I Am the True Vine

After the fall, God promised to send an offspring. A blessing. He chose a man, Abram, and promised to make a people, a new nation of him. He did, but Israel failed, over and over. They were not the servant, the “vine” God intended. So God sent His Son, and He would be and do what Israel could not.

Jesus is the True Vine. He is the source of life for all our lives and apart from Him, there’s no real living. As His disciples, we’re called to abide in Him, to take our lives from Him. We’re called to accept the pruning work of our Heavenly Father who is a skilled vinedresser, and whose painful, cutting work results in more fruit from our lives. In the end, as God does His work and we trust Him, He gets the glory and we get the joy – fullness of Joy!

Scripture: John 15:1-17; Isaiah 27:6; John 13

I Am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life

The cure for the heart troubled by the future or the present is found in Jesus alone. We all face trouble, and it’s very hard not to fixate on the pain, discomfort, disappointment, confusion, or worry. But Jesus teaches His disciples, whose hearts were troubled, that the balm for our troubled hearts lies beyond this world, not in this one.

So in this text, Jesus tells His followers to believe…

Believe in Jesus for the future He promises
Believe in Jesus for the present salvation He offers
Believe in Jesus for who He is.

Scripture: John 1:19; Job 14:1; Romans 8:21; Hebrews 13:14

I Am the Resurrection and the Life

Just over a year ago, Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven others had their lives cut short when their helicopter crashed in LA. Last month, we passed 500,000 lives lost due to the COVID pandemic. And in the last 45 days, 22 people have been killed in mass shootings in ATL, CO, and CA. These are the deaths that make the headlines. But we’ve all felt the sting of death personally.

In John 11, Jesus stands face to face with death. And in this scene, as we watch Him relate to the people in it, hear His words, and see His work, we come away knowing that Jesus is not just the escape from death. He is the way to life everlasting.

Scripture: John 11:1-53; Ecclesiastes 7:2; Romans 8:35-39

I Am The Good Shepherd

There are some clear assumptions in this chapter. We all need a shepherd. We’re all looking for a shepherd. We’re all holding on to someone or something as a shepherd. But who is the real shepherd?

Scripture: John 10:11-42; Ezekiel 34

I Am the Door

Jesus calls people sheep. Like sheep, we are creatures with vulnerabilities who need to be protected and provided for. Jesus says He is the door to the sheep pen. He means that He is the way people find protection from those who want to hurt and harm them. He is the way to abundant life with God and His people now and forever.

Scripture: John 10:1-10

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

I Am the Bread of Life

Jesus referred to Himself in John’s gospel eight times by using the phrase, “I Am.” It’s the name God gave Moses on the mountain. Jesus used that same term to refer to Himself, not for covert reasons, but to be clear about His nature. Every time He used that phrase He was declaring His divine nature. And when you hear Jesus refer to Himself by saying; “I Am the Bread of life,” or “I Am the Light of the World,” or “I Am the Door,” or “I Am the Good Shepherd,” or I am the Resurrection and the Life,” or “I Am the Way the Truth and the Life,” or “I Am the True Vine,” He’s helping us understand another dimension of who He is.

In this sermon, we learn that Jesus came to meet our need for eternal life, not by giving us bread, but by being the Bread that was given. We learn that He alone gives us eternal life because He is the Bread of God, He did the will of the Father perfectly, God reveals Him to us, and He gave His life for us.

In the end we must chose – will we walk or will we believe?

Scripture: John 6:25-69; Isaiah 54:13; 2 Corinthians 4:4-6

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


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

The Promised Servant

700 years before the birth of Jesus, God promised to restore justice to the world and bring healing to the nations. He would do that through His Servant in Isaiah 42.

When you look at the world, it’s apparent the world needs saving, people need a Savior, and God sent His servant into the world that the world might be saved through Him. Jesus is God’s Servant. The Jesus of Christmas is an adorable baby, born in a stable, to poor parents. But He is more; He came to restore all things, to make all things new, to undo everything that sin had undone!

And as God’s servant, Jesus suffers for us. He takes our bruises on Himself and in return, heals our hurts, forgives our sins, and sets us free to be His people until He comes again and the world is made fully new.

Scripture: Isaiah 42:1-9: Matthew 3:17; Mark 10:45; Luke 22:27