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I Am The Light of the World

Richard Bauckham, in the opening line of his Oxford University Press book, “Jesus: A Very Short Introduction,” writes that Jesus “is the best known and most influential person in world history.”

But if you want to get to know Jesus rather than Bauckham’s good book, you should start with the Bible, particularly the Gospels. They are the primary source document for the person of Jesus. And 8 times in John’s gospel, Jesus refers to Himself with the same term God identified Himself with to Moses centuries before: I Am.

Each time Jesus uses that name for Himself, He declares His divinity, but He also attaches a metaphor to help us understand Him more personally and deeply. And so in this text, He declares to a people walking in darkness that He is the Light of the World.

The big idea is that we’re all forever in the dark apart from Jesus, but in Jesus we can have the light of life. So we answer the following three questions: What’s the problem with the darkness; How is Jesus the Light of the World; and How should we respond to Jesus?

Scripture: John 8:12-30; Isaiah 9:1-6, 5:20; Deuteronomy 13, 19; John 1:1-18, 3:18-19

Reset with a New Heart

The world is a broken place. 2020 brought that home to many of us through our experiences with the pandemic, quarantine, political fights, etc. But before there was ever a pandemic or sharp differences of political opinions, we all had experience with brokenness.

In other words, before these outside issues struck with such force in 2020, all we had to do was look in the mirror. We have millennia of years worth of evidence to say that human beings are broken. We’ve never been able to pull ourselves together. We know the right things to do, but we don’t do them, and we never will apart from outside help.

Deuteronomy 30:1-10 teaches us that the reason the world is a mess, the reason we are broken is because our hearts are broken. We need new hearts! But how can they be fixed? How do you know if you have a new heart? And if you don’t, how do you get one? The answers are here in this text.

Scripture: Deuteronomy 30:1-10; Romans 7:22; Isaiah 53:5,8; Colossians 2:11-15

 

Dark Days, Bitter Heart

The book of Ruth takes place in the dark setting of the time of the judges. Everything that could go wrong seems to go wrong. What we would expect is that every person would do what is right in their eyes, but what happens is that even in the most difficult times imaginable, an unlikely person, Ruth, chooses to show loyalty to God and His people.

We are faced with difficulties, sometimes the unimaginable, and we are called to live like God’s covenant people. God has equipped us to do this through the Gospel.

Scripture: Ruth 1

A Deliberate Blessing

Foothills Church is called to deliberately bless the Ahwatukee community, especially in the face of opposition.

Scripture: Romans 12:14-21 & Luke 6:20-36

A Deliberate Community

We at Foothills Baptist Church are to have a humble service that is characterized by love. We can do this by being a deliberate community that puts Jesus first for the sake of others.

Scripture: Romans 12:3-13

The End of the Beginning

The book of Acts records the history of the first 30 years of the church. In Luke’s gospel, he wrote about “all Jesus began to do and teach before the day he was taken up.” Acts is the record of the continuation of the ministry of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit, through the church to unleash the gospel into the world.

Acts ends with the Apostle Paul in Rome, waiting to be heard by Caesar. It’s like a cliffhanger. We’re left to wonder what’s next for Paul. But while the book of Acts comes to an end, the mission continues. We are the generation entrusted with taking the message of Jesus to the ends of the earth.

So as Luke concludes the book of Acts, he answers three questions we must consider for our lives now: Who is the audience for the gospel? What is the context for gospel ministry? What is the central point of the gospel message.

Scripture: Acts 28:16-31; Philemon 1, 4

Persuading Others to Believe

The Apostle Paul had a conviction – we should try to persuade everyone everywhere to believe in Jesus. Do you want everyone to become a Christian? Do you think we shouldn’t impose our beliefs on others? It’s not tolerant to try to persuade someone to convert.

But according to this text, there is much at stake. When Jesus calls Paul to share the message of salvation it’s clear that people need to be moved from darkness to light, from bondage to freedom, from condemnation to forgiveness, from pointless, futile living, to a place of belonging through faith in Him.

No one is born a Christian. Every Christian is a convert. And God has called us to try to persuade others to believe.

Scripture: Acts 25-26

Three Responses to the Gospel

The gospel message is a singular message, but it provokes different responses from different people. For some in Ephesus, they responded with repentance – and it cost them a fortune. What is your response to the gospel and are you willing to lose to gain?

Scripture: Acts 19:11-41

Making Known the Unknown God

Maybe your neighbor has this bumper sticker, “Coexist.” That was Athens when the Apostle Paul entered it on his second missionary journey. Athens was like a college town. Philosophy, art, politics, education, commerce, and religion were all part of the experience in the heart of the city, the marketplace.

As we look into this passage, we see Paul present Christ in the marketplace and learn what that might look like for us.

Scripture: Acts 17:16-34

The Message of the Church – The Gospel

What is it that the church has to say? We believe the message of the church is the Gospel. Paul refers to it as “the gospel of God,” “the gospel of His son,” and also “the word of the cross.” Christians are gospel people. We believe that the gospel is the message that saved us. And as followers of Christ, we obey His command to make disciples of all the nations by spreading the gospel to the ends of the earth.

But it’s not always clear what people mean by the word “gospel.” It’s simply “good news,” but what passes for the gospel in some churches, online, etc. is not the good news Paul or the rest of the apostles preached. The pressure is real to “adjust” the gospel to our culture, but eternity is at stake if we get it wrong.

Scripture: Romans 1:1-1