THE WORD BECAME FLESH – John 1:14

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GOD BECAME A MAN. Major Ian Thomas, in a message given at a Moody Bible Institute Conference, described Jesus’ coming as a man with these words: “Jesus had to come as He came (born of a virgin) in order to be what He was (a perfect man inhabited by God). He had to be what He was in order to do what He did (die to redeem us). He had to do what He did so that we might have what He has (His life; all that we lost when Adam sinned). We have to have what He has in order to be what He was (a person inhabited by God).”

In John 1:14, John describes Christ’s incarnation in three words, in contrast to the 2500 words used by Luke. He “dwelt among us”. The Greek word for “dwelt” is “eskenosen”, which means “to pitch a tent”. “He tabernacled among us” is another way to say it. The tabernacle in the Old Testament was made of plain white linen. The glory of the tabernacle was hidden inside. There was no beauty in its outward appearance. So too, the glory of the Lord Jesus was a hidden glory. When He came to pitch His tent among us, He did not lay aside His deity, but He did veil his glory.

The tabernacle in the Old Testament was only a temporary dwelling place. It was used while the people of Israel were journeying in the wilderness, and until the temple of Solomon was built. It’s’ interesting that Israel used the tabernacle in the wilderness for a little less than 35 years, the approximate lifetime of the Lord Jesus on this earth.

The apostle John then says, “we beheld His glory”. Our thoughts may go back to the Shekinah glory that filled the tabernacle in the wilderness when the pillar of cloud, which guided them by day, came to rest over the tabernacle and then filled the inside of the tabernacle with the glory of God. It was this inner glory that John, the one who knew the Lord so intimately, saw in Jesus Christ. He describes Jesus as being “full of grace and truth”. “Grace” reveals God as love; “truth” reveals God as light.

The God who “tabernacled” with the people of Israel for about 35 years, as they journeyed through the wilderness, and who “tabernacled” among us in the Person of Jesus of Nazareth for about 35 years, wants to “tabernacle” in each of us for the rest of our lives, and then face to face for eternity if we have repented of our sins and invited the Lord Jesus Christ to come in and reign as Lord in our Lives. Once again He wants to display His glory to us and to others around us through our actions, words, and attitude. Will you invite Him to do so this Christmas season?

GOD BECAME A MAN. Those words brought a song to my mind that is very appropriate for the Christmas season. Think with me about these lyrics:

Love was when God became a man, locked in time and space without rank or place.
Love was God born of Jewish kin, just a carpenter with some fishermen.
Love was when Jesus walked in history. Lovingly He brought a new life that’s free.
Love was God nailed to bleed and die to reach and love one such as I.

Love was when God became a man, down where I could see; love that reached to me.
Love was God dying for my sin, and so trapped was I, my whole world caved in.
Love was when Jesus rose to walk with me. Lovingly he brought a new life that’s free.
Love was God, only He would try to reach and love one such as I.
(John E. Walvoord/Don Wyrtzen)

For those of you who have never heard this song before, or for those who would like to hear it sung again, you can click this web site: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OK96FOXOclU, or type: John and Trini Pendleton sing “Love Was When” in your web browser. Trini sings and John accompanies her on the guitar. I think it’s a beautiful rendition.

As you celebrate this Christmas season, please remember that Christmas is just the introduction to His story. There are many chapters which follow, covering His life, death, resurrection, appearances, and ascension into heaven. And His story isn’t over yet. Any moment now He will be coming in the clouds to suddenly snatch His children out of this world in an instant. Then, after the seven years of tribulation, Christ will establish His kingdom on earth and reign for a thousand years. Finally, the Lord Jesus will return to heaven and all believers will enjoy His presence forever. I love happy endings!

That’s a lot to remember this Christmas season! May those memories bring you joy and expectation, and may you know and experience the real joy of Christmas!

CHRISTMAS – Why Is It Significant?

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INTRODUCTION:

After the first American astronaut landed on the moon, the President of the United States  praised this wonder of modern science.  He said, “The planting of human feet on the moon is the greatest moment in human history!”  Later, evangelist Billy Graham made this comment:  “With all due respect”, he said, “the greatest moment in human history was not when man set foot on the moon, but when the infinite and eternal God set foot on this earth in Jesus of Nazareth!”  Just how significant is the birth of Jesus Christ in our world today?

I.  THE SIGNIFICANCE OF CHRIST’S BIRTH

The year is 2012 A.D., isn’t it?  As you probably know, the letters A.D. are an abbreviation for two Latin words:  “anno Domini”, a phrase which means “in the year of the Lord”.  Events prior to Jesus’ birth are dated B.C., that is, “before Christ”.  Everything in history is dated from the time when Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem.  Every newspaper and magazine, every official document gives testimony to Christ’s birth.

II.  THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING HIS BIRTH (Luke 2:1-20)

Yet when we look at the circumstances surrounding His birth, we see poverty and humility.  But from these circumstances, and the symbolism in them, we can gain valuable insight into why the Lord Jesus was born.  Let’s take a closer look at this passage of Scripture:  Luke chapter 2, verses one to twenty.

In verses 1 to 6, we read that Caesar Augustus decreed that a census be taken of the whole Roman empire.  Joseph and Mary were forced to make an eighty mile trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem because they belonged to the descendants of David.  Caesar didn’t know it, but he was doing an errand for God, so that Micah’s prophecy in Micah 5:2 would be fulfilled.  The Savior of the world was to be born in the city of Bethlehem.

In verse 7, Mary brought forth her child alone.  There was no midwife;  there were no friends and no family, except her husband, Joseph.  Similarly, at the end of Jesus’ life, as He hung dying on a cross, there was only a handful of His family and friends close to him.  Verse 7 also says, “they wrapped Him in cloths.  The Greek word literally means “to swaddle” or to wrap in strips of cloth.  This was often the way dead bodies were wrapped in preparation for burial.

Verse 7 also says that they laid the newborn baby Jesus in a manger – a feeding trough for animals.  Jesus was born in a stable, a place for sheep and cattle.  There were probably many lambs under the same roof with the baby Jesus.  This is significant because, before Jesus began his public ministry, John the Baptist said of Him, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

From verses 8-20, we learn that the only other people to see the newborn baby Jesus were the shepherds.  And these were no ordinary shepherds.  The Jewish book of legal codes, called the “Mishnah”, prohibited the tending of flocks of sheep throughout the land of Israel, except in the wilderness areas, because sheep were unclean animals.  The only exception was the flocks used for the temple sacrifices.  These sheep were killed and offered up as sacrifices for the sins of the people.

III.  WHY WAS JESUS CHRIST BORN

Why was Jesus Christ born?  What is the true meaning of Christmas?  I found out the answer to that question in 1970.  Have you ever had a miserable Christmas?  Well, Christmas of 1970 had all the indications of being the worst Christmas I would ever experience.  It was Christmas eve, and I was in the Air Force, stationed at a remote base in northern Thailand.  I was away from my family and friends, and there was no “Christmas spirit” in me.  I was on a bus headed into town to attend a Bible study at the Christian Servicemen’s Center.  I had been going there for several weeks, hoping to find some answers to life.  The director of the center must have noticed my despondency because he asked  me if I would mind staying for a while after the Bible study.  He said he had something he wanted to talk to me about.  I had nothing else going on that evening so I agreed.

He began by asking me this question:  “If you died tonight, and you stood before God in judgment, and God said, ‘Tom, give me one reason why I should let you into My heaven’, what would you say?”  I don’t remember what the Bible study was about that night, nor who was there, but I do remember the joy and peace I experienced when I invited Jesus Christ to come into my life as my Savior and Lord.  I also remember smiling as I rode back to the base on the 10:00 p.m. bus.  I was probably the only serviceman who was smiling and who wasn’t drunk!  On Christmas Day I had no Christmas tree and no presents, but I had more joy than I had ever experienced.  I spent most of Christmas Day reading the New Testament Scriptures.  It was a new book to me because I was now a child of God.  If you want to know more about what I learned, and what happened to me that night, it’s all in the ABOUT PAGE of this blog.

The real joy of Christmas comes when we discover the true meaning of Christmas.  Why did Jesus Christ come to earth?  Let’s allow Jesus to answer that question for Himself.  In Mark 10:45 Jesus says, “For the Son of man also came, not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”  In John 10:10 Jesus says, “I came that you may have life, and have it in all its fullness.”  In the midst of shopping for presents, sending cards, and putting up decorations, is there room in your heart for Jesus?

ABOUT PAGE

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Personal Background:   My name is Tom Drenoske.  I am the third in a line of four with that name, and currently live in a suburb or Portland, Oregon.  I became a Christian on Christmas Eve, 1970, in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand,  through the ministry of Paul Kelley, an Overseas Christian Servicemen’s Center director.  He became my spiritual father, mentor, and discipler.  When I was honorably discharged from the Air Force in 1972, I attended California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, California because Paul was the director of the Navigator ministry on that campus.  After receiving degrees in Business Administration and Social Sciences, I worked for two years in industrial sales.  With a desire to serve the Lord in full-time ministry, I attended Multnomah School of the Bible’s one-year graduate program and graduated in 1978.  Four years later I graduated from Denver Conservative Baptist Seminary while serving with Campus Ambassadors, the campus ministry of the Conservative Baptist Home Missions Society.  I have enjoyed over 25 years of ministry as a campus minister, pastor, interim pastor, and chaplain.

Purpose:  Studying and preaching through various books of the New Testament has been an exciting and fulfilling experience for me.  Knowing God through His Word, and responding to Him, can be the richest experience of all.  I am sharing these messages in the hope that God will use them to draw you closer to Himself.

Introduction:  We will be meeting with Him regularly, as we start by studying the book of PHILIPPIANS, the “Epistle of Joy”, beginning with a background study and survey of the book.  I don’t know about you, but I could certainly benefit from an extra dose of joy!  These are short sermons, approximately 15-20 minutes in length when preached.  The sermons will be stored in this site so that the most recent sermon appears first.

Over he past four years I’ve studied Philippians, the epistle of James, the book of Jonah, and a few topical and seasonal messages.  I am currently studying the Gospel of John and there will probably be at least another year of messages from John’s Gospel.  The purpose of each sermon is, not only to gain an understanding of the passage of Scripture, but also to draw principles from the passage that we can apply to our lives.  The goal is to become more and more like the Lord Jesus Christ in our attitudes and actions (II Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 3:7-14).

Question:  Are you ready to meet your Maker today?  About 47 years ago, on Christmas Eve, I was asked the following question:  “If you died tonight, and you stood before God in judgment, and God said to you, ‘Give Me one reason why I should let you into My heaven’, what would you say?”  I wasn’t prepared to answer that question, but the person who asked it showed me, in the Scriptures, how I could have a personal relationship with God, and spend eternity with Him.  Romans 3:23 and Isaiah 53:6 say that I am a sinner, separated from God.  Romans 6:23 and Hebrews 9:27 say that the penalty for my sin is death and judgment.  Ephesians 2:8,9 says that I can’t earn my way to heaven by my works or good deeds.  I Peter 3:18 says that Jesus Christ paid the penalty for my sins by His death on the cross.  John 5:18 and 14:8-10 say the Jesus Christ is God, the second Person of the Trinity.  Mark 1:15, John 1:12, and John 10:27-30 say that a relationship with Christ, and His gift of eternal life, come as a result of repenting of, or turning away from, my sins, inviting Jesus Christ into my life as my Savior and Lord, and following Him.  I hope you are truly His child today.  I became a child of God that night when I responded to God’s Word and invited Jesus Christ to come into my life and be my Savior and Lord.  That night I memorized several verses of Scripture (I John 5:11-13, John 5:24, John 10:27-30, and Romans 10:9-13) to remind me and assure me that Jesus Christ was living in me, and that I had eternal life.

There are many, many more Scriptures in both the Old and New Testaments that describe who Jesus Christ is, and how to have a personal relationship with Him.  If you desire a deeper understanding of any aspect of God, the Person and work of Jesus Christ, and what it means to have a personal relationship with Him, and receive His gift of eternal life, please let me know.  I would be glad to answer your questions with Scripture.