KEEP THE FIRE BURNING, Week 1, Foundations

“This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”  2 Timothy 1:6-7

God is calling us to live a passionate life.  A life that is on Fire for the Lord. God wants us to love him passionately, with all of our heart.

Romans 12:1 “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor.” (NIV)

  • Keep the fires burning in your life. Circle the word “keep.” Notice, it’s not automatic. It’s a choice. It’s a discipline. It’s something you must maintain. You are not by nature passionate about God. It’s something that you must choose to do. We get distracted and everything in life conspires to keep you from being passionate about God. So He says keep your passion going. Keep the fires going. It’s a discipline. It’s not just automatic.

For this series, this is what we are trying to accomplish…keeping our Spiritual Fervor!  Let’s Keep The Fire Burning.

The Foundation to Keep the Fire Burning

First let’s study the Standard’s for Biblical Examination:

(His Historical/Provable/Deliberate Word)

  • Historical…relating to, or having the character of, history, accurate, in line with times.
  • Provable…existence of truth, or validity of, as by evidence or logic.
  • Deliberate…intentional, calculated, conscious, done on purpose.

Second let’s study the Bible’s Foundation:

  • Start with the Cornerstone upon which our entire faith is built…
  • Start with the Beginning, Jesus Christ.  “In the Beginning was the Word…”   

  ? To study the Bible in any fashion, you have to start with the Beginning, and the Beginning is Jesus Christ.  AND, He is the Cornerstone upon which the entire building is built…the cornerstone is Christ Jesus – Isaiah 28:16

Isaiah 28:16 – “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem, a firm and tested stone. It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never be shaken.’”

Psalm 118:22 – “The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.”

Matthew 21:42 – “Then Jesus asked them, “Didn’t you ever read this in the Scriptures? ‘The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.’”

Ephesians 2:20 – “Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself.”

1 Peter 2:4,6 – “You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor…”    The Scriptures also say in verse 6, “I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem, chosen for great honor, and anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.”

Let’s talk about the Word…

The Word is Christ Jesus – John 1:1–3

“In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him.”

The Gospel of John is a portrait of Jesus and his saving work. It focuses on His last 3 years and on his death and resurrection. It’s purpose is clear:

“The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book”. John 20:30

  • The book is written to help people believe on Christ and have eternal life.

Believers…go on believing

So when John says, “These are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name,” (John 20:31)… he meant that he was writing to awaken faith in unbelievers and sustain faith in believers — and in that way lead both to eternal life. And there may be no better book in the Bible to help you keep on trusting and treasuring Christ above all.   So, don’t stop, continue in your beliefs, stay strong in faith, keep the fire burning!

An Eyewitness Account

This portrait of Jesus is written by an eyewitness who was part of these infinitely important events. Five times in this Gospel we find the unusual words “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2, 7; 21:20).

For example, at the very end it says in John 21:20, “Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them.” So the one called “the disciple whom Jesus loved” — who was there leaning on his shoulder at the Last Supper (John 13:23) — wrote this book as his divinely inspired witness to the events of Jesus’s life and what they meant for us.

Divinely Inspired

One of the reasons that I say it is divinely inspired is that this is what Jesus promised to do,

“When the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.” John 14:26

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.” John 16:13

In other words, Jesus chose his apostles as his representatives, saved them, taught them, sent them, and then gave them, through the Holy Spirit, divine guidance in the writing of Scripture for the foundation of the church (Ephesians 2:20). Therefore, Jesus is, the inspired word of God and the Beginning of it all!!

John’s First Three Verses

Those words — “word of God”— bring us to the first words of John’s Gospel. John 1:1–3:

“In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God…”

These are the verses we focus on today. They are central to our new study, Keep the Fire Burning.

‘The Word’: Jesus

First, we focus on the term Word. “In the beginning the Word already existed.” The most important thing to know about this Word is found in verse 14:

“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.”

The Word refers to Jesus Christ.

This is a book about the life and work of the man Jesus Christ — the man that John knew and saw and heard and touched with his hands. He had flesh and blood. He ate and drank and got tired, and John knew him very closely. In the end, Jesus’s mother lived with John in the last part of her life (John 19:26).

Therefore, he wants his readers to know…to have in our minds, fixed and clear, from the beginning of his Gospel, the eternal majesty and deity and Creator rights of Jesus Christ.

Jesus in His Infinite Majesty

That’s the point of verses 1–3. He means for us to read this Gospel worshipfully, humbly, submissively, awestruck that the man at the wedding and at the well and on the mountain is Creator of the universe.

John means for us to read every word of this Gospel with the clear, solid, amazed knowledge that Jesus Christ was with God and was God and that the one who laid down his life for us (John 15:13) and created the universe for us. John wants you to know and treasure Jesus in his infinite majesty.

Why ‘Word’?

“In the beginning was the Word.” He came to witness to the truth (John 18:37) and he was the truth (John 14:6). His witness and his person were the Word of truth, he said,

In John 8:31,“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples.”(ESV), and he said, “Abide in me” (John 15:7). When we abide in him we are abiding in the Word.

The meaning is the same as Hebrews 1:1–2“Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son.”

  • The Son of God incarnate is God’s culminating and decisive Word to the world.

Four Observations About Jesus

Now what does John want to tell us first about this man Jesus Christ whose deeds and words fill the pages of this Book? He wants to tell us four things about Jesus Christ: (1) the time of his existence, (2) the essence of his identity, (3) his relationship to God, and (4) his relationship to the world.

  1. The Time of His Existence – “In the beginning was the Word.”

The words “in the beginning” are identical to the first words in the Old Testament: “In the beginning God” (Gen 1:1) John is locating Jesus in time, he is saying the beginning of Jesus… the Christ, the Son of God, in relation to time, namely, before time.

Jude does the same in his great doxology:  All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.” (Jude 25).

Paul says in 2 Timothy 1:9 that God gave us grace in Christ Jesus “before the beginning of time.” So before there was any time or any matter, there was the Word.

2. The Essence of His Identity – “The Word was God.”

Verse 1, at the end: The Word, who became flesh and dwelt among us, Jesus Christ, was and is God. Let this be known loud and clear — we worship Jesus Christ as God. We fall down with Thomas before Jesus in John 20:28 and confess with joy and wonder, “My Lord and my God!”

When we hear the Jewish leaders say in John 10:33, “We’re stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claim to be God,” We cry out, “No, this is not blasphemy. This is who he is our Savior, our God.”

Do you see what this means for our series Keep the Fire Burning? It means that Jesus is the foundation, the cornerstone…what we build our whole lives and faith upon.

If a Jehovah’s Witness or a Muslim ever says to you: “This is a mistranslation. It should read, ‘The Word was a god.’” This is just not a possibility in the Greek…

????? – logos, ???? – eimi, ???? – theos…“the Word was God.”

3. His Relationship to God – “The Word was with God”

This is the heart of the great historic doctrine of the Trinity.

He is God, and he has a relationship with God. He is God, and he is the image of God, perfectly reflecting all that God is and standing forth from all eternity as the fullness of deity in a distinct Person.

There is one divine essence and three persons. Two of them are mentioned here. The Father and the Son. We learn those names later on in the book.

The Holy Spirit will be introduced later. Since we see in a mirror dimly and we know only in partial ways (1 Cor 13:9, 12), do not be surprised that this remains to us a mystery.

4. His Relationship to the World“He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him.” (vv2-3). “Everything” was created through Jesus Christ.

The Word who became flesh and dwelt among us, taught us, healed us, rebuked us, protected us, loved us, and died for us created the universe.“All things were made through him.” Yes, another was acting through the Word. God was. But the Word is God. Therefore, don’t let yourself diminish the majesty of the work of Christ as Creator. He was the Father’s agent, or Word, in the creation of all things.

Jesus Was Not Made: Therefore, Christ was not made. He is the Cornerstone, Nothing was made before Him, Everything was created through Him…Because before you exist, you can’t bring yourself into being. Christ has always been, and will always be, he is our rock and our foundation for all we have to know in like and faith. He is the Cornerstone!

May the Lord help us to see his glory. And worship him. Amen.

Impact Christian Church ? Pastor Steve With ? October 27, 2019