Calvary Road Baptist Church

“THE WORD”

John 1.1-5

 

My text for this morning’s message is John 1.1-5:

 

1      In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2      The same was in the beginning with God.

3      All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

4      In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

5      And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

 

Though we have only read a portion of it, the first 18 verses comprising the introduction to John’s Gospel is the most theological of the introductions found in the four gospel accounts. Were you to read John’s entire introduction, you would see that the subject matter very naturally divides into the relationship of the Word to all things, John’s record about the Word, the response of men to the Word, and then the revelation of the Word to men.

This morning, however, we will confine our attention to John 1.1-5, where we are shown the Lord Jesus Christ’s relationship to everything:

 

First, REGARDING OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST’S PERSON

 

1     In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2      The same was in the beginning with God.

 

Notice with me three categories of statements:

First, there are statements of Christ’s eternity here. What do I refer to by this word eternity?

 

“In the absolute sense, eternity is the realm in which there is no beginning and no end. As a term relative to the concept of time, eternity is what lies beyond time and is not constrained by time. Eternality, then, is the characteristic or attribute associated with God alone, because God has no beginning point and no ending point. Eternality applies only to God in another way as well: only God is uncaused.”[1]

 

With that in mind, notice how verse 1 begins:

 

“In the beginning was the Word.”

 

Let me get a bit grammatical with you this morning. Though it appears so in our English Bible, did you know that there is no definite article in front of the word “beginning” in the Greek text? That, my friends, is significant. The reason for the lack of the Greek definite article in front of the word translated “beginning” is because John is not admitting that there ever has been an actual beginning. You see, “the beginning” is that time before which nothing existed previously. However, since there has never been such a point in time, the Apostle John refers not to any “beginning,” per se, but to the concept of beginning. The apostle wants his readers to understand that no matter what their mind conceives of as “a beginning,” not for one minute acknowledging that there has ever been such a thing as “the beginning,” the Word already existed. “Go as far back in time as is possible,” John means, “and you will always find that the Word exists.” Go back to the very origin of time and you will find that the Word already exists. Thus, we see in this first phrase of John’s gospel, which so resembles Genesis 1.1, the absolute and undeniable eternity of that which is referred to by the Apostle John as the Word. Interesting, this word, from the Greek word logoV. If you are from the Greek world logoV had a certain type of baggage associated with it, being “widely used in Greek philosophical teaching.”[2] If you are from the Jewish world logoV had a completely different type of baggage associated with it, the idea of “divine self-expression or speech.”[3] Jews would think of the word of the Lord while the Gentiles would not immediately go there. The apostle makes use of both preconceived cultural notions while using this common word in a way never before used. In verse 2, we read, “The same was in the beginning with God.” How long do you suppose God has been around? Would you say that God is about as eternal a being as is possible? I rather think so. He is the Prime Mover, the First Cause. Verse 2 indicates that as long as God has been in existence the Word has also existed “with” God. I want you to note that word “with,” because we will look at it more carefully in just a moment. However, to conclude the thought, verse 1 and verse 2 each contains statements showing the eternity of the Word, with verse 2 clearly showing the distinctness of the Word from God, since the Word has from the beginning been with God.

Next, there are statements of the equality of the Word. Looking again to verse 1 we read the phrase “and the Word was with God.” The word “with” translates the Greek preposition proV, which carries the meaning of being “toward” something, or facing something.[4] The implications of this preposition are not lost on either the Apostle John or the Holy Spirit, who inspired him. The message conveyed is that whatever rank the Word has, whatever its status in the scheme of things, the Word approaches and stands, as it were, face to face with the Monarch of the Universe, face to face with God. Understand that this simply cannot happen unless there is a direct equality of rank, status, privilege, and power between the Word and God. That is a thought you would do well to ponder. Also, in verse 1, we read, “and the Word was God.” The Jehovah’s Witnesses try to convince us that since the Greek language has no indefinite article, such as our words “a” and “an,” they are quite justified in adding the word “a” to their perverse imitation of Scripture that they call The New World Translation. The Jehovah’s Witnesses cult does this because they insist this phrase is not trying to teach that the Word is God, but that the Word is a god. Their false logic fails in the following way: In the previous phrase, which reads “and the Word was with God,” there is a definite article in front of the word translated “God,” “ton qeon.” Why is this fact important? Because it establishes that the Apostle John is not addressing the relationship between the Word and a god, but the relationship existing between the Word and the God, the only God there is, the true God! Therefore, when these two phrases are read together, in the order in which the words are written in the Greek New Testament, they read like this:

 

“and the Word was with the God, and God was the Word.”

 

You cannot say it any plainer than that.

 

“The Word was with God and the Word was God.”

 

Looking again to verse 2:

 

“The same was in the beginning with God.”

 

The word “with” being the preposition pros, as I mentioned ever so briefly a moment ago, means being toward or to in this case.[5] It must be asked, how can this be unless the Word is of equal rank with God? To show you that I am not teaching heresy, note that in John 10.30, the Lord Jesus Christ declares,

 

“I and my father are one.”

 

The Word is equal to God because the Word is God.

Finally, there is a statement about the Lord Jesus Christ’s essence. Verse 1 concludes,

 

“and the Word was God.”

 

As I mentioned previously, the exact word order in Greek is,

 

“and God was the Word.”

 

This statement needs to be considered along with such passages as Isaiah 9.6 and Hebrews 1.8. Isaiah 9.6 reads,

 

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

 

Hebrews 1.8 reads,

 

“But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.”

 

Referring to Psalm 45.6-7, the writer to the Hebrews cites a passage in which God speaking to the Son of God addresses Him as God. Taking these and other passages together, the truly honest inquirer is convinced that whatever else the Bible has to say about the Word John refers to; the Bible does assert that the Word is God. Not a god, but God! To summarize, in verses 1 and 2, the Apostle John declares relationships related to the Lord Jesus Christ’s person.

 

IN VERSE 3, JOHN DECLARES WITH RELATIONSHIPS RELATED TO CHRIST’S POWER.

 

The phrase “All things were made by him” clearly deals with the nature of His power. Let us begin by taking notice of the scope of the power spoken of here:

 

“All things.”

 

This, of course, excludes the possibility of thought that He Himself could have been created, since if He was created at any time, then all things were not made by Him. That being established, notice the strength of His power:

 

“All things were made by Him.”

 

Does this remind you of some familiar verses in the Bible having to do with creation?

 

Genesis 1.1:  “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

 

Colossians 1.16:  “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.”

 

Hebrews 1.2: “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.”

 

Hebrews 11.3: “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”

 

Now notice the source of this power He possesses:

 

“All things were made by Him.”

 

My apologies once more. But to be grammatically correct, a pronoun must agree, in both gender and number, with its antecedent.[6] That is, a pronoun must be of the same sex and match whether the noun it has replaced is either singular or plural. Thus, grammar shows us that the pronoun “him” can only properly refer to the Word. This means that the Word has only Himself as His source of creative power. That would make the Word omnipotent, would it not?

Next, we see the necessity of His power:

 

“and without Him was not anything made that was made.”

 

This is a negative statement that shows us that no creative act of God would have happened apart from the Word, Who is God. Again, in Greek, this is a most emphatic statement. Berry’s Interlinear New Testament, which shows the Greek words alongside the English words, with the King James Version translation in the margin, reads this way:

 

“and without Him came into being not even one thing which has come into being.”[7]

 

Consider this: The Word, spoken of by John, is it not Jesus Christ? Yes. How, then, can Jehovah’s Witnesses and Muslims claim that Jesus Christ is a created being if nothing, not even one thing, can be created except by Him? Did He create Himself? Of course, not! Truly then, my friends, we must bow down before the Lord Jesus to worship and praise Him as the true God Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, with omnipotent power such as only God has.

One final note in passing before we move on. Notice, again, the pronouns used in verse 3: The word “him” appears twice. This lets us know, contrary to some people’s beliefs, that the Word of God, that God if you will, has personality. God is not a gigantic IT in the sky. He is personal. That is why, to be saved, men must personally know the personal Savior. Of course, this concept is completely missed by such misbegotten religious charlatans as L. Ron Hubbard, the author of Dianetics, by Religious Science, by Science of the Mind, by Christian Science, by Buddhism, by Hinduism, and some other false practices and belief systems.

 

VERSES 4 AND 5 DEAL WITH RELATIONSHIPS RELATED TO HIS PURPOSE

 

4      In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

5      And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

 

The “life” referred to in verse 4 is of two kinds. Not only is the Word the source of our existence, which we normally think of as life, but He is also the source of real and genuine spiritual life, which is to say eternal life. We know from the Bible that spiritual death is separation from God. This is stated in such verses as Ephesians 2.1 and Romans 6.23. However, to be “in Him,” or to know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, is life spiritual life, eternal life, which is to say salvation.

This spiritual life in Christ is John’s “the light of men.” That is, Jesus Christ, the Word, is the only real and genuine source of spiritual guidance and direction for mankind. There is no other. He is the guidepost of our ethics, our morality, and our mores. He is the pole toward which a spiritual magnet is properly aligned.

Verse 5 reads,

 

“And the light shineth in darkness.”

 

When Adam sinned and fell, he plunged the entire human race, which was to spring later from him, into the dark abyss of spiritual depravity. That resulting darkness makes it impossible for human beings, left to our own devices, to rightly perceive spiritual truth, described here as light. This is true for at least two reasons:

 

#1     Because, being sinners, our sinful souls are warped and twisted beyond imagination, making our spiritual perception severely distorted and rendering us effectively blind to spiritual reality.

#2     Also because, when Adam sinned against God, he took the entire human race over to the enemy camp of Satan, who then became lost mankind’s spiritual ruler. We see this in Romans 5.10, where Paul teaches us that all unsaved people are enemies of God. We see it again in Ephesians 2.2, where Paul teaches that unsaved people are shown to be children of Satan, who blinds the mind of the unbeliever, Second Corinthians 4.3-4.

So, we understand that the darkness is a reference to the darkened understanding of the human race. We can also understand why “the darkness comprehended it not.”

 

SERMON:

 

It is very difficult for lost people to understand why Christianity, why Christians, make such a big deal of Jesus Christ. Kids can grow up in church and hear about the Lord Jesus Christ in almost every sermon and lesson and still not get it. Though they may not comment about it to anyone, lost people would as soon talk about other things religious, and not talk about or think about Jesus Christ all the time, much less sing songs of praise to Him or turn out for evangelism that they might be useful in bringing the lost to Him.

However, as the Apostle John begins to show us in these introductory remarks in his gospel, and as the Apostle Paul very clearly writes to the Colossians, there is a reason Jesus Christ is the proper focus of all Christian attention, thought, and ministry. Colossians 1.18 declares that the Lord Jesus Christ should have the preeminence in all things. The text we are looking to this morning, John 1.1-5, shows us why that is.

Sometimes people who are unfamiliar with the Bible are a bit puzzled by the Apostle John’s reference to the Lord Jesus Christ as the Word. They wonder, how can you be so sure the Word is referring to Jesus Christ? Keeping in mind that this gospel account was written 50-60 years after the events that are recorded in it, notice that John 1.6 makes reference to a man named John, who is properly identified as John the Baptist and not the Apostle John who wrote this gospel:

 

“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.”

 

There can be no doubt that John the Baptist was the forerunner of the Lord Jesus Christ, John 1.7, 8, and 9. As well, there is no doubt that Jesus Christ

 

“came unto his own, and his own received him not,”

 

John 1.11. The Jews’ national rejection of Jesus Christ was so complete and so violent that He was crucified on a cruel Roman cross because they thought He was a blasphemer who only pretended to be equal with God.

As much as these verses identify the Word as Jesus Christ, it is John 1.14 that is the most convincing proof that the Word is Jesus Christ, and that Jesus Christ is the Word:

 

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

 

This is a reference to Christ’s miraculous conception and virgin birth, to His sinless life, and the briefest of references to that time on the Mount of Transfiguration when His glory burst forth in dazzling radiance for our writer the Apostle John, James, and Peter to witness with their own eyes.

Thus, there can be no doubt that the Word written of by the Apostle John in John 1.1-5, Who is eternal, Who is with God, Who is God, Who created all things, Who is life, and Who is light, is the Lord Jesus Christ. But notice, also, that the Word, which is to say, Jesus Christ, shines in the darkness, and the darkness comprehends it not. This is another way of saying that your sinfulness and spiritual deadness so darkens your understanding that even though Jesus Christ is the light of the world and shines very brightly, you cannot grasp, you cannot seize upon, you cannot comprehend, and you cannot understand Him.[8]

Therefore, my unsaved friend, what will you do? May I suggest some things for you to do?

 

First, LET ME RECOMMEND THAT YOU PRAY

 

Of course, a typical evangelical would urge you to pray to receive the Lord Jesus right now. But we have a room full of people here this morning who were so urged, but who were not saved as a result of doing that. Why not? No sense of sin. No understanding of Christ. Going through religious motions like bowing your head, closing your eyes, and repeating words, does not a Christian make.

Instead, let me urge you to pray to God to work in your life, to give you understanding, to awaken you to a sense of your sinfulness and estrangement from God, and to show you the beauty and glory of His Son Jesus Christ.

Until you come to the place where you recognize that God is real, that sin is damning, that Hell is hot, and that Jesus Christ alone saves, little can be done for you. So, pray that God so works in your life.

 

Next, LET ME RECOMMEND THAT YOU TALK TO ME

 

Of course, it is always good to read the Bible. However, you should keep in mind what the Ethiopian eunuch answered when Philip approached him and asked him if he understood what he was reading in the Bible. He answered,

 

“How can I, except some man should guide me?”[9]

 

Far from being a stupid or ignorant man, the Ethiopian was an intelligent and apparently well-educated man. But he was a lost man, with all the hindrances to rightly seeing the light and understanding the truth that go with that condition. That is why God’s plan is to use saved men to reach lost men, rather than to leave lost people to feel their way around in the spiritual darkness.

The Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ begins,

 

“Go ye therefore and teach all nations.”

 

Thus, we see that someone in your predicament needs careful and detailed instructions to overcome the barriers and obstacles that block your path to Christ. God uses men to provide such instructions.

May I also suggest that you talk to me rather than someone else? Two reasons should convince you that I am not bragging when I make that recommendation: First, providentially, you are here and not somewhat else. I think God providentially brought you here. As well, let me publicly express my interest in you. I want to guide you to Christ. Two reasons to talk to me and not someone else. I have more reasons, but little time.

 

Finally, LET ME RECOMMEND THAT YOU COME BACK

 

Though Jesus Christ is the Word, and the Word is God (meaning that Jesus Christ is God), it is possible for you to know Him. John 1.12 makes reference to receiving Him and believing on His name, but that typically happens only when someone responds to the preaching of the gospel.

That is what we do here in services like this one. A foundation of Bible truth is first laid down to show people what dire straits they are in because of their sins. Then the good news that Jesus Christ saves sinners from their sins is presented, and the lost are challenged to come to Christ.

That this takes place primarily in preaching services is borne out by First Corinthians 1.18 and 21:

 

18    For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

 

21    For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

 

What is a preaching service? The worship of God used to be primarily ritual in nature, with sacrificial offerings and prayers given up to atone for sins. But that approach to worship was instituted by God before the coming of Christ and was a visual display that pointed to the sacrifice the Son of God would make on the cross to pay the penalty for sins.

Now that our Lord Jesus has suffered and bled and died, risen from the dead and ascended to heaven, God’s plan for our worship has been dramatically altered to feature and focus on gospel preaching, pointing to what the Lord Jesus Christ has already done in the hopes that sinners will see their sinfulness and will embrace Jesus Christ as their savior.

So you see, ritual is no longer the sanctioned expression of worship toward God that it once was. Direct Bible preaching, with the focus being the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, is now the Biblical norm. So, tonight, when we gather once more for the preaching of God’s Word, I would strongly suggest that you join us once more.

 

To conclude, consider who Jesus Christ is. He certainly is a man. But He is so much more than a man. He is the Word. He is the Creator. He is God. That being the case, does it not make sense to spend a bit more time learning of Him? And would it not be appropriate to look into becoming a Christian?

__________

[1] Stanley J. Grenz, David Guretzki & Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), page 47.

[2] John F. Walvoord & Roy B. Zuck, General Editors, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament, (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 1983), page 271.

[3] G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson, Commentary On The New Testament Use Of The Old Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007), page 421.

[4] Fritz Rienecker & Cleon Rogers, Linguistic Key To The Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Regency Reference Library, 1980), page 217.

[5] Ray Summers, Essentials of New Testament Greek, (Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman Press, 1950), page 32.

[6] Margaret Shertzer, The Elements Of Grammar, (New York: Collier Books, 1986), page 14.

[7] George Ricker Berry, The Interlinear KJV: Parallel New Testament In Greek And English Based On The Majority Text With Lexicon And Synonyms, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House reprint of 1897 edition), page 240.

[8] Rienecker, page 217.

[9] Acts 8.31

 

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org