12 Dec 2010
December 12, 2010
John 1: 1-18
In the beginning the Word already existed. He was with God, and he was God. He was in the beginning with God. He created everything there is. Nothing exists that he didn't make. Life itself was in him, and this life gives light to everyone. The light shines through the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. (1 John 1:2, Col 1:16, John 5:26, John 3:19)
God sent John the Baptist to tell everyone about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light, he was only a witness to the light. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was going to come into the world. (Matthew 3:1, 1 John 2:8, Isaiah 49:6)
But although the world was made through him, the world didn't recognize him, when he came. Even in his own land and among his own people, he was not accepted. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn! This is not a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan - this rebirth comes from God. (John 3:6, 1 Peter 1:23)
So the Word became human and lived here on earth among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father. (Gal 4:4, 1 Timothy 3:16)
John pointed him out to the people. He shouted to the crowds, "This is the one I was talking about when I said, 'someone is coming who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before I did.'" (Matthew 3:11)
We have all benefited from the rich blessings he brought to us - one gracious blessing afer another. For the law was given through Moses; God's unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. But his only son, who is himself God, is near to the father's heart; he has told us about him. (Cor 1:19, Ex 33:20, John 6:46, 1 John 4:9)
First off, please forgive me for the delay in transmission this morning. It could not be helped.
This morning I thought I would do something a little different and give you some cross references that support what is being said. Giving references lends credibility to the historical events being given and it shows the prophecy as well as the confirmation of existence. It reinforces the facts.
Last week I talked about the beginning, and, this week I emphazize it further with historical documentation. The Old Testament is propehcy and historical documentation. The New Testament is fulfillment of that prophecy and historical documentation.
Let's look at the first paragraph and the word 'Word'. Quoting the Life Application Bible (you may find variance with phraseology due to different texts, but the meaning is the same in context) it reads: The 'Word' was a term used by theologians and philosophers, both Jews and Greeks, in many different ways. In Hebrew Scripture, the 'Word' was an agent of creation (Psalm 33:6), the source of God's message to his people through the prophets (Hosea 1:2), and God's law, his standard of holiness (Pslam 33:6). In Greek philosophy, the 'Word' was the principle of reason that governed the world, or the thought still in the mind, while in Hebrew thought, the 'Word' was another expression for God. John's descriptionn shows clearly that he is speaking of Jesus (see especially 1:14) - a human being he knew and loved, but at the same time the Creatior of the universe, the ultimate revelation of God, the living picture of God's holiness, the One in whom "all things hold together" (Colossians 1:17). To Jewish readers, "the Word was God' was blaphemous. To Greek readers, "the Word became flesh" (1:14) was unthinkable. To John, this new understanding of the Word was gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ. [!!]
Life refers to God and light refers to Jesus in the text above. Darkness refers to the darkness of evil. "It (darkness/evil/Satan and his assigns) never has and never will overcome or extinguish God's light" per the Life Application Bible study notes. When it says he will 'give light to everyone', it means that he will light their lives with himself, love, truth.
The Life Application goes on with the following: 'We, like John the Baptist, are not the source of God's light, we merely reflect that light. Jesus Christ is the true Light; he helps us see our way to God and shows us how to walk along that way. But Christ has chosen to reflect his light through his followers to an unbelieveing world, perhaps because unbelievers are not able to bear the full blazing glory of his light firsthand. The word 'witnes's indicates our role as reflections of Christ's light. We are never to present oureslves as the light to others, but are always to point them to Christ, the Light.
Although Christ created the world, the people he created didn't recognize him (1:10). Even the people chosen by God to prepare the rest of the world for the Messiah rejected him (1:11), although the entire Old Testament pointed to his coming.
All who welcome Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives are reborn spiritually, receiving new life from God. Through faith in Christ, this new birth changes us from the inside out - rearanging our attitudes, desires, and motives. Being born makes you physically alive and places you in your parents' family (1 :13). Being born of God makes you spiritually alive and puts you in God's family (1:12). Have you asked Christ to make you a new person? This fresh start in life is available to all who believe in Christ.'
It may seem odd, that in the month we celebrate Christ's birth, I am first talking about rebirth prior to the joyous celebration of his birth. But he has been born, he does live, and he can live in you. Today was about reminding you, if you already know, and sharing with you, if you don't know, that Jesus Christ is here for you now, today, this moment standing by to be received by you. He is hoping you will open your heart and mind to him and receive all the love, life, and truth he has to give.
Jesus said (John 3), "I assure you, unless you are born again, you can never see the Kingdom of God.
The truth is, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives new life from heaven. So don't be surprised at my statement that you must be born again. Just as you can hear the wind but can't tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can't explain how people are born of the Spirit.
I assure you, I am telling you what we know and have seen, and yet you won't believe us. But if you don't even believe me when I tell you about things that happen here on earth, how can you possibly believe if I tell you what is going on in heaven? For only I, the Son of Man, have come to earth and will return to heaven again. And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so I, the Son of Man, must be lifted up on a pole, so that everyone who believes in me will have eternal life.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it.
There is no judgement awaiting those who trust him. But those who do not trust him have already been judged for not believing in the only son of God. Their judgement is based on this fact: The light from heaven came into the world, but they loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. They hate the light because they want to sin in the darkness. They stay away from the light for fear their sins will be exposed and they will be punished. But those who do what is right come to the light gladly, so everyone can see that they are doing what God wants."
What are you waiting for? Go to him now. Go gladly!
Let Us Pray
Dear Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but please come into my life, and only say the word and I shall be healed. Forgive me of any sins I may have committed, please. Heal me in all the ways I need to be healed. Cleanse me and make me whole. And help me be a beacon of your light as I go forth in the world. Let not another day go by that I do not shine you from within to others. 'You light up my life', Lord. Please continue to help me be an open and ready vessel for you to be there for others, continuing to give as I go. And let me be reminded that as you go through me to others....you are in me...and that makes my body a temple for you, Lord God. May I continue to always respect it by eating right, living right, and doing all I can to share with others who you are, that you are, and how wonderful you are. Thank you, Lord, for being there for me and making my life a miracle in action. Continue granting me those miracles you've promised and help me to pray for miracles in others' lives as well. Thank you again. I love you. Amen.
Let us hear from Paul as he prays:
When I think of the wisdom and scope of God's plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21 NLT
Scroll down to read Jesus' Prayer of Thanksgiving...'The Unforced Rythms of Grace'.
Definition of a Christian: Anyone who believes in God, Jesus and Holy Spirit, and accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior. Regardless of church name or religious affiliation.
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"Go and make disciples out of all the nations
baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this:
I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
Our Current Cause
It is time to reach into the community and the world around you to see wherein lies the greatest need. As you choose to focus on these areas, do so with a servant's heart. Whether the need is for children, adults, or animals, or any cause in between that will help those in need, ask God how you can best serve his needs, what path you must take, and how long you should persevere. Sometimes we are to be in the lives of others merely as stepping stones. Sometimes we are to touch those lives forever. Whatever journey you are called to take, whatever team you will be a member of, know this: God is with you always...even til the end of time. He loves you, is grateful for you, and will help you along life's way, especially if you are helping others along theirs, persevering with a servant's heart.
Please accept my sincerest thanks....and God's....and may God richly bless you!
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One last thing....
Jesus' Prayer of Thanksgiving
'The Unforced Rhythms of Grace'
"Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer: "Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You've concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people. Yes, Father, that's the way you like to work."
Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly. "The Father has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father - Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does. But I'm not keeping it to myself; I'm ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen."
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn how to live freely and lightly.
Matthew 11: 25-30
And the people said,
I now write most prayers in the position of ' I ' (first person) because most people are sitting at their computer alone, not in groups, and it allows those reading and praying to personalize the prayer as coming from them going to God. Variations may appear on holidays when families may wish to use the prayer provided.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
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