We have all been filled with Heaven-sent potential to make an impact for Jesus. Let’s learn to live into this promise by exploring the 7 “I AM” statements of Jesus - what they reveal about His character, and how that informs our own.
All right, what a blessing to be able to share this time with you, my friends, my brothers and sisters, Cornerstone Community, wherever you are. Some of you here in the Bay Area, others of you in other parts of the country, some of you incredibly, in other parts of the world. I’m just so thankful that we get to be together right now and share in God’s
goodness. I’m so looking forward to sharing this teaching. Also want to say hello if you’re joining us for the first time, if we haven’t met, I’m Pastor Terry, I’m the Lead Pastor here at Cornerstone Church in San Francisco. And we are so blessed that you’re taking the time to just, um, share with us right now, what it is we’re going to all do together.
And even so Lord, I just pray for Your goodness and grace to just be among us. And that You would speak to us, speak to us. You know, our series, our series is called, I Am; finding your story in the story of Jesus. And it’s built around what are known as The Seven I Am statements of Jesus as described in John’s gospel.
I call them the big seven. Where Jesus said, the first one was in John 6 where Jesus said, I am the bread of life. He then said a little bit later, I am the light of the world. And that was followed up with, I am the door, the door of the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I’m the resurrection and the life, number six, I’m the way the truth and the life.
And that seventh one, I am the true vine. All of those statements had a purpose and a meaning, and they were actually something that Jesus’ listening audience would have been immediately intrigued by because, “I am” meant something. I mean, they were, they were metaphors that were designed to open up imagination and aluminate something of what Jesus was wanting us to understand about who He was. But they were also a connection to something that had happened.
I mean, the root system went all the way back into the Old Testament scriptures. Those are the scriptures of Jesus’ day. And Jesus, his listeners would have understood that Jesus was making a connection to something that was quite profound. He was also saying something about who He was, who He saw himself as.
Yeah, I am, was something that went all the way back to the book of Exodus, when God is recorded as having this conversation with a very reluctant leader, Moses, who’s had all the bravado and confidence beat out of him. There’s this moment of exchange, what is known as the burning bush. The bush that was burning, but not consumed.
And out of it comes the voice of God who says to Moses, I need you to go for Me. I want to deliver My people from Egypt. I’m going to use you to do it. As they interact, one of the things Moses finally says, well, who shall I say, sent me? And God says, say to them, “I Am that I Am” has sent you. That is the Self Existent One, the One who is before all causes, first
cause. The Creator of all things. I Am that I Am has sent you. So when Jesus makes the statement, I am, the door. I am the good shepherd. I am the light of the world, right? When he makes these statements, He’s, He’s saying so much more. He’s stating something about His divinity, even as He’s describing His humanity.
And that is meant to get our attention. It’s meant to help us understand that God has not left us without, uh, an access point. That God has come to us in humanity. That’s what Jesus was saying. That God so loved this world that He gave his son, His only begotten son, that if you would believe in Him, you would not perish, but have a life everlasting.
I mean, Jesus is the model for us, not only of how to live a truly human loving life, but He’s also the pathway to God. He literally gives himself so that we might find our way to God, our Creator. So I am mean so much, but the way we’re looking at it, as we make our way into the series, and by the way, if we would have simply just said, all we’re going to do for the weeks ahead, leading into Easter and a little bit out of it is we’re just going to, we’re just going to sit with the teaching of Jesus, about who He said He was; the I ams.
And we were just going to look at the context of them and then just allow them to speak to us. That would have been totally, it would have been totally legit and valuable. But we wanted to do something a little bit more. We wanted to also explore what that means in terms of us finding our identity in Him. How do I find my story in the story of Jesus?
How do I understand my purpose in life? My purpose for existence? How do I understand myself as someone who has been born again in Jesus, into the kingdom of God’s dear Son? How do I, how do I understand how the Lord wants me to see myself? What is my purpose in Christ? All of these things, where should we ground,
like I said, our identity? Huge today, huge. And we’re going to sit with that. So really this series is about two things. It’s about God discovery. It’s about discovering a little bit more about who God is and who Jesus is. But it’s also about self-discovery; about learning who we are and who we are meant to be.
It’s about becoming increasingly ourselves in the making. An authentic version of who He created us to be in Christ Jesus, a growing flourishing version, filled with life. Knowing that life isn’t perfect. We had the life of heaven at work in us. The very life of, of God’s only be -gotten Son. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead, at work, in your life and in mind.
And so I’m very excited about this. I feel like, um, it, it re- it’s connected to a verse in Ephesians 2 that I want us to just sit with for a moment, Ephesians 2:10, because we’ve been talking again about our purpose and who we’ve been created to be. And we’re told this in Ephesians 2:10, that we are His workmanship.
Look at this. We’ve been created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. None of this is a surprise to God. If we’ve come to bear His name, have come to know Him as our Lord. And if you haven’t done that and I want to just say open up your heart to Him, welcome Him in, confess Him.
We’ll help you get started. If you’re at that place where you just want to start your journey of faith and you even want me want to get baptized, we’ll help you do that. That’s what we’re all about. Right. But when we come to know the Lord, one of the things that we start to understand is that He’s making us into something new.
He begins to work with us to help us to make a difference. Look what it says here, that, that, you know, we would be expressions of His goodness in our world. And when I say our world, I, I do mean the big picture world, but also, our little world. Maybe the world that we live in on a daily basis, the relationships we have, the people we engage with at work or casually, our friends, our family, that the part of life that is lived with others that we know.
I mean, that’s what we’re talking about, how God wants us to show up in that world. Cause the big world, I know how God wants me to be in the big world. I get that, you know, but He wants me to be something very specific in my world, that can represent His heart. And the more that we begin to understand that the more that we begin to see ourselves as being created for that purpose, that we have all been filled, listen loved one,
we’ve all been filled with Heaven-sent potential. That is something He has put into us. And that we begin to realize that in every season of our life, there’s something that I’ve been given to represent Him and an opportunity that I have to honor Him and, uh, help others see more of Him. That I lean into that,
and I allow Him to work in my life and I can become more of the person, the more of the man, more of the woman that I was created in Christ Jesus to be. This is what we’re talking about. And then that affects everything. That affects my life. That affects how we, how we engage disappointments and setbacks and pain and suffering and hardship.
I know. It also affects how we deal with prosperity and success, whatever that is. And how, how we enjoy life and gratitude and all the things that we also may run past. I mean, everything is, is touching in Jesus, right? There’s all connected here. And Ephesians again, it says that we have been given such a unique opportunity to honor Him.
I go back to that 10th verse of Ephesians 2 for we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in. And you see that, in Jesus, one of things we’re being told is that we all have a unique contribution to make. Right? Because we are described here as His workmanship, His craftsmanship, His artwork, His unique work of art.
And I might add an original work of art. That’s what you are in Christ. A one of a kind work of art. With no other, authenticated copies, right? You’re a part of, I mean, this is the best way that you are part of God’s blockchain and you’ve been stamped into his kingdom by the eternal record-keeper and there’s no one else like you. There’s no one else like me in Jesus.
We are His divinely created NFTs, those non fungible tokens, except we’re alive. That’s the difference. That’s the big difference, right? But if you really think about it, that’s what we are. Special, unique. No one else like us in Him. And, uh, you know, we’re His workmanship, the word workmanship here is actually from the Greek poiēma.
It’s actually connected to our English words poem and poetry. And I love that. It’s a combination of two words, poiē and ma, you put them together, poiēma. And it literally means something that is designed something that is constructed. Something that is made, shaped, formed, uh, by an, usually by an artisan, a builder. It could be a statue, a song, a composition, a sculpture, a painting.
That’s, that was what was being conveyed here in this word. And, and in the scripture is it’s also the same word that is used to describe all of God’s creation, His amazing creation this world, and, uh, the worlds beyond. I don’t even know what exists. I don’t think any of us do. We try to use our imagination, but I actually believe there are so much more unseen than there is seen.
I think we understand more, so much, that has been well, so much more undiscovered than there is discovered. We learn every, every decade how much we did not know. Think about it. And yet God, God sees it all and guys, but the part that we can see, the part that we do know, boy, it reflects a Master designer, a Master artist, and a Master creator.
You just think about nature and its beauty and its diversity, its complexity, and yet its simplicity. I mean, sometimes I watch, uh, some of the shows like Planet Earth and I’m just amazed. At the complexity of creation and of the natural world and its ferocity, it’s brilliance, it’s stunning glory. It’s majesty.
I actually think that’s part of, what provoked many of the Psalms. I think about Psalm 8, one of my favorite psalms I think about when David said, Oh Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth! Look at this. You have set glory above the heavens and out of the mouth of babies and infants. You have established strength because of Your foes to still the enemy and the avenger.
And then look at this. It’s like He shifts. And he goes, when I look at Your heavens, when I look up at the sky, so have you ever done this? Have you ever really looked at a night sky and you just see the stars everywhere. He says, when I look in the heavens, I see the work of Your fingers, the moon, and the stars. Think about it.
He didn’t eat, they didn’t even know what we know now. The stars that You’ve set in place, David says, what is, what does man, what is a human being that You even think about him? The son of man, uh, or his descendants that You even care for him. I mean, You have made them a little lower than heavenly beings, and yet You’ve crowned him with glory and honor, You’ve given him dominion over the work of Your hands.
You’ve given him a dominion over Your poem, right? Your art. You’ve allowed us to be able to engage Your artistry. We as part of Your art, are allowed to engage Your art in a different way. You’ve put all things, David says, under his feet, all sheep and oxen. Also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, the fish of the sea and whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
You think about everything. David’s just mind is, is blown by God’s, you know, creative work, His art. Oh Lord. He says our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth. I mean, he loved God. I love the fact that he connected the beauty of nature back to God. It’s almost as if he said, this beautiful painting, Lord, it speaks of You.
And I can only tell you that, that, you know, well, I can say this, that when I find myself sometimes immersed in the beauty, of of God’s creation of nature of this world in its raw beauty. Sometime, whether there’s an ocean view or, uh, being in the mountains, the beauty of a flower, I just, my soul gets opened up and I think that’s connected to God,
I really do. It’s because we are part of His art, but then when we see it, it stirs our soul because we’re made different than the rest of His creation. But in Christ Jesus, we’re also made into something unique. And when I go back to that, Ephesians 2 verse and where it says that we are in Christ, His poem, His workmanship. And it’s, it’s something that it’s good for us to remember, but we’re not a finished poem.
That’s also important for us. We’re we’re a poem in process. We’re being written. And well, look what it says here in Philippians 1:6. Look what Paul says. I am sure that God, look at this, who began the good work within you. There it is. He wrote you. He started writing you as His poetry, will continue His work until it is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ or when Christ Jesus comes back again.
In other words, we’re, we’re being written. There. We’re not, we’re not yet… we’re not yet who we are going to be. I am created in Christ and I am becoming more of who He created me to be in Christ, but that is something that is becoming, not something that is finished. My mind goes to Michelangelo when they were talking or asking him about, you know, what he was doing when he was chipping away at the shapeless rock.
And at least on one occasion, he replied, I am liberating the angel from the stone. And at other times he would talk about releasing the man from the stone. And in fact, if you looked at some of his unfinished work, it’s, it’s, it’s illuminating because it’s almost as if they are half alive that he’s letting them out.
In fact, he says, I’m letting them out. That it wasn’t as if he was creating them by chiseling away. He’s, he said he was releasing them from the stone. What a fantastic analogy of what God is trying to do in you and me. He wants to release us. He’s chiseling away to set us free and, and there is an ultimate day coming when I will be totally free.
That poem will be fully written. I don’t know what that’s going to be like, but it’s going to be amazing. CS Lewis said this in his book, The Problem of Pain, he said, we are not metaphorically, but in very truth, a divine work of art. So he took it one step further. He said, you and I, we are a divine work of art. It’s not just a metaphor.
It’s real. We’re something that God is making. And therefore something with which He will not be satisfied until it has a certain character. So God is working on us, working in us. And that’s just another way of saying we’re all in process. We’re still being written. We’re being shaped. We’re being formed.
There’s this wonderful piece of a poem by Horatius Bonar who said this. He said, Great Master, teach us with Your skillful hand. And let, not the music that is in us die! Whew. Great Sculpture, hew and polish us; nor let hidden and lost Your form within us lie! In both of those things, he’s, he’s using a fantastic analogy,
isn’t he? He’s saying there, there is music, there is song that we have been meant to sing. Lord, don’t let that die. Don’t let that die in me. Lord that part of me that You have sculpted and created. Don’t let it be dormant, hidden in loss. You know, help me to break out, let it out, let me help me to live it out.
Help me to sing my songs, help me to activate my, my potential and the beauty of what You made me to be. Not to get stuck. Right. We don’t want to bury the life that God has created in us. And I know that sometimes in life, when it’s really hard, it makes logical sense that yeah, why I can’t be happy here. And yet there is life to be lived for Jesus in every place of life.
And there is a song for us to sing in every season of life. There is an assignment that He’s given for us that we can make a difference for Him with what we’ve been entrusted with. We, don’t bury the talent. You know, don’t, miss out on what God has made and created inside of us. I know, I know that, you know, it can sound as if I’m saying, you know, be happy all the time, but I really do believe in welcoming in the joy of the Lord, you know, I do.
And, and I also believe that we should, we should say, Lord, if You’ll help me, I’m not gonna allow my situation to be the defining word over my life, even when that situation is bad. And I realize that sometimes a lot of life isn’t, isn’t hard. It might be something that is going, we’re going well. It’s good.
It’s fine. That’s great. Don’t forget God in the good times. But in the rough times and the hard times and the hurting times, remember He’s with us. Lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the earth. I am always with you. I will never leave you. Think about that. And that good shepherd. For the Lord is with us and He wants us to align our attitude with a confession of His faithfulness. That we believe it, that we believe we are loved. That we believe He is present. That we believe that He can help bring good from any situation, even the worst. That, and then we align our attitude with that conviction.
God does amazing things, He really does. And that’s sometimes the realization that these places that are hard are Him chipping things away. If we will allow Him to help us. He’s chipping away the things that actually are hindering us and holding us back. Another way to think of it is like the Lord doesn’t want us to be stuck in a grave. We’ve been called to live
free in Him. Come out of the grave, unwrap those grave cloths. Don’t let them tangle us up. That’s not the Lord’s way. His way is not the way of death, it’s a way of life. That’s what His will for us is in every situation in life, in every season in life, even the hard places, even the confusing places, young or old or very old, God has a plan for us.
Some of us were at a stage in our lives where we think like, I’m so tired. I don’t even, I don’t even know how I can honor the Lord. Let me tell you, there’s a way to honor Him. There is a work that He has created for you to do, that is good. And our, our invitation is to embrace the opportunity that He has given to us, to honor Him with a joyful heart in every place that we find ourselves in. You know, a person who,
I have always been inspired by is a woman who is now, she’s very, she’s much older now. When I first heard her story, she was just a young woman. I’m talking about Joni Eareckson Tada. Some of you know who she is, but she was someone who had a swimming accident and a spinal injury. She became a quadriplegic.
You can read about her story. It was after a tragic accident. Uh, and she just. She for, I mean, it, obviously it devastated her world. But she describes herself and has described herself as God’s poema. There was a book that she wrote called A Place of Healing. And she said these words, because, you know, there was a period there where she was wanting to be healed and, and she says, truthfully, I’ve always wanted to be healed.
And it just, and people prayed for her and early on, she just thought, well, maybe God’s going to heal me, but he didn’t. She never was healed, in, physically. But she wrote these words. She says, God has a plan and a purpose for my time on earth. He is the Master Artist. There it is, or Sculpture. And He is the one who chooses the tools He will use to perfect His workmanship.
What of suffering, then? What of illness? What of disability? Am I to tell Him which tools He can use and which tools He can’t use in the life-long task of perfecting and molding me into the beautiful image of Jesus? Do I really know better than Him, so that I can state without equivocation, that it is always His will to heal me of every physical affliction in this life?
Right? I mean, if I am His poem, she says, do I have the right to say, no Lord, you need to trim line number two and brighten up lines three and five. They’re just a little bit dark. Do I, the poem, the thing being written, know more than the poet? I don’t know if you caught this, but, but again, so much of this flowed out of her desire to be healed, but then coming to a place, stunningly,
of contentment in her broken, broken place. And learning that the Lord could use it. Here’s the key, her focus was not on the why, but on the how. It was not on the why it was on the how. She would not say, Lord heal me, and then I can be Your poem. What she said was, let me be in my broken body, Your poem.
Oh, that’s huge. That’s, that’s huge. That’s, that’s such a different way of viewing things. You know, heal me and then I could be Your poem. No, let me be in my broken body, Your poem. Right? That’s, that’s, that’s so different and it’s just a profound truth, isn’t it? I mean, it really is. Sometimes we say, Lord, if You can change this, if You will change this, if You’ll make this person love me, or if You can restore this situation, then I will be Your poem.
You know, then I will be a testimony of Your, deliverance. And, and sometimes that does happen. Sometimes God does miracles. Sometimes He heals. And there’s nothing wrong with asking for that. There isn’t. I mean, Joni Eareckson Tada asked for that. But then you also come to a place where you, you can can say, Lord, this may not be restorable, or this may not,
I can’t, I can’t not have the experience I’ve had. What do I do with that? I have to allow you to use that Master Sculptor, Master Poet, Master Artist. I am Your workmanship. I’ve I’ve given my life to You. Um, please work Your purpose. Even through these broken things. And God can do this. Sometimes I feel like we’re, we are reminded, Lord help just to pray this prayer instead, Lord help me, I would like to be delivered, but if I can’t, then help me to honor You in this place.
Help me to honor You in this place. And if you think about it, that goes all the way back to what Jesus did in the garden of Gethsemane. When He said father, if it is possible, take this cup from me. Now, for Him that had to do with an assignment that He felt He had. Think about it. The Son in a way was submitting to being written by the Father. God’s word in flesh.
So many connections there. God’s very Logos became flesh and dwelt among us. But if you, if you think about it, Jesus is surrendering. He’s saying, Father not my will, but Yours be done. Like, if there’s another way for me to do what I’ve been asked to do, then I will do it. But if it were possible, I would, I would prefer it.
But I, I align myself with what is, and it doesn’t even mean that all, because if you think about this, God, didn’t send evil to Jesus. But Jesus had to walk through it and he did, and he showed us the way. He showed us the way. And in the same way He wants us to be, uh, just, uh, submitted, uh, submitted son, a submitted daughter, so that we might say with Him, Lord, your will be done in my life.
And may I find Your joy in it. Sometimes that’s easy to do and sometimes that’s harder to do, but we are His poem being written. We are His divine artistry. We are His poems in process. And if we allow the I Am to be at the center of our heart, I’m convinced that we can open up with the humble beauty of a flower that’s that’s blooming beautiful in color and design. Radiant.
Fragrant glorious and greater then Solomon in all his glory. So let the I Am have His way in you. May the Lord have Your way. I Am have Your way in me so that I can find who I am in You. Yeah. I have one more thing to share on the other side of our song, which I’m so looking forward to. I do want to remind all of you, my friends, my, my brothers and sisters and church family, really, especially for you, those of you who’ve been so faithful in your tithes and your offerings, and I just truly honor you
and thank you for that. I really do. I mean, I know you do it as unto the Lord, but remember when it comes to giving, you can, you can give, uh, by sending it in to our offices, you can give by going online, or you can give through the app, which is that’s what I do. But I always say, give the Lord first our heart and just how thankful I am to be in community together.
But with that in mind, Lord, I just ask that You would speak to us to this, this song. And then as we come in and bring this all to a close that’s my prayer that You just let these words that we’ve shared resonate in Your name. Amen.