March 7, 2021
- Pastor Karrie Landsverk
- Ephesians 3: 20-21
- Exodus 3:14
- Galatians 2:20
- John 1: 1-5
- John 1: 10-14
- John 14: 9-10
- John 14:6
- John 14:7
- John 17: 4-5
- John 17:3
- John 3:3
- John 3:6
- John 8:56
- John 8:58
- Matthew 26: 26-27
- Romans 10: 9-10
- Faith Enables Us to See
- Glory of God
- God's Law
- God's Love
- God's Word
- I AM
- I am the way
- Jesus Christ
- Jesus Was and Always Will Be
- New Testament
- Old Testament
- Son of God
- Living Gospel Church
God in the Flesh
Sunday, March 7th, 2021
Welcome! Anyone willing to admit that when you read Scripture you tend to be drawn to and come back to New Testament scripture more often than Old Testament? That you prefer reading about these times? I have heard many people say this in conversations we have. Why do you think that is? Isn’t it ALL the inspired Word of God? What is different?
The New Testament is where Jesus appears! Everything is changed when Jesus comes on the scene. We see a loving, kind, gentle, compassionate, patient and teaching Savior enter into the world. We see someone selfless; someone who cares for the outcasts and the rejected, someone who walks among the people; someone who gave His very life to pay the debt for humanity’s sin. We see Jesus! He’s beautiful in every way and our hearts as we read about Him can’t help but respond with love in return. He draws us unto Himself. We love Jesus! We want more of Jesus! And we should! He is our very life source. He is truth! He is light!
In our core we desire to connect to Him and be near Him. It’s our reasoning that blocks us from truly accepting all that He is. It’s our hardened heart from hurts in this world that shuts out receiving His love. By design though, our spirit cries out to join with His Spirit-because that is how we are made. You know it, when you have surrendered even just a moment and let His love enter your heart.
There is no greater joy or peace we will ever know then to share the love and fellowship of Christ.
But what if Jesus was always there, even in the Old Testament times?
What if He was there as God’s Word was being recorded and the Law was being given to Moses? What if He was part of creation and all that we know it and humanity to be? Could the same loving gentle, compassionate, patient, merciful Jesus we know and love in New Testament times, also be present in Old Testament times? Could the Law as we read in the Old Testament actually have been put in place as a stepping-stone to keep people from utterly destroying themselves in their sinful nature- pointing the need for and the way to a coming Savior? Could the Law have been created to show us what our sin is and how the only one who could ever fulfill the Law would be Christ Himself? Because He perfectly upheld the Law while on earth and because He dwells in the heart of every believer through His Spirit, we too are no longer held under the Law, but live in the freedom of His grace imparted to us.
Let’s look back with fresh eyes and see what was happening in Old Testament times. God walked in the garden with Adam and Eve before they sinned and enjoyed constant communion with them. God spoke to His prophets and servants and they heard His voice. In fact, He even offered to speak directly with the people of Israel but because He is so massive and His voice so thunderous, the people were frightened and turned that opportunity down. They asked Moses to be their spokesperson to God. But God offered all people relationships. Remember God spared Israel countless times in their sin, patiently restoring them and teaching them how to follow Him. He saved the prostitute Rahab and gave her a place in Jesus’ lineage and He redeemed Ruth, a Moabite woman who served pagan gods and also gave her a place in Jesus’ lineage because she believed. He forgave and redeemed David in His sin and looked to His repentant heart. Who does this sound like? What similarities do we see in Jesus’ behavior in New Testament times?
Could it be God and Jesus are one in the same and the reason God sent Jesus to earth in human form, was so we could truly see and experience God Himself in truth and fullness?
So we could come near to Him without fear and hesitation? So we could look upon His face and see His unfailing love in His eyes? Remember when Moses asked to see the glory of God, God said no one can look upon My face and live-the glory is too great for any human to behold. But, I will cover you as I pass by and then reveal Myself from the back after I have passed. In our human state, we can’t take in the glory of God. One day we’ll see Him face to face as we ascend to glory. But that is for when He calls us home and He completes His purposes here on earth. He could send His Son in the form of a human-still fully divine, but also human so we could look upon Him.
In Jesus we can see the glory of God.
This in fact, is truth. Everything recorded in God’s Word, all the prophecies, point to our Messiah Jesus Christ. The Law was in place to reveal humanity’s sin and teach us our need for a Savior. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit have always existed together as one. They serve different purposes of the trinity yet are forever acting in unison to accomplish the divine purposes of God.
In this month leading up to Easter, we’re going to look at Jesus through the eyes of God the Father and why He sent His one and only Son down from glory, in the form of flesh, to walk this earth like any other man, to be tempted and suffer like we do, and to give His very life as our ransom. Let us have eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart willing to receive His truth and His will for us in these messages.
Jesus is God in the Flesh. God tells us in His Word.
John 1: 1-5, 10-14 NLT
In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He existed in the beginning with God. 3 God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. 4 The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.
10 He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. 11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. 12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. 14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.
- Jesus Was and Always Will Be
Jesus is the Word. We see He already existed. He was with God and He was God. One in the same-fully connected and joined together. He didn’t just emerge in New Testament times as someone different-more loving, more kind, more gentle, more forgiving. No He was all these things forever. He emerged in human form, containing the full deity of God, so we might see God in Him.
Jesus is the visible image of our invisible God. He came down from glory so we might know God and have a relationship with Him through Jesus. God is spirit. He sent His Son in the flesh.
Jesus tried to convey this to the Jews and Pharisees that He has always been and He in fact did come from the Father who sent Him. They were mentioning that Abraham was their father-remember God told Abraham he would be the father of many nations. But what the Pharisees didn’t understand is that the true children of Abraham would be those who would believe in the Messiah as He came. They were hung up in human reasoning-can any of us relate to that? We push aside what is right in front of us because it doesn’t look how we think it should or it doesn’t align with what we know to be true. The Jews interpreted the Word from human standards instead of receiving divine revelation as it was given to them. Jesus tried to share how Abraham saw God’s divine plan and He believed. The Jews said wait a minute, “you’re not even 50 years old, how is it that you have met Abraham? He died!” This enraged them, but not nearly as much as what Jesus followed up their question with.
John 8:58 58 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”
That was all their human brains could tolerate because it didn’t make sense in human terms. They picked up stones to throw at Jesus, but Jesus left and slipped away, for it was not His time to be killed.
Do you remember the name that God gave Moses when asked who Moses should say was sending him to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?
Exodus 3:14 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
In Jesus’ prayer to God as He is about to finish His ministry on earth and was seeking strength to finish what He came for affirmed His eternal existence with God.
John 17: 4-5 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
Jesus was and always will be the light of the world.
- Faith Enables Us to See
12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.
Many early Jews and certainly the Pharisees could not see what was right in front of them. Their long-awaited Messiah was there in the flesh, walking among them. God was there in their midst and they couldn’t see Him. They had different expectations built up in how the Messiah should come. Interestingly, Scripture tells us very clearly over and over how and where Jesus would arrive.
The question is, do we have eyes to see truth as God defines it?
Do we surrender what we can see, touch and rationalize and choose to believe the divine is not held to our human limitations? Do we choose to believe in a spiritual realm that truly exists?
If we believe in our physical world, why couldn’t there also be a spiritual world? Our thoughts, emotions and personalities are not physical are they? They are from within-which means there has to be more to us then just our physical bodies. Our physical bodies are solely a shell, an exterior that allows us to live and move in this world-but the essence of who we are is within us. We have a soul and we have a spirit. There are three parts to who we are: body, soul and spirit.
Faith is a gift from God that enables us to see Him in Christ.
Faith enables us to believe that Jesus is the Son of God who came down from glory to show us God in the flesh, to be our sacrifice and to give us new life in Him as we believe. New spiritual life. We in return must choose to receive the gift of faith and believe-from our hearts, not by what we see or reason in the physical realm. Faith is not of this world, it is divine.
When the Jews were questioning Jesus as to who His father was and how He could be making such claims about Himself He said this:
John 8:56 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”
Jesus was saying Abraham could see the vision God gave him of the coming Messiah-of Jesus Himself, and he believed! Remember in Hebrews 11, Abraham was counted as righteous because he believed and had faith in what God said and promised. He believed!
His belief led to a life lived by faith over physical sight.
We must have faith to see the kingdom of God that is already among us.
John 3:3 3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
John 3:6 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’
This is critical to our Christian faith-to confess with our mouths that Jesus is the Son of God and believe in our hearts He died and rose again to take our place on the cross and redeem us from the penalty of our sin. Inviting Jesus to be our Lord and Savior and to make our heart His dwelling place is what enables us join with Him in Spirit. Faith in Him, gives us eyes to see Truth in God’s Word, to surrender to God’s ways and to hope in God’s promises.
The apostle Paul teaches the early churches an important truth to the purposes for Jesus’ death and resurrection. It is not so we can get a free pass and just keep living however we feel or just keep “our get out of jail” card handy when we find ourselves in a pickle…no accepting Christ in our hearts and as our Lord means we are letting go of how we once lived, we are letting go of being master of our own lives and we are giving Jesus the wheel-for all aspects. We are letting His Spirit freely flow through us. We are not living independently from Jesus-we are living as one with Jesus.
Galatians 2:20 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Can we say that? I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. I live by faith in the Son of God.
If you can, awesome. Continue to surrender more and more and let Him fill you. If not, simply come before God and ask Him to show you what is preventing you from living this way and believing this truth? Let Him show you what your stumbling block is and ask Him to help you remove that so your heart is fully open and to give you eyes to see in truth who Jesus is.
- To Know Christ is to Know the Father
The apostle John is given revelation to affirm Jesus is God in the Flesh and as we come to know Christ through the Word and through His Spirit dwelling in us, we also know the Father.
Jesus reveals this truth to His disciples when He was nearing the end of His earthly ministry and offering comfort to them. He was telling them He had to go, but not to worry because the Father was preparing many rooms, and that Jesus would return to bring them to be with Him. He said you know the way to the place I am going. Thomas said, “Lord we don’t know where you are going, how can we know the way?”
John 14:6 Jesus said, “I AM the way. I am the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
John 14:7 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” We see God when we see Jesus.
Philip couldn’t grasp it as I imagine many of us struggle too. He says, “Lord show us the Father.”
Now listen to the shift in how Jesus answers Philip:
John 14: 9-10. 9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.”
“Don’t you know Me?” Right there Jesus affirms He and God are completely joined and live out of each other.
This is what we are invited into when we receive Jesus in our heart. They come and make our heart their home. Their great desire is for us to live out them through the Spirit that connects us, and for us to let them live out of us. THIS is God’s design for His creation, to be one with them through Christ, just as they were in the garden before sin entered in. Jesus is the way to the Father.
Jesus teaches us the true meaning of eternal life that we are given as we believe in Him.
John 17:3 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
This is it. This is everything God did all of this for-that we might know Him intimately, personally and fully through Christ. To have a relationship with our Father. To know His heart. To trust Him with all of our heart. To walk with Him and share all of who we are with Him. THIS is eternal life and we can have it right now. Pretty awesome right?
Conclusion: To know Jesus is to know the Father. God sent His Son who contains all of God, to be wrapped in humanity so we might see God, experience God, and know Him personally. Let us live by faith in the Son of God who loves us and gave Himself for us.
Let’s pray: Father God we thank You for Your love so great that You would send Your Son down from glory to walk among mankind, to live as a man in the flesh, so we might see You and know You. You sent Your Son to be the sacrifice for humanity’s sin, so that all who would believe in Him as the Son of God, would be redeemed and be seen as righteous before You. Not by anything we do Father, but everything that Your Son Jesus did on our behalf. We thank You for this love so great. We thank You that You desire to have relationship with us and You are not a distant unknowing, unapproachable god. You delight in walking with us daily and sharing in every detail of our lives just as You do with Your Son. Help us to willingly come to You daily and open our hearts to all You wish to share with us. Help us receive Your love, Your wisdom, Your help and Your truth. Help us Father to live by faith in the Son of God who loves us. Help us to trust You. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Communion: Christ came so we might see God in the flesh and come to know Him more intimately. He came to reconcile all who believe to have right-standing with God so we are able to have a relationship with God. Jesus is the way to God the Father through His death on the cross and resurrection from the grave. We partake in this sacred covenant together to affirm our belief in Jesus as the Son of God, as our Messiah, as the sacrificial Lamb of God, as our Redeemer who makes us righteous before God. We as the Body, proclaim His death for the sins of humanity, until He returns. We remember and we honor His sacrifice. We revere Him as our Savior and the Living God who conquered the grave.
Now if you have never received Christ in your heart as your Lord and Savior, this is the time to do it. The spirit within you cries out to be joined with the Spirit of God through Christ. Open your heart and confess what your heart believes.
Romans 10: 9-10 says 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
Simply pray that right now. Let us take a moment to offer our hearts to God, to bring forth anything we need to make right with Him and let us call on the name of Jesus to transform us more and more into His image.
There is power in His blood and there is power in His name. Let us believe in both.
Matthew 26: 26-27 Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”
27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Thank You Jesus. We glorify Your name. We believe in You as our Messiah and we commit to live by faith that You are the Son of God who gave Himself for us so we might live anew in You and You might live in us!
Ephesians 3: 20-21 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Final Blessing: 2 Corinthians 13:14 14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Go in peace.