Sunday, July 28, 2013

I AM the Door

I AM the Door
I AM: Jesus in the Present Tense
John 10:1-5

Advance Slide 1

There is a church in Palestine the doorway of which is so low that one must stoop to enter it. 
  • The reason was to prevent medieval raiders from riding their horses into the church and disrupting the worship. 
  • The door is called “Humility Gate.”
    • This morning we are going to study a few verses in John 10 where Jesus refers to Himself as a Door/Gate
    • His gate is also one that must be entered with humility.

The message of the shepherd and the door are both found and mixed in chapter 10.

Advance Slide 2
  • Both of these metaphors refer to Jesus.
    • He is the door to the field…
    • He leads the fold out and in…
Some have found this to be confusing, but the blending of images is not unusual:
  • Jesus gives the bread of life and He IS the "bread of life"
  • Jesus give the truth and He IS the "truth"
  • Jesus brings the light and He IS the "light of life"
Advance Slide 3

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” John 10:1-5

Advance Slide 4

Jesus begins with a familiar illustration…"the sheepfold"
  • They would have been enclosed by a wall, high enough so that the sheep would not jump over.
    • Shepherds might even put thorns along the top to keep thieves out and their sheep in.
  • In this enclosure there would be an opening in the wall.
    • At night after returning the sheep, the shepherd would lay across the opening.
    • Now, at this point no thieve would be able to get in 
This sermon grew out of our Lord’s confrontation with Jewish leaders, following the excommunication of the beggar (John 9). 
  • He had briefly spoken to them about light and darkness, but now He changed the image to that of the shepherd and the sheep. 
    • Why? Because to the Jewish mind, a “shepherd” was any kind of leader, spiritual or political. 
      • People looked on the king and prophets as shepherds. 
      • Israel was privileged to be “the flock of the Lord” 
Advance Slide 5

In the explanation that follows, twice Jesu said, “I am the Door.” 
  • He is the Door of the sheepfold and makes it possible for the sheep to leavethe fold (the religion of Judaism) and to enter His flock. 
  • Consider the blind beggar:
    • The Pharisees threw the beggar out of the synagogue, but Jesus ledhim out of Judaism and into the flock of God!
  • The Shepherd does not stop with leading the sheep out; He also leads themin. 
    • They become a part of the “one flock” (not “fold”) which is His church. 
    • He is the Door of salvation (John 10:9). 
    • Those who trust Him enter into the Lord’s flock and fold, and they have the wonderful privilege of going “in and out” and finding pasture. 
When you keep in mind that the shepherd actually was the “door” of the fold, this image becomes very real.
  • With this in mind lets spend some time thinking about Jesus as that door and what it means.
I am going to share with you three things that Door represents to us:

Advance Slide 6

Separation - a door creates division (i.e. the doors of a jail cell/prison)
  • There are people who are outside and then there are those who are in.
  • When Jesus taught and ministered it caused division:
    • Jn. 9:16 - "Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them."
    • This is not the only instance…3 times in John (I found) Jesus, because of words caused division.
Those that follow Christ do not belong to this world, nor will they live like the world.
  • Guess what the result of this is?
Advance Slide 7
  • Jesus said in they will hate you (Jn. 15:18-25)
  • The great blessing in this:
    • “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." vs. 18-19
If you think the the separation is not a bad thing.
  • It should be an honor, if not a compliment, when we are treated as Jesus was!
Advance Slide 8

Decision - the world promotes tolerance at the cost of truth.
  • There are at least 3 areas of life where we do not all tolerance like this: money, measurements, and medicine.
  • EX - If someone owed you $100; you would want them to just pay you $1…wouldn't tolerate it!
    • Suppose you ordered a bookcase to be made and instead of being 8 ft tall it was only 6…wouldn't tolerate it!
    • Suppose the pharmacist gave you poison instead of your pills…wouldn't tolerate it!
      • If we do not allow such tolerance in things such as this why do we allow it in things that pertain to faith and morality?
Plastic words and ideas are DANGEROUS…why?
  • Because they can be molded and twisted into anything!
  • People might use a Christian vocabulary, but they aren't using a Christian dictionary!
Advance Slide 9

So we MUST make a decision to hear HIs words, and His words alone!
  • We have to make a decision to enter into His fold through His Door.
  • To stand before Jesus Christ, the Door, and make no decision at all is to stay on the outside of salvation!
    • At the door you are in a place of decision, and to make no decision is to make a decision—the wrong one.
Advance Slide 10

Salvation - "whoever enter through men WILL BE SAVED" - Jn. 10:9
  • Not saved because we simply admire Jesus
    • Rather we WILL BE saved because entering into His fold, though His door mean repentance, and baptism!
    • Saved means we are rescued...FORGIVEN!
Salvation also means liberty - 
  • Sailors, soldiers, marines and airman get liberty…what does that mean?
    • They are free from the their confines…they get to let their guard down. 
Advance Slide 11
  • Liberty for a Christian is freedom form the confines of sin.
    • The ability to be yourself before others, and God.
      • Entering through His door means that we have the privilege of enjoying that liberty
Salvation is not a human right…it is a gift of God's grace to us.


Advance Slide 12

When you go through “the Door,” you receive life and you are saved. 
  • As you go “in and out,” you enjoy abundant life in the rich pastures of the Lord. 
  • His sheep enjoy fullness and freedom. 
  • Jesus not only gave His life for us, but He gives His life to us right now!
The security of the flock is the shepherd’s number one responsibility (we'll discuss that when I return from El. Sal.)
  • Jesus assures us that His sheep shall never perish (John 10:27–30).

Sunday, July 21, 2013

I AM the Light of the World

I AM the Light of the World

July 21, 2013

I AM the Light of the World
I AM: Jesus in the Present Tense
John 8:12-13

(Advance Slide 1)

Last year I went to Cumberland Caverns for the first time, I'll actually be going back this weekend
  • I am not a fan of complete darkness, if not for Joslin I'd probably sleep with the lights on.
  • At one point when you are deep into the cave everyone turns off their flashlights…true "deep dark"
(Advance Slide 2)
    • In a situation like that we can understand Moses, "Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, a darkness to be felt.” Exodus 10:21
      • It just makes me nervous thinking about darkness that can be touched.
  • When we are overcome by darkness we welcome light!
    • Our dark world is in desperate need of light!
We are familiar with day and night.
  • All around us light and darkness are used at metaphors:
(Advance Slide 3)
    • light = good (good cowboy in the white mask)
    • dark = bad (bad cowboy in the black mask)
  • In scripture we see the same thing:
(Advance Slide 4)
    • God = is light (1 Jn 1:5)
    • Satan = as darkness (Jn 3:19-21)
    • We are to be children of light (Eph 5:8-13)
    • Sin is darkness (Rom 13:12)
  • In John 1:7, John the Baptist announced the Messiah.
(Advance Slide 5)
  • "He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him."
    • Because He is the light many believed, repented, and had their eyes opened.
    • However, the religious leaders remained in darkness.
TODAY - the most dangerous darkness in our "enlightened age" is darkness that blinds the heart and the soul.
  • Jesus came to dispel spiritual darkness
  • In doing so, He endured darkness/suffering on the cross.
(Advance Slide 6)

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.” So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” John 8:12-13

The setting for John chapters 7-9 is the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles.

(Advance Slide 7)
  • Lasted for 8 days; during the 7th month of their calendar.
  • It was a time for joyful thanksgiving…a celebration of God's care of their ancestors.
  • The people celebrating would build, with tree branches, for themselves "booths" and they would live in them during this feast.
Jerusalem - it was alive with celebration and filled with visitors.
  • Early in this celebration the priests would carry water from the Pool of Siloam and poured it on the west side of the alter in the temple court.
    • It reminded the Jews of God providing water for their ancestors.
    • On the last day of the feast the water was then lured out.
  • At night the priests would light 4 large candelabra.
    • The glow could be seen all across the city.
    • The lamps were suppose to remind the Jews of the "pillar of fire" that guided them in the darkness.
      • Psalm 27:1 "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"
For the remainder of the lesson this morning I want us to consider just a few benefits of "the Light"

(Advance Slide 8)

Do You Have Sight and Understanding?
“Light” is “something that makes vision possible.“ 
  • In other words, light makes it possible for us to see. 
    • Without light, we are hopelessly blind - blind to our surroundings, blind to our situations and circumstances, blind to even ourselves. 
  • Light makes it possible for us to see clearly – things as they really are. 
(Advance TEXT on Slide 8)

Most of the world is spiritually blind…it is unable to see spiritual reality. 
  • The world has became blind because it had rejected God. 
    • John says, “God is light.” If you push God out of your life, you will become blind…that is what the world did/continues to do. 
    • Romans 1:21, “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened."
    • John 12:35, “...The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going."

Mankind lost sight of who we are, where we come from, why we are here, and where we are going. 
  • Jesus came as light to help a blind world regain its sight. 
(Advance TEXT on Slide 8)
  • John 12:46, "I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.” 
  • John 9:39, "For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” 

1 John 5:20, “And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding.” 

(Advance Slide 9)

Through Jesus, we now know and understand we are created by a God who loves us and wants a relationship with us. 
  • We now know and understand that our sin and rebellion has severed our relationship with our God. 
    • The "True Light" illuminated the wickedness of our lives!
      • We now know and understand that we can regain that relationship now and forever through Christ Jesus. 
      • We now know right from wrong. 
      • We now know and understand the marvelous place prepared for those who strive to walk in His light and the terrible destiny of those who reject the True Light.
Thanks to Jesus, we can say ‘Once we were blind but now we see.’

(Advance Slide 10)

Do You Have Life?
We learn in grade school that without sunshine there would be no life possible on earth. 
  • The sun provides the basis for all life on earth. 
    • The sun is the source of energy for all plants, and indirectly, for all animals. 
    • Take away the sunlight and all life on earth would soon perish. 
      • Shut up the strongest man in a dark dungeon and he becomes pale like a corpse, loses physical vigor and strength, loses the power to resist disease and he will waste away.
(Advance TEXT on Slide 10)

As vital is sunlight for physical life, even so the Light of the Son of God is vital for spiritual life. 
  • Why all the talk about needing life?
    • Paul says, in Romans 3:23, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” 
    • Furthermore, Romans 6:23 declares that “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Jesus is THAT LIGHT!
  • Matthew tells us that the coming of Jesus fulfilled the prophecy given in Isaiah “the people who were sitting in darkness saw a great light, and to those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, upon them a light dawned.” (9:2)

Jesus, as the Light of the World, brings us that light that quickens or restores our spiritual life. 

(Advance TEXT on Slide 10)
  • John 8:12, "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.”
  • Spiritual life can be found in no other than in Christ. 
  • Just as He is the Giver of all physical life so He is the Provider of spiritual life…He is Life itself. 
Spiritual life, and  eternal life is possible in Christ.

(Advance Slide 11)

Do You Have Hope?
For good reason, light has been a symbol of hope for ages. 
  • Think of a solider engaged in a nighttime firefight, and the sense of hope we feel when we see the dawn’s first light after that long, difficult night. 
  • Jesus is the embodiment of hope. 
    • Hope of salvation, hope of righteousness, hope of peace. 
    • But the greatest hope He gives is that which pertains to the afterlife….eternity! 
For many, death is dark and foreboding. 
  • Death is dreaded rather than something to be viewed with hope and anticipation...Jesus can change that. 
    • He is the only One Who can grant us cheerful light when we are in the valley of the shadow of death. 
    • For, if you belong to Him, death is but an transition. 
(Advance Slide 12)
  • John 6:40, "For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day."
  • John 14:1-3, "Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
"While on maneuvers, a battleship lookout noted a light in the dark, foggy night. After noting the light’s coordinates, the captain recognized his ship was on a collision course with the other vessel. The captain instructed, "Signal the ship: We are on a collision course, advise you change course 20 degrees." The return signal countered, "Advisable for you to change course 20 degrees." The captain signaled, "I’m a captain, change course 20 degrees." The response was, "I’m a seaman second class, you’d better change course 20 degrees." By this time the captain was furious. His signal curtly ordered, "I’m a battleship. Change course 20 degrees." The reply: "I’m a lighthouse. You make the call." 

(Advance Slide 13)

John 8:12, “Jesus spoke….saying, ‘I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light.’” 

Are you walking in the Light today or are you still in darkness? 
  • Unless you have believed in Jesus as your only Savior…Unless you have repented, decided to leave a life of sin and have chosen to dedicate the remainder of your life to please Him
  • Unless you have verbally confessed your belief that Jesus is the Son of the Living God.
  • Unless you have been baptized - immersed in water - to wash away your sins…You still are living in darkness and have yet to know the full benefits of His light. 
    • You make the call. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

I AM the Bread of Life

I AM the Bread of Life
I AM: Jesus in the Present Tense
John 6:35-40

(Advance Slide 1)

There are only two miracles that appear in all 4 of the gospels:
  • Jesus' resurrection and the feeding of the 5,000
    • All 4 tell about what He did but it is in Marks account that we learn why…His compassion for the crowd (Mark 6:34)
(Advance Slide 2)

In John's gospel it records the compassion in 3 ways:
  1. Feeding the hungry crowd
  2. Delivers the disciples from danger
  3. Offers the "bread of life"
(Advance Slide 3)

What does this world need?
  • This world needs nothing more than the salvation that only Jesus brings.
    • In His compassion, grace, mercy He offers this "bread of life"
    • Not to fill their stomachs, but to fill their souls…because that is what they needed.
(Advance Slide 4)

"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. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 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. 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.” John 6:35-40

(Advance Slide 5)

Prior to this statement Jesus had been followed by a large crowd
  • We know this story, there is a small boys with a little lunch and Jesus feed 5,000
  • Jesus walks on the water and calms the storm and the disciples
  • The next day the crowd finds him!
(Advance Slide 6)

This sermon on “the bread of life” is actually a dialogue between Christ and the people.
  • Jesus clearly identified what the bread is: He is the true Living Bread that came down from heaven. 
  • But He came, not only for Israel but for the whole world.
    • And He came, not just to sustain life, but to give life!
    • Seven times in this sermon, our Lord referred to His “coming down from heaven”, a statement that declared Him to be God.
  • This dialogue began with the crowd seeking Christ and then seeking a sign, but listeners soon began to seek the “true bread” that Jesus talked about.
Before we get to that sermon He delivered to the crowd lets look at this entire chapter.
  • We will see how it all fits together and culminates in the His "I AM the Bread of Life" statement.
(Advance Slide 7)

Compassion for the Crowd
Bible people and modern people are a lot alike.
  • As we read the Bible with a sincere heart we should begin to see ourselves as we really are.
  • The more I read about the crowd that was seeking Jesus the more I see myself in that crowd.
    • But Jesus had compassion on them.
    • He realized that they were in a search that was leading them no where!
(Advance Text on Slide 7)

They were hungry
What is the purpose of hunger?
  • It is to remind us that we need to eat!
    • Yet, within us there is a deeper hunger that can't filled by a Snickers bar…only God can satisfy this hunger!
  • Isn't it tragic that people ignore the One who really satisfies in a search for satisfaction.
    • "Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves ini rich food." Isaiah 55:2
    • Hungry/seeking/hurting people must get lost in the crowd and keep busy in a multitude of activities in order to escape the demands of life.
(Advance Text on Slide 7)

They were seekers
In Jesus' first year of ministry He had the crowds…He was a popular guy!
  • The crowds didn't impress Him though, neither did He cater to them.
  • Anyone can slip into the crowd and go with the flow.
    • It takes courage to stand alone for truth and obey!
This crowd was not seeking spiritual enrichment were they?
  • They were looking for something sensational….maybe a miracle
  • In 1 John 2:16, John called this sort mindset "worldly"
(Advance Slide 8)

Compassion for the Apostles
After Jesus feed the 5,000 and the leftovers were gathered, Jesus dismissed the disciples.
  • vs. 16, they went down to the shore and got in a boat and set sail for Capernaum (across the sea).
    • Jesus went to have some alone time…He went to the mountain to pray.
  • Did He know that the storm was coming?  Maybe?
    • He did know that they were safer on the stormy sea than on the land with the spiritually blind, sled-motivated people.
They were in danger and Jesus went to them…on the water.
  • vs. 21 says that they were glad to have Him aboard.
  • Something miraculous happened then…they were where they were going.
Jesus had compassion on them!

(Advance Slide 9)

Compassion for the Lost World
Jesus was full of grace and truth (John 1 tells us)
  • In His grace He feed the crowd that seeking Him, but not seeking Him.
  • It was in this town of Capernaum, that He shared what the miracle meant.
    • Jesus , the "bread from heaven" offered the "bread of life"…"living bread"

Like us in their seeking they did ask Jesus questions, but they rejected His answers.
  • Asking is good but we must act upon the advice.
    • Rabbi, when did you get here?
      • Jesus confronts them vs. 26, "Why are you seeking me? Do you want more food? You need to be seeking the food that leads to eternal life""
    • What must we do to do the work God requires?
They were looking for immediate relief at no cost to them.
  • I'm sure that they were happy to meet someone who could meet their needs.
    • Sadly, they didn't want to deal with their sin and change their hearts.
    • Jesus' statement to them was, "I AM" not "I WILL BE WHAT YOU WANT"
      • The wanted to do something to be saved rather than "believing"
      • They didn't deserve it…yet He feed them knowing that they would desert Him.
  • Next the crowd is confused (will not be the first) about this bread.
    • Our father ate manna form Moses.
    • No, no Moses doesn't give "bread form heaven"
    • The real "bread" comes down from heaven and gives life to the world!
      • vs. 58 "This is the bread that came down from heaven, not as the fathers ate and died.  Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever."
(Advance Text on Slide 9)

Misunderstood - READ VS. 35-40
When the crowd heard this they misunderstood Jesus and they reacted negatively towards it.
  • "How can we eat and drink Him?"
  • This was likely due to their spiritual blindness!
    • This is nothing new to the gospel of John
      • When Jesus spoke about His death and resurrection, they thought He was referring to destroying and rebuilding the Jewish temple (John 2:13–22). 
      • When Jesus taught about sinners being “born again,” Nicodemus thought only of physical birth (3:1–4). 
      • When He talked to the Samaritan woman about satisfying spiritual thirst, she thought He meant satisfying physical thirst by drinking water from the well (4:10–15).
(Advance Slide 10)

Jesus pleads with them:
  • "I am the bread that came down form heaven" vs. 41
  • "I have come down form heaven" vs. 42
    • They cannot separate their stomach form their soul.
"So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. " vs. 53-56


(Advance Slide 11)

How do we feed on Him?
  • As we meditate and study on His Word we "feed on Him"
  • Jesus relating Himself to something a simple as a loaf of bread speaks to His humility.
When the crowd and His disciples heard the high cost of discipleship vs. 66 says that many turned and no longer followed.
  • Jesus asked the remaining, "You going to leave too?"
    • "Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
We live in a hung world, that is searching and cannot find what they need.
  • How can we enjoy the feast and not tell others?
  • What will we say?
(Advance Slide 12)

We have 3 choices to make:
  1. Believe, repent, and be baptized.
  2. Reject Him and pretend we have salvation (play the part of a counterfeit Christian).
  3. Reject Him and walk away!


June 30, 2013