Spoken to the World

My apologies for being absent the past two weeks. I have been fighting a bad head/chest cold forcing me to cancel my message for two weeks (in which I found myself without a voice for three of those days). I am glad to say I am feeling much better and have posted my message below. May the Lord bless you all.

Spoken to the World

Life & Light Community Church

Message from 4/1/2023

Life & Light Community Church began in the early months of 2020. What began as an opportunity for me, my wife and step-kids to continue to worship together, has now evolved into a ministry that has expanded to include close friends, family, and those who are simply hungry for the word of God. You can find us on Facebook, so please, feel free to reach out and join us.

“Then He said again to them, “I go away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin; where I am going, you cannot come.” So, the Jews were saying, “Surely He will not kill Himself, will He, since He says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” And He was saying to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. “Therefore, I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” So, they were saying to Him, “Who are You?” Jesus said to them, “What have I been saying to you from the beginning? “I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and the things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world.” They did not realize that He had been speaking to them about the Father. So, Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. “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.” As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him.”

                                                                                  John 8:21–30 (NASB95)

Many people remember the early 1980’s commercial set in a crowded social gathering with everyone talking at the same time – and of course, the topic of conversation is money. Eventually, the camera settles on the one person in the room who is not trying to talk over others, the last person talking looks at the one who is not talking and asks a seemingly simple question, “What does your broker say?” The person clears their throat and responds, “Well, my broker is E.F. Hutton, and E.F. Hutton says…” and the room goes silent. The company slogan, “When E.F. Hutton speaks, people listen,” comes on the screen and the commercial ends.

The implication of the commercial was that E.F. Hutton had all the right answers when it came to making money. In the 1980’s with a rebounding economy, everyone wanted to make more money! Eventually, E.F. Hutton faltered and was acquired by Shearson Lehman Brothers before the name fell out of use in 1993. As much as we would like to feel a sense of security in our man-made institutions, eventually they will fail, and their advice become nothing more than dust in the wind. E.F. Hutton may have spoken to the financial world of the 1980’s but for many years they fell silent and are but a shadow of what they once were. In our passage today, there is another One who has Spoken to the World, but this One will not be silenced. God the Father has spoken through His Son, Yeshua, but His words will stand forever.

The Jews mistakenly think Jesus will kill Himself when He speaks of going where they cannot come. He is not of this world, and they will die in their sins unless they believe in Him. Through Jesus, the Father has Spoken to the World, and only when they lift up the Son of Man will they realize He is I Am, the one who did nothing on His own but only what pleased the Father.

Many will die in their sins because they have rejected Yeshua. Thought they will seek Him; He will not be found. He was sent by the Father, who never left Him, to speak what He heard the Father say and do what the Father taught. Thus, God has Spoken to the World through Yeshua and the world will know Him as “I Am.”

In this message we seek to answer the question, “What are the implications of rejecting Yeshua after He has Spoken to the World?”

Yeshua has come from above, sent by the Father, to do the Father’s will, thus, Yeshua has Spoken to the World what He has heard from the Father.

1). The first implication of rejecting Yeshua after He has Spoken to the World is dying in your sins.

There will be a time when people will seek Yeshua, but He will not be found.

The opening statement made by Yeshua is one that confuses those who are around Yeshua as He speaks. In fact, they are so confused they think He is going to kill Himself. Yeshua says He is going away and where He is going, they cannot come. He continues by telling them they will seek Him but will not be able to find Him, thus they will die in their sin. There are some interesting dynamics going on here. We know, of course, Yeshua is talking about His death and returning to His Father after His resurrection.

The first dynamic is properly identifying Yeshua, which they are not. Identifying Yeshua as the Son of Man is crucial, in fact, Yeshua will use this exact title in verse 28. The religious leaders claim spiritual authority as the ones representing God – Yeshua stands before them, in fact, we might say He is “in their face,” so they truly have no excuses. Yeshua is exposing them as hypocrites and frauds. The second dynamic comes in verse 23 when Yeshua says, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world.” We know that Yeshua is referring to His coming from the Father – coming down from heaven. And yet there is more to this statement than meets the eye. There is evidence that Yeshua actually spoke Hebrew during this conversation instead of Aramaic; if He did speak the Hebrew language He used words like Lemala (up) and Lemata (down) which literally mean “high” and “low.”

So, why would this be important? When we read of Yeshua traveling to Jerusalem, it is said He “went up” to Jerusalem. Going to Jerusalem was, and still is, a physical ascent to higher ground. Yeshua arrives from Galilee, the lower country to Judea; He comes to Jerusalem, the higher country and this is where Yeshua turns things upside down. The Pharisees believe they are the “higher ups” because they are in Jerusalem, while Yeshua is just a carpenter from the “lower country” in Galilee. In essence, Yeshua says to them, “You think you are higher up because you are in Jerusalem? No! You are actually from below because you belong to this world, I am from the world above.”

The final dynamic we find is in verse 24. This verse has a general application to those who are present with Yeshua and then, by extension, to the rest of humanity. In particular are those who seek to hold onto their power as they oppose Yeshua as the Son of God. Yeshua is the Word of God, and they refuse to stop opposing Him, thus they will die in their sins. Here is the dynamic I want you to be aware of – in verse 21 Yeshua tells the people they will die in their sin – in the singular. In verse 24 He says they will die in their sins – in the plural. Why? Yeshua has moved from the singular sin of rejecting Him in verse 21, to the plural sins to reflect their ongoing sinful acts. Yeshua gives ample warning to people – reject Me and you will die in your sin. Sinful acts will confirm those who reject Yeshua are sinners by nature.

For the Christ follower today, it is less a question about how exactly Yeshua’s full humanity and divinity fit together and more about how we feed the poor and take care of the needy and oppressed around us. Those who are earthly are born of the flesh – they are incapable of understanding heavenly and spiritual realities. This is where we come in.

We must make Christ known. People will die in their sin because they refuse to believe in Christ as the Great “I Am” – the Savior and Redeemer. People will continue to search for someone or something to save them, having rejected the One who has come for this very purpose – to save the world. Refusing to acknowledge Yeshua as the Son of God, people commit spiritual suicide – dying without repenting of a sinful lifestyle. It is our task to make Yeshua known.

Questions for reflection/discussion:

How have you experienced Yeshua as “I Am” or “I Am who I Am?” If you do not think you have, why?

How has Yeshua’s coming down from heaven impacted your life? If it has not, why?

If you were asked to provide a reason for following Yeshua, what reason would you provide? If you cannot, why do you think that is?

Yeshua has come from above, sent by the Father, to do the Father’s will, thus, Yeshua has Spoken to the World what He has heard from the Father.

2). The second implication of rejecting Yeshua after He has Spoken to the World is realizing Yeshua actually is “I Am.”

Yeshua does nothing on His own and only does what pleases the Father.

Perhaps the first open and honest question asked of Yeshua, by the Pharisees and the crowds who follow Him, is found in verse 25 – “Who are you?” Yeshua, however, did not want to provide an answer that would only serve to create an endless debate, for in seeking an explanation on His identity, Yeshua knows they are simply heaping judgment on themselves. However, in verse 24, Yeshua uses words in the Greek language, “ego eimi,” meaning “I Am” or “I Am He.” This would bring to mind the name God gave Moses in Exodus 3:13-14, but Yeshua also uses many passages in Isaiah, especially chapters 40-55, to identify Himself. For example, Isaiah 41:4 (NASB95); “Who has performed and accomplished it, Calling forth the generations from the beginning? ‘I, the Lord, am the first, and with the last. I am He.’” Or in Isaiah 48:12 (NASB95) “Listen to Me, O Jacob, even Israel whom I called; I am He, I am the first, I am also the last.” There are others but the point is clear, Yeshua identifies Himself as “I Am.” Other passages include 43:10; 43:13; 43:25; 46:4.

There seems to be a shift here as the religious leaders now seem to be portrayed as ignorant sheep and not a vicious enemy. These religious leaders do not understand that Yeshua has come as God’s Spokesman and Judge when He speaks to them of the Father’s judgment – in fact, they completely miss the reference. Part of Yeshua’s function as Spokesman for God is that of Judge – He has a duty that includes judgment. His first mission is to proclaim the message of salvation; His second mission will be to judge all people, but that mission remains future.

Many people, then and now, do not understand Yeshua came as Gods’ Spokesman and Judge. He came with God’s message, words He heard directly from the Father, to reveal God to all people. Yeshua came from God, sent to the world, with a message to the world – the only true message the world will receive. The other dynamic at play here is the statement “when you lift up the Son of Man.” This is, of course, a reference to the cross and crucifixion, and the Jews of Yeshua’s day knew the expression “lifted up” signified crucifixion. But recognition does not mean believing in Him.

Yeshua, as the Son of God, is the Great “I Am.” He has been sent by the Father and the Father has remained with Him. The Father never abandoned Yeshua – everything He said and did was always the message of God. Yeshua only did what was pleasing to the Father. The crucifixion and resurrection would prove the claims of Yeshua – in the end He would be “lifted up” as Lord of all. Even though the Pharisees and all those in the crowd were missing the point of His future exaltation, His submission to the authority of His Father, produced a great miracle – many believed in Him.

As Christ followers it is our task to make Yeshua known as the Great “I Am.” He has come to save the world and until His return, we must proclaim the gospel message of salvation in Christ – He alone can grant eternal life to those who call on His name. We must be in His word that we too might hear the words of the Father as He speaks to the world. Our words must be a repeat of the Fathers words – we do not add or take away from these words – we are not the ones who save or convict people, this comes from the power of God’s word and the work of the Holy Spirit.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

Perhaps the first open and honest question asked of Yeshua was “Who are you?” Who is Yeshua to you during this season in life?

As God’s Spokesman, Yeshua speaks God’s words to the world. What words do you hear Yeshua speaking to you? If none, why do you think this might be?

The Father never abandoned Yeshua and Yeshua has promised to be with us to the end of the age. How are you feeling the presence of Yeshua during this season of life? If not, why might this be?

Yeshua has come from above, sent by the Father, to do the Father’s will, thus, Yeshua has Spoken to the World what He has heard from the Father.

As Christ followers, we must make Christ known. We must be witnesses to Christ as the Great “I Am.” The best witness we can have is a life lived in obedience to Christ, the One who came to save the world. Yes, there will be resistance from those who know you, but the truth is, they know the old you – the new you has been made alive by the Son of God Himself. No longer do you walk in the darkness of sin or your need for forgiveness.

We must also make Yeshua known as God’s Spokesman and Judge. Far too many people, including some Christ followers, dwell on Christ the Judge as a bad thing, or worse yet, they only see God as love. We must remember God is both love and a righteous judge, thus it is our very difficult task to bring some balance to the picture. We have all experienced the love of God. Each morning we wake up to His mercies renewed. Each hour we breath freely, we move and act without thinking, we are clothed, fed, and have a home.

Conversely, none of us have ever truly felt the judgment of God. What we have felt is His rebuke – the correction and discipline of a Father who loves us far deeper than we can know or understand in this lifetime. It is true that we are seeing signs of coming judgment, but that day has not arrived yet. God the Father corrects and disciplines those He loves, just as any loving father or mother would do for their child in this world. The Father has only what is best in mind for us, the difficulty lies in the fact that people just do not like correction and discipline.

Which leads us to the final point. We must gently and lovingly correct sin when we see it. This is especially true in the household of faith. We must learn to be accountable to one another, to understand that the removal of sin is for our benefit. God the Father does not take pleasure in seeing anyone suffer or remain separated from Him, in fact, it is His wish that all would come to eternal life through Christ. But too many people are looking for a “savior” in someone or something who is known to them – someone or something they can see, feel, and hear. That Christ is the image of the invisible God will not make a bit of difference if people cannot see the image of the invisible Christ in us. Again, a life lived in obedience to Christ can bring about the same great miracle we see in our passage – many will come to believe in Him.

We do all things for the glory of God, through Christ our Lord,

Amen and amen.

Next Week: John 8:31-42

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