Sermon – The Incarnation of Grace & Truth (John 1:1 – 1:18) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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John 2021

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The Book of John was authored by one of Jesus’ twelve disciples, John, who features in the gospel. John makes his mission for writing the book plain in 20:31; “that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” He details the many words and claims of Jesus, as well as the various responses from those listening; in either faith, amazement, caution or rejection. Listen as Cornerstone preachers unpack the narrative and invite us to reflect on our own response to Jesus.

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Sermon 3 of 58

The Incarnation of Grace & Truth

Tom Sweatman, John 1:1 - 1:18, 5 December 2021

Tom continues our series in John’s Gospel by taking a last look at John 1:1-18. In this passage we see the amazing claim about who Jesus is as the one through whom ‘grace and truth’ come, and what it means for those who want to follow him today.

John 1:1 - 1:18

1:1 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 was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

The true light, which gives light to 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. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

It will come up on the screen as well if you prefer to read it on the screen. We're gonna be again in chapter 1, which is exciting. We've had 2 2 sermons in this so far, and Tom's gonna be taking us through another part of this of this chapter now. So let's read this.

John chapter 1, starting at verse 1. In the beginning was the words, and the word was with god, and the word was god. He was with god in the beginning. Through him, all things were made. Without him, nothing was made that has been made.

In him was life and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from god whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light so that through him, all might believe. He himself was not the light.

He came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of gods.

Children born not of natural descent nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the 1 and only son who came from the father full of grace and truth. John testified concerning him. He cried out saying, this is the 1 I spoke about when I said, he who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.

Out of his fullness, we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No 1 has ever seen god but the 1 and only son who is himself god and is in the closest relationship with the father has made him known. Thanks for reading that for us Rory. My name is Tom.

I'm 1 of the ministers here, if you don't know me, and it's great to welcome you. Whether you're a member or just visiting this evening, and a special warm welcome to those who are joining online. I know lots of our members are sick and afflicted with various illnesses and are probably watching online. So we're thinking of you glad that you can join us here. And if you're a guest joining us, then you're you're welcome as well.

As Rory said, this is the third week that we are are spending in John chapter 1 versus 1 to 18. You can catch up with the previous sermons online, and I would highly recommend that you you do that. They've been fantastic. It's been great going through this first part of John together. And this is the last 1 though.

We're going to be spending in 1 to 18, and then after Christmas, we're gonna move on in our in our journey through John. So here we are. Should we pray together as we look at this? Lord God, there are many things which can prevent us and hinder us from listening to you, not least our own sin. We clouds out your words and which which stops us seeing things that are true, which stops us hearing things that we need to hear, which causes us to apply it first to other people and not to ourselves.

So many sinful attitudes and motives are lurking within us, and they can just block off your voice. And we pray that you would help us to put away those things and to listen clearly to the voice of your spirit as he speaks to us through this word. And father, we pray for those who who are ill and who are sick in different ways and perhaps their minds feel very foggy and it's hard to pay attention. We pray that you'd give them a special time of clarity in the next few as we look at this passage that they might hear from you. We pray for those here who might just be anxious about the week ahead and can think of so many things that they've got to do and don't feel like they've got the energy for it and are distracted by what's to come.

We pray that you give them a special clarity this evening so that they can listen to your voice. And, lord, I pray that you'd help me in in speaking. That my words would be pleasing to you that the motivations and the meditations of my heart would be pleasing to you and that lord, we would please just delight again in our in our savior. Who has revealed to us so plainly and so wonderfully in these words. And we ask it in Jesus' name.

Amen. Amen. Well, earlier this week, I was I was watching watching over the tele, and I stumbled across this program, which I hadn't seen before, but liked very much. Called amazing hotels, life beyond the lobby, and it was about, as you might guess, amazing hotels. All over the world in very different locations, wonderful locations, and they sent 2 presenters to go to these hotels to explore them and what made them so so amazing.

And this particular episode was set in Iceland. And 1 of the things that these presenters had to do was not only to explore the hotel, but to look at the kind of activities that are offered to tourists who go and stay there. And at this hotel in in Iceland and if you've been to Iceland, you might know activities like this. You can go snorkeling in a fisher between these 2 tectonic plates. It's quite an amazing thing.

You've got these 2 tectonic plates, massive enormous worlds. And in the middle, there's just a few hundred meters full of melt water where you can go snorkeling and splashing around between these 2 2 worlds. And it is quite an amazing thing. I do have a picture of it actually, although I've left my clicker on the table right there. So Alex, if you could click it up for me.

There it is. There's a picture of those some punters there, snorkeling between these 2 2 amazing tectonic plates. And it is quite Thank you very much. It is quite amazing because it's not it's not a big gap. But on 1 side, you've got the North American tectonic plate, and then on the other side, you've got the Eurasian plate, and you can just splash around between these 2 enormous worlds.

I mean, on 1 side, there is 29000000 square miles of desert and mountain and and valley and river. And on the other side is 26000000 square miles of desert and river. Who knows how much that weighs And here you are, as a tourist, just freely splashing around, no currents gently between these enormous enormous worlds. And bear with me just a moment. But in some ways, that is sort of where we are in this chapter.

In John 1, 1 to 18, we are in between these enormous realities, these enormous worlds, it's like we're splashing around and snorkeling between these 2 amazing realities. On the 1 side, you've got the eternal word of God. You've got creation. You've got words like light and life, father, son and holy spirit. And then on the other side, you've got the world creation, darkness, not recognizing, not understanding, not receiving, all that is on the other side.

So you've got these 2 huge realities in these verses. Now unlike the plates in Iceland, which are actually moving apart, These 2 plates have come together. That's what John is telling us. There has been a collision event. That's what he says in verse 14, that the word has been made flesh and he has come among us.

So this is now not like snorkeling, because that middle space is gone. The worlds have come together, and John is telling us there is a decision to make which world are we gonna belong to? Which reality are we gonna live in? Those are the options in verse 12. He said that either we can reject him or we can receive him, believe in him, and become a child of God.

Those are the only 2 realities left us. We can't splash around in the middle ground anymore. There's been a collision event. The word is among us, and we've got a choice to make. And in the last few weeks, Peter's been taking us through these through these through these words.

And last week, he was opening up to us at Jesus Christ as that eternal word who has come amongst us and is both light and life. And we were exploring those words together light and life has come into the darkness. And this week, we're going to think about Jesus as the turn a word again, but also as both grace and truth. Last week, light and life, this week, grace and truth We see that in verse 14, and it's repeated again in verse 17. For the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

The plates have come together The word has arrived, and with him and in him is grace and truth. That's what the verse says. And there's a way of unpacking that verse, and we're just really going to look at verse 17 this evening. We're going to look at it in 3 contrasts. It's a verse full of contrasts.

You've got Moses and Jesus Christ. You've got that which was given and that which came. And you've got the law and grace and truth. It's a verse of contrasts. And so we're just going to take those as our 3 points this evening, Moses and Jesus Christ, that which was given and that which came, and the law and grace and truth.

The first 2 are a bit shorter. The third is a little bit longer, and hopefully these are all gonna help us to understand this wonderful, this wonderful verse. So first point then, if I can turn this on, is Moses and Jesus Christ. 1 author, Jackal Paul Blackham in his commentary, says this about John's gospel. This chapter of John or this chapter bombards us with the identity of Jesus.

Different witnesses are called who describe the person we are about to study. The first witness seems to be none other than the mighty prophet Moses. And if you heard the first sermon a few weeks ago, you'll remember that when John wrote this gospel, He clearly had Genesis 1 open in front of him. Genesis 1, written by Moses, most likely, and John 1, we've knit these same ideas together. The beginning.

God, creation, word, spirit, light, life, darkness. There are these huge themes in both actors that are interacting with 1 another with 1 very clear take home message, that the eternal God, who is 1, and yet father, son and holy spirit creates through his word. And so in a sense, Moses, with those very first words of scripture, is the first witness to the person that John is talking about. He himself is not that person, but he drives us to that person. He is already revealing in the very first words of scripture that God creates through his eternal word in the power of his spirit.

And John 1 puts flesh and bone and nails and hair on all of those ideas. That's Jesus that he was foreshadowing and driving us towards. But there's another way that Moses also points us to Jesus. Have a look at this little promise tucked away in the old testament. This is deuteronomy, chapter 18, and Moses is saying to the people of God, the nations you will dispossess.

Listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the Lord your God has not permitted you to do so, the Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites, you must listen to Him. And so Moses is saying to God's people, look, these nations, you will dispossess, they seek guidance in all kinds of weird places. They do weird stuff in order to get guidance. You are not to be like them.

You are list you are to listen to God's prophet who speaks intelligible words from the living God, you are to listen to him. The only problem was, that at the end of deuteronomy, we read this. This is deuteronomy 34. Now, Joshua, the son of nun, was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites listened to him and did what the Lord had commanded Moses.

But then it says, since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. In other words, at the close of Moses's writings, they were still waiting, and they would go on waiting for this profit that Moses promised. And that's because this promise was about more than a speaker of the word. It was about the word himself. Moses was describing 1 who was both like him and very different from him.

Moses was just a mouthpiece, but he spoke of a prophet to come who would be the word in flesh to the people. And Moses clearly knew that. I mean, look what we're told in the second half of this chapter. This is John 1 45. This is an amazing verse just for putting the bible together.

This is Philip, so excited. Philip found Nathaniel and told him, we have found the 1 Moses wrote about in the law. And about whom the prophets also wrote, and who was that? Jesus of Nazareth the son of Joseph. So did Moses know everything that there was to know about Jesus?

Don't think so. But did he know more than we realize, I think he did. In his creation story and in his own ministry and in his future promise, Moses wrote about Jesus of Nazareth. That's what the Bible says. Moses was writing about Jesus of Nazareth.

Along with every other prophet, he had this expectation that the word of Genesis won, and the prophet who was to come would come into this world himself. That's what we've just been singing in that song, isn't it? Come. It's this great call of the old testament. Come.

Come key of David. Come long awaited 1. Come Emmanuel. That's how the whole law and the prophets were thinking. Come Come.

Word made flesh. Come great profit. And so the first contrast, Jesus was a prophet like Moses, that's true, but he was altogether different. He was not just a mouthpiece. He was the incarnation of the word.

And what Philip says to Nathaniel is just simply huge, isn't it? This is the 1 that Moses wrote about in the law. Jesus and Nazareth. Second contrast, which is just another way of saying the same thing, really, that which was given and that which came Have a look at the way those 2 different words are used. That which was given, that which came in verse 17.

For the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. Now, if you remember back in the book of Exodus when the 10 commandments were given to the Israelites, the people were simply terrified. As they looked at the mountain in smoke, and they saw the lightning, and they heard the thunder, They knew that they couldn't go near. They couldn't approach themselves. They needed someone to go instead of them.

And that's what they say to Moses. Speak to us yourself, Moses, and we will listen, but do not have God speak to us or we will die. We cannot approach that place. We need someone to go instead of us. We need you to go instead of us.

And that's what he does. And he goes into the presence of God, and God gives the law to the people through Moses. It's given through him. That's how John describes it. Those are the words that he uses.

It doesn't come directly to them. It is given through Moses. But grace and truth, he says, came through Jesus Christ. It wasn't given through him. He was not just like a a pipe through which it flowed.

He it came through him in him. He was that word, that news, that grace, that truth, he wasn't in himself. Look at Hebrews 1. I can't remember if I put this. I did.

Hebrews 1. And just see the same contrasts here that we see in John. In the past, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways. But in these last days, he has spoken to us by his son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also, he made the universe. I love that little by the way.

At the end of verse too, I've always loved that. And and and through whom also he made the universe, you know, small claim. Amazing, isn't it? And this is what the author of Hebrews is saying, and it's so similar to John. God made the universe through the Lord Jesus Christ, John 1 1 2 3.

He made the universe through the Lord Jesus Christ in his resurrection he was appointed as heir of all things, and he is the fulness of God's word to us. He is not just the latest in a long line of prophets, a word given. He is the full and the final revelation of God, a word that came. That's who Jesus is. And therefore, the application of both of these 2 contrasts is that we must listen to him.

And we've seen that in past few weeks as well. Pete put it so well last week and it does no harm to underline it. You you wanna know what to do in any area. You wanna know what God said. About any and every issue, we must listen to the fulness of God's revelation in Jesus Christ.

Not in a mystical sense. You know, we're trying to work out what career would be right for us, and we close our eyes, flick through the gospels, land on a page, read the first words, and take our guidance in that way. But actually, we must bring ourselves under the authority And the purposes, we must get to know the teachings and the priorities of Jesus Christ for he is God's word to us. We must get to know him, submit to his authority, saturate ourselves in who he is and what he says, because he is God's word to us. He is the incarnate word of God among us, and we must listen to him.

You know, we all look for guidance in different places. I'm sure she won't mind me. Saying that Safron has been on this amazing dance academy thing. I don't know what it is really. Only a few select people get chosen for it, but the last 3 weekends, that's where she's been on this dance course.

And it was fascinating talking to her. This week about the other students on the course, and I I hope she wouldn't mind me saying. But it's just interesting to hear how people of student and recent graduate age think about guidance these days, some of them. And 1 of the big things now seems to be working out what element you are. You know, are you earth, water, air or fire.

You know, working out which element you most connect with, combining that with the horoscope that you are and and sort of taking your guidance from that. And there does seem to be a resurgence amongst young people in that sort of new age mysticism and her spiritualism, and that sort of stuff is a way of finding guidance. And it's bizarre, really, because I took the quiz myself to find out which which element I was, if you're interested. And, you know, it was all of 10 questions to find out what element I was. And, you know, you combine it with your horoscope and then but then I did it again and I came out of something else.

So it's a strange way, isn't it to seek guidance? And that was on the BBC website. If you want to do that quiz, So it's just an amazing way, an amazing thing with which to orientate your life by, isn't it? And to, you know, what element I am. You know, look, John is saying no.

You know, go to Christ. He is God's word He's God's word to us. He is the word of our creator. That's who we were made to listen to. That's who has come to live amongst us.

You know, the apostles tell us that Christ is the image of the invisible God, that the fulness of the deity lives within him, that as we look at Jesus, we see all that God is and all that he is for us, and that we must listen to him. We must listen to him. So those are the first 2 contrasts. Verse 17, Moses and Jesus, and then very much related, that which was given the law and that which came our lord Jesus Christ. And then thirdly, lastly, a little bit longer, grace and truth.

1 of the things that we used to do on campus several years ago, we haven't done it for some time, is we used to go and talk to the students and to see how familiar they were with the 10 commandments. And that was when we were doing an evangelistic series based around the 10 commandments. And we would ask a number of questions, you know, do do you have you heard of the 10 commandments? Do you know where you would find them? Do you know who wrote them?

Can you name any of them? And and so we would just ask those those questions, and then we would go through some of the 10 commandments with them and ask, do you think this is the sort of law which would be good to live by? Today. Yeah. It seems to be pretty good.

And and it was just amazing talking talking with people. And 1 of the things we would also ask Do you think you've broken any of these commandments? And I remember having a chat a chat with 1 guy about about the commandment you shall not steal. And I said to him, have you ever you know, have you it says you shall not steal. I think we would agree it's a good law to live by.

Have you ever stolen anything? He said, no. I've never Never never never stolen anything. And I said, well, nothing. Nothing at all.

No. I cannot remember ever stealing anything. In my nothing at all is short. Not from the penny shop when you were younger or not, nothing at all. He said, no, I don't think I have.

And I said to him, have you ever downloaded anything that didn't belong to you? And he said, yeah, everyone's on that. I mean, everyone's done that. That doesn't count. You know, that's its own separate thing.

That's like an eleventh commandment, isn't it? You know, I have broken that 1. And it's just interesting going going through with people. And of course, that is partly what the law does, doesn't it? It reveals that we are, in fact, sinners.

It reveals that we have broken God's law. Sometimes it needs a bit of unpacking, but once we get it, it reveals that we have fallen short of God's standard. Partly the purpose of it. In Romans 3 verse 20, Paul puts it very plainly for us. He says no 1 will be declared righteous in God's sight by works of the law, rather, through the law, we become conscious of sin.

Through the law, we become conscious of our sin. And he knew that himself. You know, he wasn't just loading that on other people. Look, what he says in Romans 7 verse 7. He says, I would not have known what sin was, had it not been for the law.

For I would not have known what coveting really was. If the law had not said, you shall not covet. Now there's loads of stuff there, but 1 of the things that he's saying is that the law shows us what's in our hearts. It gives a name and a label to what is naturally going on inside us. It gives a label that describes it what we naturally are by nature.

And then the law shows us that for that sin, because of that sin, things like stealing and coveting, we are under God's condemnation. So that's what the law does, shows us our sin and shows us that because we're sinners, we deserve God's condemnation. Now just to be clear, it's not that the law then had nothing to do with grace. That would be an error that we could fall into to say that the opposite of law is grace is misguided. Look at what John says in verse 16, this is the verse before the 1 we're focusing on tonight.

He says out of his fullness, we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 4, the law was given through Moses. So in John's mind, the law was still a gift of grace. It was to do with grace. And if you know the story, it it really was.

I mean, the Israelites had been saved from Egypt by free sovereign grace, and then God gave them the law. Wasn't the other way around, he didn't give them the law and say, do this, and then I'll redeem you. He redeemed them by free grace, and then he gave them the law as part of that grace. It's wonderful, wasn't it? Because unlike the nations around them, they didn't have to guess what God was like, and how they should live.

They didn't have to consult their elements, or their horoscopes, or the tea leaves, or the intestines of a sheep, or any other strange way that people would have tried to work out what God wanted in the old testament. They knew God had told them. This is what I'm like. This is what I love This is what I hate. This is what's best for you.

That's amazing grace, isn't it? To be given a law and to not have to guess. But fundamentally, that's what it did. There's nothing wrong with the law. It just holds a mirror up to our own hearts.

And shows us what we're like. John Bunyon in his in his great book the pilgrims Progress, which if you haven't read, you really must as a matter of urgency. This Christmas, it would be a great Christmas read. It's it's the story of a a man called Christian who goes from this world, to that which is to come, from this world, and he's journeying towards heaven. And on the way, he faces many hardships and meets many different people.

And 1 of the people he meets is a man called faithful. And he's speaking to this man faithful, and faithful is telling Christian about the time that he nearly died. Okay? So he's recounting this, you know, this is the time that faithful nearly died. And I wanna read this to you.

The language is a bit old, but I've made it big, and I've tried to read it as well as I can. I I did try to find a simpler English 1, but I couldn't. And the reason I think this illustration is good is because it just gives such color. To what we're looking at and brings out the contrast that is here for us in verse 17. So here is faithful, and he's talking about his time on a hill That was difficult with temptations.

It was called hill difficulty because it was a difficult place for for pilgrims to go. And this is this is the start of it. Now, this is faithful talking. Now, when I had got about halfway up, I looked behind, and saw 1 coming after me swift as the wind. So we overtook me just about the place where the settle stands, which was a place where they could rest.

Christian says, just there, said Christian, did I sit down to rest me? But being overcome with sleep, I there lost this roll out of my bosom, and he's talking about a roll which was the sign and the seal of his salvation not to be lost. And he lost it for a time. Faithful. But good brother hear me out.

He's been interrupted. You know, they're not interested in your story. I'm telling you my story. But good brother hear me out. So soon as the man overtook me, he was but a word and a blow.

For down, he knocked me and laid me for dead. But when I was a little come to myself again, I asked him, wherefore he served me. So why are you treating me like this? He said, because of my secret inclining to Adam the first. And with that, he struck me another deadly blow on the breast.

And beat me down backwards, so I lay at his foot as dead as before. So, when I came to myself again, I cried in mercy, but he said, I know not how to show mercy. And with that, he knocked me down again. He had doubtless made an end of me But that 1 came by and bid him forebear, bid him to stop. Christian, who was that that bid him forebear?

I did not know him at first. But as he went by, I perceived the holes in his hands and in his sight And then I concluded that he was our lord. So I went up the hill. Christian says, hold on. Back to that other man.

You know, that that man that overtook you was Moses. He spares none, neither does he know how to show mercy to those that transgress his law. Now, there's a number of surprising things about that, I think. Firstly, what is up with Moses? And why is he so violent?

You know, he refuses to show mercy, doesn't even know how to show mercy and beats faithful pilgrims to a poll. What is that about? Because actually, when you read the old testament, we're told that he was the most humble man who ever lived, he was the most humble and gentle man in the old testament. And here he is knocking 6 bells out of people, you know, who are trying to But the point is here, and this is what Bundy's trying to tell us, that Moses stands for the law. And it's the law which beats on faithful.

It's the law which shows him what he is and who he is. The law reveals to him. Faithful. You are a law breaker. You are drawn back to your old nature.

You think you can climb this hill by yourself. You think you can run this race alone. You're gonna trust in yourself. You're condemned. You're condemned faithful if you do that.

That's what the law does. Paul in 2 Corinthians 3 describes the law as something engraved in letters on stone. A ministry that brings death. He describes something engraved With letters on stone, a ministry that brings death. Again, it's not the law's fault.

It just holds a mirror up to us. It reveals what we are like that we are sinners that we are condemned, though it beats down on us with the wrath of God and tells us that no 1 will be saved. By works of the law. We need something else. We need something else.

We need we need a contrast. John Bunyon apparently said this, although some people dispute it, although, you know, almost certainly said it. Oh, it's gone. It's that's the end of the PowerPoint. That's a shame.

That's weird. How many half fits on there? Let me read it to you. He says, run John, run the law commands. But gives us neither feet nor hands.

Far better news the gospel brings. It bids us fly and gives us wings. Run, John, run the law commands, but gives us neither feet nor hands. It reveals God's perfect righteousness to it. And says you must obey.

But it does not produce the power to obey. It only shows us that we're condemned, and so far better use the gospel bring It bids us fly. Come fly. Come be saved. And gives us wings.

Gives us power to keep the law. Which is then written on our hearts. Or as John puts it here, the law was given through Moses. Grace and truth. Came through Jesus Christ.

Praise God for that contrast. Praise God that there's a second half to that sentence. In Romans 3, 21, Paul says this, but now apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been made known to which the law and the prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ. To all who was who will believe.

See, it's not like the law was plan a, And God looked at it, and he thought, crumbs, that's not working very well. You know, we need to ditch that and do something else. Paul tells us that the law was always pointing beyond itself. The law and the prophets were testifying to a different kind of righteousness. They were showing us our sin, but saying, and now you need to believe on the Savior who is to come, because he will make you righteous through faith.

The law was driving us into the arms of Christ, who is full of grace for law breakers like us. See, instead of coming and just telling us again that we are broken, Jesus comes and he says, yes, you are, more than you even know. But I have come to redeem you from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for you. I have come for a cross. So that I can take all your law breaking upon myself the weight of it, and the shame of it, and the guilt of it.

And to rise again so that all who trust in me will be made right with God, not through the works of the law, but through that to which the law was pointing. Christ who has come to be our Savior. And that's what Jesus says to us. He says, look, if you will see that, and if you will repent of your sin, Not only will I save you, I'll give you the right to become a child of God. Then I'll write the law upon your heart and I will give you the power to walk in it.

Far better news the gospel brings. It bids us fly and it gives us wings. Or as Moses says, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ for law breakers. And so how do we respond to these things? Well, if you're not a if you're not Christian here, if you're here and you wouldn't yet call yourself a believer.

You haven't trusted Jesus as your Lord, then you like all of us. Need to feel the weight of the law. We need to sit in the first half of verse 17. We need to sit there for a moment and think about where we stand before a Holy righteous God. You see, the Bible says, the opposite of what our world says about the human condition.

This is a message you are likely to hear in very few other places. But god loves us enough to be honest. And he puts the perfect demands of the law next to our hearts, and it reveals us to be God ignoring, god rejecting, adulterous, thieving, lying, coveting rebels. People who without a Savior deserve to live under the condemnation of God forever. Richiously.

It's what the law tells us. We need to sit in the first half of this verse, measure ourselves against the law of God, and ask that we would feel a right conviction under it, to know ourselves to be what we are before the Holy God. But then to look at what John says, to say yes. And for people like you, there is grace. The gospel is not just a word about grace.

It is the incarnation of grace. It's the arrival of grace into the world. It is grace with skin and nails and hands that hold and feet that walk, it is a grace that we can lay hold of. The Lord Jesus Christ, who loves you and who died and rose for you, and in his arms is enough grace and truth to swallow all of your sins forever. And if you come to him, he'd love to do that.

It's why he came into the world. The 1 thing that we cannot do is swim in the middle because the space is gone and the worlds have collided and the plates have come together. And so either we reject or we receive and we become children of God. If you're not a Christian tonight, would be as good a time as any to come to Jesus. Bring your sin to him.

There's grace and truth in his arms, and it'll make you a child of God even tonight. And at the end, we'll have a little prayer to give you an opportunity to do that. But if you are a Christian, 2 things I think to take away. I hope this has been helpful just in understanding a bit about the relationship between the law and the gospel. That's the first thing.

Secondly, there's 3 things actually. I said, 2, there's 3. I hope you could I hope you can see and you can sense that Jesus doesn't just give us you know, a 1 off delivery of grace and truth at the beginning, you know, when we start. It's not like delivery, you ring them up, He brings around nice package of grace and truth. There you go.

You have it for the night, and then that's it. But rather that this is what he is for you, always. This is who he is. When we wake up feeling weak tomorrow morning, There is grace and truth in Christ for us. When we go to bed tonight, very aware of the sins and failures of the day.

There is grace this evening for the sins and failures of today in Jesus' arms. When we feel fed up with a steady diet of lies, harmful lies in our own ears, in our family's ears, there is refreshing truth to be found in Jesus. When we're fed up of believing those lies ourselves, we can repent and refresh ourselves in the truth of Jesus. When we feel hurt by betrayal and failed relationships, there is a rock of truthfulness in Jesus. There is truth There is firmness, solidness, assurance, truthfulness in his name, and he is these things for his people, day after day after day after day.

You see, in some ways, it is possible to separate Moses and the law. They are different things. But you cannot separate grace from Jesus. That's just just who he is. He's grace and truth.

And lastly, I hope you feel this to be a transformative grace, the sort of grace that makes a difference in our lives. You see, as I said earlier, 1 error would be to say there was nothing gracious about the law Another would be to say that because Jesus is gracious, he isn't concerned about how we live. Because the very same John who wrote this gospel also wrote in 1 John 2. Now, by this, we know that we know him if we keep his commandments. By this, we know that we know him.

If we keep his commandments, the grace that is found in Jesus is a changing grace. It's the sort of grace which teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live upright and pleasing lives that honor him is transformative The truth in Jesus is the sort of truth which changes us. It makes us want to banish lies and live lives that are true. True to him, true to his way of thinking, truthful lives. It's all the sort of grace and truth which makes a difference.

And so by all means, As Christians, it's revel in it, delight in it, enjoy it. He is these things for us all the time, but let's allow it to change us so that we can walk in the law of Christ. The law of love for his glory. Okay. We're gonna pray.

I did have a prayer that was gonna come up on the screen, but I think the rest of my PowerPoint is is gone. So what I'll do is I'll lead just in a short prayer. And if you're not a believer and and yet you do feel this evening that before a Holy God, you stand guilty. And condemned. Then tonight, you can come and bring your sins to him and and ask him to become a child a child of God to receive him.

As lord. And for those who already know him, let's just give thanks for this wonderful grace and truth, who is our Savior. Let's pray. I'll give you a moment and perhaps just to pray and you can just use the quiet to reflect on the things that we've read and heard. You can say your own prayers to the lord and then in a minute or 2 hours.

Have leaders. Heavenly father, we do thank you that when your eternal son took flesh became a man came to dwell amongst us that that was the dawning and the arrival of of the fulness of grace and truth. That as we look upon Jesus Christ and we gaze at his face through the scriptures, we see your heart of love reflected in him. And, lord, we thank you that no matter what we've done and lord, we are all here in this room guilty of breaking your most holy and perfect law in more ways than we even know that we can bring our sins to you and know that there is grace and truth in the arms of Jesus. We thank you that those same arms were stretched out on the cross for us that the perfect son shed his blood that he became a curse for us to redeem us from the curse and the punishment of the law and that all who call on his name will be saved.

And Lord, we thank you for that wonderful gospel hope. We pray that you would forgive us for our law breaking lord, we read about your perfect commandments and we understand them on a on a surface level, but the more we think about them and reflect on them, the more guilty we find ourselves to be, that we are like the arrow which which has fallen far short of the target. That we have fallen short of your glory. And again, we thank you that you have come and that Jesus you perfectly fulfilled the law you were never, for 1 moment, either in thought or word or deed guilty of law breaking. And yet again, you became that curse for us and we thank you.

Father we pray for any here this evening, who may not know the grace and truth that is in Jesus. We ask that you would graciously help them to see that splashing around between these 2 worlds is no longer an option. That we must either consider you and reject you or come to you and become a child of God. And lord we pray that that wonderful miracle might happen amongst us even this evening or even at home to those who are watching. And for those of us who know you, we pray that you would forgive us for when we tire of your graciousness, we thank you that there is always grace and mercy for the things that we face and you you are these things for us, Jesus, over and over again all the day long.

And we pray that we would keep coming to you. And we pray that the more we understand this grace, the more that it would transform us. That we would live lives that are gracious and truthful. We would live lives that flow from the savior that we've come to know. And we ask all of these things in his name.

Armen. Armen.

Preached by Tom Sweatman
Tom Sweatman photo

Tom is an Assistant Pastor at Cornerstone and lives in Kingston with his wife Laura and their two children.

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