John 1:1-18 sermon by Dr. Bob Utley


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1 Jeff Smith = "From a Deily transcription of Dr. Bob Utley's sermon on John 1:1-18.It Is certainly good to be back with you after ten years. You all look older. [laughter]. I’d just like to tell you how excited I am what the Lord is doing here. I follow you in absentia, and I’m just grateful how the spirit is using you in the life of this community, this city, this state. I pray for your pastor, I don’t know how he preaches three sermons in a row, it’s just so draining. I’ve decided I’m going to preach three different sermons every Sunday, it’s easier for me. And I’m going to do it out of the Gospel of John, so I hope you’ll be praying for me. I’m going to start with John, chapter 1, verses 1-18, if you will be turning there. Many of you I know, and I know many of you get my newsletter. I just want to say this one brief word. I’ve been retired from the University for nine years, and what God has done in that interim time, I write commentaries during the week. "
2 Jeff Smith = "The first part of this sermon focuses on John 1:1-18. Dr. Bob says theses verses answer "every human need" ... if we only would believe it."
3 Jeff Smith = "From a Deily transcription of Dr. Bob Utley's sermon on John 1:1-18.I’ve finished the whole New Testament and half the Old Testament. I think it’s something like 32 volumes now. I have that translated into 31 languages and give them away free worldwide on our internet site called I’ve brought my Spring Newsletter for those of you who do not know about this. I hope you will take it and pray for me. It’s exciting to sit in Marshall, Texas, and touch the whole world every day. As I was preparing for this message-- it is just so interesting to me the Gospel of John. Matthew and Luke start with the birth of Christ. Mark starts with the baptism of Jesus. John starts before creation. The other Gospels are rather reluctant to admit the full messianic, preexistent, incarnate deity of Jesus until the last week. "
4 Stephanie C = "Matthew and luke therefore starts off with the great birth of Jesus Christ. "
5 Jeff Smith = "From a Deily transcription of Dr. Bob Utley's sermon on John 1:1-18.John, in the first paragraph of the first chapter, says it in a way that answers every question that modern man has, if he’ll only listen. Because the real issue – the real issue – is an issue of authority. Where do we find truth? Is the Bible the word of God, or is it a human opinion among other opinions? How you answer that question determines how you live life. The first 18 verses of John answers every human need if we can only receive it, only believe it. "
6 Jeff Smith = "From a Deily transcription of Dr. Bob Utley's sermon on John 1:1-18.I must admit to you, I do not understand how the Gospel can be preached with clarity around the world, and so many people not believe. If there is a Holy Spirit – don’t you believe there is? – if there is power, life-changing power in the life, ministry, death, resurrection of Jesus Christ, if the Bible is the clear and only self-revelation of God, why has the world not believed? It’s a mystery. It’s a haunting mystery. I do not know how to answer it. John alludes to it when he talks about the wind blows and you see its affect but you don’t know where it comes or where it goes. The longer I live the more I’m content now at this point in my life to write mystery over many of the things that I thought I knew the first year of seminary."
7 Stephanie C = "The wind blows you see its effect but you don't know where it comes from. So many refuse to believe and mysteriously are of a lack of knowledge of God or his word"
8 Jeff Smith = "From a Deily transcription of Dr. Bob Utley's sermon on John 1:1-18.And one of them is I do not know understand how God loves all people, wants all people to be saved, but when the Gospel is preached, the mystery is that some say no and refuse to believe. I cannot answer that. I call it ‘the mystery of inequity’. It’s here this morning. It’s in every forum. I pray that God’s spirit will open the hearts and minds of those who need Him, and encourage the hearts and minds of those who know Him, to be the people of God in our day, in our country, and in our neighborhood. Amen. Please open your Bibles with me. I’m going to look at my notes some. I think I do have a photographic memory, but my developer leaks. [laughter] And I wrote this a long time ago and it’s on the tip of my tongue."
9 Jeff Smith = "From a Deily transcription of Dr. Bob Utley's sermon on John 1:1-18.But when you have something laid out so beautiful by the Holy Spirit, I should mess it up with my outline? No. Notice it begins at “In the beginning”, you think that’s by accident? It’s obviously an allusion to Genesis 1:1. If you know your Bible as well, this is also how 1 John starts out. I really believe that 1 John is the cover letter for the Gospel of John, because both of them deal with the false teaching of Gnosticism. What kills me so bad as a professor type is that when ‘The Da Vinci Code’ came out, my phone started ringing off the hook of Christians afraid somehow the Bible is not now true. You big weenies! Don’t you do any self-study? Don’t you know what Gnosticism is, the greatest battle the early church fought? Don’t you know that the Gospel of the Prison Epistles, the Pastoral Epistles, and 1 John is written to combat this heresy? "
10 Stephanie C = "The gospel is real therefore the davinchi code doctrine is therefore incorrect         doctrines"
11 Jeff Smith = "From a Deily transcription of Dr. Bob Utley's sermon on John 1:1-18.The Gospel of Thomas is a bunch of bull, and the church didn’t know bothers me. “In the beginning”, 1 John deals with the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. 1 John deals with the beginning of all things. Before God spoke creation into existence – the Bible says six times – before the foundation of the world, God was active before creation to prepare a place to fellowship with a new creation. This planet, C.S. Lewis called it ‘the touched planet’, as far as the Hubble telescope can see – and it can see a long way, this is the only planet like this in the known universe. There may be more, I don’t know, but right now I know this, this is nothing more than a physical platform for the only true God to meet creatures created in His image for fellowship."
12 Jeff Smith = "From a Deily transcription of Dr. Bob Utley's sermon on John 1:1-18.And God help us, we chose to run away from Him, but he would not give up on us – halleluiah. And He sent His own Son, and John 1:1-18 talks about this great love that would not let us go. These first three verses are just crucial, follow with me. “In the beginning was the Word.” This is the word ‘logos’, you all know that, you’ve heard it a lot. There are two Greek words for ‘word’, ‘logos’ and ‘rhema’, the spoken word and the written word, that’s how it breaks out. God gave us a word, what does that mean? It means when you see Jesus you fully and completely see God. I will tell you as an Old Testament professor, there are some things in the Old Testament that scare me. The “holy war”, “everything in the city if it breathes it dies,” that’s pretty scary. That’s exactly the same kind of text that modern jihadists use out of the Koran to justify their lifestyle."
13 Jeff Smith = "From a Deily transcription of Dr. Bob Utley's sermon on John 1:1-18.Those same kind of texts are in the Old Testament. Remember Uzzah when he stopped the cart from falling over and God took his life? I want to tell you, God scares me sometimes in the Old Testament. But if Jesus is the full and complete revelation of God, and I see how He loves the disenfranchised and those with no power and children and women and lepers, I can trust my life to a God like that. Amen. The full and complete revelation of God, the Word. No, it’s not by accident. In the Old Testament there is a real power in the spoken word. I want to remind you that creation comes at the spoken word. I was to remind you of Isaiah 55:11, “My word does not go out from a void without accomplishing that which I purpose.” In the Hebrew mind the spoken word of God was a thing that was given to show that what God wanted would come to be. It’s not by accident that John picked the word ‘word’ to described the Messiah. John also had two audiences."
14 Stephanie C = "Jesus is the full and complete revelation  of God."
15 Jeff Smith = "From a Deily transcription of Dr. Bob Utley's sermon on John 1:1-18.He had a Hebrew world – they were speaking Greek and Aramaic at that point – and he had a Greek world. John is writing much later than the other Gospels, and he’s minding to the needs of the church close to the end of the first century, and he has his eye on two groups, those in Palestine and those in the Greco-Roman world. The same word ‘logos’ was used by the Greek philosophers. Heraclites, Philo, the Stoics, all used this word, they used it for World Reason, or the One that controls the world. I think Philo said it’s the steersman that guides the universe. John chose this word to bring two audiences together. And what was the purpose of bringing those two audiences together? To talk about the person of Jesus Christ. I remember the first time I saw Mel Gibson’s ‘Passion’, oh boy, shocking! First of I couldn’t understand what they were saying. "
16 Jeff Smith = "From a Deily transcription of Dr. Bob Utley's sermon on John 1:1-18.We don’t see to many movies with subtitles, do we? But ‘The Passion’ was so violent, it was so violent, it was so violent! But I want to remind you that tens of thousands of Jewish people suffered that same, exact form of death. There is nothing unique about the way Jesus died. The real issue is who was he, and why did he die? That’s the issue these first 18 verses deal with. “In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God.” What’s going to happen in John, we call it a dualism. And of course this is not Greek dualism, this is already present in the Dead Sea Scrolls. John’s going to take a, “I am from above, you’re from below,” and Paul’s going to take a “before and after” kind of thing. But John takes, “I am from above. ...""
17 Jeff Smith = "From a Deily transcription of Dr. Bob Utley's sermon on John 1:1-18."I grew up with the Father. I’ve always been with the Father. There’s never been a time that I did not exist,” that’s John’s trust. Above came to below to stay below that below can be above. That’s the whole purpose of his coming. “He was with God,” and here’s the kicker, “and he was God.” Now, there is a grammatical rule in Greek called Sharp’s Rule, that when you have two nouns with one article joined by a linking verb, they are in a parallel. This is not, “And the Word was a God,” no, no, no, no, no, no. “And the Word was Divine.” What are we saying here? This is the issue, and you’ve got to decide it. Was Jesus a great man, a wonderful teacher, a religious genius, a wonderful person of history? "
18 Jeff Smith = "From a Deily transcription of Dr. Bob Utley's sermon on John 1:1-18.Or is he the only, incarnate son of the one true God? This is the issue of world religions. This is the issue of all of us who’re trying to get to the same place, theology, this is the issue of if you’re good and you don’t beat up people and steal then surely… Friends! Jesus is the complete and full self-revelation of the one true God. Put in Hebrew’s terms, he’s the son instead of the hireling. “In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.” There are people in our day who struggle with this. I must admit to you, I struggle with this too. I don’t struggle with Jesus being God, what I struggle with is how do I affirm monotheism? “Hear, O Israel: The Lord your God is One Lord. And you shall worship the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.”"
19 Jeff Smith = "From a Deily transcription of Dr. Bob Utley's sermon on John 1:1-18.The Shema of Deuteronomy 6:4-6. How do I reconcile “One and only One God, no one else in my category, there is no one like Me,” how do I reconcile that with “Jesus is Divine”? I must admit to you, don’t you wish Paul or somebody would have a footnote somewhere to explain that to us? But the Bible never does deal with what the seeming contradiction is. Paul is content. The Call, the Father, and the Son. I wish I could penetrate that mystery. I want to say that monotheist, but I have a really big footnote. And this is what bothers Judaism, this is what bothers Islam, and that is they claim that we are tri-theist. We are trying desperately to hold on to One God."
20 Jeff Smith = "From a Deily transcription of Dr. Bob Utley's sermon on John 1:1-18.And It’s not easy for us, because we believe in the full deity of Jesus Christ, and the full personhood of the Holy Spirit. So what do we say? And this is just academic, theological maneuvering, but there is no place else to go. We believe in one, divine, eternal Essene, and three personal, eternal manifestations of that Essence. That’s the best we can do. Because I really believe that Jesus is preexistent, incarnate Deity. That he would become a man, that he would remain a man, says something of the dignity of human beings. I want to tell you – this is really shocking when you hear it – you, in Christ, are a higher spiritual order than the angels of God. What angel is ever said to be made in the image and likeness of God?"
21 Jeff Smith = "From a Deily transcription of Dr. Bob Utley's sermon on John 1:1-18.Whatever angel did Jesus die for? In the Gospels it even says Jesus talking to the disciples, “You will judge the angels, you have are a higher spiritual order.” The fact that God would become a human being and die for our sins is an amazing truth of The New Testament. Amen. Amen. A little bit further if you would with me, “In him was life.” Now, there’s two words in Greek for life, we get zoology from one and biology from the other. ‘Zoe’ is uniquely used by John, not just for this kind of life extended, but for the new age life, the life of God, the life the Garden of Eden, the life of fellowship, eternal life, that’s the kind of life. The other one is ‘bios’, and it just means animal life, life on this planet, life shared by everything that breathes. But Jesus came to give us a new life, a different life, not just the longer, biological life. "
22 Jeff Smith = "From a Deily transcription of Dr. Bob Utley's sermon on John 1:1-18.“In him was life: and the life was the light of men. And the light shines.” Many of us have wondered is this the Greek thought of the Divine spark, that very man has a Divine spark? I think that’s not. Quakers have interpreted this as that Divine spark in every man. This of course is the mystery. Does God’s spirit draw everyone to Christ, or does God choose some? This is the Calvinism debate. I don’t mean to shock you really. Well, I guess I do. To me Calvinism is the god of arbitrary selection. I don’t believe that Calvin is a Calvinist. I am tied to John 3:16 at the hip. I’m tied to 1 Timothy 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9, that He wishes that none should perish, but that all should come to a knowledge of the truth."
23 Jeff Smith = "From a Deily transcription of Dr. Bob Utley's sermon on John 1:1-18.I believe when Jesus died, he died for the sins of the world, and the only thing keeping everyone, everyone, from being saved is unbelief, not the choice of God. I believe when God chose to send Jesus Christ, He chose men – He chose not to recreate. Man, do I like – I won’t get that far probably – verse 12, “As many ask,” as many ask, whosoever? He who? That means you fool. I don’t know who you’re and what you’ve done, that means you. You’re included all whosoever, as-many-as. Thank God it’s not our past that He looks at. If God looked at our past and chose us, then the big deal is choice. God looked at His own heart, God looked at His creation, God looked at a desire to fellowship with each and every one of His human creations, and He sent His Son, the Light of the world."
24 Jeff Smith = "From a Deily transcription of Dr. Bob Utley's sermon on John 1:1-18.Notice if you would in verse 5, “The darkness did not comprehend it.” Now John – I wouldn’t do this in any other book – but John uses double entendres regularly, not just dualisms, light and dark, but double meanings of words. The word ‘comprehend’ has two basic orientations in Koine Greek. One means to grab it, in the sense of grab so as to understand, comprehend. But the other equal meaning is to overcome so as to conquer. Darkness did not understand Truth, halleluiah, darkness cannot overcome truth. Amen. The Light came, why it came to some and not to all? God have mercy, I don’t know. But I thank this, in a world like ours,"
25 Jeff Smith = "From a Deily transcription of Dr. Bob Utley's sermon on John 1:1-18.... with what we see on the TV and on the front-page of our newspapers, I’ve read the last the chapter of the book, and evil doesn’t win – halleluiah. Darkness cannot comprehend or overcome the eternal redemptive plan of God and Jesus Christ. There ought be an Amen there. That’s pitiful. I’m going to leave out verses 6-8 because next Sunday I’m going to deal with John the Baptist. With you I’m going to work through John 1-4, 3 or 4. The second service I’m going to deal with 4 thru something, and the third I’m going to deal with 9-12. So that’s where I’m going. I’m going to stay in context here. The Bible can mean anything if you pull verses, phrases, and words out of context. Amen. The Bible only means what it meant to the original author and those who first read it, and we best interpret the Bible in the light of its historical and literally context, or we’re reading our personal preferences and denominational biases ..."
26 Jeff Smith = "From a Deily transcription of Dr. Bob Utley's sermon on John 1:1-18.... in the Scripture and claiming that it’s from God. Aren’t you glad we never do that? So turn with me, if you would, to verse 9. “The true Light,” this is the ‘true’ meaning oppose of false, opposite of confused, the opposite of the Gospel of Thomas, the opposite of Baha’i, the opposite of false teachers. You say, “But how do I know who is true and who is false?” Read your Bible – and pray. My great fear is when I get to Heaven and God is an Episcopal, and He says, “You Baptists were so tough.” “Enlightens every man,” there is that Quaker verse. I don’t know what that means, it can’t be natural revelation. So what has it got to mean? It’s the mystery that no one comes to the Father unless the Holy Spirit draws them. John 6:44 and 65. Does he draw all, or does He draw some?"
27 Jeff Smith = "From a Deily transcription of Dr. Bob Utley's sermon on John 1:1-18.Why do some yes, and some say no? I can’t answer those questions, but I haven’t been called to answer question, I’ve been called to proclaim the good news, and whosoever will, whosoever hears, whosoever understands, may come. Amen to the world. It could be the planet, it could be people. “And the world did not know him.” I want to remind you that the Hebrew word – and these are Greek speakers, but Hebrew thinkers – every one of these Greek words, you don’t go to a Greek dictionary, you go to the Greek translation of The Old Testament, the Septuagint, to find out what these words mean. In Greek, the word ‘know’ means to comprehend truth ..."
28 Jeff Smith = "From a Deily transcription of Dr. Bob Utley's sermon on John 1:1-18.... one and one is two, Abraham Lincoln lived, that kind of stuff. But in Hebrew, the word ‘know’ means intimate, personal relationship. “Adam knew Eve and she conceived.” Genesis 4:1. “Before you were born, I knew you, and called you to be a Prophet to the nation.” Jeremiah 1:5. It’s not that we know God – getting into heaven is not a theology test, the true and false and fill in the blanks, and if you make 70 you get in, it’s not a content question, it’s not a content issue, it’s a heart issue, it’s a trust issue, it’s a faith issue, it’s who do we rely on. They knew about Him, but they did not know Him. I believe that is plight of the American church. Information, but not Christ-like living. "
29 Jeff Smith = "From a Deily transcription of Dr. Bob Utley's sermon on John 1:1-18.Sunday school answers, but not Sunday school living. “And he came to his own.” Once you know that word ‘his own’, look at that verse 11, it appears twice here, one of them is a neutral plural, and the other of them is a masculine plural. What does that mean? He came to human beings or Jews, but – and here’s the principle – they and all did not receive him. This is basically showing that humans don’t come to God, humans don’t pick the day, humans don’t say, “I’ve come to you God. God you’re so lucky I’m going to be on your team.” Oh, throw up! God didn’t get a deal when He got you. He got a reclamation project. Humans don’t choose anything. Humans are not initiators. Humans are responders. We can only respond to the initiation of God."
30 Jeff Smith = "From a Deily transcription of Dr. Bob Utley's sermon on John 1:1-18.I hope you look at verse 12 and 13, I think it’s the paradox of the sovereignty of God and the mandated free, real response of man. We can’t come unless God calls us, but we’re commanded to come and remain. We can’t make a decision without Him, but we’re demanded to make a decision that changes every other decision in life. I believe the best way to hold this together is the concept of covenant. A sovereign God initiates the convent and sets the covenant, but the sovereign God has mandated that human beings respond and continue to respond to Him. I think it’s what holds the Old and New Testament together. Verse 12-- I’ve just got a few minutes and then Warren takes over – that’s a scary thought. “As many as received him, to them gave the right to become the children of God, even to those who believe on his name.” What a verse, what a verse, what a verse! Don’t you love this ‘many as’? "
31 Jeff Smith = "From a Deily transcription of Dr. Bob Utley's sermon on John 1:1-18.The word ‘receive’ is in a literary balance with the word ‘believe’. ‘Receive and believe’, it means that somehow we must respond, not just intellectually, not just emotionally, but we must respond at the deepest level of our being, a response that changes everything. I like that song, “I’ve just seen Jesus, and nothing can be the same anymore.” You’ve just trusted Jesus if you’re a Christian, and nothing can be the same anymore. Because now your eyes have been opened to truth, to reality, for the purpose of human life, for the tragedy of the human situation, for the reality of the revelation of Jesus Christ, as many as receive him, welcome him. I’ve come to believe very strongly, in my 40 plus years of Bible study, that the Gospel is a person to be welcomed, truths about that person to be believed ..."
32 Jeff Smith = "From a Deily transcription of Dr. Bob Utley's sermon on John 1:1-18.and a life like that person to be lived. And what Baptists are forever asking me is, “Which one can I leave out and still go to heaven when I die?” The Gospel is an all-consuming lifestyle change, and anything else is not worthy of The New Testament. The word ‘right’ is the Greek word ‘exousia’. It means right, authority, power, or legality. God gave you in Christ the right to become the children of God. These family metaphors over and over become the best way to describe our new relationship. God is the father, Jesus is the elder son, we’re the children, we’ve been born again, we’ve been adopted, we’re part of the family. Have you heard it so often, it doesn’t shock you that God chose a broken, evil, rebellious people through Christ to be a part of His eternal family, and He’s inviting you today. "