Thou Shalt Call His Name, “I AM”
Yes, I am!
I am alone in our auditorium.
I am bummed about it.
I am positive it was the right decision.
I am hopeful that it’s not for as long as they are saying.
I am casual today! But this is dressier than your pjs!
I am encouraged by a most unlikely verse from Exodus. It’s not a Christmas text…or is it?
3:14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM; and he said, thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
That makes me read some Christmas verses differently:
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called [I AM] Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name [I AM] JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Did I read those verses wrong? Not really. Of all His wonderful names, and “wonderful” is one of them…I AM is the most foundational. It’s the deepest ‘root name.’ The umbrella name under which all the others rest.
Jesus said “I am” many times, stating His claim as the Son of God, declaring Himself to be the Messiah. And Jesus could add something else today, though He never is quoted directly as saying it, and He shouldn’t have to--Jesus could say, “I AM Christmas.
Christmas isn’t your candlelight service, Jerry, I AM! / cantata, Doc. / lights / gifts … I am!
You can take my name out of the holiday all you want, but you will not be able to undo the fact that Christmas is part of what I AM!”
We all tried so hard to make Christmas Sunday happen, and I’m just positive that the Lord is lifted up, not because we meet, but because we soooo want to meet! And so, IT IS Christmas Sunday. HE IS the great I AM, and that’s what truly matters.
About the I AM in Exodus…
You may say, that’s Jehovah, God the Father. Yes it is. And that is Christ as well! You see ‘Jesus’ is a form of the Hebrew ‘Jehovah’ [Yahweh] mixed with the word for Saviour/Salvation.
In the N.T. we see where Jesus used this same name several times. “I am the bread of life”; I am the door”; I am the way, the truth, and the life”, “I am the True Vine; I Am the Good Shepherd”; just to mention a few.
Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
Have you ever stopped to think why God did not continue in the phrase in Ex. 3:14? Why did He just say, “I AM THAT I AM”? Why did he not go ahead and state what HE IS? You see, there is no beginning and no ending to God. There are no boundaries. There is no height nor depth limitations. God is without boundary. Had he stated what HE WAS that would have limited Himself to that particular claim. “I AM THAT I AM”. What is He? He is whatever you need.
If you need a Comforter, He is a comforter.
If you need a Provider, He is a provider.
If you need a Saviour, He is a Saviour.
If you need an Anchor, He is the anchor.
If you need an understanding Listener, He is just that.
There is no limit to what He is. “I AM THAT I AM.”
We can’t explain God. We can’t describe Him except what He has given us in the Bible. We can’t increase Him or decrease Him. We can’t expand on Him.
I AM THAT I AM. This explains:
1. That he is self-existent: he has his being of himself.
2. That he is eternal and unchangeable, and always the same, yesterday, today, and for ever.
3. That he is incomprehensible; we cannot by searching find him out.
4. That he is faithful and true to all his promises, unchangeable in his word as well as in his nature.
God says, “I AM, and there is none else besides me. All else have their being from Me, and are wholly dependent upon Me.”
TURN TO JOHN 8
Though Jesus often qualifies the statement “I AM”, explaining what and who He is, He doesn’t always.
v. 12 I am the light of the world, He says. He follows I AM with ‘the light of the world.’
v. 16-18 He says I am one with the Father.
v. 23 He says I am from above.
But look at v. 24: ‘if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.’ PLEASE NOTICE that the word ‘he’ is in italics, meaning it is not there in the original language, but was added by the translators for clarification. The KJV translators were above all honest, so they placed in italics words not in the original texts, but implied there. And usually such added words are a real help in bridging the language gaps sometimes present, but in this case it should not have been added. For Jesus did not literally say ‘I am he’, but just ‘I am.’ He drops all adjectives, pronouns, and objects…there is a subject but no predicate, and Jesus boldly declares Himself to be the I AM!
v. 28 Here it happens again. Jesus sees their unbelief in His claims, and says, you may not believe today, but you will one day in the future see that it is true. In the future you will see that I was in the beginning, and evermore shall be the timeless One, the great I AM!
Look at John 18. Jesus is in the garden with His disciples…it is the night of his betrayal and arrest…
v. 4-8 3 more times we see the ‘he’ in italics, and Christ getting down to the bottom line of who He is, saying again, “I AM.”
Jesus allowed, for the moment, His divine dignity as the I AM to be seen, and thus overawe his assailants.
The reasons for this may have been:
a. that Judas and those that were with him might know the exceeding sinfulness of their crime.
b. that He might let them know that, had He not submitted to be taken, they could have had no power against him..cf.Jn.19:11
c. that He might sufficiently overawe them so that they would let the disciples go. Jn.18:8,9
It is sufficient for Christ simply to say, I AM. But at this season of the year, I believe it is important to point out something else that He is…He is Christmas! Jesus could say, “I AM Christmas. You can kick me out of the nativity, but you will not be able to undo the fact that Christmas is part of what I AM!”
I want to give you some things about Jesus that all of us have experienced many times and often overlook or forget about.
Jesus reminds us:
I. I AM THE GOODNESS OF GOD
All of our membership has remained safe and secure thru this virus. Not because we are special, but because God is good.
We use the term, “God is good”. Of course He is good. He can’t be anything else. He is good because He is God. He is not good because of what He does, but He is good because of Who He is.
He is not good because He does good things for you. He does good things for you because He is God.
He is good because He is God, but He is not God because He is good.
He HAS given us that which we do not deserve.
He HAS NOT given that which we do deserve.
We should praise Him for His goodness. It is far beyond our imagination. We can’t imagine what life would be like without the goodness of God being bestowed upon us. I suppose it would be the very likeness of hell itself.
“Oh! that men would praise the Lord for His goodness and His wonderful works to the children of men.” [Psalm 107 repeats many times] Psa. 107:8, 9,15,21,31.
II. I AM THE GRACE OF GOD
Grace, Grace, God’s grace;
Grace that is greater than all my sin.
A. There is no measure of this.
1. It is limitless.
2. It goes beyond all human imagination.
3. He told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” 2 Cor. 12:9. That’s the I AM working again. “Paul, whatever you need, my grace will take care of it. I am what you need. “I AM THAT I AM.” What a promise that is.
B. To whom much is given, much is required.
1. Luke 12:48, “......For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
Received grace? Exercise it with others!
C. It is by this that one is saved. Eph 2:8 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:"
God shed His grace on thee.”
It is by His grace that neither you nor I dropped off into hell before we got saved.
III. I AM THE GLORY OF GOD
A. The glory of God is seen through the suffering of His saints.
1. Stephen. Acts 7:54-60.
2. John on Patmos.
3. How many dying saints have testified of the glory they witnessed in the crossing over to heaven?
B. The glory of God is seen through the sinlessness of His Son. John 17:4-8.
1. Through His majesty. (John 17:4) "I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do."
(John 17:5) "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was."
2. Through His manifestation. Vs. 6.
(John 17:6) "I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word."
3. Through His message. Vs. 8. “the words”.
(John 17:8) "For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me."
4. Through His might. Vs. 2. John 17:2 "As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him." God is proud of His Son just like we are of our children today.
C. The glory of God is seen through the substitute for sin.
1. Only God could die for sin.
2. Only God could pay the ransomed price.
3. Only the Creator could die for the creation.
When Adam sinned, sin was born inside him and was passed on to all mankind since then.
IV. I AM THE GIFT OF GOD
A. John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
B. Rom 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
C. Mat 11:28 "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
What is a gift? It is something which cannot be earned. Most of what we give as gifts to friends is merely some type of payback. God didn’t owe man anything. If someone takes us out to lunch we feel we must return the favor. A gift does not demand repayment.
Man had nothing coming, thus, God did not pay back. He paid up front; before the world began, Eph 1:4 "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:"
V. I AM THE GREATNESS OF GOD
Psalm 8 “How excellent is Thy Name in all the earth.”
Psa 99:2-3 "The LORD is great in Zion; and he is high above all the people. Let them praise thy great and terrible name; for it is holy."
Psa 96:4 "For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods."
Jesus says, I AM Christmas, and everything else that is, has ever been, or ever will be, I AM!
And when does a person get saved? When they admit their sinfulness, and recognize who God truly is. In a nutshell, it’s you saying, ‘I am not’, and believing on Jesus as He says definitively, “I AM.”
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Watch for prayer requests we will send out. Let us know anything we can do for you. Stay well and enjoy the Star of Bethlehem tomorrow nite a bit after dusk in the WSW. It’s a 1 in 10 lifetimes event, falling on the winter solstice, at Christmas, in 2020…a year that feels like 10 lifetimes.
Remember the I AM of Christmas!
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