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Logos: Our Creator and Light (1:3-5)

Exploring John's Gospel  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction

1000 Illustrations. A family had gone to the mountains for vacation. Their cottage overlooked a friendly lake. After a swim and dinner, it was bedtime. Tenderly, the mother prepared her little daughter for the night, heard her prayers, kissed her, and left the room. Immediately, the young daughter called for her to come back. The child raised some difficult questions about God. Patiently the mother listened, and then said reassuringly, “We’ll be on the porch. There’s nothing to hurt you. God is in the dark as well as in the light.” Sadly the child replied, “But I can’t see Him in the dark, mom. I want a God with a face.” [1]
1000 Illustrations. A family had gone to the mountains for vacation. Their cottage overlooked a friendly lake. After a swim and dinner, it was bedtime. Tenderly, the mother prepared her little daughter for the night, heard her prayers, kissed her, and left the room. Immediately, the young daughter called for her to come back. The child raised some difficult questions about God. Patiently the mother listened, and then said reassuringly, “We’ll be on the porch. There’s nothing to hurt you. God is in the dark as well as in the light.” Sadly the child replied, “But I can’t see Him in the dark, mom. I want a God with a face.” [1]
So do we all. We live in a dark world. When night comes, trouble knocks, disappointments punctuate the day, and problems pyramid, we all crave a God with a face. In our anxiety and agony, we join David in saying: “Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob” ().
And yet, God does have a face, assuming that you accept that Jesus Christ is God. And it is that point that John so clearly articulate in the first few verses of his gospel. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God” (). It is within the first two verses that he declares the deity of Jesus Christ, and in the following verses he offers evidence for Christ’s deity. “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” ( ESV).
In these three verses (3-5), we see two evidences to Jesus Christ divine character. (1) He created everything, and (2) He is Life, giving life and light to a darkened world. Purpose Statement. In seeing Christ as divine, we both worship him and submit to his rule.

The Word in Relation to Creation

In verse 2, the Word is declared to be God; and in verse 3, proof is offered of His divinity. He created everything. John offers us the positive, “All things were made through him;” but then just to be sure there is no confusion, he as well offers the negative, “and without him was not any thing made that was made” ( ESV). This creative genius and power is attested to God in the Old Testament.
Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: “I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself, ( ESV).
God is the creator of all, and here in John, as well in Hebrews we see that Christ is the divine creator. “In these last days he (God) has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world” ( ESV).
I would like to draw our attention to a passage in Colossians, in which Paul develops this theme in a little more depth.
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. ( ESV).
All things created BY Him. When Paul uses this word throughout his epistles, he almost always is expressing the idea of sphere. Friberg writes in reference to this word, “expressing an occasion or sphere of activity at, in, on the grounds of . . .”[2]
This might be better understood “all things were created in Him.” In the same way that believers were created in Christ, similarly to Paul’s writing in Ephesians. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works” ( ESV).
We think it more likely, then, that this opening line [of John] is claiming that Christ is the one “in” whom all things were created. As so often when we confront Paul’s “in Christ” language, it is difficult to put into words the precise point that is being made. But perhaps our problem is that we are seeking a specificity that Paul does not intend. He wants to make the very general point that all of God’s creative work took place “in terms of” or “in reference to” Christ.[3]
The extent of this creation. (1) The Invisible Heavens, (2) The Visible Earth (3) Thrones, Dominions, Rulers and Authorities. To what do “Thrones or Dominions or Rulers or Authorities” refer? While many believe that these forces speak of any type of angelic being, many people would conclude that these thrones, dominions, rulers, and authorities at least include evil forces if not speak solely of evil forces. Consider that point in light of the fact that “all things were created for Him.” We’ll look at that point momentarily.
All things created THROUGH Him. All things being created through Christ points to Christ as being the cause of all created things [a. of the efficient cause in consequence of, by, on the basis of, on account of; b. of the intermediate agent of an action by, through, by agency of].[4] This is what John is referring to when he writes in our passage, “All things were made through him” ( ESV). As well, the author of Hebrews writes, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands” ( ESV).
All things created FOR Him. Not only was everything created within the sphere of Christ’s power and ongoing sustaining, not only was everything created by means of Christ, but everything was created for Him. The word for “indicate reason for, because of, in view of . . .”[5] “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever” ( ESV). “Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist” ( ESV).
All things sustained by Him. Paul continues in Colossians. A few verses later he writes, “And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together” ( ESV). In this case, before implies “primary importance.” He is above all. But not only is he above all and the most prominent over all, he “holds all things together.” All creation continues to “exist, have existence, (or) continue”[6] as a result of Christ’s sustaining power and work. Christ was the agent of creation and as well continues to hold his creation together.
Jesus is the creator. If he is the creator, He is as well God. This means a couple of things. (1) I am not God and shouldn’t act like it. (2) He has the right to do with me as he so desires and direct me in any way he may choose.

The Word in Relation to Mankind

Light into Creation. First, Christ literally brought light and life into a darkened and void form in creation. Consider this in the context of the first 3 verses of Genesis and Christ’s act of creation. “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light” ( ESV). On the fourth day God declared that there should be light in the heavens, light to separate the day from the night. “And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth” ( ESV). The lights that guide our lives and sustain life in our world are the direct result of Christ’s creative energy and declaration.
Light into a sinful world. Secondly, Christ brought light and life, through his incarnation, into the darkness of a world lost in sin. We lived in a world of lies. We lived in a world of shame and secrecy. We wanted the darkness because, in the darkness, we didn’t feel exposed. John writes, in chapter 3, “the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil” ( ESV). Christ exposed the sins of our darkness. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians, “the Lord . . . will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart” ( ESV). And yet, Christ is the “light of the world” and if we follow him, we will no longer walk in darkness, “but have the light of Life” ( cf. 1:9, 12:35).
Those of us on whom the Light has shined and revealed our broken and corrupt hearts have a responsibility to as well shine this light to others. In fact, John goes so far as to say, “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” ( ESV). And again in chapter 2, “Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. . . . 11 whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes” ( ESV). A direct result of having the light of Christ shone into our life is that we love the light, we love those in the light, and we shine as a result of being in the light.
Intellectually, light refers to truth and darkness to falsehood; morally, light refers to holiness and darkness to sin. Satan’s kingdom is the “domain of darkness,” but Jesus is the source of life and the Light that shines in the darkness of the lost world.[7]
Light not overcome. Finally, the light was not overwhelmed by the darkness. John continues, and writes in verse 5, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” ( ESV). It’s not that the darkness did not attempt to overcome the Light. It’s not even that the darkness failed to understand the Light. In fact, the forces of darkness understand the light better than most of humanity.
In , Jesus heals two men with demons. The demons cry out “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” (, cf. ). As well, there are a couple of other occasions in which he cast out demons, and Christ does not allow them to speak “because they knew that he was the Christ” (, ). Not only do the demonic forces understand the seriousness of Christ’s light, James tells us that “the demons believe—and shudder!” ( ESV). “It is because they understand with total clarity the judgment that awaits them that Satan and the demons have tried desperately through out history to kill the life and extinguish the Light.”[8]
Throughout the Old Testament, we read of stories in which Satan attempts to destroy Israel so that the Messiah can’t come. Not only does he attempt to destroy Israel, but he attempts to destroy the royal line from which Christ would come. Obviously to no avail.
As soon as Christ is born, he uses Herod’s killing of all the young boys, 2 and under, in a failed attempt to kill Christ ().
At the initiation of Christ’s earthly ministry, he comes to him in the wilderness and attempts to make him fall ().
Peter becomes the instrument of darkness later in Matthew. Jesus is telling his disciples about his death, and Peter “took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” It is at this point that Christ turns to Peter and tells him, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me” ().
And ultimately, Satan attempted to destroy the Light at the cross, and yet what he may have considered his greatest victory was in fact his greatest defeat, for at the cross Christ, “disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him” ( ESV). Christ, through his death, destroyed “the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil” ( ESV). As well, John tells us, in his first epistle, that the reason Christ appeared “was to destroy the works of the devil” ( ESV).
Satan has been defeated, but here’s an additional and extremely important point. Anyone who is associated with Satan will as well be defeated and destroyed. Satan, in his pride, rejected God. As a result, he was cast from heaven and will be eternally punished. In fact, Matthew tells us, in his gospel, that “the eternal fire (was) prepared for the devil and his angels” (). But the context of is what I want you to notice. discusses the Final Judgment. “When the Son of Man comes in his glory . . . he will sit on his glorious throne.”
Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. ( ESV).
Then, to those on the left, he will say, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. . . . And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (, ESV).
Therefore, no one who rejects Christ’s deity, who rejects Christ’s salvation, who rejects Christ’s life and light can be saved. Christ acknowledged this fact in . “I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins” ( ESV).

Conclusion

Believe in Him. Believe in him so that you will have life.
Worship Him. First, if all things were created for Him, then how does that apply to the demonic forces? Reconcile the creation of Lucifer with the statement “all things have been created through Him and for Him.” Of course, Lucifer wasn’t darkened and evil when he was created, but still God is omniscient and knew that Satan would fall. Why did he create something that he knew would fall and reject Him?
I think we may be able to grab a hold of this by means of a simple analogy. If there are impressive talents that you possess, you likely want them to be displayed in some fashion. You may be nervous to do so, but you probably would display those talents in some context – even if it’s just for family and close friends. You want others to see who you really are. By means of likely a poor analogy, God has a similar desire. He wants all of his attributes to be displayed. Of course, we want only certain attributes of God to be displayed. We want to see and experience his love, grace, mercy, kindness, etc. But the reality is that God (and Christ) are as well perfectly just, holy, righteous, and all powerful. While, we believers are vessels of grace in which God’s marvelous kindness and love are displayed, others (such as Satan) are the vessels of God’s wrath in which his righteousness and holiness are revealed. I know we struggle with this reality, but it is to this reality I point us with the intention of leading us to worship the one who possesses those awe-inspiring attributes. And specifically, in this context, pointing us to worship Christ, who possesses these attributes. So then, in like fashion reflect upon the third verse of “All Hail the Pow’r of Jesus Name.”
Let ev’ry kindred, ev’ry tribe,
On this terrestrial ball,
To Him all majesty ascribe,
And crown Him Lord of all.[9]
Submit to Him. If Christ is creator of all, then we are entirely accountable to him and should subject ourselves to him in all areas.
Forbid it Lord that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God;
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.[10]
[1] G. Curtis Jones, 1000 Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1986), 387.
[2] Friberg, Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, 147–148.
[2] Friberg, Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, 147–148.
[3] Douglas J. Moo, The Letters to the Colossians and to Philemon (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2008), 120–21.
[3] Douglas J. Moo, The Letters to the Colossians and to Philemon (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2008), 120–21.
[4] Friberg, Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, 108.
[4] Friberg, Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, 108.
[5] Friberg, Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, 132.
[5] Friberg, Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, 132.
[6] Friberg, Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, 368.
[6] Friberg, Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, 368.
[7] John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, vol. 1 (Chicago: Moody Press, 2006), 23.
[7] John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, vol. 1 (Chicago: Moody Press, 2006), 23.
[8] MacArthur, 1:24.
[8] MacArthur, 1:24.
[9] Rev. Edward Perronet, “All Hail the Power of Jesus Name,” Logos Hymnal, 1st edition. (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995).
[9] Rev. Edward Perronet, “All Hail the Power of Jesus Name,” Logos Hymnal, 1st edition. (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995).
[10] Isaac Watts, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” Logos Hymnal, 1st edition. (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995).
[10] Isaac Watts, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” Logos Hymnal, 1st edition. (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995).
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