Volume. XXVI, No. 25
Sunday, 18 December 2011


To This End Was I Born - Part 1


Several hours before he went to the cross, Jesus makes a statement about his birth which is worthy of our consideration during this season. The situation is that Jesus and Pontius Pilate are together in the Roman praetorium, and Pilate is trying to get Jesus to say something that will show him worthy of crucifixion. Pilate asked Jesus in John 18:33: "Art thou the King of the Jews?" Jesus relied in the following verse, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?” After Pilate seemed to have consented that Jesus was the king of the Jews in verse 35, Jesus answered in verse 36-37, “36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. 37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. (John 18:36-37) 

Interestingly, this is actually a great Christmas text even though it comes from the end of Jesus\' life and ministry on earth, not the beginning. This is because in this verse the singularity of his birth is implied; the purpose of his birth is given; and the pre-condition of approving that purpose is mentioned. The singularity of his birth is that he did not originate at his birth. He existed before he was born in a manger: "To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world." The purpose of his birth was to bear witness to the truth: "that I should bear witness unto the truth.” And the precondition of approving that purpose, that is, the thing which enables a person to agree that Jesus testifies to the truth is that the person, is "of the truth." In other words, everyone who is of the truth hears his voice. Let\'s look at each of these more closely, so that in seeing Christ and his purpose more clearly, we might approve of Christ\'s words with all our heart and mind and soul and strength.

The Singularity of Jesusbirth

Our Lord said, “To this end was I born.” The personality of Jesus of Nazareth existed before the man Jesus of Nazareth was born. This is a great mystery. The theological word to describe this mystery is not creation, but incarnation. The person, not the body, but the essential personhood of Jesus existed before he was born as a man some two thousand years ago. His birth was not a coming into being of a new person, but a coming into the world of an infinitely old person, God Himself, who has no beginning and no end. Micah 5:2 puts it like this, 700 years before Jesus was born: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

The origin of the Jesus, the Messiah, who appears in Bethlehem is from eternity! Therefore, the mystery of the birth of Jesus is not merely that he was born of a virgin. This miracle was intended by God to witness to an even greater miracle—namely, that the child born at ‘Christmas’ was a person who existed "from of old, from everlasting." He was not merely born, as John 18:37 says that he came into the world! Hear what Jesus puts it in John 8:56–59. He says to the Jews: “56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.” The Jews then said to him, “57 Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, "58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” So they took up stones to throw at him (v.59).

Christ was before Abraham, indeed before all creation! John and Paul and the writer of the book of Hebrews make clear for us. The Apostle John says in John 1:1: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" Please don\'t let any Jehovah\'s Witness convince you that the proper translation is "the Word was a God." This is the devil’s translation. The argument that they use is not grammatically compelling, and it flies in the face of the rest of John\'s witness, for example, Thomas\' confession, "My Lord and my God." Almost all language scholars of old, even those who think he was wrong, agree that the Apostle John meant to say that the pre-existent Christ was God, and Thomas was confessing exactly that! John 1:2 says: "The same was in the beginning with God." This verse clearly says that Christ himself was not a creature, but was involved in creating all that was created. John 1:14 says, "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." This verse again proves that Christ existed before Abraham, indeed, before all creation because he was himself one with the creator God. The apostle Paul teaches the same general truth in Philippians 2:5–8:

“5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

The Apostle Paul is saying, before Jesus was born in the likeness of men, he had the form of God, he was equal with God. And the writer of the letter to the Hebrews, began his letter with the same truth in different words. He said,

“1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power…”

Eternally begotten of the Father, not created

Though we are not able to comprehend fully, these passages should help us draw a sketch in our minds of how the Son and the Father are one and yet different within the Trinity. We may conceive, though it stretches us to the limit, of a Being who never had a beginning, but has a particular character. And further yet, we can imagine that this God has always been conscious of Himself. That is, He has always had His own image before Him to contemplate and enjoy because of His greatness and His moral beauty! Could it not be that this image, this form, is so clear and so real in God that it, too, is God, the image of God, the form of God, the Son of God? The advantage of such a picture is that it helps us see that the Son, who is the very image and glory of God, is indeed begotten by the Father, and yet is not created by the Father. There never was a time when God the Father did not have this perfect, real, and living image of Himself. They are co-eternal and co-existed from the eternity past! The Son is eternally begotten, not created, period!

To be continued…

Ps Weng


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

Special Welcome To All Worshippers and Visitors

 

Today

  1:30 pm Adult Sunday School: Gospel of Luke Class

  1:30 pm WCF Shorter Catechism Class

  2:30 pm Session Meeting

Tuesday

10:00 am Tiny Tots Sing-a-long*

Wednesday

  7:30 pm Bible Study & Prayer Meeting*

Thursday

  7:30 pm BSAG Prayer Meeting & Bible Study at the home of Dn Wai Kin & Sis Mavis Wong

Friday

 7:30 pm YAF Bible Study*

Next Lord’s Day - Christmas Day

  9:15 am Choir Practice

10:40 am Pre-Service Prayer Meeting        

10:50 am Pre-Service Singspiration

11:00 am Christmas Day Worship Service.

                Speaker: Ps Weng

11:30 am Sunday School

12:30 pm Fellowship Lunch

  *Activities at The Stone Mansion

 

 Praise and Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Dn Yaw Chiew Tan (Adl); Dn Wai Kin & Sis Mavis Wong & family (KI); Dns Joyce Gong (Per); Bros Raphael Ng (Pt Aug/Adl) & Jason Teng (Adl); Sisters  Shu Ai Cho (B/Pahat), Grace Seow & family, Sally & Corinne Teng (Adl); & others who have arrived at their destinations. 

2. Church activities - over the past week.

3. God’s daily provision, mercy, guidance & blessings.

4. Visitors & new worshippers.

 

Prayer Items

1. Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev George van Buuren; Rev Luke Kim (Post-cardiac surgery, S Korea); Rev & Mrs James White; Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Dn Edwin D’Mello’s mother (Mumbai); Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser;  Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Auntie Oei; Bro Elton Law; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth, Margaret Hooper, Lai Kheng Chiong (KL), Myung Ki, Irena Kurek-Braden (NSW), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Lehia Paauwe (Per), & Susan Varadi; Mr Swee Liang Ng (Bro Raphael’s father); Mr Tony Wong (Bro John’s father); Mrs. Chuilin Yap (Malacca); & others in affliction. 

2. Cambodia Missions - Rev Srun Chivan & Ministry; Pr Zhang & Ministry(Sihanoukville);

3. Ministry in New Life BPC (London): Ps & Sis Ki.

4. Batam Missions - Next month’s missions trip - 4-7 Jan 2012. Sis Ang Liang Phoa & Ministry.

5. iSketch&Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry - Pr HS Lim (Melb).

6. IBPFM (USA) - Rev Keith Coleman, Board & missionaries in India, South America & USA.

7. Ps & Sis Weng - Ministry in Hope BPC.

8. Presbyterian Missionary Union - Missionaries.

9. Hopefuls in S’pore; In Kuching: Teo family.

10. House of Hope, Cebu, Philippines - drug addicts: for their salvation & healing from drug addiction.

11. Journey mercies: Dn Colin & Sis Grace Gan & family; Bro Raymond Chia (S’pore); Dn Wai Kin & Sis Mavis Wong & family; Bro Ngie Joo & Sis Sooi Chin Gong (Per), Bro John & Sis Josephine Wong & Stephen (Adl); Sisters Gillian Ong, Grace Seow & family (S’pore), & Lin Poh (Kuch); Mdm Winifred Chin (Per); & others who are travelling.

12. God’s comfort: Those in mourning.

13. Logos International School (Phnom Penh) - Bro Peter Koo.

14. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin & Korean.

15. Sisters Clara Sim & Melissa Wong - God’s guidance, job & direction in S’pore or elsewhere.

16. Job - Bro Raymond Ang & our uni graduates looking for jobs.

17. Godly wisdom - Australian Federal & State authorities.

18.  Sis Gillian Ong & her team members - missions work in Laos (Dec 2011). For health & protection.

19.  Believers under persecution in Islamic countries.

20.  Unity & fellowship of Australian B-P Churches.

21.  Installers of  Solar panels - for safety of workers.

22.  Hopefuls away interstate & overseas: for safety & protection.

 

 

 

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063