This Sunday, we are going to talk about in my opinion one of the most important “I am,” statements that Jesus made. Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches, if you remain in me and I in you, you’ll bear much fruit, but apart from me you can do nothing.” That statement alone is pretty dramatic if you think about it. If you stay with me and I’m in you, you’re going to bear much fruit, but apart from me you could do nothing. That’s pretty dramatic. When you contextualize the statement as to when it was said, it begins to take on a whole new level of significance for us. My question would simply be this, what fruit is being evidenced in your life? Love, joy Peace, patience? Because as Jesus said when we remain in Him and He in us we will bear fruit, much fruit. As we do that and we love each other what happens is God takes our loneliness and He replaces it with His comfort. He takes our desires and He replaces it with His desires. As we love each other and we remain connected, we find ourselves one day in the middle of a miracle.
Today, we’re going to look at one of the most inspirational, life changing “I am” statements that Jesus ever made. It’s found in John 8:12, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” He said, “whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but He will have the “light of life.” If you follow Jesus, you will never walk in darkness, which is a good thing, because darkness is scary. When I was a kid, all I needed was a night-light. You give me a night-light and I’m fine. A little bit of light changes everything. All through scripture, you can see the light contrasted with darkness. We see the contrast between darkness and light and Jesus makes the life-changing statement, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
Today, we’re going to look In John 10:11 He said, “I am the good shepherd. Let’s, say it again. “Who is Jesus?” He said, “I am the good shepherd.” And what does a good shepherd do? The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He is the good shepherd; God is good. The gospel means “good news.” It’s good news that Jesus, the good shepherd, was willing to die for us in our place. And the fact that he said, “I’m the good shepherd” implies that there are others that are not good. In fact, he doesn’t just imply it, but in verse 1 of John, chapter 10, here’s what he said. He said, “I tell you the truth. Anyone who sneaks over the wall of the sheepfold, rather than going through the gate must surely be a thief and a robber.” Let’s be real clear: Jesus is the good shepherd. Who are we in this metaphor? We are we? The sheep. And he is here — imagine this: The love of God through his son that he desires that you have a rich and a satisfying life. Other versions say that, “His desire is that you have life to the fullest.” That’s what he wants for you.
Welcome today to we are so honored that you’ve chosen to worship our God and to celebrate the resurrection of God’s son, our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. Today we’re starting a brand new four-week series today called, “I am Jesus.” Over the next four weeks we’re going to study 4 of the 7 “I am” statements in the gospel of John. Next week, we’re going to study the statement Jesus said, when he said, “I am the good shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep.” The following week, we’re going to look at his statement when he says, “I am the light of the world. In the 4th and final week of our series, we’re going to look at where he said, “I am the vine and you are the branches. If you abide in me, you will bear much fruit but apart from me,” Jesus says, “you can’t do anything.” Today, though I want to look at the “I am” statement that fits best of all on this weekend, from John 11:25 when Jesus said this — “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live even though they die.”
Well I am very, very blessed to have heard really a lot of stories about how this little Old Testament book is impacting so many lives, and so today we’re actually going to wrap up our study through the book of Haggai. As we pick up the story this week, kind of reading between the lines. If you look at their attitude you can find that many of them really battle the same battle that many of us feel when we think we’re trying to do what you asked us to do God, but things just aren’t going well. We’re trying to do what you told us to do, and yet we’re not making progress. We’re trying to obey you God and yet our life still is not working very well. You can almost feel the cry of their hearts, “God we’re obeying you and yet where are you? Where are the results?” Is it really worth it to serve and obey God, and this is a question I believe many people were asking God and quite honestly many people ask today.
What does God often do in your life? God will often stir up your spirit. God gives you hope to accomplish something that God puts on your mind. God did this for the people. He gave them a sense of faith. We’re supposed to rebuild the temple. He stirred up their spirits, and this will happen for those of you that are followers of Jesus. There will be those times, like out of the blue, like I think we’re supposed to do this. You have faith for something, and you want to attack it, and that’s because God has stirred up your spirit and one month later, we get discourage and we give up or just put it aside. This week, we will look to the scriptures for God to help us when we get discouraged.
In this series we are in the Old Testament Book of Haggai. You see, receiving opposition isn’t a sign that God’s against you. A lot of times, it’s a sign that you’re doing what God wants you to do. That’s why I always tell people, “I don’t really worry when people are opposing me. I worry when no one is,” right, because then I’m not doing much for the glory of God. The moment you start to move forward and do something and be obedient to what God called you to do, mark it down. There’s very likely spiritual opposition on the way. When you find yourself being obedient to God and it gets difficult and it gets challenging and it often does, I want to encourage you with this one simple thought. Oh, it’s hard. Oh, it’s challenging. Oh, it’s difficult. I know it’s right, but oh, this is so difficult. In part one of this series we see one simple thought, ‘With God’s help, choose the hard right over the easy wrong.”
“The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor!” These were the words a scared young man from the weakest tribe of Israel heard from God! The story of Gideon can be found in the Old Testament book of Judges. The biggest thing all have in common with Gideon is doubt. We doubt our abilities and we doubt we can be of much use to God. However, God sees us as he created us to be, not as we see ourselves. When we try to accomplish things totally in our own might, we will fail. However, when we see ourselves as God sees us, miracles can happen and lives can be changed.
Sometimes, God simply wants our trust. This week, as we conclude our series: “Why”, God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called! God wants to do amazing things through you! Don’t be afraid to answer the call!
Today, we’re going to deal with what is perhaps the most commonly asked question about God, maybe in the history of the world. Chances are pretty good either you’ve asked this, or you know someone who has. It often falls in one of these categories; people will want to know why do bad things happen to good people? Why does God allow that, or why doesn’t God seem fair? Most people I know are asking, “God, why did this bad thing happen to me?” Or, “Why is this thing going on in the life of someone that I love? Why are these bad things happening to me?” What I do want to do today is I want to point you to the one who can or one day will answer all of our questions, and it is my prayer that as we seek that one, that he would reveal to us the truth that God is absolutely and completely in control, and he is through and through good.
Today we are going to talk about one of the more commonly asked questions by those who pray or those who are Christians and that’s the question, “Why didn’t God answer my Prayer?” If you’ve prayed a lot, if you’re a person of faith, chances are at some point you asked God to do something that you knew God could, you thought He should, He didn’t. And if you’re like a lot of people, it rattled your faith and you’re wondering, “Why didn’t God do what I asked Him to do?” especially in light of some verses in the Bible like this one, John 14:13-14 says, Jesus said:
I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. You read a verse like that and you think, “Well, I asked in the name of Jesus and I know God could and He didn’t do it. And then I read about other stories in the Bible like Joshua who prayed that the sun would stand still and it did for a day. And Daniel in the Lions’ Den with hungry lions everywhere and he prayed and hungry lions went on a diet and you’re reading all of this going, “They prayed and things like that happened and I prayed and nothing happened!” This week we look to the scriptures to attempt to answer the question: “Why didn’t God answer my prayer?”