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Summary: The incarnation of Jesus provides us with a model of how we are to interact with unbelievers in the world around us.

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For the past four weeks, we’ve been focusing on the beginnings of the life of Jesus and seen how the foundations that were laid very early in His life were important throughout His earthly ministry. So let’s take a moment to quickly review where we’ve come so far. And I’m going to ask for your help on this.

We began by looking at the genealogy of Jesus that opened Matthew’s gospel account. Can anyone remember something that we learned from that passage? [Wait for answers]. Those are all great answers, but I think if I had to take just one thing from that message it would be this: God can use us regardless of our backgrounds.

We next focused on how God came into the lives of Mary and Joseph and interrupted their plans. What do you remember from that message? {Wait for answers]. Once again those are all really good answers. But if I were to summarize that message with just one sentence it would be this: God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called.

Our third focus was on the birth of Jesus and the worship of the shepherds and the magi. Would anyone like to share something that you learned from that message? [Wait for answers]. There were five essential elements of worship that we looked at in that message and it’s hard to pick out just one, but to me the one thing I would emphasize from that message is that we are not to come to worship God empty handed.

Finally, last week we looked at how Jesus grew throughout His childhood and up to the time He began his earthly ministry. What do you think was the main idea of that message? [Wait for answers.] I can’t argue with any of those, but I think for me the thing that I took away from that message was the need to have an unswerving commitment to the will of God.

You’ll notice that up to this point, we have looked at Jesus’ beginnings from the perspective of Matthew and Luke. But this morning as we look at how John’s gospel account begins, we’ll see that he takes an entirely different approach to the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.

So turn with me to John 1 and follow along as I read the first 18 verses of his gospel account:

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.

John doesn’t begin like Matthew with the genealogy of Jesus or like Luke with the events surrounding the birth of John the Baptizer and Jesus. Instead, because John is focused on the divinity of Jesus, he begins with the preincarnate Jesus who existed from the very beginning, even before creation.

There is so much here in these 18 verses that we won’t be able to even scratch the surface this morning, In fact, about 2-1/2 years ago, I actually preached a series of seven sermons on this same passage, and even then, didn’t begin to exhaust all that God has for us here. So in order to make this time productive for us and provide us with a few practical principles that we can implement in our lives, I’m going to focus on just one verse – verse 14:

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