we dealt with the birth of Jesus being the new Genesis.
- Now John is going all the way back into the Genesis creation story at the beginning of his Gospel. Let’s read from it.
Genesis 1:1-27 – 1 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. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. 6 And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” 7 So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day. 9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.
11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day. 14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day. 20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day. 24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
- If you count the phrase, “and God said,” here in Genesis 1 you see that it is used 8 times.
- I believe this is what John is referring too. God spoke the Word (in New Testament Greek, λόγος Logos) and the worlds came into existence. But this is more than just God speaking something into being, but the One speaking is the Word of God Himself.
- In another book that John authored He calls this “Word” “The Word of life.”
1 John 1:1-3 – 1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
Let’s go back to the Gospel of John and look at a few things that John 1:1-5 says about this being called, “the Word.”
- He was with God in the beginning and is God.
- All things were made by Him and through Him.
- In Him is life and His life is the light for all mankind.
- The darkness cannot overpower or comprehend this light.
- This “Word” is not a Greek philosophical concept, but a person – and that person is Jesus Christ.
- You see, Christmas is not God’s plan B because plan A (the Law) failed. It was always God’s plan to send Jesus to die for sin.
The Word made flesh was rejected by His own. (vv. 9-11)
John 1:9-11 – 9 The true light that gives light to everyone 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.
- His own mentioned in the text are the Jews. They rejected Jesus as their Messiah.
- You see, Jesus didn’t come in some display of majesty and beauty; but He came as a humble servant.
Isaiah 53:1-3 – 1 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
- Notice that John quotes this passage later in His Gospel.
John 12:37-41 – 37 Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: “Lord, who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” 39 For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: 40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn—and I would heal them.” 41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him.
- For sake of time, we won’t read from Acts 13, but there Paul and Barnabas quit preaching the Gospel to the Jews in this chapter because they refused to receive the message, while the Gentiles were willing.
- While these are difficult and tragic passages to read; for us who believe in Christ this should lead us to rejoice in our next point.
The Word made flesh was received by children born of God. (vv. 12-13)
John 1:12-13 – 12 Yet to all who did receive 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.
We are children of God who receive Jesus as Lord and believe in His name. (verse 12)
- According to the notes of the ESV Study Bible, “Receive Him implies not merely intellectual agreement with some facts about Jesus but also welcoming and submitting to Him in a personal relationship.”
This new birth comes not through natural means or decisions and will, but through God. (verse 13)
- Peter says that this born again experience came through the living and enduring Word of God.
1 Peter 1:23 – For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
The Word made flesh is full of grace and truth. (v. 14)
John 1:14 – The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
- The eternal, enduring, incorruptible Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. This doesn’t mean that Jesus ceased being God while on this earth; but it reveals the beauty of the incarnation: Immanuel – God with us!
- He is full of grace and truth. Some commentators believe that John is referring to when Yahweh appeared before Moses and gave Him the Law in Exodus chapter 34.
- In essence John is saying that Jesus is Yahweh who appeared to Moses.
Exodus 34:4-6 HCSB – 4 Moses cut two stone tablets like the first ones. He got up early in the morning, and taking the two stone tablets in his hand, he climbed Mount Sinai, just as the LORD had commanded him. 5 The LORD came down in a cloud, stood with him there, and proclaimed [His] name Yahweh. 6 Then the LORD passed in front of him and proclaimed: Yahweh—Yahweh is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in faithful love and truth.
Conclusion: As we conclude this morning, we should be thankful and celebrate that the Word became flesh and made His dwelling amongst us, and that He is full of grace and truth. That is the true message of Christmas.