The Eternal Word

The Eternal Word

Home Church Service 1/08/2022

Life & Light Community Church began in the early months of 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. What began as an opportunity for me, my wife and step-kids to continue to worship together, has now evolved into a ministry that has expanded to include close friends, family and those who are simply hungry for the word of God. You can find us on Facebook, so please, feel free to reach out and join us.

When our small group meets for worship, we like to discuss what we are learning, in the moment. Sometimes that happens right after the message and at other times we will address something during the message. These messages are designed to be interactive, discussing what we are learning right after I have addressed each point of the message. You will find the questions at the end of each section. In most formats they will appear in bold. Use these questions as a guide to meditate on the points being discussed. Allow the Holy Spirit to search your heart and above all, be honest with yourself and the Holy Spirit. After all, He knows any way!

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”

                                                                                       John 1:1–5 (NASB95)

Like many in modern day Christianity, I believed the first three verses of John to be absolutely ground-breaking – but in fact, they are NOT! It will not be until we get to verse 14 that a truly innovative idea is brought to light. Nothing that John states in the first three verses is contradictory to Judaism.

What we find in the first three verses should be enough for us to understand one very important fact – the author of this gospel was a committed Jew, entrenched in Jewish customs and the rich concept of Judaism during the time of the Second Temple. This being the case, John sets out to present evidence that Jesus is The Eternal Word and that all would believe and have eternal life in Him.

The Eternal Word was with God in the beginning, in fact, He was God. He was there when all things came into being and nothing could come into being without Him, for in Him is life. This life is the Light of all men, shining in the darkness that cannot comprehend it.

The Eternal Word has always been and will always be with and is God. He created all things, and nothing has been created without Him. His life gives Light to all people as it shines in a darkness that will never overcome it.

In this message we seek to understand why The Eternal Word is important in the life of a Christ Follower.

The Eternal Word is Light that darkness cannot understand or overcome.

1). We must first understand that The Eternal Word is important in the Christ follower’s life because The Eternal Word has always been with God and has always been God.

He is God without beginning or end.

“In the beginning,” three simple words but three very important words for this gospel. “In the beginning,” roots this gospel with the foundational words of the Torah – “In the beginning,” and “God said.” You have heard me say this before and I am going to say it again, Jesus did not come to start a new religion, He came to create a NEW BODY. John’s words throughout this gospel account will confirm this. What we find in John, perhaps more than any other gospel writer, is that everything begins with the Torah. In fact, we will find echoes of Genesis throughout this gospel account.

Given this, it is foundational for the Christ follower to understand “In the beginning was the Word.” Beginning here does not mean from the beginning or from the start. Jesus never had a beginning – He has always existed with God. This is further confirmed with the word “was.” In the Greek it is in the imperfect tense meaning a continuous action, so, in this case “was” can actually be translated as “was continuing.” This is true throughout the first three verses: “In the beginning was continuing the Word, and the Word was continuing with God and the Word was continually God.” The point is clear – Jesus is preexistent. He was always continuing! 

John faced a major obstacle in writing his gospel account – how to connect with Gentiles, that is non-Jewish people, who may have never heard of the Messiah and Jewish people who were expecting Messiah. The answer for John lay in the concept of logos, word, for the concept of word was understood by both Gentiles and Jews. Jews saw the word as something more than a mere sound. A word was something active and existing. It was a power – a possessing power to express something.

Greeks, or Gentiles, saw the word more philosophically. When they looked at the world of nature, they saw order and not chaos. Everything had its place and moved or grew in an orderly fashion. Therefore, the Greeks said that behind the world was a mind, a reason, a power that made and kept things in their proper place. This creative and sustaining mind was said to be the Word. The word was also seen as the power that enabled people to think and reason. It was the power that brought light and understanding to the human mind, allowing humans to express their confused thoughts in an orderly fashion. More importantly, the word was the power by which people came into contact with God and expressed their feelings to God.

There is one other aspect of the word we must consider – the written word. It has been said that the pen is mightier than the sword. The written word can be many things. It can paint the picture of a beautiful sunset. It can also reflect the ugliness of anger, hatred and bitterness. The written word can move us to tears or spontaneous laughter. The written word can wound or bring healing, it can bring joy or cause sorrow. The written word can inspire, convict and set free – there is power in the written word.

If we combine the Jewish understanding, the Greek understanding and the thought of the written word from our culture, it is clear to see the concept of word has power in all areas of human thought, speech and writing. And if you find yourself thinking you are not quite sure about the thought aspect, consider this – you had to use words to form that thought! Yep, that’s right, you use words to think! In fact, you cannot think without using words! Now we can understand why Paul encourages us to renew our minds daily or to take every thought captive to Christ.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

What comes to mind when you hear the words, “In the beginning?”

How has your concept of the term “Word” changed? If not, why?

How have you experienced the concept of “word” in Jesus recently?

The Eternal Word is Light that darkness cannot understand or overcome.

2). The second point we must understand is that The Eternal Word is important in the Christ follower’s life because The Eternal Word has brought all things into being.

He is the Creator and Giver of life.

John makes a profound statement that helps us understand the Word better. John says, “the Word was with God.” This means that the Word was near, active, and attached to God. He was familiar with and known by God. The Word was watching, doing, and imitating God, because. He in fact, was God. This sets up the thought in verse 3, “All things came into being through Him.” Christ, the Word, created all things, not just creation, but every detail of creation. Nothing was in existence, for matter is not eternal. God did not take something from outside of Himself – something less than perfect – to create the perfect place for His most prized possession. God used His will and His power to create all things.

John then states that in Him, in Christ, was life. This means that not only did the Word create all things, He is the substance and essence of all things. All creation contains some of His essence – His beauty, His order, His faithfulness – but this also means that all of creation also suffers under the curse. The Word is the power that holds all things together. This also means that nothing has come into being apart from the Word, for He is the beginning of all things. Thus, John can confidently say, “In Him was life.” He gives life, He creates life, and He can take life. He has power over life. Life is in Him as well as through Him.

John goes on to say that this “life was the Light of all men” – of all people. This is a profound statement that, once again, echoes Genesis. All people have life, so all people MUST have some Light. This means that every person EVER CONCEIVED has had some Light, or some part of Jesus in them!  “Let us create them in our image.” The image of God carried by all people is now damaged and corrupted by sin. The life in Christ sheds Light on our sinful condition but it also points the way to the abundant, eternal life He came to bring.

Humans brought darkness into the world through sin. The life in Christ was the Light of humanity meant to show us the way, the truth, and the life. Christ is the source of life and from the beginning it has been, and continues to be, God’s desire that we know that life – to know God personally and intimately. Thus, John says, “The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it.” Here again we find echoes of Genesis in Light and darkness being separated.

“The darkness did not comprehend it” can be understood in several ways. Darkness could not understand the Light – could not figure it out or make sense of it. Darkness could not overtake or conquer the Light. And darkness could not overcome the Light. The life in Christ not only penetrates the darkness, but it also utterly conquers the darkness. The Greek word for overcome expresses the truth that darkness can neither defeat nor extinguish the Light of Christ. It also expresses the truth that the darkness of the world cannot understand or grasp the Light.

Try as he might, the enemy who brings darkness into this world and against Christ followers will never be able to understand or defeat the Light of Christ. There is much confusion, chaos, and division in our country today, tactics used by the enemy to keep people off balance and distracted – including many who claim the name of Jesus. It is not our job to judge and condemn those who are under the influence of Satan and his demons. Ours is to reflect the Light and allow it to penetrate the darkness in which we work, play, and live out our days on earth. It is a high calling indeed to shine the Light into the darkness, to allow the Light to expose sin and to show the way, the truth and the life.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

How have you experienced the substance of the life of Christ recently?

Where are you experiencing Light conquering darkness in your life?

Where are you being called to be a beacon to reflect the Light of Christ?

The Eternal Word is Light that darkness cannot understand or overcome.

I have long felt that the first three verses of John were ground-breaking but in fact, they are not. There is nothing that is contradictory to Judaism in them, and it is only once we get to verse 14 that a truly innovative idea is brought forth.

What we find in those verses should be enough to show that the writer is a committed Jew, entrenched in Jewish customs and understand the rich concept of Judaism in the Second Temple period. So, with this in mind, John sets out to show that Jesus is The Eternal Word.

Love’s instinct is to create – out of the unique communion of love between God the Father and “the Word,” the universe came into existence. The greatness of Christ is seen in His being the creative mediator of the observable universe, Christ is, therefore, the unifying principle at the heart of all existence. All things came into being – you and I included – the universe came into being – stars, moons and the sun – not out of some pre-existing material, but by the will and power of God. Thus, EVERYTHING and EVERYONE, is utterly dependent upon the Word of God.

With this understanding of logos, the Word, and our utter dependence on Him, we now have the foundation to better grasp the remainder of this gospel account. As we move forward, we will continue to hear echoes of Genesis and see the Word in the midst of all that John records. Whether it be the spoken word, the written word or the words of thought, there is no escaping the presence and the power of the Word. This should also help us put meat on such passages as taking captive every thought in obedience to Christ and renewing our minds daily.

It also brings a new light to our responsibilities as Christ followers. We are to reflect His Light, not out own. That Light must first shine in our own darkness and then penetrate the darkness of the world around us. Ours is not to judge, that is we do not judge the person, we judge the sinful action AFTER the Light has exposed our own sin. Then and only then are we prepared to lead others to the way, the truth and the life.

We are also much more aware of our utter dependence on the Word. This should give us pause from our daily routines and begin to cause us to see and be aware of the presence of the Word in al we do and who we are. The Word is the Giver of Life and Light. We carry a part of Him within us, though it is damaged, each day is an opportunity to move closer to Christlikeness and remove some of the damage and corruption caused by sin. We can also rejoice in knowing the fact that no matter how bad things get, the enemy can NEVER defeat or extinguish the Light. In Christ we are overcomers! We stand in His Light as conquerors even today.

We do all things to the glory of God through Christ our Lord.

Amen and amen.

Next week: John 1: 6-13

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