Summary: Exposition of John 1 regarding crucial, but basic questions, rejecting and receiving Christ.
Text: John 1:9-13, Title: Take it or Leave it, Date/Place: NRBC, 9/25/11, AM
A. Opening illustration: I had a conversation with Terrence Brown this week (worked for the concrete company that was delivering the concrete that we poured on Tues). He spoke well of the church that his wife is a member at, spoke well of the pastor, and of the church’s ministries. Said he wasn’t a member because he wasn’t willing/able to make the kind of commitment membership means. But he said that he went almost every Sunday with her, but some things he wasn’t ready to let go of. But he said, “one day…” And I told him that Jesus didn’t say that you had to be a church member to get to heaven, but He did say that you must be born again! And he said that he wasn’t born again. He has rejected Christ.
B. Background to passage: After this brilliant 3 verse intro to the person of Jesus, John writes that Jesus was the light of the world that was not overcome or “comprehended” by darkness. He then writes about how people responded in general to this Jesus. This is very much a preview of the rest of the book, where chapters 1-12 show the rejection, and 13-21 show the accepting. There is far more to the doctrine of salvation than these verses, but this gives us a clear understanding from a human standpoint, of what must occur in us.
C. Main thought: a crucial, but basic questions, rejecting and receiving Christ.
A. What does it mean to reject Christ? (v. 9-11)
1. John writes that Jesus is the light that lights every man in the world. He is the only light for men to see by in a sea of darkness. And He has been revealed through creation and general knowledge enough to remove excuses from all men. So after John describes this overcoming, creative, life-giving, light of the world, he says that the world did not know Him. The creation made through Him did not recognize Him. But the word carries a connotation of more than just intellectual rejection, but willful refusal. They chose not to know Him. Next John says that not only did the world not know Him, but His own people, the Jewish nation, did not receive Him. The word means to take along with, welcome, accept, receive, take into close association with. παρα means “near,” and λαμβάνω means “take.”
2. Rom 1:20-21, 25, 28, John 17:3,
3. Illustration: Also in late 1989, Turner told Dallas Morning News that "Christianity is a religion for losers." Christ died on the cross, but Mr. Turner said He shouldn’t have bothered. "I don’t want anybody dying for me. I’ve had a few drinks and a few girlfriends and if that’s gonna put me in hell, then so be it." Got a FB message this week from Belinda, said to pray for a friend that was in a terrible accident, told me about how she had been witnessing to her, and she had not embraced Christ, pray for her to have another chance, but then she died,
4. So we see a difference here between knowing about and knowing. The demons in hell know about Jesus, but they choose not to follow. And we do the same, we choose not to know Him. To reject Him doesn’t mean to say that He didn’t exist, or that He wasn’t God, it means to decide not to have a relationship with Him. To reject Him means that we do not deem Him valuable enough to put the time or energy or commitment into knowing, following, clinging to, and embracing Him. And therefore we do not take what He is and what He offers. Point to remember: we are rejecting or receiving Christ, not simply a system of theological principles, rules, or practices; we are not rejecting/receiving a “get out of hell free” card; we are rejecting or receiving a person, and all that He is and all that He demands. Everyone wants out of hell, but not everyone will know, receive, and take Christ near. Some stumble over certain sins that they like better than Jesus, some over the command to love Him more than family, some over the command to forgive, or the command to be perfect, but most stumble because they just don’t care enough. Most of our rejection is much more like Terrance’s that like Ted Turner. Most of ours is either like the Pharisees who practice a works religion that flies in the face of genuine salvation, or like Terrence who says “one day.” Rejection can be very moral, can be very private, can be very intellectual, or very passive. But know that if you choose, not to choose, you have made your choice: you have rejected the most valuable treasure in the universe as nothing.