Sermon – In Him was Life

The following are essentially my sermon notes. Maybe at a later date, I will transcribe them into a manuscript.

John 1:1-18

John 1:4-5 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (ESV)

Introduction

Previously, I shared from John 1:1-3 and 14

Jesus is Fully God

  • In the beginning was the Word
    • Christ is the Word
    • Eternal
    • co-existent with the Father
    • Equal with God
    • Truly God
  • Christ participating in Creation
    • Not Part of creation
    • Not the greatest of all created beings
    • Rather He is the creator
    • ALL THINGS were made through him
    • ALL THNGS are sustained through him
    • ALL THINGS…

Jesus is Fully Man

In verse 14 we saw that in a moment in history, predetermined before the creation of the world, Jesus took on flesh. He became fully human, while still retaining his full deity.

We call this the incarnation of Christ

The eternal, all knowing, all powerful, infinitely holy Son of God took on human nature and lived among humanity. Never ceasing to be God. Two distinct, but never separate natures in one person. (1)

Jesus is Saviour

Only God was able to save us, and only as man could he do it.  Only Jesus is the Way, the Truth and The Life. A gospel that preaches a different Christ is a false Gospel with false converts.

As Jesus himself said in John 8:24 “… for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”

  • The Mormon Jesus, an offspring of God, and the brother of Satan, does not save.
  • The Jehovah Witness Jesus who is the archangel Michael, a created being, does not save.
  • A Jesus who is not the Jesus revealed in Scripture does not save.

Today I want to look at v4-5

4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

What we see here in these two brief verses are the Holy Spirit inspired economy of words written by the Apostle John, summarising the incarnation of Christ. Jesus the embodiment of life, the glorious eternal light of heaven came to shine light into the dark world of mankind. (2)

We see a contrast, confrontation and a consequence.

I want to look at The Contrast Between Christ and Mankind; (v4) In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

I then want to look at The Confrontation in (v5) The Light shines in the darkness.

Finally I want to look at The Consequence; (v5 again) the darkness has not overcome it.

First lets look at the statment, “In him was Life”

4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

  • Christ is the embodiment of LIFE
  • The glorious eternal LIGHT of heaven (3)

4 In him was life…

In the New Testament there a number of words used for describing life.

Bios (x10)= Luke 8:14 “(thorns)…they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life…bios…” ‘this life’ physical life, possessions, property = biology

1Tim. 2:2 (pray) for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life (bios), godly and dignified in every way.

Psuche ‘su-kay’ (x100+) = life of the human soul, that is, the seat of mind, emotion, and will. = Psychology

Matt16:25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

John 10:11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

In John 1:4 = LIFE = Zoe ‘Zo-a’ (x135)

Zoe = Spiritual life as opposed to Bios (physical) or Psuche (the human soul)

It is “the uncreated, eternal life of God, the divine life uniquely possessed by God.”

By our natural birth, we human beings possess only the soulish (psuche) life and the physical (bios) life. But when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, we were not only redeemed; we also received the eternal life (zoe). We were born again/regenerated with the life of God. (4)

John uses Zoe more than any other writer in this gospel = 36 times

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (Zoe).

John 11:25 I am the resurrection and the (zoe) life. 4 Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.

John 20:31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life (Zoe) in his name.

John 10:10-11 Jesus speaking: I came that they may have life (Zoe) and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life (psuche) for the sheep. We see both Zoe and Psuche used here.

These passages are not promises for our Physical life or our soul, it is the eternal life of GOD given to us!

People who use these verses to push a prosperity gospel have it wrong! It has eternal focus, but still with benefit for the here and now.

ESV study Bible puts it this way for verse 10 “Jesus promise of abundant life, which begins already in the here and now, brings to mind OT prophesies about abundant blessing. Jesus calls his followers, not to a dour, lifeless, miserable existence that squashes human potential, but to a rich, full, joyful life, one overflowing with meaningful activities under the personal favour and blessing of God and in continual fellowship with his people.” (5)

We don’t have a promise of a life of physical pleasure and riches. Nor a life of full health where we never get sick or one day die… but a rich full joyful life despite our other circumstances.

4 In him was life

In Him was life, same as John 5:26 For as the Father has life (zoe) in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life (zoe) in himself.

  • This Life speaks of Christ aseity (A-see-a-tee) or self-existence
  • AND it’s Clear evidence of Christ’s deity for only God is self-existent.
  • This truth is foundational to our faith.

All creation finds its life in him, but only he has life in himself. We are becoming, for we had a beginning, He is being, unchanging and the source of all life for everything else .

Pastor John Piper shared this (and I paraphrase):

  • Before all things existed, LIFE existed
  • And that Life was a person
  • It is the opposite of the atheist belief
  • An atheist believes matter existed then life evolved.
  • The truth is Life has always existed, then came matter and all things find their life and sustenance in him.

Your next breath is not guaranteed, it is reliant on him!

We have looked at life, now let’s look at LIGHT and DARKNESS

The Contrast

4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

The Apostle John has deliberately connected LIFE and LIGHT together, this connection may not be obvious at first. But it beautifully describes the incarnation.

This self-existent LIFE from eternity past, has now manifested himself as light into the dark world of mankind.

Johns description of Christ as life and light is used all through the gospel.

We see this use of Life and light in John 8:12 “I Am the light of the world, whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

It reaches all the way back to the beginning at creation; Life, light, darkness and all the way to the end: Life eternal for all who are IN CHRIST.

For first century readers, the available means of generating light was limited. Darkness, especially at night and in inner rooms would have been a regular daily experience and light would have been all the more precious. (6)

TODAY = Blackouts – For us today it is usually only during blackouts that we can relate to 1st century readers. In our house we scramble to find torches and nearly burn down the house with candles… not to mention instinctively flick lights as we go room to room…

What is the darkness that Christ the light shines into?

John 3:19-21  And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.

FACEBOOK – people don’t tend to broadcast their darkest deeds to the world, they hide them. According to FB, everyone has an incredible life! FB depresses me!

Light and darkness are seen throughout the bible.

LIGHT       DARKNESS
TRUTH Intellectually Falsehood/Lies
HOLINESS Morally Sin

The life in Christ is true and holy and as light this life is manifested as truth and holiness against the darkness of lies and sin (7)

Darkness

This is a good time to talk about our human condition.

  • Genesis 1:31 “behold it was very Good”
  • Genesis 3 “The fall = entrance of sin
  • Romans 5:12 sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin

Romans 3:23

We see a great summary of our sinful nature “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”

Just a few verse before Paul first expands on this, drawing from multiple OT sources.

10 as it is written:

“None is righteous, no, not one;

11     no one understands;

no one seeks for God.

12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;

no one does good,

not even one.”

13 “Their throat is an open grave;

they use their tongues to deceive.”

“The venom of asps is under their lips.”

14     “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”

15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;

16     in their paths are ruin and misery,

17 and the way of peace they have not known.”

18     “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Titus 3:3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.

By nature mankind is in a state of total depravity. We cannot and do not seek out God on our own. It is only by the convicting work of the Holy Spirit that we are drawn to repentant faith in Christ.

Humanity is at enmity with God.

It rejects truth and embraces lies. It rejects holiness and embraces sin.

THIS IS THE DARKNESS

As Christians this Human nature doesn’t magically disappear when we are born again see Galatians 5:17

The Confrontation

5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

As we read earlier om John 3:19-21

  • Light exposes our motives, deeds, our sin and lies
  • We realise our need for him

12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

  • Darkness has not overcome it
  • Darkness cannot evade this light; it can only react to it.
  • CANDLE IN THE ROOM – reacts, dissipates, yields
  • In nature light can be snuffed out, but this is no ordinary light
  • It is the eternal life of our Lord Jesus Christ himself, manifested in the flesh in the world.
  • The Darkness cannot overcome it.
  • It though, just for a moment, it had him.
  • At the cross….but they didn’t !!!

1 Cor 2: 6-8 Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. 7 But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

The Darkness (lies and sin) still doesn’t like having the light (truth and holiness) shining upon it.

Just look at the Israel Folau case.

California – Bill night now to ban churches preaching that homosexuality is a sin.

The Consequence

5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

So what is the consequence of the Word who is Christ, who in him was life, manifesting into the world as light, the light of men.

The consequence is at its most basic this:

John 20:31 That you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

But how?

  • We are wretched and full of sin, He is holy.
  • God’s eternal plan was played out perfectly
  • We see in 1 Corinthians 2:8, had they known God’s secret plan, they would not have crucified Jesus.
  • They played perfectly into his hands

2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

  • In a sense, the light took on our darkness (God made him to be sin)
  • So that the darkness might become light (that in him we might become the righteousness of God)
  • This is the Great exchange! It is offered to every person.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

I plead with you today, if the Holy Spirit is pulling at you inside. Choose life, believe in the Son of God. Realise you are a wretched sinner who needs a saviour. You can find forgiveness in him. Turn to Christ today. Repent of your sin, confess that in you is only darkness, but that in him is light.

Jesus says in John 8:12 “I Am the light of the world, whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

You cannot earn this; it is a gift!

Conclusion

In Jesus was life, the life that created ALL THINGS, This life which is true and holy, manifested as light, shining Truth and holiness in to the darkness of mankind’s lies and sin.

This contrast and confrontation and consequence between light and darkness has eternal ramifications for us.

God in Christ calls us to repentance, confessing our need for a saviour found in Jesus!

Jesus, who is himself God, is the light of the world, whoever follows him will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

SONG: Light of the World – Matt Redman

Benediction

Jude 24-25

24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

References

  1. Roger E Olson
  2. Ps John MacArthur
  3. Ps John MacArthur
  4. Bibles for America
  5. ESV Study Bible
  6. ESV Archaeology Study Bible
  7. Ps John MacArthur
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Mary Tovell
Mary Tovell
2 months ago

What a wonderful explanation of the contrast between the darkness of sin and the Light that overcomes and brings LIFE eternal!