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.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
The Word Written - Advent Midweek 2 - December 11, 2013 - Text: John 1:1-18
Our theme for this year is The Word. Our text is John 1:1-18. Last week we talked about the spoken word. This week we continue our theme as we talk about the written word. Next week we will take up the topic of the tangible word, followed by the word incarnate, the word fulfilled and the word in glory. As we made note last week, of course, 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 written word.
One of the things we are taught in teacher education is that the way to get people to remember is to teach and reteach, in other words to say the same thing over and over in as many ways as possible and using as many of your senses as possible so that we remember what we are being taught. It is for this reason, so that you will remember, that you will keep hearing me say and reiterate the same thing over and over again. With that said, I will, again, remind you that last week we talked about the spoken Word of God. We have already identified Jesus as the one who was with and is God at the creation of the world. And concerning the spoken Word of God, I think it is amazing that it was simply by speaking that God created all things out of nothing, simply by speaking them into existence.
Along with identifying Jesus as God, we have also already identified Jesus as the one spoken of as the one to be the Messiah, the Savior of the world. As John tells us, “4In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 9The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world (v. 4,5,9). And this light, this Messiah, the Savior is the one promised in the beginning, in the Garden of Eden immediately after Adam and Eve sinned.
And, we have already identified Jesus as the spoken Word becoming flesh at His birth. Again, John’s own words, “11He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. 14And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (v. 11-14).
We have identified Jesus as the spoken word of God, the word of promise and the word of prophecy first spoken by God in the Garden of Eden and also later to Abraham, at which time God narrowed the line of fulfillment of the prophecy. This evening we move to a later point in Israelite history at which time God calls Moses to lead His people Israel and to give them His Law and His written Word.
Following the Garden of Eden, man continued to sin. God sent a flood to wash the world. God reiterated His promise of a Savior to Noah. And the world continued to sin. At the tower of Babel the people of the world disobeyed God and instead of being fruitful and multiplying and spreading out into the world, they remained and thought themselves as gods. God confused their languages so they had to separate into the world. Later God reiterated His spoken promise to send a Savior through Abraham and even later to Moses.
Not only did God use Moses to lead His people Israel from their bondage of slavery in Egypt, He also moved Moses to write the first five books of the Bible, what is called the Pentateuch; Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Now the spoken, the oral promises of God have become a permanent record, a written Word promising a Savior for God’s people.
When God gave Moses His Word and promises to write down, God gave to Moses the Law, the written Word which included the ceremonial, the civil and the moral law.
The civil and moral law were given for the protection of all people. The civil law is much like the civil law we have in our world today. The civil law regulates how we are to be in relationship with others in public, and most civil law is based on the moral law which is the Ten Commandments. In other words, it is the moral law which is at the heart of the civil law and which regulates the fact that we are obedient to those in authority over us, as stated in the fourth commandment. We do not hurt or harm our neighbor physically, mentally or emotionally, nor do we actually murder our neighbor, as stated in the fifth commandment. We do not lust after another man’s wife, nor fornicate with any unmarried people, as stated in the sixth commandment. We do not scheme, take or steal from our neighbor, as stated in the seventh commandment. We do not speak evil of others nor repeat gossip, we do not defame another’s character, as stated in the eighth commandment. And we do not covet anything that is our neighbors, nor begrudge them of what they have, as stated in the ninth and tenth commandments. As for the moral law, neither do we have other god’s before our one true God, we do not misuse His name, nor do we fail to be in divine service on the day of rest, as stated in the first, second and third commandments. Now, as I have listed these civil and moral laws, we must all admit that certainly we daily transgress all of these if not in action, we do so in thought and word and that is why we need a Savior.
Certainly many of you have heard it said that Jesus came to fulfill the law so that we are no longer bound by the law. While that statement is true, we must clarify that we are still under the civil and moral law. It is the ceremonial law which pointed to the Savior, which said that blood must be shed for sin. Although Jesus fulfilled all the law, civil, moral and ceremonial, it was this ceremonial law that Jesus fulfilled of which we are no longer under. We no longer offer sacrifices because Jesus has already offered Himself as the once for all sacrifice.
Jesus is the Word. He is the spoken, the oral word first promised by God, the Messiah, the Savior of the world. He is the one who came to fulfill all the spoken promises and all the written promises. He is the one who is God in human flesh, born as one of us, as one of His creatures in order to be a substitute for us.
Jesus was born to fulfill all the law, all the civil law, all the moral law and all the ceremonial laws and He did, perfectly. All that the law requires Jesus fulfilled. All the promises and prophecies about the Messiah, Jesus fulfilled, perfectly.
The fulness of the Gospel is that Jesus lived perfectly for us in our place as our substitute. Jesus then, freely took our sins, suffered and died, paying the complete price for our sins, for us in our place. He died and was buried, but death and the grave had no hold over Him as He rose on the third day. He ascended into heaven where He continues even today to watch over us, rule over us and intercede for us. He is awaiting the time that He will return to gather us and all the saints to take us to be with Himself in heaven for eternity. And we will gather and stand before the Lord’s throne and say, to God be the glory, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.