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Grace Fellowship Church

Christ: The Mediator of All Things 2

Christ: The Mediator of All Things 2

John 1:4-11

Grace Fellowship Church

October 4, 2009

Series 6 Sermon 3

 

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.  9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.

 

Introduction

There are some Christian truths, biblical truths, which we hold on dearly to.  One of those is that God is the ultimate giver and taker of life.  So as Christians we do not believe that certain human activity is acceptable.  Recently there was an article that stated that 90% of all babies thought to have Down Syndrome were being aborted each year.  Of course the abortion mills in our country and around the world are busy even on this the Lord’s Day. 

 

At the very first murder in human history the Lord told Cain that the blood of his brother Abel cried out from the ground to Him.  That was the first of an untold number of murders in our world.  The highest crime that you can commit in most societies is the taking of life.  Murder is the crime that holds the severest punishment in our society.  Why is that? Because even though evolutionary thought has invaded the modern mind we still within our God given consciences know that murder is evil and unnatural.  Even in the deep recesses of the mind of many atheists murder is a high crime and they know that it is a crime not only against the one murdered but also the One who gave life. 

 

What we have seen so far in our study of John is that the Word we are introduced to in verse 1 is the Lord Jesus Christ.  We are told that in the beginning when all things were created that He was already there.  He was in the beginning with God and John makes a startling statement that Jesus Christ was already God.  Then in verse 3 John takes his explanation even further and tells us that the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, is not only fully God but is the One through whom the universe was created.  As we saw last week the Lord Jesus is the mediator of creation.  And because He is the one through whom the cosmos was created He has ultimate authority over all His creation.  We saw that because He is the creator that all things are under His rule and His reign and all things that are created must bow the knee to Him as Lord over all to the glory of God the Father. 

 

PNP

Last week I told you that in verses 3 through 5 we would see two very important areas over which Christ is the mediator.  Last week we saw the first point which was that: 

 

1.  Christ is the mediator of all creation.

 

This morning I would like for us to see the second point which is:

2.  Christ is the mediator of all life including eternal life. 

 

Purpose

My purpose in preaching these verses this morning is to show you and instill in all of us that life is only found in Christ.  It is Christ alone who gives life, whether physical, spiritual, or eternal.  All life is mediated through Christ.  And my purpose is to reinforce the Christian truth that there is no life in any other.   

 

A mediator is one who stands between two or more parties.  The Lord Jesus stands between God the Father and humanity accomplishing the will of God the Father and praying for the people of God. 

 

PNP

So look with me at the second of these two very important areas over which Christ is the mediator. 

 

2.  Christ is the mediator of all life including eternal life. 

Look again with me at verse 4.

4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

Think about the context of verse 4.  Verse 3 told us that Jesus Christ is the mediator of creation.  We saw in the creation story last week that God the Father would speak and the Son would accomplish what the Father spoke.  We looked at the Greek word “dia” which is translated in verse 3 as “through” or if you have a KJV “by.”  This word indicates mediation.  But when we get to verse 4 there is a different word.  It sounds just like our English word. It is the first word of verse 4 and the Greek word and English word is “en.” 

 

So “in him” or in Christ was life.  The verb “was” is the same imperfect verb that is in verse 1 and it means that it was already there.  God the Father has bestowed life in His Son.  The Lord Jesus bears witness to this in John 5:26.  Listen as I read.

26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.

 

Christ Jesus is the fountain of life.  From Him springs all life.  Nothing in this world has life apart from Him.  I want you to listen to Genesis 2:7.

then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

 

The Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, has the power and authority to breathe life into an inanimate object.  Formed from the dust of the ground Adam was lifeless until the Lord Jesus breathed life into his nostrils.  It was then and then only that he became a living creature. 

 

So what we need to understand is that the Lord Jesus gives all things that are alive, life.  Life is no accident.  Life is not a matter of chance.  Life is a divine gift and that is why murder is wrong.  To take human life except for the cases of a just war or rightful execution by God ordained government is murder. Whether that person is an unborn child, a teenager, an adult, or a senior citizen, to take life is a sin against God since He is the Author and Giver of life.

 

But John is not just speaking of physical life.  The Lord Jesus is also the mediator of spiritual and eternal life.  Look at verse 4 again.

4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

 

I want you to realize the context and the steps that John is taking us through so you will understand what John is communicating to us in verse 4. 

In verse 1 and 2 we get a view of eternity.  When the beginning was the Word was already there.  He was with God and He was God.  Verse 3 moves us from eternity to a fixed point in time which was the creation.  All things were made through the Word and there was nothing created that was not mediated by the Lord Jesus Christ. 

 

Verse 4 takes us to the Garden of Eden before the Fall. Here is what is so important about that.  Even before the Fall of Mankind in the Garden of Eden the Lord Jesus was the wellspring of life.  Adam and Eve did not walk around apart from the grace of God in Christ.  Even in sinless perfection Adam and Eve needed the Lord Jesus Christ for life and for light.  Look at verse 4 again.

4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

 

Men in verse 4 should be understood as mankind or the human race.  The Lord Jesus Christ would have received glory for creation and for the sustaining of life had the fall not occurred. 

 

So let’s make sure we understand what John is saying in verse 4.  In the Garden of Eden when man was upright and without sin the Lord Jesus Christ was the fountain of life and He was the light of mankind.  He would have endued all men ever born with life and with light to understand all that the Lord would have them to understand.  And what we need to understand is that in Heaven when all things are reconciled the Lord Jesus will be our life and light again.  I want you to listen to Revelation 21:22-25 when John describes the New Jerusalem.

22 And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, 25 and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there.

So the Lord Jesus in His earthly ministry is going to accomplish what was set before Him in the beginning and that will be the reconciliation of all things in Him.  In Heaven we will have the Lamb, or the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ as our Temple and as the source of life and light.  And did you hear in verse 25 that there will be no darkness? 

 

John links light and life together in his Gospel account on several occasions.

John 8:12 says:

12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

 

Listen to John 9:5.

As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

 

Listen to John 12:44-46.

44 And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. 45 And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.

 

What we have in John and in other Scripture as well is the theme of light and darkness.  In Genesis 1 we read of the Lord saying, “Let there be light” to dispel the darkness that was upon the face of the deep.  And in Isaiah 9:2 we read the prophet telling us about the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

2  The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.

 

The Lord Jesus has come to bring life and light to the world.  He was in the Garden of Eden the very wellspring of life, physical, spiritual, and eternal.  But we have a major problem.  Look at verse 5.

5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

 

We need to pay attention to the verbs in verse 5 first.  Once you understand the verbs things start coming into perspective.  In verse 4 we have the imperfect verbs that are translated was.  They are not just past tense but speak of something that was already done.  In verse 1 the Word was not brought forth in the beginning, He was already there.  Likewise in verse 4 life was in the Word and was the light of men already.  He did not become that. Eternally life and light was in Him.  But in verse 5 we have a shift of verb usage. 

 

We move from an imperfect verb tense to a present tense in the first part of verse 5.  Look at it with me.

5 The light shines(present tense) in the darkness

It has shined and is still shining.  Look where it is shining.  This is a clue as to the timing of this verse.  The light shines (present tense- even now) in the darkness….

 

I told you earlier that we have a movement of time in these verses.  Verses 1 and 2 are before creation in eternity.  Verse 3 breaks through into time with the creation.  Verse 4 is the time of man’s uprightness or sinlessness.  But between verse 4 and verse 5 something happened.  What happened is sin and the Fall.  Sin enters the world and sin brings with it darkness.  And then we notice something else.  Remember that in the Garden Adam and Eve walked with the Lord in the cool of the day.  But as soon as sin entered the world the fellowship with the life and light was severed.  What we see in verse 5 is that the light has not stopped shining but something has happened to mankind.  Look at verse 5 again and pay particular attention to the first phrase.

5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

 

Did you hear the last phrase?  The ESV renders this as “the darkness has not overcome it.”  The KJV says “the darkness comprehended it not.”  The NASB says, “the darkness did not comprehend it” and adds a footnote that says “overpower.” The NKJV translates it the same as the NASB  but adds the footnote “overcome.”  The NIV translates it as “the darkness has not understood it.”   Let me give you some others.  “Did not perceive it.” “Apprehended it not.” “Has never put it out.”

In other words all of the Greek scholars who worked on these English translations could not come to a consensus vote on how to translate “katalaben.”  It is one of those words that could go either way.  It could be translated as overcome or it could be translated as understood or comprehended.  So what do I think? 

 

Let me tell you how I come to a conclusion on these matters.  Words have meaning in the context in which they are written or spoken.  The word “bear” has several different meanings.  And what comes to your mind may be different than someone else.  So you need a sentence or a context surrounding that word to know what I mean.  If I say, “Bear with one another in love” then you know the definition.  But if I say, “The bear was very hungry” you know what I mean.  So what I do is look around the context and see what is before and after. 

 

What is coming up are some very important phrases that tip off the meaning for us.  Look at verse 10 and 11. 

10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 

 

So why did the world not know him?  After all He is the Creator.  Why did the world not receive Him?  After all He is the life and the light of mankind.  It is because verse 5 says that the Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not understood it or comprehended it.  If the darkness understood the light was their life and eternal life then the darkness would have known Him and they would have received Him.  Listen to John 3:18-20.

18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.

 

So why did the darkness not comprehend the light?  Because of sin.  Let me lay out some verses for you that compare sin with darkness. 

Listen to Romans 13:11-12.

11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.

 

Listen to 2 Corinthians 6:14.

14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?

 

Contenders listen to Ephesians 6:12.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

 

Listen to Colossians 1:13.

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,

 

Listen to Ephesians 5:8.

for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.

 

Listen to 1 Peter 2:9.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

 

And finally 1 John 2:9.

Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.

 

So the darkness is sin that the light is shining into and the darkness has not comprehended it, it has not understood it.  It has not overcome it either but here in the context of verse 4 and verse 5 it is understood or comprehended.  And the reason that people have not understood or comprehended the light is because by nature people love darkness more than they love light. 

 

Then in verses 6-11 John calls forth three witnesses to the fact that the darkness has not comprehended the light that is shining.  I want you to notice these three witnesses.  The first is John the Baptist.  Look at verse 6.

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

Notice that John was sent from God.  What did God send him to do?  Look at verse 7.

7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.

He came to the darkness to declare that the Light, the Life, the Lord Jesus Christ was coming so that through John all might believe.  What was John’s message?  Look at verse 8 and 9.

8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.  9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

John the Baptist was the forerunner of the Lord Jesus Christ and he was making the paths straight and the darkness still has not comprehended the light. 

 

John is the first witness.  But there was a witness that was already there before John bearing testimony to the light and yet that was not enough.  Look at verse 10.

10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.

The Light was (imperfect tense just like verse 1- The Light was already…) in the world.  The darkness, the world did not recognize its own creator.  The witness of John is condemnation to those who do not believe and the witness of creation is condemnation to those who do not believe and then the final nail in the coffin for the judgment and condemnation of the darkness is in verse 11.  Look at the verse with me. 

11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.

 

Why did they not recognize Him?  Why did they not believe John?  Why did they not see Him in the creation?  Why did they not receive Him when He came into the world? 

 

The reason that people have not understood or comprehended the light is because by nature people love darkness more than they love light.  This is the doctrine of Total Depravity.  When sin entered the world through Adam there was a radical shift in the nature of man.  He went from a lover of God and righteousness to an enemy of God and a lover of sin. 

 

The Bible uses several adjectives to describe this condition and they all work together to give us great understanding of this doctrine. 

One of those adjectives is deaf, the inability to hear, and another is blind, the inability to see.  Listen to Isaiah 29:18.

18 In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see.

Listen to Isaiah 35:4-5.

Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God
will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped;

 

In Mark chapter 7 the Lord Jesus heals a deaf man.  The people were amazed that He could unstop the ears of a man who was deaf.  Listen to Mark 7:37.

And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

 

The first adjective is deaf and the second is blind.  Deafness describes the inability to hear spiritual truth and blindness is the inability to see spiritual truth and to see Christ as the greatest of all treasures. 

 

Listen to 2 Corinthians 4:4.

In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

 

Listen to 1 John 2:11.

But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

 

Then in John 9 the Lord Jesus heals the man born blind.  Listen to what the Lord Jesus said to the man after his sight was given to him.   This is John 9:39.

39 Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.”

 

The other adjective that is used besides deaf and blind is dead.  Ephesians 2:1 says:

And you were dead in your sins and trespasses.

 

And then it says that He has made you alive in Christ. 

 

Then we see the last sign in John is Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.  But before He raises Lazarus from the dead he says to Martha this in John 11:25-26.

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”  

Then the Lord called Lazarus from the tomb. 

 

This puts humanity all in the same boat.  We are all born deaf to spiritual truth, blind to the light of the world, and dead to the life that is found only in Christ.  You can scream at a deaf man and he will not hear you.  You can jump up and down and wave your arms at a blind man and he will not see you and you can literally shake a dead man and he will not notice you. 

 

So when someone is lost what we need to understand is that trying to explain the Gospel to them is impossible.  It is like trying to explain a sunset to a blind man.  It is like trying to explain a symphony to the deaf.  It is visions that they can not see and music they can not hear.

 

This is all of us.  Joe Tolin is dead.  He is blind.  He is deaf.  And to top it all off he was born this way.  He is without hope.  He is without spiritual life.  And so are all of you and so is all of humanity.  Dead! Blind! Deaf!  

 

So what has to happen?  What has to happen to any of us for us to ascertain spiritual truth?  The Lord must unplug our ears.  He must give sight to blind eyes and He must raise our dead spiritual corpses to life.  Otherwise we are in darkness.  Our natures only see sin as light and we see true light as darkness. 

 

Application

Let me tell you what a proper understanding of the sinfulness of man will do.  It will reinforce the biblical understanding that salvation is all of God.  If Christ is the mediator of all life including eternal life then that life belongs to Him and He can give as He sees fit.  That is what John 10:28 says. 

28 I give them eternal life,(Why?  Because it is Christ’s to give!) and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

 

Christ is the mediator of all life.  So who does He give this life to?  Does He give it to all people?  Let me let you hear the words of Christ on this.  Listen to John 6:37.

37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

 

Just like in creation, the Father speaks and the Son creates.  The Father gives a sinner to the Son and the Son gives eternal life to the sinner.  But is this limited in any way?  Again let’s hear the word of Christ.  Listen to John 6:44.

44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.

 

Now there are well intentioned people who want to deny what this says.  They say all kind of things to get around it.  They will argue for what the Scripture never argues for and that is an unaffected will.  But I simply ask you this question. 

 

Why did the Lord, who is the author of Scripture chose the adjectives like deaf, blind, and dead to describe fallen humanity?  If these are too strong for the actual spiritual condition of mankind then why not use the terms near sighted, hard of hearing, or disabled?  The languages of the Bible are far too complex to not use those terms. 

 

Many people think that the Biblical languages since they are ancient languages were just not sophisticated.  But when Martin Luther translated the Bible into German it forever changed and improved the German language.  When William Tyndale translated the Bible into English in the 1500’s English became far more complex.  The Bible changes languages. It improves them.  And the Bible uses analogies that cross cultural lines.  We know what deaf means.  We know what blind means.  We know what dead means. 

 

And whether we like it or not the Bible teaches that no one can be saved apart from a sovereign act of almighty God.  If God does not save a sinner then no sinner will ever be saved. 

 

There are basically four groups of people that hear this doctrine of total depravity or read it in the Scriptures. 

 

Group one will ignore this doctrine as well as many others.  They think that theology is divisive and unimportant and will shy away from proclaiming the same truths that the Lord Jesus proclaimed.  But let me warn you if you are in group 1.  Bad theology or no theology leads to bad living.  Bad theology or no theology wreaks havoc on the next generation.  Bad theology or no theology will offer no comfort in times of need and despair. 

There is a second group.  This group will simply deny what the Scripture says about sin and the affects of sin on humanity.  Let me tell you what this leads to.  We can see it all around us in so many churches.  We get man centered methodology for making converts and bringing them into the church.  Worship services become entertainment.  Pastors instead of preaching the timeless truths of the Bible engage in the whims of the current fads and typically they are about five years behind the world anyway.  Dramas are brought in.  Interpretive dance is brought in.  Sermons are replaced by conversations.  Hymns, Psalms, and spiritual songs conducive for worshipping our great God and Savior are replaced by meaningless songs that are easy to sing and have no message.  Prayer is replaced in the service because after all what person wants to sit through someone praying.  Evangelism becomes a tool to get people to make a decision to go to Heaven when they die rather than calling them to come face to face with their own depravity in the face of God. 

 

There is a third group.  This group embraces the doctrine of total depravity.  They understand it.  They are okay with it.  But they let their own human tendencies toward sin dictate how they react to it.  They see it as a license to sin and not live holy lives.  After all if we are completely sinful then we are going to act according to our natures and so why fight it?  But the Bible says to pursue holiness and pursue sanctification without which no one will see God.  Not only do these people let their sinfulness cripple them in their pursuit of holiness they also see no reason to evangelize. 

 

If you are in any of these groups then you need to repent.  You need to seek the Lord to change your heart so that you can be in the fourth group. 

 

Group four is the biblical group.  Whatever the doctrine, if it comes from Scripture then they embrace it.  Total depravity is now a reason to glorify God not a doctrine to stumble over.  They rejoice in their own salvation because God chose to call them to life and unstop their ears and give sight to their eyes so that they could see the glory of God in the face of Christ.  Now this group treasures Christ above all things and longs to live lives of fruitful service and holiness to the Lord. 

 

Total depravity does not cripple their evangelism but rather sets it on fire.  After all, if man is utterly incapable of understanding the light that is shining and hearing the witnesses that God has sent into the world then we know that it will take an act of God to convert anyone and it just may be that we will get to witness the greatest miracle ever next to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ if we proclaim the Gospel to enough people.  The Lord is bound to save some.  Many that we come into contact with will be condemned by the Gospel that they hear but some will be gloriously converted and for all eternity we will bask together in the light of the Lord as we see the glory of the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. 

 

Group four follows the biblical example.  Go and tell the world and let God be God and He knows who are His and none that the Father gives the Son will perish and all that the Father gives the Son will come to Him and the Son will never cast them out.  They are secure in Christ. 

 

That is why we proclaim Christ.  He is the way, the truth, and the life and no man comes to the Father except through Him.  Have you come to the Father through Christ?  Have you looked upon Christ as the most glorious of all and turned from your sins and darkness and looked straight into the glorious light that blinded Saul of Tarsus?  Have you forsaken your life of darkness for the light of life?  Life is only in the Son.  Eternal life is only in Christ Jesus.  Have you come to Christ so that you may have life and have it more abundantly? 

 

If not, will you do so today?  Is the Lord calling you from sin to salvation?  Has He shown you your sin and darkness and your need for a Savior?  Christ died on Calvary’s cross for sinners.  He Himself said that He did not come to call the righteous to salvation but sinners to repentance.  Seek the Lord for repentance and faith today.  He is the wellspring of eternal life.  He is the only Savior.  Go to Him.

 

Let’s pray.

Christ: The Mediator of All Things 2

John 1:4-11

Grace Fellowship Church

October 4, 2009

Series 6 Sermon 3

 

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.  9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.

 

Introduction

There are some Christian truths, biblical truths, which we hold on dearly to.  One of those is that God is the ultimate giver and taker of life.  So as Christians we do not believe that certain human activity is acceptable.  Recently there was an article that stated that 90% of all babies thought to have Down Syndrome were being aborted each year.  Of course the abortion mills in our country and around the world are busy even on this the Lord’s Day. 

 

At the very first murder in human history the Lord told Cain that the blood of his brother Abel cried out from the ground to Him.  That was the first of an untold number of murders in our world.  The highest crime that you can commit in most societies is the taking of life.  Murder is the crime that holds the severest punishment in our society.  Why is that? Because even though evolutionary thought has invaded the modern mind we still within our God given consciences know that murder is evil and unnatural.  Even in the deep recesses of the mind of many atheists murder is a high crime and they know that it is a crime not only against the one murdered but also the One who gave life. 

 

What we have seen so far in our study of John is that the Word we are introduced to in verse 1 is the Lord Jesus Christ.  We are told that in the beginning when all things were created that He was already there.  He was in the beginning with God and John makes a startling statement that Jesus Christ was already God.  Then in verse 3 John takes his explanation even further and tells us that the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, is not only fully God but is the One through whom the universe was created.  As we saw last week the Lord Jesus is the mediator of creation.  And because He is the one through whom the cosmos was created He has ultimate authority over all His creation.  We saw that because He is the creator that all things are under His rule and His reign and all things that are created must bow the knee to Him as Lord over all to the glory of God the Father. 

 

PNP

Last week I told you that in verses 3 through 5 we would see two very important areas over which Christ is the mediator.  Last week we saw the first point which was that: 

 

1.  Christ is the mediator of all creation.

 

This morning I would like for us to see the second point which is:

2.  Christ is the mediator of all life including eternal life. 

 

Purpose

My purpose in preaching these verses this morning is to show you and instill in all of us that life is only found in Christ.  It is Christ alone who gives life, whether physical, spiritual, or eternal.  All life is mediated through Christ.  And my purpose is to reinforce the Christian truth that there is no life in any other.   

 

A mediator is one who stands between two or more parties.  The Lord Jesus stands between God the Father and humanity accomplishing the will of God the Father and praying for the people of God. 

 

PNP

So look with me at the second of these two very important areas over which Christ is the mediator. 

 

2.  Christ is the mediator of all life including eternal life. 

Look again with me at verse 4.

4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

Think about the context of verse 4.  Verse 3 told us that Jesus Christ is the mediator of creation.  We saw in the creation story last week that God the Father would speak and the Son would accomplish what the Father spoke.  We looked at the Greek word “dia” which is translated in verse 3 as “through” or if you have a KJV “by.”  This word indicates mediation.  But when we get to verse 4 there is a different word.  It sounds just like our English word. It is the first word of verse 4 and the Greek word and English word is “en.” 

 

So “in him” or in Christ was life.  The verb “was” is the same imperfect verb that is in verse 1 and it means that it was already there.  God the Father has bestowed life in His Son.  The Lord Jesus bears witness to this in John 5:26.  Listen as I read.

26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.

 

Christ Jesus is the fountain of life.  From Him springs all life.  Nothing in this world has life apart from Him.  I want you to listen to Genesis 2:7.

then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

 

The Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, has the power and authority to breathe life into an inanimate object.  Formed from the dust of the ground Adam was lifeless until the Lord Jesus breathed life into his nostrils.  It was then and then only that he became a living creature. 

 

So what we need to understand is that the Lord Jesus gives all things that are alive, life.  Life is no accident.  Life is not a matter of chance.  Life is a divine gift and that is why murder is wrong.  To take human life except for the cases of a just war or rightful execution by God ordained government is murder. Whether that person is an unborn child, a teenager, an adult, or a senior citizen, to take life is a sin against God since He is the Author and Giver of life.

 

But John is not just speaking of physical life.  The Lord Jesus is also the mediator of spiritual and eternal life.  Look at verse 4 again.

4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

 

I want you to realize the context and the steps that John is taking us through so you will understand what John is communicating to us in verse 4. 

In verse 1 and 2 we get a view of eternity.  When the beginning was the Word was already there.  He was with God and He was God.  Verse 3 moves us from eternity to a fixed point in time which was the creation.  All things were made through the Word and there was nothing created that was not mediated by the Lord Jesus Christ. 

 

Verse 4 takes us to the Garden of Eden before the Fall. Here is what is so important about that.  Even before the Fall of Mankind in the Garden of Eden the Lord Jesus was the wellspring of life.  Adam and Eve did not walk around apart from the grace of God in Christ.  Even in sinless perfection Adam and Eve needed the Lord Jesus Christ for life and for light.  Look at verse 4 again.

4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

 

Men in verse 4 should be understood as mankind or the human race.  The Lord Jesus Christ would have received glory for creation and for the sustaining of life had the fall not occurred. 

 

So let’s make sure we understand what John is saying in verse 4.  In the Garden of Eden when man was upright and without sin the Lord Jesus Christ was the fountain of life and He was the light of mankind.  He would have endued all men ever born with life and with light to understand all that the Lord would have them to understand.  And what we need to understand is that in Heaven when all things are reconciled the Lord Jesus will be our life and light again.  I want you to listen to Revelation 21:22-25 when John describes the New Jerusalem.

22 And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, 25 and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there.

So the Lord Jesus in His earthly ministry is going to accomplish what was set before Him in the beginning and that will be the reconciliation of all things in Him.  In Heaven we will have the Lamb, or the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ as our Temple and as the source of life and light.  And did you hear in verse 25 that there will be no darkness? 

 

John links light and life together in his Gospel account on several occasions.

John 8:12 says:

12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

 

Listen to John 9:5.

As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

 

Listen to John 12:44-46.

44 And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. 45 And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.

 

What we have in John and in other Scripture as well is the theme of light and darkness.  In Genesis 1 we read of the Lord saying, “Let there be light” to dispel the darkness that was upon the face of the deep.  And in Isaiah 9:2 we read the prophet telling us about the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

2  The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.

 

The Lord Jesus has come to bring life and light to the world.  He was in the Garden of Eden the very wellspring of life, physical, spiritual, and eternal.  But we have a major problem.  Look at verse 5.

5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

 

We need to pay attention to the verbs in verse 5 first.  Once you understand the verbs things start coming into perspective.  In verse 4 we have the imperfect verbs that are translated was.  They are not just past tense but speak of something that was already done.  In verse 1 the Word was not brought forth in the beginning, He was already there.  Likewise in verse 4 life was in the Word and was the light of men already.  He did not become that. Eternally life and light was in Him.  But in verse 5 we have a shift of verb usage. 

 

We move from an imperfect verb tense to a present tense in the first part of verse 5.  Look at it with me.

5 The light shines(present tense) in the darkness

It has shined and is still shining.  Look where it is shining.  This is a clue as to the timing of this verse.  The light shines (present tense- even now) in the darkness….

 

I told you earlier that we have a movement of time in these verses.  Verses 1 and 2 are before creation in eternity.  Verse 3 breaks through into time with the creation.  Verse 4 is the time of man’s uprightness or sinlessness.  But between verse 4 and verse 5 something happened.  What happened is sin and the Fall.  Sin enters the world and sin brings with it darkness.  And then we notice something else.  Remember that in the Garden Adam and Eve walked with the Lord in the cool of the day.  But as soon as sin entered the world the fellowship with the life and light was severed.  What we see in verse 5 is that the light has not stopped shining but something has happened to mankind.  Look at verse 5 again and pay particular attention to the first phrase.

5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

 

Did you hear the last phrase?  The ESV renders this as “the darkness has not overcome it.”  The KJV says “the darkness comprehended it not.”  The NASB says, “the darkness did not comprehend it” and adds a footnote that says “overpower.” The NKJV translates it the same as the NASB  but adds the footnote “overcome.”  The NIV translates it as “the darkness has not understood it.”   Let me give you some others.  “Did not perceive it.” “Apprehended it not.” “Has never put it out.”

In other words all of the Greek scholars who worked on these English translations could not come to a consensus vote on how to translate “katalaben.”  It is one of those words that could go either way.  It could be translated as overcome or it could be translated as understood or comprehended.  So what do I think? 

 

Let me tell you how I come to a conclusion on these matters.  Words have meaning in the context in which they are written or spoken.  The word “bear” has several different meanings.  And what comes to your mind may be different than someone else.  So you need a sentence or a context surrounding that word to know what I mean.  If I say, “Bear with one another in love” then you know the definition.  But if I say, “The bear was very hungry” you know what I mean.  So what I do is look around the context and see what is before and after. 

 

What is coming up are some very important phrases that tip off the meaning for us.  Look at verse 10 and 11. 

10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 

 

So why did the world not know him?  After all He is the Creator.  Why did the world not receive Him?  After all He is the life and the light of mankind.  It is because verse 5 says that the Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not understood it or comprehended it.  If the darkness understood the light was their life and eternal life then the darkness would have known Him and they would have received Him.  Listen to John 3:18-20.

18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.

 

So why did the darkness not comprehend the light?  Because of sin.  Let me lay out some verses for you that compare sin with darkness. 

Listen to Romans 13:11-12.

11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.

 

Listen to 2 Corinthians 6:14.

14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?

 

Contenders listen to Ephesians 6:12.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

 

Listen to Colossians 1:13.

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,

 

Listen to Ephesians 5:8.

for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.

 

Listen to 1 Peter 2:9.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

 

And finally 1 John 2:9.

Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.

 

So the darkness is sin that the light is shining into and the darkness has not comprehended it, it has not understood it.  It has not overcome it either but here in the context of verse 4 and verse 5 it is understood or comprehended.  And the reason that people have not understood or comprehended the light is because by nature people love darkness more than they love light. 

 

Then in verses 6-11 John calls forth three witnesses to the fact that the darkness has not comprehended the light that is shining.  I want you to notice these three witnesses.  The first is John the Baptist.  Look at verse 6.

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

Notice that John was sent from God.  What did God send him to do?  Look at verse 7.

7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.

He came to the darkness to declare that the Light, the Life, the Lord Jesus Christ was coming so that through John all might believe.  What was John’s message?  Look at verse 8 and 9.

8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.  9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

John the Baptist was the forerunner of the Lord Jesus Christ and he was making the paths straight and the darkness still has not comprehended the light. 

 

John is the first witness.  But there was a witness that was already there before John bearing testimony to the light and yet that was not enough.  Look at verse 10.

10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.

The Light was (imperfect tense just like verse 1- The Light was already…) in the world.  The darkness, the world did not recognize its own creator.  The witness of John is condemnation to those who do not believe and the witness of creation is condemnation to those who do not believe and then the final nail in the coffin for the judgment and condemnation of the darkness is in verse 11.  Look at the verse with me. 

11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.

 

Why did they not recognize Him?  Why did they not believe John?  Why did they not see Him in the creation?  Why did they not receive Him when He came into the world? 

 

The reason that people have not understood or comprehended the light is because by nature people love darkness more than they love light.  This is the doctrine of Total Depravity.  When sin entered the world through Adam there was a radical shift in the nature of man.  He went from a lover of God and righteousness to an enemy of God and a lover of sin. 

 

The Bible uses several adjectives to describe this condition and they all work together to give us great understanding of this doctrine. 

One of those adjectives is deaf, the inability to hear, and another is blind, the inability to see.  Listen to Isaiah 29:18.

18 In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see.

Listen to Isaiah 35:4-5.

Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God
will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped;

 

In Mark chapter 7 the Lord Jesus heals a deaf man.  The people were amazed that He could unstop the ears of a man who was deaf.  Listen to Mark 7:37.

And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

 

The first adjective is deaf and the second is blind.  Deafness describes the inability to hear spiritual truth and blindness is the inability to see spiritual truth and to see Christ as the greatest of all treasures. 

 

Listen to 2 Corinthians 4:4.

In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

 

Listen to 1 John 2:11.

But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

 

Then in John 9 the Lord Jesus heals the man born blind.  Listen to what the Lord Jesus said to the man after his sight was given to him.   This is John 9:39.

39 Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.”

 

The other adjective that is used besides deaf and blind is dead.  Ephesians 2:1 says:

And you were dead in your sins and trespasses.

 

And then it says that He has made you alive in Christ. 

 

Then we see the last sign in John is Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.  But before He raises Lazarus from the dead he says to Martha this in John 11:25-26.

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”  

Then the Lord called Lazarus from the tomb. 

 

This puts humanity all in the same boat.  We are all born deaf to spiritual truth, blind to the light of the world, and dead to the life that is found only in Christ.  You can scream at a deaf man and he will not hear you.  You can jump up and down and wave your arms at a blind man and he will not see you and you can literally shake a dead man and he will not notice you. 

 

So when someone is lost what we need to understand is that trying to explain the Gospel to them is impossible.  It is like trying to explain a sunset to a blind man.  It is like trying to explain a symphony to the deaf.  It is visions that they can not see and music they can not hear.

 

This is all of us.  Joe Tolin is dead.  He is blind.  He is deaf.  And to top it all off he was born this way.  He is without hope.  He is without spiritual life.  And so are all of you and so is all of humanity.  Dead! Blind! Deaf!  

 

So what has to happen?  What has to happen to any of us for us to ascertain spiritual truth?  The Lord must unplug our ears.  He must give sight to blind eyes and He must raise our dead spiritual corpses to life.  Otherwise we are in darkness.  Our natures only see sin as light and we see true light as darkness. 

 

Application

Let me tell you what a proper understanding of the sinfulness of man will do.  It will reinforce the biblical understanding that salvation is all of God.  If Christ is the mediator of all life including eternal life then that life belongs to Him and He can give as He sees fit.  That is what John 10:28 says. 

28 I give them eternal life,(Why?  Because it is Christ’s to give!) and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

 

Christ is the mediator of all life.  So who does He give this life to?  Does He give it to all people?  Let me let you hear the words of Christ on this.  Listen to John 6:37.

37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

 

Just like in creation, the Father speaks and the Son creates.  The Father gives a sinner to the Son and the Son gives eternal life to the sinner.  But is this limited in any way?  Again let’s hear the word of Christ.  Listen to John 6:44.

44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.

 

Now there are well intentioned people who want to deny what this says.  They say all kind of things to get around it.  They will argue for what the Scripture never argues for and that is an unaffected will.  But I simply ask you this question. 

 

Why did the Lord, who is the author of Scripture chose the adjectives like deaf, blind, and dead to describe fallen humanity?  If these are too strong for the actual spiritual condition of mankind then why not use the terms near sighted, hard of hearing, or disabled?  The languages of the Bible are far too complex to not use those terms. 

 

Many people think that the Biblical languages since they are ancient languages were just not sophisticated.  But when Martin Luther translated the Bible into German it forever changed and improved the German language.  When William Tyndale translated the Bible into English in the 1500’s English became far more complex.  The Bible changes languages. It improves them.  And the Bible uses analogies that cross cultural lines.  We know what deaf means.  We know what blind means.  We know what dead means. 

 

And whether we like it or not the Bible teaches that no one can be saved apart from a sovereign act of almighty God.  If God does not save a sinner then no sinner will ever be saved. 

 

There are basically four groups of people that hear this doctrine of total depravity or read it in the Scriptures. 

 

Group one will ignore this doctrine as well as many others.  They think that theology is divisive and unimportant and will shy away from proclaiming the same truths that the Lord Jesus proclaimed.  But let me warn you if you are in group 1.  Bad theology or no theology leads to bad living.  Bad theology or no theology wreaks havoc on the next generation.  Bad theology or no theology will offer no comfort in times of need and despair. 

There is a second group.  This group will simply deny what the Scripture says about sin and the affects of sin on humanity.  Let me tell you what this leads to.  We can see it all around us in so many churches.  We get man centered methodology for making converts and bringing them into the church.  Worship services become entertainment.  Pastors instead of preaching the timeless truths of the Bible engage in the whims of the current fads and typically they are about five years behind the world anyway.  Dramas are brought in.  Interpretive dance is brought in.  Sermons are replaced by conversations.  Hymns, Psalms, and spiritual songs conducive for worshipping our great God and Savior are replaced by meaningless songs that are easy to sing and have no message.  Prayer is replaced in the service because after all what person wants to sit through someone praying.  Evangelism becomes a tool to get people to make a decision to go to Heaven when they die rather than calling them to come face to face with their own depravity in the face of God. 

 

There is a third group.  This group embraces the doctrine of total depravity.  They understand it.  They are okay with it.  But they let their own human tendencies toward sin dictate how they react to it.  They see it as a license to sin and not live holy lives.  After all if we are completely sinful then we are going to act according to our natures and so why fight it?  But the Bible says to pursue holiness and pursue sanctification without which no one will see God.  Not only do these people let their sinfulness cripple them in their pursuit of holiness they also see no reason to evangelize. 

 

If you are in any of these groups then you need to repent.  You need to seek the Lord to change your heart so that you can be in the fourth group. 

 

Group four is the biblical group.  Whatever the doctrine, if it comes from Scripture then they embrace it.  Total depravity is now a reason to glorify God not a doctrine to stumble over.  They rejoice in their own salvation because God chose to call them to life and unstop their ears and give sight to their eyes so that they could see the glory of God in the face of Christ.  Now this group treasures Christ above all things and longs to live lives of fruitful service and holiness to the Lord. 

 

Total depravity does not cripple their evangelism but rather sets it on fire.  After all, if man is utterly incapable of understanding the light that is shining and hearing the witnesses that God has sent into the world then we know that it will take an act of God to convert anyone and it just may be that we will get to witness the greatest miracle ever next to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ if we proclaim the Gospel to enough people.  The Lord is bound to save some.  Many that we come into contact with will be condemned by the Gospel that they hear but some will be gloriously converted and for all eternity we will bask together in the light of the Lord as we see the glory of the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. 

 

Group four follows the biblical example.  Go and tell the world and let God be God and He knows who are His and none that the Father gives the Son will perish and all that the Father gives the Son will come to Him and the Son will never cast them out.  They are secure in Christ. 

 

That is why we proclaim Christ.  He is the way, the truth, and the life and no man comes to the Father except through Him.  Have you come to the Father through Christ?  Have you looked upon Christ as the most glorious of all and turned from your sins and darkness and looked straight into the glorious light that blinded Saul of Tarsus?  Have you forsaken your life of darkness for the light of life?  Life is only in the Son.  Eternal life is only in Christ Jesus.  Have you come to Christ so that you may have life and have it more abundantly? 

 

If not, will you do so today?  Is the Lord calling you from sin to salvation?  Has He shown you your sin and darkness and your need for a Savior?  Christ died on Calvary’s cross for sinners.  He Himself said that He did not come to call the righteous to salvation but sinners to repentance.  Seek the Lord for repentance and faith today.  He is the wellspring of eternal life.  He is the only Savior.  Go to Him.

 

Let’s pray.

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