Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: The ability to conquer life challenges is contained in the power of a word - Jesus.

October 22, 2006

Title: A Servant Church Empowers

Text: John 1: 1-13

Focus: To them gave He power to become the sons of God.

During one of my recent moments of relaxation I watch a movie video entitled, Akeelah and the Bee. The story was about an 11 year old girl who lived in the Compton, California community named Akeelah Anderson played by Keke Palmer.

She had a unique talent for spelling words that was recognized by the principal, but ridiculed by her peers. Her principal believed that she could go to the state championships, thereby bringing honor to the school that had a sullied reputation. She won that school championship, but the principal knew for her to advance to the state and possibly the national rounds, she would need a coach. He brought his college friend to meet her – Dr. Larabee, a character played by Laurence Fishburne. He had been a spelling champion, but didn’t win the national championship.

With his help, she won the state championship and was headed to the nationals. He informed her that the competition would be stiff and that she should learn all of the words from the previous championship rounds. He presented her with a flash card set of 5,000 words and told her to learn them.

She looked at the words and said it would be impossible for her to learn the words. He pulled out another set of books: Greek, Latin, Spanish, Slavic, and told her that she needed to learn word origins and that she needed to learn the root words.

He told her that big words come from little words and if she learned the little words she would be able to spell any big word. In other words he told her that the ability to conquer the challenge of her life - the national spelling bee - was contained in the power of a word.

She read this quote by Marianne Williamson that was framed on his wall.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

The ability to conquer life challenges is contained in the power of a word – Jesus.

That idea of the power of the word is the idea John seeks to communicate in this text.

“In the beginning was the Word”... John is my favorite of the gospels and the most beautiful beginning of any of the books I think. But have you ever wondered what John means that Jesus is the Word? It does seem like a peculiar way to describe Jesus, but... I want us to see this morning that the WORD is a powerful name for Jesus because it is so rich and full in meaning... NOT just to Jews, but for ALL people!

John wasn’t writing just to Jews. Nor was he writing just to Gentiles. No. He wanted everyone to hear the good news and come to faith in Christ! That’s why he picked a word so rich in meaning to describe Jesus! He is the WORD.

The WORD had a rich meaning for EVERYONE

In terms of the Greek background, the Logos/ or Word goes back

at least 500 years before the time of Christ to a Heraclitus of Ephesus. His chief concern was to understand how order and symmetry could function in all the chaos of our world. He clearly saw that there was a certain order, but there also seemed to be a lot of chaos. His answer was that there is an invisible force of reason that sustains everything.

He used the term Logos or Word as a technical term to describe the orderly function he saw in the universe; an impersonal force “by which all things are steered through all things” he said.

Plato, the greatest of all the Greek philosophers, further developed the idea of the Logos. He said, what we see here in this life isn’t real. Ultimate reality exists in some transcendent universe somewhere.. and what we see here are only ‘forms’ or shadows of the realities that exist in that other world. So, how can we know of those realities? Only through Logoi... or words that describe to us that reality.

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