Faithlife Sermons

Christmas 2, January 2, 2022

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John 1:9–18 NRSV
9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. 15 (John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ ”) 16 From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.

Light, Word, Flesh

The world can seem very dark at times. The middle of the night. On a heavily cloudy, rainy day. In a room with no lights or open windows. Or whenever we realize the extent to which sin and selfishness have a hold on people, on us and on people we see every day. Darkness is real. It is scary. It is disappointing. But it doesn’t have to dominate our lives...
John 1:9 NRSV
9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
Jesus is that light. Where there is sin, he brings holiness. Where there is selfishness, he brings sacrificial love. Where there is war, he brings a true peace. Where there is indifference, he brings deep compassion. Light in the darkness.
He really came. That’s why John wrote. He really lived among people who knew him. That’s why Jesus is different. He really revealed the heart and the message of God like nothing ever before.
John 1:14 NRSV
14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

Grace and Truth

Grace to get behind our defenses and self-protection. Grace to see our need even when we think we are fine. Grace to lay down all privilege and heavenly worship to come into the darkness of our world. Grace to suffer for us. Grace to teach us all we need to know.
John 1:17 NRSV
17 The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Truth to reveal to us what God has done. Truth to reveal to us who God really is. Truth to tell us who we really are.

Children of God

We are sons and daughters of our heavenly father. Separated long ago from the ideal life that might have been. But now brought near to the better way now available to us in Jesus. He has given us the right. We don’t have that right on our own. No one is worthy of being in God’s family but Jesus himself. But Jesus made it all possible for you and for me.
John 1:12–13 NRSV
12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

We have Seen His Glory

It started so humble: Mary, Joseph, shepherds…but things went up a notch when Angels appeared.
John 1:14 NRSV
14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
John 1:18 NRSV
18 No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.
You can’t see the wind, but you can see it’s power. You can’t see God in God’s fullness, but people actually saw Jesus. You can see the stars and all creation that God made. It reveals some general things about God’s glory. But Jesus makes it personal. Jesus answered questions. Jesus revealed truth. More of God’s glory came through. At the moment of his baptism when a light from heaven shown, a dove descended and God spoke. At the moment we call the transfiguration, his appearance became white light and again God told us to listen to Him. When we celebrate Christmas we do it with bright clear lights that remind us how brightly the light of God shown.
All through this season. In recent days in our church we have seen his glory. All across our lives if we are honest. I hope you are seeing his glory today. As Christmas is drawing to a close, look to the fullness of what Jesus alone has done for you. See the grand sweep from the moment he was born to the powerful teaching to the cross and the resurrection. Accept his invitation to be in his family. The right to become children of God.

Grace upon Grace...

When you put it all together it is without doubt grace upon grace.
What a beautiful and powerful image. It is the grace of God to find any way to save us, to help us, to redeem us from ourselves and from this world we have broken with our sin. That’s grace. That God would love us at all and do anything to help us. We don’t deserve it, yet he chose to do it. That’s grace.
But the WAY that he did it. Stepping into our world. Like Neo plugging into the Matrix to set people free. Only harder and better. Jesus came into our world as a vulnerable baby, visited by shepherds and announced by angels. He showed us love. He taught us mercy. He challenged those in authority. Then he laid down his life. People saw him die on the cross for our sins. People saw him raised from the dead victorious over sin and death. People saw him ascend to heaven. God with us. God in the flesh. Now our risen Lord, dwelling in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. Now he gives us power from within. Take heart, he said, for I have overcome the world. So yeah it was grace for him to help us at all. But it was grace upon grace to give this extravagant gift of himself, transforming us and making us fit for a better world.
John 1:16 NRSV
16 From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
This Christmas you have received the wonderful gift of grace upon grace in Jesus. This morning as you begin a new year, begin with a deep awareness that God loves you more than you know.
Believe today, that you can trust him with your life. Some of us are struggling physically. Some of us have financial questions that aren’t fully resolved. Some of us have relationships that need healing and restoration. Some of us have doubts and fears that threaten our peace. But this morning understand that more than these we can have Jesus. If we belong to Him we have grace upon grace.
So don’t waste time continually weighing your options. Don’t be afraid you’re missing out if you follow Jesus. This is where the bust stuff is. Grace upon grace.
So focus right now. Make sure you see him for who he is. The Son of God. The Messiah. Your Lord. Today, make sure you see who you are: his child. With all the benefits and responsibilities that come with it.
John 1:12 NRSV
12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God,
Be counted among that number. Believe him and receive him before this Christmas moment passes yet again.
John 1:16 NRSV
16 From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
Let’s pray...
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