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The Glory of Christ

The Glory of Christ

In the morning service we continue in a series through the prologue {the first 18 verses} in John’s gospel. In verse 14, our text today, we see the astounding reality of the incarnation of Christ, “The Word became flesh”. Our Lord, as the Living Word through whom all creation came into existence, humbly descended from His exalted position with God the Father . Being infinite God, He became a man of flesh and blood. He took on humanity without ever ceasing to be divine. He became like us in every way, but without sin. He dwelt, literally ‘pitched his tent’ amongst those who were alive in Israel some 2000 years ago. As the OT “tent of meeting”, the tabernacle,  was the place where God met with Moses, so when people met Jesus, they saw the fullness of God’s perfect character. When Moses left the tabernacle, his face shone with the reflected glory of God. The glory of Christ, the only begotten Son of God was seen in the complete truth that He spoke and lived and in the lavish favour which He gave to underserving sinners like you and me. One of the great paradoxes of the good news of salvation is that the glory of Christ is seen most clearly in His humble sacrifice. From the eternal privileges of deity in the Godhead to birth in an animal feed trough in Bethlehem. From the Word through which the planets and stars were suspended in space to the suffering Saviour hung out to die on a cross between earth and sky. It is at the cross that we see the glory of Christ shine forth brightly. His final words at Calvary: “It is finished” expresses the truth that Jesus Christ achieved in His life and death all that was needed to save His people from their sins. “It is finished” also expresses the grace of God in forsaking His only Son, in making Him who knew no sin to be sin on behalf of God’s people so that they would become the righteousness of God in Him.  Today in the visible sign and seal of Lord’s Supper we see the glory of Christ represented. May we behold His perfect splendour, full of grace and truth.

“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” {John 1:14}

John 1.14 Seeing The Glory of Christ – sermon outline

Christ’s Body of Gifted Members

In the afternoon service, we focus on the Body of Christ, the church. Christ, the Head of His church has generously given gifts to every member of the church without exception. These gifts are present  not only in those who hold the office of elder and deacon and minister {teaching elder}, but also in all Christians who have the ‘office’ of believer.  The Heidelberg catechism {LD12} describes this ‘anointing’ as a 3-fold office: prophet {one who speaks the truth about Christ}, priest {one who offers oneself up as a living sacrifice}, and king {one who fights against evil; present both within ourselves in the world around us}. In our text we see two broad categories of gifts; those relating to speaking the word of God and those relating to deeds of service. In the sermon we’ll see how these gifts relate to the 3-fold office of believer.  The Greek word for these gifts is ‘charisma’, which has the root idea of ‘grace’ {an underserved, unmerited favour} and  from which the word “charismatic” is derived. When this term ‘charismatic’ is applied to Christians, it refers to those who believe that the supernatural gifts present in the early NT church, including the ability to speak in previously unlearned foreign languages and to perform physical healing, are still generally given to believers through the infilling or baptism of the Holy Spirit. The letter of 1st Peter was written no earlier than AD64, some 9 years after Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians in which he addresses questions they have raised about spiritual gifts, yet Peter makes no mention of supernatural gifts. This may well evidence the rapid decline which occurred in the incidence of supernatural gifts through the 1st century after the ascension of Christ, as the NT church was established and the canon of Scripture closed. In 1 Peter 4:10 we see how Christ’s gracious gifts are to be employed; “in serving one another”. We also learn why He has given them to the church “so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ”.  As each member of the church uses the particular gift(s) which he/she has received from Christ, the whole Body of Christ benefits from the mutual service which results and the credit for both the gift and the service which that gift enables rightfully goes to God through Christ the giver of the gift.

“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” {1 Peter 4:10}

 

1 Peter 4.10-11 Christs Body of Gifted Members – sermon outline