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THE WORD MADE FLESH – A CHRISTMAS SERMON

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, December 16, 2007

“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” (John 1:14).


The summer residence of the Queen of England is Balmoral Castle in Scotland. When Queen Victoria was there she sometimes took a walk outside the grounds of the castle disguised in old clothing. Her bodyguard John Brown followed her. As she walked down the road she came to a flock of sheep driven by a boy. He shouted at her, “Keep out of the way, you stupid old woman.” The Queen smiled, but said nothing. A moment later her bodyguard came up to the boy and said, “Be quiet, that is the Queen.” “Well,” said the boy, “she should dress like a queen!”

That’s the way it was with Jesus.

“He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not” (John 1:10).

“He came unto his own, and his own received him not”
      (John 1:11).

“The world [in general] knew him not.” For the most part, his own people “received him not.”

On the first Christmas, King Herod sought “the young child to destroy him” (Matthew 2:13). It is no different today. Each year at Christmas, the people of this world reject Him. For them Christmas is just a “holiday,” merely a time to take a vacation, see a bunch of worthless movies, go to Las Vegas, or get drunk. But to those who receive Christ, it is a time to be in church on Christmas Sunday, and to remember that

“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” (John 1:14).

That is one of the deepest verses in all the Bible. Yet it gives one of the clearest statements about the incarnation of Jesus Christ. I cannot bring out all the fulness of this text in one sermon. But I will give you three main thoughts from it.

I. First, Christ is the eternal Word of God.

The text begins with “the Word.” The “Word” in the original Greek is “Logos.”  It means “word, thought, concept, and the expressions thereof,” says Dr. Ryrie (The Ryrie Study Bible, Moody Press, 1978, note on John 1:1). The Greek philosophers used the word “Logos,” but their idea of the “word” was far different from what John meant by it.  Dr. Criswell said,

Basically, the word has reference to a unique communication. John affirms that when God wished to issue the ultimate communication about Himself to man, He accomplished this in human flesh (v. 14) through the Logos…John declares that from the beginning the Logos existed. He is none other than God Himself, not only bringing the Word but incorporating it in His own person, life and being. Furthermore, this Logos was “face to face” with God indicating a distinction of persons within the Godhead [the Trinity]. Finally the Logos is eternally God. There never was a time when the Logos was not fully God. Consequently, one may observe that at the very outset of John’s gospel he states his thesis, namely that Jesus is the eternal God of the ages come in human flesh. It is also the final test of orthodoxy. One cannot hold a [false] Christology [a false view of Christ] and at the same time be correct on other crucial elements of theology. [The view of Christ one holds] is the final test of orthodoxy [the final test of whether your beliefs are true to the Holy Scriptures]. One cannot hold a [false view of Christ] and at the same time be correct on other points of [the Christian faith] (W. A. Criswell, Ph.D., The Criswell Study Bible, Thomas Nelson Publications, 1979, note on John 1:1).

The reason the word “Christmas” has been replaced with “the holidays” is because people don’t want to think about the birth of Christ. They are angered by the very word “Christmas” because it reminds them of “the Word.” They rebel against the thought that Jesus is the Word of God, the exclusive expression of God. Above all, they howl and fight against Christ as the Only Word of God in our fallen world. For in our text Jesus is called “the Word.” Christ as “the Word” is too exclusive and narrow for their sin-blinded minds to understand, for He is “the Word.” He excludes all other “words.” If He is “the Word,” He excludes the thought of the ancient rabbis that He was an impostor. If He is “the Word,” He excludes the Muslim idea that He is a mere prophet. If He is “the Word,” He excludes the Jehovah’s Witnesses view of Him as a mere created being. If He is “the Word,” He excludes the liberal view of Him as merely a great example. If He is “the Word,” He excludes the “Spirit-Christ” of many Pentecostals and Charismatics. For, as Dr. Criswell said, “Basically, the word has reference to a unique communication” – and that unique, one of a kind, communication to man is Jesus Christ, the eternal Word of God! All that we need to know about God and man is spoken to us in the Holy Scriptures by Jesus – the Word of God.

And “the Word” is eternal. There was never a time when Christ the Logos did not exist. The Bible says,

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

Not that the Word was “a” god, as the Jehovah’s Witnesses mistranslate John 1:1, to their own destruction. The Greek construction can only honestly be given as it is in the King James Bible, “and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Not that He was the same “person” as the Father or the Holy Spirit, but though having the same “essence” with them, He alone is the divine Logos – the eternal Word – the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

Thus, the only true Biblical position is that Jesus is the everlasting Word, the first and final communication of God to sinful man. He is the eternal Logos, the eternal Word, which spoke the world into existence. And Jesus continues throughout eternity as the Second Person of the Trinity. At the end of this age, in the Book of Revelation, the Bible calls Him, “The Word of God” (Revelation 19:13). From eternity past to eternity future Jesus is the Word of God!

Notice that the Apostle, in the Book of Hebrews, says that God,

“Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son…by whom also he made the worlds” (Hebrews 1:2).

Therefore, we proclaim with absolute certainty that Jesus is “the Word,” the eternal Logos, and that no man, nor any other religious or political leader or philosopher in all history, can make the claim of being “the Word” of the living God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. From eternity past to the ages of eternity future there is only one eternal Word – and His name is Jesus!

II. Second, Christ is the incarnate Word of God.

Looking back to our text, we see, that He is not only the eternal Word, but that He also became the incarnate Word. The word “incarnate” means “clothed with flesh.” True, the word “incarnate” does not appear in the Bible, but the description of the incarnation is seen again and again in the Holy Scriptures. This word “incarnation” is used by Bible scholars to explain the meaning of our text, which says,

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us”
      (John 1:14).

The very Word of God, who existed with the Father and the Holy Spirit since “the beginning” (v. 1) came down from His seat at the right hand of God and lived among us in human flesh. That’s exactly what our text says,

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us”
      (John 1:14).

Arthur W. Pink said,

The Infinite became finite. The invisible became tangible. The transcendent became imminent. That which was far off became [near]. That which was beyond the reach of the human mind became that which could be [seen]… “The Word became flesh:” He became what He was not previously. He did not cease to be God, but He became man (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, Zondervan, 1971, p. 32).

In the hypostatic union of God and man, in the womb of the Virgin, Jesus became the God-man! He was fully God and fully man in the incarnation, when He was born of the Virgin one night in the little town of Bethlehem. That night a new being appeared on earth, never before seen by men. That night Jesus, the God-man, was born in a stable and wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger, because there was no room in the inn. In this lowly place, the Word of God became a man, and began His life among us as the only God-man who has ever lived on this earth!

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law” (Galatians 4:4).

“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” (John 1:14).

That’s what Charles Wesley meant,

Christ, by highest heaven adored;
   Christ, the Everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come,
   Offspring of the Virgin’s womb:
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
   Hail the incarnate deity,
Pleased as man with men to dwell,
   Jesus, our Emmanuel.
(“Hark, the Herald Angels Sing”
      by Charles Wesley, 1707-1788).

But there is one other thought I want you to see in our text.

III. Third, Christ is the approachable Word of God.

Turn to the text, in John 1:14. Please stand and read it aloud.

“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” (John 1:14).

You may be seated. There are many things at the end of this verse that I could comment on, but I would like us to think about one of the things John said. He was just a teenage boy when Christ was on earth, yet he could make this amazing statement that “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory” (John 1:14). John tells us he lived with Christ and personally saw His glory. John was not writing about a theory of philosophy. He was there! He lived with Christ! He saw Christ’s glory himself! He knew that Christ was the eternal Word made flesh because he saw Christ, because he saw Christ’s glory himself.

Later, in his first Epistle, John said,

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life”
      (I John 1:1).

There, again, John calls Jesus “the Word” – “the Word of life.” This shows us that Jesus is approachable. He is not the mysterious Logos of Philo or the Greek philosophers – some spirit “word” that we can never really know. We, too, can know Jesus as John did. He makes that clear in I John 1:3.

“That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (I John 1:3).

John is saying to you that you, too, can have fellowship “with us” and “with his Son Jesus Christ.”

But to have that kind of fellowship with Jesus, you must be converted. You must be convinced of the blackness of your sin. You must see the evil of your own depraved heart. You must become disgusted with your sinful self. You must come to Jesus and trust Him. Then your sins will be cleansed by His Blood, shed on the Cross. Then you, too, will say, “He was among us, and I saw His glory, and I know Him for myself.” That is why we urge you to turn away from the sinful and vain American “holidays” and turn to Christ, and be converted. That is why we urge you to seek Christ with all your heart until you find Him. For He said through the prophet Jeremiah,

“Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

Seek Him until you find Him!

That’s why we say you should be here in church for the great Christmas banquet on Sunday night, December 23, at 6:00 PM. Be with God’s people on Christmas Sunday night. It will be a means of grace to you as you seek Jesus. Don’t let anything stop you from being here for the preaching, the singing, and the worship of the eternal Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ! As that old Christmas carol puts it,

Word of the Father, Now in flesh appearing;
O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.
   (“O Come, All Ye Faithful,” translated by Frederick Oakeley, 1802-1880).

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: John 1:1-14.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” (by Charles Wesley, 1707-1788)/ “O Come, All Ye Faithful” (translated by Frederick Oakeley, 1802-1880).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE WORD MADE FLESH – A CHRISTMAS SERMON

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“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” (John 1:14).

(John 1:10, 11; Matthew 2:13)

I.   First, Christ is the eternal Word of God, John 1:14a, 1;
Revelation 19:13; Hebrews 1:2.

II.  Second, Christ is the incarnate Word of God, John 1:14b; 1;
Galatians 4:4.

III. Third, Christ is the approachable Word of God, John 1:14c;
I John 1:1, 3; Jeremiah 29:13.