The Reason For The Season

Bible Book: John  1 : 1-3
Subject: Birth of Christ; Christmas; Jesus, Birth of

The Gospel of John, chapter 1. If you did not bring a Bible with you, there, in the pew right before you, most likely you’ll find a Bible. And, open up and read with us as we study together the Word of God. I want to read to you now a very, very, very familiar passage of Scripture - John 1:1–3: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”

Now, let me tell you something about the Apostle John, who wrote these words: he was not a wordy writer, but he was a weighty one. And, I suppose that he has packed as much theology in three verses as could possibly be packed into three verses. There are a lot of things that the other gospel writers write about that John doesn’t write about. You may not have thought about it, but, you know, the genealogy of Jesus is not given in the Gospel of John. You don’t find it there. And, as a matter of fact, you don’t find anything of the manger, the birth experience of the Lord Jesus. It’s in the other gospels, but it’s not in the Gospel of John. You find no reference to the boyhood of the Lord Jesus in the Gospel of John. As a matter of fact, in the Gospel of John, you don’t find the story of the temptation of the Lord Jesus. Did you know that? As a matter of fact, in the Gospel of John, you don’t find any of the parables of Jesus. They are mentioned in the other gospels but not in the Gospel of John. John brings the focus down real quickly. John has a purpose, and John tells us what his purpose is. And, don’t turn to it, but it’s back at the back of the book. In John 20:31, he says, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing [you] might have life through his name.” So, John’s purpose is to bring you to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ through the Gospel of John. Now, in these verses that I’ve just read to you, there are three things that just overwhelm my mind as I look at them.

I. The Sovereign Majesty of Jesus

The very first thing is what I want to call “the sovereign majesty of Jesus” - “the sovereign majesty of Jesus.” John opens his gospel with a bombshell; he tells us a theological mountain peak. He tells us without stutter, without stammer, without equivocation, without apology, as clearly and plainly as human language can tell us, that Jesus Christ is God - unquestionably God, eternally God. Now, I want to remind you that John was a Jew and John had an ingrained horror against blasphemy. And, were John to have said that Jesus Christ is God and Jesus Christ not be God, that would have been the ultimate in blasphemy. Also, I want to remind you that when John wrote this, he wrote this as a mature man. This is not the opinion of a moment; he has had fifty or sixty years to think about it. This is his mature, unshakeable conviction: Jesus Christ is God.

A. Jesus Is Eternally God

Now, He is eternally God. Look in verse 1: “In the beginning was the Word.” (John 1:1) Now, when John says, “In the beginning,” he is not talking about a start; he is talking about a state. What I mean by that is this: He always has been God; He is eternally God. “In the beginning was the Word.” (John 1:1) That noun, word, speaks of Jesus. One of the names of Jesus is the Word. Now, why would you call Jesus “the Word”? Notice it is there with a capital, just like my name is spelled with a capital: “In the beginning was the Word.” (John 1:1) His name is the Word. Why does God describe His Son by calling Him “the Word”? Well, a word is an expression of an invisible thought. Now, I have thoughts in my head right now, but you can’t see those thoughts. But, you can hear my words, and you know what I’m thinking by my words. So, a word is an expression of an invisible thought. Jesus Christ is the expression - the visible expression - of the invisible God. Jesus Christ expresses the Father.

Now, notice the Bible says, “In the beginning was the Word” - and notice what it says - “and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) Now, the verb was is in the imperfect tense. It doesn’t speak of something that just simply took place in the past and now it is completed; it speaks of something that goes on, and on, and on, and on. And, what John is saying is, in the beginning, before there was any earth, sun, moon, and stars - before there was any creation, any cosmos - He was there. That is, beyond the confines of time - He was dwelling in the dimension where time does not count. And, I want to lay this on the hearts and minds of you, boys and girls, and please understand it: it may be deep, but when you think of Jesus, you do not begin with the manger; you do not begin with Mary. Jesus never, ever had a beginning; He always was. “In the beginning was the Word.” (John 1:1) He is eternally God.

B. Jesus Is Equally God

Second thing: He is equally God. Notice again in this verse: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God.” (John 1:1) Now, in the Godhead, there is more than one person. We worship one God, but He has revealed Himself to us in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And, the Bible teaches this right on the first page of the Bible: in the beginning, “God said, Let us make man in our image.” (Genesis 1:26) Now, the word God there is Elohim, and that is a plural noun. Now, we don’t worship three Gods. That would be idolatry; that would be blasphemy. We worship one God who has revealed Himself in three persons.

Now, I know that there are those who go from door to door and house to house in this city and almost every major American city, and they tell us that the doctrine of the Trinity is a pagan invention. And, they ridicule the doctrine of the Trinity; they say, “You worship three Gods: you have God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. And, one plus one plus one equals three.” But friend, one times one times one equals one. I want to tell you, we worship one God who has revealed Himself to us eternally in three persons. And so, Jesus is eternally God. Jesus is equally God. He is as much

God as God the Father is God. He is as much God as God the Holy Spirit is God.

C. Jesus Is Essentially God

I want to say, therefore, He is essentially God. Everything that God does Jesus does. Everything that God thinks Jesus thinks. Everything that God has Jesus has. Look in verse 3: “All things were made by him; and without him” - that is, “the Word,” Jesus -  “was not anything made that [is] made.” (John 1:3) Everything that God is, does, or has

Jesus is, Jesus does, and Jesus has. It was Jesus that spoke this universe into existence.

Have you ever thought about the immensity of the universe? One of the first philosophical thoughts I had as a child would be to look up at the stars and say, “Where does that ever end? How far could you go if you could go up, up, straight, as fast as you wanted to go and as long as you wanted to go? Would you ever come to the end? And, if you ever came to the end, how would it end? And, what would be on the other side of the end?” Have you ever thought about that? I used to think of that as a little child - oh, the vastness of space. If you were to turn a telescope to the outer reaches of space, you would find that space goes on and on. And, and, light travels through space at one hundred and eighty-­six thousand miles per second. That means that light travels six million miles a year. And, as you would travel out through space, everywhere you would see stars strewn like grains of sand on the night’s velvet blackness. On, and on, and on, and on goes space. Galaxy after galaxy and countless worlds speeding through space at inconceivable speeds - behind them all was Jesus. “Without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:3)

And then, lay aside your telescope and pick up your microscope, and begin to study the minutia of creation. Study the atomic building blocks, the atoms. Think about an atom. One atom would be one hundred and fifty millionth of an inch in diameter - I said, one hundred and fifty millionth of an inch in diameter. And yet, each of those atoms, completely invisible to the naked eye, is a whirling powerhouse of sheer energy. Each one of them is a miniature solar system in itself with a central nucleus and electrons flashing in orbit. I read something interesting: if you were to take a drop of water and take the molecules in one drop of water and translate or transform those molecules in one drop of water into grains of sand, you would have enough sand to build a concrete highway one and a half miles wide and one foot thick from New York to San Francisco. That’s how many molecules are in one drop of water. Think of the smallest of creation - the complexity of creation. Think of the vastness of creation. I want to tell you, Jesus made it all. “Without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:3) He is God.

We speak of His sovereign majesty. Let me give you some other verses. Hebrews 1:8: “unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.” God the Father calls His Son “God.” Titus 2:13 tells us that we’re to be “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” Our Savior is the great God. The Apostle Thomas, when he finally was convinced that Jesus had been raised from the dead, he fell before Him and said in John 20:28: “My LORD and my God.” That’s the first thing John tells us, therefore, about Jesus. It’s what I want to call “His sovereign majesty.” Friend, He is eternally God. He is equally God. He is essentially God. He is God. And, if you take that doctrine out of Christianity, you don’t have Christianity any more.

II. The Simple Humanity of Jesus

Now, the second thing I want you to see that John tells us about, however - not only His sovereign majesty but His simple humanity. Continue to read now, and look in verse 14: “the Word was made flesh” - “the Word was made flesh” - “and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) Now, dear friend, that Word had to be translated into a language that we could understand. And, God translated Jesus into a language that we could understand, and the language that we could understand is flesh.

He manifested the Father. Look in verse 18: “No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten [of the] Son” - “the only begotten Son” - “which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” (John 1:18) And, the word declared here means He has exegeted Him. Now, when a preacher is getting ready to preach on a passage of

Scripture, he does what we call an “exegesis”; that is, he studies the passage of Scripture, and he tries to determine what the Greek language, the Hebrew language - what it literally, actually says. And, when he studies that and compares scripture with scripture and does an honest statement so that the scripture begins to speak and he knows that he has it in context and in truth, we call that an “exegesis.” Now, the Bible says here in verse 18 that the Lord Jesus has exegeted the Father - He has declared the Father; He has manifested the Father. (John 1:18)

Now, the Word is translated into flesh. Let me tell you what the mystery of the manger is: that God would be able to translate deity into humanity - listen to me now - without discarding the deity or distorting the humanity. He did not discard the deity; He did not distort the humanity. This is the great mystery of the manger. Now, you listen to me: Jesus Christ is the God-­man. He was not all God and no man. He was not all man and no God. He was half-­man and half-­God. He was all God and all man at the same time. He is the God-­man - never another like Him. The Word was translated into flesh without discarding the deity and without distorting the humanity. He was as much man as any man who has ever lived; and yet, He is very God of very God.

What a mystery this is! That little baby - listen to me - wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger that we sing about, that Elmer Bailey sang about this morning, was the eternal, uncreated, self-­existing Word made flesh. And, the baby in swaddling clothes of Luke 2 is the mighty God of Genesis 1. Now folks, this is Bible truth, and it is so fundamental to being a Bible Christian. That little two-­year-­old toddler that held Mary’s hand as she went about her tasks about the house was the mighty God who swung the planets into space. That busy little boy playing with the shavings in Joseph’s carpenter shop is God manifested in the flesh. That man who hung upon a cross and cried, “I thirst,” (John 19:28) was the mighty God who made all of the oceans, and all of the rivers, and all of the springs. He - and every drop of rain - He was God.

Now, notice what the Bible says here - that “the Word was made flesh, and [tabernacled] among us.” (John 1:14) Look in verse 14: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14) That word dwelt is an interesting word; it literally means “He pitched His tent among us,” or “He tabernacled with us.” The word that is translated here is actually the word for a tabernacle.

Did you know, back in the Old Testament, God gave the people a tabernacle? Do you know what the tabernacle was? It was a tent of worship. Now, if you had come upon the tabernacle in the wilderness, you would not have thought that it was very beautiful, because on the outside of that tabernacle it was covered with badger skins -  rough, dark brown, unlovely; nothing beautiful to look at. And, there were no windows in the tabernacle. The only light that the tabernacle had was from a golden lamp - lampstand. That golden lampstand had seven prongs - a central shaft and six other shafts. But, on the inside of that tabernacle it was completely, indescribably beautiful. There was the fine twined linen. There was the scarlet, and the purple, and the blue, and the white, and the shimmering gold there. It was exquisite. Millions of dollars were spent to decorate the inside of that tent. Solid gold was everywhere. And, it was all glowing by the lamp of that seven-­pronged candlestick. From the outside you would never have known the beauty, but once you went in and once that candle - that lampstand fed by oil, which is an emblem and a symbol of the Holy Spirit of God - once you saw it, it would take your breath away - the beauty.

Now, that’s a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. “[He] was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14) If you looked at the Lord Jesus Christ, outwardly, you would not have been impressed. Now, I’m not being disrespectful. But, Isaiah the prophet said, “When we see Him, there’s no form nor comeliness nor beauty that we should desire Him.” (Isaiah 53:2) He did not stand out among men. He was an average-­appearing man, a nondescript man. But, for those of us who have come into Christ and for those of us who are illuminated by the Holy Spirit of God, we see the indescribable, exquisite beauty of the Son of God.

“The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory…” (John 1:14) John the apostle had a glimpse of that hidden glory. “We beheld his glory,” John said. (John 1:14) John said, “We saw God living and breathing, laughing and crying, eating and drinking. We saw Him in public. We saw Him in private. We saw Him as He was hailed as a Messiah, nailed as a malefactor. We saw Him when He was consulted. We saw Him when He was contradicted. We saw Him when He was cheered. We saw Him when He was crucified. We saw Him when He was buried. We saw Him when He was resurrected - the Word, the eternal God made flesh.” There’s no wonder that the Apostle Paul said in 1 Timothy 3:16: “great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh.”

Now friend, you must thank God for His sovereign majesty. He was the Word. But oh, thank God for His simple humanity, because had Jesus not become a man, you could not have been saved.

A. He Suffered as a Man

Now listen, He suffered as a man; it was necessary that He die as a man. You see, our standing before God was lost by a man. “In Adam all die.” (1 Corinthians 15:22) And, our relationship to God and our dominion was legally lost. Adam forfeited it. And, “in Adam [we] die.” (1 Corinthians 15:22) Adam sold out to the devil; he gave it over to the devil. The devil became the prince of this world, and men became slaves - slaves of Satan and slaves of sin. And, the son of a slave could not redeem a slave because all sons of slaves themselves are slaves. And so, God had to do a new thing. No son of Adam could redeem us. God had to send His Son, made in the likeness of sinful flesh and yet without sin. And, “Him having known no sin became sin for us.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) And, He paid the price; He ransomed us. He suffered, bled, and died as a man. And, had He not become a man, you never could have been saved. This is the reason for the virgin birth. He came as He did because He needed to be what He was - the Son of God. He was what He was to do what He did - to die for our sins on the cross.

B. He Subdued as a Man

Now, listen to me: He suffered as a man, and not only did He suffer as a man; He subdued as a man. When Jesus Christ came against Satan there in the wilderness… Remember, the first Adam lost all in a garden. Jesus, the second Adam, gained it all back in a wilderness. Jesus met the devil head on, and Jesus overcame the devil. Now, when Jesus overcame the devil - listen - He did not overcome the devil as God would overcome the devil; He overcame the devil as man filled with God would overcome the devil. Jesus emptied Himself. He laid aside all of the prerogatives that were His, essentially, as deity. We call that, in theology, the “kenosis,” the self-­emptying. He emptied Himself of all of that. He took upon Himself human flesh and the limitations of that human flesh. And then, Jesus Christ, filled with the power of the Spirit, went against the devil, and He overcame the devil.

You say, “Well, what’s the point? What difference does it make how He overcame the devil?” Well, friend, if He overcame the devil as God, that’s no encouragement to me. I just say, “Well, big deal. Of course God can overcome the devil.” But, when He overcame the devil as man, then He’s my example. He did not pull rank on me. And, Jesus Christ did not use any power to overcome the devil that is not available to Adrian Rogers or to you tonight. You see, as a man, He suffered. Oh, friend, listen: His sufferings were not mock sufferings.

I told you this before, but one night in a hotel room in Miami, Florida, I read about Gethsemane. And, for the first time in my life, I realized how Jesus suffered. All the rest of the time - I was a preacher by this time - all the rest of my time I’d say, “Yes, He suffered,” but somehow I just had in my mind, “Well, He was God, and as God, He was able to bear it and pull it off.” But, God showed me in that hotel room that night how Jesus suffered. My heart was so filled. I was so overwhelmed with praise that I did something I’m not given to doing: I shouted a country shout that I’m sure was heard all over that motel. It’s a wonder the guards did not come, thought there’d been a murder in that room. Ah, dear friend, I was so filled with praise and awe at the way my Savior suffered for me!

Folks, He was not going through some little mockery when He said, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” (Matthew 26:39) He did shrink from the cross. Don’t try to bolster up His manhood and make Him look good and say, “He didn’t shrink from it.” Friend, He did shrink from it. He did not want that cup. He knew what was involved and everything. And then, He cried out against it. He was a man, and as a man, He faced the cross and He said, “O Father, please, if there be some other way…” (Matthew 26:39) And, the silence from heaven said there’s no other way. And, Jesus drank that bitter cup. He suffered as a man, sir, but He subdued as a man. He overcame Satan as a man, and He’s my example.

C. He Sympathizes as a Man

And, I want to tell you, He sympathizes as a man. The Bible says, “We have not [a] high priest [that] cannot be touched with the feeling of our [infirmity]; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15) And, Jim Whitmire, when you hurt, He hurts. And, and, I want to tell you, Dale, when you hurt, He hurts. And, He knows how you feel. Thank God. Oh, He didn’t have to become a man to know how you feel, because He knows all things. But friend, He became a man, that we might know that He knows. Do you understand what I’m saying? He was here, that we might know that He knows, because He suffered, He walked, He felt, He hurt, He lived, He breathed, He wept, He hungered as we do. Thank God for His sovereign majesty, but oh, thank God for His simple humanity!

III. The Saving Ministry of Jesus

But, one last thing John tells us about… And, by the way, I don’t think I gave the title of the message. It’s “The Reason for the Season” - why Jesus came into this world.

There’s a third thing I want you to see, and they’re both based on the first two things: His sovereign majesty, His simple humanity, leads to His saving ministry. Look, if you will please, now, in verse 11 - John 1:11: “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:11–13) Now, here you have great things. You have the greatest tragedy: “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” (John 1:11) You have the great transaction: “But as many as received him…” (John 1:12) You have the great transformation: “became the sons of God.” (John 1:12) What a miracle - what a miracle. He came to earth, that we could go to heaven. He was born of a virgin, that we might be born again. He became a Son of man, that we might become sons of God. He died, that we might live. He came unto His own in order that He might save us.

And, how are we saved? Well, verse 13 speaks of the new birth: “Which were born, not of blood…” (John 1:13) Now, what does that mean? That means we were not -  we’re not - saved by natural generation; that is, because our parents are Christians, that doesn’t make us Christians. We cannot inherit it. We are born not of blood. It’s not handed down through the bloodline. “Nor of the will of the flesh” (John 1:13) - it is not by natural generation; it is not by natural determination. Salvation is not the works of men’s hands. It is not the will of the flesh. It is not by good deeds. It is not by living a good life. Not by natural generation, not by natural determination, but by supernatural regeneration - we are “born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the [work] of man, but of God.” (John 1:13) That means that God, the God-­man who died for us, now provides for us a new birth.

And, what is this new birth? It means that we are born because we have received the nature of God. Do you know what it means to be regenerated? It means to be “regened.” Do you know I have in me the genes and chromosomes of my parents? But, when I am regenerated, I receive the genes of God, spiritually. I am regenerated; I am “regened.” I have a new nature. Don’t get the idea that a Christian is like a tadpole who somehow turns into a frog. That’s just a process of natural development. A Christian is more like a frog who turns into a prince after he’s received the kiss of grace. Friend, it is a miracle. I receive a brand new nature. It’s not just a further development of the old nature that I have. This is the reason for the season.

I want to tell you something, friend: the new birth is not a luxury; it is a necessity. There was a preacher; his name was George Whitfield. He went all over America preaching, “Ye must be born again. You must be born again.” Somebody stopped him one time and said, “Mr. Whitfield, may I ask you a question?” He said, “Yes.” They said, “Why do you always preach, ‘You must be born again’?” “Ah,” he said, “that’s simple: ’tis because you must be born again.” Amen.


Let’s bow our heads in prayer. Heads are bowed; eyes are closed. John has told us about the sovereign majesty of Jesus. He’s told us about the simple humanity of Jesus. He’s told us about the saving ministry of Jesus. That’s the reason for the season. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” (John 1:11) Will you receive Him right now? If you’ll receive Him, He’ll give you the power to become a son of God. And, right where you are in your seat tonight, the greatest transaction that a person could imagine will take place: God will make you His child.

Would you like to be saved? If you would, I want to help you to be saved right now -  right where you are in your seat - to be saved. You don’t have to come forward to be saved; you can be saved right where you are. If you want to be saved, I want to help you right now. While heads are bowed and eyes are closed, I want you to pray a prayer like this - if you feel the freedom to pray it, you pray it: “Dear God” - just speak to Him right now - “Dear God” - pray with all of your heart - “Dear God, I know you love me” -  and friend, He does love you - “Dear God, I know that you want to save me” - and friend, He does want to save you, for the Bible says He’s “not willing that any should perish” (2 Peter 3:9) - “Father, I need to be saved.” And friend, you do need to be saved if you’ve not yet been saved, for the Bible teaches we’re sinners by birth, by nature, and by practice. And, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) - “Father, I need to be saved, and I want to be saved” - tell Him that - “Lord, I want to be saved.”

Now, pray this way: “Jesus, you died to save me. You paid for my sins on the cross. You promised to save me if I would trust You. I do trust You, Jesus” - would you tell Him that right now where you are? - “I do trust you, Jesus, right now, this moment, with all of my heart. I trust you, Jesus. Save me, Jesus” - ask Him right now - “Save me, Jesus” - with all of your heart - “Save me, Jesus. I turn from my sin. I receive you as my Lord, and Savior, and Master. I give you my life and my heart forever.” Tell Him that. Ask Him to save you. The Bible says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)

Did you ask Him? You did? As best you know how? Do you mean it? All right, don’t wait on any feeling. The Bible never says, “Feel a certain way.” If, with all of your heart and soul, you trust Him right now, as best you know how, to save you, I want you to pray this way: “Thank you for saving me, Jesus. I don’t deserve it, but I receive it by faith like a little child, because you promised and you cannot lie. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me. Thank you. You are my Savior, my Lord, my God, and my friend forever.”

Now, I want you to pray one more thing. I want you to pray this: “Lord Jesus, I love you so much for saving me. I will follow you wherever you lead me, and by your grace, I will obey you when you speak. And, Lord Jesus, help me never to be ashamed of you. Give me the courage to make public what I’ve done. If you died for me, Jesus, I must live for you.” Pray it again: “Lord Jesus, help me never to be ashamed of you. If you died for me, I must live for you - and I will, as you help me. In your name I pray. Amen.”