“The Son of God Has Come”
Selected Scriptures from 1 John
December 18, 2016
What gift are you going to give to that special person in your life? Five years ago Alan McCutchen ended his relationship with his girlfriend, Mary Jo Smith, and he thought the relationship was completely over. Not quite. Two weeks ago Mary Jo came over to McCutchen’s home with a “Christmas gift.” She drove across his yard multiple times leaving deep ruts in the yard, drove over his Christmas decorations, hit his truck, damaged his mail box, and drove into his above ground swimming pool. And when he came out of the house to see what was going on, she tried to run him down and he had to take cover behind one of the trees in the yard. All the while she was driving around the yard, she yelled, “Merry Christmas” at McCutchen. Police officers say she was drunk at the time (surprise).
Now we’ve all received (and given) bad Christmas presents. But that’s a bad Christmas gift!
Christmas invariably includes the hunt for the perfect Christmas gift. Observations are made, questions are asked, and lists are made (I have finally started keeping a potential gift list for Raye Jeanne in my calendar on my phone). And then we had to the stores (or to Amazon and the internet), looking for the item that will be “just right” for our beloved.
Of all the gifts I’ve given Raye Jeanne, apart from her diamond engagement ring, I can probably count on one hand the number of gifts that I’ve chosen really well or perfectly. That’s not because of Raye Jeanne’s ingratitude, but because of my ineptness to evaluate, listen, and plan well.
And my guess is that I’m not the only person in this room with that inadequacy at gift-giving time. Most of us wish we had thought a little better about the gifts we’ve given others. But there is one Christmas gift that is always acceptable, perfect, and exactly what the recipient needs, and it is the gift of Christ.
You know that and believe that, but the apostle John asserts that it is not just Jesus that is the perfect gift and provision for mankind, but it is Jesus in His humanity that is exactly what man needs. It was because Jesus was incarnated and in the flesh and on this earth that we derive benefit from Him. His humanity was not incidental to Him or us; His humanity was essential for us to derive any benefit from Him.
And that is one of the primary messages about Christ in the book of 1 John. John was writing against two primary groups of heretics. Some of the heretics had claimed that Jesus was just a man and that at His baptism, the “divine” Christ was “joined” to the “human Jesus” and that the divine Christ left Jesus prior to the crucifixion. And others taught that Jesus only seemed to be human, but He was not genuinely human because all material things are inherently evil and Jesus could not be evil, so He must not have been human either. John is refuting these ideas, and many more. So among the things he says about Jesus are:
- Christ is from the beginning — 1:1; 2:13
- He is the Word of life — 1:1
- He is the Son of God — 1:2, 3, 7; 2:22, 23, 24; 3:8, 23; 4:9, 10, 14, 15; 5:1, 5, 10, 11, 12, 13, 20
- He is the Christ — 2:22; 5:1
- He is Jesus Christ — 1:3; 2:1; 3:23; 4:2; 5:6, 20
- His life (as the Messiah and God) was manifested — 1:2; 4:2
- He is at the Father’s right hand as Mediator — 2:1
- He was testified to by the Spirit — 5:6, 8
- He was testified to by God — 5:9, 10
- And He was a man. One of the things that John emphasizes the most in this letter is the appearance of Christ — sometimes John says Jesus came, other times “He appeared,” or “He was manifested.” But the emphasis always is that Christ existed prior to the incarnation and that in His incarnation He was genuinely a human being. Jesus was God in the flesh from birth to ascension.
As we prepare for Christmas this week, I want to direct our thoughts to the book of 1 John and see the uniqueness of Christ and how His humanity is essential to us and beneficial for us. [Aside: this is not to diminish His deity in any way, for Christ was and is and always will be part of the Triune eternal godhead; it is simply to assert that for Christ to be a benefit to us as Redeemer, He also had to be a man.]
This morning I want to consider what we gain through Christ’s incarnation; on Saturday evening I want to consider what Christ gave up in His incarnation; and next Sunday morning, I want to consider what Christ gained through His incarnation. Here is the theme that we will find in 1 John this morning:
Christ’s humanity is essential for the spiritual gifts believers receive from Him.
What gifts do we receive through Jesus’ humanity? John reveals at least six gifts in this letter. Let’s unwrap those gifts one at a time…
- Christ Appeared — and Gave Us Fellowship (1:1-4)
- Christ Appeared — and Gave Us an Example (2:6)
- Christ Appeared — and Gave Us Freedom from Sin (3:5-8)
- Christ Appeared — and Gave Us Orthodoxy (4:2)
- Christ Appeared — and Gave Us Testimony (5:6)
- Christ Appeared — and Gave Us Understanding (5:20)
Download the rest of this sermon from 1 John.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website later today.