Sermon: Divine Grace is Found in Jesus Christ John 1:14-18

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Divine Grace is Found in Jesus Christ

John 1:14-18

Primary Truth Taught- Jesus is the Author and Giver of divine grace
The Book of Hebrews spends a lot of time comparing Jesus to many other people and things.

>Jesus is greater than the OT Prophets (Heb 1:1-2) because He is heir of all things.

>Jesus is greater than the angels, because He is the divine King (Heb 1:468).

>Jesus is greater than Moses, because while Moses was a servant of God, Jesus is the Son of God (Heb 3:3–4).

>Jesus is greater than Joshua, because Jesus brings a greater rest to the people of God (Heb 4:8–9).

>Jesus is a greater priest than Aaron, because He is sinless and immortal (Heb 7:26–28).

>But not only is Jesus better than any other human OT figure—He also has a better ministry after ushering in a better covenant built on better promises with a better sacrifice, that is, Jesus Himself (Heb 7:228:69:12).

Now, the purpose in examining these brief summaries from Hebrews is I wanted to get us thinking in terms of good and best. These OT shadows were good but Jesus is best or more accurately, Greater. All the people and things mentioned in Hebrews, comparing Jesus to, are good things…they cannot hold a candle to the greatness and glory of our Lord Jesus.

Human Need Met

One of our great needs that this passage meets is our need to fully trust Jesus Christ not only for salvation but for all our everyday needs. Jesus has a storehouse stocked full of grace ready to give us as His people. It is in this truth we must trust.

Lets look to God’s Word…

John 1:14–18 (ESV)

14 And 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. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

  1. Jesus is Greater Than John the Baptist

14 And 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. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”)

Last time we looked at verse 14 to see Jesus as our Tabernacle. We saw that just like the OT Tabernacle where Moses met with God so too, Jesus is the place where we meet with God. Just as Moses and God spoke as friends speak, so too, if one is in Christ, God is your friend. Because of the work of Christ on your behalf…because of His perfect sinless life and because of His death and shed blood on the cross you and me as God’s children can also speak to God as His friend.

Last time we also looked briefly at the glory of Jesus Christ and saw the glory at the transfiguration event. We learned that Matthew, Mark, and Luke report this amazing event when the flesh of Jesus could no longer contain His glory just like the tent of meeting could not contain the glory of God either.

Today, our passage takes deeper into this glory. What is it like? We could almost say, what’s it made of. Last time we saw the glory through the Bible and were amazed at the Shekinah glow that came over the Tabernacle. We saw, as it were, the Shekinah that literally burst forth and illuminated Jesus brighter than the sun on the mountain. Today, I want us to learn about the substance of this glory.

Glory resonates from the Divine Person. Glory shines forth from divinity.

Ultimately, we see this most clearly not in the Tabernacle or even the OT Temple, but in the New Jerusalem…

Revelation 21:22–23 (ESV)

22 And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.
In the New Heavens and New Earth, in the great city, the New Jerusalem the Shekinah glory will illuminate the entire city.

I want to look briefly at why John brings John the Baptist into the picture again. Why is it that he would need to add this little section that includes John the Baptist?

Let’s look at a specific declaration about John the Baptist by our Lord. What did Jesus say about John?

Matthew 11:7–11 (ESV)

As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is he of whom it is written,

       “ ‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face,

who will prepare your way before you.’

11 Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

It’s in this passage that John the Baptist’s greatness is seen. Jesus tells His followers that there is no one human (born the natural way) greater than John the Baptist.

Jesus very clearly tells us why John was so great. There are at least 4 reasons.

First, John the Baptist is a fulfillment of prophecy. Normally OT prophets were given a word of God and their Job was to proclaim this to the people. John is himself a prophecy. Much like Jesus is prophetic fulfillment so too John the Baptist fulfills prophecy. Secondly, He is the last OT prophet. Third, he is the OT prophet who foretells of the coming Messiah and then lived to introduce Him to the world. Fourthly, His ministry didn’t just foretell of the coming Messiah but made the way ready for His coming.

As great as John the Baptist was, Jesus is infinitely greater. Showing this truth is why John the Baptist finds his way in this section…

15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”)

Jesus did, in fact, enter into public ministry after John the Baptist. In ancient Jewish context John would have been thought to be greater because his ministry started before Jesus’

Here, D A Carson’s words are helpful,

In a society where age and precedence bestowed peculiar honour, that might have been taken by superficial observers to mean John the Baptist was greater than Jesus.[1]

John’s insists that Jesus is much greater than he is. Notice how he puts it…He who comes after me…there’s the idea that Jesus’ ministry started after John’s, ranks before me…He is infinitely greater than John, notice, why does Jesus rank before John? because he was before me. There’s the idea that Jesus is greater than John because He is eternal. Jesus and John were contemporaries and yet John says that Jesus came before him, eluding to Jesus’ eternality.

The bottom line here in this section is that John the Apostle uses John the Baptist’s words that Jesus is greater than him because no one outranked John the Baptist. He was the greatest of all men. He was the greatest OT prophet. So, we read that Jesus outranks John the Baptist.

  1. Jesus is Greater Than Moses

16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

We read back in 14…

14 And 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.

Here we are told quite clearly that the Son of God, namely, Jesus Christ is full of Grace and Truth. The word translated full here absolutely means full. Full to overflowing. This word is used of Jesus saying that He is full of the Holy Spirit or of the baskets that held the gathered up fragments after the feeding of the 5,000…they were full. Jesus, here in John 1:14 is full to overflowing with truth and grace. Now, for us this is very important. We can believe every word that comes from our Lord because, unlike the Devil who speaks lies, our Lord can only speak truth. So, everything coming out of Jesus’ mouth is 100% truth. In the same way, John tells us that He is full of grace as well.

What is grace? We speak about it a lot, but what is it really?

Some definitions of Grace speak of unmerited favor. Using the term unmerited favor is simply a way of saying that those whom God shows grace to, don’t deserve it. There is a problem with a definition of Grace that uses unmerited favor. Unmerited favor is when someone comes to you hungry and cold and you feed them and give them shelter. They have not done anything to deserve your kindness. What if a person robs you and then the next day comes to you asking for food? Now, it has gone passed unmerited to literally demerited favor. Unmerited favor means that the person receiving God’s kindness is neutral. But the reality is much darker. We are not neutral. We cannot receive unmerited favor. We are God’s enemies, we’ve robbed Him, we’ve hated Him, we’ve killed His Son and now God is going to show us goodness? Oh, the riches of God’s grace!
A better definition: God’s favor through Christ to people who deserve His wrath. By His grace, we do not receive the wrath we deserve. Instead we receive the favor we don’t deserve. Why is this true? The answer is found in the two words: through Christ. It is because of Christ’s death in our place that we do not experience the wrath of God which we so richly deserve. Jesus satisfied God’s justice and turned away God’s wrath from us by bearing it Himself on our behalf. Now God can extend mercy to us without subverting His justice. Mercy and justice meet together at the cross.
Jesus did more, however, than satisfy God’s justice and turn aside His wrath. By His perfect obedience, He earned for us all of God’s favor, all of His blessings…He did it all. He perfectly obeyed all the law of God, and He did it in our place. Just as He died in our place, so He also obeyed in our place. That is why those two words “through Christ” are so critical to the definition of grace. Without Christ’s work for us, there could be no grace.
We also need to realize that God’s favor to us through Christ is bountiful…God receives us into His family as His sons and daughters and opens up the storehouse of His boundless riches to us. He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ and promised to meet all our needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:3; Philippians 4:19). He invites us to come with confidence to His Throne of Grace to receive mercy and find grace to help in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16).[2]

Verse 14 tells us that Jesus is literally, overflowing with grace. Now verse 16 tells us that it is from this fullness we are recipients of His grace.

The Law came through Moses. He was its mediator. God gave the Law to Moses and then in turn he gave it to the people. That’s not how grace came to us. Jesus, while being the Mediator of grace is also the source of God’s grace. It was not given to Jesus and then He gives it to us, no it begins with Jesus, it comes from Jesus…literally from His fullness.

We read that this grace is grace after grace or grace upon grace. Here God’s grace (God’s favor through Christ to people who deserve His wrath) comes over and over again. Its literally like an ocean with its waves running up the shore constantly. That’s a picture of this Greek charis anti charos or rendered grace upon grace.

Then we close this section with…

18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

Jesus, God the Son makes God the Father known. As Jesus tells Thomas if you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father. We’re back to the glory of God and the fact that not even Moses has seen God in His full measure or without being shadowed by His glory.

Application

The Bible clearly tells us that it is by Grace we are saved…

Ephesians 2:8–9 (ESV)

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Salvation comes to us through the abundance or the fullness of Grace in Jesus Christ.

That “wave” of grace I pray has hit us all. God gives grace to dead sinners.

But what about everyday life after we’re saved? Does God just give us the grace needed to save us and then leave us alone? No, He gives us grace everyday. Sometimes it seems as if we’re struggling on our own, without grace.

There are times when we’re waiting on the next wave of grace. There are times, it seems like the tides gone out never to return. It’s in these times when we wait and trust. These are the times when we have the wonderful blessing of exercising faith in God’s promises until the next wave comes.

Here’s an example from the Bible…
Paul understood what it was like to wait for the next wave of grace…

Philippians 4:6–7 (ESV)

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus…

Philippians 4:19–20 (ESV)

19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

God will supply the next wave of grace. He will because grace comes from the fullness of Christ. Notice something else here; every need will be met from God’s wealth. Grace comes from God’s fullness of grace and our needs being met comes from God’s fullness of wealth. He loves His children. Paul learned through struggles that God would always send another wave of grace.

Maybe you’re tired and struggling and perhaps wondering if God is still sending grace out to you. Rather than struggling, believe. Rather than doubting, exercise faith. Remind yourself that grace will come again because it comes from the fullness of Jesus and He will never run out. Grow through the times of struggle and rejoice in times of plenty.

Children’s Homework

Next week we’re planning to cover John 1:19-28, in these verses Jewish leaders come to ask John the Baptist who he really is. What did John disclose about his identity to them especially in verse 23.

Declaration of Grace

In the mercy and grace of Almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for us, and for His sake God forgives us all our sins. To those who believe in Jesus Christ He gives the power to become the children of God and gives to them the Holy Spirit. May the Lord, who has begun this good work in us, bring it to completion in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

 

[1] Gospel According to John by D A Carson pg 131

[2] Grace by Jerry Bridges

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