Sunday, May 08, 2016
"I Am God" Sermon: John 10:22-30
“I Am God”
May 8, 2016 Second Reformed Church
Jesus had taught in the Temple. Then He moved outside of the Temple and healed a man born blind. He explained to the crowd that He is the Good Shepherd and the Door to the Sheepfold. No one enters salvation and security and abundant life except through Jesus Alone, and He leads His sheep – His people – to green pastures and protects them from those who sought to steal from them and kill them – like the unbelieving Pharisees. And He said that He would lay down His life for the sake of His sheep and He would also take up His life – He would physically rise from the dead.
Sometime later – it was now winter – we hear the history of this morning’s text. We are looking at the first half of this history today. It was the time of the Feast of Dedication. Now, this is not a feast that we will find in the Old Testament. The Feast of Dedication celebrates the dedication of the Temple – of the restoration of animal sacrifices in the Temple – after the successful revolt of Judas Maccabeus against the Romans from 167 to 160 BC – the restoration of animal sacrifices occurred in 164 BC. The Feast of Dedication continues to this day – in an altered form – and it is now called, Hanukah.
So Jesus was walking in the outer area of the Temple, speaking in the Colonnade of Solomon – which was a covered area on the outskirts of the Temple where the common people would rest between going about their business in the Temple.
And we read:
“At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, ‘How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.’
Jesus was walking in the rest area of the common people, and the Jews gathered around Him – those who were antagonistic to Him – those who were against Him and did not believe in Him, and they asked Him a mind-boggling question: “Stop playing games – are You the Christ? You haven’t clearly told us Who You are and what You are up to – answer us now, are You the Christ?”
In the first ten chapters of John – in the almost two years He openly ministered among them – they said He had never clearly stated Who He is?
We see, first this morning, those who don’t believe in Jesus are not His sheep.
“Jesus answered them, ‘I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep.’
Jesus said, “I did tell you. I publically and repeatedly announced that I am God the Son and Savior – I am the Christ. And I have done miraculous works among you that prove that I am the Christ – the works that I have done testify to Who I am. The problem is not Me, it’s you. I have been clear to all those who have ears to hear. But you are not My sheep. You do not believe. You cannot enter the sheepfold. The door has not been opened to you. You are not one of the sheep My Father gave to Me – that’s why you cannot believe.”
Paul wrote, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:11-14, ESV).
The Gospel of God has been announced to all people and people out of all peoples will come to faith, because God has given a people to be Jesus’ people – His sheep – not every person that every will be, but a people chosen by God out of every type of people.
As Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45, ESV).
Jesus did not come for the salvation of all, but He came for the salvation of every single one that the Father gave Him. Not everyone will be saved, but every single one that God chose and elected and predetermined and sent Jesus to save will be saved without a doubt – their salvation is absolute and complete and eternal.
If we proclaim the Gospel to someone and he never believes and dies, it is proof that he is not one of Jesus’ sheep – He is not one that God gave to Jesus to be His people. But we don’t know, and so we are called to proclaim the Gospel to every single person that ever exists, and God saves those whom He wills. The reason some never believe is not that they don’t hear the message of salvation clearly, but that they were never Jesus’ sheep.
Salvation is clear. The fact that Jesus is the Incarnate God and Savior is clear. That He did everything that was prophesied and proved Himself to be the Christ by His works is clear. Anyone who never believes is not one of Jesus’ sheep – he is not one that Jesus is Shepherd to – he is not one that Jesus opens the door to the sheepfold for.
We can’t know who may believe even with the last breath of life, but Jesus does because He is God, and He told these people: “You don’t believe because you are not My sheep.”
Jesus continued by saying something amazingly wonderful: second, Jesus’ sheep are eternally His.
‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.’
The sheep who are Jesus’ – the sheep who have been given to Jesus by the Father – who believe in Jesus as God and Savior – their Good Shepherd – they hear what Jesus has to say – they understand what Jesus has to say – they believe what Jesus has to say – and Jesus knows them with the deepest, most intimate knowledge possible – for He is God – and Jesus’ sheep follow Him – they listen and hear and obey – and they grow through discipline in their obedience to Jesus.
Then Jesus argued that all of His sheep are eternally secure in His salvation because He gave them eternal life, so they will never perish, because no one has the ability to snatch them out of His hands.
If you believe savingly in Jesus Alone, Jesus says to you – “You are My sheep; I am your Good Shepherd. I gave you the gift of eternal life, so you will never lose the gift of eternal life, because no one has the ability – not even you – to take you out of My hands.”
Jesus prayed: “While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled” (John 17:12, ESV).
Jesus did not fail in Judas’ betrayal – it was ordained from the beginning that Judas would betray Jesus – it was according to the eternal will of God. Every other sheep – every other person that God the Father gave to His Son to be a people for Him – not one of them has been lost – or can be lost, because salvation is a gift from God and we are in the hands of our Good Shepherd – Jesus, the Christ – and no one can pry us out of the Hands of Jesus. No one has the authority or the power to take us away – to take our salvation away. We belong to Jesus forever and ever and remain His for all of eternity.
Jesus continued with another argument: God the Father gave Jesus’ sheep to Him, and there is no one greater than God the Father, so no one can take us away from Jesus – no one can keep God from giving His gift to Jesus of us as an eternal gift of a people for Him.
God is the greatest Being in existence, so no one can prevail against Him. If God wants something done and God does it, it is done. Period. And so, God gave us to Jesus our Savior – a gift from the Father to the Son for us to be an eternal people – a kingdom for Him.
Paul wrote, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6, ESV).
Paul is saying that he is confidently sure as an apostle of God that what God has done in us – changed us and transformed us and saved us – will continue and be completed and perfected and we will be made holy – until and at the return of Jesus. Nothing will keep us from being Jesus’ people forever.
Finally, Jesus and the Father are the same One God.
‘I and the Father are one.’”
Jesus ended His argument by stating that “I and the Father are one.” And the question we must ask this morning is: Jesus and the Father are one in what way? How are Jesus and the Father one?
There are many good theologians who say that what this means is that Jesus and the Father are one in the sense that they have the same will – the same plan – the same goals – and so forth – they are of one mind. And that is absolutely true: God the Father and God the Son – even incarnate in the person of Jesus – are of one mind.
However, that cannot be what Jesus means here for at least two reasons:
First, Jesus is arguing that all those who believe in Him are eternally secure in their salvation. Jesus said that no one can snatch them out of His hands. Jesus said not one can snatch them out of the hand of God the Father, because there is no being greater than God the Father. To say, finally, that Jesus and the Father are of one mind – they are in agreement that we cannot be snatched from Jesus’ hands or from the hands of the Father – while that is true – it doesn’t fit in the logical argument that Jesus is making.
Second, the response of the Jews to Jesus saying “I and the Father are one” – which we will look at next week – was not to say, “Oh, that’s lovely, we are also in agreement with God’s will and plan,” – no, they attempted to stone Jesus to death for blasphemy – for claiming to be God.
So, what Jesus meant, when He said, “I and the Father are one,” is that Jesus and God the Father are the same One Being – They are the same One God – They are two distinct persons, but They are of the same One Essence and Power.
Then it makes sense for Jesus to argue: No one can snatch my sheep out of My hands. No one can snatch My sheep out of the hands of the Father, because He is the greatest Being in existence. And the Father and I are the same One God, so it is equally impossible for anyone to snatch My sheep out of My hands.
Do we understand?
Jesus is God. Jesus is the same God as God the Father. (And elsewhere we see He is the same God as God the Holy Spirit.) There is One God and each of the Persons of the Godhead – of the Trinity – are equally the same One God.
And so, we are sent forth into the world to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ – Who He is and what He did in history, not knowing who has been chosen – not knowing who the sheep are that God has given to Jesus, but knowing this: anyone who savingly believes in Jesus is one of the sheep God gave to Jesus and will never and cannot ever be lost again, because God has chosen a people and they will be His people, and no one is able to prevail against God, Who is the greatest, most powerful Being in existence.
And anyone who never believes savingly in Jesus was never one of the sheep that God chose for Jesus, and there is nothing you or I could do to change that.
As we wait for Jesus to return and bring us into the fullness of the Kingdom on the restored earth, let us grow in faith and obedience – hearing and reading His Word and obeying all that God has said.
Especially, let us go tell others that Jesus is God the Christ, the Only Savior, and let us plead with them with the historical facts to believe in Jesus.
And let us rejoice and take comfort in knowing that God chose each one of us who believes savingly in Jesus, and God gave us to be Jesus’ for all of eternity, and nothing can change that, because not of us can thwart what God has done. If you believe, you are saved, and nothing can possibly change that, so let us give thanks to God and trust in Him, believing that He is able and does not lie – all we who believe are sheep of the Good Shepherd forever, because Jesus is God.
Let us pray:
Almighty God, we thank You for choosing a people to give to Jesus for an eternal Kingdom. We thank You for choosing us to be some of those people and for making it clear that we did not save ourselves, and we cannot lose ourselves. The work is all Yours, and no one and nothing can ever pry us out of Your hands. Help us to trust in this truth and to be comforted in You, seeking to obey You and to grow in all things. For it is in Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.