1. Introduction

A For John, Christian belief could be summed up in one sentence - The Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14)

1. Any spirit which denied the reality of the in carnation was not of God

2. John lays down two tests of evangelical belief

II. The Acknowledgment of Christ as Messiah

A. To be 'of God, a spirit must acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ.

B. To deny that was to deny 3 things about Jesus

I. It is to deny that He is the center of history, the one for whom all previous history had been a preparation (Luke 24:27,44)

2. It is to deny that He is the fulfillment of all the promises of God

a. all through their struggles and defeats, the Jews clung to the promises of God

b. to deny Jesus as the promised Messiah is to deny that these promises were true

3. It is to deny his Kingship - Jesus came not only to sacrifice Himself but ultimately to reign. To deny that he is Messiah is to leave out His essential kingliness

111. The Acknowledgment of Christ as Man

A. To be of God, a spirit must acknowledge that Jesus is come in the flesh

1. It was precisely this that the Gnostic could not accept.

2. In their view, matter was altogether evil, be cause of that an incarnation was impossible

a. how could God take flesh upon Himself?

b. it was a totally ridiculous notion to the Gnostic

c. Augustine said, "I can find in pagan philosophers parallels for everything in the New Testament except for one saying -

The Word became flesh"

d. as John saw it, to deny the complete man hood of Jesus was to strike at the very roots of our faith.

B. In Christ, we have a real incarnation not an Apotheosis. What do I mean by that?

1. Apotheosis comes from two Greek words one meaning from, another meaning God or Deity.

2. We speak of an apotheosis as a man under the influence of God. A deified man

a. there are many teachers today teaching this very idea

b. Jesus was born with a superior mentality, a religious genius who was God intoxicated

c. the bent of His whole mind was toward a greater knowledge of God, one reaching out after God

d. He eventually thought so much about Him, He became like Him, therefore we see in Jesus God manifested.

e. That is an apotheosis - not an incarnation

C. What do we mean by Incarnation?

1. We mean that God existed from eternity in three persons - Father, Son and Spirit

a. desiring to make Himself known - He stooped in grace to reveal Himself as Son and identified Himself with humanity by taking

upon Himself flesh and blood

b. the Babe in Bethlehem was not merely as remarkable child with religious instinct

c. that babe was God the Son who had entered this world through a virgin womb

d. though He was born into this world as man, He did not for one moment cease to be God

2. That my friend, is an incarnation and not an apotheosis

a. notice the exact wording - every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is COME in the flesh is of God

b. Jesus did not begin to be when He was born in this world - rather He came - but from where?

c. He came from heaven (John 17:5, 24, 25)

d. did you ever stop to think what a marvelous expression this is- Jesus Christ CAME

e. we were born into this world, we had no existence before we were born

3. But that blessed One did not begin when He was born in the stable at Bethlehem

a. He came from heavens highest glory to the depths of this sin cursed world to become it's Savior.

4. He who was higher than the angels became lower than the lowest man (a slave) in order to taste death for every man

a. great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifested in the flesh (I Tim. 3:16)

b. God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself (II Cor. 5:19)

C. this is the Christian confession, anything less however flowery and kind it may seem, is to degrade Him and make Him less than

He is

d. to think of Jesus as anyone else other than God is the spirit of Antichrist

III. The Consequences of the Denial of the Incarnation

A. To deny the incarnation is to deny that Jesus can ever by our example (I Peter 2:21; John 13:15)

1. If He was not in any real sense a man, living under the same conditions as men, He cannot show others how to live

2. It is also to deny Him as our High Priest (Heb. 4:14-15)

a. to lead men to God, the High Priest must be a man

b. if He wasn't he would be pointing them to a road which would be impossible for them to take

3. It is to deny that Jesus in any real sense can be our Savior. To ave men He had to identify Himself with those whom He came to save

4. It is to deny any real union between God and man

a. if spirit is altogether good and the body altogether evil, then God and man can never meet so long as man is man

b. they might meet when man had discarded this old body and has become a disembodied spirit

c. but the great truth of the incarnation is that here and now there can be communion between God and man

5. Nothing is more central to our faith than the reality of the manhood of Christ.

a. what a blessed thought God can and will join Himself with your spirit if you will but ask Him to do and at the same time trust the blood of His Son to cleanse your sin