The Sonship of our Lord
John 1:14 ...
DescriptionThe Sonship of our Lord
… I'd like to turn, first of all, to the Gospel of John, chapter 1 and verse 14. John chapter 1 verse 14, And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. Some bear witness of Him and cried, saying, This was He of whom I spake. He that cometh after me is preferred before me, for He was before me. And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him. Could we turn on to the 14th chapter, and the first three verses. Let not your heart be troubled, ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also. And lastly, Revelation chapter 21. And the first three verses again, Revelation chapter 21. And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away, and there was no more sea. And I, John, saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them and be their God. That's all I wish to read. This evening I would like to speak about the Sonship of the Lord Jesus Christ. I think it's, and I'm sure we all here agree, it's most important that not just for ourselves, but for God's honour too, we believe what the scriptures say about the Sonship of the Lord Jesus Christ. I say this because when I was asked to speak here, I thought of a scripture from 2 Kings chapter 4 that you probably know very well. And it's a scripture which fits the times in which we live when we hear so many dishonouring things about the Lord Jesus Christ. Not that I'm able to say anything that's going to alter that, only that God has given us his word and it's clear from that what God would have us believe about his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. In chapter 4 of 2 Kings, you'll remember that there was a famine in the land and Elisha said to his servants, set a meal on for the sons of the prophets. And they set the meal on and one went out because he thought he would provide a bit more to put in the pot to feed the sons of the prophets. And I suppose it's always a mark of a time when we feel weak and when we're in famine conditions to find what food we can to feed ourselves. And this man went out into the field to gather herbs but he came across a wild vine. And you know a vine in scripture speaks of that which brings joy to the heart of God and to the heart of man, something that's good. But this was a wild vine. It had become unruly and I'm sure we could say in the light of other scriptures which refer to the vine, all it produced was sour grapes, nothing for God's honour anymore. But what was worse than that was that it disguised something else. That vine was a weed and when that man brought his vine back and he thought that he would add it to the pot, he shredded out from it the weed rather than the vine itself. And it fell into the pot, shred by shred by shred. And this is a warning to us how careful we have to be about wrong doctrine. It may not come in, in a very obvious way to begin with, but shred by shred can fall into the pot. And the result is that a man had to cry in the pot. Well I'm not likening myself to that man by any means but it's as well to just take account of what scripture says. Because Elisha said to the people around him, he said, bring meal and meal speaks to us of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. And he took that meal and he put it into the pot and the pot was alright. They could eat, they could take what they needed in order to go on and serve God in that land of famine. That's all I wish to say about that. Let's go on perhaps to the meal. Again there's an Old Testament scripture that comes to my mind when we read these verses. The psalmist says in Psalm 139, O knowledge too wonderful for me. It's too high, I cannot attain to it. And when we are confronted by verses like these in John's Gospel, verses 14 to 18 of the first chapter, what can we say? We really just have to read them and believe them and let them have their effect on our hearts. Perhaps we have to be like a man also in the Old Testament. I'm very thankful to someone for pointing this person out to me. I never realised what he said. Perhaps I'll just read out to you what this man said. He's a person that we don't often think about. Just one man mentioned once in God's Word. His name was Agur and it's in Proverbs chapter 30. This is what he said when he thought about God. He said, Surely I am more brutish, a better word is stupid, than any man and have not the understanding of the man. I neither learned wisdom nor have I the knowledge of the holy. Who hath ascended up into heaven or descended? Who hath gathered the wind in his fists? Who hath bound the waters in a garment? Who hath established all the ends of the earth? What is his name? And then it says, And what is his son's name, if thou canst tell? Every word of God is pure. He is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Maybe I and you have to line ourselves up with Agur and admit that in the presence of the mysteries of God, even though they are so wonderfully brought to us in his Word, we are so unable to take them in. And yet, even this man, in the comparative darkness, we might say, of the Old Testament could say, What is his name? And what is his son's name, if thou canst tell? Well, we turn to John's Gospel, which is marked, isn't it, by light so much in all its verses as are all John's writings, including his letters. And we come to this verse which says, And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have contemplated his glory, a glory as of an only begotten with a father. This word, only begotten, is a very faith in being prepared to offer up his only begotten son, Isaac. And you know, when we think about the God, when we think about the Father and the Son from eternity to eternity, we have to always be careful not to argue from our side up to God's side, but to look at things from God's side and then see how they apply to us. You know, the definitive Father and Son relationship is that Father and Son relationship which was from eternity to eternity. All other Father and Son relationships in this world are but pale reflections at best of that Father and Son relationship which lasted and which lasts still and will go on through all eternity. But you know, we do have the relationship between Abraham and Isaac pointed out to us, feeble though it may be, as a wonderful illustration of the relationship between the Father and the Son. We remember, don't we, Genesis chapter 2, the Father and the Son going both of them to Mount Moriah, a picture of the mission of the Father and the Son in love for lost mankind. And you know, it's a wonderful insight into just what this word begotten would try and get over to us, though I'm sure we cannot really penetrate it. And we realise that Isaac, though a human son of Abraham, yes, but a son born in a most miraculous way because in Romans chapter 4, verse 19, scripture tells us that Isaac was the offspring of one as dead because Abraham was 100 years old. And yet also, he was born from the womb of Sarah who is described also in the same verse as having a deadened womb. So it was a most remarkable birth, and it would point to the fact that this is a most remarkable expression, only begotten. Of course, it's not begetting in the sense of the genealogies of scripture where we think of a man producing offspring. That would be impossible, for here we are talking about divine persons, we're talking about the Godhead, we're talking about God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Impossible, far be the thought that we should think of one begetting another in that sense. No, the reason why scripture uses the thought of begotten is because it wants to get over to us that this Son, the Lord Jesus Christ as we know him, was brought forth out of the innermost, innermost, deepest inside place that the Father knew. So close that we can't comprehend how close the Son was to the Father in a past eternity. And yet, he's brought forth from that place to us. And you know, in scripture we are told in these verses that the disciples, John says, recontemplated his glory, a glory as of an only begotten with a father. The thought behind that word with a father is from with a father, or from beside a father, one who came from the innermost place by his father from eternity and dwelt here among men so that they were able to contemplate him and see him as one who was precious to his father, who knew the father, who could reveal the father to you and to me as well as to those that were there at the time. In the Old Testament there's another word which corresponds to this New Testament word. And that word carries with it also not just that sense of only begotten, but it carries with it the thought of deep affection. In fact, in the authorised version, you'll find it in the beginning of Genesis chapter 22, when God says to Abraham, he says, take thine only well-beloved son. And in Psalm 22 and verse 20, the psalmist speaks prophetically about the Lord Jesus as being the darling, thy darling, the darling, the centre of all God the Father's affections. We are here really on holy ground and I feel completely unable to say anything fitting about it. To draw your attention to these words, we have contemplated his glory, a glory as of an only begotten with a father. You know, scripture is very careful. It preserves this expression for the Lord Jesus. As I've said, it's once applied to Isaac, a picture of the Son of God. It's also applied in Luke's Gospel, but it's only applied once to an only begotten daughter of a father, once to an only begotten son of a mother, and once to an only begotten son of a father. Scripture reserves this term exclusively for the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and for that person in scripture who speaks of him as such in Genesis. And when we think of this, and when we think of our inability to enter into it, surely we would not think to take anything away from this expression. We would only marvel at it, consider it. How could we ever think of saying to the father that he never had this son in eternity, that this son was never in his bosom in eternity? How could we ever think of saying to the son that he never enjoyed the delights and the inside place that he had in the father's bosom? And he ever had it, not just when he was in eternity past, and not now when he is in heaven at God's right hand, and not only in the future and in eternity to come. But you know, this word is a word, an expression, which goes on. I don't really know the names enough of the Greek tenses to be able to say them and to be able to explain them to you, so I won't. But this meaning here in verse 18 is one which is eternal, ever-present. It's never, never changed. It's a fixed fact of time and eternity that the only begotten son is in the bosom of the father. Yes, impossible it may seem to human minds to understand, it's difficult for us to comprehend, but yes, he was in the bosom of the father even when he was on the cross. These are thoughts which are beyond us, but let us not let them go. There are some things we cannot let go, and this is one of them, that the father and the son were together from eternity to eternity. Those are thoughts connected with God's side, and I think it's always good to start off from God's side and to say what is for God, first of all. But even in these verses we notice that from this wonderful fact there comes forth tremendous blessing for us, because John writing says, For of his fullness we have received grace upon grace. For the law was given by Moses, grace and truth subsist through Jesus Christ. Moses great man as he was, and meek as man of all men upon the earth, able to set forth God's mind in his law, able as revealed by God to write those first five books of the Bible which have so much in them that set the scene for the rest which comes to us in the Holy Scriptures. He could only give the law. There was only one who could give both grace and truth, because he was God and is God, and he is able to meet God's standards. He is able to fully glorify God because he is God, and yet he became man in order that for you and me he might also pay the price which God's holiness demanded, but it never meant that he was not God when he became man. He was God, a man in one person, and as such was able to bring us grace and truth so that we know and have no doubts that our salvation is secure, but more than that we know as well that God's glory is completely intact. All through the Old Testament we can see that in the hands of man, given man's responsibility, nothing can be maintained for God. There is always failure, but in this one there was complete glory for God. Grace and truth subsists through Jesus Christ. Light and love come from him. God is light, yes, but God is love, and what more display of his light than that he should send one for us who could maintain everything to his glory, and what greater testimony to his love than that he should send his only begotten son. The next passage that I would like to speak on is John chapter 14, and this perhaps looks at it from our side, and particularly the side of the individual. In John chapter 13 the Lord Jesus washes the feet of his disciples, and when he comes to Peter, Peter says, no, I don't want you to wash my feet, yes, Peter's concerned that his Lord and Master would wash his feet, but what does the Lord Jesus say to him when he says that, if I wash thee not thou hast no part with me. Yes, in these chapters, John chapter 13 to John chapter 17, called The Last Words by one writer, and I'm sure that's a very good word, a very good title to put over them, we read about, in particular, the way we might have part with the Lord Jesus, and I think that these words in John chapter 13, John chapter 17, perhaps best express, most deeply express what the right chapter, he says that, God hath in these last days spoken unto us, well in our authorised version it says by his son, but the proper translation is in son, in the person of his son, and nowhere, perhaps more deeply, do we experience his son, his, sorry, his words, God's words being spoken to us in son. I'm sure that was so for these disciples as they sat in the upper room, and as they walked away from that upper room to the garden where the Lord Jesus would be betrayed. But the Lord Jesus said, if I don't wash you, and we know what that speaks of, being clear of the defilements that come into our lives day by day, and how conscious we are of them, how can we enjoy part with the Lord Jesus, where he is, even now, at God's right hand? You know, I think the highest expression, perhaps, of the thought of having part with the Lord Jesus, is connected with what Paul writes in Ephesians chapter 1, verse 3, being blessed with all spiritual, to the extent, all blessings that he's won, and wishes to share with us, we can enjoy with him in the heavenlies, says in our authorised version again, how much we fail to go in for these things, and yet these things are available to us, right now, today. But you know, in John 14, we're brought to something which is even deeper and more precious than the heavenlies, we're brought to a place called the Father's house, and we're going to go to that house, all those of us here tonight who are Christians, and we're going to be in that house for eternity, and we're going to be there, body, soul and spirit, we can't be in the heavenlies in body, I don't think, it's a spiritual thought, but we're going to be given glorified bodies, we're going to be like the Lord Jesus, because we're going to see him, like, we're going to see him as he is, and we're going to be with him, in a place called the Father's house. We don't hear a lot about the Father's house, but I know perhaps the reason for that might be that it's only mentioned this once as such in scripture, but I think it's a place that we should speak about more, because it's our eternal home, and the Father's house is a place where the Lord Jesus says, I'm going to bring you. Now I'm sure that we understand that when the Lord Jesus says that I go to prepare you a place, what he means is, is that just as he's become a man by coming into this world, so he's going to go back to heaven a man, and that means that for the first time there's a man in heaven, at God's right hand, and it also means that men and women and boys and girls like you and me can be there with him one day. That's what the Lord Jesus means when he says that I go to prepare you a place. But you know, I don't think that it's that thought so much that explains the why of our future place there, that explains the how we're going to be there, but the why we're going to be there is because the Son of God, who knows that house so well, wants you and me to be there with him. And so you see it's absolutely critical for ourselves, as well as for God's glory, that we believe that the Lord Jesus is the Son of God, not just in time, but from eternity to eternity. Of course, in these words we have, in the beginning of John's Gospel, in the beginning of chapter 14 of John's Gospel, the Lord Jesus says, in my Father's house there are many mansions or abodes. And the word represented by mansion or abode is a permanent dwelling place. It's our place for eternity. It's never going to change. We're never going to leave it. There's never going to come a point in eternity, if there could be such a thing, when we're going to leave that home. You know, it's never going to change its name either. It's the Father's house and it remains the Father's house for eternity. John's Gospel is full of words like abide, continue, dwell, remain, and this is the character of John's revelation and it's what he brings to us as our comfort in this world where we might have troubles and problems. As individuals, when we think of the problems around us, and surely these disciples as they sensed that their master was going to leave them and he was going to be absent from them, they were in great depression and they had troubles and problems that perhaps we don't experience. At that time they felt that there was something closing in around them, something that they just didn't understand or didn't know. Oh, it's true, they didn't. But the Lord Jesus, in wonderful love, sets before them immediately the wonderful prospect of the Father's house and he sets it before us too. And you know, it says in scripture that if we deny the Son, we can't have the Father too. If we do not honour the Son, then we do not honour the Father. If you want a place in the Father's house, then you must surely believe that the Son will come there, will come from there and take you back there and will have you with himself for eternity as the Son in the Father's house. He is the centre of that house of light and love and he would bring you there. These words in verse 2, in my Father's house there are many abodes, would take us back to the words of that well-known verse in chapter 3, verse 16. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. You see, for whosoever of the Gospel, so that you and I and whoever would take of the water of life and come to the Lord Jesus may know that full and free salvation in him, we can also have the comfort of knowing that whosoever, however many who come, there are who come, there will be a place for each one in the Father's house. There are many abodes, many mansions in the Father's house. The eternal answer to the wonderful invitation of the Gospel is the Father's house where we shall be for eternity with the Lord Jesus Christ. We shall be there with himself. He wants us to be with himself. That's why he's going to come for us and take us to be there with him for eternity. There's much more, surely, that could be said about the Father's house. It's indescribable, I think. That's why nothing in detail is said about it in Scripture. In fact, very little in detail is said about heaven at all. That's because I'm sure that if it was said, our finite, feeble minds wouldn't be able to take it in. But you know, when we get there, what a place it will be. And furthermore, it's wonderful to know that whatever our failings and weaknesses and however poor we may feel ourselves to be as Christians, in these verses, in John chapter 14, the Lord Jesus says, you're not only going to go to heaven, but you're going to go to the innermost part of heaven, the Father's house. Let's turn on to Revelation. ...very often, which very often can be the... Perhaps you might say, well, this is from our side as well. Well, perhaps it is, but it's the collective side of things. Revelation chapter 21. Because we're going to talk about the Church, the Bride of Christ. I think we probably all know that the first verses of chapter 21 relate to the day of eternity. The eternal millennium, the world to come, the thousand year reign of Christ has passed. And although we don't understand how it will happen, God has transferred the people out of the millennium onto the new heavens and the new earth. Because John says, I saw a new heaven and a new earth. For the first heaven and the first earth have passed away, the sea exists no more. Here we're in an entirely new state of things. Sin doesn't have any place there at all. This is an answer to the wonderful salvation that the Lord Jesus has accomplished. Because now we can say that we've been saved from the penalty of sin. We can also say that we can be saved daily. Because the Lord Jesus has also done this on the cross, saved us from the power of sin. And when we go to the Father's house, when the Lord Jesus comes in the air to take those who are his own, whether dead or alive at the time, whether asleep in him or alive at the time, yes, we then will be freed from the presence of sin too. But you know that will be a foretaste of what's to come and what we read about here. Because in the new heavens and the new earth there won't be sin either, there won't be anything like that at all. Sin will be entirely removed and that's one thing we cannot say about the world to come. But it's true of the day of eternity, it's true of the new heavens and the new earth. And the sea exists no more, no more nations, no more divisions among men. And Israel will have gone as a distinct entity because we read in verse 3 of this passage that the tabernacle and he will dwell with them and they shall be his people and God himself shall be with them. Wonderful answer to the beginning of the Bible in Genesis chapter 3 when God says to his creature man, where are you? His creature man had gone away from him and God who would wish to have communion with him in the cool of the evening, in the cool of the day, finds that his creature isn't there and his love cannot be answered because sin has come in. But it's no longer that when we come to the new heavens and the new earth because we read that God is tabernacling with men. God is dwelling with men and all the divisions that have come in according to God's mind and also unfortunately due to man's failure during the course of time since then are completely done away with and men have the wonderful, wonderful blessing of God dwelling among them. His tabernacle is with men and he shall tabernacle with them. And they shall be his people and God himself shall be with them and be their God. And as we read down these verses we see how many things which feature in the world around us when you hear what's going on around us. What shouting, argument, what disruption, what uncertainty, what problems there are. Well we read in verse 4 that every tear shall be wiped away, there'll be no more death, no more sorrow, no more crying and there won't be any more pain. But you know I read these verses because we should emphasise one fact that there's one distinct group which does not fall among this vast mass of men blessed as they are by God dwelling with them. They're the people out of the millennium, the Jewish martyrs, the Gentile martyrs and the Old Testament saints but you know there's a distinct group of people that I don't think are among them and that's the church. The church has a distinct place, the Bride of Christ. And you know in this scripture we read about the holy city, New Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. I emphasise the word husband. Some people have said that there comes a time after the world to come when the Lord Jesus gives up his sonship to God, an impossible thought, a thought of disbelief to suggest such a thing as that because the Lord Jesus is the Son of God and he will always be the Son of God and he has his Bride, else who is our husband for eternity if it's not the Son of God? And so we have in these verses that the New Jerusalem, God's people, the New Jerusalem, the Bride prepared for her husband. It's wonderful to think of the fact of the Bride. We hear of the assembly presented in many ways, the body. We hear of it presented as the house of God. And here as well we hear of it as the holy city, the New Jerusalem. But you know it's the sweetest thought perhaps to think of it as the Bride, a Bride adorned for her husband. You know the thought of the Bride, I've been taught anyway and maybe there's lots of thoughts about the word Bride, is that it's the thought of public display, the wife perhaps more the thought of intimacy. But here we have after those thousand years when the Bride and the wife of the Lamb has been reigning with him, has been with him as he reigns over the earth. We have the Bride here as perfectly beautiful as she was at the beginning of those thousand years, displaying his glory and bringing pleasure to him, prepared as a Bride adorned for her husband. Because her adorning is nothing more or less than what he has done in her to make her pleasurable to him. And her adorning is this eternal day of God. And the thought of the husband, I think if we think of the thought of the wife as being one of intimacy, the thought of the husband is one of intimacy and would once again emphasise that distinct portion which the church has of a special intimacy with the Son of God in the whole, well you can't say ages can you, or years or time, or period, during the whole of eternity. And that's what's expressed by this verse 2, the new Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a Bride adorned for her husband. Yes, wonderful to think of God dwelling among men, bringing blessing to man in a way which has never been experienced by man before. But how much more wonderful to think too that you and I are going to have a special place by the side of the Son of God in that eternity which is to come. That's the prospect which the scripture set before us. Oh, let's not weaken it by in any way taking away from that Sonship which the Lord Jesus has because it's to do with his person, he is the Son of God. And because he is God and is eternal so too his Sonship is eternal from eternity to eternity. I'm sure you wouldn't want me to make any apology for saying these things. These things are so important that we maintain that the Lord Jesus is the Son of God and it's inconceivable that his Sonship is anything but eternal. You know in Hebrews chapter 2, or Hebrews chapter 1 sorry, I think that the writer to the Hebrews tries to get across to the Jews who have become Christians that the one who was Son in eternity was also Son in time. Yes, he says about the Lord Jesus, he says a decree has gone out. Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. The Lord Jesus, the Messiah, the one they had always waited for was the Son of God in time and was able to have a wonderful relationship with God his Father during that time he was here on earth. I will be to him for Father, he shall be to me for Son. But you know it's even more wonderful to think of the fact that from eternity to eternity and we haven't really looked at proof verses have we? Well we won't but you can find them in Colossians. Redemption is to do with the Son from eternity. It's also in Hebrews 1 and if you read 2 Peter chapter 1, you'll learn as well that the one who is the centre of that world to come as the Son of Man is also predicated by Peter as he thinks again of the time when the Lord Jesus was manifested in all his millennial glory on the mountains as the Son of God from eternity to eternity. Thou art my beloved Son. Thou art my beloved Son, whom I found my delight. Actually I've forgotten the number of the hymn I would like to give out, it's the hymn which mentions the Father's house. How blessed are all the fathers in the house. How blessed are all the fathers in the house. Hymn 439. How blessed the home, the Father's house, their love divine doth rest. What else could satisfy the hearts of those in Jesus blessed? His home made ours, his Father's love, our hearts full portion given. The portion of the firstborn son, the full delight of heaven. Hymn 439. …