I Am God

Sermon Recap | I Am the Resurrection and the Life

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What do we do with the brokenness and suffering of our lives and in the world? 
What does Jesus have to say about it? What does He offer to real people who go through real pain and suffering?

In John 11:1-16, we see a family in the midst of intense suffering and pain. Jesus’ answer to the suffering and grief of this family is His answer to the suffering and pain we experience: I am the resurrection and the life. 

Nothing in our lives happens by chance or fate. God cares about all of our lives—from the biggest things to the smallest things. He cares about our lives and He’s working in the midst of them. He’s orchestrating all of it to an end and that end is God’s glory. (John 11:4)

In John 11:5-6, we read that Jesus’ love for Mary, Martha, and Lazarus is the reason he does not come and heal Lazarus immediately. 
    Because He loves them, He lets them go through it.
    Because He loves them, He doesn’t heal right away.
    Because He loves them, He lets them hurt and suffer.
    Because He loves them, He lets them mourn and grieve.

This is perfect love. This is love that seeks the ultimate good. This is love that knows that the ultimate good is the glory of God. 

The most loving thing that Jesus could do for Mary, Martha, and Lazarus is wait and let them go through the pain and suffering so that they can see the glory of God. 

And then, in John 11:14, Jesus states that one of His reasons for not immediately saving Lazarus is so His disciples would believe. 

Jesus doesn’t see life the way that we see life. No suffering is wasted in the Kingdom of God. No pain is empty or hopeless. God is using all of it to accomplish His purposes. For His glory and our good. In the moment of Martha’s grief over the death of her brother, Jesus’ response is: “I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25)

Through this statement, Jesus is reminding Martha that her hope is not in some specific event or set circumstance. Her hope—our hope—is not in a pain-free life. Jesus’ goal is not for Martha to be pain-free in this life; it’s to teach her something through the pain. It’s to accomplish something in her through the pain. Jesus wants Mary and Martha to shift their hope from earthy circumstances and set that hope on Him—their resurrection. 

Martha’s eyes are on the closed tomb of her brother but Jesus wants to move them onto the future empty tomb of her Savior. Death is a certainty for all of us, but Jesus has come with an offer of true life: 

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.[a] Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” –John 11:25-26

Jesus is the resurrection and the life. He does not say He’s bringing these things. Jesus is the embodiment of the undoing of the curse of sin. Jesus is saying that He is the resurrection for this dying creation; He is the hope for the entire world. Suffering and death is not the end of our story because it was not the end of Christ’s story.

So cling to the one who has all power and all control, who is good and is working all things for His glory. Cling to Jesus who has promised us a resurrection with Him.

Sermon Recap | I Am the Light of the World

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Again, Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” - John 8:12 

In this statement, Jesus is saying that we all exist in spiritual darkness and that He’s the only one capable of turning on the lights. He then goes on to explain what gives Him the authority to be the light of the world: 

Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. - John 8:14

Jesus’ evidence for his authoritative statement is that He knows where He came from and where He is going. Later, in John 12, He further draws out this comparison:

32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. 34 So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?”35 So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”

One way that we, as humans, have adapted to living life in the dark is that we tend to operate the truth train backwards and lead with our feelings and experiences. All these feelings and experiences only add up to speculation. But Jesus offers us something much better than speculation; Jesus offers revelation. In John 12:8, Jesus invites us to follow Him out of the darkness and into His light. 

The rest of the book of John will continue this refrain:

9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” – John 11:9-10
46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. – John 12:46 

Jesus invites us out of darkness and with this invitation we can stop basing our lives on speculation and instead center them around revelation. 

Revelation says that God’s truth is the only truth. What we feel and think matters, but it does not bend reality in any way. 

If you are going through a difficult season right now, the good news about Jesus being the light of the world is that we do not grieve as those who do not have hope. We don’t suffer the same way as people stuck in the confusion of the dark suffer because we’ve been led out of it. He brings us out of our very limited view of our lives and tells us that He’s working all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. 

Because Jesus is the light of the world, He shows us over and over again that we’ve been looking at things all wrong. He’s come to call us out of darkness—out of speculation—and into His glorious, unchanging revelation. 

Jesus is the light of the world. He knew where He came from. He knew where He was going. He is the only trustworthy authority to follow out of the darkness. Thanks to Him, we don’t have to base our lives and eternities on speculation anymore.

Sermon Recap | I Am the Good Shepherd

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When Jesus claims to be a shepherd, He’s saying two things:

  1. He’s leading God’s people. He’s the one who cares for us.
  2. We are the sheep

Ezekiel 34:1-23 paints the picture of us as sheep in need of a good shepherd to save us. Jesus fulfills the prophecy of Ezekiel 34:22-23. God has not forgotten His flock and He sent Jesus to rescue and care for His sheep.

Three ways that Jesus is our Good Shepherd:

1. Jesus gathers God’s people (John 10:1-6)

Jesus fulfills the prophecy to draw God’s people back to Himself. Jesus knows and calls each of us (His sheep) by name. He knows everything about us. We follow Jesus because we are His sheep.

2. Jesus protects God’s people (John 10:7-10)

Jesus isn’t just the shepherd; He’s also the door of the sheep. Jesus protects us from the destruction of sin and gives us joy. In Jesus, regardless of circumstances, we can find unshakable joy and abundant life. The Good Shepherd promises that the closer we walk with Him and more intimately we follow Him, the greater our joy will be.

3. Jesus dies for God’s people (John 10:11-18)

When the sheep are in imminent danger, our Good Shepherd lays down His life. A hired hand loves his own life more than he loves the sheep. Jesus isn’t a hired hand. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. The sheep belong to Him and He loves them more than He loves His own life. That’s why He lays down His life for the sheep. When He sees the enemy coming, He doesn’t run; He steps in front of the sheep.

Who are you following? You are following a shepherd. We all are.  We are all sheep. The question isn’t whether or not you’re following a shepherd, it’s whether or not you are following the Good Shepherd.

Sermon Recap | I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life

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Immediately following the Last Supper and washing His disciples’ feet, Jesus told His friends that He was about to go away—meaning that He was going to die, resurrect, and ascend to heaven. And then this conversation took place:

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves. -John 14:1-11

Jesus tells His disciples that He will get them home to heaven—a place where their hearts and souls will finally be at rest. And when His disciples question His claim, Jesus reminds them that He is the physical encounter with God; His works validate His claims. (Of course, He will eventually put the exclamation point on all of this by rising from the dead) In this little section of scripture alone, Jesus uses the word “believe” five times. Jesus says to His disciples, “I will handle everything. I will prepare a place for you. I will get you home. You just need to see to it that you are with me. Believe—entrust yourself to me—and I will get you home.”

Men like Peter and Paul took what Jesus said and they continued to teach it. (1 Timothy 2:5; Acts 4:11-20) This teaching was in direct contradiction to the Roman Empire’s pluralistic belief system of many gods and many ways to the gods. Many Followers of Christ were actually killed because they would not say that Jesus was one of many gods, but instead, even under severe persecution, continued to proclaim that Jesus was Lord.

So how do we today, deal with questions and criticisms against Jesus’ claim that He is the only way to God?

1. Isn’t it dangerous to claim that Jesus is the only way to God
Doesn’t religious fundamentalism cause all sorts of problems and therefore shouldn’t we be done with it?

Generally speaking, religious fundamentalism can certainly be dangerous. It all depends on what the fundamental is. At the center of our faith is a man dying for his enemies. If you met a true Christian extremist fundamentalist, he wouldn’t kill those he disagreed with; he would die for them.

Calling people to follow a man who died for his enemies won’t make people dangerous. It will make them beautiful.


2. Isn’t it arrogant to claim that Jesus is the only way to God? Isn’t it arrogant to say that we have the truth and everyone else is wrong?

“What we suffer from today is humility in the wrong place. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been reversed. We are on the road to producing a race of men too mentally modest to believe in the multiplication table” –GK Chesterton

Truth is not about pride or humility; it’s about fact.

Claiming that Jesus is God who rose from the dead and that He alone can get us to heaven is not about pride or humility. Now we could be right or wrong, but Jesus says that we should believe on account of His works. We believe He is right because He validated himself. We are not saying that we have the truth. We are saying that Jesus knows the truth. He’s the one who said it. Not us.

Now, sometimes people accuse Christians of being arrogant because Christians are being arrogant. If Christians ridicule other religions, are harsh or rude or self-righteous towards people of other backgrounds, or afraid of any sort of dialogue, then they are fairly criticized as being arrogant. It is possible to hold to the truth in a way that undermines the truth to which we hold. But the arrogance is not because we hold that Jesus rose from the grave.

3. Isn’t it more inclusive to claim that all good people go to heaven, no matter what they believe? Aren’t we being unnecessarily exclusive? Can’t we just say that all good people go to heaven?

By saying “all good people go to heaven” we are excluding bad people: people who don’t measure up, those who fall short and are inadequate. That is far more divisive and exclusive and self-righteous than Jesus is. To reject Christianity because it is exclusive but then say, “all good people go to heaven” is actually being more exclusive than Jesus. Jesus invites us to simply “believe” and be accepted by Him.

Jesus is exclusive but He’s not exclusive because of who He lets in; He’s exclusive because He’s the only way to get in.

There is room for everyone at the foot of the cross.

For those of us who know Jesus, it’s not just that He’s the only way home; He is home. Heaven isn’t heaven without Jesus. Heaven is heaven because Jesus is there. The presence of God is our home. For those of us who belong to Him, we’ve found Him to be all He says He is and more…including the way, the truth, the life.

Sermon Recap | I Am the Bread of Life

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This week we looked at the claim Jesus makes in John 6 that He is the Bread of Life.

The Problem:

People assume the purpose of religion is to have God as a helper who provides them with abundance and happiness, perhaps through material possessions, a promotion at work, or inner peace and tranquility.

In America, we live in a society spiritually marked by what people call Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. The 5 central tenants of this religious worldview are:

  1. A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth

  2. God wants people to be good, nice and fair to each other as taught in the Bible and by most world religions

  3. The central goal of life is to be happy and feel good about oneself

  4. God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem

  5. Good people go to heaven when they die

This is a Jesus-less belief system. This is American spirituality that has no need for a savior. Jesus has no place or value. He will never be valued because He is irrelevant at best.

In John 6:35, Jesus confronts and destroys this belief system: Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

Key Words:

  • Bread: Bread was the central, critical food item and Jesus calls Himself the bread of life (bread=survival)

  • Life: There are two Greek words for “life” (bios=exist; zoe=live) and Jesus uses the word “zoe” to emphasize that the bread of God is coming from heaven to give life.

  • Believe: The word used was “pisteuo” meaning to entrust oneself to another. Belief does not mean laboring or working for God. In fact, to receive the bread of God, you actually must stop laboring and working for it. Belief is a personal relationship with a very real and personable God.

With these three words in mind, we can further unpack this grand statement of Jesus’ that He makes in John 6 shortly after He feeds the multitude:

25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”

Jesus tells the crowd that they are seeking Him for the wrong reasons. They came to Him only to fill their physical appetite, but He offers them something different and much better: Jesus moves from their physical need to their spiritual one.

28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?”29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

When they then ask Jesus how they should work for God, His response is that they must believe. Working for Jesus does not make Jesus precious to you; Seeking and savoring Jesus makes Him precious to you.

30 So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

When the people finally say they want the bread of life, Jesus tells them that He is the bread of life.

Jesus did not comE into the world mainly to give bread, but to be bread.

Like the crowd in the story, we often come to Jesus only to get what we can from Him. The problem with this mentality is that God is not a mere helper to make our lives better; He is life. Jesus did not come to meet our earthly desires; He came to change our desires.

Do you see Jesus as useful or do you see Him as the treasure?

If Jesus is the Bread of Life, then nothing else can be. The good life is not found in possessions or circumstances but in His presence. It is not something He gives but something He is.

47 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

Because Jesus is the Bread of Life broken for us, He must be consumed. Jesus makes everyone choose: Either He is the Bread of Life, you believe and you consume Him… or you walk away.

Following Jesus is about getting Jesus. It’s not about what He will give you. Jesus isn’t a means to an end; His promises begin and end with His presence.  

66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

The commitment to Jesus is often high when He gives people what they want, but many turn away when He reveals his identity and thus calls for their lives.

Who is Jesus to you?

Is Jesus the Bread of Life broken for you? Does your life reveal that? Do you really believe that the good life is found in Him? If none of your earthly desires were granted or if they were ripped away, would you still follow Jesus because He is the only bread of life?

Because Jesus is the Bread of Life, we must repent of everything else we’ve been chasing, and of all the ways we’ve viewed Jesus as merely helpful or useful, and come and eat.

Sermon Recap | I Am

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This week we kicked off our new series, “I Am God.” For the next six weeks, we will journey together through the gospel according to John as we examine seven different “I Am” statements that Jesus makes about himself.

We began our series by examining John 8:48-58:

The Jews answered him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?” “I am not possessed by a demon,” said Jesus, “but I honor my Father and you dishonor me.  I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge.  Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.” At this they exclaimed, “Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that whoever obeys your word will never taste death.  Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?” Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me.  Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.” “You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”  “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”

There has never been a more profound revelation of who God is than: I AM WHO I AM

(Exodus 3:1-15). It was from this proclamation in Exodus that God gave his covenant name: Yahweh: the intimate name between God and His people. As a result, Moses and his descendants knew this was the most holy and most sacred name—so much so that they refused to speak it or even spell it.

This name was the holiest word, the highest expression of divine self-reference, and in John 8, Jesus Christ does not simply take it on his lips; he takes it on himself.

With this self-revelation, Jesus draws a line in the sand. He claims to be God.

The seven statements that we are going to examine in this series are extreme:

I AM the way, the truth, the life

I AM the good shepherd

I AM the bread of life

I AM the gate

I AM the light of the world

I AM the true vine

I AM the resurrection and the life

Jesus has left us no middle ground. We have to do something with Him—either we worship Him or we crucify Him. There is no in between. We either reject Him or we give every inch of our lives to Him.  The more that we see Jesus as I AM, the more we realize we are not. And that changes everything.