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Untitled Document
John1:1-5 John 1: 6-18 John 1:19-51 John 2 John 3:1-21
John 3:22-36 John 4: 1-42 John 4:43-54 John 5:1-15 John 5:16-47
John 6:1-40 John 6:41-71 John 7: 1-53 John 8:1-30 John 8; 31-53
John 9:1-41
John 10:1-42
John 11: 1-57 John 12: 1-26 John: 27-50
John 13: 1-38 John 14:1-14 John 14: 15-31 John 15: 1-17 John 15: 18-27
John 16: 5-33 John 17:1-26 John 18: 1-16 John 18: 15-27 John 19: 1-16
John 19: 17-30 John 19: 31-42 John 20: 1-23 John 20: 24-31 John 21: 1-25
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Gospel of John Series,

John 1:1-5

 

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.  In him was life; and the life was the light of men.  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not” (John 1:1-5). 

 

“Let’s say a word of prayer, and we’re going to begin in John chapter 1.  ‘Lord, as we now take this opportunity to look at your Word together, we ask you Holy Spirit that you would be upon us, and that you would open our eyes to these truths, and help us to have a greater realization simply Jesus of who you are, as we look at your Word.  Certainly the more we see you, the more we comprehend and understand who you are and how you view us.  So much of the Christian experience is understanding and comprehending that.  That is life-changing, more and more as we simply see you for who you are.  And I ask Holy Spirit again that you’d work in our minds and our hearts so you’d be upon me as I share your Word and upon all of us, in Jesus name we pray.  Amen’ 

 

background information

 

          John chapter 1, verses 1-5, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through him, and without him nothing was made that was made.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”  So, the Gospel of John.  Let’s get a little bit of the background information out of our way.  Who wrote the gospel of John?  I’m sure you can make a pretty good guess at that, if you haven’t even studied it before.  We’re not told in these words here who it is that’s written this gospel, but as you go on the authorship becomes clearer and clearer, and that is, the apostle, the disciple John is the author of this gospel.  And that is something to consider, in the sense that this man was with Jesus, so this man has a tremendous resource of personal experience to write from, a vast resource of knowledge and insight.  He was right there with Jesus, so he writes from that perspective, from his own experience.  And his perspective is also interesting as we consider his view of Jesus, and his view of how Jesus viewed him.  As we go on we’ll see that he says this several times, he uses this to describe himself, and that is ‘as the disciple whom Jesus loved.’  That’s how he saw himself, that’s how he notes himself in this gospel, “I am the disciple whom Jesus loved.”  That’s a pretty good perspective to have of yourself.  And that gives us this perspective too, as we go through.  Certainly that understanding had an impact upon his life.  I would say it had a tremendous impact upon his life.  Initially, we know this in the gospel of Mark, Jesus named John and his brother James “the sons of thunder”, that is what they are initially named, and maybe they kept that name from that point on.  But why were they called that?  We don’t know exactly, but we do know that literally the words ‘sons of thunder’ can also be translated ‘sons of violent temper.’  And it’s possible that these guys were hot-headed guys, these guys were strong, forceful guys.  If that is the case, you do see some glimpses of that in the gospel itself, and other gospels also, such in Luke chapter 9.  You know, Jesus, you might remember, wasn’t welcome in this one Samaritan village.  What was John’s response?  He says “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven, consume them, just as Elijah did?”  That’s what this guy’s perspective was, it wasn’t very merciful to me, it wasn’t very gracious at that point in time.  ‘Let’s nuke ‘em Lord’ is what he says, ‘this entire village.’  ‘They’re not going to be nice to us, so let’s just blast ‘em and take care of ‘em.’  Well Jesus responds and says “You do not know what manner of spirit you’re of.”  ‘There’s a heart issue there, John, there’s a spirit.’  So maybe that’s why he and James were called “The sons of thunder.”  Well, as time goes on, though, this man becomes “the apostle of love.”  That’s what he begins to be known as from his writings, but also historically.  We know, we just studied Peter, Peter was the “apostle of hope”.  Paul was “the apostle of faith”, but John is “the apostle of love.”  So here’s a man that says, you know, the one whom Jesus loved.  But also he’s later known as a man of love himself, a man that this word love really is something that just describes his real perspective and his heart toward life.  There are also some stories in early church history that tell us that love was really the life and breath of this man John, the apostle John.  We know that John was the only disciple that wasn’t martyred, he lived to about the age of 94, so he lived to be an old man.  There was a Roman emperor, Domician, who sought to kill John, in fact, he had him boiled in oil.  But in an amazing way, God delivered John, and he actually survived being boiled in oil.  So in AD 95 we’re told historically that this Roman emperor had him exiled to this rock out in the water called Patmos, and he was to live there.  It was there then that God gave him visions, visions that we now read about in the book of Revelation.  But after Domician’s death John was then allowed to return to Ephesus in AD 97, and he lived there until his death.  But during the final years of his life, we learned, this man was old, this man was tired, yet this man had a real heart.  And he would go to various churches and speak.  In fact, he was so weak they’d carry him around on a stretcher.  And being weak and not being able to say much, he would say just a little bit.  But when he would go to these various places, man, people would break out in applause, ‘this is the one that actually leaned on the breast of Jesus.’  And the churches would just say, ‘Ah, what a privilege to have this man come and speak to us.’  So we have the privilege of actually studying this gospel that he has written.  But the historian Eusibius tells us that it was his custom when he would go and speak, he couldn’t say much, but he would say “Little children, love one another”, you know, 1st John, “Little children, love one another.”  That’s what he would teach.  And if anybody ever wondered or questioned, he would repeat that phrase.  Why would he only say that and repeat that?  He would answer, “This is what the Lord commands you, and this if you do it, is sufficient.” “Little children, love one another”, he’d go to the next church, here comes John, they’re all excited, packed house, it’s time to give the teaching, they’re waiting, and he’d say “Little children, love one another.”  And that’s what he would teach. But it’s pretty significant.  This man had been touched by the love of God. [And did the early Judeo-Christian churches in Asia Minor follow this teaching, as well as those in North Africa?  Log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/LegacyOfLove.htm to see for yourself.]   We also learn from different historians, Chrysostom, and Eusibius, that when he returned from the Isle of Patmos, a young man that had originally been under his care who he was working with had basically stumbled and been misled, and was then even joined up with a band of robbers.  But from their account, this old man then went seeking for this younger person, he even sought him in the mountains.  And through a fearless and faithful love, he took this young person and turned his life around again and got him back on track.  But that’s a story we have from early church writings.  So the apostle of love, the one who refers to himself as “the one whom Jesus loved.”  And I believe there’s certainly a connection, and I believe it’s true in your life, my life this morning.  It’s how it works for you and I.

 

Spirit of revival

 

There’s something very powerful that takes place in me when I realize more and more of the extent of how much Jesus loves me.  There’s something that happens in my life more and more as I understand and I discern and I see how much God loves me that’s really significant.  You and I, self esteem is not what we need.  That’s not what we need.  It isn’t even healthy to be thinking so much about ourselves, and I think that’s part of the problem in America, is we think too much about ourselves.  We think and are consumed with what we are or what we are not, or we’re consumed with what we have or what we don’t have, we’re thinking way too much about ourselves.  So the problem isn’t self-esteem, that’s not what we need.  I believe that’s also a significant issue in the Church, in this culture, we think too much about ourselves.  But what we need to do is discern how much God loves us, and see his love for you and I, and it’ll have an effect on our lives.  In fact, I believe the more we do that, there’s a spirit to revival, and that’s the spirit to revival.  I’ve been studying this a little bit myself, God has been speaking to me.  But when you know you’re loved, and you sense and you understand the love of God, you can’t help but love others.  It just fills you.  It moves you.  It effects you.  And you’re driven.  And you’re moved to love others.  And that’s the best life you can possibly live, is a life living for others, a life loving others.  In fact, that is revival.  [Why?  Because others can’t help but respond to that love.]  Isaiah 58, I was even there this week, considering that chapter.  And I believe in America the reason we’re not seeing a revival is because we don’t understand the heart of revival, and it’s this expression of love.  Just as the apostle John used to say, “Little children, love one another.”  ‘Little children, love one another, stop thinking so much about yourselves, and think about the love of God, and learn that love of God, and then love others.’  Isaiah 58, verses 6-7  “Is this not the fast that I have chosen?”, ‘all your fasts, all your ceremonies, all your works really don’t matter to me.’  “This is what I want” he says, “to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke.  Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out.  When you see the naked that you cover him, and hide not yourself from your own flesh.”  ‘Isn’t that the fast I’m looking for, in Isaiah 58, that you love the orphan, that you care for the widow?’  And that’s a sacrificial love, that isn’t just a little program in a church, that’s an individual love, that’s a heart, that’s a spirit.  And he says further (verse 8), “Then your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear-guard.  Then you shall call and the Lord will answer, you shall cry and he will say ‘Here I am’.”  Isaiah says ‘I will pour out revival if you learn to love.’  That’s what he says.  If you learn to love in a real heart of love, that is to love the needy.  Truly to care and be burdened and to lay your life down sacrificially.  And I believe that’s why we don’t see revival in the Church, because especially in America we’re not seeing it is because we’re in this self-esteem culture where we’re thinking so much about ourselves.  But John, this disciple who knew the love of God, then was known as the apostle of love, he’d been really touched by the love of God, he’d really comprehended and taken hold of the love of God, and man, he couldn’t help but love other people.  In fact, that’s what he lived for.  You know, the Lord’s really been ministering to my heart about that.  I’ve even considered my own life more and more, ‘what does it mean, Lord?  What does it mean, from every area of my life, from my finances to my time?—this loving other people, I want that thrust, I want that spirit in my heart, that Isaiah chapter 58 spirit.  But I believe the Lord also wants us as a church, to all the more consider the orphan, to consider the widow, and to as a church even sacrificially to love the needy.  I’m going to be talking more about that in the future.  But there’s things we’ve talked about in the past, if you’ve been around here long enough, I’ve talked a lot about orphans and widows and wondered what the Lord would have us do, and I think not long into the future God is going to have us become part of certain types of works, where we get the real blessing of really putting clothes on somebody that doesn’t have clothes, and taking an orphan and getting them into a home, and doing those sorts of things.  But not just doing it as a little thing on the side, but saying as a body of believers, as a church, we’re going to sacrificially lay our lives down, and we’re going to do this.  Because that is revival.  Not to do it in work, but to do it in spirit, to do it from the heart.  When the love of God has been poured into your heart, you are somebody who loves others.  In fact, 1st John, that is the litmus test.  He says, “do you walk in the light or do you walk in darkness.  If you walk in the light, you will love your brother.”  You will love others.  Well, this understanding of God’s love for me, that understanding as it grows in my heart, will cause me to become a more powerful vessel of his love towards others.  So, John the disciple whom Jesus loved, then therefore the apostle of love.  And we get the privilege of considering this as we go, as we study John, may it be our prayer, Lord, help us to understand your love more.  Help us to not just understand the theology, help us to truly understand it in a real experience, a practical way, you’re love for me.  And as we do that, if we’ve done it successfully, we’ll see it in our congregation, we’ll see the fruit of it.  We’ll see a greater compassion and zeal for the gospel and for the lost.  We’ll see greater sacrificial giving and reaching the hurting and the needy people around the world [not just within the local area of our own congregations, is what he’s also getting at].  Maybe we’ll even see revival, because that is how it works.  That is the heart of revival.  [This website features a special tiny orphanage in south India that up to the  time of this transcription has gotten very little assistance, either locally or from abroad.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/evangelism/sisterchurches/BlessiOrphanHome.htm.  Also, to learn of a very cool way many hands can make the load light in the area of international evangelism and care-giving, log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/missionstatement.htm and make a commitment to become a viable part of the $5 a week program.  Doing this will contribute to bringing worldwide revival.]

 

More about John’s background

 

Well, a few other interesting things about John as we move on.  We can note about him he was the son of Zebedee [Matthew 4:21] and Salome, he was a native of the Galilee area of Bethsaida.  But we are told he was also the youngest of the apostles.  We know too he was also originally a disciple of John the Baptist, but John said “this is the Christ, go follow him”, so immediately John then followed Jesus Christ.  And there is, in this sense, as you study his life, this man was loyal, this man was passionate about following God.  You see it early on as a younger disciple, he was devoted, there was a loyalty there, and because of that Jesus had a special love for this zealous disciple, noted many times.  But again at the last supper, he was the man who was next to Jesus, he was the man who actually leaned back on Jesus’ breast, he was the one at the cross whom Jesus then said ‘Here’s my Mom, you take care of my Mom.’  [and none of the other 11 disciples were at the cross.]  So there was a special love even that Jesus had for John.  And John had this real loyalty.  He was the only one at the cross that we know of, so that man was a loyal man.  We also know he was part of this inner circle, Peter, James and John.  So he had the privilege of seeing certain things, of witnessing certain things, again the transfiguration of Jesus.  He was there.  He was there in the garden to see the agony of Jesus, so he writes from that heart.  But he was there at the cross, when he writes about this crucifixion, as we get there, he’s going to write about it from his own eyes, what he saw.  Not what he was told, but what he saw.  He was also at the tomb, one of the early ones at the tomb.  After the ascension he’s out preaching boldly, Acts chapter 4, though he was imprisoned, though he was scourged, though he was threatened with death.  And then later we read from Paul’s words that this man, as the Church got started, he was a pillar in the Church, Galatians chapter 2 we’re told that.   But in AD 65 history tells us he moved to Ephesus, he labored there in the gospel, spreading it throughout Asia Minor, and for years after the death of Paul, this man used his influence as an apostle, his personality and the respect he had from others, he widely exerted that to get the gospel message out.  [Also his disciple was Polycarp, who took over the reigns of the early Church that was in Asia Minor, and after that, Polycarp’s disciple Policrates.  John moving north to Ephesus in 65 AD brought Mary, Jesus’ mother, out of harms way well in advance of 70AD when the Roman’s destroyed the temple and Jerusalem.  Judeo-Christianity became centered in Asia Minor more and more after the first and second Jewish-Roman Wars (70AD and 135AD). “Polycarp (Ad70-156) was certainly a disciple of John”, p. 9,  F.F. Bruce, “the Gospel and Epistles of John”.  F.F. Bruce in his Introduction, page 13 says this about whom the Gospel was originally written for and when.  “But within John’s general Hellenistic environment [Asia Minor, Ephesus] can we think of one particular category of reader that he might have in mind?  Whom are the arguments deployed in the great debate of his central chapters designed to convince?  These general chapters are largely devoted to one sustained debate between Jesus and the religious leaders of Jerusalem—a debate which was carried on in the following decades between the followers of Jesus and the synagogue authorities.  The destruction of the temple and the cessation of the sacrificial worship in AD 70 made little difference to Jewish life in the dispersion.  The debate between the disciples and the synagogue authorities reached a critical stage around AD 90, when one of the prayers in the synagogue service was reworded so as effectively to exclude the followers of Jesus.  It was probably against this background that that Fourth Gospel was published, in order to bring members of the synagogue congregations in that area of the dispersion where the Evangelist and his associates lived to faith in Jesus as the Messiah of Israel, the Son of God, the Revealer of the Father.  Among members of synagogue congregations those most likely to be impressed where perhaps Gentile God-fearers who regularly attended services.”  And these God-fearers F.F. Bruce is talking about were considered to be more half-Jewish by their Gentile neighbors than Gentile. The churches in Asia Minor under and around John where not like what you’d imagine today, they were more Jewish in customs and days of worship than Gentile.  To read more about this era from 31-32AD to 325AD log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/index3.htm.]  Man, you could say he had a privileged life.  But at the same time, therefore, it’s a privilege for you and I to study what he has written about his time with Jesus.  So the author is John.  Who is his audience?  That’s important to note when you study the Gospels, different letters, who were they writing to?  Well he is writing to both Jew and to Gentile.  It’s seems that is his audience [particularly modified by what I quoted above and also that link going to a study on Early Church History].  So anybody who’s willing to read this is his audience.  John often interprets the Jewish customs, the Jewish words as he goes, as he refers to different things about the Jewish way of life, he gives some more insights, so somebody who is a non-Jew, a Gentile, will have more understanding.  He explains things.  But there’s also an emphasis to the Jews, because he doesn’t just seek to show that Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies, like Matthew, but he also talks about how Jesus fulfilled the types, referring to Jesus, the Lamb of God, Jesus, the Servant lifted up, things like that.  He shows that he’s also a fulfillment of all the types.  So he writes to the Jew, he writes to the Gentile [and this as F.F. Bruce said, was the God-fearer Gentiles, who were already attending in the synagogues of Asia Minor]. 

 

The purpose of John’s Gospel

 

What is his purpose in writing?  So frequent, with all of the apostles who wrote, his purpose is two-fold.  One is to counter heresy.  Over and over as we’ve studied in the Epistles, the writings of the disciples, they want to deal with heretical teaching.  So he wants to deal with heresy.  He tries to help us see that teaching of Gnosticism, this goofy teaching that Jesus was an emanation, that he wasn’t really both spirit and body, that if you followed him there wouldn’t be any footprints.  Because the Gnostics believed that the physical realm was evil, therefore for God to become physical that [to them, the Gnostics] is impossible.  So he writes to confront that heresy, but also the heresy of Arianism, that of denying the Deity of Jesus Christ, putting him on the same level as man, as so many of the cults do.  So as we’ll see, right off from the start he goes right for the that, and makes it real clear that Jesus is God.  And we’ll note that as we go on this morning.  But secondly, and this is what makes it especially exciting for us as a church, John is writing to demonstrate to his audience that Jesus is the Son of God for a reason, and that is so that his readers, his listeners will place their trust, will place their faith in Jesus Christ, and as a result that they will find life in his name.  So maybe you’re here this morning and you have never accepted Jesus Christ into your heart.  Well if you can continue to come to these studies, John will continue to share with you, explain to you why Jesus is the Christ [Christ: Greek word of the Hebrew “Messiah”], why he is the Son of God, why he is God, and why you need to put your faith in him.  That is his whole goal in writing.  In fact, in John chapter 20, verse 31, he says “But these things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ [Messiah], the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”  It’s written that you’d believe that Jesus is the Son of God.  So, I challenge you to sit down and read this Gospel if you can find the time, read it even in one sitting, or a couple sittings.  As you do, you will note this, this guy is an evangelist.  Repeatedly, repeatedly, as we go through it, it will happen repeatedly, the gospel, the gospel, the salvation, the salvation, a big part of his message, a big part of what he’s trying to convey.  Great opportunity to even bring some of your non-Christian friends to church, because the gospel is just going to continue to go out very simply as we study the gospel of John together. 

 

“In the beginning was the Word”

 

He writes about AD 100, so it’s a good period of time after Jesus died [and rose again], he’s in his low 90’s, this is an old man, and he starts with these words, “In the beginning was the Word.”  Now that might remind you of another book that starts very similar, and that is the book of Genesis chapter 1, “In the beginning”, same three words right there at the start, “In the beginning”.  Starts off similar, as Moses did in the book of Genesis.  He begins “In the beginning” and he goes on to talk about God and the existence of God, as we saw in those verses.  And we can note with that, that it’s important to note, that the Bible never tries to prove the existence of God.  The Bible never goes down and tries to debate, ‘Well, let’s go with the atheists and try to prove philosophically the existence of God.’  And there’s reasons why the Bible doesn’t, the Bible just says it’s a simple fact, it’s pretty evident, look at the creation.  In fact, David says twice, it’s the fool that says there is no God.  So why are we even going to try to debate for a moment there is no God, it’s only the fool that says there is no God.  It’s just clear, everything is in order, it’s designed, there’s clearly an intelligent design to the universe and everything we see on earth.  So right off John assumes ‘The entire Bible is true, there’s a God, and let me tell you a little bit about this God.’ Creation is the universal proof of the reality of God.  [I would like to add, that the proof of the Bible itself as the very Word of God, is fulfilled prophecy.  Even Yahweh in Isaiah repeatedly says that his proofs are to be found in fulfilled prophecy, and then he challenges the skeptic to try to prophecy future events and make them come true.  The very proof that Jesus is the Messiah are to be found in Old Testament prophecies.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophecies/1stcoming.htm.]  Louis Pasteur, this famous French chemist said, “Posterity will some day laugh at the foolishness of “modern” materialistic philosophy.  The more I study nature, the more I’m amazed at the Creator.”  So here is this great scientist, Louis Pasteur, great scientist, and he says ‘Man, the more I look at it, I’m absolutely amazed by Creator God.’  And that’s the truth, that’s the simple truth.  You know, I was with my chiropractor this week, he’s trying to fix my shoulder, and we got started right off, as we usually do with my shoulder.  He asked me what I thought about this whole “Pledge of Allegiance” thing.  And a lot of us have been talking about it this week, and I just responded the same way, I said “It’s absolutely foolish, and I’m thankful there’s a lot of people saying the same thing right now, that this is absolutely absurd, ‘let’s take God out of everything’, as if there is no God, let’s appease the few atheists that say there is no God.”  But that’s absolutely foolish, why would we even listen to that argument, absolutely foolish.  The world makes it clear, our life, infinitely studying science out into the universe or studying into the smallest of atoms says there’s a God.  [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/dinosaurs/dinosaurs4.htm.]  There’s a God, he’s real, he exists, and we need to get to know him.  You know, as a nation, we aren’t learning very well, the more we take God out of our nation, man, the more we just bear the fruit of it, and I’m thankful that there are a lot of people that are standing up going ‘That’s absurd!  Take that word “God” out of the Pledge?  Let’s leave it in there.  Come on!  That’s absurd!  Loosen up a little bit.’  You know, there’s a study, you’ve probably heard this, I’ve heard this study a number of times, but there was a study by the police department and the department of education in Fullerton, California.  In the 1940’s the seven leading problems in America’s public schools were “Talking, chewing gum, making noise, running in the hallways, getting out of place in line, wearing improper clothing, and not putting paper into wastebaskets.”  That was the society of America 50, 60 years ago, those were the big deal problems in the school.  Not too long later [1963] we decided to take God and prayer out of school, this same study now says 50 years later, these are the seven big problems in our school systems: Drug abuse, alcohol abuse, pregnancy, suicide, rape on campus, assault-burglary on campus, and arson and bombings on campus.”  That’s where we’ve gone in taking God out of our nation.  [Today, just after I finished typing this out, I checked foxnews.com before logging off, and this article appeared: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,304923,00.html .  Of course we’ve already had the Columbine shootings, and the shootings at Virginia Tech, just to add weight to this little “study” in Fullerton, California.]  It’s the fool that says there is no God, and if we listen to that foolishness and give into that foolishness, we’re going to reap some real ugliness.  John says “In the beginning was the Word” and he goes on and makes it clear he’s speaking of God, God exists, it’s self-evident, why do we even debate it?  It’s a foolish, it’s a silly debate.  It’s a waste of time.  

 

The Word, Logos, who is he?

 

John then, as you see, begins referring to the Word.  The Greek word there is Logos, it literally means much more than just words, spoken words, but that word also includes the thoughts and the reasoning power behind the speaker.  So it’s much more significant than just that, literally even in the Greek.  Now there’s a little bit of history, again, and John no doubt, he’s combating heresy, dealing with the reasoning that is in society, some of the things that are trying to creep into the Church, even today.  But in his day, the Greek’s had developed a philosophy centered around the teachings of Plato which taught the following:  1) that the Logos, they had this concept, that the Logos, the Word, was the foundation of everything that exists on earth, was the foundation of earth.  2) the earth, Plato said, was simply a shadow of the reality, the Logos, the Logos was the reality that existed somewhere in the heavens.  So earth was a shadow, a reflection of that.  So basically this is how their reasoning worked.  Behind every physical thing there is first a thought.  You have a physical thing, but that thing first started as a thought.  So the beginning is the thought.  Well the Jews then with their teacher Philo took the concept a little bit further, and whereas Plato said behind everything is this thought, this perfect thought, this Logos, Philo stated that behind the thought there must be a thinker.  The thought isn’t the beginning, if there is a thought, there must be a thinker.  So the Jews took the philosophy a little bit further.  So that gives you a little bit of understanding too, why he’s beginning this way in his time [100 AD], “In the beginning was the Word, the Logos”  But what does he do when he introduces it the way he does?  He says Logos is not some clever philosophy, Logos is a person, the beginning is a person, a living person, a reality, a personality, and the beginning is this perfect person, God, this perfect thinker.  So he takes that whole thought of that time and says ‘Here’s the deal.  Logos was in the beginning,’  and then as we go on you’ll see he says ‘Logos was something much, much greater.’  We’ll continue to see as we study John that he will make it very clear, this Word, and we’ll see in these very verses, is Jesus Christ.  The Logos, the Word is Jesus Christ.  He notes that in his other writings too.  1st John chapter 1, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and our hands have handled concerning the Word of life.”  ‘We’ve seen the Word of life.’  And then he writes about the Word in Revelation chapter 19, verse 13, “He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and his name is called the Word of God.”  So the Logos, the Word of God, Jesus Christ. 

 

The Logos, Word, he’s eternal

 

What does John say about the Word?  What does John say about Jesus Christ?  Again, the first thing he says ‘He was in the beginning.’  Jesus, the Word, was in the beginning.  Therefore he’s saying he’s eternal, he’s eternal, he’s always existed, and he always will exist.  He’s always existed, and he’s always going to exist.  There has never been a time where Jesus has not existed in all the history of all things.  There never will be a time where Jesus doesn’t exist.  In fact, Jesus transcends time.  He existed before time began itself.  So when it says “In the beginning was the Word” that is the beginning of time.  In the sense of that beginning was the Word, he was then, he’s always existed, he’s eternal.  Paul teaches the same in Colossians chapter 1, and he says “He is before all things.”  So Jesus, the Jesus that we talk about, the Jesus that we worship, he says the Logos is eternal.  He was “in the beginning.”  Now this isn’t true of you and I, you and I have not always existed, we have a beginning, we have a start.  I can go back and say ‘There is my birth date, there is a time before where I didn’t exist, I didn’t exist before 19xx, I didn’t exist at all, except a little bit of 19xx in my mother’s womb.’  But I did not exist.  I can go back to a time where I did not exist.  But that is not true of Jesus.  Jesus has always existed.  You reverse it, you just keep going and going and going, he’s always been there.  He’s eternal.  I’m thankful now as a believer, because now I have Christ in my heart, I also am going to live eternally from this point on [and if any of us die in Christ, we’re resurrected as immortal beings at the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/corinthians/cor15-16_2.htm], that I’m going to live with him.  He’s always existed, he’s always going to exist, and now with Christ in my heart, I’m told that I’m always going to be with him now….So Jesus, he says, in the beginning, the Logos, this Jesus we worship, he’s eternal, eternal in both directions, before and after today, he’s always existed.  There are those who teach false teaching that say he was created, [these false teachers say] he’s like Michael the archangel, created.  The Bible in John makes it real clear ‘In the beginning he’s always existed, he is eternal.’ 

 

Just who is the Word, the Logos in relation to God?

 

There’s another significant point related to that, ‘he was in the beginning, and he also was with God in the beginning.’   “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God” (verses 1-2)  Jesus was with God.  Here in these words John is showing that in the sense with the words “with God” is that God isn’t just this Logos, this infinite thought, this infinite mind, but God is a living person [being], that word “with” is an intimate word.  When he says “with” there, he means a very intimate communion, face to face companionship, equal, together, close together in a very precious and intimate way.  So when he says “he was with God” he’s saying that he’s not just referring to some thought, but two persons, Jesus, with God. [Comment: The word for “God” in Genesis 1-2 is Elohim, referred to as a uni-plural Hebrew term for God by one theologian, and in Genesis 1 God states “Let us make man in our image.”  The one who walked with Abraham, the one who guided Israel and Moses was Yahweh, who became Jesus of Nazareth.  That is where John is taking us in these verses.  Jesus himself told the Jews “Before Abraham, I am.”  He also told them he had spoken to Abraham.  It was Yahweh that had spoken to Abraham, so Jesus was telling the Jews he was Yahweh.  It was then that the Jews sought to stone Jesus.  John isn’t revealing something new that Jesus hadn’t already revealed to them.  But he was countering a heresy that was spreading among the new Christians that hadn’t known Jesus personally and physically.  So even in the Old Testament we see God the Father and Jesus revealed, although in a somewhat veiled terminology the Jews have yet to understand.]  He’s infinite, but he also was in the beginning, he was with God.  That tells us too he is a person, but he is also distinct from God the Father, he’s distinctly separate too, distinct in the sense of the Trinity.  [The Holy Spirit is also mentioned in Genesis 1, as moving upon the water.  Some Sabbatarian denominations don’t believe in the Trinity doctrine, they believe the Holy Spirit is the power of God.  The Trinity doctrine was never developed or spelled out by John or any of the 12 apostles.  So that makes it a secondary doctrine, although it does appear to be true.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/TheHolySpirit.htm.]  Jesus himself will later even share in a prayer in John chapter 17, “and now O Father, glorify me together with yourself, with the glory which I had with you before the world was.”  ‘I was with you, before,’ he says, ‘now glorify me together with you in the same way.’  Jesus was with God, and I tell you, that’s the best place you could possibly be.  Right there in the presence of God, with God, with God the Father.  That tells me about Jesus’ character too.  God is a consuming fire.  God is perfectly Holy, you can’t be in the presence of God without also being holy.  So when he says “with God” that also says something about his character.  [The Israelites knew no one could enter the holy of holies in the temple or tabernacle and live when Yahweh’s presence was within that space.  Nadab and Abihu entered the tabernacle with unauthorized fire and were struck down with lightning.  When Solomon’s temple was being dedicated, and the presence of Yahweh entered into it, his very presence with intense smoke and light drove the attending Levitical priests out of the temple.  That was the presence, in glorified state, of the very one who became Jesus, Yeshua of Nazareth.]  And that also tells you and I then a bit about ourselves as we study other parts of the Scriptures.  I mean, the reason that you and I cannot be in the presence of God apart from Christ is that we’re not holy….In Deuteronomy chapter 6, verse 4, we have “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.”  God is one, but the word used for “One” there is the word “echad,” which in the Hebrew refers to a compound unity, like one people, or one cluster of fruit.  So when it says “the Lord God is One”, it’s one, but it’s in a sense of God is one, but he is three persons, compound unity, meaning  Triunity, the Trinity.” 

 

Comment:  Shema Yisrael Adonai Elohim Adonai echad, means: Hear, O Israel, the Lord (Adonai] our God [Elohim], the Lord [Adonai] is one [echad, one as in a group, or cluster].  Adonai is another term for Yahweh.  So the Shema is actually saying, the Lord Jesus, our God, [Elohim (God the Father and Jesus)], Lord Jesus [Adonai] is one [echad: one as in one group].

 

Jesus created everything, the whole physical universe, and earth along with it

 

“So, he was with God, he was God, he is God, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit is what the Bible teaches.  [And if you read John 14 and 16, Jesus and the Father dwell within believers by the Holy Spirit God places within believers.  That is how Jesus dwells within believers.  Read also Romans 8.]  One, together.  I don’t know about you, I can’t completely comprehend it, but how can I understand God, an infinite God anyway?  This is the truth, and this is what the Bible teaches.  That’s why he can then say what he says in verse 3.  He was God, he was in the beginning with God “And all things were made through him, and without him nothing was made that was made” (verse 3).  He was God, he is God, he’s the Creator God.  That’s what he says.  Every single thing below, everything above, all physical matter of the earth, the solar system, the universe, everything in the heavens, it all was made by Jesus.  All things were made, it says, through him.  All things were made through Jesus Christ.  In fact, he makes it clear.  “Without him” if he didn’t do it, there wouldn’t be anything, is what he says right here.  Right?  “….without him nothing was made that was made.”  No physical matter would exist if he hadn’t made it.  If he hadn’t made anything, there wouldn’t be anything around, except for him [and God the Father and the Holy Spirit].  All things.  All matter.  Everything, God, Jesus Christ, everything was made through him.  He is the Creator God.  Romans chapter 11, verse 36, “For of him and through him and to him are all things, and to him be glory forever.”  Colossians chapter 1, verses 16-17, “For by him are all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions, or principalities or powers, all things were created through him, and all things were created for him.  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”  The verb, when it says all things were made, there in John, is in the perfect tense, meaning it is a completed act.  So he deals with another philosophy that goes around today.  He says all things are made, meaning everything’s done, creation is done.  There isn’t any more creation going on.  It’s not a process that’s still moving and evolving.  [Actually the second law of thermodynamics says the physical creation is actually devolving, going from higher to lower, decaying.  Stars burn out, matter decays, things wear out.  It is a law of physics that flies in the face of evolutionary theory.]  God is certainly working, but the [physical] creation process is done, it is a finished product.  So of course there’s a philosophy in teaching, false teaching in our society that goes against these verses, that he’s made everything and everything is done.  So none of this silliness of evolution is true.  So, all things were made through him, in the beginning he was, he was with God, he is God, he’s made everything. 

 

In Jesus was life

 

          So with that, he can then state “In him was life, and the life was the light of men” (verse 4).  In him, in the Logos was life, and that life was the light of men.  He is the source of all life.  He is the source of all life physically.  But he’s also the source of all life spiritually, that is abundant life.  So that’s why he says “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”  He’s the source of even spiritual life.  That means that he can have a drastic effect upon a person’s life, as John is also an example of that.  Paul says in 1st Corinthians 8, “Yet for us there is one God, the Father of whom are all things, and we for him, and one Lord Jesus Christ, for whom are all things, and through whom we live.”  Through him are all things, but through him we live.  So then Jesus will say in John chapter 11, verse 25, “I am the resurrection and the life.”  [i.e. believers look forward to the resurrection to immortality at Jesus Christ’s 2nd coming, when Jesus will resurrect all believers who have died, to immortal life, he will give us that life.]  “He who believes in me, though he may die, he shall live.”  He is he source of life.  He is the life, as John is saying right here at the beginning.  He’s just making it very clear.  Jesus is God, creator of everything, the source of all life.  Any other religion, any other teaching, any other god, any other prophet of any other god is false.  That’s what the Bible teaches.  Period.  And if I am truly a born-again Christian I cannot have any other choice.  That’s what it teaches, the Word of God.  This is the Logos, in the beginning, with God, is God, Creator of all things, the source of all life, the light of all men.  This is Jesus Christ [Yeshua haMeshiach to our Messianic  Jewish brothers in Messiah].  So, a lot of introductory Bible study.  Not a lot of practical application, yet.

 

“Whom dost thou trust?”

 

But there is the question as we get started, if that is who he [Jesus] is, what should it mean to me?  If that is who Jesus is, in the beginning, eternal, with God, was God, Creator of all things, in him is life, the light of men.  What does that mean to me, or what should it mean to me?  We’re not here on Sunday mornings [or for Messianic believers and Sabbatarian Church of God believers, on Saturday mornings] to have some religious experience.  We’re not here to gain some spiritual aura or enlightenment.  We’re here because Jesus is God, he is life, he is light.  He is real, he is before and above all things.  He is the Creator, the Almighty God, the only source of hope and life for us.  He is truly God.  And the truth is, some day, as Christians we will see him as he is.  And for those who are non-Christians [non-believers] they will also stand one day before his throne, some day soon.  So, what does it mean to me?  What should it mean to me?  How should I be living if Jesus is God?---If Jesus is the Creator of all things?---If Jesus is life?  What should consume the passions of my heart?  In what place of my life should he be?  What should I be placing all of my trust, all of my dependence, all of my mind and heart and soul in?  Where should I be placing that?---If he is God and the Creator of all things, and in him is life and he’s the source of life?  I got this in the email, Charles Spurgeon, I’ll read it to you, “Now on whom does thou trust?  Isaiah chapter 36, verse 5, Now on whom dost thou trust?  Reader this is an important question, listen to the Christian’s answer and see if it is truly yours.  On whom dost thou trust?  I trust as a Christian on the Triune God.  I trust the Father, believing that he has chosen me from before the foundations of the world.  I trust him to provide for me in Providence, to teach me, to guide me, to correct me if need be, and to bring me home to his own house where the many mansions are.  I trust his Son, very God of very God is he, the man Christ Jesus.  I trust in him to take away all my sins by his own sacrifice, and to adorn me with his perfect righteousness.  I trust him to be my intercessor, to present my prayers and desires before his Father’s throne.  I trust him to be my advocate at the Last Great Day, to plead my cause and to justify me.  I trust him for what he is, for what he has done, for what he has promised yet to do.  And I trust the Holy Spirit, for he has begun to save me from my inbred sins.  I trust him to drive them all out.  I trust him to curb my temper, to subdue my will, to enlighten my understanding, to check my passions, to comfort my despondency, to help my weakness, to illuminate my darkness.  I trust him to dwell in me as life, to reign in me as my King, to sanctify me holy, spirit, soul, and body.  And then to take me up to dwell with saints in life forever.  Oh blessed trust.  To trust in whose power will never be exhausted, who’s love will never wane, whose kindness will never change, whose faithfulness will never fail, whose wisdom will never be nonplussed, and whose perfect goodness can never know a diminution.  Happy art thou reader if this trust is thine.  So trusting thou shalt enjoy sweet peace now, and glory hereafter.  And the foundation of thy trust shall never be removed.”  He says ‘Whom do you trust?’  Charles Spurgeon, and the way he can write, man he says ‘This is who he is, and do you trust him?’  Jesus in the beginning was with God, he was God, Creator of all things, in him is life.  So I, as I have begun to study the Gospel of John, and I’ve said, ‘Jesus, man, I know I believe in you, I’ve followed you, left the career I used to have to come and serve as a minister, but I know that I still have a very small understanding of who you are.  And I know the more I see you for who you are, the more I’m going to live for you.  You should consume my thoughts.  You should consume my passions, because it is all you.’  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”---he’s made all things, in him is life.’  And one day I’m going to stand before you.  So Lord forgive me for wasting so much of my time with so many other things, because it is all about you. 

 

“the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it”

 

He says in verse 5, “And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”  Of course, that’s something we understand around us, that is for sure.  This theme of light, we’re going to see it as he goes on, he uses the term thirty-six times, light, light, light, referring to Jesus.  Darkness referring to the world, the world we live in.  ‘The light, the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.’  That word “comprehend” means to overcome, to grasp, to understand.  It just didn’t take hold, it didn’t comprehend, didn’t understand it.  A literal translation would read “and the light keeps on shining in the darkness, and the darkness does not overcome it or understood it, the darkness is just dark.”  Hearts are hard, people are naturally foolish.  So, “And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not comprehend it.”  The question, as we now conclude, is ‘Are we in the light, or are we in the darkness?’  We’ll talk a lot about this in the weeks to come.  In 1st John, am I in the light, am I in the darkness?  1st John chapter 2, John writes “Again a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.  He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now.  He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.”  Then in 1st John chapter 3, “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren.  He who does not love his brother abides in death.”  So he says, if we’re in the light and not in the darkness, John says it’ll be expressed in love.  This apostle of love, this man who knew that Jesus loved him.  This apostle of love says ‘Man, it’s all about love, “Little children, love one another.”  And Isaiah says, Isaiah 58, love the needy, love the orphan, love the widow, it’s about love, love in my heart.  The more that I know God, man, the more that I have Christ in my heart, I’m not worried, ‘Ok, I don’t have this, I do have that, I don’t have enough finances, I don’t like the house I live in, I don’t like the car’, all that stuff is instantly gone.  That stuff quenches the Spirit, that stuff quenches revival.  But to know the love of God, to see Jesus [Yeshua] for who he is, ‘Hey, I don’t care, I’ll take it, sure, won’t go without it, I’m content with it, I’m content without it.  I just want to live for you, man.  It’s you’re God, you’re Creator, you’re coming back, and I’m going to stand before you.  So it’s all about you.  I believe it.  I trust it, it’s my life.  It’s my mind.  It’s my spirit.  It’s my soul.  Yes, Jesus, it’s you.  And I can’t wait to be before you.  And I can’t wait to live with you.  See, look at my life!  You love me and I love others….you Jesus Christ, and nothing else.’  That’s what he’s saying.  It’s not just a Bible study, it’s the love of God!  It’s Jesus Christ, the Son of God in my heart.  My Lord, my passion, my Savior, everything I am, and I live for him.  Do you live that way?  And do you want to have that?  That’s why he writes what he writes.  The love of God, Jesus Christ.  Man, we’re walking around getting ripped off by so many things, we’re missing out on the life!  He is the life!  And he wants to give you life, man.  He wants to pour it into your heart, and you can be set free, by saying ‘Yeah, I live for you, it’s all yours.  Full guns for you, man!  Because I believe you’re God and you’re coming back!  And I am going to stand before you!  I can’t wait!’  That’s what he’s saying.  Jesus, in the beginning, was with God, was God, Creator of all things, in him is life, and light!  So, that’s where we’re going in the next umpteen number of weeks, [laughter] as we study the Gospel of John [applause].  Jesus, in the beginning, Jesus with God, Jesus was God, Jesus is God, Creator God, the Source of light.  May the Lord open our eyes all the more, Jesus to your life, to your light, to your love.  And we can become disciples of love, disciples of love, like the apostle of love.  Maybe you’re here this morning, and you’re in darkness.  Jesus says to you “I am the light of the world.  He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”  Let’s close in prayer….[transcript of a sermon given somewhere in New England]    

 

If you want to see who Jesus is in Bible prophecy, log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophecies/1stcoming.htm.  

 

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