Over the years I have written several "book" or "booklets" and many, many, many newsletter and bulletin articles. Because the book market seeks writings to meet specific needs at specific times, my material has never been accepted. I have a tendency to write what is on my mind and so I am left with self publishing. So, with the encouragement from my wife and others, I am beginning this blog in order to put my "ramblings" "out there"! I hope you enjoy!
Please note that while my intentions are to use good grammar, because of the way in which some of the material presented here is presented (orally) the grammar and syntax might not always be the best English. Also note that good theology is not always presented in the best English so there may be times when the proper grammar rules are purposely broken.
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
The Word In Glory - New Years Eve - December 31, 2013 - Text: John 1:1-18
Our theme for this year has been The Word. Our text is John 1:1-18. Last week as we celebrated Christmas Day and the birth of our Savior, we continued our theme as we talked about the word fulfilled, that is the Word accomplishing all that was spoken and written about Him including and especially the Word being born in flesh. This evening we take up the topic of the word in glory. As we have made note all along, the Word is Jesus who was at creation with the Father and the Holy Spirit, who was promised through the oral prophecies, and later through the written prophecies. Jesus is the tangible word in His Holy Supper. He is the Word incarnate, in flesh in the person of the baby. He is the Word fulfilled in His life, death and resurrection. And He is the Word in glory, the Lamb of God enthroned in heaven. Again, this evening we take up the topic of the word in glory.
As we have reiterated time and again, the way we remember is to teach and reteach, to hear the message and hear it again, thus we begin by hearing again that Jesus is the Spoken and Written Word. We have already identified Jesus as the one spoken and written about in Genesis. He is the One about who God promised to send to reconcile, to redeem, to pay the price, trading His life for the life of all, to bring all people back into a right relationship with God Himself, a relationship broken by disobedience and sin. Jesus is the One who would have His heel bruised, that is He will die on the cross, but in so having His heel bruised, He would bruise Satan’s head, He would completed defeat and destroy Satan.
In the beginning God created, soon afterward man sinned and immediately God made a promise. We heard the promise and it is not that we actually heard it with our own ears as we would hear anyone today speak, but we heard the promise of a Messiah through our ears of faith. Just as we hear our Lord continue to speak to us today yet even more so through the written Word, through Holy Scripture, so we have indeed heard our Lord’s promises through our ears of faith.
Not only have we heard our Lord’s promises, but because He gave His Word to be written by many and various prophets of old, so today we have also read the promises. As we read through God’s Word we read of the many times the Lord reiterated His promise to send a Savior to Adam, to Noah, to Abraham, to Isaac and Jacob, to Moses, to King David and so on down through the ages of the Old Testament. We heard the Lord speak His word to Zechariah of the one who would prepare the way and His word to Mary that she would be the mother of the Messiah and to Joseph that it was okay for him to take Mary as his wife.
We have heard, we have read and we have seen the promise. Indeed, with eyes of faith we have seen Jesus. As Job reminds us, “25For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. 26And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, 27whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another’ (Job 19:25-27). As Job was confident that he would see his Redeemer, but of course he was speaking about being in heaven, yet we have seen our Redeemer through His Word and we are confident we too will see Him in glory.
Finally we have tasted the promise. When we come to the Lord’s Table, we come to eat and drink the body and blood of our Lord. Just as the children of Israel would eat the sacrifices they would bring to the temple, thus participating in the sacrifice, so too, we come the Lord’s Table where we dine on our Lord, our Messiah who was sacrificed on the cross for us. We eat His body, we drink His blood, thus we participate in the sacrifice. His life becomes ours. His suffering and death becomes ours. His resurrection becomes ours.
Jesus was God and is God in the beginning at creation. He was and is God with the Father and the Holy Spirit. At no time is Jesus not God, and at no time is He separate from the Father and the Spirit. Now certainly we may not have a complete understanding of this relationship of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, yet we do have what He tells us.
Jesus is God, with the Father and the Holy Spirit and yet, for our sakes, because of His great love for us, His creatures, He gave up the glory that was His in heaven. As true God He was enjoying all glory, but for our sakes He gave up His glory and came down from heaven.
Jesus, true God, took on human flesh and blood, for us. He became one of and one with His creation. He came as one of His creatures in order to do for us what we could not do, yet what we were commanded to do, live perfectly. Jesus lived perfectly for us in our place because we can not. He then, of His own free will, and willingly, took our sins upon Himself and suffered the price for our sins.
Jesus died. Yes, our God died. Just as you and I will one day die, so Jesus and so our God in Jesus, died. And yet, death and the grave had no power over Him. He rose from the dead. He rose and He rose for us. His resurrection shows us that His promises are true and that we too will rise again, death and the grave have no power over us.
After His resurrection and showing Himself to be alive for forty days, Jesus ascended back into heaven, the place from which He descended. He ascending and there He is at this time in heaven, which does not negate the fact that as true God He is also always with us, as we say He is everywhere present, omnipresent.
At this time Jesus is in heaven watching over us, ruling over us, interceding for us. He is watching over our lives and caring for us. He is ruling over us and we find great joy and comfort especially in the fact that He is interceding, He is praying for us, because as we all know we can use all the prayers we can get.
Jesus is waiting until the last day when the Lord will send Him, when He will return to gather us and all the saints who have gone on before us. He will gather all people and He will judge the living and the dead. Those who have faith will be judged to eternal life in heaven. Those who have rejected Him will be judge to eternal judgement and hell.
We will see Jesus. We will see Him in all His glory. We will see Him with our own eyes, we will see Him and not another. Our hearts yearn.
Until our Lord returns, we wait and we spend our waiting time getting ourselves and others ready and being ready. We know we are ready as we live our lives ever expecting and anticipating His return. Which means that we keep our eyes focused not on this world and the temporariness, the fast and fading of this world, but we keep our eyes focused on the real world, the world to come, the everlasting eternal world of heaven.
We live our lives ever expecting and anticipating our going to Him. Our hearts yearn, not of this world and the things of this world, but our hearts yearn of being in heaven with Him. As many of my shut-ins often lament, our yearning is the same, “Why doesn’t Jesus just take me?” And as Paul so well said it, and I am paraphrasing, we would rather be in heaven which is far better, but while He has business for us here on this earth, we will work at the business He has for us, yet eagerly anticipating our going to be with Him in heaven.
When our last hour arrives either He will come to take us or we will go to Him, depending on if we are alive when He returns or if we pass on and go to Him. Either way, whether He comes to us or we go to Him, we will be judged and by His grace, which He has given to us, through faith, which He has given to us, we will be judge to eternal life in heaven. He will robe us with His robes of righteousness. He will invite us to be a part of His kingdom forever.
As we end this calendar year and are on the verge of a new calendar year, we are reminded once again that every year, yes even each and every day we get one day closer to our Lord’s return. We are reminded that it is imperative to watch and be ready. And we are reminded that God continues to get us ready through His means of grace. Thus we rejoice and look forward to seeing Him in all His glory and we say, to Him be the glory, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.