Sermon Notes and Audio
Scripture Focus- John 8:48-59
As human beings, we tend to be wrapped up in our identities. If I ask the question- Who am I? I would answer that I am a child of God, follower of Jesus, husband, father, friend, and pastor- in that order. The more secure you are in who you are, the greater likelihood you have of living a productive, peaceful, and purposeful life.
Jesus made a profoundly important statement about His identity. It is the third “I Am” statement of Jesus in the Gospel of John.
I Am the Bread of Life- John 6:48
I am the Light of the World- John 8:12
I AM- John 8:58
Jesus is the most well known person in all of human history. Yet as well known as He is, He is not very well understood by many. In the section leading up to this passage, Jesus made it clear, what the evidence of a genuine disciple of Jesus is.
Disciples abide in the words of Jesus.
Disciples are set free by Jesus.
The religious leaders challenged what Jesus said. They thought Jesus was referring to them being physically enslaved, when in fact He was referring to them being spiritually enslaved and in need of freedom. Abraham knew God by faith, and if they were spiritual children of that same faith, they would do the same as He did.
All people are either children of God or children of the Devil.
Those who are of God, are able to hear the words of God.
The religious leaders accused Jesus of having a demon and dishonored Him, when in fact He came to seek the glory of God and to give life.
V56 Your father Abraham was overjoyed that he would see My day; he saw it and rejoiced.
The Jews challenged the statement- v57 You aren’t 50 years old yet, and You’ve seen Abraham? This is a heavy dose of sarcasm and mocking.
V58 Jesus said to them, “I assure you: Before Abraham was, I AM.”
Jesus made the claim- that before Abraham existed, He was eternally, and will always be. In response they picked up stones to throw at Jesus, but Jesus was hidden and went out of the temple complex.
What do we learn about the identity of Jesus as revealed in the Bible by His statement- “I AM” and what are the implications of it?
As the “I AM”. . . Jesus is eternal in His existence.
It is important to understand where the “I AM” statement is rooted. Moses (Exodus 3) was on the backside of the wilderness of Midian, taking care of the sheep of Jethro, the priest of Midian who was his father-in-law. He had gone there for 40 years after killing the Egyptian who was abusing the Hebrew. God was preparing to use Him to lead His people out of Egypt.
An angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in the burning bush. God called to Moses and told him to take off his sandals, because he was on holy ground.
V6 I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
Moses was afraid. God gave him instructions on what to do. Moses said v13 If I go to the Israelites and say to them: The God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they ask me, ‘What is His name?’ what should I tell them? God replied. . .I AM WHO I AM.
This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you. . . This is my name forever, this is how I am to be remembered in every generation.
Jesus in His eternal existence, has no beginning and He has no end. He describes Himself as having the same eternal and self-existent nature as possessed by God the Father. Jesus in His divine nature has existed forever. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit- Are One in essence- three in person, Co-equal, Co-eternal, a divine mystery.
The eternal nature of Jesus was prophesied about regarding His incarnation-
Micah 5:2 Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are small among the clans of Judah; One will come from you to be ruler over Israel for Me. His origin is from antiquity, from eternity.
The eternal Jesus was the active agent of creation-
John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created.
The human nature of Jesus had a beginning, but now has no end. The Son of God was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, born in Bethlehem. From that point on, He exists as fully God and fully man. The essential nature of Jesus is unchanging.
Hebrews 1:8 But to the Son: Your throne, God, is forever and ever, and the scepter of Your kingdom is a scepter of justice.
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
As a disciple you should know who it is you are following, and why you can have confidence in the one you are following.
When you put your faith in Jesus, you are not trusting in some fledgling founder of a religion, or merely a prophet, you are placing your faith and your hope in the Eternal God.
As the “I AM”. . .Jesus rules over life and death.
Several times in His ministry, Jesus raised someone from the dead.
There is an example in Luke 7. Jesus went to a town called Nain, along with His disciples and there was a great crowd. When he got to the gate of the town, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of a mother who at this point was a widow.
Jesus had compassion on her and told her not to weep. He touched the boy and said, “Young man, I tell you, get up.” The man got up and started to speak. The people were afraid and glorified God and said God has visited His people.
Who can raise people from the dead with authority and power? God can. . .
Early in His ministry, Jesus cleansed the Temple and overturned the tables, driving out the money changers from the Temple. The Jews wanted Him to give a sign to show authority for what He had done.
John 2:19 Jesus answered- Destroy this sanctuary, and I will raise it up in three days.
They didn’t understand, they said v20 This sanctuary took 46 years to build, and will You raise it up in three days? V21 But He was speaking about the sanctuary of His body. V22 So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this. And they believed the Scripture and the statement Jesus had made.
The resurrection of Jesus is the crowning proof of His power over life and death. His birth, life, teaching, miracles, and death– all came down to the resurrection. All of it rested on whether not He would rise from the dead. The resurrection of Jesus, is the most significant event in all of history.
Jesus predicted His resurrection; He made numerous post resurrection appearances to as many as 500 people at once; His disciples were unwavering until death after they encountered the resurrected Jesus; the early church expanded exponentially on the message of the resurrected Jesus; and the faith of many down through the ages has given testimony to it.
I looked at the Obituaries in the Charleston Gazette and there are 30 people in there today, thankfully I wasn’t one of them. The point is though, we will all pass this way. It matters who you place your faith and your hope in!
As the “I AM”. . . Jesus has the authority to execute judgment.
John 5:24 I assure you: Anyone who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life. 25 I assure you: An hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, so also He has granted to the Son to have life in Himself. 27 And He has granted Him the right to pass judgment, because He is the Son of Man.
When Jesus died on the cross the sins of the world were judged. He is our substitute, who endured the full wrath of God.
1 John 2:2 He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world.
The judgment of sin by God, through the sacrifice of His Son, made it possible for all people to be forgiven, and reconciled to God.
Hebrews 9:27-28 And just as it is appointed for people to die once- and after this, judgment- so also the Messiah having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.
Every individual has an appointment with God. When we meet God, either our sins will have been judged at the cross through faith in Jesus, or we will experience the judgment of God. The first time Jesus came to save. The second time Jesus will come to judge.
Jesus is a Righteous Judge–
Acts 17:30-31 Therefore, having overlooked the times of ignorance, God now commands all people everywhere to repent, because He has set a day when He is going to judge the world in righteousness by the Man He has appointed. He has provided proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead.
Jesus is a Fair Judge-
Colossians 3:23-25 Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for whatever wrong will he has done, and there is no favoritism.
There will be two primary judgments- the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:9) and the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15). There will also be the judgment of Israel, the nations, and the angels. It is important to be prepared for eternity!
In the movie, Gladiator, it centers on the Roman General Maximus a man of integrity. Just before he died, Marcus Aurelius tells Maximus of a dream he had that power would be returned to the people and he asks General Maximus to become the Protector of Rome to make sure it happened. Maximus says he can’t do it. He doesn’t want power, he wants to go home to his family. Aurelius tells him “It is precisely because you don’t want it that you must take it.”
Contrast this with Aurelius’ own son who was power hungry. Commodius would do anything for power including murdering his own father. Commodius proceeds to have Maximus’ wife and son murdered. Maximus was captured, sold into slavery and forced to fight as a Gladiator. Nobody could match him and he was eventually sent to Rome. The rivals of Commodius plotted to have Maximus released from slavery and returned to his people where he could overtake Rome and restore it.
At the climax of the movie, Commodius fights with Maximus and both are killed, and power is returned to the people.
What was the key to Maximus’ integrity? Early in the movie he cried out to his troops- “What we do in this life leaves echoes in eternity.”
Your life will leave echoes in eternity. Now is the time to prepare.
As the “I AM”. . . Jesus has the power to forgive sins.
The greatest need of every human being is to escape the wrath of God poured out on unforgiven sinners.
God is holy and sin is offensive. God is compassionate and merciful.
Acts 13:38-39 Therefore, let it be known to you, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is being proclaimed to you, and everyone who believes in Him is justified from everything that you could not be justified from through the law of Moses.
To Forgive= to wipe the slate clean, pardon, cancel a debt
Ephesians 1:7 We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.
In John 8 we find the account of the woman caught in adultery. The religious leaders wanted to condemn her. Jesus asked her, v10 Woman, has no one condemned you? 11 No one Lord, she answered. Neither do I condemn you, said Jesus. Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.
James and Kathryn Pals along with their children Ezra 3, Violet 2, and Calvin 2 months, were on their way back from a trip to Colorado. They were in Nebraska in route to Minnesota. A tractor trailer driven by Tony Weekly, age 53, hit the back of their 2007 minivan killing all of them as well as another man by the name of Terry Sullivan in another vehicle. The reason? Distracted driving. Hundreds gathered for the Pals memorial service in Minneapolis. Nancy and Gordy Engel, Kathryn Pals parents, stood to speak. The truck driver was guilty, with no excuse, no justification for what he had done. The Engels said- “We forgive you, and we are praying for you Tony. We pray you will accept our forgiveness.”
This is what God does for us- He forgives undeserving sinners, because of the death of His Son Jesus.
As the “I AM”. . . Jesus is the truth and the truth will set you free.
John 8:31-32 If you continue in My Word, you really are My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
What is truth? Something that is true, is in accordance with fact or reality.
Truth is therefore, that which corresponds to reality.
Truth is consistent with the character, glory, and will of God. If you try to define truth, you realize you need an absolute, a standard. Otherwise, it’s impossible.
Truth is what defines morality, right and wrong.
Truth is personified in Jesus. We can follow the one who is truth, and be set free. Or we can follow the one who is a Deceiver, a Liar, the Devil.
Many in the world are living under a deception.
In April 2016 Harpers’ Magazine published a report about a man named Jay Miscovich who claimed he found hundreds of emeralds from a Spanish shipwreck that went down in 1622 in the Florida Keys. The Florida Keys have long been a hunting ground for sunken treasure.
Multiple shipwrecks in the Spanish Armadas took place as they sailed to and from Spain to the Caribbean and South America. These emeralds he found were estimed to be worth ½ billion dollars. Attorneys, a partner, and jewel experts collected millions from investors who wanted in on the action to protect the find. They wanted to profit themselves. When it was over, the world found out the entire story was a lie. He made it all up and seeded the ocean floor with emeralds he bought. Belgian jewelers found an epoxy resin on the emeralds that should not have been there and the whole scam fell apart.
The Devil is a liar and a counterfeiter.
Jesus is genuine and is the truth.
Reject the counterfeiter, the liar and deceiver.
Follow the One who is genuine and true!
Do you know Jesus, the I AM?