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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor


Second Sunday After Christmas
Series
A

Option #1: "John's Journal of The Word Made Flesh"
John 1:1-14

Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.

(Note: As the title indicates, this message is to written as if John were making entries in a journal. Thus, standard outlining procedure will not be followed in these Sermon Starter notes, although "talking points" will be provided)

Talking Point #1, vv1-3: John asserts that Jesus is the Eternal God and an active agent in the creation:

Word Pictures in the New Testament, Volume 5: The term logos is applied to Christ only in John 1:1, 14; Rev 19:13; 1 John 1:1: "concerning the Word of life" (an incidental argument for identity of authorship). There is a possible personification of "the Word of God" in Heb 4:12. But the personal pre-existence of Christ is taught by Paul (2 Cor 8:9; Phil 2:6f; Col 1:17), in Heb 1:2f, and in John 17:5. This term suits John’s purpose better than sophia (wisdom), and is his answer to the Gnostics, who either denied the actual humanity of Christ (Docetic Gnostics) or who separated the aeon Christ from the man Jesus (Cerinthian Gnostics). The pre-existent Logos "became flesh"...

Talking Point #2, vv4-5: He is the creator of life and light; this spiritual life and light are now available in Him:

In him was life (en auto˘i zoe˘ en). That which has come into being (verse 3) in the Logos was life. The power that creates and sustains life in the universe is the Logos. This is what Paul means by the perfect passive verb ektistai (stands created) in Col 1:16. This is also the claim of Jesus to Martha (John 11:25)...

Talking Point #3, vv6-9: John the Baptizer pointed to the Light shining in Christ, but...

(Talking Point #4, vv10-11) the world failed to recognize Him. Not only did the world fail to know the pre-incarnate Logos, but it failed to recognize him when he became Incarnate (John 1:26).

Talking Poing #5, vv12-13: the miracle of the new birth and the right to become God’s children (tekna theou)--in the full spiritual sense, not as mere offspring of God, which is true of all people (Acts 17:28). Paul’s phrase huioi theou (Gal 3:26) for believers, used also by Jesus of the pure in heart (Matt 5:9)...

Talking Point #6, v14: the Word "tabernacled" among us, full of grace and truth:

The personal experience of John and of others who did recognize Jesus as the shekinah glory (doxa) of God as James, the brother of Jesus, so describes him (James 2:1). John employs theaomai again in 1:32 (the Baptist beholding the Spirit coming down as a dove) and (1:38) of the Baptist gazing in rapture at Jesus. So also 4:35; 11:45; 1 John 1:1f; 4:12, 14. By this word John insists that in the human Jesus he beheld the shekinah glory of God who was and is the Logos who existed before with God. By this plural John speaks for himself and all those who saw in Jesus what he did.

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CHILDREN’S MESSAGE
John 1:1-14
 
Object: a flashlight and a Bible

Try to remember the last time the lights went out in your house. There are times when the cold weather comes when it can’t figure out whether to rain or to snow, so it comes down as ice. Tree branches get very heavy and sometimes break. When they do, they sometimes fall on power lines, and that’s when the lights go out. When the lights go out you reach for one of these (flash light) or some candles.

The Bible says that when God came to His people in the Old Testament, He showed himself in a cloud that had light inside of it. Long before they had a temple or a even a church building like this one, they worshiped God in a tent. It was called the tabernacle. God’s light in this tent showed that He was with them as they worshiped Him.

Today Jesus’ close friend John tells us that something like that happened when Jesus came, only much more so. John saw that light of God shining in Jesus, but it wasn’t in a tent or in a building. It was shining in Jesus himself. That’s because Jesus is the Son of God. Many were the times that Jesus called himself the LIGHT OF THE WORLD. Sometimes He just showed them that God’s light was shining in Him.

John says: "We have seen His glory...full of grace and truth." "Glory" means light. When Jesus healed somebody who was sick, God’s light and love were shining in Jesus. When Jesus taught God’s Word to the people, God’s light was shining in Him. When He forgave people their sins, God’s light was shining in Him. He even allowed them to see how beautiful His glory is when His face was shining like the sun the day He took them up to the mountain.

You and I weren’t there to see what John saw, but we can still see this light shining in Jesus. (Shine flashlight through a Bible closed over it.) We can still see the light of Jesus when we get sick and He heals us. We can still see this light of Jesus today whenever we hear God’s Word. We can still see the light of Jesus when the Bible tells us that Jesus paid for our sins on the cross and that we are forgiven.

Someday when we get to heaven, we will see the light of Jesus in all of its beauty. It’s so beautiful that we will never need the sun or moon again once we get to eternal life.

In the meantime, we follow this light that is shining in God’s Word.

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Option #2: "Divine Destiny"
Ephesians 1:3-6, 15-18
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.

 
The Point: divine destiny is on the one hand unforgiving and scary, on the other freeing and inspiring 
 
The Problem: our natural sinful nature and, left to ourselves, eternal hell/separation from God
 
The Promise: God has saved us through Christ's birth, life, and death for us and for the Holy Spirit's engendering and preserving of our faith
 
Notes:
 
1.We dare not diminish what Paul is saying here; believers are chosen by God, and they are chosen before they have done anything or have been anything for God. (David Guzik)
 
2. We are chosen not only for salvation, but for holiness; that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. Any understanding of God's sovereign choosing that diminishes our personal responsibility for personal holiness and sanctification falls far short of the whole counsel of God. (Guzik)
 
3.Paul uses a great expression when he speaks of the eyes of your heart (heart is more literal than understanding); too many Christian hearts have no eyes (places where they gain real knowledge and understanding), and too many Christian eyes have no heart--God wants both to be combined in us. (Guzik)
 
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