Summary: (PowerPoint Slides and Cell Study Notes freely available by emailing Emile@Wolfaardt.com) What does it really mean to ’receive Him’?...
John 1:1-5, 10-14a
This morning I want to talk with you about a question that is relevant to each and every one of us here. It is a rather critical questions because, by biblical definition, all eternity hangs in it’s balance. And the question is this: What does it mean to receive Him?
Video Clip - "The Word Became Flesh" from www.theworkofthepeople.com
What does it mean to receive Him?
Verses 10-11 from the first chapter of John are amongst the saddest verses in all the Bible.
John 1:10-11 "He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him."
The tragic reality is that many, many millions across the world still do not receive Him - and the consequences of not receiving Him are eternally devastating.
Now before we dismiss the question as important but irrelevant to ourselves, because we surely are those who believe, and we surely are those who do indeed receive Him, may I probe a little deeper?
I think there is a danger here that we would do well to recognize. The Bible is clear - when we receive Him we are born from above, our sin is taken away and we are clothed in His righteousness, we are victorious over the enemy and are destined for His heaven. And we like that - we like to preach about that and say amen to that.
But my friends, those promises are not to those who . . .
go to church . . . but to those who receive Him.
read their Bibles and say their prayers . . . but to those who receive Him.
who receive religion or have an orthodox system of belief . . . but to those who receive Him.
receive a version of Christ formed and fashioned after their ideal of what God should be like . . . but to those who receive Him.
Many who fill our church buildings on a Sunday morning, I would suggest to you, do not worship the Christ who is, but the Christ they have fashioned as they believe He should be. My friend, such a Christ may get you into church but will not get you to heaven. The Christ of Scripture will not be fashioned into anything other than Who and What He is.
He will not be fashioned by popular theology in the waves of Christian opinion.
He will not be fashioned by unstudied preachers in rubber pulpits.
And He will not be fashioned by expediency, the collective consensus of society, Christian or otherwise.
Precious friends, He is unfashionable, He is unchangeable - it is a take it or leave it deal - and for that you can be truly grateful.
So then the question, that begs itself from our introduction, is this: What does it mean to receive Him?
I would suggest four things that it means to truly receive Him. It means to. . .
1. Recognize Who He Is
Jesus asked that rather probing question of the disciples, "Who do men say that I am?" And then He brought it home to Peter - "But who do YOU say I am." And that is what it comes down to each and every time.
In a very real sense, that is the question that has been asked in one form or another since the down of human history.
In Luke 5:21 the Scribes and Pharisees asked concerning Jesus, "Who is this . . .?"
In Luke 7:49 those reclining with Him at the table asked, "Who is this . . .?"
In Luke 9:9 Herod asked, "Who is this . . .?"
When Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey in Matthew 21:10 we read that Jerusalem asked, "Who is this . . .?"
When the disciples watched Him rebuke the wind and the waves, and the wind and waves obeyed, they too asked, "Who is this . . . ?"
You see my friend, this is the most important question you could ever ask. if you get the question wrong it could damn your soul. If you get the questions right it demands your very life and soul.
You see, to answer the question correctly demands that I become like Christ. The correct answer demands not simply an orthodox belief, but a surrendered life, a life transforming commitment to follow Jesus and live the life that He demands.
But is goes way beyond that. Understanding who Jesus is not only demands something from you but it imparts something to you.
When Jesus asked Peter who men said He was, it was not a test of affection or a test of orthodoxy. It was a preparation for the testing that lay ahead. Jesus recognized that the shadows on His life were lengthening, and it was time to prepare His disciples for the greatest challenge and test of their lives. The question was, did those disciples, who were commissioned to carry the gospel to the world, who were commissioned to show God to the world when Jesus was gone, did they know the most important thing: who Jesus was? Because in that was everything the needed to live and to love and to be faithful to Him.