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December 11, 2020 7:00 am
Tamper with the text. What suits your-ism at some point is going to take you to a dead end. When you believe the text you're led to believe something amazing, something miraculous. Something, however, that is consistently presented throughout the record of Scripture. Jesus Christ is equally eternally, God the son having an appointed time taking on the form of human flesh and blood. Miraculous doctrinal truth. Christ really is no one can understand the importance and significance of Jesus birth without first understanding the truth that Jesus is eternally God's birth in Bethlehem was not his beginning it was his incarnation because he has always existed and always been God working to explore this truth together on today's broadcast. Today Stephen begins a series entitled Christmas light. This lesson is called a word from God and here Stephen Barbara fearing longtime Australia, Prof. of the Dead Sea Scrolls, author of the bestseller that is been reprinted numerous times entitled Jesus the man.
The central thesis of her book is simply that Jesus was the leader of a rather radical sect of the scene priests that he had been crucified but he didn't die. Fortunately, his leaders followers slipped him some venom which brought about an unconscious state flow. The Romans and when they took him down. He eventually revived the swoon theory. It's been around since his crucifixion and he then went on to marry. Of course Mary Magdalena again.
However, she believed that the Lord or Jesus, I should say the Lord to her. Jesus divorced her and then married Lydia from Philippi that he had met when he was traveling with a guy named Paul. Interestingly and basically wandered around in obscurity until he died.
Obscurity in Rome. I couldn't help but sorta be overcome with sadness as I learned that Barbara fearing he taught this for decades, died three weeks ago in unbelief who is Jesus the most important question you will answer if I got question started making the rounds 2000 years ago when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on that unbroken Colton said the gospel that he said in the whole city was stirred asking who is this man. When the religious leaders were stopped by his brilliant answers. On one occasion, they huddled together and asked who is this man, even the disciples as I watched Jesus still that storm from their boat and with a word he said harsh you literally in the wind immediately stilled and the waves turned in the glass and they said to each other, who then is man if he is only a man, you can safely forget, but if he is who he claims to be in who those eyewitnesses claim him to be, then you are actually created by him to worship and to love him and to serve the walk with him and one day to live with. We can get this wrong. It's one thing to mess up when Moses lived and who Jesus was baptized by a mix up a donkey and Jezebel.
But it's another thing entirely to miss. So what I want to do today and next Lord's day, Lord willing, as we rehearse these wonderful treasures of the incarnation is take you to the writings of an old man he is writing one of the last books of the New Testament, even though in the order it is presented earlier was one of the Gospels. It was written about 50 years after Jesus Christ ascended the father now intercedes for us 50 years. The gospel is been tracing its way around that world and disciples are declaring an empty tomb in a resurrected Messiah. John is the name of this author figured it out by now is the last living apostle when he wrote this gospel.
Keep that in mind he's the last living apostle was depends his gospel. Peter has already been martyred along with the other disciples. The apostle Paul has already been executed by Nero. John is the last among them, and is nearing the tape is in his last lap. I mean it, and I say that because if it's all wrong or the dog made part of it's all a misunderstanding now would be the time for John.
The sailor got. I kind of went along with the crown, but when a stray that now I want this on my tongue's time for a deathbed confession. Instead, this dying apostle is more committed than ever go to the end of his account in chapter 21 notice how he wraps it will deal with the last verse or two in the first verse that's about it. Nothing in between. You'll notice he says any speaking. By the way, the legal language. This verse 24 is the disciple who bears witness of these things and wrote these things and we now that his witness is true rather interesting shifting and pronouns.
Let me give you an analogy to take what is happening. Over the years have the privilege of doing something that not many get to do ship captains can do it justices of the peace can do it. Judges can do it, and for the time being I'm licensed to do it as well to know how much longer that'll last, but until then have the privilege of joining in what we call holy matrimony, a man and his wife, and were sticking with that, by the way gay so I get to do that now before the big day. The couple will go downtown Raleigh and no pay a fee to obtain a very important document will answer some questions those other drivers licenses, Social Security number, approve who they are and will ease your Nana was in my day. My day to give blood. And I think whenever that happens, but I lived through it for the sake of the joy set before me. And that was my bride. Go get that and then they get this to get the certificate and it's printed on heavy stock linen paper is love the way it feels what it says and then after the ceremony is finished candle beforehand after it's over. I will take out my pin, typically at the reception and and I will sign my name and it'll asked for my address and the County and the date and I put it all down. I could do it twice, but I'll put it there and then I invite two witnesses to join me and they sign in there attesting that that my signature is really mine that they actually saw me do this that this was really a legitimate ceremony. We took it all the way to its conclusion. And so this is effectively my sworn statement attested to by eyewitness.
It was customary in Rome to have all legal documents signed and sworn testifying to their authenticity, and other witnesses would be there to verify. And that's what John is doing here the end of his his gospel like you notice the way he changes the wording. This is the disciple who bears witness of these things and others I'm signing here and in and I'm writing these things on the on the road please and we know that his witness is witnesses that are testing this is true. John says I know that that when you get close to your deathbed, you're gonna want to tell the truth right you got one on burden yourself.
You want to come out with a with a secret. Maybe something that you carried for years or perhaps decades and you have this compelling desire to set the record straight and clear your conscience and it's time to come out with the truth. I don't have time but I can tell you that in my research, I thought I might have time maybe I'll tell you a little bit about it next Lord's day, but just just all you do is Google 10 famous deathbed confessions don't do it now getting dangerous to say people gather iPads and earning only looking down though what you have all kinds of revelations from theft to murder anyone. Okay you force me one of silent screen movie actress and with her leading man who mysteriously is killed. Murder shot never able to solve. She died several decades ago, but before she dies as a heart attack. She's lying on her kitchen floor there's not enough time to get the priest there.
She's a Roman Catholic so she her neighbor. She says I must confess to you that my leading man all those 5060 years ago. I pulled the trigger.
She dies is that there's a an intuitive sense that gonna give some kind of account I need to unburden my conscience, I don't want to die with this. And John is basically saying as an old man I'm coming to the ad that I want to I want to set the record straight. I want you to know my conscience is clear. We didn't make it outdated and soon we didn't steal his body. He really is the Messiah, he really did die really was very really rose again. I saw this record is true.
Now John adds, if you look there in that last chapter what he says in verse 25 and there are also many other things with which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail. I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books which were written in other words, if you think that I have written some things in a rather amazing and difficult to understand the remain mysterious and rather remarkable about the ministry and life of Jesus and what he did let me tell you if the world was was filled with with the shelves. I would be enough bookshelves to contain everything I put it all down in your left wondering will John at least write a little more, maybe another chapter or verse infected leads you to wonder why the spirit of God and inspire him to write these things. Seven signature signs in this gospel.
Why will John answers the question effect turned back one page you'll read in chapter 20. In verse 30. His very clear purpose statement.
John writes many other signs. Therefore, Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples also are not written in this book.
But these have been written by John that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ. That is the anointed Messiah, the son of God and that believing you may have life in his name. He saying my record is not comprehensive but it can be conclusive for you is not exhaustive is not an exhaustive account of Christ's life and ministry and all that he did, but it is adequate. I'm giving you enough so that you can believe the gospel, and answer the question, who is Jesus else go to the beginning of his account for the time remaining. Chapter 1 of this gospel gives us a number of key phrases or words that describe who Jesus is and for those of you like outlines him to give you two triggers that all will have time effect were getting a little overtime. Truth number one is this Jesus Christ is eternally equal with God the father Jesus Christ is eternally equal with God the father. Verse one in the beginning was the word and the Word was with God and the word was God that you're young in the face and this is your first time to see this particular text. You might be wondering, will who was the word while skip down to verse 14 John clears up any mystery, and the word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the father full of grace and truth. John bore witness of him cried out, saying, this is he of whom I've said he who comes after me is a higher rank than I for he existed before me all interesting. He was born after John the baptizer, but he existed before him. Of course he goes on so the word is Jesus himself, the eternal divine word that expresses the glory of the father is none other than Jesus Christ. So this is this is quite a statement is in effect you notice how it sort of ratchets up in in in in this rather audacious claim in the beginning was the word Jesus and the word Jesus was with God and the word Jesus wants God as his feet.
He brings you in at this point and in the second point, and in the third Titans device true. Jesus was in essence fully God and divine eternal essence and end this obviously creates a lot of heartburn.net because I don't have a cult on the planet doesn't want to use the Bible in some way shape or form that they typically do, they may have their own translation where they've noodle on the text and turn things around a little bit different.
Since the New World translation of the Bible, published by the Jehovah's Witnesses.
You can you can Google not now you can Google the text and read their opening statement here hello treat verse one, you gotta do something with this because it's so clear that the word Jesus was God and not that that mean it's easy to understand but it's a clear statement equal in essence to God the father. So what they do is they add a little worried because they say that this this definite article is dropped before you get to this particular phrase and so it can mean any God or any God and does so they simply translated that of the word and the word was a God course they create a bit of a conundrum because I got to God's yet to God's doesn't really say Jesus wasn't God nonexistent Jesus is another God, they did drop the G though, I put a little case geometric that solves anything but he's a little G.and it doesn't solve the problem either because now they they have to continue translating. In fact, if they translate consistently according to that little rule where there's a definite article in end of this is exciting to hear about articles these things, but stay with you would have to translate verse six and there came a man sent from a or any God because there is no definite article and of course they they leave that one alone because they want John the Baptist coming God and so they'll leave it alone and say there came a man sent from God, and you also need to buy the way translate verse 12 differently which they don't. According to that same rule so that it would read but as many as received him, to them he gave the power or the right to become children of God or any God. Joseph Smith tried to deal with it in his what he called inspired version. He offered the opening text as well and again you gotta change it is so clear. If you use the Bible as a we agree with that. We just have new stuff you still have a problem with this opening declaration by the apostle John. So Joseph Smith in his inspired version try to solve it this way. This is the way he wrote it in the beginning was the gospel preached through the son and the gospel was the word and the word was with the sun that is very clever actually, because it will resonate with anybody that understands anything about Christianity because we believe in the gospel. We believe Christ received also saw that excellence.
The problem is you still gotta translate a little further and verse three is coming up which tells us that the word created all that is and so Joseph Smith evidently didn't think about that and he just simply translated word for word. So, in his text and in your unhampered text. It says all things were made by him and without him. Jesus was not anything made which was made and I got a problem because of Jesus is not preexistent eternal deity, but at some point in time created humanity.
Joseph Smith is just effectively written that Jesus had to create himself before he existed and that would be a stretch. Listen whatever you plagiarize whenever you tamper whenever you fit all around with the text so it suits your-ism. It suits your call. Since I God you'd really rather have them, the God of the Bible.
At some point it's going to take you to a dead end. When you believe the text you're led to believe something amazing, something miraculous, something you can't understand something, however, that is consistently presented throughout the record of Scripture that Jesus Christ is equally eternally, God the son having an appointed time taking on the form of human flesh and blood. Miraculous conception I think of Augustine the brilliant early church father who was walking one day along the seashore and he observed a young boy who had dug a little hole next to the water's edge, and he was furiously running back with his bucket, filling it up with is important and that hole in the sand and Augustine said young man what are you doing in the young man said I am pouring the sea into this little hole in the same to fully understand the Trinity is to pour an ocean of infinite truth into a little finite mind.
How would you communicate this trip.
Let me tell you, you could not communicate in any clearer than what John is doing here Jesus Christ is eternally equal with God the father. Truth number two Jesus Christ did not have a beginning as God's son. In other words, he has a beginning as a baby boy a human being. Then Jesus is born at a point in time, but not as God the son, visible, preexistent, eternal, and according to their will. He graves as it were, according to an eternal plan to take on flesh and at that point in time. He is effectively got. I have the most interesting Greek verb appearing three times in verse one. Many of you just circle us in the beginning was there is the work and the Word was with God and the and the Word was God. And and and again the Greeks were so magnificent and in the in the freighting about affirms this tense is imperfect and you forget that before you ever get the legibility just tell you that if you expand that tense out to understand what it means he's talking about expressing an ongoing state so you can read it in the beginning what is and is and always will be. The word you get translated to say the word was and always will be.
God you can't see any clear there is another expression that John uses one more.
Let me show to you. It appears three times in this loaded text, it simply the phrase word WO RD you may be familiar with the Greek text or the word. It's the word Lagos Lagos is not an accident. Obviously, Jesus is the eternal pre-existing Lagos. He is the word you could translate that he is the reason he is the explanation. I love that particular translation of Lagos, you insert that word in the verse one and it explodes even further with implications so that Jesus Christ was lying in that feed trough is nothing less then the explanation of God. So when your six-year-old comes home and asks you, you know how big is God and what is God look like you can tell them just look at Jesus Christ. He is the one who came to display the glory of his father and one day when we go to heaven were going to see this second person of the Godhead. I don't know how the father will display his glory but he hasn't taken on flesh and blood, nor has the spirit will be looking at Jesus when when someone asks you what can God do what's godlike. Does he really exists is even now I just tell them what would Jesus cry answer if you don't believe the gospel, and we encourage you to do what gentlemen in this fellowship did a few years ago on a business trip in Switzerland. His wife told me just a couple of days ago so troubled, no, no Christian background, he got a copy of the Bible and alone.
He began to read the Gospel of John spending a day or two just burst in it and he emerged.
This is this is sufficient.
John said it was something you can believe his testimony about Jesus. As we explored this important today, looking precisely at who Jesus Christ really is.
I hope you've been encouraged by what you've heard. I also hope today's lesson has equipped you to be able to talk about this truth with people who might not believe in Jesus. This is wisdom for the heart. The Bible teaching ministry of Stephen Davey.
Today's lesson is called a word from God and it comes from the series Christmas light.
It's a two-part series and will bring you the second lesson on Monday.
You can learn more about us and interact with us online by going to wisdom online.org. You also find us on all the major social media platforms. Let me also mentioned that I certainly hope you can worship with your home church on Sunday but if you're unable to do that you can join Stephen live online Sunday mornings at 930 or 11:00 AM. If you go to our website. There's a link to those live Sunday services. If you'd like to send Stephen a note or even make a donation to our ministry. Our address is wisdom for the heart PO Box 37297, Raleigh, NC 27627. Have a great weekend and join us Monday for more wisdom