Waynedale United Methodist Church
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!

February 18, 2018 Sermon

“The Word Made Flesh”
John 1:1 – 14
Ted Jansen February 18, 2018 Waynedale UMC
1.)        As we begin our series on the book of John I want to focus on this verse. “These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31)
            The purpose for those who read the words of John is to believe in Jesus Christ and have life. My prayer is that you have life in Christ and have it in a fuller measure this Lent. 
If you are unsure of your relationship with Jesus Christ my prayer for you is in two expressions. I pray that you lean closer to His life and explore His love for you. I pray that you would begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Here is a prayer that can bring life in Christ to you. 
Jesus Christ, I believe in you and I trust you as my Lord and Savior. Thank you for your life, death and resurrection. Your love gives me life. Amen.
2.)        I want to share an introduction to John. We have in our New Testament four Gospels, which are four different accounts of the life of Jesus. They each have a different perspective that I shared in Advent as we looked at the beginning of each Gospel. 
Matthew, Mark and Luke are similar to each other in their overall approach to the life of Jesus. They focus on the actions and the teaching of Jesus, while John takes an approach that focuses on the theology of Jesus, and the relationship with the Father.    
3.)        Let’s look at John 1:1, 2.  
In the beginning. That is how John starts the Gospel. Does that sound familiar? That is how the book of Genesis starts.   John wants to tie in his account of Jesus with the account of creation and what God was doing there.  
            In the beginning was the Word.   This Word is the idea, concept, understanding of God.   It is abstract, but a way to describe God. The Word in Greek is logos, which means logical. 
            In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.   This might get a little complicated but as we seek to understand John he wants us to know that the Word is from the beginnings, and was with God, meaning there is a separation. There is a difference. This Word was God. The Word was equal, yet different.  
            He was with God in the beginning.   John repeats this truth so that we understand and won’t miss it. The Word was there at creation, at the very beginning. 
4.)        Let’s look at John 1:4. 
            In him was life. We read the first of the 47 times John mentions the word “life.” Life is what all of us want and desire. John is telling us that we can discover life in Him, the Word. 
            In him was life and that life was the light of men. John begins to describe life and use the idea of light that all seek. It is here that we begin to focus on the themes of life and light. 
In Adam Hamilton’s book, “John The Gospel of Light and Life,” Adam affirms that the word “life” is mentioned 47 times. Life is light that shines to us!    
5.)        In these opening words of John we discover three key words that communicate to us truth about Jesus. Jesus is light, life and Word.    
            We need to remember those words, especially light and life.     
6.)        John expresses a powerful truth when he writes the words in John 1:14. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  
            The Word is the Holy God. Flesh means human. Holy God became human! Not only did a Holy God become human, the Word made flesh made his dwelling among us.   God in human form lived on earth. God made flesh lived on earth and was seen by people who knew that the glory was from the Father, the One and Only.    
            This verse speaks loud and powerful about God and the strong, strong love that is visible. 
7.)        The Contemporary English describes John 1:14 this way. “The Word became a human being and lived here with us.” 
            Here is how the Message translation describes John 1:14. “The Word became flesh and blood and moved in to the neighborhood.” 
            God who became human moved into the neighborhood. We believe that God in the flesh moved into a neighborhood years ago. He lived most of His life in Nazareth, as the son of a carpenter. What kind of neighborhood, the world at the time, did Jesus move in to?    
8.)        Here's how Phillip Yancey describes the type of "neighborhood" Jesus moved into:
A succession of great empires tramped through the territory of Israel as if wiping their feet on the vaunted Promised Land. After the Assyrians and Babylonians came the Persians, who were in turn defeated by Alexander the Great. He was eventually followed by Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the Jews' worst villain until Hitler. Antiochus began waging war against the Jewish religion. He transformed the temple of God into a worship center for Zeus and proclaimed himself God incarnate. He forced young boys to undergo reverse circumcision operations and flogged an aged priest to death for refusing to eat pork. In one of his most notorious acts he sacrificed an unclean pig on the altar in the Most Holy Place, smearing its blood around the temple sanctuary.
Antiochus's actions so incensed the Jews that they rose up in an armed revolt that's celebrated every year as the holiday Hanukkah. But their victory was short-lived. Before long, Roman legions marched into Palestine to quash the rebellion and appointed Herod, their "King of the Jews." After the Roman conquest, nearly the entire land lay in ruins. Herod was sickly and approaching seventy when he heard rumors of a new king born in Bethlehem, and soon howls of grief from the families of slain infants drowned out the angels' chorus of "Glory to God … and on earth peace." First-century Israel was a conquered, cowed nation. This, then, was the neighborhood Jesus moved into: a sinister place with a somber past and a fearful future.
Adapted from Philip Yancey, The Question That Never Goes Away (Creative Trust Digital Kindle Edition, 2013)
            Wow. It doesn’t sound like a nice neighborhood at a nice time in history to be around!  
9.)        What would it be like if Jesus moved into our neighborhood today? What would it be like if Jesus went to school at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida? What would it be like if Jesus worked where you worked and was the boss of your company? What would it be like if Jesus lived in Puerto Rico during the hurricane? What would it be like if Jesus lived in Ft Wayne where shooting and violence occurs? The Word became flesh and blood and moved in to the neighborhood. 
            God loves you, God loves me, so much that He chose to leave the splendor of heaven, which is perfect and holy and amazing to come to our world, our neighborhood. 
            God, in Jesus, brings light and love and life to each one who will dare to let that love come to their heart, their spiritual home. 
10.)      Here is a story of how close love can come to our lives, our needs, our hearts, our bodies, and our personal address. 
            “My uncle Greg had cerebral palsy, and he was a quadriplegic. He was an incredible inspiration to me. He was one of those guys who had a golden attitude, and he accepted his lot in life and ministered to a whole lot of people in his own way. He was able to get around quite well with an electric wheelchair, but his speech was difficult to understand.
A few years ago he attended a handi-camp week at Country Lake Christian retreat. One of our church members served as a volunteer that week, and he was assigned to my uncle Greg. That meant that for four solid days, 24 hours a day, he did everything for my uncle Greg. John fed him every bite. He gave him every drink. He slept on a concrete floor on an air mattress beside Uncle Greg's bed. He took him to the bathroom and cleaned him up. He did everything for four days for Greg. John even got some of his friends together and took my uncle Greg out on the lake in a floatation device. He swam for the very first time in his life.
On the very last day of camp, they call the servant volunteer up onto the platform next to the camper. They talk all about the camper, and they recap all the different things they've done. Then they ask them one question: "What was your favorite thing of the week?" They always say the same thing—swimming. They were a little concerned that they wouldn't be able to understand Uncle Greg because of his speech.
So John got up there with Uncle Greg, and he talked all about the different things that Greg had done that week. He said, "We've nicknamed him 'The Fish' because he loves to swim so much." He said, "Okay, Greg. It's your turn now. What was your favorite part of the entire week?" Everybody could understand my uncle Greg, because my uncle Greg raised his hand up and pointed back and said, "You." John said, "Oh, there had to be something else. Was it the swimming? Was it the snack time?" Greg raised his hand up again. He said, "You." (Written by Dave Stone, Pastor at Southeast Christian Church)  
11.)      When a life comes close it touches our hearts in powerful ways. When we see love and a life next to ours and we are asked what is the best part of our day, we too would say, “You!”    Yes, you Lord, being right next to me is what gives life and light to me. 
Perhaps one of the most familiar verse in John is this. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) 
Do you know that life? Do you know that light in your darkened world? You can have life today in the name of Jesus by believing.   
            I am going to ask you to pray out loud the prayer that I introduced at the beginning of my message. Let us pray. 
            Jesus Christ, I believe in you and I trust you as my Lord and Savior. Thank you for your life, death and resurrection. Your love gives me life. Amen.
12.)      As we consider the gift of love let us be the people who takes the light and shares it in some way this coming week. 
            “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine. (Repeat) 
“Don’t let Satan blow it out, I’m going to let it shine. (Repeat)  
“Shine it to my family, I’m going to let us shine. (Repeat)