|Welcome friends. Thankyou for visiting this web site. I have always loved to teach the Word. Too many of God's people let their pastor or teacher do all their studying for them. But if the Bible is the Word of God, shouldn't you take a serious look at it yourself? To study and discover things on your own is both faith building and spiritually rewarding. It is exciting to discover the treasures of God's Word. Studying the Bible doesn't have to be a chore, it can be a most thrilling adventure. I hope to stimulate thought by this web site, provoke you to want to dig into the scriptures yourself, and honor the God of Israel, and our Saviour, the Messiah our soon coming King.|
I AM'S OF YESHUA
by Alon Ronk
I was sitting in church one Sunday listening to a message on the seven I am’s of Christ. It was a good message but as I thought about it, I realized I could come up with more than seven. The seven I am's of Christ is a common message. They are usually:
1. I am the bread of life.
2. I am the light of the world.
3. I am the door.
4. I am the good shepherd.
5. I am the resurrection and the life.
6. I am the way, the truth, and the life.
7. I am the vine.
There is nothing wrong with the message. I only asked myself, why stop at seven if there are more. So I went home, started looking through my Bible, and compiled the I Am's of Jesus that I was able to find in addition to the seven that are often preached about. I also began to see parallels between the I am's of the Old Testament and the New. The I am's are statements where Jesus is directly claiming to be something; like a Shepherd, or a Light, which has direct inference to Deity. It’s interesting that it is John who recorded the “I ams” of Jesus both in his gospel and in the book of Revelation. He begins his gospel with the Deity of Jesus.
John’s name means God is gracious. John also introduces the Lord as being the fulfillment of grace in John 1:14, 16 the Bible says, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,)full of grace and truth…And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.”
The following are the I am's of our Lord Jesus as well as their implications. It is by no means meant to be exhaustive and you may find others. As anyone who has ever written a book or article there are always things I either learn or forgot to say until after publishing it. As it is a work in progress and by no means exhaustive, may you be encouraged to study it further.
I AM THE MESSIAH
I have heard it said that Jesus never claimed to be the Messiah. The fact that some would say this should tip one off to the importance of Jesus claiming to be just that. In other words, if Jesus being the Messiah were not important, why would anyone bother formulating an argument against it?
In the fourth chapter of John's eyewitness account of the gospel, Jesus, while passing through Samaria, which today is called the West Bank and still rightfully belongs to Israel, meets a woman drawing water from a well. Jesus begins a conversation with her. During the course of this conversation the woman says to Jesus in John 4:25-26, " …I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things." To which Jesus replies in John 4:26, “Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he."
We not only see that Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, but also that there were those who were looking for Him and that they had certain expectations of Him. In this case, the woman believed that the Messiah would "tell us all things". It was her boast of Him when she went back into the village and invited them to come out and see Him. She had found the Messiah. John 4:28-30 records it. “The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? Then they went out of the city, and came unto him."
No one in the city asked, what Messiah, or what do you mean Messiah? They all knew the teaching of a coming Messiah from their Scriptures, the Tenach, what we call today the Old Testament. Since the townspeople came out to see who it was she was talking about, she must have been very convincing considering her reputation. Their response is recorded in John 4:39-42, " And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. So, when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. And many more believed because of his own word; and said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.”
They believed Jesus to be the Messiah, not only because of the testimony of the woman, but because of the testimony from Jesus’ own mouth, and that he told them, or revealed to them the things of the Father and about themselves. Remember, the Bible does not record what Jesus preached to the Samaritans but whatever it was convinced them that He was the Messiah. That’s very telling considering that the Samaritans were not particularly fond of Jews and Jesus was Jewish.
No matter what is believed about the Messiah today, the people alive at the time Jesus lived among them had certain expectations of the Messiah based on the teachings of the Jewish Scriptures. After having heard Jesus for themselves, they came to the conclusion that Jesus was in fact, the Messiah, the Saviour of the world.
The Apostle Peter also had certain expectations of who the Messiah would be. In Matthew chapter 16, Jesus asked His disciples who people thought He was. But when He asked them, His disciples, who they thought He was, Peter responded in Matthew 16:16, "And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Peter understood that the Messiah would be the Son of the living God. It was also the belief of the other disciples as well, as recorded in John 6:69, “And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God." It is interesting that Jesus did not correct them for they understood it correctly.
When Jesus was calling His disciples, Phillip, one of the men Jesus called, went, and found Nathanael, and John recorded the conversation. John 1:45-49, " Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel."
It is interesting that in the discourse that took place between Phillip and Nathanael, Nathanael's name is used five times as if for emphasis. Nathanael's name means, Gift of God. Nathanael's reply to Jesus may seem surprising at first. All Jesus said was An Israelite in whom is no guile, or deceit, and then told him that before Phillip called him He saw him under the fig tree. But there is a verse in the Bible that would at least suggest why Nathanael was so moved. Zechariah 3:10, “In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree." If this verse was on Nathanael's mind, or some similar verse such as Micah 4:4, " But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it." This would have profoundly affected him in light of the fact that Jesus knew what he was thinking, and where he was thinking it even before He met him. Remember the expectation of the Samaritans, that the Messiah would tell them all things? Jesus told Nathanael something that only the Messiah could know. That is why I think he responded the way he did. And what was Nathanael's expectation of the Messiah? “Thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel."
Phillip's understanding and expectation of the Messiah was, John 1:45 " Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write." As Jesus called His disciples, they all understood that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah. John 1: 40-41, “One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ."
Knowing the Messianic prophecies of the Scriptures, they believed Jesus to be that Messiah. The Messiah would be the Son of God, the King of Israel, the Saviour of the world, the revealer of God to man and man to himself among other things. The Messiah would therefore be Deity incarnate. This is why the scholarly non-believers reject Jesus as Messiah.
Deuteronomy 18:15,18-19 says, " The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken... I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him."
Acts 3:20-24 shows that the Apostle Peter understood that Jesus fulfilled Deuteronomy 18. “And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days."
Also, the writer of Hebrews referred to this in Hebrews 1:1-3, " God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high."
Isaiah 9:6-7, " For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this."
Micah 5:2, " But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."
These verses of scripture and others like them foretold the coming Messiah and those who knew the scriptures were looking for Him. And when Jesus appeared, He proclaimed that He was the long awaited Messiah.
During Jesus' illegal trial, the chief priests interrogated him. When Jesus did not answer them, they persisted. When He did respond they flew into a rage.
Mark 14:61-64, “But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death."
What was their understanding and expectation of the Messiah? When Jesus answered them as to whether He was the Christ, or Messiah, His answer referred to the book of Daniel where Daniel 7:13-14 says, " I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed."
The chief priests accused Him of blasphemy and sentenced Him to death. What did they mean by blasphemy? John 10:33, " The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God." So for them, the blasphemy that was punishable by death was, “that thou, being a man, makest thyself God."
Again, I remind you that today others may interpret Jesus' sayings in different ways but the understanding of those who stood in front of Him and looked into His eyes, and heard His voice with their own ears shows us that they understood His claims to be divine.
I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE
The entire passage of scripture as found in the sixth chapter of John’s gospel frames the present and historical understanding of His claim to be the Bread of Life. It comes on the heels of Jesus miraculously feeding the five thousand. The scene is reminiscent of Moses feeding bread from God to his people, the people of Israel in the wilderness.
Unfortunately, instead of being thankful, they murmured and wanted more. Numbers 11:4-6 says, “And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick: But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.”
Israel had begun to overlook the spiritual significance of God's provisions. This significance is seen in the words of Jesus who said in Matthew 4:4, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
Deuteronomy 8:3 is the scripture Jesus referred to, “And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.”
Now back to the Israel of Jesus’ time, He too had fed Israel with bread and to satisfy their bellies was the reason they came looking for Him the next day. John 6:24-27, “When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus. And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither? Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.”
Again, the lesson had been missed. Deuteronomy 18:15, “ The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;” No other prophet of Israel had fed the nation like Moses had except for Jesus, who, although did not feed the entire nation, fed all those who were present. In Mark 8:4, the question was asked, “From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness?” Like Moses, Jesus fed His people in the wilderness.
Admittedly, when you confront someone with their sins, it is a message that they do not want to hear. As the Apostle Paul asked in Galatians 4:16, “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” Yet that is exactly the case. Jesus won many enemies simply because He told them the truth. In this case, a notable miracle had been done and the people could not deny it. But Jesus accused them of coming to Him, not to hear the word of God, but because they were greedy. Hey, remember that miracle you did yesterday? Think you can do that again? But when they discovered that the lesson was not about feeding their bellies, Jesus popularity began to quickly wane. They had expectations of Him that He was not meeting. How typical of today's world, not just Israel.
But, the reverse is also true; Jesus had expectations of them that they were not meeting.
We read in John 6:28-41, “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.”
“Give us this bread,” they said. Give me yourselves, Jesus could have answered. Jesus said, the bread is me. I present myself to you as the prophet whom Moses foretold. Jesus said in John 5:39-40, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” Jesus offered them personal salvation and they refused it because it did not come with what they wanted. They said they believed the Bible, and even knew about what was written in the Bible. But Jesus went on to say in John 5: 46-47, “For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?”
The hidden fact of their hearts was that though they knew what the scriptures had to say, they did not put great stock in them. When Jesus presented Himself alone as their personal salvation, He quickly went from John 6:15, “When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.” to John 6:66, “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.”
Admittedly, Jesus had said some hard things. Nevertheless, the Bible says, “Many” of His disciples forsook Him, not all. So there was a division among those who heard Him. The message was the same but the response was very different. It showed the difference in the understanding and expectation of the two groups.
Jesus had said, in John 6:47-63, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."
The message, then, was a spiritual message with a spiritual meaning, “It is the spirit that quickeneth (makes alive, or gives life); the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” As Jeremiah also said, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.” - Jeremiah 15:16. Eating the words is to internalize God’s teachings and draw strength and spiritual nourishment from them.
The message also served to weed out the listeners who came for carnal reasons from those who came for spiritual reasons. The words Jesus was preaching was about His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension into heaven and this would be the means by which He would give salvation to the world. The people had asked the question, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” Then came the answer of Jesus to them, “believe on him whom he hath sent.” The ones who left Jesus came looking for the wrong thing. He did not offer them what they wanted; He offered them what they needed. Nevertheless, in those who stayed, what they needed was also what they wanted and what they came seeking for. The others could have gone away with a stomach full of food but still starving for the Word of God.
I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
Psalm 27:1 says, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
David knew His God. He knew Him to be his Light and Salvation. As for God’s part, the scriptures declare in Isaiah 42:8, “I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another.” It’s remarkable then, that Jesus would claim the very same thing for Himself. John 8:12, “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” Again, in John 9:5, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
Psalm 36:9 declares, “For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.” John 1:4-5 says something similar regarding Jesus, “In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”
Light helps us to see. It helps us to find our way in the darkness. It helps us to identify obstacles and dangers. Psalm 119:105 says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Light, or enlightenment, helps us to clarify and identify truth from error.
Light symbolizes righteousness in which no child of God should fear to walk. The unrighteous are not so. John 3:16-21 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”
This is the real reason why people hate Jesus. He is the Light of the world and people hate Him because their own way of life and thinking is evil. It’s not because of anything He has done to them. In Jeremiah 2:5, God asks the question, “Thus saith the LORD, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain?” The iniquity was not found in God; it was found in man.
In fulfillment of the scriptures, Jesus came into the world to be the Light of God. Isaiah 9:2, “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” It is specifically stated that Jesus was the fulfillment of this prophecy. Matthew 4:12-16 declares, “Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.” We also read in Isaiah 49:6, “And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.”
Any rejection of Jesus is a direct rejection of God Himself. As Jesus said in John 12:46-50, “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.”
The scriptures also tell us that Jesus Himself is Light veiled or cloaked in human flesh.
1 Timothy 6:14-16 says, “That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.”
This was evident on the Mount of Transfiguration where Jesus revealed Himself apart from the flesh. Matthew 17:1-6 records it. “And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.”
The apostle John also saw the Glory of Jesus and described it the best he could in Revelation 1:13-18, “ And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.”
This is our Savior: our Messiah. We must remember this and not lose our awe, respect, or recognition of His Holiness and of who He is. We must also remember that He is the One that the world has rejected and He is the One before Whom they must stand in judgment.
Light also refers to revelation. To shed light on something is to reveal and clarify it to the point where it can be understood. John 1:9 says of Jesus, “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” It’s interesting that the Scriptures say that Jesus enlightened “every man that cometh into the world.”
The word, “lighteth” in John 1:9 means to enlighten, illumine, or elucidate. So then as Romans 1:19-22 says, “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” The reason people reject God is, not because they don’t know about Him, it is because they don’t want Him.
John 1:19-21 says, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” God has solemnly promised that, “ Jeremiah 29:13, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” And again in Acts 17:27, “That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us.”
Every one in the world is aware of God, though at first they may not know who He is, like the Athenians in Acts 17:23, “For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.” Here we see an example of God revealing Himself to people. Many, not all, of these Athenians were well meaning people and they knew that there was a God out there somewhere but they didn’t know who He was. So they made an altar to worship Him. That’s when God sent Paul to them to preach to them. Remember in verse 27 Paul said they were, “feel[ing] after Him.” Like groping for something in the dark you know is there. When a person begins to search for God with their whole heart, and desire Him, He reveals Himself to them no matter where in the world they live. One way or another, God will reach that person because He knows their heart. And what was the message that God sent Paul to the Athenians with? Acts 17:31, “Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.”
That brings us back to Jesus. He is the Light of the world who lighteth every person who comes into the world with the Light of His Word.
I AM THE GOOD SHEPHERD
In spite of our Lord being all powerful, dwelling in blinding light, yet is He a gentle leader who declared Himself to be our Shepherd, and we His flock. But in declaring Himself to be the Good Shepherd, He has once again claimed a title that God uses of Himself.
Psalm 23:1, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
Psalm 80:1, “Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth.”
Having seen this, we turn to some verses in the New Testament where Jesus claimed, He is the Shepherd.
John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”
John 10:14, “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.”
So let’s look a little at two things: the Shepherd, and the flock.
In John chapter 10, Jesus elaborates on what it means to be the Shepherd
The Shepherd is the Leader, Protector, and Provider of the flock.
John 10:14, “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.”
Jesus assures us that He knows His sheep. There will probably be times when you think the Lord has forgotten you or is not noticing you at a given time. You are not alone in feeling this way. Job had his moment in Job 29:5, saying, “When the Almighty was yet with me,” His circumstances at the time may have made him feel like God had left him for the moment. Or David in Psalm 13:1, “How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?” Or the disciples in the boat out on a stormy Sea of Galilee in Mark 4:38, “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” These are natural human emotions. Yet we know by faith, as did they, that God has not really abandoned us. The Great Shepherd assures you, I know you. When Israel had felt that God had abandoned them, what did God tell Moses? Exodus 3:7 says, “And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;”
We live in an evil, sinful, and wicked world and sometimes it’s hard to see God’s working in our lives amidst the chaos. But rest assured He knows you and is very much active in your life. We have need of trust and patience. 2 Timothy 2:19 says, “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” This verse of scripture also tells us something else; at the same time, as we are comforted by knowing that God does know us, He also knows them who are not His. He knows those who try to blend in with His fold but are not willing to forsake their iniquity.
John 10:3-5 says, “To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.” Notice in this verse that the Shepherd knows His own sheep by name. The Bible says in Luke 12:7, “But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” God knows us better than we know ourselves. But notice also the voice of the stranger; it also calls to the sheep. How are we to recognize the difference between the voice of the Shepherd and the stranger having never heard the actual voice of the Shepherd? The Shepherd speaks to us through the Word and through our conscience as it aligns itself with the Word. As we read the Word of God, we use the Word also as the glasses through which we view the world. It is our basis for determining right and wrong, truth and error. Reading and studying the Bible helps us to get to know and be able to relate to the character of the Shepherd. The voice of the stranger will be out of character for our Shepherd and not in harmony with His Word. Plain and simple, the sheep do not follow the voice of strangers; they only follow the voice of the Shepherd because they have that bond with Him.
John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
The Shepherd leads the sheep to pasture. This reminds one of Psalm 23:1-2, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” Thus, we see that the Shepherd’s leadership is also sustaining. Through it, He provides for our needs. As we see in the Lord’s Prayer, we are taught to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” which are those things we need on a daily basis both spiritually and physically. Shepherds can lead their flocks to pastures because they know where the best pastures are. Our Shepherd, on the other hand, creates the pastures for His sheep. The verse also tells us that He is the door. It reminds me of the door of the Ark of Noah. There was only one door, and through that one door alone can we find Salvation. I’m sure that there were many fine doors in the days of Noah but only one door provided access to the Ark. We need to remember, however, that that one door also blocked access to all those who drowned. Yes, Jesus is the Savior but He is also the Judge. It may not be considered cool or politically correct to be a Christian in today’s world. But that is something the world will have to come to terms with when the door is shut and they find themselves on the outside. Luke 17:27, “They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.”
John 10:10-13, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.”
We notice here the motives of the Shepherd and the thief. A thief always has selfish motives. The thief is only concerned for himself and does not care whom he has to hurt or kill to get what he wants. We must also remember that there are religious thieves as well. Acts 20:30, “Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.”
Matthew 23:15, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, [a convert] and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.”
2 Peter 2:3, “And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” Here Peter warns us that there are unscrupulous types who through covetousness and feigned words traffic in people’s souls. The word, feigned actually comes from a Greek word, from which we get the word, plastic. It also means to mold, like clay. Obviously, their words are carefully chosen to fool the listeners. To pin down their empty rhetoric is like trying to nail jello to the wall. This is what makes them so deceitful like many politicians.
Colossians 2:8, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” The word, spoil, means booty, like the spoils of war for example. The thief’s only interest is to promote himself and to use you for his own selfish purposes. Nevertheless, while everyone else is being fooled by their clever oratory, the sheep are not fooled and refuse to follow. For the sheep know the Word (voice) of the Shepherd and His character.
Luke 12:32, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” The flock is the people of the Lord. The identity of the flock Jesus was referring to in Luke 12 was the people of Israel. For context, consider the following verses of Scripture.
Jeremiah 50:6, "My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace."
Matthew 10:6, "But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
Matthew 15:24, "But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
The next thing to understand is that Israel was the flock of God but not all Israel; only believing Israel and the land of Israel was given to them, to include unbelieving Israel, as the place of their earthly pasture. God never promised nor gave a land to Christians. But we will come to that. The Scriptures make a distinction between believing and unbelieving Israel. Romans 9: 6 says, "Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:"
Remember Jesus' encounter with the Pharisees in John chapter 8:37-44, "I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." Jesus clearly thought of them as Israeli Jews but not of His flock.
It's important to realize that God has not replaced His flock with another as is commonly taught in replacement theology. Replacement theology teaches that Israel failed so God replaced them with the Church. This is a gross misunderstanding of the Scriptures. Paul says in Romans 11:1-5, "I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace."
As to the Jew, Paul is speaking of the ethnic Jew using words as, “Israelite”, seed of “Abraham”, and “tribe of Benjamin” and that God has not cast these people away. Believers in Jesus are called, “children of Abraham”, Galatians 3:7, “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.” But they are never called “Israelites“, or “seed” of Abraham. In fact, Paul makes the distinction plain, “Romans 9:7, “Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.” I find it important, even necessary to underscore this point that the Church is not the new Israel. Again Paul writes, Romans 10:1, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” How can the Church be the new Israel when Paul is praying for Israel’s salvation? How can Paul be praying for the salvation of those who are already saved?
It is written in Romans 11:25, "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in." Can we say blindness in part is happened to the church? If you believe the Church is the new Israel, that’s exactly what is being said. Blindness in part is happened to Israel, not the Church. That blindness is not full or complete, however, because there is still a believing remnant of Israel and always has been. These are the seed and children of Abraham. This is the believing flock of the Good Shepherd.
It is to this fold that the believing Gentile is added until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in or complete. Returning to John chapter 10 we read in verse 16, "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."
Jesus is clearly calling out a people from among the Gentiles into the believing flock of Israel. In the Great Shepherd, the Messiah, the King of Israel we become one fold and one people. But the Gentiles were grafted into the olive tree of believing Israel therefore the believing Jew never ceases to be nor lose their identity as a Jew. Romans 11:17-20, "And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:" You will notice that the only reason branches were broken off was because of unbelief. But the tree itself remains intact. The Gentile believers are grafted into a pre-existing olive tree. Therefore, believing Gentiles become partakers of the commonwealth of believing Israel.
Ephesians 2:12 says, "That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:" Together, Jew and Gentile, we are the fold of the Great Shepherd.
Understand this, however, I'm not suggesting that Christians convert to Judaism or vice versa; only that the groundwork for the formation of a people for God took place in the Old Testament and was already in place in the New Testament. And it is to that flock that we all belong. It is not one of religion, but relationship and revelation. Relationship in our identification with God and revelation in our acceptance, enlightenment, and obedience to the Scriptures.
These sheep know only one Shepherd. They trust Him and reject all His competitors for they know He is faithful. They identify with the Shepherd and He with them.
I AM THE SON OF GOD
John 10:36, “Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?”
What does that mean, the Son of God? What does the term, "Son of" mean? The most well known meaning, of course, is the offspring of a mother and father. It is interesting that this most common definition would mean, concerning Jesus, that He is the offspring of God Himself. Jesus did claim this to be so on many occasions.
Perhaps the most provocative example of this is found in John 10:30-39, “I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand."
One can attempt to explain this away all they want to. It is easy to do in an office somewhere behind a stack of commentaries almost two thousand years later. Degrees on the wall would tend to provide credibility to the theories of Bible critics. Nevertheless, the most accurate understanding is from those who were standing right there in front of Him and heard what He said with their own ears. They heard the way He said it, they saw His facial expressions and hand gestures, and understood it in the context of what they had been hearing all along. Their reaction showed how they understood Him. We are not left to guess what they had on their minds because they said it themselves, "thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” When Jesus said, “the Father is in me, and I in him” it served to reinforce their understanding of what He was saying, and had been saying all along; and infuriated them to the point of wanting to murder Him.
Another meaning of, "Son of"' is, a descendant, or ancestor of someone. Jesus is called, Son of David", which means He is a descendant or ancestor of King David. That, of course, would put Jesus in line for the throne as King of Israel, which of course, He was. Luke 1:32 says, " He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David." We know, however, that Jesus did not sit upon the throne of His father David during His first coming. His only throne was a wooden cross and His only crown was made of thorns. Therefore, this verse must be prophetic of His second coming when He will, in fact, reign as King. It became a point of contention between Jesus and the religious leadership of Israel because, again, it meant that Jesus was the Messiah and in fact, Lord.
Matthew recorded this exchange between Jesus and the Pharisees in chapter 22 verses 41-46, “While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.” The problem that the Pharisees faced was if the Messiah is a descendant of David, how can David call the Messiah Lord? The title, Lord, would show that the Messiah preceded David and was David's Lord. The Pharisees did not believe that the Messiah would also be Lord because they could not understand how it could be so. Again, we see that the term, Son of God, as it applied to Jesus, illustrated His deity.
The third meaning for the term, "Son of", reflected the nature of an individual. Take the following verses as an example:
Psalm 89:22, “The enemy shall not exact upon him; nor the son of wickedness afflict him.”
John 17:12, “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.”
Acts 4:36, “And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,)a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus…”
Mark 3:17, “And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:”
Judges 19:22, “Now as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain sons of Belial, beset the house round about, and beat at the door, and spake to the master of the house, the old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know him.”
leylb Belial means, and is translated Belial 16 times, wicked 5 times, ungodly 3 times, and evil 1 time in the Old Testament.
1 Samuel 2:12, “Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD.”
2 Samuel 23:6, “But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands:”
1 Kings 21:10, “And set two men, sons of Belial, before him, to bear witness against him, saying, Thou didst blaspheme God and the king. And then carry him out, and stone him, that he may die.”
So we see, to call Jesus, the Son of God, is actually a loaded term
Jesus declared Himself the Son of God. John 9:35-38 says, "Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him."
John 10:36, “Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?"
It is true that Adam also was called the son of God inasmuch as he had no biological parents and came into being by a direct act of creation by the hands of the great Creator. Luke 3:38, “Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God."
Jesus, on the other had, clearly preexisted before His birth. Micah 5:2, "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting " As Jesus Himself said, He was "Sent into the world” from where He existed before. Adam did not preexist in Heaven. Jesus is therefore, the only begotten Son of God.
John 1:14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."
John 1:18, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him."
John 3:18, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
John the Baptist, an eyewitness and contemporary of Jesus, declared Him to be the Son of God. John 1:34, “And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.”
The angels also recognized and knew Him, announcing it before people. One such example is Luke 1:35; “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”
Then we have other testimonies to Jesus being the Son of God. Even the demons acknowledged Jesus as the Son of God. They knew full well who He was. Jesus said in Luke 10:18, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” Jesus was there in heaven when Satan and his angels were expelled. So they all knew Jesus. They recognized Him.
Matthew 8:29, “And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?” Not only did they know Him to be the Son of God but they also knew that Jesus would condemn them finally. The only thing they were unsure of was, did Jesus come to torment them before the time. There is evidently a set time for their punishment and they knew it was not supposed to be yet but they did know who He was.
One time, on the Sea of Galilee, the disciples were in a boat with Jesus when they got caught up in a storm. When Jesus stood up and with the power of only His word, stopped the storm dead in its tracks. When the disciples saw this they were understandably afraid of Him. The disciples came to the sudden conclusion that Jesus was the Son of God and they worshipped Him as such. Matthew 14:33 says, “Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.”
We have also the testimony of Simon Peter. Matthew 16:16 says, “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” How did Jesus respond to that? Matthew 16:17 records His response; “And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” Jesus acknowledged that Peter got it right, blessed him for it, and explained to him that it was revealed to him by Jesus Father in heaven.
And then there was a Roman centurion who, of all things, while witnessing the death of Jesus on the cross came to the conclusion that Jesus was the Son of God. The sight of how Jesus conducted Himself in death, and the things which were happening at the time of His death, must have been a truly awesome and convincing sight. Mark 15:39 records the scene, “And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.”
There are also the following testimonies recorded in Scripture.
John 1:49 “Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.”
John 11:27 “She [Martha] saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.”
John 20:31 “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”
An important point to remember about all these testimonies is that they come from contemporaries of Jesus who were eye witnesses of His life. For them it was not rumor or hearsay but firsthand information.
You might say, But I thought Jesus was the son of Joseph. You wouldn’t be alone in that opinion. There are and were many who incorrectly made just such a supposition. Luke 3:23 says, “And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,” But don’t you be mistaken nor let anyone lead you to some competing version of the truth. For if you are wrong about who Jesus is, you have much more serious things to worry about than your theology.
I AM FROM ABOVE
Here Jesus speaks of His heavenly origin and therefore His pre-existence. Since He is the Son of God it stands to reason that He is from heaven. Just think about it; to leave heaven and come down here to the kind of world we live in, and endure what He had to endure, is the ultimate proof of His love for us. If we are honest about it, most of us who were trying to help someone who only persecuted, ridiculed, and lied about us, would become angry and disillusioned and say something like, forget you then. But Jesus saw His mission through to the very end. Do you realize How much He had to humble Himself to do that? It reminds me of Psalm 113:5-6; “Who is like unto the LORD our God, who dwelleth on high, Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!” Not only must He have humbled Himself, but He also endured being put to an open shame which thing He despised. Hebrews 12:2 says, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Jesus pre-existed in heaven before His incarnation and He Himself made a point of letting us know about it.
John 8:23, " And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world."
John 6:38,42 " For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me...And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?" John the Baptist also made this point in John 1:15, “John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.”
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” This is the world Jesus left to enter into ours. It seems the cross was not the only sacrifice He made for us. How thankful and humbled should we be by that? We owe Him an unfathomable debt that we could not possibly pay. There is no other founder of any other religion who can honestly say that they came from heaven. If they did so, you and I would immediately recognize the audacity of such a claim.
That Jesus pre-existed in heaven before He came to earth is a concept that the religious leaders of Jesus’ day struggled with. They clearly did not accept it even though their Scriptures taught it. It was just another one of those things which were hard to understand. The religious leadership, some of the best minds in Israel, had gathered together to gang up on Jesus. They thought to make Him look flawed and inexperienced. One by one their efforts failed ending in their embarrassment. Finally the Pharisees gathered together to take their turn.
Matthew 22:41-46 records the confrontation; “While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.” The question was, if the Messiah is a descendant of David, how is it that David, inspired by the Spirit, addressed Him as his Lord? Which means Jesus existed before David. Therefore, how could He be David’s descendant? The question so stumped the Pharisees that from that day on they wouldn’t even dare ask Him any more questions for fear of being so utterly exposed again.
Remember the words of Jesus in John 6: 62, “What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?” Well, after the resurrection that’s exactly what they saw. Acts 1:9-11 says, “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
This is where Jesus is today and we have this promise that He will come again. As believers in Jesus we are exhorted to look for His second coming. The rest of the world is plunging into the cesspool of sin and degradation but we are “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;“ -Titus 2:13.
Hebrews 11:13 says, “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” We too are strangers and pilgrims in this world. Therefore we look for the blessed hope. As the song goes, “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through…” Phillipians 3:20 says, “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:” The word conversation here is from the Greek word, politeuma (politeuma) which, according to the On-Line Bible Greek lexicon means:
1) the administration of civil affairs or of a commonwealth
2) the constitution of a commonwealth, form of government and the laws by which it is administered
3) a state, commonwealth
3a) the commonwealth of citizens
The word is often translated, “citizenship.” As for the word, conversation, let it be clear that this is not an incorrect translation. The word was in use at the time of King James translators and according to http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?l=c&p=25 had the meaning:
Conversation 1340, from O.Fr. conversation, from L. conversationem (nom. conversatio) "act of living with," prp. of conversari "to live with, keep company with," lit. "turn about with," from L. com- intens. prefix + vertare, freq. of vertere (see versus). Originally "having dealings with others," also "manner of conducting oneself in the world;"
It is the Kingdom of Heaven of which we are citizens. It is no wonder that we often do not feel at home down here. The world is dead in trespasses and sins so it’s no wonder that it conducts itself that way. It’s the world’s nature. But let us not forget the words of Jesus in John 14:1-3, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. 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 unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” We live in this world but are not of this world. We live in this world but live for the world to come. Colossians 3:-4 says, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”
Jesus is not of this world and has also called us out to be separate. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 says, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”
2 Corinthians 7:1 goes on to say, “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
I AM THE RESURRECTION
John 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
Revelation 1:18, "I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death."
Jesus is not merely affirming that He will one day resurrect the dead, but that He Himself is the resurrection. Resurrection is not merely something that He does, it is something that He Himself is. We have a tendency to think of resurrection as a New Testament teaching. However, there are also several resurrections in the Hebrew Bible as well. Since there are resurrections in the Hebrew Bible, and Jesus’ own claim that He is the resurrection and the life, it would be difficult to attribute the resurrections to anyone but the resurrection and the life Himself; Jesus. This is not at all reaching, for we have already shown that Jesus pre-existed before His incarnation. He was always there.
There are three resurrections of an individual recorded in the Hebrew Bible. They are found in 1 Kings 17; 2 Kings 4; and 2 Kings 13. There are also three resurrections of an individual recorded in the Gospels, Matthew 9; Luke 7; and John 11. In addition we have a recorded group resurrection of saints at the time of the crucifixion in Matthew 27:52 and the resurrection of Dorcas in Acts chapter 9.
It is important to recognize that each of these resurrections were actual, physical, bodily resurrections. Therefore, when we come to the Messiah’s resurrection, it is consistent that He also was physically and bodily resurrected. You would think that would stand to reason but there are those who teach that Jesus did not rise bodily from the dead; the Watchtower Society being one such group. Islam denies the resurrection altogether, even denying the crucifixion. Islam claims that Jesus did not die. But the Bible says in
1 Corinthians 15:12-17, “Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.” If Jesus did not die and rise from the dead the world would still be damned with no hope of salvation.
The resurrection of Jesus is a fundamental of the faith. If it did not happen, everything about Christianity is a lie. Since, of course, it is not, the best Satan can do is to attack it as if it were a lie and lead people into believing that the resurrection is a lie. Satan’s strategy is, I don’t care if the resurrection is true as long as YOU don’t believe it. Satan’s evangelists are busy night and day doing their best to discredit the resurrection. The best way to inoculate ourselves against such lies and deceit is to simply believe the Bible. The next time you hear someone deny the resurrection of Jesus ask yourself, is there any reason why you should believe them rather than Jesus? Jesus said He did die and rise again and since it happened to Him I’m sure He knows more about it than those who deny it. Revelation 1:18 records Jesus Himself saying, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” That should settle it.
Jesus death and resurrection is the core of the gospel by which we are saved.
1 Corinthians 15: 1-8 says, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.” This is the gospel. Ro 1:16 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. It’s no wonder that Satan so vehemently denies it. Galatians 1:6-9 says, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” Therefore, let us not give ear to those who oppose the truth of resurrection but rather, “Let [them] be accursed.”
Because Jesus rose from the dead we have hope that death is not the ultimate end of life. It is more of a revolving door into a new existence. 1 Corinthians 15:35-44 explains, “But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.”
Again Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:6,8, “Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord…We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” In the case of mankind, who was created in the image of God, death is not a cessation of life, it is a transfer of life from one place to another. And the day will come when even our bodies will be resurrected into a new and glorious existence. They will be our new tabernacles. In the case where a body has been completely destroyed God is able to create a new one as He did for Adam.
Because Jesus died and rose again, what that means for us personally is that we too will live on after death. John 14:19 says, “Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.” Jesus Himself is the life and the resurrection. The scriptures go to great lengths to define the resurrection as a bodily resurrection. We think of death as finality, the end of our journey. But it is only the end of our journey here on this earth. We know from the scriptures that there is a resurrection of the dead.
But we must remember that the resurrection will not be a good thing for everyone. Daniel wrote in Daniel 12:2, “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” We must bear in mind that, as there is a resurrection of the just, there is also a resurrection of the unjust.
John 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”
The fact that two different things await those who are resurrected, what determines who will receive salvation or damnation? Seeing that Jesus is the resurrection, it is He who makes that determination. He knows those who are His and those who are not. Those who are His are resurrected to everlasting life. Those who are not His are resurrected to judgment; Jesus Himself being the judge. This leads us to our next point
I AM THE JUDGE
I used to always say that Jesus will either be your Saviour or your Judge. This is truth. I would much rather Him to be my Saviour and intercessor than to stand in judgement of me. What a fearful thing that would be. People say things like, the old man upstairs is too good to send anyone to hell. The truth is, He is too holy to let your sins go unpunished. But one would object with verses like John 8:15 which says, “Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.” You see, Jesus said He would not judge anyone. But the problem here is that this argument is one sided. Jesus also said in John 9:39, “For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.” Furthermore John 5:22 says, “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:” Therefore we see that at Jesus’ first coming He did not come to be the Judge, though He certainly was, but He came to be the Savior. At His second coming, however, He is not coming to be the Savior, but the Judge.
Though this is not strictly an “I am” so to speak, i.e. I am the Judge, it is evident nevertheless that He is the Judge; “For judgment I am come.” 2 Timothy 4:1 says “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick [living] and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;”
Revelation 19:11 says, “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.”
Revelation 2:23 says, "And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works."
Jesus said in John 8:15-16, " Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me." It is Jesus’ right to judge mankind by virtue of the fact that He is the:
Creator - John 1:1-3 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” Colossians 1:16 says, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:” Therefore, as Creator He has the right to set the rules, and the right and authority to enforce the rules. Those who break His rules, He has the right to judge them. And not only to judge them as being guilty, but also to pronounce judgment on all He has judged guilty.
Heir of all things - Psalm 50:10 says, “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.” And Hebrews 1:2 tells us, “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;” Therefore al things belong to Jesus by inheritance.
Jesus has the divine right, the means, the power, the authority, the ability, and the power to judge and like it or not, He can not be opposed and His verdict cannot be appealed. The Kingship of Jesus is not open to vote. But having said this, I must be quick to point out that there is no one who is better qualified to be Judge. Consider the following”
His Judgment is not tainted by prejudice
His Judgment is not tainted by influence
His Judgment is from a position of perfection
He is in possession of all the facts
He is of infinite understanding of all things
His verdict is always right
There is no higher power
Often I have been asked hypothetical questions like what about this or what about that: I don’t always have the answers but this one thing I know, Genesis 18:25 says, “That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” This one thing is certain, though we may not always have the answers to our questions about what about these people or those people, we do know that the Judge of all the earth will do right. That is the final answer that we can believe in. It does not necessarily need to be theologically understood in order for us to know that the Lord is a righteous judge and He will never, nor has He ever condemned anyone unjustly.
Psalm 9:7-8 says, “But the LORD shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment. And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.” Not only will the LORD always judge righteously but His judgments are always final and cannot be overturned. He is the highest authority.
In 2 Timothy 4:8 Paul wrote, " Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."
Revelation 20:11-15 speaks of the last judgment called the great white throne judgment. “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
God is keeping a record of everything and this is definitely not going to be a good time for a lot of people. Not only does God judge and condemn all who are not found in the book of life, but then, according to all the records He has kept God will pronounce the sentence. Each individual will be sentenced according to their works. Even every idle word will be accounted for. Matthew 12:36 says, “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.”
And if that weren’t already enough, the Bible also says that God knows all of our thoughts and intentions as well. He has recorded things that the lost have long since forgotten. 1 Chronicles 28:9 says, “And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.” Also in Genesis 6:5 the Bible says, “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” God even knows the imaginations and thoughts of the heart. With God there is no privacy and nothing hidden that shall not be revealed. As we look at the great white throne judgment, the final judgment of earth’s unredeemed inhabitants from its entire history we see it is Jesus who is the Judge.
God the Father has committed all judgment unto the Son. Why is this such an important point? Remember Jesus emphasized that He did nothing by Himself. Everything He did was by the direction of the Father. Why is this so important? To show that Jesus is not an usurper as Satan was. Satan acted on his own, by his own will, according to his own ideas but Jesus did not. Philippians 2:5-11 says, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” In contrast Satan did strive to be like God as also did Adam. Isaiah 14:12, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” It was necessary, therefore for the Father to exalt Him, that it may be known that Jesus is in fact Deity by the Father’s own declaration.
It will be remembered that God is not willing to relinquish His throne to anyone. There were many stories in mythology and elsewhere during Jesus’ day where rulers worried about losing their thrones to their sons so they decided to kill them. Some of them were hidden away to reappear later in their adulthood. One such example is found in Greek mythology where Cronus fathered by his sister Rhea, Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, and Poseidon. Because Cronus feared that his offspring would try to usurp his throne he swallows them whole. Rhea was to give birth to another son named Zeus and Cronus was expecting him. So Rhea conceived a plan to give Cronus a rock wrapped in blankets which he thought was the baby Zeus and he promptly swallowed it. Rhea, however, spirited Zeus away where he lived into adulthood. Then there’s the story of Jason and the Argonauts. Jason’s father, Aeson had been usurped by his brother Pelias, Jason’s uncle and had been imprisoned. Jason was the rightful heir to the throne in Iolcus so when he was born Pelias thought to kill him. But Jason’s mother, Madea, tricked Pelias into believing Jason was dead and secretly sent Jason away where he matured to manhood.
In the case of Jesus, however, God the Father, who would never ever give His glory to someone else, for example Isaiah 42:8, “I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another;” did give Jesus a name which was above every name; Philippians 2:9, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.” It was not something that Jesus had to strive for. It was not something that Jesus coveted but God showed openly His approval of Jesus. Not only was there never any conflict between the Father and the Son, the Father reigns with the Son from one throne. Revelation 22:1,3 says, “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb… And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him” Notice it says, “the throne” singular, and not, “Thrones” plural. The throne of God and the Lamb.
Therefore, everything Jesus did had the Father’s stamp of approval on it. Everything Jesus did was in absolute oneness and harmony with the Father. Even His subjection to the Father was proof of His deity.
Now consider the following verses that the Father relegated judgment to the Son:
Act 10:42, “And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he [Jesus] which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.”
Romans 2:16, “In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.”
John 5:22, “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.”
John 5:27, “And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.”
Jude:14-15, “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
Interestingly enough it would seem that what Enoch had prophesied found its fulfillment in Revelation 19:11-16. “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” There can be no mistake about who this is talking about.
So we can see by the context of Scripture that the Judge on the great white throne is none other than Jesus Himself. I can only be thankful that the Judge is my Savior who has forgiven me, pardoned me, and wiped my slate clean.
I AM THE DOOR
John 10:7-9 7, “Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
Notice first of all the use of the definite article, “the” door as opposed to the indefinite article, “a” . Jesus is THE Door not just A Door. This singles Him out as the absolute only door for a sheep to become part of this fold, As Jesus Himself said, “ BY ME if any man enter in, he shall be saved…”
I am reminded of the ark that Noah built. There was only one door and therefore only one way into it. If one did not enter in by the door they could not enter in at all. The door was certainly big enough for them. There were no obstacles barring the entrance. In fact, the only reason why people did not enter in was because of unbelief. They themselves became the only obstacle to their salvation.
It is important to understand, however, that the door did not remain open forever. When the time of judgment came God said to Noah, in Genesis 7:1 and 16, “And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark…And they…went in…as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.” This is the fourth use in the Bible of the word, “come,” from the Hebrew word “Bo” not counting the word “come” i.e. “shall come to pass” which comes from a different Hebrew word. It is, however, the very first time the word “come” is used as a command, hence the words, “ as God had commanded him.” “Come,” is a command but also an invitation. We also see that the scriptures say, “and the LORD shut him in.” This is also the first use of the word “shut.” The LORD is the one who closed the door of the ark, not Noah. It’s interesting that in Genesis chapter 7 we have the first invitation and the close of that invitation together.
Jesus, being the door to God’s salvation also gave the invitation. Matthew 11:28 says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” As far as I am able to determine this is the first place in the New Testament where the word “come” is used as a command, i.e. a direct invitation by the Lord to come to him. But as was the door to the ark this door will also not remain open forever. In Matthew 25:1-13, Jesus taught, “ Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”
Luke 13:24-27 tells us, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.”
There are many who have deluded themselves into thinking that the Lord is too good to condemn anyone. But the scriptures tell a different story. The same door that is open when God issues the invitation to come to Him, is the very same door that closes barring your access, as Judas discovered when he kissed the very door to heaven but found himself on the wrong side when the door was shut in his face. This is when the saved and the unsaved are finally separated from each other forever. Proverbs 1:22-29 says, “ How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:”
Jesus Himself is the door. There is only one door and no other. There are many conflicting and competing views and philosophies but only one door. If you are fooled by a counterfeit it is because you found something about the counterfeit you liked. It’s not like the truth was not out there or could not be found, it’s because you were willing to settle for something other than that that would save you. The truth remains that, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” - Acts 4:12.
I AM THE WAY THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE
John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
Again we see the use of the definite article “the”. THE Way, THE Truth, THE Life; not just one among many.
The Way - Pr 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
Jesus taught us that basically there are two ways or paths a person may travel. Matthew 7:13-14 says, “ Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” You will notice that people apparently judge the way by the appearance of the gate. It is the gate that is the starting point of the way. If one must enter in through the door to be saved one must also enter into the right gate to find themselves on the right path.
Psalm 1 says, “ Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”
There is the way of the righteous and the way of the ungodly. If you choose the wrong door, or gate, it will not matter how you try to justify your choice, the end thereof are the ways of death.
The Truth - John 18:38, “Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?” So how can we know the truth? John 8:31-36, “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” The short answer is, “If ye continue in my word…ye shall know the truth.” The reason is where reading the word leads us. John 5:39 says, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” So we will know the truth of the Scriptures by where the Scriptures lead us which is to the Lord Himself. Once we come to know the Lord we come to the same conclusion Peter did. Matthew 16:13-17, “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” When we read the Scriptures they lead us to Jesus. When we meet the real Jesus as revealed by the Word, not only do we understand that Jesus is truth, but so must the Word be which led us to Him.
This is the truth which liberates us from our sins and enlightens us to the fact that we need to be liberated when every one else thinks they are in no danger of judgment. The Bible says in Proverbs 12:15, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” Also, when the Scriptures become the lens through which we view the world, only then can we perceive what is true, right, and good, and what is not. The Bible is the Basis of our Revelation of God, our knowledge of truth, our manner of life, and our worldview.
There is an expression, ahh, this is the life. It is a saying used to express great contentment and satisfaction of the events taking place in your life. Everything is going great and I’m happy about it. Oh, but how quickly and unrepentantly things can change.
The story is told of a rich man in Luke 16 who learned that lesson the hard way. Luke 16:19-31, “ There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”
Interestingly enough, even if he had been raised from the dead he would still be dead; dead in trespasses and sin. In his lifetime he must have thought, ahh, this is the life. The poor man outside his gate never had the opportunity to entertain such thoughts. But as it is written in Matthew 16:26, “ For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” It is written again in Luke12:15, “ And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” This is the meaning of Matthew 10:39 which is found in all four gospels, twice in Luke, “ He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” The rich man had found the life that suited him and was therefore not interested in the one the Lord had to offer. After all, look at the life the beggar had, surely the rich man had it much better than he. The rich man may have even thought that his riches was a sign that God favored him. But in the end, it was the rich man who lost his life and the poor man, who was obviously a believer or he would not have ended up where he did, gained his. And what a great gain it was.
The rich man found death was more than a cessation of life. His soul was transferred from one form to another. It’s interesting that that is also in keeping with the first law of thermodynamics that energy / matter is neither created nor destroyed but can change from one form to another. Soul and spirit is not material, it is energy. It neither displaces nor has weight. Like shining a beam of light into a glass of water does not displace the water neither does soul displace the body. It’s like putting information on a floppy disc or music on a cassette tape. The information does not add weight to the material it’s on. You can erase the tape and the tape will not be lighter.
The soul is much more complex than simple information on a storage device however. It is a self cognizant, self learning, consciously interacting personality with its own character, desires, fears, emotions, plans etc. In short, you yourself are soul who inhabits a body. You are not a body with a soul. When the medium in which the soul resides dies, for without the spirit/soul a living body is no better than a living plant, the soul is not destroyed but transferred to another location and transformed into a different form but retains its conscious mind which is also energy. This is what happened to the rich man. His body died but he himself was transferred and did not cease to exist.
It is the immortal soul of man where Jesus puts the emphasis. You may walk through this life in a living body but when your lease on your body expires, whereto will your soul be released. Hebrews 9:27 says, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”
When Jesus speaks of giving one life, he speaks of more than just resurrection. Like the rich man, even if he had been resurrected he would still be dead in sin and would die again and end up in the same place. Daniel wrote of the resurrection of the damned in Daniel 12:2, “ And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Resurrection is a glorious thing for the saved but it is not salvation to the unredeemed.
Therefore we must focus on the life that Jesus came to save. It was not to give us the perfect earthly life that Jesus came but to redeem us from the wrath to come. Only an eternal being can give eternal life and since Jesus is eternal, without beginning or end, He can give eternal life. To offer up your life is to receive a new one in its place so that we can say with the apostle Paul in Galatians 2:20, “ I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Paul writes again in
Colossians 3:3, “ For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” It is those who repent and come to Jesus for forgiveness of sin that receive this new life in Him. Jesus is saying, If I am not the life you seek now, you will eventually seek this life but you will never find it.
There are those who came to Jesus asking what they could do to inherit eternal life like in Mark 10:17. But eternal life is not to be acquired through verbs (works) or inheritance. It is a free gift and must be accepted by faith. If we could receive eternal life by our works, than that makes God indebted to us for our works. In other words, if we do good works, He owes us. But if the reward is to be accepted by His grace and not our works than we are indebted to Him. In other words, we owe Him. How presumptuous to try to make God a debtor to our works. It is written in Titus 3:5, “ Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”
The apostle John strongly emphasized Jesus being eternal life for us instead of just giving it to us. Consider the following verses
John 1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
John 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
John 5:26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
John 5:29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
John 5:39-40 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.
And John doesn’t stop there but continues throughout his gospel, in his epistles, and the book of Revelation.
I AM THE VINE
John 15:1-6, “ I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”
First of all let’s look at John 15:1, “ I am the true vine.” This suggests that there are other vines but Jesus is the only true one. The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 8:5-6, “ For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” Face it, there are counterfeits in this world that compete with God for your attention. To show that Jesus is not just one truth among many the Bible says of Him that He is “The”… as in one and only, and further teaches us that Jesus is the only true vine so that leaves us with only one right choice. John 1:9 says, “ That was the true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” John 6:32 says, “ Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.” We see then that Jesus is the true vine, the true light, the true bread, the way the truth and the life. It is the knowing of this truth that sets one free.
The scriptures give us enough information and warning to help us to avoid and not fall for competing counterfeit vines. Deuteronomy 32:32, “ For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter:” Just like the counterfeit shepherd in John 10: 1-5, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.”
Jesus is the true vine as opposed to the vine of the earth. Re 14:18-19 says, “ And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.” The branches of the vine of the earth had their day of power, fame, mocking God and His people etc. But now comes their judgment and they have nowhere to hide.
My Father is the Husbandman, or keeper. Colossians 1:3 says, “ We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you.” Here the Bible tells us that the God of the Bible is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Any god that is not the Father of our Lord Jesus is a false god. Subsequently, any vine whose keeper is not God the Father is a false vine. But Jesus said He was the true vine and thus God the Father is the husbandman. This proves that Jesus is the true vine by who the husbandman is. Colossians 2:12 says, “ Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.”
Jesus, by telling us the Father is the husbandman, is telling us that the entire Salvation plan from the beginning was the Father’s plan. Jesus said in John 5:17-20, “ But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.” John 6:37, “ All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
James 5:7 says, “ Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.” One day the Father will send His Son the second time to collect His harvest. Since the Father is the Husbandman He will receive only those who are connected to the true vine, and it’s all for the glory of the Father. Isaiah 60:21 says, “Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.” Again, I emphasize how Jesus worked only according to the will and direction of the Father that it might be made manifest that Jesus is the Father working and not some renegade usurper acting on His own as was the case with the devil.
We are the fruit bearing branches. You see, it’s not enough to be with, close by, or associated with the vine, one must be connected. Those not connected, or connected to another vine, will not bear the fruit of the true vine. The branches are not able to bear fruit independent from the vine, whether it’s a religious person associating himself with Jesus or acting on their own, unless they are connected they can not please God nor bear fruit. Remember, branches are extensions of the vine. If the branches are not connected, they don’t receive anything from the vine, no nourishment, no strength, no root, nothing. They are on their own and will therefore whither and die.
There are two kinds of worshippers. John 4:23 says, “ But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.” What is the opposite of true worshippers? False worshippers. Is there such a thing? According to the scriptures there is. Matthew 7:15-23 says, “ Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
You will notice the major difference was fruit bearing. There are those who produced good fruit and those who produced their own fruit in the form of their own good works; thus trusting in themselves that they were righteous. They even referred to their good works as the reason for why God should let them into His heaven. “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? “ You will notice that the Lord was not at all impressed with the “many wonderful works” they did in His name. Notice their whole defense consisted of what they had done. Not one word about what Jesus had done. And as it was with those branches in revelation who were connected to the vine of the earth, the vine of wrath, our Lord says to them, “ I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
What interests me here is that if Jesus never knew them, by what power did they prophesy, cast out devils, and do many wonderful works? There can be no doubt about their fate, however, “ If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” Malachi 4:1 says, “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.”
We must understand that there is a difference between good works and fruitfulness. Works, whether good or bad, are still works of the flesh. But there is no such thing as the fruit of the flesh. 2 Peter 1:5-8 says, “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” These things Peter writes about are all Spiritual traits. Paul says calls these Spiritual traits, “The fruits of the Spirit.”
Galatians 5:19-23 says, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
You will notice that a distinction is made between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. Surprisingly, Jesus taught that even religious works can be works of the flesh devoid of the Spirit. It’s what Paul calls in 2 Timothy 3:5, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.”
What is fruit? There is good fruit and bad fruit. Let’s take an apple tree for instance. Why does an apple tree grow apples? Why not pears? Why not peaches? Simply because the apples tree’s nature is to grow apples. It does not try to grow apples nor does it try to grow anything else. The fruit just goes along with the nature of the tree. It is a natural outcome. To produce any thing else other than what its nature dictates would be totally foreign no matter how beautiful the fruit. If a tree produces bad fruit it’s because it is a bad tree.
Spiritual fruit manifests itself through good works as we, according to the Spirit of God who indwells us, go along with our new nature. Therefore, the self effort to produce the works of the flesh, no matter how beautiful, is not spiritual fruit. One may be doing good works to impress someone, to earn someone’s favor, to earn favor with God towards salvation, to feel good about one’s self, to engage in a vain show to prove one is somehow holier than another or any number of other reasons. Jesus is not impressed with that.
At a time when Israel was nationally not in a right relationship with God, God spoke through the prophet Hosea and said in Hosea 10:1-2, “ Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself: according to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images. Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty: he shall break down their altars, he shall spoil their images.” Notice how God said, “ he bringeth forth fruit unto himself.” Well, this is not the kind of fruit God is looking for.
The apostle Paul also wrote in Ro 10:3, “ For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”
This reminds me of the story told by Jesus in Luke 18:9-14; “And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
The fruit of the Spirit is produced as we follow the inner influence of the Holy Ghost. It is not something we produce, it is something He produces as we go along with His will. It does not mean we will never sin. Just remember this, we can only sin in the flesh but we cannot sin in the Spirit. This is why Paul writes in Galatians 5:16 -17, “ This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” There will be times when we sin because we still live in sinful flesh and still come under its influence. Sin in our life should create conflict. If you are not at war with , as Hebrews 12:1 says, “ …the sin which doth so easily beset us…” you have a serious problem and are most likely not saved. It is foreign to our new nature to abandon ourselves to our fleshly nature. Our carnal nature produces carnal fruit but our spiritual nature can only produce spiritual fruit.
But as for sins in our lives, we care about it. It is our spiritual nature to care about it. If we do not care, it can only mean we have no spiritual nature that is offended by it. The Bible does not say that a Christian will never sin again in the flesh, but when we do sin, the Bible says in John 15:2, “every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” To help us understand what this means, the word “purge” means the same thing in Greek as it does to us. The Greek word for purge is, “kayairw” pronounced, kathairo. It means to purge or cleanse. Purge or cleanse from what? You may ask. From whatever it is holding us back from growing in fruit bearing. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
There are various methods that the Lord uses to cleanse us but He does continuously cleanse us. Hebrews 12:6 tells us, “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.”
The apostle Paul also spoke of this from his own experience in Romans 7:14-25, “ For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,)dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”
Notice that though his flesh was still influenced by sin, he himself, the saved man, with his mind still served the law of God. Paul asked the question, “ O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Notice he said, the “body” of this death I.e. the flesh. But He also immediately had the answer, “ I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” But this is an on going conflict that believers have. It should not lead us to believe that we are not producing fruit.
As we look at the metaphor of us as branches and the Lord as the vine we see that as we are connected to him we receive the flow of His nature directly from Him. This is why we can produce fruit. It is solely because of the vine that we are connected to. This speaks to our dependence, reliance, and union with our Lord. I have heard people say they believe in Buddha, Allah, Jesus, and several other names or religions. They reason if they believe in everyone, when they die they have a better chance of having pleased the right God.
When it comes to faith in Jesus, however, we have no back up plan. There are no alternative gods just in case. We trust in Him alone and not only do we believe in Him but we also rely on Him for our Salvation and His grace to live in this world. We are not independent when it comes to our faith, we are totally dependent on Him. If I do not have Jesus, it can not be done. This type of blind faith still sees what the world cannot with healthy eyes. Sure, I depend on myself and others in this world sometimes for various things but not for my salvation or my ability to please and serve Him. For that, I rely totally on Him alone. And so it is written, “ Without me ye can do nothing.” That’s either true or it is not. I choose to believe it is true and will not question or argue with it. Nor will I try to justify a differing opinion. Only when we are connected to the vine can we bear fruit that is pleasing to the Lord. Jesus said, “ Abide in me, and I in you.” Notice our union is not one sided. We abide in Him and stay with Him because we love Him and this love comes from our hearts. Not for advantage or reward, for to love Him is reward enough.
If I may put it plainly, Jesus wants our company. He wants to interact with you. It pleases Him when you are interested in the things that interest Him. It pleases Him when we see things His way and share His vision. He is thankful for you. He wants to walk in harmony down the road of life with us as a man walks down the road with his friend. Jesus wants to be your friend and he wants your friendship. He deserves to be worshipped and praised and we are more than happy to do it. What effects Him effects you. This is the fellowship we have in Him and with Him.
I AM MASTER AND LORD
John 13:13, " Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am."
The Lord is not a Lord that we can package and train to do our bidding. Luke 6:46 says,
"And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" It's clear that we don't walk the Lord through our lives as if He were on a leash. Many treat Jesus as a genie, calling Him out of His lamp when we need Him. It doesn't work that way. We need to love our Lord like our good Shepherd but at the same time with a good healthy dose of reverence, awe, and respect. The Bible says in Phillipians 2:10-11, "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Malachi 1:6 pretty much addresses the same thing as Jesus in Luke 6:46. Interestingly enough, both are phrased as questions instead of statements. This necessitates a response from the listener, or in our case, the reader. Malachi 1:6, “A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name.”
So if the question has to be asked, there must be something wrong on our part. This demands some soul searching. It also causes us to ask ourselves, now what do we plan on doing different to correct our relationship to the Lord.
The word, master, usually denotes one who has servants under him. As such, the master is the absolute authority and the servants are to be subordinate and obedient. The Lord is, of course, our Master, and we are supposed to be obedient subordinates. This means, as Jesus puts it, doing the things He says. But there is also another meaning for the word, master, in the New Covenant scriptures. The meaning is that of, teacher from the Greek word, didaskalov?(Didaskalos) meaning teacher or instructor.
The teacher always has students who are willing and interested in learning from their teacher. The New Testament calls them disciples. The word, disciple, comes from the word discipline. The Microsoft Works Word Processor dictionary defines discipline as:
n (plural dis·ci·plines)
1. training to ensure proper behavior: the practice or methods of teaching and enforcing acceptable patterns of behavior
2. order and control: a controlled orderly state, especially in a class of schoolchildren
3. calm controlled behavior: the ability to behave in a controlled and calm way even in a difficult or stressful situation
4. conscious control over lifestyle: mental self-control used in directing or changing behavior, learning something, or training for something
5. education activity or subject: a subject or field of activity, e.g. an academic subject
6. punishment: punishment designed to teach somebody obedience
7. Christianity church rules: the system of rules used in a religious denomination or order
v (past and past participle dis·ci·plined, present participle dis·ci·plin·ing, 3rd person present singular dis·ci·plines)
1. vr make yourself do something regularly: to make yourself act or work in a controlled or systematic way
2. vt punish somebody: to punish somebody as a way of enforcing obedience
3. vt teach somebody obedience: to teach somebody to obey rules or to behave in an acceptable way
[13th century. Directly or via French < Latin disciplina "instruction given to a learner" < discipulus (see disciple)]
The definition of discipline is an applicable description of our relationship to our Master.
Master, is much more than just a title for lip service but the position one holds in relationship to another. Our Master not only instructs us but also teaches by example. In John 13:15 Jesus said, “For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” Notice He did not say that you should do WHAT I have done. That would be too limited. He said that you should do AS I have done giving His example a wider degree of application. We in turn learn from His example and as we incorporate His examples into our every day walk of life, we in turn become an example to others. 1 Timothy 4:12 says, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
Therefore, we are to follow the examples set by Him applying them to our own lives. You know the question often asked, “What would Jesus do?” We are to take the examples of His values, principles and deeds and weave them into our every day walk of life. We are to try to be like Him, not in His Deity, but in His character. Matthew 10:25 says, “It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord.” Matthew 10:24 reminds us, however, that, “The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.”
Luke 14:27 says, “And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” There is another aspect of bearing one’s cross other than experiencing trials, tribulations, persecutions etc for our identification with our Lord. To bear one’s cross as a disciple also means as in Matthew 11:29-30, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and LEARN of me.” Of course, one cannot do that except he first surrender his will to the Lord in order to be taught by Him. Amos 3:3 says, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” What Jesus is doing as Master of our lives is teaching us to be like Him. We should always learn and strive to imitate from our hearts His example. We do this by studying His word. Read Psalm 119. The word, “teach” is found 9 times in that Psalm and each time is followed by the word, “me.” Teach me is the prevailing theme of that chapter as well as living the word. Read also Psalm 25.
Now let’s turn our attention to Jesus as Lord. The Bible says in Philippians 2:9-11, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” There can be no mistake about what the Bible means when it calls Jesus, Lord.
How Jesus applies the term, Lord, to Himself.
Matthew 7:21-22, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” Notice that Jesus is the Lord that opens or shuts heaven unto men and it is before Him as Lord that men are judged.
Matthew 12:8, “For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.” Every Sabbath day was the Holy day of Israel. The priests and teachers of the law taught in the synagogues, the priests in the temple performed their rituals and sacrifices. The Sabbath day was highly revered. They were quick to accuse Jesus of breaking the Sabbath and thus the Torah, but Jesus elevated Himself above the Sabbath day even saying that He Himself was the Lord of the Sabbath. This so infuriated the religious leaders of Jesus day that they went out and plotted His murder. See Matthew chapter 12. In another place in John 5:16 the Bible says, “And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.” But Jesus was the Lord of the Sabbath.
Matthew 24:42, “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.”
Here Jesus refers to Himself as the Lord who is coming again. This is portrayed strongly in the book of Revelation.
Now let’s look at how others applied the term to Him.
Mt 22:43-45, “He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying,
The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?” Even David, in the Old Covenant scriptures called Jesus Lord which meant that Jesus was before David although He descended from David. How could a mere man do that? David acknowledged Jesus as the Lord from heaven.
John 6:68, “Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.” Peter acknowledged Jesus as the Lord, who alone had the words of eternal life.
2 Peter 3:18, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” Peter acknowledges Jesus as the Lord who is the Saviour. As a Jew, Peter would have been well aware of such verses as,
Isaiah 43:3, “For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.”
Isaiah 43:11, “I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.”
Isaiah 45:15, “Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour.”
Yet Peter addresses Jesus as Lord and Saviour as does Paul in numerous places, the apostle John also, and Jude.
John 11:27 “She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.” Here, when Martha addresses Jesus as Lord, she further qualifies that with, the Christ, or Messiah, and the Son of God, who was prophesied to come into the world.
John 20:28, “And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.” Here, Thomas proclaims Jesus as Lord and his God as well. Jesus did not correct him either.
One other example of what, Lord, meant to those who addressed Jesus by that title is found in Acts 1:6; “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” Here the disciples believed that Jesus was the Lord who was coming again and was the one who was to restore the kingdom of Israel and reign as its King.
The Bible plainly declares that Jesus the Messiah is Lord of lords and King of kings. This leads us to our next point.
I AM THE ALMIGHTY GOD
We begin with Exodus 3:14 where God said to Moses, “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” Now we will follow that up with some statements Jesus made concerning Himself.
John 8:24-25, “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.” You will notice that the word, “he” is in italics which means it was supplied by the translators and not in the original manuscripts. Jesus said, “If ye believe not that I am, ye shall die in your sins.” The same is true for the following verses.
John 8:28, “Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.”
John 8:58, “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Here you will notice that what Jesus was stating was so blatantly obvious that the translators didn’t even bother to add the italicized “he.”
John 13:19, “Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.”
John 18:5-6, “They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.” What was it about Jesus saying that He was I am that sent these soldiers backwards falling to the ground? It was not as if they stumbled in the dark or something and fell, they fell backward as they approached Him; the opposite direction of their forward advance. Some commentators have suggested that they were merely taken aback at the appearance of His majesty. But Isaiah 53:2 reminds us, “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.”
John 18:8, “Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way:” Only John records this and it is consistent with his emphasis on the “I ams” of Jesus. John emphasizes the Deity of Jesus throughout his gospel as well as his epistles and the book of Revelation.
Now as some are trying to lead us to believe that Jesus never claimed to be the Messiah, we can go one step farther and see that, not only did He claim to be the Messiah but also claimed to be the Almighty. We know that God alone is the Almighty. Let’s look at a couple of examples.
Genesis 17:1, “And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.”
Genesis 35:11, “And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins.”
There is no disputing that God the Father claimed to be the Almighty God. But in the book of Revelation we find Jesus claiming to be the same thing. Now realize that Jesus did so with the full approval because the Scriptures emphasize that Jesus never acted nor spoke on His own independently of the Father.
ALPHA AND OMEGA
Revelation 1:8, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” Here we have a person, the Alpha and Omega, identifying Himself as the "beginning and the ending". He further states that He is "the Lord" "which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty". Clearly we see that the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, is the Almighty. Now as we compare that with Revelation 22:13 "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last." we see that the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, the Almighty, is also the First and the Last. Revelation 1:17 "And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:"
As Jesus claimed to be the first and the last we must bear in mind that He is not the only one who made this claim. Isaiah 44:6 "Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God." Isaiah 48:12 says, “Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.” Now as we continue we learn that the Alpha and Omega, who is also the beginning and the end, the Almighty, the first and the last, is also the One who died and was resurrected, Revelation 1:18 " I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death." And just to be sure that there is no mistake about whom we are talking about Revelation 22:6 says," And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done." So who is the Lord God of the holy prophets who sent His angel? For that we are not left to guess for He tells us in no uncertain terms in Revelation 22:16 "I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star." "The Lord God of the holy prophets who sent His angel" identifies Himself as, "I Jesus have sent mine angel."
This is what Peter also referred to in 1 Peter 1:10-11, "Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow." The prophets prophesied by the Spirit of Christ, the Messiah which was in them.
In summary we see that Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, and:
1. First and the Last
Revelation 1:17, “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:”
Isaiah 44:6, “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.”
Isaiah 48:12, “Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.”
2. Was Dead but is Now Alive
Revelation 1:18, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.”
Revelation 2:8, “And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive.”
3. The Beginning and the End
Revelation 21:6, “And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.”
Revelation 22:13, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.”
4. Who was, Who is, and Who is to come
Revelation 1:8, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”
Revelation 11:17, “Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.”
5. The Lord God of the Holy Prophets
Revelation 22:6, “And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.
Revelation 22:16, “ I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.”
1 Peter 1:10-11, “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.”
It must be remembered that this is Jesus' own personal claim and not what others were saying about Him. He made claims for Himself that only the LORD God of Israel made for Himself. So either He should be stoned as the leaders of Israel were going to do when He claimed "Before Abraham was, I am" or He should be worshipped as being who He said He was. For in the Scriptures we find that He is both worshipped by angels and man
Hebrews 1:6 "And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him."
Matthew 14:33 "Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God."
John 9:38 "And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him." Jesus accepted their worship yet the angels and holy men rejected it.
Acts 10:25-26, "And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man."
Revelation 22:8-9 "And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.”
So we must ask ourselves, what does that mean for us personally? What does that mean for the world? His claims are to be taken seriously and we must look again at how we live before Him and interact with Him. But the bottom line is, He is our sufficiency. He is the foundation of our faith. This is what sets our faith apart from every other faith in the world. Jesus is the foundation and cornerstone of our faith. As such, He is all sufficient for all of our needs, spiritual and otherwise.
In closing, we need to look at that word, sufficient. The sufficiency of our faith is Jesus alone, and by the way, this is not to the exclusion of the Father and the Holy Ghost. I‘m not preaching “Jesus Only“ theology here. While other religions teach that their disciples must be good enough to earn their salvation, enlightenment, or whatever they choose to call it, the Bible teaches us that we need Jesus because we are insufficient of ourselves to meet God’s standard of sinless perfection.
2 Corinthians 3:5 says, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;”
2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
We know also, that our sufficiency is always in force, for our sufficiency is a person, and that person is the Lord Jesus Himself. The scriptures assure us that, “And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:” - Colossians 2:10.
His parting promise to all born again believers is,
Matthew 28:20, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”