This following post is adapted from Ps Mark Saundercock's message on Sunday 14th October, at C3 Oxford Falls 10am service. Watch it here.
“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—” John 1:12 (NIV)
We all place faith in things and people but our faith needs to be in the person of Jesus Christ. It can be a struggle to keep our faith on fire through every stage of life. Yet we can look to the example of the apostle John on how to stay strong in faith in every season.
A Life of Faith
John first started following John the Baptist and grew to have faith in him. When Jesus arrived, John asked Jesus to show them where He was staying (John 1:37). They spent the day with Jesus and John soon after made the decision to leave his family and business to follow Jesus. In that moment he had determined to live a life of faith.
The “I am” statements
John and the other disciples soon came to appreciate that Jesus’ message was all about Himself. In the book of John we read the many “I am” statements of Jesus describing Himself. Ps Mark mentioned a few:
- John 6:35 - “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
- John 9:5 - “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
- John 10:7 - “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.”
- John 11:25 - “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;”
An Intimate Friendship
John was particularly close to Jesus as evidenced by his posture at The Last Supper – he rested his head on Jesus’ chest and is described as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23).
John was the only disciple to witness Jesus’ crucifixion on the Cross and Jesus while on the Cross entrusted His own mother into John’s care.
After His resurrection, John was the first to spot Jesus when He appeared on the beach as the disciples were out in their boats.
John was the last surviving apostle and his message was always about Jesus.
The Book of Revelation
John wrote Revelation when exiled on the island of Patmos. In the first chapter we read of two more “I am” statements: “I am the First and the Last” (v17) and “I am the Living One” (v18)
Jesus tells John to write letters to the seven churches. To the church at Ephesus: “You’ve lost your first love …” (Rev 2:4) and to the church at Laodicea, Jesus reminds them that He is always knocking: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (Rev 3:20)
Sometimes we need to get rid of stuff so that we can make time for more of Jesus, just like John did. If we open the door of our heart to Jesus, He will always come in.
Step out of the Boat
Charles Blondin, a French tightrope walker, in 1859 walked across the Niagara Falls a number of times to the astonishment of crowds on both the Canadian and US borders. Finally, he asked the crowd for a volunteer to step into his wheelbarrow as he completed the act for one final time. No one volunteered so he had to get his manager to do it.
It’s one thing to believe in the guy standing on the tightrope but it takes faithfulness to join the man on the tightrope trusting in him to get you both safely across to the end.
Likewise Faith in Jesus involves surrendering our lives to Jesus. Faith can’t operate without faithfulness, that is, obeying Jesus in whatever He asks us to do. Sometimes that will mean stepping out of the boat and our security to trust in Him and Him alone.
Jesus has the keys to what we’re believing for, whether it’s in our family, our work, our health, or whatever area of our life.
Something to talk about:
1. Discuss which of the “I am” statements is particularly relevant for you at present. Note: there are others not mentioned in this message
2. Share an experience of where you’ve discovered the wonder of trusting in Jesus for something.
3. Discuss how your faith has grown over the years. Have there been particular pivotal moments that have shaped your faith?