Take a Good Look at the Lord - Part 2
Take a Good Look at the Lord - Part 2
Series: The Gospel of John
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - March 23, 2016
(Revised June 12, 2019)
*Last week, we started a verse by verse study of the Gospel of John. And in vs. 1-4, we saw four vital truths about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:
-The Lord had a big role in creation.
-The Lord is the revelation of God.
-The Lord has a unique relationship with God the Father.
-And the Lord is the root of all life.
*Tonight in vs. 4-11, God's Word show us much more about the Lord's life and His love. So please open your Bibles to John 1, and we will begin reading in vs. 4.
*One of our favorite hymns begins with a question: "O soul, are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see? There’s light for a look at the Savior, And life more abundant and free! Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace." (1)
*Nothing helps us more in our Christian walk than turning our eyes upon our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That's why I mentioned Isaiah 26:3 last week. There Isaiah declared to the Lord: "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You."
I. LET'S TURN OUR EYES ON JESUS TONIGHT. -- AND THE FIRST THING WE WILL SEE IS HIS LIGHT.
*God wants all of us to have His miraculous, Heaven-sent light, and it comes to us through Jesus Christ. Later in John 8:12, Jesus will proclaim to us: "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.''
1. SO WHAT KIND OF LIGHT IS JESUS? -- IN TONIGHT'S SCRIPTURE, HE IS OUR STRONG LIGHT.
*I say that, because the Lord's light flows out of His life. As vs. 4 says: "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." In Jesus was life that no one could ever take away! Oh yes, Jesus gave it away for us one time. But He never had to do that, and He never has to do it again!
*There is no light stronger than the light of Jesus Christ! And we need a strong light, because there is an awful lot of darkness in this world. John mentioned the darkness in vs. 5, when he said: "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
*"Darkness." That word represents the devil and all of his forces, plus all of the darkness in the heart of man. It is talking about all the spiritual darkness in the world today, all of the ignorance, unbelief, rebellion, hatred, murder, deceit and more.
*The darkness is always trying to conquer the light. You see, "comprehend" in vs. 5 isn't used the way we ordinarily use it. Here "comprehend" means trying to grab hold of something to possess it, so, a weak light just won't do. When it comes to spiritual darkness, a weak light will never get the job done.
*I keep this little flashlight in my office, and it's pretty much worthless. Last week Toby and Nicole brought some other flashlights into my office. At first, I thought they were carrying umbrellas! Those things were so bright you could almost use them to land an airplane. But thank God! Jesus Christ is the strongest light in the universe! In vs. 5, the light of Jesus Christ is strong enough to penetrate the darkness, and strong enough to prevail over the darkness!
2. JESUS IS OUR STRONG LIGHT, AND HE IS OUR SHINING LIGHT.
*The first part of vs. 5 says, "The light shines in the darkness," and that's what Jesus does. So, how does He do it? God's Word gives us a lot of insight in 2 Corinthians 4:3-6. There the Apostle Paul said:
3. . . Even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,
4. whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
5. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.
6. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness who has shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
*In other words: The devil darkens hearts, but the servants of God share the truth, and the Savior shines. He shines in our hearts for salvation, and that's when our hearts can see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
*What else happens when light of Jesus Christ shines in our hearts? Really, we see everything in a brand-new way, even our sinfulness for example.
*Dirt doesn't show up so much in the dark, but when a bright light shines, it's a totally different matter. And when the light of Jesus Christ shines in our hearts, we see our thoughts and actions differently, as the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin.
*Some people don't like the Lord's spiritual light shining on their dirt. They don't want to be convicted of their sins. That's why in John 3, Jesus will say this about Himself:
18. "He who believes in Him (i.e. He who believes in Jesus) is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
21. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.''
*When the Lord's light shines in our hearts, we see everything in a brand-new way, especially the goodness of God. We begin to see God's Hand at work in our lives and realize how good He has been to us.
*When the Lord's light shines in our hearts, it also helps overcome our fears. One of the classic fears that children have is being afraid of the dark. But when you turn on the light, everything's okay. And God wants to overcome the fears in our lives, so in Psalm 56:3, David told the Lord: "Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You."
*When the Lord's light shines in our hearts, good things also start to grow. You know that God wants us to grow as Christians, and when the light shines, the fruit grows. I'm talking about God's love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. When the light shines, all of God's good fruit grows in our hearts. We become better people when the light shines!
3. AND JESUS IS OUR SHINING LIGHT, BUT HE IS ALSO OUR SHARED LIGHT.
*There must be someone to share the light. There must be a witness, and in vs. 6-8, the Apostle John introduces us to one of God's witnesses: John the Baptist.
6. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.
8. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
*John the Baptist had two of the most important qualities we all need as witnesses for the Lord. One key was his humility. John the Baptist was a humble man.
*Verse 8 says: "He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light." John the Baptist carried out this crucial assignment with great humility. For example, in John 1:26-27:
26. John answered them, saying, "I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know.
27. It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.''
*And in John 3:28-31, we will hear John the Baptist say:
28. "You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, 'I am not the Christ,' but, 'I have been sent before Him.'
29. He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled.
30. He must increase, but I must decrease.
31. He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all."
*John the Baptist had the humility we all need as witnesses for the Lord. But he also had a hunger for people to believe. That's why vs. 7 says John the Baptist "came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe."
*John the Baptist shared the Light of the Lord. And most likely, he was the man who first shared the Light with the Apostle John. It happened later on in this chapter of John's Gospel.
*Starting in John 1:35, God's Word says:
35. Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples.
36. And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, "Behold the Lamb of God!''
37. The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
38. Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, "What do you seek?'' They said to Him, "Rabbi'' (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), "where are You staying?''
39. He said to them, "Come and see.'' They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour).
40. One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.
*John tells us that one of the two was Andrew, and Bible scholars believe that the Apostle John left his own name out due to his own humility. But John the Baptist first shared the light with the Apostle John.
*Who first shared the light of the Lord with you? Thank God for that person! And know that God wants us to share the light too. Maybe it's someone else you can invite to church this Sunday.
4. BUT JESUS IS OUR SHARED LIGHT, AND HE IS OUR SURE LIGHT.
*We can see this truth in vs. 9, where John said this about Jesus: "That was the true Light which gives light to every man who comes into the world."
*Only God knows the millions of hearts that have been ripped to shreds, because somebody lied. But we never have to worry about God telling the truth, because Jesus Christ is the true light!
II. AND WHEN WE TURN OUR EYES UPON JESUS, WE WILL SEE HIS LIGHT. BUT WE CAN ALSO SEE HIS LOVE.
1. AND WE SEE THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST IN HIS COMING.
*John points us to the Lord's love in vs. 10-11, where John said this about Jesus:
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 His own did not receive Him.
*In vs. 10, Jesus "was in the world," and in vs. 11, "He came to His own." That is one of the greatest things about love: It shows up. Love shows up to cheer us on. It shows up to help us, to hurt with us, to laugh with us, and to work with us.
*We see the love of Jesus Christ in His coming. And in these two short verses John tells us an awful lot about the Lord's coming.
*Notice in vs. 10 that the Lord's coming was mostly unnoticed by mankind. John tells us that Jesus "was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world did not know Him." Take away the Bible, and we only have a few vague references to our Lord. Rome was the center of civilization, rich, powerful, modern. Judea was a forsaken outpost on the backside of the empire.
*The Lord was mostly unnoticed by mankind. But He won't be the next time! Matthew 25:31 says "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory." And in Revelation 1:4-7, the Apostle John made this bold declaration for all Christians:
4. John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne,
5. and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,
6. and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
7. Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, and they also who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.
*Everybody is going to notice Jesus next time. And sometimes we may wish that Jesus would have come the first time the way He is coming the second time. But if Jesus had come the first time the way He's coming the second time, we never would have been able to spend all eternity with Him in Heaven.
*Ian Thomas put it this way:
"He had to come as He came in order to be what He was.
He had to be what He was in order to do what He did.
And He had to do what He did so that we might have what He has:
Everlasting life with God the Father in Heaven." (2)
*So the Lord's first coming was mostly unnoticed by mankind. Why did Jesus choose to come that way? He did it for love.
2. AND WE SEE THE LORD'S LOVE IN HIS COMING, BUT MOSTLY WE CAN SEE HIS LOVE IN HIS CROSS.
*Again In vs. 11, "He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him." Yes, Jesus’ coming was mostly unnoticed, but it was also unwelcomed.
*The Jews, especially their rulers, generally wanted someone to get the Romans off their backs. They wanted a conquering King to come and rescue them! They wanted political salvation and the good life. And they were pretty well satisfied with their religion as it was, thank you very much.
*But even that rejection was part of God's plan, because it led to the cross. How do we know that the death of God's Son was His plan from the beginning? His Word makes this truth clear in many places.
*For example, a thousand years before Jesus was born, in Psalm 22:16, the Holy Spirit led David to write this about the promised Messiah: "The assembly of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet." As far as we know, death by the cross didn't even exist when King David wrote these words!
*The first recorded crucifixions in history didn't happen until 500 years later in the Persian Empire. But God knew about the cross from all eternity past! And He revealed it to us in His Word. (3)
*Many other prophecies were fulfilled through the cross of Jesus Christ. In Psalm 22:18, the Holy Spirit also led David to write, "They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots." Matthew 27:35 tells us that this is exactly what the Roman soldiers did after they nailed Jesus to the cross.
*And 700 years before Jesus was born, Isaiah 53:5-6 tells us why the Lord suffered on the cross:
5. . . He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.
6. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
*That's how much God loves us!
*So take a good look at the Lord Jesus Christ. Take a look at His light, take a good look at His love, and keep your eyes on Jesus.
*King Duncan told about a preacher named Bro. Lolley. He was scheduled to be the guest preacher in a small church one Sunday morning. And as Bro. Lolley was waiting for the service to start, he decided that he needed to comb his hair and straighten his tie. Unfortunately, he couldn't find a mirror, but he did find a glass-framed picture hanging on the wall. And if he turned just right, he could see himself well enough in the reflection to comb his hair and fix his tie.
*But then Bro. Lolley noticed something. The picture behind the glass was a picture of Jesus. And when he stood at the proper angle to see himself, he couldn't see Jesus. But when Bro. Lolley turned at another angle to see Jesus, he could no longer see himself.
*Bro. Lolley said he couldn’t keep his eyes on himself and Jesus at the same time. He was deeply touched by that experience, and he never forgot it. (4)
*Neither should we. May God help us to take our eyes off ourselves and keep our eyes on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
*Would you please bow for prayer
(1) Words and music by Helen H. Lemmel, 1922 - This hymn was first published in Glad Songs, by the British National Sunday School Union. Its lyrics were inspired by the Gospel tract Focused, by Lilias Trotter.
(2) Adapted from EXPLORING THE GOSPELS: JOHN by John Phillips, Kregal Publications, Grand Rapids - "The Divine Light in Evidence" - John 1:6-13
-Britannica reports that the first historical record of Crucifixion was about 519 BC when "Darius I, king of Persia, crucified 3,000 political opponents in Babylon" (Encyclopaedia Britannica, crucifixion)
-Some further detail is given in "The Eerdman's Bible Dictionary", Rev. Ed., 1975: CROSS ... Crucifixion is first attested among the Persians (cf. Herodotus, Hist. i.128.2; iii.132.2, 159.1), perhaps derived from the Assyrian impalement. It was later employed by the Greeks, especially Alexander the Great, and by the Carthaginians, from whom the Romans adapted the practice as a punishment for slaves and non-citizens, and occasionaly for citizens guilty of treason. Although in the Old Testament the corpses of blasphemers or idolaters punished by stoning might be handged "on a tree" as further humiliation (Deut. 21:23), actual crucifixion was not introduced in Palestine until Hellenistic times. The Seleucid Antiochus IV Epiphanes crucified those Jews who would not accept hellenization (Josephus Ant. xii.240-41; cf 1 Macc. 1:44-50).
(4) Gary E. Parker, THE GIFT OF DOUBT - San Francisco: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1990 - pp. 90-91 - Source: Sermons.com sermon "Strength Through Weakness" by King Duncan - 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 - Preached Independence Day Weekend 1994