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Face to Face with Christ

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Book of John

A Sermon on John 1:5-46

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. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

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. (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.’”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

The Testimony of John the Baptist

And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”

(Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

Behold, the Lamb of God

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

Jesus Calls the First Disciples

The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).

Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” (ESV)

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What is Christianity? Many believe that it is merely another political viewpoint or just another lifestyle option among many others. But, according to Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in this sermon on John 1:5-46, this is a complete misunderstanding of saving faith. While there are many moral philosophies that seek to make the world a better place through education and political lobbying organizations, these fail to bring true change to the human heart. The heart of Christianity is Christ Jesus who was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, and died a sinner’s death on the cross later to be raised from the grave. All this was foretold in the Law of Moses and the prophets. When Jesus came, those who knew the Scriptures recognized him as the long-awaited Messiah who would deliver Israel and bring about the Kingdom of God. Those who reject God and Jesus Christ do not do so because they are rational and unbiased, for there is evidence of the identity of Christ in Scripture. They do so because they are sinners blinded by darkness. It is only by the grace of God that reconciles sinners. This is Christianity!


Additional Scripture Translations

John 1:5-46, New American Standard Bible

5And the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not grasp it.

The Witness John the Baptist

6A man came, one sent from God, and his name was John. 7He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. 8He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.

9This was the true Light that, coming into the world, enlightens every person. 10He was in the world, and the world came into being through Him, and yet the world did not know Him. 11He came to His own, and His own people did not accept Him. 12But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name, 13who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of a man, but of God.

The Word Made Flesh

14And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us; and we saw His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15John *testified about Him and called out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who is coming after me has proved to be my superior, because He existed before me.’ ” 16For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. 17For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. 18No one has seen God at any time; God the only Son, who is in the arms of the Father, He has explained Him.

The Testimony of John the Baptist

19This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites to him from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20And he confessed and did not deny; and this is what he confessed: “I am not the Christ.” 21And so they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he *said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22Then they said to him, “Who are you? Tell us, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23He said, “I am the voice of one calling out in the wilderness, ‘Make the way of the Lord straight,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.”

24And the messengers had been sent from the Pharisees. 25They asked him, and said to him, “Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26John answered them, saying, “I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know. 27It is He who comes after me, of whom I am not worthy even to untie the strap of His sandal.” 28These things took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing people.

29The next day he *saw Jesus coming to him, and *said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30This is He in behalf of whom I said, ‘After me is coming a Man who has proved to be my superior, because He existed before me.’ 31And I did not recognize Him, but so that He would be revealed to Israel, I came baptizing in water.” 32And John testified, saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. 33And I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ 34And I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.”

Jesus’ Public Ministry; First Converts

35Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, 36and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and *said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38And Jesus turned and saw them following, and *said to them, “What are you seeking?” They said to Him, “Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?” 39He *said to them, “Come, and you will see.” So they came and saw where He was staying, and they stayed with Him that day; it was about the tenth hour. 40One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41He first *found his own brother Simon and *said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which translated means Christ). 42He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).

43The next day He decided to go to Galilee, and He *found Philip. And Jesus *said to him, “Follow Me.” 44Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45Philip *found Nathanael and *said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses wrote in the Law, and the prophets also wrote: Jesus the son of Joseph, from Nazareth!” 46Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good be from Nazareth?” Philip *said to him, “Come and see.”

John 1:5-46, King James Version

5And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

6¶ There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14And 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.

15¶ John bare 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. 16And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. 17For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. 18No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

19¶ And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? 20And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. 21And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. 22Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? 23He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. 24And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. 25And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? 26John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; 27He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose. 28These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.

29¶ The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 30This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. 31And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. 32And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. 33And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. 34And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.

35¶ Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; 36And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! 37And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? 39He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour. 40One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. 42And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.

43¶ The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. 44Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. 46And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.


About Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.