August 8, 2017

I am

I am

“I am” John 8:24

Introduction

May I draw your attention to your bulletin:

To die in one’s sins is to die in the single sin of unbelief, which is to choose death by refusing life

  • We confirmed this truth in our Friday night discussion of the white throne judgment. 
  • Those who die in their sin of unbelief are those who willingly choose to NOT believe. 
  • The white throne judgment is for unbelievers. 
  • Believers will escape the white throne judgment. 
  • We who believe in Jesus will be judged by Jesus 
  • We will be held accountable for what we do with what we have been given by Jesus. 
  • You will be judged for your obedience to do what God has asked you to do AND not by what I or anyone else was given to do. 
  • This is the Bema Seat Judgment.

Our title comes from Chapter 8; Verse 24: “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins”

This statement must be taken in context: Verses 21 thru 30

  • As we read theses, you will notice Jesus declares of Himself, “I am.” 
  • You will notice Jesus speaks of Himself in the Present Tense, I am 
  • You will also notice Jesus reveals their response to who He is in the Future Tense; “you will seek me” and “you not find me” and you will die in your sins”

Which brings us to Point One: Verse 21: “I am going away…”

Then Jesus said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come.”

  • The great feast of Tabernacles is over. 
  • Is Jesus just announcing that He, as well as the many others from Galilee are going home? 
  • Or, is he saying more? 
  • More…or He would not have included, “You will seek Me, Where I go you cannot come.”
  • Even if you seek Me, you will not find Me…this is a spiritual statement; not physical 
  • We take note of the singular use of the word ‘sin’ 
  • Because they will not find Jesus they will die in their sin of unbelief!
  • Now, John reveals their response to His declaration of departure; Verse 22

“So, the Jews said, “Will He kill Himself, because He says, ‘Where I go you cannot come’?”

  • They correctly assume Jesus’ leaving refers to His death. 
  • “I am going away.” Means His leaving is voluntary; no one is taking Him, He is leaving of His own accord. 
  • So, if his death is voluntary is he planning suicide? 
  • If so, then they certainly will neither seek him or follow him for He will be in hades
  • They correctly knew there was indeed a great gulf between the souls in Abraham’s bosom (Paradise) and Hades. A gulf no one can pass.

Which brings us to Our Second Point: Verses 23 & 24:

And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

Who is the “He” of Verse 24: “if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins”

  • It could go all the way back to John 7:40-41: “Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, “Truly this is the Prophet.” Others said, “This is the Christ.”
  • Certainly, the pronoun refers back to the Light of the world, Chapter 8, Verse 12 and the one sent from God, Chapter 8, Verse 18. 
  • Or, it could be The Messiah going back to His discussion to the woman at the well.

But there is more: Jesus expands their knowledge of life after death.

  • Of them He says: You are from beneath; of the earth and not of hades 
  • Of Himself He says: I am from above; of heaven and not the earth 
  • They should have known this: They are the people of Israel, people of The Land. 
  • So, they are by nature of the earth; from beneath.

Jesus explains a spiritual truth: He is by origin (nature) of heaven; therefore, by definition , He is divine of nature.

  • They should have known this: their hero Moses was of the earth; he was hiding from the Egyptians when God called him from the burning bush to go back to Egypt and set His people free. 
  • In contrast, Jesus was not hiding because He is the Messiah. 
  • Of the Messiah, the Scripture says: He will be sent from above. 
  • Therefore, to reject Him as The Messiah is to reject eternal life. 
  • Verse 24 from Aramaic Bible: “I said to you that you shall die in your sins, for unless you shall believe that I AM THE LIVING GOD, you shall die in your sins.”
  • So, to reject Jesus is to reject God the Savior and to die in your sins!

What was true of them is also true of us.

  • We are by nature of this world 
  • Therefore, we are by our natural birth sinners 
  • But, by our super-natural birth (our second birth) we are born again unto eternal life 
  • But…only by believing in Jesus!
  • Otherwise, we remain “of this world” a world which Jesus is not of.

Which brings us to Point Three: Verse 25 Then they said to Him, “Who are You?”

  • Finally, the right question. 
  • The pronoun ‘you’ is emphatic in the original language, who are YOU? 
  • This is a good question, since FOUR times Jesus has declared himself as “I AM” 
  • I draw your attention to Exodus 3:14: God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.'”
  • And also to Luke 21:8: Jesus answered, “See to it that you are not deceived. For many will come in My name, claiming, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them.
  • And I remind you of what He said to the Samaritan woman at the well, John 4:26: Jesus answered, “I who speak to you am He

This statement is not lost on you who are students of Scripture and it was certainly not lost on the Scribes and Pharisees of the day.

  • Their trouble was, as it is even today, they rejected His words. 
  • Jesus is claiming to be God; the Aleph and the Tav; the Alpha and the Omega; the beginning and the end; the Almighty God 
  • Which brings us to the end of Verse 25…

Verse 25: And Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning.

  • Who I am, was from the beginning; the Word that created the universe, I am now! 
  • What I have declared from the beginning, I repeat to you now! 
  • Who I was to Abraham, I am now! 
  • The foundation of My teaching from Moses until now has not changed.
  • Which brings us to Verse 26…

Verse 26 I have many things to say and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him.” 27 They did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father.

We notice several things in these two verses…

  • First, Jesus refrains from judging them as they have judged Him. 
  • Second, He decides to not say all that He could say to answer their question, “who are you?
  • Instead, He continues with the progressive revelation of who He is with respect of where He came from.

Verse 27 reveals why they did not understand, so Jesus repeats His first statement:

  • They have stopped listening to God!
  • I am from He who sent Me; from above; who is True 
  • I speak only those things which I hear from Him who sent me, from above, who is True 
  • The truth: reject me and die in your sins!

Now we come to Jesus’ call to action; His altar call; His call to repentance; Verses 28 thru 30

Verses 28 thru 30: Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. 29 And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” 30 As He spoke these words, many believed in Him.

Because we know the full gospel we know:

First; the crucifixion is implied by the statement, “When you lift up the Son of Man…”

Second; by extension the Ascension is predicted, for it was necessary for Jesus to return to the Father who sent Him to fulfill all that was said of The Messiah

Third, after these events they will know for sure the answer to “Who are you?”

  • For them it would be a future event
  • For us, it is a past event: that day when we came to know who Jesus is and more importantly believed in Him, Verse 30

Conclusion:

First, believe Jesus!

  • That is, by faith, believe what He says about Himself; Rom 5:8-11 
  • But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”

Second, believe on Jesus

  • For Jesus is the foundation on which all truth is supported; 1 Peter 2:4-6 
  • “Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.”

Third, believe into Jesus

  • It may seem we are making too much of certain prepositions; but we are not! 
  • First you believe in Jesus, that is what He said, then ON Jesus, that is who He is and then and only then are you placed IN Christ; Romans 3:23-26

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.