“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 nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Tomorrow evening is Christmas Eve. We will celebrate and thank the Lord for the day when He came to this earth to save us from all our sins. The Lord has done many wonderful things for us this year, and we thank the Lord not only for what He has done for us this year but also for the many things that He will do in the coming New Year.
Today’s Scripture passage is drawn from John 1:1-14, and some of you are probably wondering why I am preaching from this passage when Christmas Eve is just around the corner. I think it’s safe to say that we already know quite well about the birth of Christ. But today’s Scripture passage also entails an important lesson for us regarding Jesus’ birth, and I would like to share it with all of you. The Gospel of John is the Word of God written by the Apostle John by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, recording what the Apostle John witnessed as a disciple of Jesus.
Let’s turn to John 1:1-5 here: “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 nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”
“The Word Was God” (John 1:1)
The Word of God is what created this universe. This is why life is found in the Word. The Bible says clearly here that when God created this universe, the Word was with the Father, and this Word created the entire universe and everything in it.
The Word is God Himself, just as it is written, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Put differently, when Jesus Christ the Son of God created all things, He was with His Father. There was therefore nothing in the universe that was not made by Jesus. In Him was life, and this life was the light of men.
But the Bible also says, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:5). This means that even though Jesus Christ was shining the light on darkness, people did not understand it. God therefore sent John the Baptist to this earth and made him testify that this light was Jesus Christ. By sending John the Baptist, God the Father tried to make everyone discover and believe in the light of salvation through the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
It’s absolutely imperative for all of us to understand the Bible correctly just as it is, as there are way too many people who interpret the Scriptures according to their own thoughts. For instance, there is a famous eastern philosopher here in Korea who has been giving a series of very popular televised lectures on religion, and in one of these lectures, he blasphemed God by interpreting John 1:1 according to his own thoughts.
But what did the Lord say in John 1:1? He said, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God.” The “Word” here is logos in Greek. I raise this point because the New Testament was originally written in Greek. You may then wonder why the New Testament was written in Greek instead of Hebrew or Latin. That’s because in those days, even though the Roman Empire ruled supreme over the known world including Israel and Greece, the Greek language was still the most widely used language as the Romans had adopted many cultural practices of the Hellenistic civilization. Greek was therefore used extensively throughout the Roman Empire along with Latin. As Jesus was born in such a time, many Jews also had to use Greek, or otherwise they would have faced many difficulties. Just as English is spoken in many parts of the world as a colonial legacy of the British Empire, Greek was widely used in the days of Jesus as a remnant of the Hellenistic civilization even after it was conquered by the Roman Empire. That’s why the New Testament was written in Greek, as it was the most widely used language at the time.
Now then, the fact that the New Testament was written in Greek instead of Hebrew implies that the way it is interpreted by Greek-speakers is very likely to conflict with the interpretation of Hebrew-speakers. In other words, although the Word of God is logos in Greek, its interpretation would vary for the Jews and the Greeks, which in turn would lead to conflicting beliefs. In Greek, the “Word” can be interpreted as a philosophical notion. But for the Jews, the “Word” is interpreted as the living Word of God. Therefore, the Greeks and the Jews may interpret the “Word” differently.
In other words, when non-believers interpret the “Word” in today’s Scripture passage, they may interpret it as a philosophical notion rather than the Word of God. So when people consider God’s Word based on their own human ideas, they can easily misinterpret the Word of God revealed in the Bible. Such people think of God’s Word from a philosophical perspective, and in doing so they end up dismissing the power of the Word of God. But when the Apostle John wrote today’s Scripture passage, he wrote about God’s power in creating the universe in the beginning with His Word. And it is written clearly here that this Word is God Himself. Therefore, when we look at today’s Scripture passage, we ought to look at it from the perspective of its writer the Apostle John and his faith, and believe in it as he intended.
John 1:1-3 says, “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 nothing was made that was made.” The Apostle John made it clear here that all things were made in the beginning by the power of the Word of God. He left no doubt that the written “Word” is the Word of God. The God-spoken Word had the power to create the whole universe, and the One who spoke this Word in the beginning was none other than Jesus Christ.
However, many people still fall into serious error by interpreting the Word of Jesus Christ according to their own human thoughts. In their fleshly minds they think that if God the Father had a Son just like a human being, then He would also age just like any human being. So they claim that the Bible is a collection of men’s writings rather than the Word of God. This is actually what the philosopher I told you about claims, and this man is a rather renowned professor of eastern philosophy at a university in Korea.
I can’t stand still when anyone blasphemes God and His Word regardless of who he or she is, whether a philosopher or even a pastor. So, today, I would like to refute such misleading claims in my sermon so that all of us who believe in the righteousness of God remain unwavering in our faith.
The Jews Believed in the Scriptures as the Word of God
Today, each and every believer in the gospel of the water and the Spirit believes that the Bible is the God-spoken Word. Likewise, the people of Israel also believed in the Word of God. In other words, they put the root of their faith in the Word of God as they professed Judaism. When God appeared before Moses in the days of the Old Testament, He made a covenant with the Israelites with His Word and fulfilled it. Even after this, God continued to send prophets to the Israelites and delivered His Word to them. So the people of Israel believed in the words of the prophets as the Word of God. Their faith was therefore placed in the Word of God. Having given His Word of promise to the people of Israel and all mankind in the days of the Old Testament, God fulfilled everything with the power of this Word of promise. So the Israelites’ faith in the Word of God was qualitatively different from the faith of the Gentiles because the latter placed the root of their faith in their philosophical understanding.
Korea is deeply rooted in Confucianism and its cultural norms prescribing its people to honor their parents, be loyal to the nation, and be faithful to friends. Such ethical norms are pervasive in Korea. But human ethics and norms that guide everyday life are there just to prescribe socially acceptable behavior rather than answer the question of spiritual deliverance. Eastern philosophy is therefore a product of fleshly thoughts. It is not even fit for the modern world. So some people in Korea say that the lingering legacy of Confucianism is a serious obstacle holding the country back. People’s ideas are bound to change according to the times. But the mighty Word of God is forever unchanging.
Those who don’t know God interpret His Word only as a product of human thoughts and philosophical musings. In contrast, the people of Israel considered God’s Word as the path to understand His power and realize His intention. They knew that God had spoken to them and that He had the power to fulfill everything according to His Word. To the Israelites, the Word of God was His unchanging power. In contrast, the words of men are fickle, for these words stem from their own thoughts. Men’s words are no more than empty rhetoric without any power. That’s why it is so wrong to foolishly interpret the Word of God according to one’s own human thoughts. The Word of God is almighty.
Let’s turn to Isaiah 9:6 here:
“For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Like this, God spoke His Word of prophecy through the Prophet Isaiah, saying that Jesus Christ would come to this earth looking for us and save us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. He said that a Child would be born and a Son would be given to us, and that the government would be upon His shoulder; and this means that Jesus Christ would save us from all the sins of the world and reign over us as the King of kings.
The Almighty God Himself Came to This Earth as the Son of Man and Fulfilled His Will
God also said in Isaiah 53:1-3:
“Who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant,
And as a root out of dry ground.
He has no form or comeliness;
And when we see Him,
There is no beauty that we should desire Him.
He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.”
Just as God prophesied in this Scripture passage, Jesus Christ indeed endured extreme suffering when He came to this earth in order to save us from all our sins. Like this, every Word of the Old Testament is almighty. It is through His servants that God spoke His Word. In other words, God had had His servants record what He had spoken. My point here is that every Word of the Old Testament is equally God’s Word just as every Word of the New Testament is God’s Word. Today’s Scripture reading that the Apostle John spoke of in John 1:1-14 is also of the God-spoken Word, and it is to bear witness of this Word of God that John said, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). This passage clearly shows us that the God-spoken Word is never fleeting as a disappearing mist, but it is so powerful that it could create the universe. That is the power of the Word of God working across the entire universe.
Why Is It So Imperative to See the Bible as the Written Word of God?
It’s absolutely critical to see the Bible as the Word of God because whether you can become a man of faith or not depends on whether you see the written Word as the God-spoken Word or as a product of the human mind. If you regard the Word of God as little more than a product of human imagination, then you will be forsaken by God and cast into the never-ending fire of hell.
John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” We know and believe that this passage is the Word of God. As every Word of God written in the Scripture is the God-spoken Word, it is alive and mighty, and therefore everything has or will be fulfilled according to the Word. It’s by believing in the God-spoken Word that we can see God’s mighty power.
It’s written in John 1:10-12: “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:10-12).
The word “He” here refers to Jesus Christ. The Apostle John then went on to say, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). As this passage makes it clear, the Word of God has saved us from all our sins by being incarnated in the flesh of man.
Even before Jesus Christ revealed Himself to us as a Man, He was the God of the Word who spoke to us. God Himself had come to this earth with the name ‘Jesus’ in order to save everyone from sin. This Jesus Christ has saved us by coming to us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Having promised us to save us with His Word, God has indeed revealed Himself to us and saved us just as He promised. God is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—that is, God is not the God of the dead but of the living (Matthew 22:32). This means that God is forever unchanging and forever living.
We believe that this God has become our Savior just as He promised us with His Word. Through the sacrificial system that God had instituted for the people of Israel in the Pentateuch, God had promised to deliver us from all our sins, and just as He had promised, God Himself came to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man, bore all the sins of the entire human race on His body by being baptized, and saved us all by being crucified to death. Like this, God had promised us with His Word to save us from all the sins of the world, and He has actually delivered us exactly as He had promised. This is why we believe that the Word written in the Scripture is the Word of God. You and I who have become the spiritual Israelites believe so.
In contrast, the people of this world who don’t know the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit don’t believe that the Bible is the Word of God. They say that the Scriptures just make no sense to them at all. For instance, they think that since Jesus has a Father, and this Father gave birth to this Son, God would age just like any human being. As these people consider God according to their own human understanding, they end up concluding that the Word of God is all fabricated. So they think and say that Jesus is no more than a human being just like everyone else.
But the truth is that God Himself has saved us from all our sins by coming to this earth personally. The Bible therefore states that God is almighty, and not a jot nor a tittle of the God-spoken Law will ever pass away even if the heavens and the earth disappear. So the crucial question for us is whether or not we believe that this Word is God. The Word of God is not a mere product of the human mind. It is divine, for God Himself spoke it.
Intellectual curiosity is an admirable trait to have, and all of us should at least be inclined to learn. Whenever I hear someone speaking about his philosophical understanding, I listen attentively instead of just rejecting outright. Only when I listen attentively can I really find out what this person is saying.
Secular Scholarship Is Different from the Word of God, and It Is Not the Truth
The eastern philosopher that I told you about at the beginning of this sermon grew up in a Christian family. In fact, his mother is a deaconess, yet ironically, her son is standing against the Word of God. But all this man’s claims just stem from philosophical musings of others and no more than his own human thoughts. His understanding is not unchanging and rather fickle according to the trend of the world. Nor are his ideas the absolute truth. His vision is powerless. His ideas are therefore wrong, for they are not the truth matter how loudly he advocates them.
In contrast, the Word of God is almighty and true, and therefore its fulfillment is forever lasting. Every God-spoken Word is fulfilled forever exactly as it is, transcending both time and space. That is precisely why we believe in God and His Word. And that is why we believe that Jesus is the very God who created this universe.
It’s absolutely imperative for you to know and believe that Jesus is God Himself. The problem in today’s Christianity is that even pastors professing to believe in Jesus do not stand up to the secular detractors criticizing the Christian faith according to their own worldly understanding. This is so strange that it defies comprehension.
It’s true that language is a cultural product. But does this necessarily mean that since the New Testament was written in Greek, it has to be interpreted according to a secular method? No, that is not the case. Even though the New Testament was written in Greek due to the historical circumstances of the time, this does not change the fact that the God-spoken Word was written by Jesus Christ’s disciples who were inspired by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, whatever God said is the Word of God. Every God-spoken Word is fulfilled exactly as it is, for it is almighty. Even though many philosophers make ludicrous claims and brag about their scholarly understanding, none of the ideas advocated by these philosophers is forever lasting.
What Merit Does Any Human Being Have to Refuse to Believe in the God-spoken Word and Its Fulfillment?
God gave His Word of promise in the Book of Leviticus to save us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. And to fulfill every Word of promise, Jesus Christ came to this earth in the age of the New Testament, was baptized by John the Baptist, died on the Cross, rose from the dead again, thereby at once saved all of us who believe in this Truth from all our sins. The Lord has fulfilled His Word of promise given to us human beings. We are saved when we believe that the Lord has saved us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We receive the remission of sins by faith, by believing that God promised our salvation with His Word, and that He has indeed delivered us exactly according to His Word. It’s because we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that we have no sin in our hearts. That is the power of the Word of God. That is the power of those who believe in God’s Word.
The Apostle John also wrote so in today’s Scripture passage because that’s what he believed. And just like John, all of us who have been saved through our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit recognized the importance of the Word of God and believed in it, and that’s why we were delivered from all our sins. That’s because the gospel of the water and the Spirit is the Word of God. Our salvation from sin was not fulfilled by any words of men, but by the Word of God alone. God’s power is found in His Word. In contrast, the arguments put forth by today’s nonbelievers and their philosophical musings are completely powerless, and we can easily see this if we examine their claims even just a little.
The eastern philosopher that I told you about claims that John the Baptist was an Essene. He also argues that Jesus was a disciple of John the Baptist. Clearly, this man must not have read the Bible at all, not even once. For a scholar, he lacks even basic knowledge. Who is right then? Is this philosopher right to argue that the Bible is just a product of the human thinking, or are we right to believe that the Scripture is the Word of God? Of course we are right to believe that every God-spoken Word is Almighty and will be fulfilled exactly as it is.
Is the God-spoken Word the same as any human thought? Is the Word of God fleeting just like all human ideas? No, the Word of God is never short-lived, nor does its power ever disappear. Neither the Word of God nor its power ever fades away. That is why we believe in the Word of God, that is why we confess that Jesus is our God, and that is why we are so blessed, for this confession of ours is founded on the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Jesus is indeed God Himself.
Do you believe that the whole universe and everything in it were made by Jesus Christ? Jesus Christ is God Himself. Yet this God had so much compassion for you and me that He personally came to this earth for a short while as the Savior of the entire human race, and that is why His name is Jesus Christ. The name Jesus means the Savior, and the name Christ means that He has saved us from all our sins according to the sacrificial system of the Old Testament. By fulfilling all His offices as the King of kings, the heavenly High Priest, and the promised Prophet for us, He has blotted out all our sins and saved us in this way. That is why we call Him ‘Jesus Christ.’ The Bible often writes that God has saved us “in Jesus Christ.” This denotes that He has saved us from all our sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
How about you then? Do you also believe like this? Is there anyone here who still thinks that this Word I’m preaching is wrong? If you think I’m wrong, then say so plainly. If there is anything I don’t know, then I admit my ignorance. The people of this world don’t understand today’s Scripture passage and so they just read its black letters on white paper, and even pastors say blindly that Jesus Christ has saved us by sacrificing Himself on this earth without really explaining exactly how and why. Too many Christians’ faith is built on their own emotions. They do not have the gospel of the water and the Spirit. So what they say is not based on true faith, but just based on their own understanding, and therefore their claims are not the Truth of the real gospel. And their teachings are no more than human thoughts.
It Is Thanks to the Witness of the John the Baptist That We Were Able to Clearly Know and Believe in Jesus as Our Savior
Jesus has saved us from death by bearing all our sins once and for all through His baptism, being crucified to death, and rising from the dead again. We can realize from the testimony of John the Baptist that Jesus Christ has become the Lamb of God. Without the witness of John the Baptist, it would have been impossible for us to understand why Jesus was baptized for us. The Bible clearly testifies to this. The role of John the Baptist is therefore extremely important for the salvation of mankind. That’s because it’s John the Baptist who passed all the sins of the human race to Jesus by baptizing Him. For everyone to be saved, it’s absolutely important to know and believe that Jesus accepted all the sins of mankind through John the Baptist. All of us must realize this without fail.
The problem, however, is that too many Christians don’t know this. What’s more, many Christian leaders are actually teaching completely ridiculous notions that have no Biblical basis at all. And their power of influence is great enough to drive most Christians into hell because this is the age of mass communication and these false Christian leaders have secured the control of the mass communication. So, these false prophets standing against the righteousness of Jesus are approved by everyone else opposing Jesus’ righteousness. There are so many people in today’s Christianity who think and act like these wicked secular philosophers.
In contrast, we believe in each and every verse in today’s Scripture passage as the Word of God. As this present age is an age of ungodliness opposing the righteousness of God, it is all the more important for us to understand God’s righteousness properly. This is because this passage is not a product of human imagination or thought, but it is the very Word of God. Jesus Christ has already saved us by coming to this earth, bearing all our sins through His baptism, and dying on the Cross in our place. The salvation brought to us by Christ has already been fulfilled to us on account of our faith. For all who believe in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, in other words, their salvation has already been achieved. Therefore, we have now become God’s own children by believing in His righteousness. It’s not in the future that we will reach our salvation on our own, but we believe that our salvation has already been fulfilled.
In Jesus’ days, many Israelites did not accept Him as their Savior. Only the disciples of Jesus, who came from all walks of life including fishermen, scholars, and ordinary people, received the Lord. These disciples believed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit just like us. So we have also become Gods’ children along with the disciples of Jesus. And just like the disciples, our hearts have also received the Holy Spirit, as it is written in John 1:12, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” This passage clearly states that whoever receives Jesus Christ and believes in His name—that is, whoever believes in the righteousness of Jesus Christ—has accepted the salvation offered by God.
Our salvation is clearly revealed in the name of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is God Himself, and He is the Savior who has delivered us from all our sins by coming to this earth as our Messiah, bearing all our sins on His body by being baptized, being crucified to death, and rising from the dead again. That is why the Bible says, “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12). Since the Word is God Himself and Jesus is the Word, it’s Jesus Himself who has saved us through the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. We are therefore sinless in our hearts, for we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. There is absolutely no more sin left in our hearts whatsoever.
God Himself has perfectly fulfilled our salvation from sin, but this salvation is attained only if we have faith in the Lord’s work of salvation. The same is true for us to become God’s children. What we should realize here is that we do not become God’s children through any lineage of flesh and blood. Rather, one is made God’s child by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. No one can become a child of God by relying on any fleshly means or by swelling his own human emotion. No matter how hard anyone might cry out the name of Jesus and fervently profess to believe in Him as his Savior, this person cannot become a child of God through his own ferventness. Only someone who accepts Jesus Christ into his heart through the gospel of the water and the Spirit can become God’s child. And to all such people who believe in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, God has given them the right to become His own children.
The only question remaining for you now then is whether or not you believe in God’s righteousness. The question, in other words, is whether or not you believe that God Himself has saved you by coming to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man, bearing all your sins by being baptized by John the Baptist, being crucified to death in your place to be condemned for your sins, and rising from the dead again. All who believe in this Truth have received the remission of sins and become God’s children by faith. Their hearts have become completely sinless.
If you believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, is there any sin remaining in your heart? No, there is no more sin. And if your heart has been made sinless on account of your faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then you have become God’s child. Such people have already received God’s love. They are God’s chosen people. And you and I are the very chosen people of God. This did not come about by the will of any human being. Even though one may say in his own human thoughts that anyone would be saved just by believing in Jesus’ Cross, that is not how salvation is reached in God’s sight. Salvation comes only from God.
John 1:14 says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” God’s Word is full of grace and truth. And because the Word of God is true and infallible, we have not only been saved by faith but also received abundant blessing. When we believe that the Scripture itself is the Word of God, that our salvation was fulfilled according to this Word, that everything will come to pass exactly as the Word says, and that this Word itself is the truth—when we have such faith, we actually receive the grace of God in all its abundance. This is the key message of today’s Scripture passage.
As you share the same faith as mine, you believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit just as I do. But you still need to attain a proper understanding of the Word of God. Unless you understand God properly through His Word, you may end up being devoured by the many liars that prey upon the weak and the vulnerable. These liars go as far as denying the divinity of Jesus and claiming that He was just a human being. Some of them even say that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and begot their children, claiming ludicrously that Mary gave birth to Jesus’ children somewhere in France and His descendants formed French nobility. People make such preposterous assertions because they insist their arguments based on their own human thoughts rather than the Word of God.
Did Jesus really sleep with Mary Magdalene and begot His children? Did Jesus love human beings in carnal terms? No, Jesus loved them spiritually, and He had mercy on them because He knew their human weaknesses. Moreover, Jesus never committed any sin at all, for He is God Himself. If we were in Jesus’ shoes, then we might have slept with Mary since we all commit sin constantly. That’s just our human nature.
But Jesus did not commit any sin. Why? That’s because He is God Himself even though He had come to this earth incarnated in the flesh of man. Indeed, it’s precisely because Jesus is God Himself that He defied all physical constraints and performed so many miracles while on this earth, from healing the sick to opening the eyes of the blind, walking on the water, and even raising the dead back to life.
You and I have received God’s love on account of our faith. Moreover, we were also chosen by God. As such people chosen by God, we believe that the God-spoken Word itself is God Himself, and we also believe that everything will be fulfilled according to the Word. Many parts of the Word have already been fulfilled, and the rest will surely be fulfilled in the future. You and I believe with absolute certainty that God has fulfilled His Word just as He promised us, and we also believe with equal certainty that God will fulfill each and every Word that still remains unfulfilled.
I give all my praise to God who speaks to us through His Word. Halleluiah!