There is a story about a man who was desperately lost and the only way to be found was through the gospel, but this man was blind by his own sinfulness. “Back in the seventeenth century, a young boy was born into a Christian home. For the first six years of his life, he heard the truths of the gospel and he was loved. Sadly, though, his parents died. The orphaned boy went to live with his relatives. There he was mistreated and abused and ridiculed for his faith in Christ. The boy couldn’t tolerate that situation, and he fled and joined the Royal Navy. In the navy, the boy’s life went downhill. He became known as a brawler, was whipped many times, and participated in some of his comrades’ being keel-hauled. Finally, while he was still young, he deserted the Royal Navy and fled to Africa, where he attached himself to a Portuguese slave trader. There, his life reached its lowest point. There were times when he actually ate off the floor on his hands and knees. He escaped and then became attached to another slave trader as the first mate on his ship. But the young man’s pattern of life had become so depraved; he couldn’t stay out of trouble. As the story goes, he stole the ship’s whiskey and got so drunk that he fell overboard. He was close to drowning when one of his shipmates harpooned him and brought him back on board. As a result, the young man had a huge scar in his side for the rest of his life. After that escapade, he couldn’t get much lower. In the midst of a great storm off the coast of Scotland, when days and days were filled with pumping water out of the boat, the young man began to reflect on the Scripture verses he had heard as a child. He was marvellously converted. The new life of John Newton found is reflected in his own heartfelt words, familiar to millions now:
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound—
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind but now I see.”
Newton’s experience put into words: the ultimate point that is found in Paul’s letter…….“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” Rom 3:23-24. JESUS CHRIST IS EVERYTHING! This Infinite God became finite, the Invisible became visible. But all the while never ceased, never stopped being a holy and sovereign God. Phil 2:6 “who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,”. Fully God and fully man at the same time.
Look what it says in [v14] “Word became flesh and dwelt amoung us” to tent or encamp, that is, (figuratively) to occupy (as a mansion) or (specifically) to reside (as God did in the Tabernacle of old, a symbol of protection and communion): - dwell. God took up residence among his people [sinners who desperately needed saving] because he loved them.
Someone or you might ask…..
- Why did the Lord Jesus do this?
- Why did He leave Heaven and come to earth?
- Why would He do such a thing?
The answer is simple…..
- To bring light to mankind to show us our sinful behavior
- To reconcile mankind to Himself
- To bring salvation to those who believe, so that we could be called “children of God"
But most of all to display His wonderful grace and truth to a fallen and depraved world. James Boice said "if God had simply taken Adam and Eve in the moment they sinned and cast them into the lake of fire, He would still have been just; and the angels could still have sung,
“Holy, holy ,holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
and is, and is to come” Rev 4:8
Remember, God does not owe man anything, but He gives mankind a measure of His grace. Therefore, all the blessings that mankind enjoy are the result of God's wonderful Grace. The Lord is full of grace and truth and John gives us the answer to the all-important question. Why did the Lord Jesus come to us in the Flesh?There are three things we see in this passage that displays the glories of the Son.
JESUS DISPLAYS HIS GLORY BY HIS GRACE TO A FALLEN GENERATION OF ANY AGE [V16 - V17]
“fullness we all received” [v16] Fullness which means “repletion or completion” the superabundance of grace that has been displayed by God towards mankind, especially believers [the ones who are His] has always been sufficient in all circumstances. We as a human race are all under His common grace. What do I mean by that? If you are an unsaved person or a saved person, we are all recipients of God's common grace. Whether we or they want to acknowledge it or not! If you enjoy good health, that's common grace. If you enjoy the comforts of home and plenty of food to eat, that's common grace
If you have a good job and are able to hold it down, that's common grace. There is not one person on this earth that isn't a recipient of God's wonderful grace.
“Grace” means…“the unmerited favor of God toward humanity.” The Scofield bible says "grace is the kindness and love of God". R C Sproul says “Loving a holy God is beyond our moral power. The only kind of God we can love by our sinful nature is an unholy god, an idol made by our own hands. Unless we are born of the Spirit of God, unless God sheds His holy love in our hearts, unless He stoops in His grace to change our hearts, we will not love Him... To love a holy God requires grace, grace strong enough to pierce our hardened hearts and awaken our dilapidated souls.” Philip Yancey says “There is nothing we can do to make God love us more, there is nothing we can do to make God love us less.” As the apostle Paul said in Eph 1:6-8 “to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace, which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,”
What does it mean to receive His Grace?This is what John the Baptist was proclaiming to the people. The bible says "He cried out" (means) he called out loud, the One I speak of is full of grace. Like what Paul said to Timothy in 1Tim 1:14 “And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.” What are the special blessings the believer has that the unsaved doesn’t?
- Eternal life
- Indwelling of the Holy Spirit
- Fellowship with other believers around the world
- A joy and peace that surpasses all understanding
- Communion with God through prayer and worship, baptism and the Lord's table
- An overflow of grace, wisdom and loving kindness by our Lord and Savior
JESUS DISPLAYED HIS GLORY THROUGH HIS TRUTH, TO A FALLEN GENERATION OF ANY AGE [V17]
God's nature is Truth, God's salvation truth was fully revealed and accomplished through the truth that is in Jesus Christ. Eph 4:21 “if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus:” “Truth” means…a reality, a fact, certainly to what is true in things appertaining to God and the duties of man. Listen to this wonderful truth. ….this should make us bow our heads in humility. This is what grace gives. Himself! In John 14:16-20 Jesus said “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. "A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.”
But before Jesus said this, He only asks 3 things from His children…..Ask Me, Love Me
and Obey MY Truths! John 14:14-15 “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. "If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Believing God's truth in the Gospel, by which one receives His saving grace.There is no salvation grace except to those who believe the truth of the gospel message. As John said "crying out" proclaim to the world the word of truth is coming full of grace and truth. Remember the Law cannot save you! It merely convicts sinners of their inability to keep perfectly God's righteous standards! Rom 3:20 “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Paul also said "The Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith" Gal 3:24. We are only saved by His wonderful grace, by which we believe His truths found in Christ Jesus [the gospel]
JESUS DISPLAYED HIS GLORY BY REVEALING HIMSELF PERSONALLY [V18]
“Word became flesh” God took on flesh to display and represent His glory in Jesus Christ. It is through Jesus Christ that the Father is revealed to created man and woman. John's gospel says "No one has seen God at any time" The greatest example is Moses pleading with the Lord. In Exo 33:17-23 “So the LORD said to Moses, "I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name." And he said, "Please, show me Your glory." Then He said, "I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." But He said, "You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live." And the LORD said, "Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen." Jesus said in Matt 11:27 “All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” In the original this is, neither knoweth which means "anyone" the Father except the Son. This means that is, no man or angel clearly and fully comprehends the character of the infinite God; no one but the Son, the Lord Jesus. “the One who is in the bosom [side] of the Father”……this phrase gives us a understanding of the intimacy with the Godhead. This is the same intimacy we have if you are a child of the Living God. In Isa 40:11 he wrote “He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young.” In the New Testament we read in John 10:11 "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. This great Shepherd…….This great God has shown His himself through the Lord Jesus Christ. This perfect infinite God cares so much for you and me it isn’t funny! It’s amazing grace. He decided to display Himself for mankind by coming in the Flesh as (v14) The disciples asked Jesus? Show us the Father! And Jesus responded in this manner……John 14:6-10 “Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him." Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us." Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.”
The God who created the Heaven and the Earth and everything in it; came as a man to display….His sovereign grace and truth to a world that rejected Him, denied His authority and curses His name still today. What can we take home in this passage?
- That He loves you with an infinite amount of grace.
- That He is the one who completes your grace to each trying day.
- That His grace overflows with the riches that come from scripture.
- That His grace super-exceeds our desires and expectations.
In the Old Testament God set His tent with Israel through his gracious presence in the Tabernacle and then later in the temple……And even revealed Himself in some Pre-Incarnate appearance of Christ. What’s more amazing is that throughout eternity God will again take up residence with His redeemed and glorified children. Let me close with this passage….Rev 21:3-5 “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
“and from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace”
Jesus is the glorious and gracious one!