As we are being challenged to read and study the book of John, I wanted to share some of my personal sermon notes with you to help you understand the book. I preached through the entire book over the course of 1 year when I pastored First Baptist Church Del Rio. Enjoy!
Introduction—Can people survive without light? Natural light, which comes from the sun, is necessary. Without it, the earth would grow cold, and plants would die, and then animals, etc. So, we can survive somewhat without light, but our bodies would have to find other sources for survival. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to find out. The real question is how long could we survive without the sun?
The Son I want to talk about this morning is Jesus. And just light natural light, living without the “light of the world” will set you on a course of frustration, emptiness, and purposelessness. I implore you today to follow the light, who is the one who can give you your calling.
1 Corinthians 7:17, which says: “Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them.
Psychologist Martin Seligman writes about three vocational orientations:
A job, a career, and a calling.
A job earns you a paycheck.
A career entails a deeper investment in your work.
But a calling is a passionate commitment to a cause for its own sake.
Have you been called to follow the light? Have you been wrestling with a gnawing or tugging at your heart for the deeper things of God? Today I want to ask you to lay aside your agenda for a moment and listen; I mean really listen, for God to speak into your life today. I truly believe He wants to do that this morning.
Churches, ministries, and other Christ connections are in a time of crisis. There aren’t enough called ministers to go around. It is my passion and that of others across our region here to call out the called, to send out the signal, and to ask God to move in your spirit to know what it means to receive a vocational calling into the ministry of Jesus Christ.
Read John 8:12-30
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 13 The Pharisees challenged him, “Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.” 14 Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. 16 But if I do judge, my decisions are true, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. 17 In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is true. 18 I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.” 19 Then they asked him, “Where is your father?” “You do not know me or my Father,” Jesus replied. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” 20 He spoke these words while teaching in the temple courts near the place where the offerings were put. Yet no one seized him, because his hour had not yet come.
Dispute Over Who Jesus Is
21 Once more Jesus said to them, “I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come.” 22 This made the Jews ask, “Will he kill himself? Is that why he says, ‘Where I go, you cannot come’?” 23 But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.”25 “Who are you?” they asked. “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning,” Jesus replied. 26 “I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is trustworthy, and what I have heard from him I tell the world.” 27 They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father. 28 So Jesus said, “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 but speak just what the Father has taught me. 29 The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” 30 Even as he spoke, many believed in him.
- Verse 12—Jesus isn’t just a light or any light. He is The Light. And He is The Light of everyone and everything.
- He says that “whoever” meaning anyone, who makes a decision to follow Christ will always have an illuminated path. No one is beyond the reach of Jesus. If they were, the Scripture would read, some could follow the light. It doesn’t say some can follow, it says whoever follows The Light.
- Jesus clarifies His calling by saying not only is He The Light, but He is The Light for the world. If you are a living, breathing human being in the world, Jesus is available for you.
- The declaration “I Am the light of the world is the 2nd, I Am declaration, in our travel through the book of John. The other one we have studied is when Jesus said in John 6:35, 6:48, “I Am the bread of life.”
- There are “7” I AM’s in the book of John. We will study them as we encounter them during our journey in John.
- Here is the list of the “7” I Am’s:
- I am the bread of life—John 6:35, 48
- I am the light of the world—John 8:12; 9:5
- I am the gate for the sheep—John 10:7, 9
- I am the good shepherd—John 10:11,14
- I am the resurrection and the life—John 11:25
- I am the way, the truth, and the life—John 14:6
- I am the true vine—John 15:1,5
- The “Path” is the path of life. When Jesus offers you Himself, He does so in grand fashion. He never says to anyone, “if follow me”, or “if you choose me”, it is going a stroll in the park, or an easy path. His promise is always I will give you life. The life that He promises is one that is in communion with Him, so you can face whatever challenge comes your way. You will have fun, exciting, and amazing days as a follower of The Light, but we all know we will also have the curveballs that are thrown at us throughout life. That is when we need Jesus in our life more than ever.
- Here are some verses for you to be remind you of why following The Light is for you:
- Hebrews 13:5—Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
- John 14:6—I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
- Psalm 89:15—Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, Lord.
- Psalm 119:105—Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
- Psalm 119:130—The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.
- Isaiah 60:19—The sun will no more be your light by day,
- nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you,
- for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.
- 1 John 1:7—But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
- Verse 13-14—The leaders of the church or Pharisees, challenged Jesus. They say to Jesus, you don’t even have your witness to defend you. You are standing on your own. If the leaders of the church have not believed that the Scriptures they studied and learned are actually rue because the Messiah was right there before them, we must be sure that we know what the Scriptures say and that we actually believe in them.
- We can become Pharisees if we aren’t careful. We read, pray, study, and meditate on the Word, and then it comes alive right before our very eyes and we doubt what we say we believe.
- Jesus always has the answer to our doubts. He says my testimony is valid in spite of your non-belief. That in itself makes me want to follow Him more. He is so sure of who He is, our interpretation doesn’t sway Him one bit.
- Jesus knows who He is (God’s Son), Jesus knows what He will encounter (the cross), and He knows where He will go (Heaven). Don’t you want to be that confident in who you are?
- In the last section of verse 14, Jesus simply states that the Pharisees have no idea where He is from or where He is going. They should have known if you ask me. The anticipation of a coming King should have kept them in high alert, right?
- We too have a coming King, but unlike the first coming, His second coming will be a time where everyone will confess Him as Lord. There won’t be another trial, there won’t be another crucifixion, there will on only be a confession of Jesus as Lord. Every eye will see, every knee will bend, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all!
- Verse 15-18—Jesus now gets into the judgmental state of this group of leaders, and He gives them the their own method of reasoning as they pass judgmental on Him. He says you are using human standards to judge, so that disqualified them to render a verdict. You have to realize that if you are going to make a decision about what it is that God is doing, it can’t be from the normal way you operate. A spiritual mindset is needed.
- Jesus plays along with them anyway and He says that in your law 2 witnesses are needed to make a verdict true. He says, well I have the 2, me and my Father He says in verse 18
- Verse 19—The Pharisees decide to ask Him in what I believe to be mockery by asking who is your father?
- This is not the first time these leaders have heard Jesus say this. Jesus has eluded many time before that He and the Father are one.
- They knew that He was talking about God being His Father, yet the question to me becomes one of sarcasm. Almost as if to say oh yeah, who is He?
- Jesus says it would be a good idea to know God, because if you did, you would know me.
- Verse 20—Jesus’ timing had not arrived, so the hedge of protection was still there, even though many wanted to seize Jesus
- Verse 21-24—A dialog starts up again between the 2 sides and it went like this. Jesus’ destiny was to be united to His father, and their destiny was to die in their sins. Jesus world isn’t like our world. Jesus had come from the presence of God, and the only way they could obtain that level was by faith. By faith. By Faith. You cannot go to where God is without believing faith.
- In verse 23, we see what the problem is not only for the Pharisees but for us as well. We are from here and Jesus is from there.
- We can’t use earthly tactics for heavenly victory. We must have faith. Faith is trusting in something you cannot see, much like hope.
- When we receive a wrapped gift, we don’t know what’s inside until we open it. It is hidden from us.
- The Son of God, who is the Light of the World, is hidden from us until we unwrap the gift.
- That is part of the mystery, but it is not a mystery that we cannot partake in.
- In Colossians 1:24-27, I want you to hear it from one of the greatest Pharisees of all times, Paul, who was on the other side of the fence as a non-beleiver.
- Here is what he says: 24 Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. 25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
- There is no more mystery. Jesus is saying to you and to me this morning to have faith in whatever He is calling you to do. It is easy to believe in things you can figure out on your own, but to have a full assured faith in something that you can’t control is what the Bible talks about.
- Verse 25—Now the same questions that are still being asked today comes out. “Who Are You?” Jesus explained to them He is who He said He is from the beginning. I AM that I AM.
- Verse 26—Jesus explains that He could easily point fingers, but God has a mission for Him
- Verse 27-28—Jesus reveals God’s plan in these verses. Since their lack of understanding about Who Jesus was, He would let them know the plan of salvation.
- In verse 28, Jesus says one of the most amazing things in all of Scripture, because He now was verbally expressing His mission.
- He says when you lift up the Son of Man—when you nail Him to a cross and raise Him up for all to see, you will know who I am.
- I AM He. I AM He. I AM the light of the world, I AM the bread of life, I AM the way, the truth and the life, I AM the resurrection, I AM.
- I do it as an act of obedience to my God.
- Jesus said it with His own will and His knowledge of what He was to endure.
- Verse 29—Jesus act of obedience is a full disclosure of His holiness. What courage, strength, and love for Him to let all know He would obey no matter the cost. His crucifixion not only lifted Him up, it Exalted Him to the highest measure, seated on the Throne of mercy and grace. He alone can do that for you.
- Verse 30—Challenges us to obey and believe as Jesus speaks to your heart.
Conclusion—Has God called you to His ministry? Has He spoken to you about His service? Has He asked you to lay down all of it, for the sake of the Call? To lay aside your career, your college, and your convenience for Him?
Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,