SERMON TEXTS – SELECTED VERSE FROM THE GOSPEL OF JOHN
WHO IS JESUS?
If you ask a muslim, “Who is Jesus?” he will say, “Jesus, peace be upon him, is a prophet of Allah.” And while Christians will agree, He is a prophet of God, He is not merely a prophet of God. And of course when they use the term Allah (God) they mean a very different thing than we do. If you ask a Latter-Day Saint, “Who is Jesus?” they will say, “He is God the Father’s firstborn spirit-child in heaven and the spirit brother of lucifer. He was begotten on earth by God the Father by natural means, not by the Holy Ghost and is now one amongst many millions of other gods.” If you ask a Jehovah’s witness, they will say, “Jesus is not God almighty, he is God’s son. Jesus is God’s first creation, inferior to God the Father. And Jesus is actually Michael the archangel.” Like any lie, satan prefers to sprinkle truth in amongst falsehood so as to feign authenticity. Jesus is the son of God. Jesus is a prophet of God, but He is not created. His origin is one of eternity, begotten of the Father. He is the firstborn of all creation, but this is a title of preeminence, not descriptive of a point of time where he came into being. Like the person of the Father, the son has eternally existed. And so when Christians are asked who is Jesus, we recite the Athanasian creed.
HE IS THE BREAD OF LIFE
What meager means and humble beginnings does bread have. Surely there is not another recipe that has such ancient origins. And what meal can be called rustic if it has not bread? You will find it in the hand of a beggar, and likewise on a king’s table. You will see a wandering Israelite gather it from off the ground, and likewise see it be displayed in gold vessels in the tabernacle. It feeds the child, the adult, and the elderly. It nourishes us all. It feeds us all. And Psalm 104 says it strengthens a man’s heart. The Lord’s prayer instructs us to ask for this bread daily. And thanks be to God, he does not run out of it.
HE IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
Who amongst us has not used the flash light app on their phone to see where they’re going, to look for something in the dark, to avoid bumping into something or tripping. Light mitigates danger, and it provides us with new opportunities as well. For the vast majority of human history, you did not travel at night. It was too dangerous. But now our vehicles shine light on Hwy 8 allowing us to travel safely with the knowledge that we are going the right way. Darkness is most content when its victims are blind and directionless. But Jesus Christ, the great physician heals the blind. When Jesus says, “I am the light of the world,” he says it while he is healing a blind man. A bit on the nose, but we need to be instructed as little children. The disciples mistakenly assume that the blindness was a result of the man’s sin or perhaps his parents. But Jesus says, “No, he is blind that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
HE IS THE DOOR AND THE GOOD SHEPHERD
A door by its nature is a separator. But unlike a wall where you cannot pass through to the other side, a door provides utility for both restriction and access. And in this case it is access to the sheepfold. Still waters are there, green pastures are there for the grazing, there is a hedge around us, and the shepherd armed with rod and staff, watches the walls, ready to catch the thief who climbs over. Our shepherd calls to us and we follow him, “This way to paradise. Come and find your rest all you who are weary and heavy laden.” We follow him to the door. But Jesus is not only the shepherd, but he also is the door itself. He is the separator.
HE IS THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE
Dr. Baucham says that there are four questions all human beings will wrestle with despite their religious beliefs or their lack thereof. They are: who am I? Why am I here? What is wrong with the world? And how can what is wrong be made right? It is the 3rd and 4th that I wish to address. What’s wrong with the world is a result of the fall: sin, guilt, shame, suffering, pain, depression, anxiety, woes of all manner, and finally death. These things are foreign alien invaders to this planet. Death is not a native resident. But Christ is the resurrection! He is the solution to righting wrongs. Dead things come back to life.
HE IS THE WAY THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE
You woke up this morning and you assume that you will wake up tomorrow, yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. I think we all want to reach our deathbed, look back at our life and be able to say, “I lived it for the Lord. I didn’t waste my days with nonsense.” I stand here as a 43 year old man. If the Lord blesses me with an average life span, I am more than halfway done. And as I think about or perhaps better stated, if I lament over how I conducted myself in the first half of my life, I don’t want to waste any more time. I want to spend my life encouraging you all. And I want you to spend your life encouraging each other.
HE IS THE TRUE VINE
Jesus Christ is the true vine. Psalm 80:8 says, “You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it.” This obviously is referring to the nation of Israel as being God’s vineyard. And this motif can be found all throughout scripture.
THANKFUL FOR WHO HE IS
In conclusion, do we have enough to be thankful for? Is who He is, enough? I would say it’s more than enough. We have 12 baskets full of leftovers. He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to his power that is at work within us. He is able to bless us abundantly, so that in all things, at all times, having all that we need, we will abound in every good work. Bring your tithes into the storehouse saints and see if he will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be enough room to store it. So as you sit together with your family this Thanksgiving, taste and see that the Lord is good! Amen.