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The Five Words that Change Everything

"And the Word became flesh". This short phrase addresses literally millennia of intellectual, philosophical and theological questions about our Creator. There is no need for us to speculate or, as Plato put it, wait for a more sure word from God. He appeared in the flesh and dwelt among us and the record of His appearance is what we study in the book of John.

Todd WagnerOct 31, 2010
John 1:14-18

Messages In This Series (10)
The Most Quoted Verse in Your Bible
Todd WagnerJan 23, 2011
Shedding Light on Jesus' Chat in the Dark
Todd WagnerJan 16, 2011
When Christ Flips Tables, There's More Going on than You Think
Todd WagnerJan 9, 2011
The First Sign and All it Signifies: The Creator is Back at Work
Todd WagnerDec 19, 2010
Come and See. Go and Fish.
Todd WagnerDec 12, 2010
Come, See, Stay: What Followers Do
Todd WagnerDec 5, 2010
John the Baptist: A Witness to the Word, an Example to Us
Todd WagnerNov 14, 2010
The Five Words that Change Everything
Todd WagnerOct 31, 2010
Don't be a Bird Brain: Receive and Respond to the Goodness of the Word
Todd WagnerOct 17, 2010
The Word: Not What You Think... But Even Better
Todd WagnerOct 10, 2010

I have an impossible task this morning, and that is to communicate to you that which not only words cannot express but what finite minds cannot understand. I have to tell you I've mentioned to you before that I taught through the gospel of Mark a number of years ago when we first started. Our purpose here is to call all people to be fully devoted followers of Christ, so if we want to be fully devoted to this Jesus, this God in the flesh, then we need to know who he is and what he is like, so we studied Christ in the gospel of Mark.

Then, I looked at other gospels I would eventually teach. I have to tell you, the one I was always willing to stay away from was John, and there are 18 verses that are the reason I always thought, "I'm not sure I want to take that book on," because the first 18 verses in John are so deep, they are so magnificent, and they are so, I guess, intellectually challenging and theologically revealing and philosophically broken out that I was just intimidated by it. I really was for a long time.

I thought, "I'm not sure I can do justice to that, so we'll just read it and not ever dive in." There is no way… I could spend 20 weeks on those 18 verses and still not do it justice. In fact, let me just say what is so wonderful about John. John uses the simplest language in the entire New Testament. If you were going to write a Greek primer, a "Dick and Jane" in Greek or a Dr. Seuss in Greek, you could do it with the words that are in John, chapter 1, and, really, the whole book of John.

It is the simplest form of Greek, but it is the most revealing truth you could ever study. I love what Martin Luther said. He says, "I have never read a book written in simpler words than these, and yet the words are inexpressible." What John did was take language, which was all he had, to try and communicate about something that no mind could understand, but he walked into his culture.

You have to understand what John was trying to do. As Paul sought to extend the gospel, John wanted to go back and relay its foundation and make sure, "As we take this thing to the uttermost parts of the world, let's make sure as the world comes at us with its philosophical corruptions, its theological contradictions, if you will, and its historical inaccuracies, I want to go back as an eyewitness and tell you, 'This is exactly what we are sharing.'"

John is relaying the foundation. He is refuting and he is rebuking the false teachers' twists. This is what is so interesting. Today, if you ask people, "Do you have a harder time with Jesus being a man or a God?" most people today would go, "I'm fine with him being a man. I'm for the man, but the fact that Jesus is God? I just can't get there."

What's interesting is in the early days of the church where the church struggled was not that he was God, because it was all fresh. Everybody as still walking around saying, "Do you know what he did? Did you hear that story?" Everybody knew that tomb was empty. It changed the world. They watched men who were simple, uneducated, and untrained men become the most powerful forces in the history of humanity. They watched Rome be invaded with kindness and love.

They watched, if you will, airplanes radically changed, because somebody on that plane had spent time with Jesus, and they had no problem with his deity. What early on was the issue was, "Was he a man, and why does it matter?" As the Gnostics and later on the Arians and all of the different corruptions came over the first few centuries of the church, John was the one who said, "Let me tell you this story one more time, but let me nail these theological truths (the Word of God) and make sure you get it right."

John was writing in Ephesus. Ephesus in about 500 BC became the epicenter of some Greek philosophical thought which was basically this idea that a guy named Heraclites had taken and said that this divine, impersonal force that is out there; this rational, divine mind that really informs all of physics, all of math, all of reason, all of logic, and all of morality… If you earnestly seek and study and observe, you can attain to some awareness of it.

But it was such a grand idea they saw ruling the universe that they never really thought they could get there. What they hoped for was that their souls would one day engage with it, so it was a very intellectual pursuit. Within Greek philosophy, the idea was that the body was corrupt. It was evil inherently, so they always looked to get you out of your body, and they saw death as a release from the wickedness which contained you.

What John is going to say is, "No, no, no. What you have in your flesh and what you have in your weak nature is not what God intended. It has become corrupt because you have left this divine mind who isn't just a mind or an impersonal force. He is real, and we can never get to know him."

I have used this quote so many times, but it's my favorite quote of philosophy. It comes from Plato. It says, roughly, this: Until we hear a still more sure word from God… In other words, until we can hear from God directly, we are like ships making our way in the sea in a storm at night, trusting only in the best opinions of men.

The highest ideal of a philosopher was to hear from God. It was the interview they wanted, but because God didn't do interviews, they just stuck their best and their brightest in these centers, and they discussed, and they read, and they philosophized. They were lovers of the idea of wisdom, but they could not know wisdom because they were finite.

Every time they made some progress, they'd die, so we'd read what that guy said and try to stand on his shoulders, but we didn't know more about truth, and we've been in this successive study and longing for this truth to come. John in Ephesus, the center of this idea that the logos… That's what Heraclites called it. The Word (this divine impersonal force)…

John takes that Word that is in the semantics of the people or the linguistics of the world and says, "Listen! I have to tell you something. ' In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.'" Now, in verse 14, he is about to say something that, if it is true, hark the herald angels sing. If it is true, joy to the world! If it is true, quit your seeking any place but in him.

Here's the question. Is it true? What are the five words that change everything? It's John, chapter 1, verse 14. This Word that I have described that is eternal, that is divine, that is Creator, that is the source of life, that brings light into darkness… I love what John is doing. Watch this! He starts up here with this great idea, this thing, this immense transcendent deity that you could never know.

He goes, "He's here. He's right here. Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle, he is here! You don't have to sit anymore and read scroll after scroll in libraries and learning centers. You don't have to follow anybody. Follow him! Creator, Eternal, Divine, Ruler, Sovereign is here." What John does in chapter 1, verses 1 through 13, is he starts out there and comes down to a singular he.

What are the five words? "And the Word became flesh…" In other words, you can know him. John is going to say very quickly, "And the Word became flesh…" He says this Word that became flesh "…dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John testified about Him and cried out, saying, 'This was He of whom I said…'" Meaning, John the Baptist. "He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me."

Everybody knew John the Baptist was born chronologically before Jesus of Nazareth. Yet, John the Baptist is saying what John the disciple is saying. "Look! This guy who came after me existed before me. The Eternal, the pre-existent always present one is here." What John is doing is showing you that the witnesses who knew him knew this wasn't just some Johnny-come-lately rabbi who could really speak and had a few bags of tricks. This is Creator, Divine, eternal God.

Look, folks. This is either nuts, or we ought to fall down right now and just go, "I can't believe I know him! I can't believe I know him!" Verse 16 says, "For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him."

Okay. Let me try and let you in to just a little bit of the glory of these verses. I have to tell you there is a great little story about a kid who's sitting there drawing in class. The teacher walks in and says, "What are you drawing?" He goes, "God." She says, "You can't draw God. Nobody knows what God looks like." The kid looks up and goes, "They will in a minute." What I want to say to you is, if he just drew a pictograph, if he was a Disney cartoonist and he made a story of Jesus, that's what John, chapter 1, verses 14 through 18, are saying.

Do you understand in a world that was going mad looking for truth that John is going, "Over here"? From Bethlehem to Nazareth, all throughout Samaria and Judea, "Truth is here! You can know him! It can set you free! Quit looking. Over here! This is God! The Word, this idea that is impersonal that you somehow hope to get a glimpse of is here. He is here! We have seen him, and we know him, and he's more wonderful than you could ever imagine! We can follow him. He is what is reconciling us to God."

Let me just show you this. Leave John 1. Go back with me to Exodus 33. I'm going to show you this idea didn't just preexist with the Greeks. This idea, this desire to know God and get a glimpse of God, has always been that which we've all longed for. "God, if you're there…" Haven't you cried that out?

"God, if you're there, would you please show yourself to me? Show me what you're like. Interrupt my world. Lead me out of this corruption. Give me hope." Isn't that what you've wanted? You've always wanted that. It's what Moses wanted. The people were in slavery. They were in bondage to wickedness and evil. Does that sound familiar?

God was going to raise up a deliverer, and the deliverer was going to call the people out to freedom and to a place of promise and rest, and Moses said, "This idea, this voice, or this thing that is coming… Whoever you are, who are you?" God said, "I AM. I always was and always will be. You just tell Pharaoh, the power of the world, the I AM sent you, the preexistent, eternal, Sovereign One."

Moses said, "Great! I'll go if you go with me, but if you don't go with me, I'm not going to go." Watch what happens here. In Exodus 33, in verse 13, Moses says, "I need to know more about this I AM." He says, "Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight."

What Moses is going to say is, "If I found favor, then I just want to know you. I want to know you more. Show me more of who you are." Down in verse 18, God basically says, "I'll show you who I am. I'm going to declare to you my righteousness." In verse 18, " Then Moses said, 'I pray You, show me Your glory!'""Reveal yourself to me in all your fullness."

" And He said, 'I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.' But He said, 'You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!' Then the L ORD ** said, 'Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.'"**

Why? "Because I will consume you. In its perfection, you are not able to be in my presence, but I will give you a glimpse of my glory." That was enough for Moses. Watch this. Watch what happens in chapter 34, verse 6. " Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, 'The Lord [the Word] …'"

The Word of God is the means through which you reveal your emotion, your intellect, your will, your character, and your person. The Word proclaimed, "The LORD *, the L* ORD ** God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth…"** Don't you want your God to be that? Don't you want him to be kind?

Every time somebody had a confrontation with even a representative of God in the Old Testament, they just hit their face. Boom! Because they were overwhelmed and because they knew there was something altogether not like them present, they were like, "Oh, man!" You want a God who is kind and gracious.

Do you know what the most often-spoken words of Christ were in the New Testament? "Fear not," because he's kind, and he's gracious. People understood what they were dealing with when they were in the presence of this one that the winds and the waves listened to him, that death did not rule him, and that the greatest powers on the face of the earth he mocked. He didn't need what they offered him because he owned everything.

They go, "Who are you that you speak this way, that you love this way, that you care about those who none of us care about, that you confront what all of us are too fearful to confront, and that you extend grace and kindness to those of us who live lives that are offensive even to us in our brokenness? Yet, you're tender. Who are you?" "Fear not. Fear not."

Now, watch this. He also says to Moses in verse 7, "…who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished…" Don't you want that in your God, too? Don't you want him to ultimately deal with that which is wrong and unjust and cruel and wicked?

The problem is we all go, "Yes! Hitler! Get him," and we never think about the dictator who reigns in our own hearts that oppresses and causes a genocide on those in our relationship sphere. God says, "I will deal with the Hitlers, but let's deal with that little Nazi that reigns in you." This is who he is, and Moses desperately wanted to know him.

He said, "If I could only see him." Moses got that glimpse, and look at what he did in verse 8. " Moses made haste to bow low toward the earth and worship." Can I tell you what the application of today is? It's Exodus 34:8. If you will just make haste to bow low toward the earth and worship, then I will have done you a service this morning.

I pray that I come out of here just to make haste to bow low, to clothe myself in humility, and go, "This is not about me. This is not about a stupid World Series. This is not about pleasure. This is not about comfort. This is about serving the Word who became flesh who has revealed himself to me."

Look at this. This is what we want to know. Philosophers and great men say, "God, are you there? What are you like? How can I know you?" John says, "And the Word became flesh…" Let's look at this, because sometimes the language does help us. That word right there for became means came to exist as flesh. He's no longer this abstract thing. In fact, a correct translation of John, chapter 1, verse 1, where it says, "In the beginning was the Word…" is really, "In the beginning was existing the Word…"

He always was there, "…and the Word came to exist as flesh." Now, flesh can mean a lot of different things. It could mean, like I said, that inherently evil thing the philosophers made it. It could mean weakness. That's how Paul often used the term flesh (the corrupt part of who we are), but John uses flesh (sarx) as just basically what we most think of. It's just here. He became like us. Why?

Remember what I said last week. It was so he could communicate to us and so he could reveal to us what we otherwise could not attain. This is genius. Let me just tell you this. What is impossible for death to do is move toward life. Death could never move toward life. Darkness can never move toward light. Finiteness can never move toward infinity. Temporal can never move toward eternity. It just cannot happen.

They are mutually exclusive, but what is impossible for this to go to that became possible as grace happened in the opposite direction. Do you get that? We always want to know this. You can't get there, but something happened in the opposite direction where light invaded the darkness, truth invaded the air, and that which is eternal reduced itself so that finiteness could start to see it.

He came right here to our little selves, and it says that he dwelt. I love that little phrase there. "…and dwelt among us…" It's the word skēnoō. It's the word if you trace it back that means tabernacled. Literally, God came and pitched his tent among us so we could hang with him. If you go back and look and if you're around the Bible at all, there is this phrase called the shekinah glory. It comes from this same word. If you go back and look at the history of the presence of God among his people, God said,

"I want you to build a tent in the middle of your people, and in that tent I'm going to have you set up some things that start to reveal a little bit of who my nature is, and in the Holy Place that no one rushes into I want you to put a curtain. Behind that curtain, we're going to have the Holy of Holies, and in that place, the shekinah glory, the skēnoō, the presence of God will exist over this ark of the covenant, this righteous revealing of who God is through his Word, the sacrifice or the altar which is the means through which sinful man can approach divine perfection. My glory will rest in there."

It's the word, skēnoō, which means dwelt. He pitched his tent or he tabernacled or dwelt. It's the same word. In other words, in Jesus, God tabernacled among us. Just like you could go into the Holy of Holies, before there was this abstract God in a burning bush, this abstract glory resting on top of he Holy Holies that only a few could see, this abstract pillar of fire that led them by night or a pillar of cloud that led them by day, became something very concrete and very tangible.

He is here. Look what John says about this one who tabernacled among us. It says, "We saw. We are eyewitnesses." This is not just some fable. This is not Homer with a pen drinking a lot of wine writing some great stories. "I know him." "…and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten…"

There are going to come some dudes knocking on your door, and they're going to say they are witnesses of Jehovah, and you need to know this section of your Bible. There are going to be some friends of yours who are going to be, if you will, Arians of the day, who will say Jesus was a created being. They call themselves Mormons. They mistake the truths of John just like he was fighting Gnostic err or this idea that teachers are good but you need a higher knowledge to attain to.

No, no, no. You can't attain to a higher knowledge than God himself being present saying, "Sit down, boy. Listen to me. Follow me. I am God. I and the Father are one. If you have seen me, you have seen the Father. If you know me, you know the Father. You don't need something else. I am God tabernacled among you."

If that's true, then what are we doing? I have to just apologize to you. I'm your pastor, and I don't get it. I go through my day everyday. The little Hitler in me rises up and dictates how the world around me should be. I don't make haste to humble low to the earth. "I just want to know you. I want to know you more. I want to follow you, Jesus. I want to study you. I want to learn to be like you. I want to love like you.

By the truth of the power of your Spirit which dwells in me, I'm reconciled to you through the sacrifice of you, your broken flesh, which is the perfect sacrifice that deals with my infinite need before your infinite glory that we might be one again, so that which is wrong with me can be made right."

I don't know what to do. I don't know how to get it, but I have to tell you I'm trying to get my arms around it. I'm singing songs with you every week to get a better glimpse of it and studying this Word to be reminded of it. "…and we saw his glory…" What men typically do when they make a god is they make that god in their own image.

We've all thought this. If you were God, how would you have revealed yourself? We would have revealed ourselves as impressive athletes, as things of great beauty, or as people of great power and immense wealth, wouldn't we? Everybody would have just gone, "Whoa, dude! Check him out! He's like a god among us!"

John goes, "He's nothing like us. Though he was rich, he became poor." We would never do that! Though he was eternal in his power, he limited his power so he could relate to us. Though he was a king, he washed feet. Gang, John is saying, "What I'm about to describe to you about God is so wonderful that it just is beyond me."

Think about that again. This God is a servant. This eternally rich one is becoming poor so that you might have some of his blessing. We beheld his glory, as I said, not like we think of glory, but he showed us what it really was. He's the only begotten. He is the monogenēs. That word here is very important. He is not homogenēs. When it says begotten, this is a very important word, and I'm going to talk about it more throughout John, because it shows back up, but briefly today the word is monogenēs. When you think of a genus of something, it's a kind or a race.

He is not homo, which means same. Homosexual means same sex. Heterosexual means different sex. Heterogeneous means of a different order or a different race. Watch this. He's not even in the same substance of God. He is not homogenous. The word here is he is begotten. He is monogenēs. He is one of the same God. That's the idea here.

The word begotten is not so much chronological like my children are begotten. They are brought forth from me, but that's not the idea John is going for here. He's not speaking of chronologically, that my kids comes after me. That's why it's so important about the witness of John in the verse before.

John said, "He who is coming after me. He existed before me. Why? Because he is monogenēs. He is of the same kind as God. He is the Father, but he's the Father in flesh." " In the beginning was[existing]the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." The Word became flesh. Do you see how genius this is?

He's full of what Moses saw. Grace, lovingkindness, compassion, and truth. By no means will he let the guilty go unpunished. He's everything you wanted. Look at the life of Christ. We're going to get to start studying him next week, and we're going to watch what happened. He is grace upon grace, but he is truth upon truth, and you don't jack with him.

He is sovereign. Look at verse 16. " For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace." It's the only time in the book of John that the word grace appears. Life, light, and truth always appear, but this is the only time John uses grace. Grace is really representative here of life upon life. It's charis. It's freely given. It's where we get the word charity. The Greek word is charis. We get the word charity from it. It's giving something in abundance that you need that you could never get.

John is saying, "He gave us what we could never have, and he gave us more than we could need." It's wave upon wave of revelation. It's wave upon wave of kindness. It's wave upon wave of deliverance. It came through this eternal one who is here in a singular man. Quit looking! Are you here this morning wracked by guilt? Are you here this morning not because some politician said abortion was okay, but because the Hitler in you said it was okay?

Can I tell you something? We love you. I have never been a part of abortion, but I have to tell you something. I have murdered people with my tongue, and I am a sinner. I am a vile, wretched human being, but grace upon grace has come to me. "Todd, come here. In all your deformity…" I'm going to use a word that is not politically correct.

"In all your retardation and annoyance of the entire plane you're on, come here. Let me tell you a story. Put your head right here. Let me give you rest. Come here. Come here." There is peace. I just want to tell you. I don't care what you've done. I don't care where you've been. He lifts your head up and says,

"Where are those who condemn you? I'm the only one who can condemn. Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more. Come to me. Love me. Know me. Quit looking for life in sexual relationships. Quit spending your life chasing fleeting things. Follow me. Just like I was rich and became poor, here's what I've given you to make a place for others to come. Use what I've given you to make a place for others to eat. Use what I've given you to sponsor a child in Africa. Use what I've given to you to bring healing. Just follow me. There is life here. Come on."

Wow! Wow! Verse 17: "For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ." John jumps back. Moses said, "Show me your glory." Do you know what God said? He said, "You go get a piece of stone. You get a chisel. You write this thing down. I'm going to show you who I am."

Basically, what he says to Moses is, "Do you want to know me, Moses? You have to know my righteousness. You have to know why you can't know me. Because you're nothing like me." "For the Law was given through Moses…" Guess what. Grace and truth are going to be fully revealed through Jesus Christ.

"The Law showed you that you're nothing like me, bro." Watch this. "I am so nothing like you that when you offend me I come to love you. I'm going to take this tabernacle, and I'm going to rip it, and life will flow out of me that you might be reconciled to me. I will be just. I will pour out my wrath. I'm the only perfect thing that ever existed, so you can trust in me and have life, and I can still be loving and still be just."

Unspeakable but necessary. Verse 18: "No one has seen God at any time; the [monogenēs] only begotten God who is in the [kolpos] bosom…" (Who is in the lap and who is in the chest.) He is one with the Father. It's an intimacy and nearness. "The Word is in me. It's what I reveal of myself. It is how I communicate myself." This is who he is. He is in the bosom of the Father. He has exegeted him.

I have to tell this funny story. The very first class I ever took in seminary was a class called The Life of Christ. There was this guy. I didn't know jack squat. There was a fourth-year student who was taking this class. The prof got up there and goes, "What did Jesus come to do?" This guy raised up his hand in the very first row and goes, "He came to exegete God."

I looked around, and I go, "Are you kidding me? Exegete God? What does that mean? Why would you say that? You've been in school way too long. Don't start a church! You'll kill people if you talk like that." I didn't know. All the dude was saying was John, chapter 1, verse 18. There's a lot of talk out there about how you're supposed to teach the Bible.

I've talked here about exposition and exegetical teaching. Ex means positive or to think (to take your thinking from the Scripture). That's good. We do it here (exegesis) which means basically to understand or get your ruling from. You get your thinking from the text. You get your guidance from the text. He is come to help you understand who God is. Let him guide you to him.

It says, " No one has seen God at any time…" but the only monogenēs (the only one who is the same kind as God who is in the very presence of God, but he's not God, and he has always been with God in intimacy and nearness with the Father) is the one who can expound or tell you who he is.

He has come to show you what you could never get by studying about this impersonal thing, because darkness can never attain to light. Finiteness can never attain to infiniteness. Brokenness can never attain to wholeness, but wholeness has come to your brokenness, light has come to your darkness, and life is entering into your death, and you're going to see something that is so wonderful you wouldn't believe it if I told you, but I'm going to tell you anyway, and I pray that you believe in him. End of the prologue.

Do you understand who this is? Do you understand the craziness of Christmas? Quit wondering. Quit working to get God's favor. You adulterous whore, just admit that's who you are. You're a retarded, imperfect human. Admit that's who you are and come to him and find rest and grace upon grace.

Quit trying to figure out life, where you came from, where you're going, and what you're supposed to do. Listen to him. Follow him. Make haste to bow to the earth and worship him. Oh, God! I wish I believed it so you could learn from me what it means to follow him. I'm trying, folks. I just don't get Christmas.

These verses are bigger than me, and I'm going to spend the rest of my life trying to respond to Christmas. There are five words that change everything. "And the Word [God, Eternal, Divine] became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory." Nothing like the glory we're trying to establish. "Though he was rich, for our sakes he became poor." Get you some of that.

Father, I pray for my friends that they would get them some of that. If they're here this morning just like me in their retarded, adulterous state, that they would come to the one who can make them whole again, that they would find rest where they can only find rest, and they'd quit in their arrogance trying to decide where truth is.

That they would in their brokenness and infidelity and lust find him standing over them who would say, "Where are those who condemn you? I'm the one who can judge, and grace is here now if you just ask for it. Neither do I condemn you. Now, go, and in relationship with me, walk, so you won't continue to destroy your life and demand judgment."

Father, the application for today is that we would make haste to bow low to the earth and worship you. I pray it would happen. I pray they would come. I pray they would know that you are with us and they would follow you, seek you, know you, and reveal your glories that yield to your Spirit to a watching world. Amen.

As we got ready for today, we sang this song over you. I want you to stand with me and sing it together now. I'll give you one more 30-second application when we're done. God is with us. His name is Jesus. Come to him.

I'm going to give you a pass. That was still weak. I say that because there's no way you can sing appropriately. We could have the Arian Tabernacle Choir here and sing it and it wouldn't do it justice. I'll tell you, though, what really matters. Here's the big problem. Folks in churches all across America today are going to sing about that in great hymns and praise choruses, but we're going to walk out of these buildings and sing even more poorly out there.

In other words, our lives won't keep singing, so the world won't know we are followers of him and that we have been reconciled to him, and they'll wonder if he really was who he said he was, because his truth and grace should invade our lives and change everything about us. The first response to him is to come and have a new song in your heart, but the second response is to go. Christ in you is the hope of glory. The Spirit that informed Christ is the Spirit that should inform you in everything you do and everything you say.

I want to read to you something that happened two weeks ago with a little junior-high girl. She knows Christ and loves Christ here. One of our leaders was talking to her and just engaging her, and they saw her become kind of quiet. They were talking to her about her week. She was really sad, and she said she saw a friend at school who was being bullied by a world that is just full of dictators. Her leader said, "What did you do?" She said, "I wrote her a note." Watch this.

"Dear Katie, I want to tell you that I think you're the sweetest girl ever. You always make me smile. I know kids are mean to you, but I think you're wonderful just how you are. Don't listen to what those other kids say because they don't see what I see. You have so many great qualities about you. You are beautiful on the inside and the out. I hope your day gets better. I want you to know who you are. I took the name Katie. K means kind. A is for amazing, T is for talented, I is for intelligent, and E is for encouraging." She signed it, "Love God," and stuck it in her locker.

I thought to myself, "Oh, man! Grace and truth still reign in the people who know him and incarnate him as they yield to his Spirit so that joy can come into this world that's looking to know." Have truth and grace come? They'll know that truth and grace come, not because you're going to sing songs in December that talk about them coming, but when they come to you and radically change who you are and in your brokenness you say, "Come here. Put your head on my chest because I am in the bosom of the Father, not the way Jesus was, but I have received him. Let me be his hands and feet and tell you a wonderful story about who he is."

If you don't know him, would you come? I'd love to introduce you to my Savior. If you know him, will you go and be a love note to Katie? Worship him. Make haste. Have a great week. We'll see you.


About 'The Gospel Of John: The Visible Image, Volume 1'

Who was Jesus Christ? A mythical man created to give a false sense of comfort after we die? Some sort of character that enables us to justify our own choices while simultaneously giving us the power to judge others? Or was He something much bigger? God, in the flesh, walking and living among His creation. A sinless man who became the sacrifice for our sins. The Gospel of John is more than Christology 101. It is an invitation to a living and active faith in Jesus Christ. Come join us on this life-changing journey through the book of John: the story of Jesus Christ.