Summary: The first in a series on the Gospel of John. This sermon provides an introduction to John's Gospel, and touches on what it means that Jesus is the Word.
John Series 2019
Jesus is the Word
Text: John 1:1 – 2
Well here we are… the first Sunday of 2019. Think about that for a second… can you imagine that it’s been almost two decades since the year 2000… I mean… I still remember back when the Y2K scare was all you heard about on the news. Everyone was afraid that the computers would shut down because they weren’t sure that the internal clocks would roll over at the new millennium. But here we are, hurtling through time. Moving forward – and we’ve hit 2019…
So… the first Sunday of a new year sounds like a great time to begin a new sermon series. But it’s not like I just thought of that on the fly. I actually knew that I was going to be preaching on topics like Thanksgiving and Advent all through November and December, so back in November of last year I started praying about what the Lord would have us go through… and to be honest with you, I was actually thinking of either Colossians from the New Testament, or Malachi from the Old Testament. But instead, we’re going to the Gospel of John this morning. And we’re going to start in chapter one, and – Lord willing, we’ll work our way through the entire Gospel by 2020. No… I actually don’t know how long we’ll be in it… I just know that I feel like this is what the Lord has been leading me to preach through.
Now… before I get into the text itself. Let me give you a little bit of background to John’s Gospel. First of all – it was written by John. Not John the Baptist. But John the Disciple. Most often in order to distinguish the two we call him “John the Beloved.” John’s dad was named Zebedee, and he had to have been quite a character as James and John were nicknamed - “Sons of Thunder”. His mom’s name was Salome, and his brother was James. And the family business was fishing. He grew up in Capernaum, and he wrote four books of the New Testament (The Gospel according to John, 1st John, 2nd John, 3rd John, and Revelation). James and John, along with Peter were part of Jesus inner circle… in other words they kind of had special privilege amongst the disciples in the sense that they were the only disciples who got to see Jesus raise Jairus’ daughter from the dead, and they were the only three who got to see the transfiguration of Jesus.
John was also the only one of the 12 disciples who didn’t die a martyr. He died of old age… but that doesn’t mean he never faced any persecution. In-fact, we know that when he was older he was exiled to the island of Patmos – which was an island quarry… meaning John, was probably swinging a pick axe and shoveling rock in his 70’s or 80’s… all because of his witness for Jesus. He died in Ephesus around 98 AD, about 65 years or so after the death of Jesus.
So this is the guy who wrote this Gospel account… and the reason he wrote it was because he wanted it be used as an evangelistic tool. John was the last Gospel account written. So it comes after Mark and Matthew and Luke, and a lot of people think that John wrote this to supplement the other 3 Gospels… and even though it does that, that’s not why he wrote it. Some folks have pointed out that John’s Gospel is very good at refuting Gnosticism. Now the Gnostics were kind of a religious sect who believed that Jesus didn’t actually come in the flesh… They said that instead; He was only in Spirit form, but appeared to be in flesh form… they also taught that there was this kind of secret knowledge that only they had, and in order to grow to maturity with God, you had to get this secret knowledge from them. So they were kind of like other secret societies and cults in that way… and John’s Gospel does refute the Gnostic teaching… but again, that’s not primarily why he wrote it.
If you’ll turn real fast with me to the end of the Gospel… John 20:30 – 31 I’ll show you why he wrote this (READ). There it is; in his own words.
So like I was saying: He wrote it as an evangelistic tool. So that people would read it, believe it and put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ, and be saved.
Now if you’re here this morning, and you’re a Christian, that doesn’t mean you should just tune out… it doesn’t mean you should just say, “Well that’s for those unbelievers, not me.” Because that’s not the case at all. Because the Holy Spirit doesn’t just bring us to saving faith through the hearing of God’s Word. He sanctifies us – He sets us apart. He encourages us. He equips us. He builds us up. He not only gives us faith through the hearing of God’s Word, He strengthens our faith… and increases our fruitfulness.