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I Am the Light of the World

Posted on April 30, 2017

I Am – The Light of the World

John 8:12 – 30

Scripture Reading

John 8:25 – 30

25 So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning. 26 I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” 27 They did not understand that he had been speaking to them about the Father. 28 So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. 29 And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” 30 As he was saying these things, many believed in him.

Introduction: ATHANASIUS CONTENDS FOR THE DEITY OF CHRIST - If Jesus is something less than God, he has no right and no power to forgive our sins. If Jesus can’t forgive our sins, we have no hope.

Yes, the doctrine of the deity of Christ is worth contending for. And there is nobody God used more to contend for this biblical truth than Athanasius.

Athanasius was born in the year 298 A. D. in Egypt. In his early twenties, he was a deacon in the church in Alexandria (North Africa). During that time, the doctrine of the deity of Christ came under attack by a highly influential pastor named Arius. Arius taught that Jesus was a created being, that he had a beginning, and there was a time when Jesus was not. Therefore, according to Arius, Jesus is the son of God, but not God the son. His heresy was later known as the Arian heresy (named after Arius). It sparked a flame throughout the empire, that would dominate the church for 60 years. It was a 20-year-old young man by the name of Athanasius, 40 years younger than Arius, that God would use to contend for the doctrine of the deity of Christ (good word to 20-year old’s here today, you don’t need to wait to have a huge impact in the kingdom. God can use you now).

Athanasius would endure decades of persecution, banished from the church, sent into exile five times, framed for murder, threatened with death, slandered by emperors and bishops, all for standing firm to the doctrine of the deity of Christ. In the end he prevailed, truth was preserved, and the church has stood on his shoulders ever since. - (From a sermon by Mark Connelly, The Deity of Christ, 8/24/2011)

Purpose: Every Christ follower needs to build a deepening relationship with Christ and understand His deity.

Background

  • In John 7:37 – 52; I want to remind you that Jesus was at the Feast of Tabernacles in the fall.
    • This fall festival commemorated a couple of things
      • The harvest
      • But more importantly, the way God took care of the Jews as they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years.
      • It was an eight-day festival
      • The Jewish people were to live outside by building a lean-to sort of shelter
      • On the seventh day, you may remember was the high day of the feast where the priest poured a pitcher of water on the altar.
      • It was at this point of the festival that Jesus stood up at that exact moment and with his voice as loud as He could proclaim declared He was the Living Water and the way of salvation.
      • Beginning in 8:12, we are now at the eighth day of the festival, the final day
        • The setting is found in 8:20 of where the verses we will study today occurred.

John 8:20

These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.

  • The place was called the Court of Women. It was as far into the temple that women were permitted to go.
  • It was the place of the treasury for the temple. There were boxes with names of them for what the offerings went to. As people entered the temple this was the place they put their offerings.
  • It was a good place for Jesus to teach because in the room next to Him were where the Pharisees assembled and so it was within earshot of their hearing. It was also the place where the largest crowds would gather in the temple.
  • There were four huge candelabras lit at night which pushed light into the night like a search light. It was symbolic of the pillar of fire that Israel enjoyed as God’s presence with them in the wilderness.

Quote: “There was not a courtyard in Jerusalem that did not reflect (their) light.” – F.F. Bruce – The Gospel of John

  • It was under that light that the Jewish people would gather and have music played by the Levite worship band and they would dance long into the night. A time of celebration.

 

Transition: As we look to John 8:12 and following, just a reminder again as we go through this book showing Christ as the Messiah, the Son of God, and the Savior of the world. There are 7 Messianic claims in this book and we are looking at the second I Am today.

Seven Messianic Claims

  1. 1.    I Am the Bread of Life – Chapter 4
  2. 2.    I Am the Light of the World – Chapter 8
  3. I Am the Door of the Sheep – Chapter 10
  4. I Am the Good Shepherd – Chapter 10
  5. I Am the Resurrection and the Life – Chapter 11
  6. I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life – Chapter 14
  7. I Am the True Vine – Chapter 15

Transition: First thing we see today is;

The declarative assertion

John 8:12

12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

  • Notice that John uses the word “Again”.
  • Jesus speaks for the second time to the people on the eighth day at the lighting of the giant candelabra at night
  • He clearly claims here again that He is equal with God and that He truly is the Messiah
  • Jesus said if you will follow me, will not walk in spiritual darkness but have the light that produces spiritual light.
  • We then in turn having been illumined by the Holy Spirit in us can go out and light our world. We can do that by sharing Jesus with others.

Philippians 2:15

That you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

  • Jesus should be the central focus of the world because after all in the future He will be the light that shines around the world in Revelation 22 when the sun and moon are no longer.
  • Jesus used this poignant moment to teach the Jewish people around Him and certainly, the entire nation what the light represented here.
    • What about us, do we use the common things around us, current events, the circumstances of the day to bring about a teachable moment? To our kids, our grandkids, someone who needs Jesus by developing a spiritual conversation out of a situation?

Application: Do we use teachable moments to point people to God?

Transition: The second point here is the religious leaders rebuking Jesus for His declaration of being the Light of the World.

The rebuking accusation

John 8:13

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

  • They were mocking Jesus as they had before

John 5:31

If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true

  • According to OT law, every fact in a legal matter had to be established by the testimony of more than one witness

Numbers 35:30

“If anyone kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death on the evidence of witnesses. But no person shall be put to death on the testimony of one witness.

  • The religious leaders dismissed Jesus claim to deity on a legal technicality
    • Hold on though
    • There were many witnesses who testified that Jesus is who He claims to be
    • John the Baptist, the Twelve disciples, the Samaritan woman, Martha, the crowd that witnessed Lazarus coming back from the dead, Jesus works, demons would testify that He was the Son of God

Mark 5:7

And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.”

  • The scriptures and the Father also bore witness that Jesus was the Messiah
  • The truth is that unbelievers who are close minded are never convinced by how much evidence is given.
  • But if you seek the truth with an open heart, God will reveal Himself to you

John 7:17

If anyone's will is to do God's will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.

  • Anny Donewald
  • Muslims having dreams of Jesus and coming to Christ
  • The question before us is what is our motive for questioning who God is and what He is doing.  What is our motive when we ask our spouse or other people questions?  Is our goal to build others up or tear down? Are we looking for true, honest answers or are we trying to find ammunition to destroy someone?
  • Our response to these statements makes all the difference in the world.

Application: Do we ask questions to find answers or to tear a person down?

Transition: Let’s look at Jesus clarifying question of the skeptics.

The clarifying answer - John 8:14 – 20

  • Man- centered perspective – 8:15, 19 – 20

15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.

  • You judge by human standards and logic.
  • They simply did not possess spiritual understanding. They were like the lost Gentiles

I Corinthians 1:21

For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.

  • You and I need to pray that people will have their spiritual blinders removed so they can see and receive the grace of God.
  • Jesus goes on to say that He Himself judges no one
    • This could mean He will not judge from a human perspective
    • Or it could mean that this was not the time for Him to be judging people. That was not the purpose by which God sent Him to earth.

John 3:17

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

19 They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” 20 These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.

  • Did the leaders really want to talk with Joseph? Joseph, Jesus earthly father was probably dead by now.
  • Later in John 8:41, they will insult Him even more by calling Him an illegitimate child.
  • The religious leaders did not know God intimately. Jesus reveals this by pointing out their incorrect thinking.
  • They were blinded by their stubborn hearts and ignorant of this spiritual reality.
  • God -centered perspective – 8:14; 16 – 18

14 Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going.

  • Jesus told them He was willing to tell them the truth if they would receive it
    • After all, He was the author of truth
    • Jesus was fully aware of His heavenly origin and destiny. He was an eyewitness to God and His throne.
    • He was all knowing here but the religious leaders had limited knowledge because they were mere mortals.
    • Remember, back in chapter 7:41 – 42, they claimed they did not know where Jesus was born even.

16 Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. 17 In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. 18 I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.”

  • Jesus tells them that He is one with the Father in judging people showing His equality with Him. Jesus had the same nature as God

Philippians 2:6 - 7

Who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

  • In verses 17 – 18, Jesus says all right, here is the evidence that what I claim is following the Law. You want two witnesses to testify of who I am. Here you go
  • John 8:18 above

Quote: “If Jesus really stands in the relationship to God in which he says He does, then no mere man is in a position to bear witness. No human witness can authenticate a divine relationship.” – Leon Morris – The Gospel According to John

Quote: “They knew the Law of God but they did not know the God of the Law.” – Warren Wiersbe

  • We need to make sure we have God’s perspective on our lives and not our faulty, limited logic even as believers

Illustration: April 28th -  I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. John 10:9

As Christians, we talk about God “opening doors” to us as a means of His revealing His will. What we are asking God to do is engineer our circumstances to match what we think would be best. The problem is that we misunderstand what the door is. Jesus said He is the door. Circumstances are irrelevant, for no one can shut the door that Jesus opens (Rev. 3:8). If you have substituted activity for your relationship with Christ, then circumstances can disrupt your activity. When the activity is hindered, you may assume the door has been closed. Yet, if Christ is the door in your life, He will guide you into every experience of Him that He wants, and there will be nothing that people can do to stop Him.

 When Paul and Silas were thrown into prison at Philippi, it appeared that the door to their ministry in Greece had been violently and firmly closed (Acts 16:22-24). The reality of their situation, however, was that their Lord had opened a door of ministry to a previously unreached group of men in prison. The Philippian jailer and his household would become a significant nucleus of the new church in Philippi. From a human perspective, a door had been closed; from God’s perspective, Paul and Silas continued to minister exactly where God wanted them to. When people oppose us, we can become discouraged or worry about what others are doing to us. We may even try to take matters into our own hands to accomplish what we think God wants. This reveals that we do not really believe Jesus is the door for our lives. If we did, we would be assured that through Christ we have access to everything He wants to do in and through us.

  • Instead of us trying to control or engineer our circumstances and ask God to bless them, we should wait on God and learn to minister in any and all circumstances as Paul and Silas did. Being a faithful witness will be looking for opportunities for God to use us no matter the circumstances.
  • Does the way you view God and His working in your life sometimes frustrate you or do you look at where God is at work around you and ask God how you can join in with His kingdom work?

Application: Does your personal theology work for you in your everyday life?

Illustration: Death of mom

Transition: Does God mess you up sometimes in how He works in your life and the lives of others around you??

The challenging announcement – John 8:21-30

John 8:21

21 So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.”

  • He told the skeptics that He would die soon, be resurrected and ascend into heaven.
  • He made the bold statement that they would die in their sins.
    • Those who reject Jesus Christ will suffer the consequences of their sin which is eternal separation from God in hell
    • We don’t talk about hell near enough. It is a place of loneliness, separation from others and God, of fire, torment, torture, darkness. Pain will be felt because people will wail and gnash their teeth.
    • Folks it is a real place and God never intends for anyone to go there.
    • Notice what skeptics say in verse 22

John 8:22

22 So the Jews said, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?”

  • Be self – righteous– 8:22
    • They thought Jesus was possibly going to commit suicide which was abhorrent to the Jews.

Quote: “The souls of those whose hands have acted madly against themselves are received by the darkest place in Hades.” – Josephus – The Wars of the Jews

  • They were self- righteous in their thinking. Who does He think He is that He can go to heaven and we won’t?
  • Are you trusting in your good works for salvation? The Jews relied upon good works, keeping the Sabbath, observing all the ceremonies and rituals but most importantly; keeping the Law for their salvation.
  • These religious leaders were poster children for self- righteousness
  • How righteous do you have to be to get into heaven?
    • Your righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees and according to Matthew 5:48 the standard is perfection.
    • Jeremiah says our righteousness is as filthy rags and Romans 4 says that we live by faith in Christ based on grace. That is our standing on daily basis not our righteousness.
    • Be worldly– 8:23
      • Jesus ignores their statement of His possible suicide

John 8:23

23 He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.

  • The word is kosmos here and in this context means an invisible spiritual system of evil that opposes God and His kingdom; comprising of any thought against God’s kingdom and controlled by Satan.
  • Because of materialism, humanism, (man centered living), selfishness, immorality, addictions, fame, power and pride they opposed the divine truth of holiness, virtue and right living.
  • Be unbelieving – 8:24

John 8:24

I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”

  • Jesus repeats His warning again that He stated in verse 21.
  • Notice He uses the “I Am “words again – YHWH – word for God.
  • If they reject the Sin bearer – Jesus Christ, they will continue in their world of sinful behavior and suffer the eternal consequences.
  • Just a reminder that God does not grade on the curve. He clearly lays out in scripture what you need to do to go to heaven and how to live as a Christ follower.
  • They were so shocked by this statement over at the end of the chapter – 8:59, they were trying to stone Him to death.
  • This is why it is so important for us to tell our neighbors, family, kids, friends, even our enemies and those we don’t know so they can avoid life without Christ. There are no second chances after death.
  • Be willfully ignorant – 8:25 – 30

John 8:25 – 30

25 So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning. 26 I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” 27 They did not understand that he had been speaking to them about the Father. 28 So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. 29 And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” 30 As he was saying these things, many believed in him.

  • The current of mockery continues in verse 25. “Who are you to tell us we will die in our sins?” Jesus felt no need to repeat what has been already said
  • Jesus and the Father will judge with complete harmony in their decisions.
  • They were still willfully ignorant not knowing Jesus was speaking about God.
  • The day will come soon when people will understand fully who He is
    • He speaks of His crucifixion here. “lifted up” has two meanings
      • One is the crucifixion to die as the substitute for sin
      • Two is when He will ascend to the right hand of the Father after the resurrection.
      • In verse 30 we see that many came to faith in Christ as a result of this Feast of the Tabernacles and the power of His words backed up by His miracles. It took the crucifixion, burial and resurrection to cause many, many more Jews to come to Christ. The book of Acts records 3,000 came to faith in Christ in just one day.
      • In verse 29, we see the evidence of the wonderful, deep, committed relationship Jesus and God had.
        • I have an intimate relationship with the trueGod
          • God is with me
          • I do everything to please the Father
  • I will be lifted up for all to know who I am – Are people seeing Christ in us?
  • I am never alone
    • God wants us to deepen our relationship with Him
      • Maybe it is spending more uninterrupted time with Him
      • You fill in the blank as to what you need to do
    • He wants us to exalt Christ and shine His light through our lives
    • He wants us to know that He is always with us and we never walk alone. What an amazing thought.!!

Application: How are you going deeper in your intimacy level with God?

Transition: As we close, if we come to God with our unanswered questions which for some of them they are painful, are we open minded and patient enough to let God speak to us so we can receive it?

Key Thought: When we ask questions of God are we ready to receive His answers?

 

Three Questions to Ponder

  1. When people ask us a spiritual question, are we opento responding?
  2. Can we willingly choose to look at our circumstances from the lens of God’s vantage point?
  3. Are we open to going deeper in our relationship with Christ if God reveals new ways for us to die to ourselves?