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John 1:1-18

Receive the Living Word

  • Jean Marais
  • Weekend Messages
  • February 18, 2024

We don’t have to wonder why John wrote this book because he tells us clearly. 

John 20:3, “These have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that in believing you may have life in His name.”

In the time we are living in it is important to have a firm grasp of who Jesus is. Learning the truth about who Jesus is has a profound effect on the direction of your life. For if you know the truth about who He is it puts you before a decision. What will you do with that knowledge? Now you can never say, ‘I did not know.’ Just knowing the truth holds us accountable.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

Receive the Living Word
John 1:1-18
February 18, 2024

          This morning, we are in the gospel of John. This is one of my favorite Gospels because in it we get to know Jesus personally. If you have a red-letter Bible, you probably already know that there are more red letters in this book than any other.

          We don’t have to wonder why John wrote this book because he tells us clearly.

John 20:3, These have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that in believing you may have life in His name.

          If you were talking to someone about God and wanted them to just read the Word of God for themselves, where would you ask them to start? Please don’t ask them to start in the book of Leviticus, ask them to start here, in the book of John.

          In the time we are living in it is important to have a firm grasp of who Jesus is. Many in the world may acknowledge that He was a good man, or even a prophet, but many do not acknowledge Him as the Son of God.

If they did, it would mean that they could not be the final authority in their own lives anymore. They would stand accountable to Him as the supreme Creator and authority over all.

          Learning the truth about who Jesus is has a profound effect on the direction of your life. For if you know the truth about who He is it puts you before a decision. What will you do with that knowledge? Now you can never say, ‘I did not know.’ Just knowing the truth holds us accountable.

John 3:18, He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.      

          One day we will have to answer God’s question, ‘What have you done with the knowledge you had about my Son? Did you receive Him, or did you reject Him?’

          If we are going to one day be accountable to Jesus, I would think it is of the highest priority to know Him, what He stands for, and what His mission is. If the treasure of our eternal salvation and where we spend eternity is found in Him, it should be the greatest treasure hunt of our lives getting to know Him.

Illus – I remember when the opportunity arose for us to maybe be able to come to Hillsboro, Oregon, USA. It might be difficult to fathom, but being from another country I didn’t know that Hillsboro existed. Not only Hillsboro, but even the state of Oregon was unknown. We had to go look at a map to even find out if it was on the West Coast or the East Coast. You would probably not know the town we lived in in South Africa, although in our minds, as I’m sure in your mind, where you spend most of your time in your life, you think it is very important and very big. The world is a very big place.

That being said, as soon as this opportunity arose, we spent a lot of time Googling Hillsboro and Oregon, and the church. It became our vision and focus.

          In the same way, we should not be bogged down in the temporal things, the immediate surroundings that demand our attention. If our future is in Christ, and our future is in His kingdom, that should be our focus. That should change our vision. It is what should energize us and excite us.

          And it all starts with Jesus. The wonderful news is that, as we will see, He came not to destroy and judge, be an angry spoilsport, and demand our allegiance and submission like a dictator would. We will see that He came to bring life and hope, to set us free, to energize us, and to give us a new vision and future beyond what we can even think or dream.

          God made us to be alive, but apart from God there is separation from God’s life, and we’re left with emptiness and darkness of this world. God made our souls to be alive in Him, but people are looking for life, just like they’re looking for love, in all the wrong places and what they discover is that instead of life, they’re just adding death to dreariness.

           Don’t get me wrong, I understand perfectly well that worldly things are fun in the moment. The problem is that they make the soul sick. The enemy knows enough not to make sickness smell like death. It is like spraying perfume around a dead thing. It doesn’t make it alive.

          God reveals His Son so that we might have God’s life that fills the soul with joy and satisfies the soul. We need to not only acknowledge that, but receive it.

It all starts with Jesus.

I. In the Beginning was the Word

  • In my opinion, this is the most powerful way John could have started. He creates the foundation on which to build all knowledge.
  • Nowadays, all the other theories that exclude God from creation, leave people hanging in uncertainty. Evolutionists keep changing and refuting their own theories the more science progresses. Instead of giving answers, it stirs many questions.
  • How did it all begin? Am I important or just a cosmic mistake? Do I have a purpose? For to have a purpose, I had to have been planned and designed by someone for a purpose. If I don’t know where I came from, how can I know where I’m going?
  • No wonder people try to quiet and drown out these deep questions with entertainment and superfluous things, trying to medicate and numb the deep uncertainties and anxiety that come from not knowing.
  • No, John has a different foundation to give us to build on. He alludes to that first moment of creation when he uses the words, “In the beginning…”
  • When he speaks of the beginning, he refers to the beginning of the finite universe, the space-time that we understand and live in. He refers to Genesis 1 which says,

Genesis 1:1, In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 

  • This gives us a clue of the power and identity of God. For God to have created this finite universe that we live in, He had to exist before it.
  • God is not restricted by time and space. He stands outside of it. He is the eternal one. He is the uncaused cause. He is the reason that everything exists. He knows the end from the beginning because He can see all of time and space and once.

A. And the Word was God

  • This is one of those key verses that help us to understand the nature of the Trinity. God is three persons in one nature. Jesus was with God and was God.
  • Jesus himself quoted Deuteronomy which declares that God is One.

Deuteronomy 6:4-5, “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”

  • Several religions say there are many gods, but the Bible declares that God is One.

Illus – The Mormon Church teaches that God was once a man and worked through many levels to become God but that he is only God of this planet and that there are many gods over many planets. Not only is that wrong, but my response is, “Is there a God over all other gods?” That’s my God.

Isaiah 42:8, “I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another…”

  • There can be only one God that is eternal. If God was created, the one that created Him would’ve been God.

B. He created all things

  • One of the best Scriptures in all the Bible that describes the relationship of Jesus Christ to creation is found in the book of Colossians…

 Colossians 1:13-20, In Him all things hold together.

  • Verse 3; all things came into being by Him, apart from Him, nothing has come into being.

Illus – In science, there is this interesting phenomenon observed. All of us, and all of the universe, are made up of atoms. Atoms have protons, neutrons, and electrons. Electrons continually orbit protons at a speed of 7 thousand trillion revolutions per second. About 7.8 million km/h. The question is this: what keeps it all in motion? What power continues to drive every electron in the universe so that nothing collapses in on itself?

  • Science calls it energy. Energy cannot be created or destroyed. It is the first law of thermodynamics. But what initiated this energy?
  • I submit to you that this is the sustaining continual power and the effect of the Word of God when He spoke it into existence. In Him, Christ, all things hold together. He is the continual power that sustains and holds all things together.
  • The more we understand about our universe, the more amazing that statement becomes.

Illus – How amazing is God’s creation! 1.3 million earths would fit into the sun! But Antares is 700 times larger than that! There is even a star in the southern hemisphere that, if you traveled at the speed of light, it would take over three hours to pass through it!!

Ps 33:6, By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. (NIV)

Hebrews 11:3, By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.

  • We can get so caught up in the visible. But Spirit, God, and the spiritual realm were before the visible. That is where our true life and anchor are.

Ephesians 6:12, For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 

John 4: 24, God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

  • People seem to think that since we cannot “see” spirit, it must be something without substance. It is something like vapor, something insignificant.
  • I submit to you that the Spirit realm is more real and definitely more powerful than we could even imagine!
  • In fact, we are living within a ‘finite, material, simulation’ superseded by a vast spiritual realm.

App – It puts our lives and our problems in perspective.

Psalm 138:7-8, Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me…Your right hand will save me. The Lord will accomplish what concerns me today; Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting;

II. The Word became Flesh

  • Masterfully, John has been describing the Word. The Power of God that created, sustains, brings light, brings hope. He connects this to the creation event.
  • Now He says, And the Word became flesh (v.14) All of this power, all of this majesty, now revealed in this one person, Jesus.

A. Jesus explains God

  • There is a conundrum if you are an eternal, all-powerful God. How does the all-powerful God reveal Himself to His finite creation that lives inside created boundaries? He cannot be bound by those boundaries. Nothing in creation can hold Him, compare to Him, or explain Him. He is too big to really reveal How big He is, because He is infinitely BIG.

Isaiah 40:25, “To whom then will you liken Me That I would be his equal?” says the Holy One

  • What if God revealed Himself with a display of power and might? That might work, you say. Well, He did, and it didn’t. He revealed Himself in power at Mount Sinai. The people became afraid and did not want to draw near.
  • If He would show Himself ‘small’ to draw people near, showing that He wants relationship, He would seem insignificant as a God. Too small to be taken seriously and be served.
  • What was God to do?
  • God chose to reveal Himself by His Word materializing, becoming flesh. A ‘normal’ looking person as Isaiah described it, containing all the power and essence of God, speaking forth God’s words of life, change, and revealing God’s power. He was revealing the fullness of God in a relatable approachable person.

John 14:8-9, Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us. 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.

  • I can almost hear Jesus getting frustrated. If you have seen me, met me, gotten to know me, you know the Father. We are one.

Colossians 1:15, He is the image of the invisible God.

 Christ embodies all the attributes of God. He showed God as being love, not angry, wanting to save. In short, He revealed the heart of God.

B. Open the eyes of Your heart

  • God’s heart is that we no longer walk in the darkness. What is darkness? It is the absence of light.
  • If you’re walking in darkness, you’re missing out on all that’s glorious; all that is found in God.

Illus – Maybe you have experienced something like this before. In an auditorium. Pitch black before a concert. Then suddenly, lights!

Illus – How do you battle darkness? Can you take a bat and hit it? The answer to darkness is to open your eyes and let light into your soul.

Luke 11:34, “The eye is a lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness.”

  • The sadness of spiritual blindness is the sadness of darkness; you’re missing out on the glory of God Himself.

Illus – If someone is spiritually blind, they cannot see what God has done. They cannot comprehend the glory of what God wants to do in their lives either.

  • We see this wonderful correlation. He Jesus, is the light that shines in the darkness. In Genesis, God said (spoken word): Let there be Light! That same light, Jesus now burst forth light into the dark, hopeless world, bringing hope to all who will believe.

John 8:12, Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

  • (Verse 11) He came to His own, but those who were His own did not receive Him.
  • There is an old saying that contains a great truth, “There is none so blind as he who refuses to see.” People prefer darkness because it hides what they do.

Illus – When Adam sinned in the Garden he hid from God in the shadows.

John 3:19, “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds are evil.

  • Light brings accountability – it reveals the truth.

Illus – It’s like waking up in the morning, turning on the light, and looking in the mirror; sometimes it makes you want to turn off the light and go back to bed! But you need to deal with the truth.

C. Receive and believe

  • In verse 13 John tells us how to be saved.
  • We are not saved by blood… In other words, we are not saved because our parents were saved. It’s not by lineage.

Illus – You can’t add your salvation to your will… “I want to leave my watch collection to Johnny, and I want to leave my relationship with God to Betty.”

  •  We are not saved by the will of the flesh, nor by the will of man. In other words, it’s not by our own efforts that we are saved. A man can’t get himself to heaven.
  • We are born of God; God is the one who makes our salvation possible.
  • He says the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.
  • He is the one revealing Grace. The unmerited favor of God is given to us as a gift.
  • He is the Truth revealing the truth. He exposes the lies of the enemy.
  • But it is about more than having knowledge about Jesus.
  • Verse 12, “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.

Illus – There is a big difference between studying the word of God as a literary masterpiece and receiving it as a life-changing truth through faith. When we receive Christ, His Spirit turns dead letters on a page into living, life-giving truth. It might seem like foolishness to the natural mind without Christ, but to the soul made alive, it becomes very real.

  • Receive and believe in Christ, the living Word. He makes it possible for you to become part of God’s household. It requires faith. It requires you to trust what He says.
  • He is the Living word that speaks the truth about who God is, the truth about what God thinks of you, and the truth about God’s heart for you.
  • He has a better word to speak over you. He is inviting you to receive it. Let the Light shine into Your life to change you and bring truth.

John 1:1-18    NASB 1995

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.

There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

14 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. 15 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.’” 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.


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