I Am

Posted on 10/03/2010 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


Public Prayer Requests:


Thank you for previous prayers. They have made a difference. Please continue to pray for my recovery from depression and anxiety. As Jesus taught us to pray, please pray specifically that the Lord protect me from evil and the evil one, especially my mind where the battle has been intense. I have found it difficult to "renew my mind" and stay focused on the Lord. I believe this could be a demonic distraction to keep me from getting free or being useful to the Lord. My wife and I struggle financially, too.
   -Greg

1) my father recently had open-heart surgery and his recovery's gotten a tad bumpy. he's 57, so he'll probably be fine, but prayers would still be appreciated.
2) someone on an RP sim i used to be on in SecondLife had some RL surgery that, according to a notice I read last night, left her with severe RL memory loss (she doesn't remember ANY of her SL.) i've never met the girl in my life, (first or second,) but since was logged in to post this anyway, i felt it worth adding.
   -Ayumi Sapeur

dear lord i pray that that you help me through this depression and anxiety and help me feel better, i pray that you help me choose the right decisions in life. I really want to be able to think and feel better. please forgive me for the sins i have commited. thank you amen
   -wheeler

Wow. How amazing that God hears every breath we take and sees us amongst the many people who populate this earth, how wonderful. I am sending healing and supportive energy for all of those who are supplicants like myself and hope that we all experience the miracles meant for us. Thank you to those who intercede and pray for us, many blessings to each and everyone of you. God has answered part of a prayer made a couple of weeks ago which has miraculously put a roof over my head but this is just part of the request. The rest of it asks that I find a job within my expertise that pays well and puts me squarely on the path to build my non profit organization that will benefit target populations and contribute education and support to diverse populations so that I and all members that this org serves all grow from our experiences together. Thank you again, may light shine on you.
   -Rhonda

PLEASE IM ADRIAN BONILLA FROM COLOMBIA IMIN ENORMOUS NEED OF PRAYERS SO ANY PERSECUTION AGAINST ME AND MY FINANCES BE STOPED BY GOD AND FOR MY FINANCES GET RECOVERED PLEASE IM IN DEEP NEED
   -adrian bonilla

*******

Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.

*******


I WILL ENTER YOUR GATES

I will enter your gates
    with thanksgiving in my heart
I will enter your courts
    with praise
I will say this is the day
    that the Lord has made
I will rejoice for
    you have made me glad!

You have made me glad,
    you have made me glad
I will rejoice for
    you have made me glad

NOBODY LIKE YOU

(There's) Nobody like you Lord
Nobody like you
Nobody like you Lord
    You are worthy

You alone are King of Kings
You alone are Lord of Lords
You alone are worthy there is
    No one else like you

Every knee on earth will bow
Every tongue confess that you are
Lord above the heavens,
    There is no one else like you!

I STAND IN AWE

You are beautiful beyond description
 too marvelous for words
Too wonderful for comprehension
 like nothing ever seen or heard

Who can grasp your infinite wisdom
 who can fathom the depth of your love
You are beautiful beyond description
 majesty enthroned above


I stand, I stand in awe of you
I stand, I stand in awe of you
Holy God to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of you


You are beautiful beyond description
 too marvelous for words
Too wonderful for comprehension
 like nothing ever seen or heard

Who can grasp your infinite wisdom
 who can fathom the depth of your love
You are beautiful beyond description
 majesty enthroned above


I stand, I stand in awe of you
I stand, I stand in awe of you
Holy God to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of you

I stand, I stand in awe of you
I stand, I stand in awe of you
Holy God to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of you


You are beautiful beyond description
 too marvelous for words
Too wonderful for comprehension
 like nothing ever seen or heard

Who can grasp your infinite wisdom
 who can fathom the depth of your love
You are beautiful beyond description
 majesty enthroned above


I stand, I stand in awe of you
I stand, I stand in awe of you
Holy God to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of you

(modulate)

I stand, I stand in awe of you
I stand, I stand in awe of you
Holy God to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of you
I stand in awe of you
I stand in awe of you

WORD OF GOD SPEAK

I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay
The last thing I need is to be heard
But to hear what You would say


CHORUS:

Word of God speak
Would You pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see
Your majesty
To be still and know
That You're in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In Your holiness
Word of God speak


I'm finding myself in the midst of You
Beyond the music, beyond the noise
All that I need is to be with You
And in the quiet hear Your voice

I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay
The last thing I need is to be heard
But to hear what You would say

I'm finding myself in the midst of You
Beyond the music, beyond the noise
All that I need is to be with You
And in the quiet hear Your voice

I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay


*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***


You know, we serve a great God!

Whatever needs we may have, He is our help, our provision, our strong tower.

Whatever questions might be drowning out the silence, trying to steal our peace, He is our answer, and the Minister of Wisdom.

Whatever struggles we're going through, He is our victory, our ever-present help in times of trouble.


Today's subject came to me in the shower, which is far from being unusual. First, I remembered an apology I wanted to make. Usually, we say "I'm sorry." If you take out that contraction, the sentence really means "I Am sorry."

We say the same thing when we experience various things; "I Am tired." "I Am sick." "I Am broke." "I Am afraid."

Did Jesus ever begin a sentence with "I Am?" Let's take a look at one place he ENDED a sentence with those two words, and it almost got him killed.

John 8:58 (KMV)

58 Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I Am."

In the next verse, we see they immediately picked up stones and were going to stone him. After all, Jesus had just used the name of God that He gave to Moses, and they knew very well what God called Himself in Exodus 3:14 (NKJV)

14 And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"

And here was Jesus, saying, "Before Abraham was, I AM."

But unlike us, God doesn't follow that title with anything that isn't good.

What does He say in His Word?

In Genesis 22:14, I AM your Provider.
In Jeremiah 30:17, I AM your Healer.
In Exodus 17:15, I AM your Banner.
In Leviticus 20:7-8, I AM your Sanctifier.
In Judges 6:24, I AM your Peace.
In Psalm 23:1, I AM your Shepherd.
In Psalm 7:8, I AM your Judge.
In Jeremiah 23:5, I AM your Righteousness.

In Genesis 49:24, I AM the Mighty One.
In Psalm 71:22, I AM the Holy One.
In Genesis 16:13, I AM the One who Sees.
In Psalm 18:2, I AM your Deliverer.
In Job 19:25, I AM your Redeemer.
In Psalm 3:3, I AM your Shield.
In Psalm 22:19, I AM your Strength.


On the cross, in John 19:28, Jesus said, "I thirst." He did NOT say "I AM thirsty." Of course that's just semantics. But it helps to make an important point.

We identify ourselves with so many things. Our identity is tied up in what we experience, what we feel, and what we think and believe.

Before Christ, our minds operated like minds owned by spiritual beings without life and in need of a Savior. After we surrendered our life to Him and were "Born Again," our minds started getting renewed by the Word of God.

Unfortunately, most of us lose that passion of Salvation pretty quickly. The cares of life come in and takes priority. And filling ourselves with God's Word is moved to the back seat.

But do we really realize... has it moved from our heads and into our hearts... that our identity has been switched with someone else?

Identity theft is a big deal these days. People wake up one morning to discover someone else has stolen their identity, running up large balances on multiple credit cards or even committing other crimes that get traced back to them.

Well, Jesus did that... except he gives us a choice. After all, he's not a thief. He became our sin so that we could become the righteousness of God, as it says in 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV)

21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

So if we say, "Yeah, I'm a Christian, but I'm also an alcoholic," does that fit in with this verse? Or, as Mariposa wrote in her story we heard last week, "I'm a Christian homosexual." Well, the Bible actually addresses both of those, homosexuality and alcoholism and the Christian, in 1st Corinthians chapter 6:

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NKJV)

9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,
10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
11 AND SUCH WERE SOME OF YOU.... BUT... you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

So he was talking to people who had practiced fornication, adultery, and homosexuality; they had been theives; they had been alcoholics; they had been a lot of sinful things.

And then he says "and such WERE some of you." They were no longer fornicators, or idolaters, or adulterers; they were no longer homosexuals, or sodomites, or thieves; they were no longer extortioners or drunkards.

"And such were some of you. BUT." "You were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God."

"For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God..."

Our identities were swapped. We don't think like this is so. We all too often don't act like this is so. But that's what the Bible says.

We identify with our weaknesses, our failures, what we've done in the past, what we think we'll do or want to do in the future; with what people have done to us, or with what we think our role is in the mental story we call life.

We generally DON'T identify with the nature of God. After all, what would we say to ourselves if we did? Let's look back at that list:

Would we say, "I am broke," or "I have everything I need?"
Would we say, "I am sick," or "By His stripes, I am healed?"
Would we say, "I am a sinner," or "I am saved by grace?"
Would we say, "I am in turmoil," or "I am at peace?"

Wouldn't we say, "I am strong? I am delivered? I am redeemed? I am safe and protected? I am seen and loved?"

We identify with the nature of sin, instead of with the nature of God, forgetting that Jesus became our sin and we became His righteousness.


Did you know that even lost people identify with the nature of God? And it changes their lives. It doesn't save them, and this is a serious stumbling block that is created when we embrace the principles of God's Word without surrendering our lives to that Word in the flesh of Jesus Christ.

But the first chapter of Genesis tells us something very interesting:

Genesis 1:26a, 27 (NKJV)

26a Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness..."
27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

What does that mean, that we were created in the image of God? According to his likeness?

Well, we do have spirit, mind, and body, just as God is composed of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But in John 4:24, Jesus says that God is a spirit. He took on human flesh, but he is not that flesh, just as you and I are not our bodies. We HAVE bodies and we HAVE minds, but we ARE spirits, and we are made in the image of God.

Of course we know that we have the nature of evil within us, and that evil nature has twisted any goodness within us so that none of us are truly good.

Nonetheless, we have the nature of God within us, as twisted as that nature might be. Just take a look at all the examples of compassion, caring, and self-sacrifice that people without Christ show. You don't have to be a Christian to posess and display the nature of God.

And this trips up a lot of people. They see this nature. They experience this nature. They recognize this nature, deep down inside, as being the image of God. And this is where the new age teaching comes from that we are all God.

But their motives are good. Their intentions are right. And we should pray for people who fit this description, and God would do whatever it takes to open their eyes to the truth, so their sins can be washed away and they can be reconciled to God.

But let's consider the outcome, the results, of identifying with the nature of God even in those who do not know Him. And if we who DO have fellowship with God were to identify with His nature instead of our old, fallen, sinful nature, how much more of a transformative impact would that have on our lives?!


Within the nature of God, is timeless eternity. He's not worried about yesterday or tomorrow. He's not fighting against the clock. He isn't pulling out his hair and giving himself ulcers by trying to run on the rat's wheel just a little bit faster.

Within the nature of God, is peace. He's not tormented by memories and fears. He's not worried about things. HE knows He's in control, even if we forget. And since he remains in the eternal present moment, his peace is unbroken.

Within the nature of God, is healing. That also means he doesn't make himself sick. We stuff all sorts of things into our face, and don't give it a second though. We wash it down with a syrupy brew, and might even top it off with an after-dinner cigarette. But when we do things that hurt ourselves, we are not identifying with the nature of God. When we say or do things that do not build up the mental, emotional, and physical health of others, we are not identifying with the nature of God.

We could go on and on, but I'm sure we all get the point.

We focus on what we think are people's faults. We expect bad from others. We think about all the seemingly negative things in our life. We see everything as a problem we have to solve; and if we can't find a problem, we make or imagine one.

We are quick to judge and slow to forgive. We focus on sickness instead of on health. We see our life as full of troubles, instead of immersed in blessings.

Maybe my body feels tired, but I am not.
Maybe my mind is troubled, but I am not.
Maybe my circumstances are in turmoil, but I am at peace.

After all, I was created in the image and likeness of God, and I have been set free from the law of sin and death, because Jesus traded identities with me.

Does all this make sense? Sure, the mind has all sorts of questions and doubts. But the Word of God is true. And it will transform your life if you just live by it.

And you know, these things that are in line with the nature of God are listed as the fruit of the Spirit, as described in Galatians chapter 5. Let's read that:

Galatians 5:22-25 (NKJV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Now, that word "Spirit" is referring to the Holy Spirit, or God. What does it mean to "walk in God?" Well, let's think about that for just a moment.

The Holy Spirit, God in the earth, isn't something we can see with our natural eyes, or observe with our natural senses. If something invisible were to follow us around, doing what we do, going in the paths we think are best, speaking what we speak, dwelling in our nature, then it would be as though that invisible force were "walking in us."

So what does it mean to "walk in the Spirit of God?" Well, just imagine that someone does something to offend you. Everything inside you is crying out to hold a grudge, to say or do something that would make them regret being such an evil person. Is God walking in that way? Is He operating in that nature? If not, then for us to walk in that way is for us to NOT walk in the Spirit.

And the more you walk in the Spirit, the more you'll see its fruit in your life. Just like the more you walk in the flesh, the more you see destruction, the more you walk in the Spirit, the more you'll see life.


So, how can we know if we're walking in the Spirit? Just look at your fruit. After all, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. If these are growing in your life, then you are walking in the Spirit. If not, then you need to make some changes.

And you don't need me to tell you what those changes are. You already know the first step. For some, they need to read the Bible more. Others need to spend more time in prayer and worship. Maybe you need to set some quiet time aside every day to just meditate and break out of the rat wheel of your crazy mind. Or maybe you need to just take a first step of obedience in an area you know you've been holding back from God.

Whatever that first step is for you, you know it. Sure, the flesh will look the other way with an innocent gaze. But you know what that something is.

Walking in the flesh, you'll just put it aside for the moment, or push it forward into the future, and you will leave here the same way you came. But walking in the Spirit, you will face that thing right here, right now. And you will leave here changed, moving forward on the path of transformation.


One last thing I'd like for us to consider, and then we'll close with a time of prayer and ministry. And that one thing is this:

Up 'til now, most of our "I Am" statements and mindsets have been about US. We think about OUR flaws, or we think about OUR goodness. But to really walk in the Spirit, our focus needs to change.

Romans 8:5-6 (NKJV) says this:

5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

If our minds are on the things of the Spirit, then our minds are not on what we think others did against us, or on things that have happened in the past, or on what tomorrow might bring.

If our minds are on the things of the Spirit, they are not on what we can do to please our carnal desires, or to fulfill our own dreams, or to bring glory or recognition to ourselves.

Verse 6 says that "to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is.... life... and peace."

When you see that your mind is not bringing life and peace, then you know your mind is on fleshly things.

Sure, this includes the words we say to ourselves, but it goes even deeper than that. After all, the mind of the Spirit isn't about repeating the same things over and over again. When God was creating the heavens and the earth, he did not create dry land... then think about it again... then talk about it the next day... then worry about what might happen to it... then finally spend the 7th day in restful memories about the day he created it.

Instead, every day was something new. As it says in Lamentations 3:22-23 (NKJV),

22 Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,
   Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning;
   Great is Your faithfulness.

Aren't you glad God isn't like us? I sure am! We would have consumed the human race a very long time ago! But God's compassions do not fail. Why? Because they are new every morning. This ever-newness springs forth from His great faithfulness. Since He is faithful and does not change, everything is always new.

Now, that doesn't make sense to the carnal mind. The mind thinks things have to change to be new. But the mind of the Spirit isn't trapped by the mind of the flesh. Since God does not change, since He is faithful to always be the Great I Am, everything in the mind of the Spirit is always new, day by day, moment by moment.

Let us pray that He continues to draw us into that place of rest, and that we lay everything else aside to follow.


Let's finish today's service with a time of prayer, of seeking, of answering the Holy Spirit's call, as he points to that one thing, that next step he wants us to take.

If you need prayer, just instant message me, Mariposa, or someone on the ministry team or staff. If you need to leave, you're dismissed.

If you can stay, and if you feel the Holy Spirit calling you deeper into the presence of God, then you're invited to get out of your seat and make your way to the front.

Come, and let's take our identity off our bodies, off our minds, off our personal stories, and onto the nature of God, for whatever need we may have, He is I Am.