June 23 - Message Update

SanLo Community, an update for the week of June 23, 2019

 

Pastor Brian - “God With Us,” John 1:1-18

 

SanLo is a Christ-centered church. Knowing Jesus is central to our faith. This is an obvious statement but at times we may lose focus and neglect Him.  The importance of studying the Bible can’t be stressed enough. Knowing Christ Jesus and our convictions are made known through the Bible. Without digging into and studying the Bible, individuals are led astray and miss Jesus.

 

Around 700 years before Jesus was born, it was prophesied that He would be called Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” Emmanuel was not actually the name of Jesus but a role in which He would fulfill. Today we are looking at the doctrine or teaching of Christ. There are remarkable characteristics of Jesus in John 1:1-18.  What makes Jesus uniquely different than any other religious leader?  Who is Jesus? What does Scripture reveal about Jesus?

 

1) Jesus is GOD, the creator of the heavens and earth. (vv.1-3) Jesus is more than a man in history.  He is Creator God, the Word, which is the demonstration of God in creation.  Jesus was with God and was God from the beginning, the Uncreated Creator who made the heavens and earth.

 

Right away, the book of John, takes us to the foundation of the doctrine of Christ.  Jesus is intentionally introduced to the world with three profound words “In the beginning.”  This familiar statement takes us back to the first three words of the Bible from Genesis 1:1 which says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”  Immediately we see that Jesus was with God and was God who created the heavens and earth.   

 

By knowing God we know Jesus and vice versa if we know Jesus we know God.  What do we know about God? God is everywhere and personally knows all of His people.  He is everywhere and at the same time now here. What else do we know about God?  God is the Creator of life.  Without God there would be no life.  There is much we enjoy in life at the same time sometimes it’s really difficult.  There are days, weeks, months, years, and for some, a lifetime of struggles. Life can feel like a battle to get through rather than an experience to enjoy when it is not going well. Pain is temporary though at times it feels like forever.  Because Jesus is God and is with us, He knows our every need. He is everywhere and is now here.  In His mercy He will lead us into the land of the living when death surrounds us.  Jesus is the all-powerful God who created the heavens and earth who we trust to guide our lives in both joys and sorrows.

 

2) Jesus is LIFE, the light of men that shines in the darkness. (vv.4-13)  Jesus is life that brings light into darkness. What does this mean?  Maybe it will help to define darkness.  Darkness is emptiness.  It is placing all of our skills, talents, gifts and resources into something that will not last.  When our entire life is focused upon attaining temporary things it is a dark place. Why?  Because in the end there is nothing.  Because Jesus is eternal God, the life He gives is permanent and means something.  It is a life that shines brightly and has a lasting, eternal impact that overcomes any darkness.

 

John the baptist is introduced in this portion of Scripture as the one who paves the way for Jesus.  John makes it clear that he is not the Light but is preparing the way for Jesus the true light of all men.  Sadly, there is also a heartbreaking truth revealed.  Although Jesus gives light to everyone who receives and believes in Him, not everyone does.  In fact the world does not acknowledge Him.  This is the darkness, the emptiness of the world.  Jesus the giver of life is rejected by His creation.  The world does not realize who they are rejecting. It’s especially disturbing to know that in the darkest of times the light of Jesus is not found because He has been turned away. But for followers of Christ, there is always light.

 

In grieving there is temporary darkness as we dearly miss the presence of our loved ones in death. Psalm 116:15, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints.”  Why would the death of a saint be precious to God?  It’s because saints who die are home forever in God’s presence where all pain, suffering and tears are no more.  This is the light of Jesus shining in darkness. Jesus provides glimmers of hope and encouragement because He is among us.  His light shines through His people who are children of the Light.  Our notes, prayers, kind words, hugs, smiles etc., are the Light of Jesus lived out through His family.  Don’t overlook them or take them for granted.  It is Jesus revealing His Light to remind us He lives with us. He is God who is everywhere and now here and always will be.

3) Jesus is the complete and perfect MAN, full of grace and truth. (vv.14-18) There is none like Jesus.  He is the total package, absolutely perfect and yet relates to us in all things.  He knows all, sees all, loves all, full of grace and truth.  For believers, Jesus is the man who men want to be and women want to be with. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” This sentence is one of the most significant and memorable statements ever written. God chose to live among us. Its implications are endless.  In a time where gods were considered impersonal beings, the one true God not only desired to know us personally, He gave us the opportunity to know Him as Jesus.  The Word became flesh is at the heart of the gospel.  God’s love is shown by His choice to become a man to live with us. 

        

Jesus is the God/Man full of grace and truth.  “Whereas the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (v.17) The fullness of grace and truth refers to God’s compassion and mercy displayed throughout the Bible.  He is slow to anger, full of love, and forgiveness that is ultimately revealed by the cross work of Jesus.  Jesus the God Man lived with us to die nailed to the cross, to be raised three days later, defeating the darkness of sin in our lives. Without Jesus there is no light.  In rejecting Jesus, we deny the fullness of grace and truth.  Without Jesus, mankind misses the gospel message of God’s love and forgiveness.  

 

Only Jesus can set a person free from sin’s devastation.  The good news is that Jesus knows us inside and out, our good and bad, our successes and failures.  He knows man so completely, He does not trust us. John 2:24…25, “Jesus did not entrust Himself to men because He knew what was in man.”  Even with knowledge of our deepest and darkest secrets, He loves and accepts us. Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  If we would totally receive and believe in Him we would be released from sin’s condemnation and know that we are loved and accepted.   Jesus knows us, the good, the bad and the ugly because He is with us. He is God who is everywhere and now here, yet He still loves and forgives us. 

 

Forgetting to remember that Jesus is “God With Us,” the light is dimmed and joy is stolen.  But Light shines when we recall that Jesus fully understands us. Jesus, the High Priest, experienced the same temptations and hardships as we do but did not sin.  He understands our struggles and receives us with arms wide open in times of need.  He shines through people who stand beside and love you.  Look at the people who love you.  Enjoy God’s creation.  The sunrises and sunsets, ocean waves, white clouds contrasted against blue skies and you will be reminded that God is indeed with you.  John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”  Jesus is the God/Man who knows us, is everywhere and now here, and sacrificed His life, that we could shine.

 

Praise Songs:

Anthem; Great Are You Lord; Cornerstone; Doxology

This coming Sunday

Pastor Eric will preach from John 14:15-27.