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Believe to Receive

Gospel of John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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John 1:9–18 ESV
The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
John 1:9-

One True Light

Minnu was a sweet, lovable and beautiful girl, aged six years. She was an adorable kid as she always obeyed her elders. Minnu’s parents loved her for her amazing behaviour. One day, Minnu’s mother took her for grocery shopping. As they passed the shops, Minnu noted a cute plastic pearl necklace in dazzling pink! She asked her mother to buy her the necklace. Her mother told her that it cost quite a few nickels. She asked her to do some chores, so that for every completed piece of work Minnu would get some money and she could buy the pink necklace.
One day, Minnu’s mother took her for grocery shopping. As they passed the shops, Minnu noted a cute plastic pearl necklace in dazzling pink! She asked her mother to buy her the necklace. Her mother told her that it cost quite a few nickels. She asked her to do some chores, so that for every completed piece of work Minnu would get some money and she could buy the pink necklace.
Minnu prepared a to-do list and assisted her mom with all the chores. Her mom was very happy, and she paid enough money to buy the pink necklace. Minnu happily purchased the necklace and wore it just everywhere, Minnu wore it, even while sleeping.
Minnu prepared a to-do list and assisted her mom with all the chores. Her mom was very happy, and she paid enough money to buy the pink necklace.
Minnu happily purchased the necklace and wore it just everywhere, Minnu wore it, even while sleeping.
Minnu’s father used to tell her bed time stories frequently. One night, after completing a story, her dad asked how much she loved him. Minnu replied, “You know how much I love you.” Dad asked, “Then give me your pearl necklace please!” Minnu replied, “Please daddy, I love you so much but please don’t ask for these pearls. I will give you the pink Barbie which you bought me a month ago.” Dad replied, “Fine, sweetheart.”
Minnu’s father used to tell her bed time stories frequently. One night, after completing a story, her dad asked how much she loved him. Minnu replied, “You know how much I love you.”
Dad asked, “Then give me your pearl necklace please!”
Minnu replied, “Please daddy, I love you so much but please don’t ask for these pearls. I will give you the pink Barbie which you bought me a month ago.”
After a few days, the conversation was repeated between Minnu and her dad. Again, Minnu refused to give her pearl necklace and instead asked her dad to take her pet. Dad kissed her and left with smile. This was repeated several times.
Dad replied, “Fine, sweetheart.”
After a few days, the conversation was repeated between Minnu and her dad. Again, Minnu refused to give her pearl necklace and instead asked her dad to take her pet. Dad kissed her and left with smile.
One day, Minnu slept while her dad was reading her a story. She was holding the necklace in her hands. Her dad took the pearl necklace from her hand. The next moment, she woke up and asked, “Dad, what are you doing?” Dad quickly opened a jewel box placed near her bed and handed her a real precious pink pearl necklace. He said, “Sweetheart, this is your real necklace. I wanted to take away the fake one all this while to give you this real one.” She replied, ‘Thank you dad!’ Minnu immediately gave up her fake necklace for the real one. God wants us to give up all the fake and cheap things we consider very precious in our life so we can have those of real value.
This was repeated several times.
One day, Minnu slept while her dad was reading her a story. She was holding the necklace in her hands. Her dad took the pearl necklace from her hand. The next moment, she woke up and asked, “Dad, what are you doing?”
Dad quickly opened a jewel box placed near her bed and handed her a real precious pink pearl necklace. He said, “Sweetheart, this is your real necklace. I wanted to take away the fake one all this while to give you this real one.”
God wants us to give up what is false for what is right…the lie for the truth…the darkness for the Light…The True Light…The One who is the Way, Truth and Life! Jesus!
She replied, ‘Thank you dad!’
Minnu immediately gave up her fake necklace for the real one.
God wants us to give up all the fake and cheap things we consider very precious in our life.
“True Light” — Jesus is the genuine light. “Not a false light of wreckers of ships but the dependable light that guides them to the harbor of safety. This light has always existed and it is the only Light which guides one to a relationship with God and eternal life.
And this is what every person needs…a relationship with God…Not mere knowledge of Him but a relationship with Him....So God sent the true light…that which is real, valuable and genuine so we might have such a relationship…He came into the “world”
The “world” — is humanity in rebellion against God, its maker. This is how John defines the term throughout the Gospel.
So John doesn’t see the “world” in terms of “great big beautiful world.” He sees it in terms of people... wicked people in open rebellion against God. And it is into THIS world that Jesus steps out of heaven into...in order to enlighten all who will receive Him.
This is a testimony of the character of God. This is an illustration of the greatness of His love! God so loved the wicked, evil, sinful rebels which occupied creation that He sent His Son to enlighten it with the truth and grace of Christ so that some of the rebels might be saved.
But rather than respond to this revelation and be brought safely into God’s love and life the world, generally speaking here, for we know there is a remnant that chose otherwise, chose not to know Him!
Once upon a time there was an island where all the feelings (emotions) lived together. One day there was a storm in the sea and the island was about to get drowned. Every feeling was scared but Love made a boat to escape. Every feeling boarded the boat Only 1 feeling was left. Love got down to see who it was. It was pride. Love tried and tried but pride wasn’t moving. Meanwhile the water was rising. Every one asked love to leave pride and come in the boat, but love was made to love. In the end all the feelings escaped and Love died along with pride on the island...Love died because of pride.
Once upon a time there was an island where all the feelings lived together. One day there was a storm in the sea and the island was about to get drowned.
Every feeling was scared but Love made a boat to escape. Every feeling boarded the boat Only 1 feeling was left.
He stepped into the world…God…was here in the flesh…the creator was now a part of the creation he had made...but the world did not know Him.
Love got down to see who it was.
Christ died, love died…and He had to do so in order for all of us to have an opportunity to be saved from sin…a sinfulness birthed in pride.
It was EGO.
Love tried and tried but ego wasn’t moving. Meanwhile the water was rising too.
And even now there are many…most in fact…who refuse to receive love and allow themselves to instead be consumed, condemned and killed by their pride and sin.
Every one asked love to leave him and come in the boat, but love was made to love. In the end all the feelings escape and Love dies with ego on the island.
Even His own people rejected Him…the Jewish people…the apple of His eye…those to whom the law and revelation of God had come. It was through them that the world was meant to receive its salvation from sin and death…and His very own received Him not. The rejection was intimate, painful and awful.
His own people should have recognized Him. They had been given the prophets…they longingly awaited the Messiah but they saw and rejected Him when the day of His arrival finally came.
But still…while there is still breath in your lungs…there is an opportunity to repent and know God through Jesus…the light and life of men
Moral of the story: Love Dies because of EGO.
Know — This is more than head knowledge. The Bible uses the word “know” in terms of relationship. It is an experiential kind of thing. Adam “knew” his wife and the result was a pregnancy…that doesn’t happen by mere intellectual knowledge of someone!
One can have an intellectual knowledge of Jesus but unless you have an experiential knowledge of Him…a relationship with Him…you are still in the world and separated from God.
Jesus came to “enlighten” everyone. To reveal God to all who would have faith to see Him. But not everyone chooses faith. Many remain in the darkness.
This light has always existed and it is the only Light which guides one to a relationship with God and eternal life.
What’s even more tragic is that He first came to His own people…the Jewish people…the apple of His eye…those to whom the law and revelation of God had come. It was through them that the world was meant to receive its salvation from sin and death…and His very own received Him not. The rejection was intimate, painful and awful.
And this is what every person needs…a relationship with God…Not mere knowledge of Him but a relationship with Him....So God sent the true light…that which is real, valuable and genuine so we might have such a relationship…He came into the “world”
His own people should have recognized Him. They had been given the prophets…they longingly awaited the Messiah but they saw and rejected Him when the day of His arrival finally came.
But to all who received — “Received” is also translated believed. To everyone who had faith to experientially know Jesus as their God and Savior He gave the “Right” or “power” to become a child of God.
Child of God — To become someone different than who you are. To be “born again.” To belong to the family of God. To become a Christian…a little Christ.
This is something received!
“Not born of blood” — You do not become a Christian because you are a Jew, American or born into a family of Christians.
“Will of the flesh” or the “Will of Man” — Not based on the fact you were simply born…not everyone experiences both physical and spiritual birth. Physical birth gives you no claim on a spiritual one.
New birth is an act of God Himself. He initiates it, reveals it and makes it possible…and even after we place faith in the truth revealed in the person of Jesus Christ it is only the power of God at work in us that changes us and gives us a new identity in Him.
Salvation from sin and death, new birth and eternal life…a relationship with God…is all completely dependent upon God’s decision to step into His creation, reveal Himself and save us.
John now reiterates the point...

The Word Became Flesh

We are just coming out of the Christmas season in which we celebrated the incarnation of God in the person of Jesus Christ. It is the beginning of our hope. Jesus was born!
John wants to spend a moment to consider what this actually means and what we see of God in the incarnation...
Word — Most perfect expression of God’s creation, revelation and salvation…God put on flesh and became the pinnacle of all His creation…Jesus was the physical manifestation of God’s glory (demonstrating His goodness to all), the high point of His revelation to mankind…and He would go to the Cross to be the complete and total salvation to all who believe.
This is what it means when we say the “Word became flesh and dwelt among us!
John takes it a step further…the Jewish reader wold understand the language of verse 14 in terms of the Tabernacle and Tent of Meeting…the place in which God’s glory dwelt when the people were wandering through the wilderness…John is saying…God’s glory was housed in flesh while Jesus walked the earth…we saw the glory of God no less than our ancestors did in the wilderness when we looked upon Jesus.
Glory of God — Supreme goodness of God…His character and power revealed.
Paul Harvey tells the story about a family on Christmas Eve. This family had a tradition where the Mother and children would go to the Christmas Eve service, and the Father would stay home and read the paper. When the family returns home from church, they would all gather to open up their presents.
The Father was not an evil man, but he just couldn’t believe in the childhood stories anymore of God coming as a baby in a manger. As the family left for church, he opened up the evening paper and began to read by the fireplace.
Suddenly, he heard tapping on the window. It was a bird flying against the glass of his window trying to get out of the snow into the warmth of his home. The man had compassion on the bird, and he went outside, hoping to bring it in.
As he approached the bird, the bird just flew against the window even harder. Pretty soon, the bird flew into the bushes below the window, half frozen, yet too afraid to be caught by this huge man. The more the man tried to reach for the bird, the more the bird flew frantically into the snow and thorns of the bushes.
After a few minutes in the cold and seeing the bird continue to injure itself, the man yelled out in frustration, “Stupid bird, can’t you understand that I’m trying to help?” The man paused and thought, “If only you understood you wouldn’t fly away … if only … if only I could become a bird, and get you to understand.”
Just then, the church bells rang, as they always have on the hour. But when the man heard the bells this time, he fell to his knees and began to cry, saying, “Oh, God, I didn’t understand. Oh, God, I didn’t understand.”
God’s Son came in human form that we might understand from where we have come, for what reason we were separated and how we could be restored to God.
Grace and Truth — In Jesus we see the pinnacle of God’s grace and truth…all we need to be saved..God’s explanation of who He is and what He can do

Intermission

John bore witness — This verse coincides with verse 6. John was given the privilege of being a witness of Jesus…a witness to His identity and mission.
There were some who thought John was the Messiah…The Apostle John wanted to dispel such a notion and did so in verse 8.
There were those who believed to be older or to come before someone else was to be their superior…The Apostle John makes clear this is not the case with regard tot the relationship with Jesus and John the Baptist…Jesus has always existed and is God while John is a man and given the privilege of being a witness to God’s salvation in Jesus.
It is good to be reminded who we are and who he is...We are not God…we are not the important one here…this is not all about us…it is about Him…and our place is to be a part of what He is doing…participate in His life, mission and salvation as He allows us to do so!
John got this and was thankful to participate...

The Fullness of Grace?

Grace — An act of mercy, compassion, favor and love by a superior to an inferior...The giving of the Law of God was an act of grace on God’s part.
The law gives us a black and white picture of God’s heart concerning right and wrong. We would not have known what sin was apart from the law.
The law of God has been written on our heart. The written law gives us a black and white picture of God’s heart concerning right and wrong. We would not have known what sin was apart from the law.
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But the law itself cannot save anyone. A mere knowledge of our sinfulness will not change us…will not save us and make us a new person.
Romans 3:20 ESV
For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
Through the law comes knowledge of sin…nothing more. So the grace given us in the law is incomplete. But then came Jesus...
In Jesus we have the fullness of God’s grace poured out upon mankind. God’s love, mercy, favor and goodness are revealed in full measure.
We receive all the grace we could ever need in the person of Jesus. All is found in Him…not in works…not in penance…not in anything we could ever do for ourselves…all the grace we need for salvation, new birth and eternal life are found in Him.

Will You Believe to Receive?

No one has ever seen God but Jesus is God and His life has made Him known…and now…we are without excuse.
The creation showed us there is a God…the incarnation showed who this God is…and in the revelation of Jesus He fully demonstrated His love, mercy and grace…now all who turn from sin and believe to receive will be His children and have everlasting life.
Have you believed to receive? Do you truly “know Jesus Christ? Would you believe the testimony of this eye witness…the Apostle John and receive Jesus?
Believing things 'on authority' only means believing them because you have been told them by someone you think trustworthy. Ninety-nine percent of the things you believe are believed on authority. I believe there is such a place as New York. I could not prove by abstract reasoning that there is such a place. I believe it because reliable people have told me so. The ordinary person believes in the solar system, atoms, and the circulation of the blood on authority--because the scientists say so. Every historical statement is believed on authority. None of us has seen the Norman Conquest or the defeat of the Spanish Armada. But we believe them simply because people who did see them have left writings that tell us about them; in fact, on authority. A person who balked at authority in other things, as some people do in religion, would have to be content to know nothing all his life. 
Believing things 'on authority' only means believing them because you have been told them by someone you think trustworthy. Ninety-nine percent of the things you believe are believed on authority. I believe there is such a place as New York. I could not prove by abstract reasoning that there is such a place. I believe it because reliable people have told me so. The ordinary person believes in the solar system, atoms, and the circulation of the blood on authority--because the scientists say so. Every historical statement is believed on authority. None of us has seen the Norman Conquest or the defeat of the Spanish Armada. But we believe them simply because people who did see them have left writings that tell us about them; in fact, on authority. A person who balked at authority in other things, as some people do in religion, would have to be content to know nothing all his life. 
“And why the devil do you? Come with me, and Ill show you how to get along. There’s no reason in the world why you can’t stuff yourself with as much as you want to eat, like me, and dress in the finest clothes, like me. But you must promise, not to say a word against me while we’re together.”
“And why the devil do you? Come with me, and Ill show you how to get along. There’s no reason in the world why you can’t stuff yourself with as much as you want to eat, like me, and dress in the finest clothes, like me. But you must promise, not to say a word against me while we’re together.”
God has given us the creation…evidence of His existence…He sent His Son, becoming flesh…in order to reveal specifics concerning who is is…and His followers left eye witness accounts of these specifics for all of us to read and believe so we might receive…And those of us who have had faith to receive already testify alongside John of the reality of who Jesus is and how He has changed our lives...Will you receive?
So truth promised and agreed to go along with Falsehood for a while, not because he liked his company so much, bu because he was so hungry he thought he’d faint soon if he didn’t get something in his stomach. They walked down the road until they came to a city, and Falsehood at once led the way to the very best table at the very best restaurant.
So truth promised and agreed to go along with Falsehood for a while, not because he liked his company so much, bu because he was so hungry he thought he’d faint soon if he didn’t get something in his stomach. They walked down the road until they came to a city, and Falsehood at once led the way to the very best table at the very best restaurant.
“Waiter bring us your choicest meats, your sweetest sweets, your finest drink! he called, and they ate and drank all afternoon. At last, when they could hold no more, Falsehood began banging his fist on the table and calling for the manager, who came running at once.
“Waiter bring us your choicest meats, your sweetest sweets, your finest drink! he called, and they ate and drank all afternoon. At last, when they could hold no more, Falsehood began banging his fist on the table and calling for the manager, who came running at once.
“What the devil kind of place is this?” Falsehood snapped. “I gave the waiter a gold piece nearly an hour ago and he still hasn’t brought our change!” The manger summoned the waiter, who said he’d never even seen a penny out of the gentleman.
“What the devil kind of place is this?” Falsehood snapped. “I gave the waiter a gold piece nearly an hour ago and he still hasn’t brought our change!” The manger summoned the waiter, who said he’d never even seen a penny out of the gentleman.
“What?” Falsehood shouted, so that everyone in the place turned and looked. I can’t believe this place! Innocent, law-abiding citizens come in to eat and you rob them of their hard-earned money! You’re a pack of thieves and liars! You may have fooled me once, but you’ll never see me again! Here!” He threw a gold piece at the manager. “Now this time bring me my change!”
“What?” Falsehood shouted, so that everyone in the place turned and looked. I can’t believe this place! Innocent, law-abiding citizens come in to eat and you rob them of their hard-earned money! You’re a pack of thieves and liars! You may have fooled me once, but you’ll never see me again! Here!” He threw a gold piece at the manager. “Now this time bring me my change!”
But the manager feared his restaurant’s reputation would suffer, refused to take the gold piece and instead brought Falsehood change for the first gold piece he claimed to have spent. The he took the waiter aside and called him a scoundrel and said that he had a mind to fire him. And as much as the waiter protested that he’d never collected a cent from the man, the manager refused to believe him.
But the manager feared his restaurant’s reputation would suffer, refused to take the gold piece and instead brought Falsehood change for the first gold piece he claimed to have spent. The he took the waiter aside and called him a scoundrel and said that he had a mind to fire him. And as much as the waiter protested that he’d never collected a cent from the man, the manager refused to believe him.
“Oh truth, where have you hidden yourself?” the waiter sighed. “Have you deserted even us hard working souls
“Oh truth, where have you hidden yourself?” the waiter sighed. “Have you deserted even us hard working souls
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