Dear SanLo Community, an update for the first week of Advent, December 3, 2017…
Thank you Pastor Scott for the message from John 1:1-14, “Who is Jesus?” Christmas is almost here. I love Christmas and have wonderful memories of it but until I was much older, Christmas was mostly about toys, Frosty, presents and Santa Claus, and then I heard about Jesus. I had heard His name before and I knew Christmas was His birthday but it wasn’t until later that I knew it to be historical fact. Perhaps you know about Jesus but get caught up with the Christmas holiday and forget what Christmas really is all about, the birth of Jesus Christ. So the question is, “Who is Jesus?”
First of all, Jesus is God. Not like God. Not a god. Jesus is God. (vv.1-2) “Word” – The Greeks used that word not only for the spoken word but also to refer to the thing that governs all things. The Jews used that word as a way to refer to God. John wrote this book to Jews and non-Jews to prove conclusively that Jesus was and is the Son of God – God in human flesh. He was there in the beginning. There was never a time that He began to exist, He has always been. “Was with God” – God the Son distinct from God the Father. Both are God. Both are the same yet distinct from one another. “Word was God.” Jesus was not just a special baby that grew into a great teacher. He was not just a teacher, preacher, philosopher or just a godly man. He was more than that. He was the One and Only, never to be duplicated, imitated or replicated God in human flesh. God walked among us and His name was Jesus. Jesus is the God who became man. If you remember anything from this morning – remember this Jesus is God. There are many issues that good Christian churches may disagree on. But this is not one of them. This is essential to know and believe. If you ever find yourself in a church or meeting that refutes that Jesus is God, then run. They are teaching something that is not right.
Jesus is life. (vv.3-9) (v.3) You and I and everything we see are here because He created us. He knows everything about you. He gave you your life, your personality, your gifts. And in Him, you have purpose. (v.4) life = zoe. A special life that is in connection with eternal life. The life God created you to live. Not just existing here on Earth. But living a Spirit filled life here and a life for eternity in Heaven! Sometimes we forget that this life isn’t all there is. Sure, it’s all we see, but is the 60, 80 or 100 years on this earth really all there is? No, there’s so much more. There’s a whole eternity that we need to remember. Light = life was light. It is not simply just what you see. That word is used to describe what gives forth the light. For example, the moon looks like it is shining but it only shines because the sun is reflecting off of it. (v.5) “the darkness has not overcome it” – darkness will never beat light. It doesn’t matter how dark something is, light will always pierce through it. Imagine being in the darkest place you can imagine like a cave at night. Any light will show up. And when we walk with Jesus in this dark world, we can avoid walking aimlessly and into sin. His light shines the way and allows us to see how we can live. People ask me how I know Jesus is real. I can give the historical view. I can point out the Bible is true. But the most telling fact for me of how I know Jesus is real is how He has changed my life. Only He could do the things I have seen Him do in my life. I have seen Jesus work in my life and I have seen Him work in many lives over the years. It’s not a coincidence and so I want to share with as many people as I can. Like John the Baptist, we are not the light but we reflect the true light. We are called to be witnesses (v.8). Not to point to ourselves but to point to Jesus. As we live our lives, He calls us to be reflections of the light, ambassadors of God and witnesses to the True Light, Jesus.
Jesus is Savior. (vv.10-14) “came to His own” – denotes a special relationship. Kind of like property, ownership, but personal. Even though Jesus created the world and all the people in it, He was rejected. Even though they were chosen by God and the Old Testament all points to Jesus, He was still rejected. Jesus was here on Earth. He was counted in the Roman census. He lived about 30 plus years. He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, turned water into wine, walked on water, exorcised demons and gave back life to the dead. He taught, He shared, He cared, He guided, He mentored, He loved. He lived a sinless life. The rulers of the day wanted Him killed and that decision came to Pontius Pilate who asked, “Who is this man and what should I do with Him?” Pilate said he found no blame in Jesus. He wanted Jesus set free but the crowd shouted for Jesus to be executed. So Pilate had Him whipped and punished and on His way to being hung on the cross. (John 19:1) Pontius Pilate was faced with the question – who is Jesus and what should I do with Him? What about you? Do you see Jesus as a teacher, a good moral leader? Or do you see Him as more? Is He a good man? Or is He the God-man? Do you know Him historically, or do you know Him personally? He is God. He is Light. He is Savior. But you need to make a decision to ask Him to be your God, to receive Him as your personal Savior and to allow Him to give you a new life, a life full of joy and an eternity in heaven. They say if you are born once, you will die twice. But if you are born twice, only die once. It’s up to you to make that decision. Have you done that yet? Do you realize that Jesus died so you could live?
1st week of Advent:
Thank you to Eric, Lynne and Stephanie Kishi and Justin, Angela, Ava, Claire and Brooke Louis for lighting the first candle and reading from John 8:12 and John 1:1-14 that Jesus is the light of the world as we anticipate His coming.
12/5 10:00am 55+ Caroling at Umenoki and J-Sei Homes (meet at the church to assemble gifts then carpool)
12/6 9:30am Women’s Bible Study Christmas Potluck Brunch
12/8 5:30pm Christmas Program rehearsal
12/9 10:30am Christmas Program followed with reception (Kathy Masuda)
12/13 9:30am Women’s Bible Study Movie Day – Invite a friend!
12/16 10am-4pm Young Adult Christmas Party and Lunch (Nathan Masuda)
12/16 11am-2pm International Christian Center Community Food Service Outreach
12/24 8:30am&10:30pm Christmas Service
12/24 5:00pm Christmas Eve Candlelight Service (English and Japanese) & Potluck Dinner
Have a blessed week knowing Jesus,
Stan, for SLZJCC
Please use the December Mission Prayer Guide as you lift our missionaries in prayer this month.