What About The Bible? Part-3, II Timothy 3:16
A young man was once employed as clerk in a telegraph office in a town in England. In some way or other God led him to see that he was a sinner, and this caused him great distress of mind. The young man went to the office one morning greatly troubled, and praying, “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13) when the click of his machine told him a message was coming.
He looked and saw that it was from Windermere up among the beautiful lakes. There was first the name and residence of the one to whom the dispatch was sent, and then followed these words from the Bible: “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), and “In whom we have redemption, through his blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace” (Eph. 1:7). Then followed the name of the person sending it.
This was a strange message to send by telegraph! The explanation of it was this: a servant girl living in the town was distressed about her sins; having a Christian brother she wrote to him of her condition, asking the question, “What must I do to be saved?”
The brother, being unable to write her at once, sent her the dispatch. The poor girl found her way to Jesus through the sweet words from her brother, and so did the young telegraph operator. This was a veritable telegram from Heaven to them both. God’s word did the work.
For the last two weeks we have been talking about the trustworthiness of God’s word. We have discussed both the truthfulness of both the Old and New Testaments and dependability as God’s inspired word.
This morning, as we conclude this sermon series, I hope to offer some insight into the ultimate expression of God as found in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the word incarnate. He is the word in the flesh; personified; in material form. Jesus is the very living and breathing expression of God.
Today, we will talk about the Logos – that is the word of God in the flesh – the God-man Jesus Christ, who is the fullest expression of God to humanity.
In Christ we have a sort of telegram from God, only this telegram is the living breathing presence of Immanuel – God with us! In the Scriptures there are many titles for Christ; Savior, The Bread of Life, The True Vine, The Rock, and many others. Today, we will focus on Jesus as Logos – the purest and truest expression of the nature and character of God to humanity.
“Christ is God acting like God in the lowly raiment of human flesh.” A.W. Tozer
John 1:1-8, “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 were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.” (NKJV)
These words, the prologue to John’s gospel, are no doubt among the richest collection of words in the entire Bible, for here we see a description of Jesus which defies understanding. We learn that Jesus Christ was not merely another wise and powerful prophet of God – He is the very word of God in the flesh.
Speaking of them the famous reformation theologian, John Calvin wrote, “Rather should we be satisfied with this heavenly oracle, knowing that it says much more than our minds can take in.” Today we will not seek to truly understand that which can not be fully understood, rather, we will seek only to draw near to God as He has spoken to us in Jesus Christ.
In this passage of Scripture, in the original writings, John uses the word “Logos.” In English Logos has been translated into word. In the beginning was the Logos – the word – and the Logos was with God – the word was with God – and the Logos was God – the word was God.
But the word Logos loses much of its significance when it is translated merely as word. As with much of the English translations in our Bibles, there is a historical aspect to the original word Logos which is lost in the English rendering because Logos implies much more than simply a word as a part of language or speech.
Logos does not mean merely a descriptive device or part of language. It is the embodiment of an idea or the complete expression of a concept.
Some scholars believe that John borrowed the phrase Logos from the Greek language but I am more inclined to agree with many other scholars who believe that John called Jesus the Logos of God – the word of God – in regard to the Old Testament use of the phrase, “the Word of God,” which occurs more than 1,200 times in the Old Testament.
Jesus is the expression or communication of the word of God. Jesus embodies the fullness of the Word of God and He is the ultimate communication of God to man.
Ancient Greek poetry tells of a warrior, the hero of Troy, dressed in all his military armor, stretching out his arms to embrace his little son before going into battle. His child was frightened as he looked at the helmet and full military dress, and instead of falling into his father’s arms he screamed in terror.
However, under all the battle array was hidden a heart of fatherly love. The warrior threw off his armor, gathered his little boy in his arms, and held him tightly against his chest where he could hear the beating of his father’s heart, as if saying, “I love you, I love you.”
That is what we see in Christ. God has set aside his power and expressed Himself, communicated to us, through the embrace of Jesus Christ in this world. In Christ He does not instill fear but attracts with His love.
While God has revealed Himself to us in His written word, His greatest expression of Himself to us is found in Christ. The Bible is God’s written word but Christ is God’s living breathing word! It is the difference between a letter and a visit. It is the difference between a book about God and a warm embrace from the Father.
When we look at Jesus we see the fullness of God’s nature. John 1:18 says, “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” (NKJV) Jesus – the Logos – is the communication of God. It has always bee Jesus who has communicated God to His creation.
We regularly discuss Christ as King, Christ as Savior, and Christ as Messiah but we do well to remember that Christ is the Logos – the full embodiment of God’s word. As followers of Jesus Christ our worship is so much less enriched when we do not possess the whole picture of Christ as Logos.
People have been misunderstanding the true nature of Christ from the very beginning though. Christ’s nature has been misunderstood from the very foundations of the Church right up to this very day. It is crucial that we understand who Jesus is in order to understand what God has said in His word.
For the last couple of weeks we have been talking about the reliability and nature of the Bible. In regard to these matters, it is crucial that we understand who Jesus is because Jesus is the word, the expression, the telegraph of God – the Logos.
In the early Church there were many Christian sects who radically reinterpreted the nature of Christ to fit into their particular philosophical or theological leanings. The heritage of these groups is with us still today.
The Ebionites were a remnant of extreme Judaizers. They denied the virgin birth and deity of Christ. They believed that Jesus was merely a man who happened to have fulfilled the Old Testament Messianic Prophecies in such a way that God chose him to be the Messiah.
We see the modern legacy of this ancient heresy played in modern Liberal Christianity which likewise denies the virgin birth and questions the deity of Christ. These people speak much about the historical person of Jesus but deny the Logos – the true nature of Christ.
The Gnostics are an interesting group who I have researched extensively in the past. Their philosophy has survived the ages and is present in many corners of Christian thought today. Just recently I saw a book entitled “The Lost Gospels” which were written by the Gnostics at a popular bookstore.
The word “Gnostic” is derived from the Greek word Gnosis which means knowledge. The Gnostics believed that they had gained special and hidden knowledge in regard to the nature of the Logos. There were many schools of Gnosticism. One of the more prominent leaders was Valentinus who founded his school in Rome in the middle of the second century.
Valentinus taught that the material world was evil and was the result of a lesser created god’s mistaken creation. In his system God was the ultimate creator who had created many lesser gods. Gnostic thought survives in the form of the New Age Movement. It is a rejection of the beauty of the physical world and a search for the ultimate beauty of a purely spiritual realm.
The Gnostic Gospels are not gospels at all! They are a collection of writings which are profoundly untrue to the nature and true character of Christ. As we look at Jesus we see the heart of God.
It was Napoleon who said, “Everything in Christ astonishes me. His spirit overawes me, and His will confounds me. His ideas and His sentiments, the truth which He announces, His manner of convincing are not explained either by human observation or the nature of things.
His birth and the history of His life; the profundity of His doctrine, which grapples the mightiest difficulties, and which is of those difficulties the most admirable solution; His Gospel; His apparition; His empire; His march across the ages and the realms – everything is for me a prodigy, a mystery insoluble, which plunges me into a reverie from which I cannot escape – a mystery which is there before my eyes, a mystery which I can neither deny nor explain.
Here I see nothing human. The nearer I approach, the more carefully I examine. Everything is above me. Everything remains grand – of a grandeur which overpowers. His religion is a revelation from an Intelligence which certainly is not that of man.”
Jesus is the Logos; the communication; the expression of God. For the last two weeks we have been talking about the Bible. We set out to answer the question, “What about the Bible?” After seeing that the Old Testament is reliable and that the central theme of the New Testament is the truth of Jesus, we now see that the object of our faith – Jesus Christ – is the very word of God!
The authorship of this book is wonderful. Here are words written by kings, by emperors, by princes, by poets, by sages, by philosophers, by fishermen, by statesmen; by men learned in the wisdom of Egypt, educated in the Schools of Babylon, trained at the feet of rabbis in Jerusalem.
It was written by men in exile, in the desert, and in shepherds’ tents, in “green pastures" and beside "still waters." Among its authors we find the fishermen, the tax-gatherer, the herdsman, the gatherer of sycamore fruit; we find poor men, rich men, statesmen, preachers, exiles, captains, legislators, judges--men of every grade and class. The authorship of this book is wonderful beyond all other books.
It required fifteen hundred years to write it, and the man who wrote the closing pages of it had no communication with the man who commenced it. How did these men, writing independently, produce such a book? Other books get out of date when they are ten or twenty years old; but this book lives on through the ages, and keeps abreast of the mightiest thought and intellect of every age.
God alone has penned this word as He inspired and used the men who wrote it and Jesus Christ is the ultimate source of truth because He in fact is the very word of God to humanity. The Bible can be trusted and so can He!
And how much, in these troubles times where uncertainty abounds and questions besiege us on all sides, how much, do we need to know that there is something which is trustworthy and reliable?
How much do we need someone to call on when the days seem dark and we feel alone? How long, oh Lord, will it be before each one of us commits ourselves to opening the pages of God’s precious word that its precious truths might fill our souls and give us hope and encouragement and truth and life?
Today, I encourage you recommit, continue, or begin a new setting aside regular time to spend wading through the rich waters of God’s word that your soul may find nourishment and peace.