In Him is Life: part two

John 1:1-5, 14

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.


14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.


So far this advent season we have considered Jesus as God’s voice of speech to us. We then looked at the ways that God speaks. And then last week we delved into the topic of God’s speech. That God desires to talk to us about life, how to have it as good as we can in our fallen world.


When we talk about God giving life through Christ, we need to talk about two different perspectives.


And really we are talking about two different aspects of salvation. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. Eternal life is heaven. It is reconciliation with God. It is God not counting our sins against us. It is forgiveness. It is peace with God, there are many ways the Bible speaks about salvation in this way. Theologically, it is justification.


But that is not all that salvation is, because when we think about heaven and eternity, and this may surprise you, this is not the perspective that the Bible focuses on.  The Bible spends much more time on how God intends for life to function on earth. After all, God is God of both! The aspect of salvation that the Bible spends the most time on is sanctification, life for now. How to live best in God’s world right now! Think about that. And that is what this message is about today. Jesus is God’s speech to us about how to live best right now!


This aspect of salvation theologically is called sanctification.


As I thought about how to express this to you I thought of two metaphors that I think can be helpful.


  1. Two Metaphors


  1. Think of yourself as a work of art


                Psalms 100:3 Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.


God has made us. We are his.


Isaiah 45: 9 “Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’?


        A work of art gives pleasure to the artist. The work of art reflects on the artist, it reveals the artist’s skill, philosophy and values.  This is our purpose.


We are to reveal God’s skill,

God’s values,

God’s way of life.


Now, imagine that the artwork does not do this. What does the artist do? He changes the art until it does and if He cannot make it happen, He destroys it. And in destroying the work of art, God’s values and way of life are revealed.


        You are a work of God’s hands. Your life is meant to reflect His view of reality and life in every situation.


It does not matter if you have been abused or treated like royalty.


It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor.


It doesn’t matter if you are healthy or sick.


In every situation God has a way of living that leads to the best possible life! And that is His desire for you! That is your purpose!


Jesus has come to give you life.


Metaphor #2


  1. Think of yourself as an adopted child

        But not just any child, an older child.


        Salvation, justification, life in the sense that we spoke about last week, is God making us a part of His family.


But we won’t be like God just because He adopted us. At the beginning, we may not look like Him much at all!


We are gonna have to change over time, in submission to Him!


Things that seem strange at first we will begin to see the value of.


Finally, we will grow more natural at reflecting God’s household values.


        Different families have different values.


Houses are kept differently, meals are handled differently.


Possessions are viewed differently.


The structure of how a household runs, who is responsible for what and what behaviors are very important are all different from family to family.


It is hard to move from one family to another.


When I was in college I lived with a great Christian family from the church where I was living for one summer. In only three months, I offended them many times and their response to me I took as terribly rejecting. And no one was at fault. I was raised in a different family, with a different mother. We had different expectations for what we wanted our homes to be. I was an outsider and I was a disrupter in their home. And it was no one’s fault. They told me that they wanted me to find a different place to live. I left immediately. And the crazy thing is that I thought I was being very careful and responsible.

I was not a part of their family. And I was not received as such.


Well, God has adopted us. He has taken us on. We are living members of His family, but we do not share all of His values. And some of His judgments of our values will be hard to swallow. But since God has adopted us, we need to “adopt” His ways of living. And when we are resistant, He will allow hardship to move us in ways that will change us to be like Him.


A work of art. Adoption. The need to change personally. The need for sanctification.


As Paul says in Romans 7:


14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.


And here is Paul’s summary!


24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!



  1. Rescued from Wretchedness

How is God gonna train us as His children?


  1. God will show us our issues

        The sermon on how God speaks is all about this!


Every human being is different. We have different personalities, we have different gifts, we have been raised in different families and have had different life experiences that impact us greatly. I fear things that you don’t fear. You fear things that I don’t fear. I see issues from different perspectives than you do and Vis versa.


We need to be careful and not make what each other think as the standard for what God wants for us. God is the standard. Jesus is the standard. God will show us what to work on!


  1. God tells us what is right and good

        Two main reasons people don’t read the Bible:


  1. They don’t understand it (they don’t see it from the proper perspective. It’s not so much about heaven as it is about how to live on the earth.)
  2. They don’t read it practically. The Bible is going to challenge you. It is not philosophical, it is practical. As such, it will challenge your will regularly. This is hard.


        Jesus is the Word. The Bible is God’s Word. The topic of the Bible is how we need to live in God’s world. So, the Bible teaches us how we need to be:

II Tim 3: 15-17 from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (Justification)16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (sanctification)


        Again, in these verses: Salvation and equipped for every good work.


John 1:4-5 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.


Jesus is the light of all mankind. He is the one who has shown us how to live the best possible life in God’s world.



  1. The light of the world works!

        If you follow Jesus you will have life.

        John 1: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

        John 8: 12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”


Oh wretched man that I am, who will rescue me from my sinfulness?


Romans 8:1-4  Salvation

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

Why? because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.


And now we are changing to be like God’s family

Romans 8: You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.


14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.


Salvation is a process that God is committed to in our lives because He wants us to have life. If we are traveling down the road of life it is because God has worked in our lives. The more I look back in my life, the more I realize that God has prodded me, empowered me, led me, drove me, carried me, loved me and encouraged me all along the way!


Ok, so what kind of life does Jesus illuminate?

III. Jesus’ Way of Life


  1. Love as He loves



        John 13:

        The great commandment is to love God will all of our being and   our neighbor as ourselves. What does that look like? It looks like       how Jesus loved others.


Woman caught in adultery. Woman at the well.  vs. Pharisees


Compassion and accountability. Grace and Truth both!!

Carry your own load and bear each other’s burdens.

Do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God.


Everyone is called out from their lives of sin!


        You don’t have to tell light to eliminate darkness.


  1. Give as He gives

        The prescription for managing greed and materialism. Be a    giver.


        Celebrate the successes of others. Rejoice with those who    rejoice!


  1. Serve as He serves

        The prescription for managing issues of pride. Make the   success and glory of others a greater pursuit than your own   success and glory.




  1. Sacrifice as He sacrifices


        The sacrifice of the Incarnation


The sacrifice of energy, patience and love reflected in His     relationship with the Apostles


The sacrifice of giving control to God. Giving up full trust to Him.


Sacrifice means death to our desires and trust in God’s understanding.


That is what is necessary. Your desire for a different way and your resistance because of not understanding what God is doing is the problem. You must give those up. You must trust. You must give up control of your life to God. You must sacrifice.


God gives life in exchange for sacrifice. What is the result in your life of Jesus’ sacrificial life?


What does sacrifice look like in your marriage? I have started doing laundry on my days off. I don’t like it. This past week this is exactly why I did the laundry, because I didn’t want to. It was a sacrifice.


What does it look like in your relationship with your family as a whole? What does sacrifice look like at work? What does sacrifice look like as a citizen? What does sacrifice look like at church? What does it look like at the grocery store? What does it look like with your friends? Ask God what it looks like for you! At Christmas it looked like Mary and Joseph trudging along, stopping in an out building and having a baby.


Where ever it is, sacrifice looks like Jesus!!


John 8: 12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”


John 9: As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”




Matt 5:

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.


God’s intention is that His works of art would glorify Him. His intention is that His children would demonstrate His character, His way of living. This is God’s will for all people. And to be honest, I think God is moving all people saved and lost in this direction. The question for us is whether or not we will pursue Him wholeheartedly and have life. God has more for you. Go get it!!