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A Word From God, Part 2

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
December 13, 2023 12:00 am

A Word From God, Part 2

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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December 13, 2023 12:00 am

Just as Christian theology hinges on a literal interpretation of John's opening words, many false religions hinge on a misinterpretation of them. But where does the confusion lie? Is John's meaning really up for debate? Stephen brings us an emphatic answer. Access all of the lessons in this series here: https://www.wisdomonline.org/christmas-light

 

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You may be familiar with the Greek text or the word. It's the word Lagos. Jesus is the eternal, preexisting Lagos. He is the word.

You can translate that. He is the reason. He is the explanation.

I love that particular translation of Lagos. You insert that word into verse 1, and it explodes even further with implications. So that Jesus Christ, who is lying in that feed trough, is nothing less than the explanation of God.

Thanks for joining us today here on Wisdom for the Heart with Stephen Davey. Today we're focusing on the important doctrinal truth of who Jesus Christ really is. It's impossible for you to understand the importance and significance of Jesus' birth if you don't understand the truth that Jesus is eternally God. His life didn't begin with the miraculous conception in Mary.

He was already eternally existent. We're going to explore this truth together today. Stephen's going to conclude a message he began last time, a message called, A Word from God. It's as if John says, I know that when you get close to your deathbed, you're going to want to tell the truth, right? You're going to want to unburden yourself. You want to come out with a secret, maybe something that you've carried for years or perhaps decades, and you have this compelling desire to set that record straight and clear your conscience. 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 floor today, but just all you have to do is Google 10 famous deathbed confessions. Don't do it now. It's dangerous to say people got their iPads and are already looking down. Don't. But you have all kinds of revelations from theft to murder. I'll tell you one of them.

You force me. One of them. A silent screen movie actress and with her leading man, who mysteriously is killed, murdered, shot, never able to solve it. She dies several decades ago, but before she dies, she has 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 her neighbor, she says, I must confess to you that my leading man, all those 50, 60 years ago, I pulled the trigger.

And she dies. There's an intuitive sense that I'm going to give some kind of account and 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 end and I want to set the record straight. I want you to know my conscience is clear.

We didn't make it up. We didn't steal his body. He really is the Messiah. He really did die. He really was buried. He really rose again. I saw it.

This record is true. Now John adds, if you look there in that last chapter, look at 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 that are rather amazing and difficult to understand, that remain mysterious and are rather remarkable about the ministry and life of Jesus and what he did, let me tell you, if the world was filled with shelves, there wouldn't be enough bookshelves to contain everything if I put it all down. And you're left wondering, well, John, at least write a little more, maybe another chapter or a verse. In fact, it leads you to wonder why the Spirit of God would inspire him to write these things, seven signature signs in this Gospel.

Why those? Well, John answers that question. In fact, turn back one page. You'll read in chapter 20 and verse 30 his very clear purpose statement. John writes, in many other signs, therefore, Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples.

We all saw it. In other words, they're not written in this book, but these have been written. Why, 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's saying, my record is not comprehensive, but it can be conclusive for you.

It's not exhaustive. It's 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? Now, let's go to the beginning of his account for the time remaining. Chapter one of this Gospel gives us a number of key phrases or words that describe who Jesus is. And for those of you that like outlines, I'm going to give you two truths. That's all we'll have time.

In fact, we're probably going to go a little over time. 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. Now, if you're young in the faith and this is your first time to see this particular text, you might be wondering, well, who is the word?

Well, 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 and cried out saying, this is he of whom I've said, he who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for he existed before me. Oh, interesting, he was born after John the baptizer, but he existed before him. And 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 quite a statement, isn't it? In fact, you notice how it sort of ratchets up in this rather audacious claim. In the beginning was the word Jesus and the word Jesus was with God and the word Jesus was God. It's as if he brings you in at this point and then the second point and then the third tightens the vice of truth. Jesus was in essence, fully God of divine eternal essence.

And this obviously creates a lot of heartburn, doesn't it? Because I don't know of a cult on the planet that doesn't want to use the Bible in some way, shape or form. In fact, they typically do, they may have their own translation where they've noodle on the text and turn things around a little bit. For instance, the New World Translation of the Bible published by the Jehovah's Witnesses, you can Google, not now, you can Google the text and read their opening statement here, how they'll treat verse one. You got to do something with this because it's so clear that the word Jesus was God. That doesn't mean it's easy to understand but it's a clear statement, equal in essence to God the Father. And so what they do is they add a little word because they say that this definite article is dropped before you get to this particular phrase and so it can mean a God or any God and so they simply translate it that the word and the word was a God. Of course, they create a bit of a conundrum because now you got two Gods.

You got two Gods. It doesn't really say that Jesus wasn't God, now they've just said that Jesus is another God. They do drop the capital G though and put a little case G. I'm not sure if that solves anything but he's a little g God and it doesn't solve their problem either because now they have to continue translating.

In fact, if they translate consistently according to that little rule where there's no definite article and I know this is exciting to you to hear about articles and these things but stay with me. You would have to translate verse six and there came a man sent from a or any God because there's no definite article and of course they leave that one alone because they want John the Baptist coming from God and so they'll leave it alone and say there came a man sent from God and you'd also need to by 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 a God or any God. Joseph Smith tried to deal with it in his what he called inspired version. He altered the opening text as well.

I mean again you got to change it. It's so clear if you're going to use the Bible and say we agree with it we just have new stuff. You still have a problem with his opening declaration by the Apostle John. And so Joseph Smith in his inspired version tried to solve it this way. This is the way he wrote it in the beginning was the gospel preached through the sun and the gospel was the word and the word was with the sun.

Now that's very clever actually because it will resonate with anybody that understands anything about Christianity because we believe in the gospel and we believe Christ preached the gospel so that makes a lot of sense. The problem is you still got to translate a little further and verse 3 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 it word for word. So in his text and in your untampered text it says all things were made by him and without him Jesus was not anything made which was made.

And now you got a problem because if Jesus is not pre-existent eternal deity but at some point in time created humanity then Joseph Smith has just effectively written that Jesus had to create himself before he existed and that would be a stretch. Listen whenever you plagiarize, whenever you tamper, whenever you fiddle around with the text so it suits your ism, it suits your cult, it suits a God you'd really rather have than the God of the Bible at some point it's going to take you to a dead end. But 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 at a point in time taking on the form of human flesh and blood through that miraculous conception. Now you might say okay I haven't had a stitch of Greek you paid $250 an hour for that stuff I didn't do it and would never do it and I'm on your team okay by the way but you say I don't understand prepositions and tenses and all of that and I understand that I'm telling you what the original text reads but you don't have to, you don't have to. The only thing you need to know and to do whenever somebody knocks on your door is answer the question who is Jesus. Everybody uses his name they just use different dictionary definitions okay so you just ask them who is Jesus and then you have your Bible ready and you just say you know that doesn't sound like what my Bible says. I've showed a number of individuals who visited my front porch or I've tried my Greek text and don't get very far and it doesn't really matter because I'm going to give you a literal translation of John 1 verse 1. You might have a pencil ready to write it just to get it clear but here it is this is I mean this is word for word here it is in the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God.

Am I going too fast? You got it there it is. Now you can break that phrase down into three rather remarkable statements first in the beginning was the word. That declares Jesus to be eternally existed with God the Father. Often when you see the the word God know that it's talking about the Father God the Father. Second and the word was with God that describes that Jesus is in intimate communion and has been from eternity past God the Son with God the Father intimately closely harmoniously. Third and the word was God that demands that Jesus God the Son is no less equally divine than God the Father yet separate in person and personality.

Now do I understand what I just said? I believe what I just said because that's how it's described for us and declared in the gospel but grasping the concept of Trinity I want you to know that even though I've given my life to studying the Word of God I stand here after having pastored for now 29 years and I can I can tell you that there are things I believe that I know better understand today than 29 years ago. I still don't understand how he died for sins I'll commit tomorrow 2000 years ago. If you do see me please you could have saved me a seminary education $250 an hour. What we do know from the Word of God is that the Trinity exists as the Word of God explains him three persons yet one God. In fact if you go back let me throw this in as a sort of a sidebar but if you go back to the opening chapter of the of the Bible Genesis chapter 1 something rather stunning comes to to to play there and those Hebrew scribes as they would as they would copy the text were so careful counting the consonants and at the end of the line making sure they had the same number and yet in that text you have this rendering the Hebrew reads then God said let us make man in our own image let us us us let us make man in our image according to our likeness then later on it says and God created them have these plural expressions and then a singular God Elohim in fact Elohim Elohim is a plural noun not many gods one God yet us something's going on and the Bible will reveal it over time as God the Father God the Son and God the Holy Spirit each with differing functions subordination within this triunity so that you have Jesus saying I have come to obey the will of the Father and you have the Spirit saying I've come to glorify the Son yet equal in their essence just as you are human and so are your children I know it doesn't seem like it sometimes but here your children are equally in essence human right and as Jesus subordinates to the will of the Father so your children subordinate to obey your will at least that's the theory okay that's how that works they are no less human because they do your will than Jesus who did the will of his father so the Trinity is not one plus one plus one equals three gods it's one times one times one equal equals one God just as our universe is triune space matter and time just as space is triune with length and breadth and height just as matter is triune energy motion phenomena just as time exists in a triunity past present and future mankind arguably triune body soul and spirit so God the creator of all there is exists in perfect communion in triune relationship as father son and spirit whenever I think about the Trinity in this opening declaration that you have two equal in essence both equally divine 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 the sea and pouring it into that hole in the sand and Augustine said young man what are you doing and the young man said I am pouring the sea into this little hole in the sand to fully understand the Trinity is to pour an ocean of infinite truth into a little finite mind how would you communicate this truth let me tell you you could not communicate it 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 the son in other words he has a beginning as a baby boy a human being named Jesus he's born at a point in time but not as God the son invisible pre-existent eternal and according to their will he agrees as it were according to an eternal plan to take on flesh and at that point in time he is effectively begotten now you have the most interesting Greek verb appearing three times in verse one let me have you just circle this in the beginning was there it is the word and the word was with God and the and the word was God and and again the Greeks were so magnificent and the in the freighting of a of verbs this tense is imperfect and and you're going to forget that before you ever get to lunch but let me just tell you that if you expand that tense out to understand what it means it's talking about expressing an ongoing state and so you can read it in the beginning was and is and always will be the word you get translated to say and the word was and is and always will be God you can't say it any clearer there is another expression that John uses one more let me show it to you it appears three times in this loaded text it's simply the phrase word w o r d you may be familiar with the Greek text or the word it's the word logos logos that's not an accident obviously Jesus is the eternal pre-existing logos he is the word you could translate that he is the reason he is the explanation I love that particular translation of logos you insert that word into verse one and it explodes even further with implications so that Jesus Christ who is lying in that feed trough is nothing less than the explanation of God now the person living in John's day in his generation any kind of explanation about the pantheon about this tumultuous incestuous immoral unpredictable vindictive pantheon of gods there there's no way to explain them you've studied any of it you'll know in fact Xenophanes who lived 500 years before the birth of Christ said guesswork reigns over us all we can't even begin to guess what the gods are gonna do but another man by the name of Heraclitus correctly wrote that the universe operated according to a unified ordering principle which he said could be clearly detected if you simply study the patterns of what you see around you we could call him the first intelligent design believer according to what he proposed and by the way he lived in Ephesus centuries before the birth of Christ he said that all the laws of physics all the laws of mathematics all the laws of logic and he fact he in fact said all the laws of morality all tied back to a unifying principle that he called the logos it is no coincidence that John the Apostle more than likely writing this gospel from guess what city Ephesus is inspired by the Spirit to choose this term to introduce to us not some abstract principle but a living breathing person the logos the explanation has been born the anointed Messiah pre-existent God the Son though at this point now human so when your six-year-old comes home and asks you you know how big is God and what does God look like you can tell them well 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 we're 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 but we'll be looking at Jesus when someone asks you what can God do what's God like does he really exist does he even know I exist just tell them what let Jesus Christ answer that if you don't believe the gospel let me encourage you to do what the gentleman 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 immersed in it and he and he emerged a believer this is this is sufficient John said it was so that you could believe his testimony is true about who Jesus is.

Thanks for joining us today. This is Wisdom for the Heart featuring the Bible teaching of Stephen Davey. Stephen is the president of Wisdom International. This lesson comes from a series called Christmas Light.

Stephen called this message a word from God. This series Christmas Light is available as a booklet. We'd be happy to give you information if you call us today at 866-48-BIBLE. Once again you can call us today at 866-48-BIBLE or 866-482-4253. You'll also find information about Christmas Light on our website. You'll find us online at wisdomonline.org.

You can navigate to our online store and you'll find Christmas Light there. I hope it's a blessing and an encouragement to you. I encourage you to install the Wisdom International app to your phone. In the menu along the bottom is a tab that says Bible. You can actually hit a play button and listen to the Bible being read to you. Also if Stephen has a lesson from the section that you're reading, you'll have a link right to Stephen's lesson from the Bible. Let's say for example you're looking at Genesis 1-1. Right at the top of your screen there's going to be a link to Stephen's lesson from Genesis 1-1. Install the Wisdom International app on your phone today. When we come back next time, Stephen will continue this series. Be sure and join us then for more Wisdom for the Heart. We'll see you next time.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-13 00:55:17 / 2023-12-13 01:04:12 / 9

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