November 2019  
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Jesus: The Promise Finalized
John 1:14
Through this brief series, we have focused on the subject, "Jesus, Oh What a Wonderful Child." He was the Promised Child. He was the promise of God foretold. He was the promise of God fulfilled. And today we conclude by looking at Jesus, the promise of God finalized.
In John 1: 14 we read those immortal words, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." John MacArthur said, "The Incarnation is the central miracle of Christianity, the most grand and wonderful of all things that God has ever done."
One commentator comments, "Genesis records the beginning of time. Revelation records the beginning of eternity. John records the beginning of redemption. In Genesis, God gives life to man. In John, God gives new life to man. In Revelation, God shares life with man."
John 1: 14 records the promise of God finalized in the Lord Jesus Christ. The miracle, message and meaning of Christmas is all about the Incarnation of Christ. 
The promise was foretold, the promise was fulfilled, and the promise was finalized in the words, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us."
Let's consider these words by notice 3 glorious truths. These words describe:
We read in verse 1, "In the beginning was the Word." Jesus is described as the "Word." This is a title that is exclusive to the writings of the Apostle John. The title comes from the Greek word logos, which means "to say something."
The Word speaks of communicating something. The idea is that Jesus communicates or reveals the Father to us. In other words, Jesus Christ is the communication of God to the world. 
We read in verse 18, "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him."  Jesus is the great communication of the Father. No one has ever seen God directly, but in Jesus the Father is communicated to us.
When God sent Jesus to earth, that was His way of communicating to the earth. 
In this communication, we are told of
Look back at verses 1-2.
This is one of the greatest statements in the Bible concerning the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. The deity of Christ is the hinge upon which the door of faith must swing. It is a doctrine that contains no gray area. 
For someone to claim to be a Bible-believing Christian, they must hold to the premise of the deity of Christ. Simply put, they must not waver from the truth that JESUS CHRIST is GOD!
The words "In the beginning," are confusing to some people. They take those words to mean that Jesus had a beginning. But, the "beginning" in view is the beginning of creation. It is the beginning of things as we know them today.
But, before the "beginning," Jesus was. 
They do not declare that Jesus was one of the created beings, or that the beginning included the beginning of His existence. Rather, they declare that when all things had a beginning, Jesus already was. He existed before all things came into being.
I love A. W. Pink's commentary, "There was never a time when He was not, and there will never come a time when He shall cease to be. He was neither evolved, grown, nor improved. He cannot change for the better, for He is already perfect. Being perfect, He cannot change for the worse. Altogether unaffected by anything outside of Himself, improvement or deterioration is impossible."
If you could walk back to the first moment of time and there stand on the edge of eternity, you would find Jesus. If it were possible to step off that edge and travel eons of time back into eternity you would still find Jesus. In fact, no matter how far back into eternity you travel you will always find Him existing.
In fact, John makes 2 statements about Christ. First, he states that He "was with God." The word "with" is the Greek preposition pros literally means, "Towards, or facing."
The idea is that Jesus and God acted together, or in agreement, in all things. Their relationship was in all things in perfect harmony, acting as one.
Not only does he say that Jesus "was with God;" but, second, he states that He "was God." The word "was" is a word that is often used for deity. It means, "To be or I am." It speaks of that which is of continuous existence, without beginning or origin. Simply put, in the beginning we see the One who had no beginning.
When we talk about the trinity, we are not talking about three Gods; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We are talking about one God manifested in three persons.
Jesus is essentially God. Jesus is equally God. Jesus is eternally God. Jesus is God! If you want to know what God is like, just look into the Word, which is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Not only do we discover His eternal existence, but:
verse 3
Jesus is not only the One who has the power to convert a life, but He is the One who has the power to create a life. He is not only the Architect, but He is the Author of all things.
It is like John was saying, "If you have any questions about His power, there would not have been anything made if He had not made it."
It is not just a matter of all things existing because He made them, but if He had not made all things there would not be anything.
Paul said in Colossians 1: 16-17, "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist."
I love the black preacher S.M. Lockridge's description of creation. He said, "God stepped from behind the curtain nowhere, onto the platform of nothing, and spoke a world into existence. The reason God came from nowhere was because there wasn't anywhere for Him to come from.
And coming from nowhere, He stood on nothing, and the reason He stood on nothing was there was nowhere for Him to stand. And standing on nothing, He reached out where there was nowhere to reach and caught something where there nothing to catch, and hung something on nothing, and told it to stay there. Then standing on nothing He took the hammer of His own will and He struck the anvil of His omnipotence and sparks flew everywhere.
He caught these sparks from the tips of His fingers and flung them into space and bedecked the heavens with stars. And nobody said a word. The reason nobody said anything was because there wasn't anybody there to say anything. So God Himself said by Himself, to Himself, 'That's good!'"
He is the God who created this world, He is the God who controls this world, and He is the God who has the absolute right to do anything with this world, for this world, in this world, or to this world that He chooses to do.
Secondly, I want you to not only consider that Jesus is the first communication of God, but Jesus is:
A kindergarten teacher asked everyone in her class to draw a picture of something important to them. Everyone else had finished their drawings, but little Johnny, in the back of class, was still drawing away. 
The teacher walked back to Johnny, put her arm around his shoulder and asked, "Johnny, what are you drawing?" He said, "I'm drawing God." She said, "Johnny, no one knows what God looks like." He said, "They will when I get through!"
We know what God looks like because of Jesus. We know what God is like because of the Word, which is Jesus. Jesus is not only the first communication of God to the world; but, He is the full manifestation of God to the world.
In these immortal words, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us," we see that:
He Came to be LIKE Us
Let these words sink into your soul, "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." 
That statement is one of the most significant and memorable ever penned. The importance of it is matchless. The implications of it are limitless. It represents the heart and soul of Christmas. It reveals the heart and soul of the gospel. 
Jesus "was made flesh." That phrase describes what we know as the Incarnation. It simply means that Jesus became one of us, and became like us.
The One, who had no beginning as God, has a beginning as man. He stepped down the staircase of eternity into the stairwell of time to become a man.
The word "was made" literally means, "To become." It expresses the idea of becoming something that it was not before. In other words, the Word had always been the Word; but, at the Incarnation, He became something He had never been before.
What did He become? He became, "flesh." The word "flesh" encompasses the whole person, physically, mentally, and emotionally. In other words, Jesus Christ assumed both a physical body and a human personality. He was clothed in an earthly, human tabernacle.
The longer that I am saved, the more this thought amazes me that God became a man. God the Son, the Lord of Glory, the Lord Jesus Christ, without ceasing for a moment to be divine, united Himself to a full human nature, and became an authentic human being.
Think about it!
Jesus, "whom God hath appointed heir of all things" (Heb. 1:2) became man.
Jesus "by whom He created all things, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions or principalities or powers" (Col. 1:16) became man.
Jesus "the image of the invisible God" (Col. 1:15) became man.
Jesus "the brightness of God's glory" (Heb. 1:3) became man.
Jesus who is "so much better than the angels" (Heb. 1:4) became man.
Jesus in whom "dwells all the fullness of the God-head bodily" (Col. 2:9) became man.
Jesus, "head of all principalities and power" (Col. 2:10) became man.
Jesus into whose hands God "hath committed all judgment" (John 5:22) became man.
Jesus, who in eternity rested on the bosom of the Father without a mother, and in time rested on the bosom of a mother without a father, became man.
Jesus, co-equal, co-essential, co-existent, co-eternal with God, having glory with God before the world was became man. He came to be like us. He became one of us. In His earthly body, He associated with everything we would ever fight, we would ever face, and we would ever fear.
The amazing part is that He came to be like us, and take upon Himself the total existence of humanity and He did it all "yet without sin."
But, John not only tells us that He came to be like us, but:
He Came to be WITH Us
He not only "was made flesh," but we're told that "He dwelt among us." The word "dwelt" means, "To pitch a tent." 
We could read the verse this way, "The Word was made flesh, and pitched His tent, or tabernacled among us." 
The imagery takes us back to the Old Testament days of the tabernacle. And, the connection between the tabernacle and the Incarnation are simply astounding.
The Tabernacle was a temporary provision to accommodate the unsettled years of Israel's national existence.  Likewise, Jesus' life, in the flesh was a temporary period, somewhere in the range of 33 years.
The Tabernacle was covered with unattractive skins. In like manner, the glory of Christ was covered with a veil of humanity. Isaiah prophesied that He would have "no form nor comeliness" that "when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him." (Isaiah 53:2)
The Tabernacle was the place of God's presence among His people. At the Incarnation, "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself."
The Tabernacle was the place where God met with man in fellowship and communion. It is likewise true that men meet God in Jesus Christ.
The Tabernacle was the place where the high priest made atonement for the sins of the people. 
And in His person, Jesus Christ is the Great High Priest who offered the full and final provision for sin forever.
When Jesus became "flesh," God pitched His tent in the earth. Christ "made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men." (Philippians 2: 7)
The 1st Christmas had nothing to do with Christ's beginning as God, but with Christ's beginning as a man. It was not the beginning of His eternal existence, but of His earthly existence. 
The reason we celebrate Christmas is because Jesus came to be like us, and He came to be with us. "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us."
Finally, Jesus is not only the first communication of God and the full manifestation of God; but, Jesus is:
One day, Philip said to Jesus, "Show us the Father." Jesus said, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." In other words, Jesus Christ is the full, finished, and final revelation of God to man.
When a person sees Jesus, they see God. When a person meets Jesus, they meet God. When a person loves Jesus, they love God. When a person serves Jesus, they serve God.
I love Hebrews 1: 1-3, "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets. 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son."
God revealed Himself through Creation. God revealed Himself through the Law. God revealed Himself through the Tabernacle. God revealed Himself through the sacrifices. God revealed Himself through the prophets. 
But, God revealed Himself for the final time through the Lord Jesus Christ. 
In this final revelation, God revealed 2 things. First of all:
We read in verse 14, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."
Grace and truth represent the 2 dominant qualities of the life of Christ. Grace is what Jesus did; truth is what Jesus said. Grace is what Jesus demonstrated; truth is what Jesus declared.
That poses the question, "Why did Jesus come as 'grace and truth?'" He came to reveal the grace of God, and to reveal the truth about God.
Because of the fall of man, we were sinners, lost without God, having no hope in the world. From Genesis 3 on, man had been separated from God, alienated from God, and isolated from God. Sin rendered us defiled, depraved, destitute and dead.
Furthermore, there was no way for man to get back to God. The bridge had been broken, and the chasm was far too wide. 
But, Jesus came and pitched His tent among us to bring man to God and God to man, in order to reconcile the two back together.
We did not demand it. We did not desire it. We did not deserve it; but God did it for us anyway. It is called grace. 
As a result, we read in verses 12-13, "as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."
And one day, standing on the shore of the Jordan River John saw grace coming toward him, and declared in verse 29, "Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world." Because of sin we required grace, and through the Savior, we received grace.
However, grace was not only showered upon us, but:
John, the evangelist, has established the glorious truths that the "Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." He has described His life as being "full of grace and truth."
But, he brings it to the highest crescendo by saying, "(and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father)." 
The word "beheld" speaks of a careful gaze, or a studied look.
The 1st chapter of John offers several different titles to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is called The Word (v. 1), the Light (v. 7), the Lamb of God (v. 29), the Christ (v. 41), the Son of God (v. 49), the King of Israel (v. 49), and the Son of Man (v. 51).
But, the greatest description given to Him is found in verse 14. He is referred to as the "glory of the only begotten of the Father." Hebrews 1: 3 describes Jesus as being "the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person."
The word "glory" is one of the greatest words in the Bible. It is a word that occurs almost 400 times, and the word carries the idea of weight or worth. 
When the Bible speaks of God's glory, it means the essential presence of God, in all of His splendor, as He reveals Himself to men. Thus, wherever God is, there is glory. Whatever God does, it is glorious. Without God, there could be no glory; and, without glory, there would be no God. God is glory and glory is God.
The glory of God is beheld in Creation. The glory of God is beheld in the Incarnation. At the birth of Christ, God wrapped up His glory in a human body for the world to behold.
The glory of God is beheld at the Crucifixion. He that was God became a man. He that became a man died as a man for man. He came to die that man might live. 
That is why we can sing:
Down at the cross,
Where my Savior died;
Down where for cleansing,
For sin I cried.
There to my heart
Was the blood applied,
Glory to His name.
The glory of God is beheld in the Resurrection. His beaten, battered, bruised, broken and bloody body is taken down off of the cross and laid in a tomb. But, since you can't keep glory in a tomb, 3 days later He arose with the "keys of hell and death."
The glory of God is beheld at the Ascension. In Acts 1: 9, 40 days after His resurrection, He ascended back to Heaven as a "cloud" of glory "received him out of their sight."
When John says, "and we beheld his glory," he is speaking of personal, past, and present revelations of the glory of God. 
But, there is yet to be one more final revelation of the glory of God.
It is described in Titus 2: 13, "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ." The phrase "glorious appearing" is literally rendered "THE APPEARANCE OF THE GLORY!"
In other words, Jesus Christ is the glory; and, when He appears in the clouds of glory, it will be a time of glory, because HE IS THE GLORY!
It refers to the day when, "The Lord himself will descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God."
At that moment, the Lord of Glory will step out on the clouds of glory; give a shout of glory, tell the angel to blow the trumpet of glory to be heard by those who are being changed from "glory to glory," so that He might take them to their eternal home of glory. 
And on that day, everyone who has been glory-born will become glory-bound. And He will "shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body."
And one of these days, the Glory will go walking through glory while all heaven sings “Glory to God in the Highest”!
The first time He came in humility. The next time He will come in majesty. The first time He came in grief. The next time He will come in glory. The first time He came He was "despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows acquainted with grief." The next time He comes, "every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, things in earth, and things under the earth, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord."
The first time He came He was laid on a Roman tree. The next time He comes He will occupy a Heavenly throne. The first time He came they spat upon Him. The next time He comes He will smite the nations. 
The first time He came to be crucified. The next time He will come to be crowned.   The first time He stood up, He welcomed Stephen home. 
The next time He stands up, He will welcome us home!  
One day, after the final Battle has been fought, He will come again. At that moment every king, every queen, every dictator, every prime minister, every czar, every president, every skeptic, every scoffer, every atheist, every agnostic, every infidel, every God-hater, and every Christ rejecter will have to admit that He is the "King of Kings and Lord of Lords, to the glory of God the Father." 
And, once and for all, we will be there to behold Him in all of His glory! 
What is Christmas all about? It is all about Jesus the promise foretold, Jesus the promise fulfilled, and Jesus the promise finalized. God finalized His eternal plan by sending Jesus to come down and be like us, so that we could go up and be like Him, forever and ever.
Jesus, Jesus,
Oh what a wonderful child.
Jesus, Jesus,
So lowly, meek and mild.
New life, new hope, new joy He brings,
Won't you listen to the angels' sing?
Glory! Glory! Glory!
To the newborn King.
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