Undercover God

The 7th of December 2014

John 1:1-18

The Undercover King

The 2nd Week of Advent

 

 

Welcome In the Name of the Father, The Son, And the Holy Spirit.

 

 

John 1:1-18

 

 

 

1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2

He was in the beginning with God.

3

All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

4

In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

5

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

6

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

7

He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.

8

He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

9

The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

10

He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.

11

He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.

12

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,

13

who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

14

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.

15

(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.'”)

16

And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

17

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

18

No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known

 

 

There is this show on the television titled Undercover Boss, and, true to form bosses pose as low-level trainees having a documentary made about them. The producers throw a mullet wig on the boss’ head and glue a crooked mustache to their face and the disguise is complete. Rarely do employees recognize the CEO or owner of their company.

 

In Shakespeare’s Henry The Fifth the King of England borrows a filthy cloak and sits around the fire with his soldiers on the eve of a battle with the odds stacked against them. They speak to him candidly about their doubts and fears, for they did not know they spoke to their sovereign.

 

And, when our Lord came to His own, they did not receive Him. Some, perhaps, did not recognize Him. Others, it would seem, did, yet flat out rejected their King.

 

Would you know Him if He stood right in front of your face? Do you hear Him even as He calls you and woos you and assures you that He is good and that you will never find peace until you rest in Him? It is as if He is saying to you today, “Taste and see that I’m good! (Psalm 34.), I dare you!” Does He not say that He wishes to dwell in your midst everyday?

 

 

 The Undercover God put on Skin to save us.

 

John 1:10-14

10. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.

11

He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.

12

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,

13

who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

14

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.

 

 

What Is God telling you through these verses?

 

1.  The Creator stepped into His creation to save His creation from themselves. Colossians says as much.

 

2.  Most of His Creatures rejected Him.

 

3.  But you don’t have to. You can receive Him by believing in His name. If you do you will become  a Child of God, and Children of God are forgiven, full of peace, and live forever.

 

But most people won’t receive Him.

 

The Creator stepped into His creation, and His creation killed Him.

 

 

The Undercover God took on Flesh to gain your trust.

 

14

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

15

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

                           ~ Hebrews 4:14-15

 

 

Some of you have a hard time trusting God because you’ve never met anyone who you could trust. You’ve been let down all your life. Everyone you run with is a super shady sketchy scoundrel, and you figure God must be too.

 

It sort of reminds me of an old Brother’s Grimm Tale called Old Sultan.

 

A shepherd had a faithful dog, called Sultan, who was grown very old, and had lost all his teeth. And one day when the shepherd and his wife were standing together before the house the shepherd said, ’I will shoot old Sultan tomorrow morning, for he is of no use now.’ But his wife said, ’Pray let the poor faithful creature live; he has served us well a great many years, and we ought to give him a livelihood for the rest of his days.’ ’But what can we do with him?’ said the shepherd, ’he has not a tooth in his head, and the thieves don’t care for him at all; to be sure he has served us, but then he did it to earn his livelihood; tomorrow shall be his last day, depend upon it.’

Poor Sultan, who was lying close by them, heard all that the shepherd and his wife said to one another, and was very much frightened to think tomorrow would be his last day; so in the evening he went to his good friend the wolf, who lived in the wood, and told him all his sorrows, and how his master meant to kill him in the morning. ’Make yourself easy,’ said the wolf, ’I will give you some good advice. Your master, you know, goes out every morning very early with his wife into the field; and they take their little child with them, and lay it down behind the hedge in the shade while they are at work. Now do you lie down close by the child, and pretend to be watching it, and I will come out of the wood and run away with it; you must run after me as fast as you can, and I will let it drop; then you may carry it back, and they will think you have saved their child, and will be so thankful to you that they will take care of you as long as you live.’ The dog liked this plan very well; and accordingly so it was managed. The wolf ran with the child a little way; the shepherd and his wife screamed out; but Sultan soon overtook him, and carried the poor little thing back to his master and mistress. Then the shepherd patted him on the head, and said, ’Old Sultan has saved our child from the wolf, and therefore he shall live and be well taken care of, and have plenty to eat. Wife, go home, and give him a good dinner, and let him have my old cushion to sleep on as long as he lives.’ So from this time forward Sultan had all that he could wish for.

Soon afterwards the wolf came and wished him joy, and said, ’Now, my good fellow, you must tell no tales, but turn your head the other way when I want to taste one of the old shepherd’s fine fat sheep.’ ’No,’ said the Sultan; ’I will be true to my master.’ However, the wolf thought he was in joke, and came one night to get a dainty morsel. But Sultan had told his master what the wolf meant to do; so he laid wait for him behind the barn door, and when the wolf was busy looking out for a good fat sheep, he had a stout cudgel laid about his back, that combed his locks for him finely.

 

There is no good guy in this story.

Old Sultan cannot trust the master he has served all his life. The Shepherd cannot trust his dog for his dog is in cahoots with a wolf. And the wolf is not rewarded for assisting Old Sultan.

In the same way, we are not the hero of our story. We are both scoundrel and villain in His tale.

 

We’re sitting here telling God, “Hey we’re not as bad as we could be”, as though that should impress a Holy God!

 

And it is as though God’s sort of up in Heaven giving us the slow clap and the side eye going, “What? You want a cookie for that, Junior?”

 

All the films and books of our Age are screaming at us, “There are no good guys! There are only shades of grey. Just give in.”

 

I am here to say, “There was one! And we crucified Him with our sin, and He came back from the dead to tell you as it were, “I Love you. I forgive you. Follow me to eternal Life.”

 

We fall into at least on of two categories. We either think everyone is bad as we are, including God Himself, or we think we are better than we are.

 

The other day I was sitting at a stop sign in the parking lot of Hobby Lobby. A man was walking with a cane. He was having a time of it. He walked slowly with great difficulty, but he was walking nonetheless. Half of his body flailed helplessly with every pained step, but still he walked. It was heroic, really.

 

Behind me was a man in rather of a hurry.  As I watched him in my rear view mirror I could tell he was growing more and more impatient with the man and his cane. Finally he turned his steering wheel sharply and speed down the parking lot to bypass the man walking with his cane.

 

The man in the car had a handicap tag hanging from his rear view mirror.

 

So it is with all of us sinners angry with other sinners for sinning.  We all are hypocritical in this manner.  We consider ourselves superior to those who are just as trapped as we.

 

 

Who are we? We’re wicked tenants.

 

Luke 20:9-18

9

And he began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard and let it out to tenants and went into another country for a long while.

10

When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, so that they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed.

11

And he sent another servant. But they also beat and treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed.

12

And he sent yet a third. This one also they wounded and cast out.

13

Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’

14

But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.’

15

And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them?

16

He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When they heard this, they said, “Surely not!”

17

But he looked directly at them and said, “What then is this that is written: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’?

18

Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”

 

We are the wicked tenants. Christ Crucified for Sinners means that He will break you to pieces, and put you together again. The irony is that before He breaks you, you were an incomplete puzzle, after He puts you back together you are more whole than you were to begin with.

 

Oh, heavy hearted dearly bedraggled saints: Some of you are dragging boulders across the dusty prairie. You’re dragging boulders behind you that used to sit where your heart once resided. Look to Jesus. Behold, He is making all things new.

 

The Undercover God wants you to recognize Him

 

Will you recognize Him even today as He stands before you with holy hands. He is beckoning you. You’re not too bad for His love to cover your sins. You need not be an orphan, you’re not an outcast, you’re beloved.

 

 

1 Corinthians 2:8-9

 

8

None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

9

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”–

 

 

Will you recognize Him in blessing or adversity?  Will you recognize Him In crucifixion or Resurrection?

 

John 8:28a

 

28

So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He…

 

 

 

Luke 24:30-35

 

30

When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them.

31

And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.

32

They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”

33

And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together,

34

saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”

35

Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

 

 

Whether you recognize Him in His 1st Advent humble and mild or in His second Advent fearsome and just you shall recognize Him one fine day. Perhaps you shall recognize Him hanging on the Cross condemned in your place. Perhaps you shall recognize Him risen from the dead, the first born of many. Perhaps you shall recognize Him in the breaking of bread.  Christmas is about that time God went undercover so that we could see what Love looks like. Love looks like a full manger. Love looks like Jesus hanging on a Cross. Love looks like an empty Tomb. Love looks like you kneeling before the Cross saying, “I believe”. 

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