The Divine Invasion
July 13th, 1986 @ 8:15 AM
THE DIVINE INVASION
Dr. W. A. Criswell
7-13-86 8:15 a.m.
And we are thankful for the multitudes of you who share this hour with us on radio. This is the First Baptist Church in Dallas; this is the pastor bringing the message entitled The Divine Invasion. It is a presentation of one of the greatest texts in all the Word of God and one of the greatest sentences ever written by human hand: John 1:14. Now let us take our Bibles and turn to the Gospel of John, the Gospel of John, and we are going to read the first fourteen verses.
Is that organ? Is that what? I can hear the organ roaring up here whether you can or not, and he tells me they are mending it right now, which I hope they succeed in doing. I am in favor of getting a new organ. This is the third Sunday that that thing has been acting up just as we get ready to go into our preaching service here. I think the devil has got something against us.
John 1, you have it? John 1, the first fourteen verses; now let us read it out loud together:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.
In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.
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.
And the text is that last verse, which I have said is one of the greatest sentences ever written by human hand. The title of the message The Divine Invasion; and the text: "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us."
John, in his writings, the three epistles, the Apocalypse, and the Gospel, John reveals to us the purpose of the incarnation, the coming of God in human flesh. And the message is what John presents of why God came in human form to dwell among us. The first reason is found in the fact that God sought to be one of us: not removed from us in a paradise, not far away from us in the third heaven, but down here with us, living our life, suffering our hurts, and sharing all of our providences and exigencies. That’s the first reason why God came into this world in human flesh.
The author of the Book of Hebrews said it like this: "Because the children are flesh and blood, He likewise came to be part of the same. For He took not upon Him the nature of angels; but He took upon Him the seed of Abraham. That in all things He might be tried and tempted as we are, that He might be a faithful high priest to us who find ourselves in the throes of the hurt and death and sorrows of this world" [Hebrews 2:14, 16-18; 4:15]. Christ came to be one of us.
On a great plain, before the Lord God Judge, were gathered all of humanity. And the people were blasphemous, and belligerent, and surly. And they said one to another in anger, "How can He judge us, living up there in heaven where everything is pretty and soft and nice? What does He know about us?" And one of the women, a dark-haired brunette, olive-skinned woman pulled back a sleeve and showed the tattooed number from a Nazi concentration camp, a Jewess who said, "What does He know about that?" And a black man, a Negro, jerked down his collar and showed an ugly scar, a rope burn where he had been lynched for no other reason than that he was black. And in anger he said, "What does God know about this?" And the illegitimate and the oppressed and the slaves of the world shook their fists and said, "How can He judge us, living up there in the soft climate and azure beauties of heaven? What does He know of us down here?" And they appointed a committee to draw up a list of things that God ought to suffer and to experience, "if He is to judge us!" And they numbered them. There were ten of them.
"If God is going to judge us, number one: let Him be born a despised Jew, as in a Nazi concentration camp." And they lifted up their fists and shouted affirming approval. Number two: "Let the legitimacy of His birth be doubted so that no one will know who His father really is. Let them call Him illegitimate!" And 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 illuminating efforts of the establishment and every major, traditional and established religious authority!" And they shouted approval. Number four: "Let Him be the object of put-downs and ridicule, be spat upon, called demonic and mad!" And they shouted approval. Five: "Let Him try to avow what no man has ever seen, touched or heard: let Him try to communicate 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"; and they shouted approval. Number eight: "Let Him experience what it is to be terribly alone and completely abandoned by every living thing." Number nine: "Let Him be tortured and let Him die! Let Him die the most humiliating of deaths with common thieves on a rugged cross." Number ten: "And let His name live on so that for centuries it will be used as a common curse word in moments of rage!" And when the last one was uttered there was a silence that could be felt! They suddenly realized that God had done just that! There is no sorrow that He has not known; no degradation, no experience of humiliation, no death that He has not suffered.
The Word was made flesh, God in human form. What does John, say about God coming? He says the purpose of it is to reveal the Father to them. No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, He has revealed Him [John 1:18]. What is God like? And can He be touched with the feeling of our infirmities? Job cried, saying, "Oh that I knew where I could find Him! That I might come to His throne and plead my case" [Job 23:3-4]. Philip said, "Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us" [John 14:8].
All of the revelations of God in the Old Testament are but partial. If He is in a burning bush, saying, "My name is I Am [Exodus 3:2, 14]," it’s a partial revelation. If He is on Mount Sinai in the thunders of the revelation of the Ten Commandments [Exodus 20:1-17], it’s just a partial revelation. If He is seen in the shekinah glory lambent above the mercy seat in the Holy of holies [Exodus 25:22] it’s just a partial revelation. These are the types and figures in the Old Testament. But in Christ we have a full-orbed revelation of God our Father. What is He like? He is like the Lord Jesus: tender, and compassionate, and moved with the feeling of our sickness.
What is the purpose of Christ coming into the world? John says again, "He has come into the world to take away our sins." The next day, "John the Baptist seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold, look, the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world" [John 1:29]. It is an amazing, unbelievable, unimaginable thing to me that the repercussion of the sorrows and judgments of our life are felt more in heaven than they are on earth, that they are more in the heart of God than they are in our own souls. They are felt in heaven; all of the human hurts and sorrows of our human lives. And John says the purpose of Christ coming into the world is to take away the sin that causes such judgment, such hurt, and such sorrow. Not the result of it, that would be like healing the pimples on the skin, but the root and the cause of it: He has come to take away the power and the evil that hurts God’s created children.
I want to expound that a moment, if I can. In 1 John 3:5, "Ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins," and in verse 8, "For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil." That’s an amazing thing that he says. I want you to look at it just carefully for a moment. "He was manifested, phaneroo, manifested," that means He had a prior existence: He didn’t begin His life in this world. He was manifested, we saw Him; He was there, glorified before us, the Lord in our midst, walking, talking, living, teaching, loving, dying; He was manifested. The preexistent Christ is in human flesh. Phaneroo, "For this cause He was manifested, that He might," and there is a paradigm? that every student of the Greek language has known from the beginning of his teaching: the word is luo. There is a paradigm, the conjugation of the word. That is the way you learn the conjugation of Greek words with that word, luo. Luo, lui, luise, luomen, luete, luese – every Greek student who ever studied the language learns that paradigm. That’s the word here: luo, what it means translated here "destroy," what it means is "to break up, to loosen." And our Lord Jesus Christ came into this world to loosen, to break up the cohesive force that holds this world in the power of darkness and death and despair, to break it up, to break it up; to liberate us from it, to deliver us from it. That’s why He came into this world: that we might be free, that we might be saved, that we might be delivered. That’s why He became incarnate: to break it up.
Will you notice another thing that the apostle John writes: "That He might destroy the works of the devil" [1 John 3:8]. Oh dear! what Satan has done among us! He says that Satan, in his Gospel, John 8:44, "He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in truth, because there is no truth in him. He is a liar, and the father of it." That’s Satan. He has deceived this world and has plunged it into despair and into darkness and damnation. He’s a murderer and has been from the beginning.
When I talk to a child – and every child that comes into the fellowship of this church, the father and mother bring the youngster to me and I talk to the youngster. And you say, "Pastor, do you mean to tell me you talk to that little child about these deeper things of theology?" I say, "Yes; for they experience them too." Surprise you; amaze you, that child, how early he learns the great fundamental truths of life. "And what is this," as I talk to the child, "there is a penalty; there is a judgment that God has joined to sin. What is that penalty?" And the child answers, "It is death. It is death." That is universal. I will ask him, "Have you ever seen a cemetery?"
"Yes, I’ve seen a cemetery."
"Well, what is it for?"
"It’s where you bury dead people." That is Satan. He is a murderer. We live in a world of universal murder, of universal death. The hand of Satan on God’s people and upon God’s world, all of us subject to it. This earth is actually nothing other than a vast cemetery in which to bury our dead. That’s Satan. He is the universal destroyer of God’s human life. He’s a murderer; he kills God’s people and buries them in the ground.
Not only is he a murderer, he is a liar; he’s a liar. From the beginning, still that. He’s a great deceiver. With our first parents, he came to Eve and said, "Yea, did God say?" [Genesis 3:1]. That’s Satan: "Did God say? Did God say? If you don’t turn and believe, you’ll be lost. Did God say that? Did God say someday you shall stand before the judgment bar of the Almighty? Did God say that? Did God say in the day that you eat of this forbidden fruit, in the day you transgress you will die? [Genesis 2:17]. Did God say that? You will not die" [Genesis 3:4]. He’s a liar and the father of it. He changes the signs on the way to the city of refuge. He’s a deceiver and he is the supreme sinner. He uses the word here diabolos, diabolos; we translate it "devil," the supreme deceiver, diabolos. Dear me! Who is able to stand before him? We cannot. We are helpless before the awesome ableness and power of our great archenemy Satan. If somebody doesn’t help us, and if somebody doesn’t deliver us, and if somebody doesn’t rescue us, and if somebody doesn’t save us, we are damned and lost forever and ever. We are no match for him who has the power of death.
And that leads me to my last avowal concerning what John says the purpose is of the incarnation, the divine invasion, the Word made flesh. John says in the Revelation that the great reason for the purpose of Christ coming into this world, that we might have an ultimate and a final victory in Jesus. In the twelfth chapter of the Book of the Apocalypse, John says, "And there was war in heaven: Michael, the champion of God, Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, and prevailed not. And they were cast out of heaven, down into the earth [Revelation 12:7-9]. Woe unto the inhabitants of the earth: for the devil, Satan, is come down to you, having great wrath. For he knoweth he hath but a short time" [Revelation 12:12]. Now the word, the triumphant word: "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony." By the blood of the Lamb; in that sacrifice God atoned, paid the price, all-sufficient for all of our wrongs and sins, washed away in the crimson tide flowing from the riven side of our loving Lord. We sang it just now: "There is power in the blood." "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb," the all-sufficient atonement for our sins, "and by the word of their testimony." Openly, statedly, unashamedly I confess Jesus as my Lord and my God and my Savior. What a marvelous way that God has done, that we might be delivered from the judgment of our sins: looking to Jesus on the cross, and openly avowing our loving faith and adoring adoration for what He has done for us.
Thus we see the church. In the first advent, He came in human flesh to be the propitiation, the atoning grace, the sacrifice, the substitutionary death, to pay the penalty of our sins, when He came the first time; He came to die that we might be saved. And He is coming again, coming again, the second advent: He is coming to deliver us from the depths of the grave, and from the degradation of our sin, and to raise us up in glory and in power manifest the sons of God. So the church waits with loins girt, and with lamps lit, and with loving and serving hands, praying, watching, waiting, believing, trusting, looking to Jesus, our ultimate, and final, and coming, and victorious Lord and Savior.
My brothers and sisters, could you think of or imagine a more glorious gospel than what God hath given to us in the faith, in the love, and in the name, and in the grace of our blessed Lord Jesus? Oh, what a privilege just to name His name!
Lord, when You count Your children, count me. When You name those that love Thee, name me. And when you call the role in heaven, call me. What a blessedness!
And that’s our invitation to your heart this morning. "Pastor, this day, this day is God’s wonderful day for me, and here I stand – accepting Thee, trusting Thee, loving Thee, praising Thee, and thanking Thee for what You have done for me. Looking forward to seeing Thee someday in glory, and praising God for Thy presence in my heart and life even now. In faith, I am accepting Thee, Lord Jesus, and here I stand." A family you coming into the fellowship of this dear church, or answering the call of the Lord in your heart, make the decision now. Do it now, seated as you are, make the decision now. And in this moment when we stand to sing our appeal, on the first note of that first stanza, take that first step. And the Lord will go with you and the angels will attend you all the way down here to the altar. In the balcony round, down one of those stairways, in the press of people on this lower floor, down one of these aisles; you will know God is with you, His power enabling you, His loving grace forgiving you, His sovereignty keeping you, you will know that the minute you take that first step. Try it and see. God bless you as you respond with your life, while we stand and while we sing.