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Author:Pastor Keith Davis
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Congregation:Bethel United Reformed Church
 Calgary, Alberta
 www.bethelurc.org
 
Title:The Word Made Flesh: The Eternal Creator
Text:John 1:1-4 (View)
Occasion:Advent
Topic:The Incarnation
 
Preached:2022-12-11
Added:2022-12-15
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

The Word Made Flesh: The Eternal Creator

John 1:1-4; Colossians 1:15-17  

Preached by Rev. Keith Davis at Bethel URC Dec 11, 2022 p.m.

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Pastor Keith Davis, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


Beloved congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ, I want to begin tonight by asking you a question – and really these are two questions that can be wrapped into noe: When does Christmas begin? And where does Christmas begin?

 

I mentioned this morning that when we come to the book of John we don’t find the typical Christmas narrative. There are no angel visitations, no census, no Mary and Joseph, no manger, no shepherds, and no wise men. And yet, John, no less than Matthew and Luke, tells us about the Word of God become flesh.

 

So how does he do this? John tells us about the Christ of Christmas by taking us back in time. He takes us back before baby Jesus was born in Bethlehem, back before the time of Joseph and Mary, before Isiah prophesied about Christ’s birth, in fact he takes us back before God appeared to Abraham. John takes us all the way back to the beginning – to Genesis 1:1.

 

And technically, John takes us back even further! As we’re going to see, he takes us back before the beginning. John stretches our finite minds and he tells us that Christmas began in eternity past. Before the creation of the world, before anything was made, our triune God had already planned for Christmas – for Christ coming into the world as God’s Son and our Savior.   

 

So it’s from there, from that unique vantage point, that John reveals to us the true identity, the true essence and being and substance of the Christ of Christmas. It’s from that vantage point that we continue to meditate on and marvel in the deity of Jesus Christ -- to see the glory and wonder of almighty Creator God, taking on the weakness of human flesh.

 

This is what we are going to ponder this evening. Here in John’s opening chapter he reveals The Word Made Flesh. This Word is the Eternal Creator

  1. The Word is the Eternal God
  2. The Word is the Creator God 

 

1. The Word is the Eternal God

People of God, whenever we meet someone for the first time, it is appropriate to give a formal introduction of ourselves. If I am at a conference with fellow pastors, I might say Hi. How do you do. I’m Keith Davis. I’ve been in the ministry 24 years; and I’m currently the pastor of Bethel Reformed church in Calgary. In that introduction, I’ve told them my name, my calling, how many years in that calling, and my current status.    

 

In a somewhat similar way, John introduces Jesus in these opening verses. He gives us a formal introduction of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. He not only tells us who Jesus is (the Word of God), but he tells us when Jesus was, how long Jesus has been, and what Jesus did.

 

And the way John communicates this is very clever and very deliberate. The opening words of verse one echo the opening words of Scripture from Genesis 1. For the Jewish readers at least, these words would have been immediately recognizable. Genesis 1:1 says: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

 

That’s the extent of the introduction that Moses gave to God in the book of Genesis. That’s what’s so fascinating about Genesis 1:1. In essence, Moses just says “In the beginning God already was”. He never tries to explain or account for the pre-existence of God.

 

So to write “In the beginning God”, is to declare: God is eternal. In Psalm 90:1-2 a Psalm, a prayer of Moses, he wrote: Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

 

Or think of what the Lord said to Job in chapter 38: where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footing set, or who laid its cornerstone while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?

 

Both passages – and there are many more I could have cited – testify to the fact that God was already there in the beginning. God always was. Earlier in the service I gave the opening salutation from Revelation 1: 4-5 to already put this truth before you: grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come.

 

Then later in verse 8 of that same chapter the Lord God says, I am the Alpha and the Omega, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. In Revelation 21:7 God says I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.    

 

That’s God’s way of telling us human beings that He is not like us. We are finite creatures, bound by space and time and by the laws that govern this physical realm. And just think about it: this world had a beginning. The sun, moon and stars; the mountains, the seas – all had a beginning. The seemingly infinite expanse of the universe had a beginning.

 

And we had a beginning. Boys and girls, all of us have a birthday. And we all existed in our mother’s womb months before we were born. And, unless the Lord returns beforehand, all of us have an expiration date. There will come a day when our earthly, physical body will die and then (as far as this earthly realm is concerned) we will be no more. We will cease to be.   

 

But in those passages from Psalm 90 and Revelation and Job 38, God is telling us that He is not bound by the limitations of this created realm. God is not a creature is bound by space and time. God is altogether unlike us in that He is not reliant or dependent on anything outside of himself.

He needs nothing else. Which proves again the love and the grace and the mercy of our eternal and almighty God that he made this world and that he made us! 

 

Whereas we creatures, we need everything: we need gravity, and oxygen, and an atmosphere; we need night and day, and food and water, and rest and sleep, and a dad and a mom – who conceived and brought us into this world (which is a not-so-small detail that many people seem to be overlooking these days).    

 

But knowing this, we might ask: if God always was, and if He needs nothing beside himself -- then what was it like before the creation of the world. Was God by Himself? Was God alone?

Of course, it is impossible for us to even imagine what it was like for God before the beginning. But as far as God being alone – yes, He was alone, in the sense that nothing else existed; yet He was never alone, because God is never alone because He exists in perfect unity and fellowship with Himself.

 

And this is the tiny little window that John opens up for us and enables us to see back into eternity past – even if ever so dimly. John writes, In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God; and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

 

John is telling us that Jesus, the Word, God’s Son was there, with God, in the beginning and before the beginning. But John is telling something else besides, something more, something very important that we cannot overlook: Jesus the Word was not only with God, but He was God.

 

In other words, Jesus Christ himself, the logos of God, is true and eternal God. The reason that is so critical to point out is that in the history of the church (past and present) there are those who believe that Jesus was created by the father. They point to the opening phrase of Colossians 1:15 which states He (Jesus Christ) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

 

A man by name of Arius believed this and he spread his heresy in the early church. Arius believed that there was a time when the Son was not. That’s the easiest and simplest way to summarize his heresy. And what was the response to the teaching of Arius? It was the Council of Nicea that met in the year 325, and the result of that council was the Nicene Creed.

 

And within the Nicene creed (found on page 149 in your Forms and Prayers booklet), there are some very deliberate, some painstakingly careful doctrinal statements which are designed to defend against heresy and testify to the Biblical truth of the deity, and eternity of Jesus Christ.

 

We confess: I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of God, begotten of the father before all worlds (the Son of God, by His very nature and identity as true and eternal God, was eternally begotten. Just as the Father is and always was eternally the Father, so the Son of God is and always was eternally the Son of God, and the Spirit is and always was the Holy Spirit of God. Our one true God is and always was one God, who has revealed himself in three distinct and unique and individual persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

 

Going on, the Nicene Creed continues to defend and testify to the Deity of Christ, saying that this Son of God is God of God, light of light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, (a direct disputation of any who suggest that the Father created the Son), being of one substance with the father, by whom all things were made. (TPH 319 vs 2 – we defend the deity of Christ!).

 

That phrase being of one substance is saying that the Son and the Father share the same essence and deity. Jesus is not just a God or like a God -- sharing similar qualities and power. No. Jesus is God. Co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the holy Spirit. 

 

And you see beloved, this is precisely what makes the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the coming in the flesh of the second person of the Trinity, so incredibly, unspeakably and indescribably wondrous and glorious. This is also why it is so important for us to understand who Jesus was and is -- or to try to understand this to the best of our ability.

 

The truth is, we cannot begin to grasp the extent of our Savior’s sacrifice and humiliation – unless we first see, and confess, and acknowledge who Jesus was as true and eternal God. That is why John is telling us this. It’s not just so that theologians have something to teach and write about and debate about.

 

No. Johns is telling us this so that we will fall down in worship at the feet of our Savior, at the feet of this Jesus, and seeing his sacrifice, seeing the riches He gave up, the glory he willingly set aside as true and eternal God – and how he humbled himself for our sake – the eternal Creator becomes a creature – all so that we would embrace him and love him with all our being; sing songs of praise and adoration, and also weep tears of joy and gratitude – as we see how undeserving we are, and how holy and glorious and beautiful our Savior is!

 

This is our Savior beloved. This is our Jesus. He “was” in the beginning. He was with God. And He is God. Does this knowledge draw you closer to Christ? Does it pull you in and make you love him more dearly than ever before? It should. If you love the Lord, if you know Jesus Christ as your Savior, then you cannot read this passage and come away unaffected or unchanged or indifferent. That’s because this is the beauty and the glory and power of the gospel.

 

This proves to us not only who Christ is – but it shows us just how much God loved us – just how much God gave to save us – He gave His only begotten Son! And so let each of us respond by holding nothing back – but giving God our all: all our love, all our praise, all our prayers, all our obedience, all our entire life. For this is our eternal God who gave his all to save us!  

 

2. The Word is the Creator God 

This Word of God is the eternal God. Notice secondly, this Word of God is the Creator God. Verse 3 says through Him all things were made; without him, nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.

 

Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, true and eternal God, was not only there in the beginning when all things were made, but through him, through the divine agency of the Son,  God the Father, created all things.

 

When you go to Genesis 1 (let’s turn there together), we see in verse 2 the presence of the Holy Spirit: now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

 

So the Holy Spirit was there at creation. But where is the Son? How did the Father make all things through him?  I want you to look at verse 3 and how it begins. And God said. Then look at vs. 6. How does it begin? And God said.

 

Then look down at vs. 9. What does it say: And God said. Vs 11. And God said. Vs 14, And God said. Vs 20 And God said. It goes on like that in vs 24, in vs. 26, in vs. 28, and in vs. 29. And each time we read that what immediately follows? That which God said – was brought into existence. That which God said sprang to life.

 

So, based on what we just read boys and girls, how did God create the world into being? How did God bring forth the earth, the sun, and moon and stars and all the trees of the forests, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air and the fish that swim in the pasts of the sea? 

 

Did God use tools? Did God use a giant shovel, a crane, a hammer? No. God spoke the entire world into existence. There’s that idea of the Word again! With the lone exception of man, of Adam, whom God created in very personal and intimate fashion, by shaping him and forming him with his own hands and breathing the breath of life into his nostrils and lungs, and Eve whom God formed out of a rib from Adam -- everything else in all creation was SPOKEN into existence. God created everything by the Word of His power.

 

For those who were here, hopefully, you draw the connection between to what we said in this morning’s sermon about the logos. In the beginning was the Word. So whenever we read: And God said we should understand that to mean the second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ. God spoke and the WORD brought it into being.  

 

Psalm 33 reinforces this truth when it states in verses 6-9: By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts the deep into storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him. For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.

 

God creates, God upholds and God governs, God keeps and sustains all things by the power of His almighty Word. We can also turn to Colossians 1: 16ff For in him (Christ) all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 

 

And in the book of Revelation, chapter 5, the 24 elders fall down in worship before the throne, and they worship Christ the King who sits upon the throne, and lay their crowns before the throne saying:you are worthy our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”

 

God’s Son, the eternal Word, is the means by which God created all things. And if I could just interject here -- think about the fact that at various times in Christ's earthly ministry we witness his power as king over creation. we saw it in the many miracles he performed. The first recorded miracle of Jesus was at the wedding in Cana where he turned water into wine. He transformed the natural, physical properties of the water in such a way that it miraculously and instantly became wine – which requires fermentation.  

 

And think of the countless people that Jesus healed from their physical diseases and those he raised from the dead even Lazarus who was dead four days before Jesus raised him from the dead. And remember that account where the disciples were with Jesus in the fishing boat and a storm came on the sea. The disciples were terrified and yet Jesus was asleep in the bottom of the boat. So they woke him up, and Jesus rebuked the wind and the waves -- and suddenly everything became calm. His own disciples were terrified at this and said about Jesus: who is this man that even the winds and waves obey him!

 

That’s Jesus – the Creator and King of creation. Think of the fact that on the cross during the three hours at Christ suffered the forsaken Ness of the father but the sun was darkened. Creation itself recognized the suffering and death of the son of God. And at his death and even at his resurrection there were violent earthquakes.

 

And so we ask: why does John want to impress this upon us. Why do we need to know this about the Christ of Christmas?

 

It’s because this is such an essential part of the Good News of the Gospel. Yes, God sent His Son into this world to die for our sin, but consider that this God is our Creator god – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who knows us so intimately. He knows everything we need!

 

Again, He is the Creator and we are the creatures. He made us. He knows us. Like a master craftsman and watchmaker, God knows exactly what makes us tick. He knows what we are like. And most importantly, He knows how broken we are – and how to best put us back together again and restore us and renew us. God knows us better than we know ourselves.

 

In his commentary on the book of John, pastor Kent Hughes wrote these words: we can trust such a God with everything. Because he is creator, he knows just what his creation, his people need. If only we believed that. If only we trusted God fully in that way.

 

Many of us like to think that we know ourselves best, that we know better than anyone else what we need, that we know best how to fix us. This applies to how we treat God as well. We push God to the background.

 

We might give lip service to our faith and say that yes, we believe in God. Yes, we believe what the Bible says, but when it comes to really trusting that god our Creator, our Redeemer knows what is best, we often hold God at arms length and say – No thanks. I’m fine.

 

I cannot tell you how many times I have counselled someone living in sin and they think that the pathway to happiness is by pursuing the road they are on. Yet say to that person: Don’t you trust God? Don’t you trust that if you do what God calls you to do – that He will bless you and THEN you will know true happiness? Don’t we trust that the Creator God who knows us better than we know ourselves – that he can provide what is truly best for us?

 

I want to close with what Hebrews 2: 14-17 says. It also helps us understand this aspect of Christ’s coming: since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared their humanity death he might destroy him who holds the power of death -- that is the devil -- and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death, for surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants.

 

For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest and service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

 

This is the true identity of Christ our Savior. He is the Creator god who took on flesh and blood. He went from the glory of the highest heavens to the deepest darkest pit of hell all to save us from our sins and to give us new life – to make us new creations in Christ!

 

But then we must trust Him – and give our lives over to Him, knowing, trusting and believing that as our Creator God He knows what we need, and He knows what is best, and he will provide everything we need at all times. Amen.

  




* As a matter of courtesy please advise Pastor Keith Davis, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
(c) Copyright 2022, Pastor Keith Davis

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