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Jesus the Great I Am, Part 2

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
November 22, 2021 7:00 am

Jesus the Great I Am, Part 2

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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November 22, 2021 7:00 am

We know that God is referred to by many descriptive names in the Bible. But some of the most familiar ones are the least understood. Join Dr. Tony Evans as he explores one of them and digs into seven different meanings of the name, I Am.

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The best time to experience the I am-ness of Jesus is when things aren't making sense in your life. Dr. Tony Evans talks about what God had in mind when he introduced himself to mankind as I am.

I am wherever you need me to be if you will simply walk with me. Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans. Author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative. We know that God is referred to by many descriptive names in the Bible, but some of the most familiar ones are the least understood.

Dr. Evans will explore one of those today as he digs into seven different meanings of the name I am. Let's join him. In Exodus 3, verse 13, we read these words, Then Moses said to God, Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, The God of your fathers has sent me to you. Now they may say to me, What is his name?

What shall I say to them? God said to Moses, I am who I am. And he said, Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, I am have sent you. What does I am mean? I mean, you ask somebody their name and they tell you my name is I am. Because that's what Moses said. What shall I tell them is your name?

He says, You tell them I am that I am have sent you. God has 85 names in the Old Testament, approximately 85 names. Each name is designed to describe a different element of who God is or what God does.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. That's the name Elohim, the strong one, the creator God. When God wanted to relate to his creation, he gave a new name.

That is the name Yahweh, which we call Jehovah. So the question is, what does I am mean? First of all, I am is personal, I. So when you get a personal pronoun, that tells you that this is a person talking. So when God uses this name, he is saying to you, I want to relate to you person to person. I am not only interested in being the big Mahath way up there, I want to talk to you down here where you live. Because you are you and I'm an I.

In other words, we can communicate. Not only is he personal, but he's personal in the present tense. I am. Not I was, nor I will be.

I am. Well, he doesn't just say I am. He says, I am that I am. Why is he saying I am that I am? Number one, it means that he is who he declares himself to be.

That's very important. I am that I am. In other words, I define me by me. I am that I am.

So why do you need to know that? Because what that means is, I am not what you want me to be. What he is saying is, I am self-defining. Because he is who he is, and he's defined by himself, and everything is now, that means he is who he is eternally.

Because he always lives in the same state, state of being. So he is an eternal being. Well, who did Jesus say he was? He says, before Abraham was, not I was, I am. So Jesus Christ declares himself to be an eternal being. Now having established that, that God lives in the eternal now, and Jesus claims to be that God, there are seven I am's in the book of John. Seven times Jesus says, I am about something.

John chapter 6, verse 35 is the first of the seven I am's. Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will not hunger, and he who believes in me will never thirst. He's talking about the Old Testament in the wilderness when the bread of life came down from heaven called manna. So what Jesus is saying is, what God fed you physically in the wilderness, my job is to feed you spiritually in your day-to-day life. I am your satisfaction for eternal life, and I am your substance for living this life. If you don't absorb me into your life, you will live with a hungry soul.

Okay? So he says, I am the bread. Secondly, then Jesus spoke to them again saying, I am the light of the world. He who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

Ooh, I love this. Jesus says, I'm the bread, I feed you, but I'm also the light, I'll illuminate you. Okay, when the sun rises in the morning, that's illumination because you can see. The darkness goes away and now you can see straight because now you have light. Jesus says, if you will follow me, I'll let you see where you're going because a lot of us don't know where we're going. The proof that a lot of us don't know where we're going is we keep going down wrong streets, wrong alleys, and making bad decisions.

So we don't know where we're going. But Jesus says, if you will follow me, I will give you light so that you can see the right decisions to make, see the right people to connect with, see the right direction to go. I will be your light, but you got to be following me because if you go on your way and I'm going another way, you're going to get lost and you will be in darkness. And one of the worst things in the world is to be blind and not know it.

Because when you're blind and not know it, that means you're trying to make it on your own and you're tripping all over the place, running into everything and bumping into everybody. He says, but if you let me be the illumination of your life, then you will find the way to go. So if you're here today and you don't have direction or clarity, but you definitely want it and you want it from God, he says, you got to follow me. You got to find out what I say, what I think, and you got to do that regardless of what your peeps say, regardless of what your posse says.

And here's the big one, regardless of what you think. Chapter 10, verse 7. Truly, truly, show enough, show enough, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.

Shepherds had a gate, the door where the sheep could enter. And he says, if you come through me, verse 9, if anyone, somebody say anyone, because that means it clued you, if anyone enters through me, he will be saved. Okay, he'll go to heaven, but that's not all. He will go in and out. He'll find freedom and he'll find pasture. I'll satisfy him. He says, if you come through me, if you stop going around me, if you stop going over me, under me, stop skipping me, if you will make your way via me, because I am the door, I am not only the door to save you for eternity, but I am the joy to give you in and outness, freedom in history, and I am the door to bring you satisfaction for your life.

Now tell me, who else can give you that for free? All three, because my name is I Am. And so I am the fullness of life. That's why verse 10 says, the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, but I came that you might have life and that you might have it more abundantly. I not only came that you might have life, but you would have super life. Super life is fullness of life. Super life is more than just being here. Super life is more than I'm trying to get by.

Super life is more than I'm trying to make it. Abundant life means fully realizing what God once done in your life, but he says, you got to come through this door, because I'm the door. The next I Am, he says in chapter 10 verses 11 and 14, I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.

That's the cross. 14, I am the good shepherd and I know my own and my own know me. Oh, he says, I'm the good shepherd. A shepherd, he opens the door for the sheep, but a shepherd does something else.

He watches over the sheep. See, a shepherd is responsible for the sheep. This goes back to our whole theology we've been trying to teach all of us on, that God is your source. God is your source.

He's got to be your source. And he says, I am the good shepherd. I know what I'm doing.

Let's keep going. Chapter 11 verse 25, I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.

Do you believe this? Lazarus has just died. Jesus let him die. And Martha goes to, watch this now, theology. Because in the previous verse, she says, I know he'll rise again on resurrection day. I've been to church. I've read my theology books. I know he'll rise again, because that's what I learned in theology class, Bible class. Jesus says, you don't have all the theology.

Sister girl, I am the resurrection. In other words, theology will give you information. That's called the milk of the word. The milk of the word gets you started, but it doesn't take you to growth. He says, you've got to move from the milk to the meat of the word. And the meat of the word is taking the milk of the word and using it in life. When the milk is utilized, it then gets to become meat, or what he calls solid food. That's why people can go to church every week, 52 Sundays a year, 52 Wednesdays a year, and see no change take place in their life, because they're banking on information.

And the milk will not give you, it gets you started, but you've got to graduate to meat, and milk only goes to meat when utilized. You quoted me, the theology, Martha. Let me tell you what the theology is designed to show you. It's designed to show you who I am. Or as Jesus says in John chapter 5, the Scriptures are speaking to drive you to me.

So if your information doesn't grow to a relationship, then it is data that will keep you in a crib. More about the personal relational side of the great I am when Dr. Evans continues his message in just a moment. But first, I'd like to encourage you to visit to check out a special package that we've put together for our listeners. It starts with an impressive picture book filled with beautiful photographs and insightful observations and spiritual applications from Dr. Evans on the Holy Land. It's called Experiencing Israel, and it takes you to the streets, doorways, seaside, and hillsides that Jesus visited during his time on earth.

This book will give you new insights into the history, culture, and people of the Holy Land, adding a rich background to your study of God's Word, and it makes a great gift. We've bundled this collectible, coffee-table style book, along with all 11 full-length messages in Tony's current teaching series, Encountering Jesus' Names. For a limited time, we'll send them all to you with our thanks when you make a contribution in support of the alternative. You can make the arrangements today at, or call our 24-hour Resource Center at 1-800-800-3222, where team members are standing by to help you. I'll repeat that information for you after Part 2 of today's message.

Here's Dr. Evans once again. Now in chapter 14, verse 6, got two more. Jesus said to them, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me. I am the way, I am the truth, and I am the light. Number one, I am the way. I know where I'm going. I know the way.

The way to eternity first, and then the way for living your life. That's what he concludes with. I am the truth.

Don't misread this. I'm not a truth. I'm not one among many truths.

That goes back to I think stuff. I'm not a truth. I am the truth. I got people walking around here, I know my truth. Many people are believing a lie because it's real to them.

No, you need objective truth. But let's say I ain't in the one and one being two. I think one and one is three. My mama told me one and one is three. All my people believe one and one is three. So I'm going to live my life with one and one is three. Because that's my truth.

Okay? Your truth is going to keep you poor. Because as long as you insist on not having an objective standard outside of you that dictates to you, you will be confusing you and anybody else to whom you give that information. Jesus says, I am the truth. I am the absolute standard by which reality is measured. So save yourself some time, find out what I say, and adjust your thinking to it.

Because if you're a Christian, you have the mind of Christ. I am the truth. And then he says, and I am the life. You want to live? Go my way.

Go my way. And then you will live. You won't exist. You won't just be trying to make it, trying to get over, doing the best you can. You'll have life.

That is my life. Finally, he says in John 15, verses one and verse five, these words, I am the true vine. My father is the vine dresser. Verse five. I am the vine and you are the branches. He will abide in me and I in him.

He bears much fruit, for apart from me, you can do nothing. Oh, oh, okay, watch this step. He says, I am the true vine. That means I am the real deal.

Anything that doesn't agree with me is fake news. I'm the one. Since I am the one, you need to hang out with me. Abide. Abide in me.

Stay with me. And if you run with me, you'll be fruity. Now, the last time I checked, fruit exists for the benefit of somebody else. So when's the last time somebody wanted to take a bite out of your life? Because they see Jesus doing so much in you that they want to hide. They want to get a piece of that.

They want to get a piece of that. Rotten fruit is the only fruit that eats itself. So if you're all about you, only about you, it's about me, myself, and I, that's because you're a rotten Christian. He wants you to be fruity saints. Okay, you say, okay, I got it.

I got it. He's the I am. What do I do with this? What do I do with this?

I am this. He is God, personal, complete, eternal, unchanging. He's all that. What do I do with that?

First of all, if you are serious, you say, okay, I want the I am working for me. Since he's all that and a bag of chips, I want the I am for me. When God told Moses, my name is I am, it was in the midst of a contradiction. It was a burning bush. A burning bush is a contradiction.

If a bush is on fire and the leaves are staying green, that don't make sense. When he saw the contradiction, he went over to the bush. When he got close to the bush, he heard God call his name.

Moses, Moses, take off your shoes. The ground on which you stand is holy ground. That's when the verse comes about him hearing God tell him his name.

So here it is. The best time to experience the I am-ness of Jesus is when things aren't making sense in your life. The best time to experience the I am-ness of Almighty God in the person of Christ is when things have gone haywire and they don't make sense. When you throw up the question, why, and you're trying to live for God, you're trying to please God.

I'm not talking about somebody rebelling. I'm talking about somebody who's trying to please God and it's all contradictory and you can't make sense of it. You're in the perfect position to hear Him call your name. That is, to reveal Himself to you. And what did He reveal? He revealed to him His purpose.

He said, I want you to go to Pharaoh and tell him to let my people go. He gave him a reason for living. He gave him His purpose. And let me tell you something about His purpose.

His purpose was bigger than anything He could do on His own. Psalm chapter 9, verse 10 says that when you know God's name, you trust Him. You don't have to see it yet because you know His name. And you know I am-means He's already been there and He's come back. In John 18, they were getting ready to arrest Jesus, all the Roman soldiers. They come in to arrest Jesus, going to lock Him up, and they said, are you this Jesus that we're looking for? And Jesus stood there and said, I am.

And the Bible says, and when Jesus said, I am, all the soldiers fell back and collapsed on the ground. Because the I am-ness was overwhelming. I don't know what's after you. I don't know what situation is threatening you. I don't know what difficulty is facing you. But when they run into the great I am, oh, they got to back up.

They got to back up because I am. Only gets taken when He's ready to be taken. I close with the story of the girl whose father came to him and said, Darling, it's time for you to open up a bank account with the money we've given you for an allowance, and here's how you write a check, and I want you to start saving. She says, okay, Dad. So she writes out a check to deposit it in the bank. She deposits the check in the bank.

She comes back a week later, crying. Daddy, it's not working. What's wrong? The bank, the bank. What's wrong with the bank?

I had the parents, I did what you said. I took my savings. I wrote out a check. I sent it to the bank, but the bank, the bank is run out of money. The bank is in trouble.

The father said, wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. That's the second largest bank in the nation. So it can't be going broke. What makes you think the bank is going broke? She reached in her pocket and pulled out the check. She said, Daddy, look, the check says insufficient funds.

Okay, for y'all who didn't get that, let me help you. The check said insufficient funds. It wasn't the bank that didn't have the money.

Oh, okay, it takes a while when you, okay. It wasn't the bank that didn't have the money. The girl hadn't deposited enough to cover the check she wrote. So if on the check of your life it reads insufficient joy, insufficient peace, insufficient power, insufficient happiness, insufficient order, insufficient. If the check of your life is reading insufficient funds, it's not because the bank in heaven is empty.

It's because you're not depositing to God the commitment that he requires for you to see him pay the debt in full because last time I checked, his name is I Am. And that means I am whatever you need. I am wherever you need me to be if you will simply walk with me. You can start your walk with Jesus today by receiving his forgiveness and committing your life to him.

And it doesn't matter what you've done or how good a person you might be. It's all about what Jesus did on the cross. And despite what people sometimes say, the Bible makes it clear that there's no other way to heaven.

Tony would love to tell you how that relationship can be yours. Visit today and click on the link that simply says Jesus. You'll find answers to your questions, a simple prayer that can change your life, and free follow-up resources. And if you'd like to explore the full-length version of today's message, including content we couldn't fit into our broadcast time, get in touch with us for details on the message titled Jesus, the Great I Am. Better yet, get it as a part of Tony's current audio series, Encountering Jesus Names, on either CD or downloadable MP3s. It's available right now as our gift in appreciation for your donation toward Tony's ministry. And as I mentioned earlier, we'll even include his beautiful coffee-table-style book, Experiencing Israel. This high-quality hardback is filled with stunning photos and insightful commentary.

It makes a wonderful gift for a friend or family member. Visit today to get all the details before time runs out on this special double offer. Again, that's Or call us at 1-800-800-3222. Our Resource Center is open 24-7.

That's 1-800-800-3222. Well, Dr. Evans will come back in a moment right after this quick shout-out from Dr. Ed Young in celebration of 40 years of God's faithfulness to the ministry of the Urban Alternative. It's my privilege to say a word of congratulations for 40 years of service to none other than my brother and my friend, Dr. Tony Evans. He rightly divides the Word of Truth day by day and weekend by weekend, not only to his church, but really he's a spokesman for Christ around the world. Tony, what a ministry. What a blessing you've been to countless millions of people in these 40 years.

And I'll tell you a secret. The best is yet to be. Congratulations. I'm thrilled to be your brother, and I'm thrilled to just follow in your wake as you make a wide swarf for the kingdom of God throughout this world.

God bless you and your terrific family. The Bible says Jesus Christ being eternal has no beginning and no end. But it also says that Jesus is the beginning and the end. Find out what that means when you join Dr. Evans tomorrow. Right now, though, he's back with a final thought to share with us. So what I'm challenging us today in this name, the I am-ness of God, that He is the God who speaks in the Old Testament, but He is the personal God for you right now. If you've received Him as your Savior and you are following Him as your Lord, then you have access to the I am-ness of Jesus Christ. The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by the Urban Alternative, and is celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-19 21:40:43 / 2023-07-19 21:50:18 / 10

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