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He Is I Am
Message #12 of "John: A Story to Believe" by Pastor Jeff MacLurg; Our Savior's Baptist Church, Federal Way, Wash.; Sunday, May 22 (My notes from 9 and 10:45 am services, I pray they will be helpful)
=== God: The I Am (Exodus 3:14, John 8:56) ===
The Ten Commandments - God says to Moses - "I AM WHO I AM" - no sense of time. Is, was, always will be. The most extreme, revered name of God.
--- Jesus said "I Am" ---
Jesus: "Before Abraham was, I am." Profound. They knew what Jesus was claiming: 'The one who spoke to Moses? Me.' No wonder they picked up stones to stone him. Blasphemy. He doesn't say it once - it wasn't a mistake.
»» The Bread of Life (John 6:35)
Jesus: "I am the bread of life." Bread was the most common of foods, used to refer to any type of food. Like down south when you say "I want a Coke" and you really just mean you want something to drink. "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry and he who believes in me will never be thirsty."
Notice: Jesus always explains His "I Am" statements.
* Bread SUSTAINS and SATISFIES.
* Christ SUSTAINS YOU AND SATISFIES YOUR deepest spiritual needs.
»» The Light of the World (John 8:12)
Jesus: "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life." He shines a light on your sin, but also shows you a new path to help to deal with/steer clear of sin.
* Light EXPOSES and ILLUMINATES.
* Christ points YOU TO GOD AND AWAY from sin.
»» The Gate for the Sheep (John 10:7, 9)
Jesus: "I am the gate for the sheep. ... I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture." In those times, an enclosure with one opening. Walls made of piled rocks. The shepherd would lay in the opening at night to prevent wolves, lions, tigers, bears and killer rabbits from getting at the sheep. He also made sure that when the sheep were grazing outside the enclosure that they didn't wander too far.
* A Gate guards from OUTSIDE DANGER AND PROTECTS FROM INSIDE WANDERING.
* Christ is your only ENTRANCE TO PROTECTED PASTURE.
»» The Good Shepherd (John 10:11, 14)
Jesus: "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep ... I know my sheep and my sheep know me."
* The Shepherd GUARDS AND GIVES his life for his sheep.
* Christ WILLINGLY DIED to give you eternal life.
John 10:27 -- My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
»» The Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25)
Jesus: "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even as he dies." (to Lazarus' sister after Lazarus died)
Rapture: The return of Jesus will happen. But don't listen to anyone who suggests they know when. But when he does return, all who have died who knew Jesus will rise from the dead. Every single person here has the prospect of death, depending on when Jesus returns. But this is the hope we can cling to - the fact that all is not lost. When Jesus is saying He is the resurrection, it's not just going go heaven, but (Pastor Jeff's belief) is that this is also saying that we will be reunited with others who have already died. (I don't disagree, but he made a point of noting it's his belief, so I'm noting that here.)
1 Thessalonians - Paul says this should give you hope.
* Resurrection is the ANSWER TO DEATH. (THE KEY TO HOPE.)
* Christ is your key to LIFE AFTER THIS LIFE.
»» The Way and the Truth and the Life (John 14:6)
Jesus: "I am the way to the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
Nope, he's not saying that every path leads to God and do what you want. Nope, truth is absolute. Nope, he's saying he's the only way.
* The right way leads to the TRUTH WHICH LEADS TO LIFE.
* Christ is the ONLY PATH to God and life.
»» The True Vine (John 15:1, 5)
Jesus: "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. ... I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit, apart from me you can do nothing."
* CONNECTION TO the vine (Vine) is crucial for life.
* Christ is your SOURCE OF POWER for an INFLUENTIAL life.
Why does He say all these things? Why these 7 "I Am" statements?
So we can know who He is and hold on to that. Understanding this changes the way we pray. It changes from "Oh, God" to "Jesus, I need you today to satisfy me today. I need you to expose the sin in my life and show me the path away from it and help me to stay true to that path. Protect me and guard my heart, keep me connected to you, good shepherd. I am so thankful that you died for me and thank you for the confidence that even though I may die one day, you will bring me to new life." He is all this and much, much more. (Suggestion: Pray, focusing on one each day.)
--- I Am says, "Now YOU ARE." (John 20:21-23) ---
And then Jesus puts a twist on it... "As the Father sent me, even so I am sending you."
You are my hands, my feet, my representatives on earth. You are the light of the world, you will point to me. You will tell others about me. You will show love to others as I have shown love to you. Now I commission you. (Feeding of the 5,000 - Jesus didn't hand out the food to the 5,000, he had the disciples do it.)
Jesus never said "I want to be added to your life." Instead he asks us to lay down our lives. We've got a new assignment, a new job. (But it only works if we stay connected to him.)
Jesus, help me not to be worthy, but to be willing.