The Lord brought me forth as the first of His works.
I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began.
When there were no oceans, I was given birth, when these were no springs abounding with water.
Before the mountains were set in space, before the hills, I was given birth.
Before He made the earth or its fields or any of the dust of the earth.
I was there when He set the heavens in place, when He marked out the horizon on the face of the deep.
When He established the clouds above, and fixed securely the fountains of the deep.
When He gave the sea its boundary, so the waters would not overstep His command, and when He marked out the foundations of the earth.
Then I was the craftsman at His side, I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in His presence.
Rejoicing in His whole world and delighting in mankind.
Introductory matter for the subject, “Life’s Greatest Person”
He is incomparable – incomprehensible – inexplicable – immeasurable – indescribable
There are seven peak events in the Lord’s life in the Synoptic Gospels.
The supernatural birth.
His baptism – virgin birth – virtuous life
His temptation – vicarious death – victorious
His transfiguration – resurrection – glorious ascension
His crucifixion – His present advocacy
His resurrection – His coming again
In all of these events we understand “what” Christ is rather than “who” He is.
John’s Gospel supplies the evidence of “Who He is.”
The synoptics are a presentation of Jesus
John is an interpretation.
The synoptics show us Jesus outwardly.
John interprets Him inwardly
Matthew, Mark and Luke emphasis His human aspects, as King-man-servant
John unveils the Divine One
Matthew and Luke begin with human genealogy and a fulfillment of Jewish prophecy.
John’s Gospel begins with a direct revelation of that which is eternal.
In verse one
The Lord bursts into full revelation in a blaze of glory and mystery. Quote “In the beginning was the Word.”
Ecco Deus. “Behold your God.” “The Word was God.”
In this phrase we are home back into the infinite and unfathomable reaches of the immeasurable.
The mystery deepens and becomes impossible to comprehend or explain when we read in v. 14, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”
This is John’s description of the incarnation.
Paul gives us a little more insight into this immeasurable truth.
Who existing in the form of God counted not the being on equality with God a prize to be snatched, and held for His own enrichment but emptied Himself of His outward glory, taking the form of a servant, made in the likeness of men.
“The Word became flesh.” Ecco Homo-Behold the man. See over Birth.
At this point we are lost in holy wonder when we consider, that perfect man, and perfect God, dwelt together in this Hypostatic union.
The ground on which we stand is holy – we should take our shoes off and worship like Thomas, before Life’s Greatest Person, and say, “My Lord and my God.”
“The Word became flesh” – See v. 10-13
This statement is overwhelming. Our Lord came out of the infinite distances into finite nearness. From the unknowable, to the knowable. A child is born – a Son is given.
“My pail I’m often dropping
Deep down into this well,
I never touched the bottom.
However deep it fell;
And though I keep on dipping
By study, faith and prayer,
I have no power to measure
The living waters there.”
“Great is the mystery of godliness, God has manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the nations, Believed on in the world, received up into glory.”
Thou art the everlasting Word,
The Fathers only Son,
God manifestly seen and heard,
And heaven’s beloved One.
In the most perfectly expressed,
The Father’s glory shine,
Of the full Deity, possessed,
True image of the Infinite,
Whose essence is concealed;
Brightness of uncreated light,
The heart of God revealed.
Worth O Lamb of God, ask Thou,
That every knee to Thee should bow!
Names and offices of the Lord in Matt 12
Son of man – Lord of the Sabbath – My servant – My Beloved – Son of David – Greater than the temple – Jonah – Solomon.
Life’s greatest Person – Jesus Christ. John 1:1-5
Ecco Homo. Ecco Deos. Hypostatic union.
Jesus Christ as Eternal God
He is God. John 1:1. He is the Son – the Life and the Light.
He possesses all the attributes of God some of them are Self existence – Immutability – Truth – Love – Holiness – Eternal – Omnipresent – Omniscient – Omnipotent.
The N. T. writers are eloquent in their attestations of the Deity of the Lord.
John 20:28 – John records Thomas as saying “My Lord and my God.”
Rom 9:5 – Paul says that He is “God over all blessed forever.”
Titus 2:13 – “Looking for the blessed hoe and glorious appearing of our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
The O. T. collaborates with the N. T. in advancing the thought of the Lord’s preincarnate and eternal existence. Isaiah – Child born – son given.
Describe some of the Theophanies. The man who wrestled with Jacob. Hos 12:1 Night with God.
Isaiah baffles our intellect by describing the immensity and limitless power of God. Chapter 40. Describe Christ in Rev.
He holds the oceans in His hands.
He measures the heavens with His ruler.
He knows the weight of the earth.
The peoples of the world are but a drop in the bucket or dust on the scales.
The nations of the world are as nothing to Him – in His eyes they are less than nothing.
This same One sits above the earth sphere and the people below seem to Him like grasshoppers.
David also described the grandeur and majesty of God where he said “The Lord is great and greatly to be praised. He is a great God, and a great King over all the earth.”
Luke says, “He shall be great”. Chapter 1:32-33.
He shall be called the Son of the Highest.
God should give Him the throne of His father David
He shall reign over Israel forever.
Of His kingdom there shall be no end. “Hegemony”
Quote at this point “The incomparable of S. Ch 5
1 Peter 2:22. 2 Cor
1. His life- Sinless “He did no sin”. He knew, etc. “In Him was no sin.” The opened heart.
During His life His contemporaries were dwarfed by the magnificence of His (?). He was perplexing – baffling – and inexplicable life. An enigma.
His critics readily conceded “Never a man spoke like this Man” John 7:46.
Others said, “We have seen strange things today.” Luke 5:26
“He does all things well” Mark 7:37 Matt 16:16
Demons said “Thou art the Holy One of God” “Peter’s description”.
The faces have holes – “Show me a penny” – “Give me a drink”
For One so unpretentious He made startling claims for Himself.
“A greater than Jonah is here.” “A greater than Solomon is here.” Matt 12:41-42
I and My Father are one.” “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.”
He towered above His fellows when He dealt with the adulterous woman. John 8.
He superceded the boundaries of prejudice when He went home with Zacchaeus. Luke 19
He shattered the powers of forces of hell when He raised Lazarus from the dead. John 11
“I am the resurrection and the life.”
2. His death was unique. “Crucify Him.”
It was not the mode of His death, disgraceful, despicable and demeaning, but His actual death that was unique.
His death affected earth, heaven and hell. Sinless – death had no claim on Him.
On earth there was an earthquake. It seemed that nature convulsed when Christ died. The very rocks were split.
There was darkness at noon day. Meridian noon day.
The veil of the Temple was split from top to bottom. Heb 10:19-20
Graves were opened at the death of the Lord but the dead bodies were not raised until after the Lord’s resurrection. V. 53.
The value of Christ’s death is inestimable. Christ’s death has affected more people than any other. Matt 27.
In the old economy immense fortunes were spent to placate God
Countless numbers of animals were slain.
Rivers of animal blood flowed to gain God’s favor, but in vain.
Heb 10:4 “It is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
Heb 10:12 But this man after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God”
God accepted Christ’s sacrifice as the price He demanded for sin. Blessed Jesus, Wondrous Cross, etc. 1 Peter 1:18-19.
3. “His Burial”
Christ’s resurrection made Him conqueror over death, hell, sin, and the grave.
No other man in the history of mankind had ever “destroyed the devil who had the power of death.” Heb 2:14. The bruised heel and head. See only Rev 1:18.
Then after 40 days of manifestation He ascended to God’s right hand. “Far above all principality and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.” Eph 1:20-21. See also Phil 2 and Heb 5.
4. This unique person, this greatest of all person will return. First to rapture His Church – then to judge the nations and establish His Kingdom.
And finally will judge the lost at the Great White Throne.
Life’s greatest Person – the Lord Jesus Christ is “the great God and Savior”.
He is able to save to the uttermost, etc. The incorrigible - Heb 7:25
Whosoever calleth on His name, shall be saved. Acts 2:21
There is no other name, given among men whereby we can be saved - Acts 4;12
Quote John 1:11-13
Life’s Greatest Person – Jesus Christ
Life’s Greatest Offer – Eternal Life
These verses contain one of the most important prophetic portions in the Scriptures.
They teach the imminent and impending coming of the Lord for His blood-bought Church.
The Coming of the Lord for His Church is the next event on the agenda of God’s programs.
Notice how important the truth of the Coming of the Lord was to Paul, he mentioned it in every chapter in 1st and 2nd Thessalonians.
A subject that is mentioned 318 times in the 260 chapters of the N. T. or once in every 25 verses, surely demands our attention.
One thousand years before His birth Jesus said, “Lo, I come.” Psalm 40:7 He kept that promise.
Near the end of His life, He said, “O Father, I come to Thee. He kept that promise. John 17:11. All heaven welcomed Him home. Psalm 24.
As He was about to leave His own He said, “If I go I will come again. John 14:3.
He has gone … and He has promised, “If I go I will come again.” He is coming … soon.
In the well-known type, Isaac was last seen on the way to the altar. Gen 22:6.
The next mention of him is when he came to “meet his Bride.” Gen 14:62-65.
The problem at Thessalonica was that Paul had taught the young church about the imminence of the Lord’s coming.
He said, that the Lord could come in his life-time, but never said that He would come.
Some misinterpreted his teaching and believed that the Lord was coming in their lifetime and stopped working.
The Lord did not come … some of the saints had died… had they missed the RAPTURE?
To allay their fears, Paul now describes the order of events of the time of the Lord’s coming.
“I do not want you to be uninformed about those who have fallen asleep in Jesus, so that you may not grieve for them in the same way as those who have no hope, (beyond the grave).
We are introduced to a new concept here.
Believers who have passed on are sleeping. Three times.
Our word “cemetery” means “sleeping place.”
Paul is speaking of the body sleeping. Not the soul.
There is a similarity between sleep and death. A person sleeping does not cease to exist.
A believer’s body, which is sleeping in Jesus, has liberated the soul and spirit to be present with the Lord, which is “GAIN” and “FAR BETTER”. Phil 1:21.
Sleep is temporary.
Death is temporary.
Sleep has its waking.
Death has its resurrection.
These are comforting words, therefore, Paul wrote that we should not sorrow as those who have no hope.
We do mourn when a loved one is taken home.
We sorrow not for them for with them “it is far better”.
We shed tears for ourselves. Loneliness. Companionship.
The empty chair … the silent voice … the absence of the intimate touch, etc.
But we have hope we shall see them again, our sorrow is not like those who have no hope. Experiences.
“If we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, them also who sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.”
The basis for the believers hope is the resurrection of Christ. But now is Christ risen. 1 Cor 15.
The second part of the verse is difficult to understand.
The introduction of GOD into the text at this time is confusing.
When the Lord comes for His Bride.
Scholars believe that this verse refers to the time when the Lord returns to the earth in great glory and power. God will bring with Christ, those who have died is Christ. In faith.
Paul is saying to the questioning believers: “Don’t worry about those who have died. They will not miss out in the glory of the coming kingdom. God will bring them back with Jesus when He returns to set up His Kingdom.
This interpretation raises another question.
How can this be, for their bodies now lie in the grave?
The answer is given in verses 15 thru 17.
Before Christ comes to set up His kingdom, He will return to the air to take His blood – bought people home with Him to heaven.
Then seven years later He will come back with them.
“This we say to you by the Word of the Lord.” A.D. 51
Paul had received a new direct revelation from God. This revelation and its content was not known to men up to this tune. Cp. 1 Cor 15 with 1 Thess 4.
“That we which are alive and remains unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent (precede) them who are asleep.”
Note two things worthy of note here. Paul believes that the Lord could have come in his life-time.
Secondly, he emphatically declares that those who are alive shall not precede or have an advantage over those who have previously fallen asleep.
These truths were comforting and encouraging to the disturbed believers in Thessalonica.
v. 16 Quote
In verses 16 and 17 the exact order of events at Christ’s coming for His saints is now given.
“The Lord Himself” will descend from heaven.
“He will descend with a shout, like the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.”
The shout is the voice of the Lord Jesus Himself, which raises the dead. John 5:25.
And changes the living.
The voice like an archangel, summons the angels as a military escort to accompany the Lord and His people through enemy territory, back to heaven. See Luke 16:11. Lazarus.
The trumpet of God is the last trumpet of 1 Corinth 15.
It calls the saints to eternal blessing.
“The dead ‘in Christ’ will rise first.”
Every believer who has died since Pentecost will be raised at this time, i.e., Those “in Christ”. Not a hoof left behind. Unborn children.
“Then the living will be caught up together with those in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.”
“In the air”. This is Satan’s domain.
He is the prince of the power of the air. Eph 2:2
He is the Ruler of the Power of the air.
He is the commander of the spiritual powers of the air.
Beloved, in the center of Satan’s kingdom the triumphant Christ will display the transcendent riches and the incomparable wealth of His grace.
The Lord will proudly present to His embarrassed enemies the fruits and travail of His Cross-work.
Thus, the victorious Christ will display the harvest of His atoning work in open defiance of the devil in his own fortress.
Let us pause to consider all that is involved at this time.
The earth and the sea yielding up the dust of those who have died in Christ.
Then consider the great miracle of that dust being formed into glorified bodies.
Free forever from the effects of the curse. Rev 21 and 22
No sickness … pain … sorrow or fears … death.
There will be the space-flight to heaven.
It takes light nine minutes to come from the sun to earth 92 million miles away.
All the afore-mentioned will take place in a moment in the twinkling of an eye. 1 Cor 15:52.
Good news — Bad news
One has said, in connection with the Lord’s coming … there is a sound to hear … a sight to see … a meeting to enjoy … and a comfort to experience.
Please note the frequent use of the word Lord in these verses.
The word of the Lord v. 15
The coming of the Lord v. 15
The Lord Himself v. 16
To meet the Lord v. 17
Always be with the Lord v. 17
Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words.
Revelation 1:10 “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.”