The Divine Invasion
July 13th, 1986 @ 10:50 AM
THE DIVINE INVASION
Dr. W. A. Criswell
7-13-86 10:50 a.m.
This is the pastor bringing the message entitled The Divine Invasion. In these morning hours we are preaching through the Gospel of John. We have begun in the first chapter; we are yet in it. And the text is the fourteenth verse of the first chapter of the Gospel of John. If you will take your Bible, we are going to read out loud together verses 11 through 18, verses 11 through 18, the first chapter of the Gospel of John. And when you come to the fourteenth verse, you will read the greatest sentence that has ever been penned in human literature.
John 1:11-18: Do we have it? Let’s all read it out loud together:
He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.
But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name:
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
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.
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.
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 hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.
And the incomparable text, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us" [John 1:14].
The sermon is taken out of the writings of the apostle John in the Gospel, in the three epistles, and in the Apocalypse; The Divine Invasion, God in human flesh.
Why did God do that: subject Himself to the illimitable, immeasurable sorrows that all of us know in human life? The answer, number one; God came down from heaven and was made a member of our human family in order that He might be one of us. The author of the Hebrews spoke of it like this, "Since the children are flesh and blood, it behooved Him to be made a part of the same. For He took not upon Him the nature of angels, but He took upon Him the seed of Abraham" [Hebrews 2:14, 16]. And He was in all points tempted as we are, that He might be a faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, that He might sympathize with us, that He might be one of us [Hebrews 4:15].
On a great and extensive plain, the millions and the millions of the earth were gathered before the throne of God, and there sat the mighty Judge of all the earth. And the crowd on that vast plain before the almighty Judge was belligerent and vicious and critical.
One of the women, a dark brunette, jerked back her sleeve and exhibited a number of a tattoo incised in her flesh in a Nazi concentration camp. And doubling her fist, she said, "What does God know about this, living up there in heaven and all of the beauties of Paradise? What would He know about this?" And a black man jerked down his collar and exhibited an ugly burning scar, where he had been lynched for no other reason than that he was black, and shaking his fist said, "What would God know about this?"
And all through that vast throng there were those who were illegitimate, and there were those who were slaves, and there were those who in indescribable hurt and poverty lived all the days of their lives. And shaking their fists at the Almighty God said, "What would you know about us, living up there in heaven, where no sorrow ever comes and no death ever appears?"
That vast throng appointed a committee, taken from each one of the suffering sections of humanity. And they presented a list of things that God had to do, and God had to experience, if He was going to be the Judge of us. And that list numbered ten.
Number one: if God is to be a judge of earth, first, let Him be born a despised Jew as those in the Nazi concentration camps. And all the throng shouted approval.
Number two: let the legitimacy of His birth be doubted, so that none will know who His father is. And again they shouted approval.
Number three: let Him champion a cause so just, but so radical, that it brings down upon Him the hate, condemnation, and eliminating efforts of the establishment and every major tradition and every authority. And they shouted approval.
Four: let Him be the object of put-downs and ridicule, be spat upon, called demonic and mad. And they shouted affirmation.
Number five: let Him try to describe what no man has ever seen, touched, or heard. Let Him try to communicate the Almighty God. And they shouted approval.
Number six: let Him be betrayed by His dearest friends.
Number seven: let Him be indicted on false charges, tried before a prejudiced jury, and convicted by a cowardly judge.
Number eight: let Him experience what it is to be terribly alone and completely abandoned by every living being.
Number nine: let Him be tortured and let Him die. Let Him die the most humiliating of deaths. Let Him die with common thieves and the agony of a cross.
Last: let His name live on, so that for centuries it will be used as a common curse word in moments of rage.
And suddenly, over that vast throng was a silence that could be felt. No one uttered another word, for they suddenly realized that God had already done just that; God, in human flesh, suffering all of the sorrows and agonies that we know in human life; that God is our Lord, and one day our Judge.
Why was it that He became flesh? A second reason the apostle writes, that we might know the heart of the Father: he writes, in verse 18, "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him" [John 1:18], revealed Him. What is God like? "No man has seen God." What is God like? John says the incarnated Christ reveals Him, establishes Him, makes Him known. God is like that; the cry of Job, "Oh that I might know where I can find Him! That I might come before His throne and plead my cause" [Job 23:3-4]. Philip said to the Lord, "Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us" [John 14:8].
What is God like? All of the revelations of God in the Old Testament are just partial, no matter how they are. If it is the burning bush [Exodus 3:2], where He says, "My name is I AM" [Exodus 3:14], it’s just a type and a figure. If it is in the thunders of Mount Sinai [Exodus 19:16-18], it’s just a portion of the revelation of God. If it is the shekinah flame lambent that rises above the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies [2 Chronicles 5:14], it’s just a partial view of the great and mighty God – just types and figures and emblems in the Old Testament.
But what is God really like in all of His full-orbed glory and beauty and wonder and personality? What is God like? God is like Jesus. When you see Him, you see the Lord God – tender, compassionate, and full of mercy [Matthew 9:36; John 14:9]. He came in human flesh to reveal to us the full-orbed revelation of what God is really like [Colossians 2:9].
Why did He come incarnate – "the Word was made flesh"? [John 1:14]. He came that He might take away the sin of the world. "The next day John the Baptist seeth Jesus coming unto him, and said, Behold, look, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" [John 1:29]. "For this purpose," he writes in his first epistle, "For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might take away our sin [1 John 3:5], and that He might destroy the works of the devil" [1 John 3:8].
What an astonishing realization, that our sorrows, and our tears, and our heartaches, and our death is felt more pointedly in heaven than even we feel it here!
There is no one who cries that He did not cry, no one whose heart is broken and His heart was not broken, no one who suffers and He did not suffer. He came into this world in answer to the cry of our human souls. And He is our great propitiation [1 John 2:2], and atonement [Romans 5:11], and comforter [Matthew 11:28-30] and Savior and keeper and guide and hope and, everlastingly, our Lord, O God! [John 10:27-30; Acts 4:12; 1 John 4:14] The Lord in human flesh [John 1:14].
He was manifested [1 Timothy 3:15]; that is, He had a prior existence. He came from heaven [John 6:38] – the pre-existent and eternal Word of God, "And the Word was God" [John 1:1]. He came and was manifested. And he came to luō. There is not a young student in seminary or in Bible school learning Greek that does not recognize that paradigm. In every grammar in every class, the conjugation of the verb will be with the paradigmic verbluō, luō – luō, lueis, luei, luomen, luete, luousi; the paradigm, the conjugation of the Greek verb luō. What does it mean? It means "to loosen." It means "to break up." It means "to destroy."
What God has done in human flesh, what God has done; He has come to destroy, to break up that universal, pervading force that holds the world in death and darkness and despair – to break it up; that pervasive hold that Satan has upon all humanity and all life – to break up the prison house of Satan, his damnation of souls and his destruction of life [Hebrews 2:14]. Christ did not come just to minister to the results of sin, just to assuage our hurts, like ministering the pimples on the flesh, the top of the skin. But, He came to address Himself to the root and the cause of our damnation [Romans 3:21-26]. And that is, in the sacred prerogative of Almighty God, thus to deliver His people from the judgment of transgression and wrong and sin and all of the sorrow and heartache attendant thereto. He came to deliver us from the judgment of our sins [John 3:17].
Not only that, He came to destroy the works of the devil [1 John 3:8]. What an amazing universal power Satan has in this world and upon our lives! It is described here in the Bible. He is a murderer from the beginning, and he speaketh a lie, and he is a liar and the father of it [John 8:44]. This whole world is under his aegis [2 Corinthians 4:4]. And he is a murderer to destroy all of God’s mankind.
You heard a demonstration of a part of it here from Zig Ziglar: the murder of innocent children even before they are born; 4,557 of them every day. But that is but a part of the violence of the murderer in this earth. He sows the whole earth with disaster and death; you, me, all of us. He kills us all. He murders us all.
As you know, before any child comes forward here in the church, I have the father and mother bring the youngster to me, and I talk to the youngster. It will surprise you. You will be amazed at how early a child knows the basic theological persuasions of the faith, understands them.
Let me give an example, a little part of that visitation with the child. I’ll ask the child, "What is sin?"
And he’ll answer, "It’s disobedience to God" [1 John 3:4].
"And who has sinned?"
"All of us have sinned," he’ll say [Romans 3:10, 23].
And then, I’ll say, "What is the judgment? What is the penalty that God has joined to sin, and the two always move together?"
And the child will always answer, "It is death. It is death. My body dies. I’m slain. And my soul dies and is separated from God [Ezekiel 18:4; Romans 6:23]. The Bible calls that the second death" [Revelation 20:14]. This is a child talking to me.
Then I will ask the youngster, "Have you ever seen a cemetery?"
And the child will say, "Yes."
"Well, what is a cemetery for?"
And the child will answer, "That’s where we bury our dead."
This whole earth – the whole earth is nothing other than a vast cemetery in which we bury our dead. He is a murderer from the beginning [John 8:44]. He slays all of God’s people and all of humanity. He is a liar, and the father of it. He is the great deceiver. He said to Eve, "Yes, did God say that if you eat this forbidden fruit, if you transgress, you will die? Yea, did God say that? Did God say that? Did God say if you do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, you will be forever lost? Did God say that? Did God say that one day you are going to stand before the judgment before the Almighty? Did God say that? Yea, did God say that?" Then the outright interdiction of the word of the Lord, "You will not die" [Genesis 3:4]. He is a liar, and the father of it [1 John 8:44].
He changes the signs on the way to the cities of refuge. He blocks our hope in Christ Jesus. He stands between you and the throne of grace and the gate of glory. He does. He is the great sinner, the supreme sinner. And he is called diabolos, translated "devil" in the Bible. Diabolos; he’s the great deceiver [John 8:44]. Christ has come to deliver us from the mechanisms, and from the damnations, and from the death, and from the works wrought by our great archenemy [1 John 3:5].
And may I mention one other? Why the coming of Christ into the world? What John says, "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us" [John 1:14]. Why did God do that? A last: that we might share in the ultimate and the final victory. In the twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse, John describes a dramatic scene:
There was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought, and his angels,
And prevailed not,
And Satan, that old serpent and deceiver, was cast out into the earth,
Woe unto the inhabitants of the world, for the devil has come down to you, having great anger, for he knoweth that his time is short.
Then, the triumphant word of the apostle John:
And they overcame him – and they overcame him. They won the victory over him – they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.
"They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb" [Revelation 12:11]. He came into the world to die for our sins according to the Scriptures [Matthew 20:28; 1 Corinthians 15:3; Galatians 1:4]. Every transgression of which we’re guilty and every sin we have committed has been atoned for and paid for in the crimson flow of that precious tide of blood that flowed out of the side of our crucified Lord [1 Peter 1:18-19; 1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5]. All of our sins washed away.
What can wash away my sins?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
["Nothing But The Blood," Robert Lowry]
"They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony" [Revelation1 2:11], unashamedly, publicly, openly, confessing our faith in the blessed Lord Jesus. "Here I am, and here I stand." That’s the victory that God hath given us, who live in this world of sin and death.
And the redeemed saints of God, the Lord’s people now – they’re not almanac gazing; they’re not star searching. What they’re doing is, with loins girt, and with lamps lit, and with daily service, our faces are lifted up. Our redemption draweth nigh; lift up your faces [Luke 21:28]. Our faces are lifted up in expectancy, and in prayer, and in waiting for the glorious and final victory of the coming of our Lord Jesus. That is why He came into the world: to give us that ultimate and final victory [Luke 19:20].
There is no gospel in this world imaginable or conceivable that rivals the upness, and the glory, and the triumph, and the victory of the faith in Jesus Christ; blesses our hearts and homes and lives, blesses our families and people, and is our great, glorious sunrise of a more marvelous and wonderful tomorrow. And that is the precious message God hath sent us, he has sent us to preach unto you.
Somebody you, this day: "This is God’s day for me, and I’m opening my heart heavenward and Christ-ward, and inviting Jesus into my life." Or a family, the whole family, coming into the fellowship of God’s dear people, or answering a call of the Holy Spirit in your heart, "This is God’s day, God’s choice, God’s moment for me, and here I stand, pastor."
In that balcony round, there’s time and to spare, down one of these stairways; in the press of people on this lower floor, down one of these aisles, "Pastor, this is the glorious of all days for me. And here I stand. Here I come."
Make it now. Make the decision in your heart now. And I am a prophet when I avow to you, that first step that you will take down that stairway or down this aisle will be the most meaningful and precious you’ll ever make in your life. You’ll feel the presence of God in your soul, and you’ll feel the presence of the angels attending as you come. That’s God. He never fails us. Do it, and may the Lord speed you in the way.
Now, before we sing, I want to pray for you.
Our Lord in heaven, there will be many, many, many this hour making this ultimate and final decision. Dear Lord God in heaven, rather than facing alone the judgment of sin and inevitable death, Lord, may they rather, standing by the side of the Lord, looking to that ultimate and final day of victory and triumph, may they take Jesus as their friend and Savior.
What a blessing to have Him in our hearts and homes now, in the pilgrimage of this life! What a comfort to have Jesus stand by us in the hour of our death! And what a marvelous sweetness of hope to know that, when we stand in the presence of the great Judge of all the earth, He will be our advocate; He will plead our cause.
Our Lord, may this be a day of salvation. And in this moment, precious Savior, when we stand and sing our appeal; may it be that families and souls will come to Thee and to Thy redeemed people this holy and heavenly hour. Thank You, Lord, for the prayer and the harvest You bestow, in Thy saving and keeping name, amen.
Now, in this moment when we sing our appeal, anywhere in this great throng, you, into that aisle, down one of these stairways, "Pastor, this is God’s day for me, and I’m on the way." Welcome, a thousand times welcome, while we stand and while we sing.
I. To be one of us (Hebrews 2:14-18,
A. The gathering on the
plain of judgment
B. The suffering of
II. To reveal the Father (John 1:18)
A. The heart-cry of all
humanity (Job 23:3, John 14:8)
B. The revelation in
the Old Testament is only partial
C. The full revelation
III. To take away sin (John 1:29)
A. Our sorrow and death
more deeply felt in heaven
B. To address Himself
to the root and cause of our damnation
IV. To destroy the works of the devil (1
A. Satan has universal
power in this world
B. A murderer and liar
from the beginning (John 8:44, Genesis 3:1, 4)
V. To make possible the final victory
(Revelation 12:7-9, 11)
A. He bore the sins of
B. Ultimate and final