Would You Recognize Him?

John 1:1-5 ESV

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

This is speaking of Jesus Christ. He was in the beginning with God, he is God, and he is our creator God. He is the giver both of physical life and of spiritual life.

And, he is light – truth, righteousness, holiness, and goodness. And, he shines in the darkness. And, his truth and righteousness shine in the darkness. And, the darkness is all that is evil and wicked, and that which stands opposed to God and to his righteousness and holiness.

The darkness is definitely opposed to Jesus Christ. And, those living in the darkness will fight against Jesus, and against his righteousness. And, they will fight against the gospel of Jesus Christ and against the Lord’s servants and messengers, too. But evil will never overcome the light because the light comes from God and is God, and he will not be overcome.

For, he is all powerful, all knowing, ever present, and completely sovereign over all that he has made, and all things are in subjection to him. Satan can do nothing unless God allows him. Satan will never have power over God.

John 1:6-8 ESV

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

John the Baptist (not the writer of the Book of John) was sent by God to prepare the way for Jesus Christ in the hearts of the people. He was the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah which said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord’” (cf. Matt. 3:1-3).

John’s message to the people was “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” And, when he said that, he was speaking of the reign of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. He was at hand. He was near, within reach, close by. So, they were to turn away from their wicked lifestyles, and they were to turn to God in obedience to his commands, for their Messiah was there. He had arrived.

So, John’s assignment was to prepare the hearts and minds of the people for Jesus as their Messiah and for his reign in their hearts and lives. And we who are followers of Jesus Christ are to be his witnesses in preparing people’s hearts and minds to receive Jesus Christ into their lives as their Lord (owner-master), who is to be ruler of their hearts, too. He is to have full reign in their lives, and they are to live in submission to him (Rom. 6:1-23).

So, we are to make straight paths for them to come to him in faith. We are to teach the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So, we are to call people to repentance, to turn from their wickedness, and to follow Jesus Christ in obedience to his will and to his ways, too (Lu. 9:23-26; Rom. 8:1-17).

John 1:9-13 ESV

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

When Jesus Christ lived in the world, the people of the world didn’t know him, even though they were made by him. His own people, although they had been told about him through the prophets, didn’t recognize him as their Messiah, so they didn’t receive him for who he was. They didn’t welcome him into their lives. They didn’t accept his sovereignty over their lives.

And, you know what? Many people today who profess Jesus as their Lord and Savior don’t recognize him, either. And they also do not embrace him as the Lord (owner-master) of their lives. For, they refuse to submit to his Lordship over their lives, and they think they don’t have to obey his commands, and they are convinced that they don’t have to turn away from their sins, but that they can still have the hope of heaven when they die.

Yet, they embrace leaders who lie to them, who manipulate them, and who fill their minds with all kinds of garbage. They embrace arrogance, self-importance, vanity, pleasure-seeking, self-indulgence, and self-gratification. And, they accept the idea that faith in Jesus Christ means that Jesus forgives them, that they are now going to heaven, but that they can continue to live like hell without guilt and without remorse. Oh, what arrogance!

So, they are of the darkness, not of the light, and they are dead in their sins, not made alive by Christ Jesus. So they stand opposed to God, which is why they don’t recognize or truly embrace Jesus for who he is, and for what he did in dying for them so that he could deliver them out of their bondage to sin, and so that they could now become slaves of righteousness (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; 1 Jn. 2:3-6).

For, they don’t understand what it means to be “free.” For, we aren’t free to sin as much as we want under God’s grace. We aren’t free to ignore God while we embrace the world and the evil that is in the world. Jesus didn’t pay the price of his blood on that cross so that we could turn around and slap him in the face and forget what he looks like. And, if Jesus were to appear in our midst today, many who call him “Lord” will not know it is him.

But you know what? He is among us. His Spirit is here, and he is dwelling in the hearts of those who do listen to him, and who are following him in obedience. And, his Word is still among us, too, in written form, and it is alive, and it is still speaking words of conviction to human hearts.

And, those who are following him, who have him living within them, also have him living his life out through them for his glory. So, he should be seen in us. And, his light should be shining out through us into the darkness.

But those who are walking in the darkness, no matter if they profess faith in Jesus Christ or not, are not going to recognize Jesus in us. Thus, they won’t listen to us, either, because they embrace the darkness and not the light. For, they want those feel-good messages which tickle their itching ears, and which tell them they can live in sin and still go to heaven.

To All Who Receive Him

But to all who receive (embrace, accept) Jesus as Lord of their lives, as their sovereign ruler of their lives, who humble themselves before him, who turn away from their sins, and who follow Jesus Christ in obedience, by God’s grace, through God-given faith in Jesus Christ, they are the children of God.

For, their salvation does not come via the will of man who wants to continue in his sin while claiming heaven as his eternal destiny. We don’t “get saved” by repeating some words after someone else which he made up out of his own mind and that does not come from the Word of God. And, salvation is not a one-time experience and then heaven is secured us while we go about our lives ignoring the Lord and embracing the lusts of the flesh, instead.

If our salvation is from God, from the will of God, then it will lead us to embrace holiness, truth, and righteousness, and not the lusts of the flesh and the pride of life. For, the Spirit is at war with the flesh and the flesh is at war with the Spirit.

Thus, we can’t serve both God and the flesh, for they are contradictory to each other. For, the one we obey says who is truly our Lord. For, if we obey sin, it leads to death, but if we obey obedience to God, it leads to righteousness, which then leads to eternal life with God (Rom. 6:16-22).

“So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Rom. 8:12-14 ESV).

Though Your Sins Be as Scarlet

Frances J Crosby, 1880
William H. Doane, 1876

“Though your sins be as scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though your sins be as scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they be red like crimson,
They shall be as wool!”
“Though your sins be as scarlet,
Though your sins be as scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow,
They shall be as white as snow.”

Hear the voice that entreats you,
Oh, return ye unto God!
Hear the voice that entreats you,
Oh, return ye unto God!
He is of great compassion,
And of wondrous love;
Hear the voice that entreats you,
Hear the voice that entreats you,
Oh, return ye unto God!
Oh, return ye unto God!

He’ll forgive your transgressions,
And remember them no more;
He’ll forgive your transgressions,
And remember them no more;
“Look unto Me, ye people,”
Saith the Lord your God!
He’ll forgive your transgressions,
He’ll forgive your transgressions,
And remember them no more,
And remember them no more.

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