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12-23-2018 A Celebration of An Extraordinary Mission John 1:14-18

Celebrating Jesus, the Christ Christmas 2018  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  55:15
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Today will be a continuation from last week, part 2 with A Celebration of Jesus, the Christ. Last week, we saw Jesus and celebrated Him as an extraordinary Person in John 1:1-5. This week we will celebrate Jesus with His extraordinary mission and continue in John starting at verse 14.
Our passage John 1:14-18
Scripture Reading:
John 1:14–18 ESV
14 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. 15 (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.’ ”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
All of that is descriptive of the mission of Jesus, a reason to celebrate our Lord, Jesus, and the pattern to imitate in the 21 century.
That's where I want to park for just the next few moments. The celebration of Jesus, the Christ, not only an extraordinary Being, but an extraordinary mission. And it is preparation for this mission to justify the existence of Grace Baptist Church--it is what Grace has been all about for over a couple decades now. Preparation for this mission-- the equipping of a whole new generation of Gospel communicators and Good News ambassadors who will imitate the mission of our Lord Jesus boldly and unashamedly is what our church is all about-- what good biblically shaped men and women throughout our area are all about. Christ mission is in many ways the model for ours. In John 1:14-18, with the use of the most eloquent language possible, theologically rich verbiage, John explains precisely what Jesus Christ has done for us--His extraordinary mission. It made an incredible definition of the sacrificial investment which Jesus Christ has made in each one of us, and it's something that all of us should learn to imitate in behalf of others. Our mission should be a mirror of His.
So what does this mission look like? To accomplish this redemptive mission, Jesus Christ was willing to take multiple sacrificial steps. Each of them is a reason to celebrate Him all the more, and each of them as a pattern for you and me to imitate in our lives, and our ministries. What are the steps?that's my outline--these multiple sacrificial steps

I. He Renounced Comfort

John 1:14 ESV
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.
The Word became flesh
The Bible says the word was made flesh. The distance between these 2 extremes: the Word and flesh. This monumental incident, if you will, Here's the word: “In the beginning was the Word, and the word was with God, and the word was God” and He became flesh the distance between these 2 extremes is monumental, monumental. Jesus as God becoming man is the dual nature-- theanthropic--the God/Man Jesus. He voluntarily gave up the divine-only nature to take on the human nature, flesh sarks. This flesh word refers here to physical human life. Jesus is the God/Man.Partakes of the fullness of deity--He's the Word--and the fullness of humanity--He is flesh. Flesh is inherently frail woven from dust and destined to return to the dust, and limited by time and space. Jesus entered into that. Before He was flesh, before the incarnation there was no dust to Him. There were no limitations, and at that moment there was no death for Him. But now the word was made flesh. He sacrificed being pure spirit. YHWH is always spirit. He sacrifice being the purest Spirit for being made of human flesh. He was no longer God with God exclusively. He was God with us sacrificially and redemptively. Clearly this was a move which took Jesus far outside of His “comfort zone”. That's how you get ministry done. Jesus did not remain in the safe community of heaven--gated from the difficult people. Remote from human skin and suffering, remote from human tragedy and trauma, remote from human anguish. He didn't remain in the safety and the immunity of heaven. Instead, He took our nature. He lived our life. He got inside our skin and looked out for our eyes. He endured our temptations, He experience our sorrows. He was a Man, the Man of sorrows and familiar with grief. He felt our hurts, He bore our sins which means He suffered the consequences of the the guilt of them. The punishment fell upon Him. He bore our sins and died our death. What was he doing exactlyHe was penetrating deeply and authentically into our humanness by getting down deep inside our flesh-- the Word was made flesh. He was made man--He was made dust. He was made human in order that He might live and die to redeem us. It was not simply a momentary visitation, rather it is permanent incarnation--even in his ascended setting. According to 1 Timothy 2:5
1 Timothy 2:5 ESV
For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
He is still the Man, Christ Jesus
The Creator assumes the human frailty of His creatures. The eternal one entered time. The all powerful made Himself vulnerable-- made Himself crucify-able. The all Holy exposed Himself to evil temptation, and in the end the immortal, the deathless one--we are mortal, subject to death--He's immortal not subject to death in the end the Immortal, the deathless One died. All of this as a part of the rescue operation--His redemptive mission. For me, this is the shape that all authentic missions and ministry takes.
What shape does it take?
All authentic ministry and mission always moves us outside our comfort zone. It has to be patterned after Christ’s. Even Jesus said, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you” and that's more than a statement of fact, it is the supply of a pattern: in the same way as the Father sent me in that very same way I send you. John 17:18 before His death & chapter 20:21 after the Resurrection.
Jesus not only entered our world, but He also entered our flesh--He fully identified with us in our humanness without succumbing to our sinfulness. In identifying with us in our humanness, He was expressing His great love for us. In refusing to succumb to our sinfulness, He was expressing His holiness before us. He left the comforts and the glories of heaven for the pain and the anguish of earth, voluntarily leaving behind the comfort zone and entering into an alien and hostile and sinful world as a part of the rescue operation--this is agape! Unself-centered, self-sacrificial love--I celebrate Christ's love for me, and for you, and for all of humanity. And I aspire to love Him in the very same way, yet I don't do it perfectly -- I can't do it quite like He did it, but I aspire to have that heart. Not many contemporary Christians, by the way, are into renouncing comfort.
An article found in the Minneapolis Star Tribune in 2002 that first showed up in the Los Angeles time and was repented in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. About one of George Barna’s polls. It describes the condition of much of contemporary Christianity. I won't bore you with all the details, I'll give just 3 or 4 examples of what he says because the divorce rate is no different for born again Christians than for those who do not consider themselves religious. He says, “only a minority of born-again adults adults-- 44% of them, and a tiny proportion of born-again teenagers-- only 9% of them--are certain that absolute moral truth exists. 56% of born-again adults, 91 percent of born-again teenagers doubt that absolute moral truth exists. The poll demonstrated that most Christians’ votes are influenced more by economic self-interests than by spiritual and moral values, “will it improve my bank account? that's the one I'll vote for!” the most disturbing one to me was this: “desiring to have a close personal relationship with God” ranks 6 among the 21 life goals tested among born-again Christians, and “desiring to have a close personal relationship with God” trails such desires as living a comfortable lifestyle.
So many contemporary Christians are not into renouncing comfort, yet Jesus, the Christ was.
And that's why we sit here today as the people of God with our sins fully forgiven--redeemed--and on our way to an eternal Heaven.
Now there's a second sacrificial step the Jesus took: He not only renounce comfort, He befriended sinners.

II. He Befriended Sinners

John 1:14 ESV
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.
and dwelt among us
Not only was the Word made flesh, the Bible says He dwelt among us--He befriended sinners! this powerful expression “dwelt” it's a powerful expression it means to dwell in a tent with someone. The tent of course was the dwelling place of YHWH on earth in the Old Testament. He dwelt in a tabernacle. His visible presence was there, so when the Word became flesh, that with the tent in which he dwelt. When the Word became flesh--the glorious presence of God--was embodied. In the flesh, our Lord, Jesus the Christ-- for He is the true Shekinah, the true “dwelling glory of YHWH.” I think it means something else in middle eastern culture. To enter a person's tent was to be accorded the privilege of momentary membership into his family. The cultural thing in the Middle East as you entered a person's tent was to be awarded the privilege of protection--protected as though you were a family member once you were under their tent. And it means that when Jesus tented/dwelt--when He “tabernacled” among us, He was with us as a friend and now is one of us in the family. He didn't fear friendship with sinners.
He connected with people of need--with those that were distant and remote from God--those who were different and defiled--this is an extraordinary mission for us to celebrate and the point I'm trying to make is this: He came on a rescue operation. He came to seek and to save the lost, and to do that He had to get in touch with them--and He did!
He connected with those who were distant and remote, those were different and defiled--this is a reason to celebrate because these are terms which describe all of us! Natively, we are distant from YHWH, we are defiled by sin--sinners by birth and sinners by choice. But now in Jesus, we are made close--we who were distant from Jesus Christ. We are now made clean, we who were defiled.
Because He cared enough to come after us, to reach out to us, and dwell among us and ultimately to give up His life for us.
I think we probably all know the Jesus scandalize the religious leaders of his day by mixing with the gentiles & shady people which they so carefully avoided. Jesus was a friend of publicans and sinners Matthew 11:19.
Matthew 11:19 ESV
The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.”
And I know that it was His enemies that said that--it is probably the only true thing they ever said about Him. Jesus really was the friend of publicans. In Luke 15:1 says
Luke 15:1 ESV
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him.
they drew near to Him--publicans and sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. Prostitutes, publicans, lepers, & sinners were welcome in His presence, not because He endorsed their deviant lifestyles or affirmed their sins, but because He loved them and wanted to rescue them from those deviant lifestyles and deliver them from their sins. He was welcoming of their persons but not affirming their practices.
I'd like my life and ministry to look like that too--I want to imitate that. I want to care enough to go after and reach out to people of great need. Not because I affirm deviant lifestyles but because I want to rescue people from them. I want to learn the skill and I think we all do! We need to learn the skill of entering their “heart world” so many people have broken hearts. Shattered lives. I need to learn how to hurt with them. In every lost person--even in the most exuberant extroverts--are hidden pockets of brokenness & pain.
I think we reach people like that most effectively only if we're willing to enter their world of their pain and their suffering--just like Jesus entered our world of pain and our suffering. Feeling with them the hurt they feel, finding for them the help they so desperately need. Where they find this help? it's available only exclusively in Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, and in His mission! He befriended sinful people. It is the shape His mission took. An extraordinary mission. That's what we'll have to do in our days as well. He did it in the 1st century, and we must do it the 21st century.
He renounce comfort, He befriended sinners by dwelling among us, He satisfied needs--

III. He Satisfied Needs

that's the third sacrificial step that He took.
John 1:14 ESV
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.
and we have seen His glory
John’s word “have seen/beheld” there “we have seen his glory” That Greek word seen/ beheld me to watch as in a theater theomize is the Greek word where we get our English “theater” word from. It means to gaze intently, contemplate studiously, interpret intelligently: we beheld/we’ve seen.
And what did they see?
What did John and the others see when they so meticulously examined our Lord, Jesus, the Christ?
John 1:14 ESV
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.
glory as of the only Son from the Father,”
They saw His glory! The glories of the only begotten of the Father, the kind of glory that is fitting of the Father, and the Son, and the sovereign Holy Spirit, the triune Godhead. We have seen His glory.
All the weight that's what glory means in the Hebrew Old Testament it means that which is having weight. In Dr. Douglas McLachlan’s words “God is the ultimate theological heavy weight.”
It means crediting great weight of infinite value to YHWH. John is saying here that all the weight-- all the heaviness of YHWH was located in Jesus of Nazareth. We beheld the glory of the only Begotten of the Father.
What shape did this self revelation of YHWH's glory in the person of Jesus take in this setting? In there you can see it:
John 1:14 ESV
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.
Full of grace
It took the shape of grace!
Grace is YHWH’s rich, undeserved, rescuing, salvific or saving, generosity. Grace is the unmerited often unwanted and unsought--and certainly undeserved. The unmerited abounding favor of God acting saving-ly--that's what this grace does--it acts saving-ly in our behalf. It does so totally apart from human merit, exclusively on the grounds of the finished work of Jesus Christ. Jesus is full of this grace, this saving grace - Christ came--that's the Christmas advent of incarnation. Christ died-- that's the Good Friday event of crucifixion. Christ arose-- that's the Easter Sunday event of resurrection and all of that is great reason to celebrate. There's no other place you’ll find it except in Jesus, the Christ when you trust Him, when you receive Him as your savior.
But this glory took this shape in this particular setting: full of something full of grace. Precisely what we need--and full of truth! Precisely what we need, not only is the world full of deceivers who spread falsehood and lead us astray, but also our own hearts are deceitful! Jeremiah says in Jeremiah 17:9 “our hearts a deceitful (Hebrew: Yakove)” The Old Testament Hebrew word for Jacob. Our hearts are Jacob-like. Jacob was a deceiver. “Above all things and desperately wicked incurably sick. Not only are we morally unfit to approach YHWH--that's why we need saving grace. We're mentally ill equipped to find Him and that's why we need rutter setting truth.
We need a healthy dose of grace to rescue us from our sins. We need a healthy dose of truth to rescue us from our ignorance. Where do we find these saving virtues? Jesus Christ! He is full! There is nothing greater in the world that I need more than grace to save my soul, and then truth to set my rutter throughout life. He satisfied needs, He was full of grace and truth.
In Christ we find precisely what we need, He satisfied needs. While it's true that grace and truth are found only in the Christ, they are both channeled through you and through me.
Jesus is the source of grace and truth but we are the conduits of it in the 21st century.
Do you know what grace means and truth means on a practical level of ministry?
On a practical level of ministry, grace means we welcome and embrace people wherever we find them whatever their condition. In other words, when people walk through the front doors of our church and they don't look like cookie-cutter replicas of ourselves as though they didn't come off the same assembly line as we did, we don't start picking them off, we welcome them. Grace means we welcome and embrace people wherever we find them whatever their condition.
Do you know what truth means? truth means that we love them enough not to leave them there. They need grace to save their souls. They need truth to reset their rutters.
There's a fourth sacrificial step that He took in His incredible and extraordinary mission, and that is that He gave us His riches.

IV. He Gave Riches

John 1:16 ESV
For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
Of His fullness, He's full of grace and truth. So from all that fullness we have received grace for grace. God’s design for our time here is that we should live full lives. Which means lives full of the living Christ. If there full of other things, they'll be empty. Because things can never fill us full, only Jesus can. You can have everything that you’ve ever wanted, only to discover that you do not want anything that you have. Because things do not have life in them to meet your needs and to satisfy you-complete you--only Jesus, the Christ does.
YHWH has stored up all his rich resources of glory. We've seen/beheld His glory, His grace, and truth-- He stored up all those rich resources of glory, and grace, and truth in Christ Jesus. In Christ, He makes them accessible, He puts them within the reach of the weakest and most sinful of His creatures -- F. B. Myers said. Again, the shape this wealth takes in this verse and His fullness takes in this verse, is grace--did you notice?
grace upon grace
upon = anti
In English, the Greek transliteration would be “ a n t i” anti- That's the Greek preposition grace “anti-” or grace “against” grace. I think it's a picture of grace bumping up against grace, grace at the end of grace, grace following after grace. It means that fresh grace always replaces spent grace--there's always more there for us: grace piled on top of grace from His fullness that we have all who believe received.
1 Peter 4:10 ESV
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:
We are the recipients of the varied grace of YHWH-- varied/manifold is a wonderful word. It means “many colored,” rainbowed grace of God. It's a very good thing that we are because daily we are confronted with something else. We are the recipients of the manifold grace of YHWH, but every day of our lives we face the manifold trials. 1 Peter 1:6.
1 Peter 1:6 ESV
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,
In other words whatever the color or the hue of the trial the corresponding color or hue of grace. Manifold trials are always matched by manifold grace. Blue Mondays, Grey “hump days”--Wednesdays, and black Fridays no longer derail us. There's grace to match each one of them. And this is grace for us, but not only for us, because we have a missional heart -- we care about people. We care about a lost and perishing world. This is grace for us. But it's also great for others channeled through us. We are called to receive grace. As we receive Christ as our savior, as we grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord, we're called to receive grace so that our lives will be richer, more beautiful, more joyful, and we’re also called to give out grace. In response to the effects of sin and misery and horror, which plague the world today. These glorious riches we find only in one place: We find them in Jesus, the Christ. We have reason to celebrate!
Now I have one final point I'll be done in a moment. And that is Jesus took another sacrificial step as He announced YHWH

V. He Announced YHWH

Do you see it see it there in verse 18?
John 1:18 ESV
No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
He announced God—He revealed YHWH. That is my greatest need, and is your greatest need--to know YHWH intimately, and personally, and redemptively, and powerfully. My greatest need--I need God more than anything else. If I have everything but YHWH, I have nothing at all. If I have nothing except God, I have everything I'll ever need. Jesus is the unique and intimate Son of God, the only begotten Son—un-repeatable, nothing else like this. He's the unique, and intimate, it means deeply and dearly loved. A Hebrew idiom expressing the deepest possible intimacy--a position of personal and loving nearness to YHWH. He has a unique position to reveal the Father—He is inside the Godhead. So it's no surprise that He's the One to declare YHWH.
He has made him known.”
That word phrase “made him known” or in some translations, “declared” it means to lead out in the open for all to see -- to reveal a mystery —or to enlighten or clear up an obscurity. This is the word from which we get our English word “exegete” here it means that Jesus exegetes the Father. A pastor always ought to exegete the scriptures. We try to exegete as we study His Word, and as you do you have to use all of the skills and tools at your disposal which you hopefully learn here at Grace Baptist Church where word of God is revered. You try to lead out into the open for all to see the meaning of a passage--that's what Jesus did with the Father. The Christ brings YHWH into focus for us so that we can begin to understand what He is like and what He expects of us. The distant, unknowable, unreachable, invisible God has now come to humankind.
More precisely, He's come to you and He's come to me. Jesus came to me when I was a 13 year old boy, 22 years ago. I'm now 35.
A sinful boy to a preacher. Which affirms the genuineness of Paul's confidence in the gospel, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. For it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes. He came to me as a 13 year old boy, and ever since YHWH is no longer been a stranger to me, but he's become so much more: my very best friend and more than that, He has become my Father. There is something warm hearted and tender about the term father when is properly understood and it's a monumental joy. To know YHWH in that personal child like and heart warming way. Jesus Christ makes that relationship possible! What does he do? He introduces us to the eternal Father. He breaks down the barrier of sin. He opens wide the door to salvation, He brings into focus for us who God is.

So What?

In all of this, I find many reasons to celebrate Jesus’ coming, do you? For me this is not just a bunch of theological babel or jargon. I will celebrate Jesus Christ and I hope you do too. I celebrate what Christ did for us: stooping down low to lift us up high.
What did He do?
He renounced comfort and befriended sinners like us, He satisfied needs with saving grace and rutter setting truth, He gave riches from all His fullness of grace piled on top of grace for every circumstance of life, and He announced YHWH. He brought the Father into focus for us. I celebrate what Christ did for us, I invite you to celebrate it too—first by receiving Him. If anybody in this sanctuary has not yet received Christ, now's the moment. Come to Christ now. And having received it, by receiving Christ, then be grateful for it. But I think authentic celebration goes beyond the initial reception of Jesus and initial gratitude for all that He’s done for us. I think authentic celebration must be followed by invitation what Christ did for us we are to do in miniature for others. His mission is a model for ours, so our mission should be a mirror of His.
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