The True Messiah

John 8:21-29

Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds Jesus' words about his divine origin and their significance in saving faith.

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[Message] We’re turning this morning to John chapter 8 and verse 21 and reading verse 21 through verse 29 for our Scripture reading. John 8, verse 21 through verse 29. These words our Lord spoke perhaps on the last day of the feast of the tabernacles in which he was visiting the city of Jerusalem and having conversations both with his disciples and also with the generation of Jews that were living in the city at that time. In the 21st verse we read,

“Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come. Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come. And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning. (That expression is a little difficult in the original text and might be rendered in several ways, but perhaps it’s something like this or even all together “the same person that I said unto you from the beginning,” or perhaps, “the same thing that I have been claiming from the beginning.”) I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him. They understood not that he spake to them of the Father. Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.”

Isn’t it interesting that the Lord Jesus is able to say, “I do always those things that please him?” And we do not think very much about that remarkable claim. We accept it as being true of what we know of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. “I do always those things that please him.” That is, the Father. If one of us were to say something like that, well, we might not say anything to their face but we certainly would smirk within we know that’s not true. There is no one of us that always pleases the Father. To make such a claim is arrogant, and foolish, and certainly wrong. But when Jesus Christ says, “I always do the things that please the Father,” we seem to send that there is something imminently correct about that. Of course the reason for that is there is deep down within our hearts that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And remarkably even those who do not acknowledge that he is the Son of God do not find it in their hearts to accuse him of pride and arrogance and failure to understand himself. It’s remarkable, I think.

The subject for this morning as you may have noted from the bulletin is the “True Messiah.” It’s very interesting how in many of our meetings it is possible for us to be somewhat ignorant of the things that are really being said, some of the things that are really happening. Some years ago, or at least a couple of years ago I read a story of an incident that happened to a professor at the University of Pennsylvania. He was known for giving boring cliché ridden lectures. And so at the beginning of one semester the students of a very innovative class decided that they would try to breathe new life into the course. And so they decided that they would play a baseball game throughout the semester and that they would assign baseball plays to each of the hackneyed and trite phrases for which the professor was famous. For example, the expression, “on the other hand,” which he loved to use was a base hit. “By the same token,” another phrase that was one of his favorites was a strike out. And then the expression, “and so on” was a stolen base. And they arranged a number of his clichés into phrases like this, and they began to play baseball. One side of the class was one team, and the other side of the class was the other team. And as the professor went through the semester the baseball game continued.

Finally, as it might have happened, on the last day of the class the impossible took place, the score was tied. The bases was loaded, and right at the conclusion of the class the professor made one of his famous cliché statements, which was reckoned to be a home run. The bases were filled at the time, and four runs came in. And suddenly one side of the class stood up and cheered [Laughter] as the professor finished his semester. Well, he was deeply appreciative, of course, but he was quoted later as having wondered why only one half of his students were so enthusiastic about his lectures. [Laughter] It is interesting though that things can be happening right under our noses of which we are totally ignorant.

Well we have in this incident here a pitiful illustration of the ignorance and obduracy of the natural man. As the revelation that the Lord Jesus Christ gives concerning himself progresses, the rebellion to whom the message came increases. Perhaps the explanation is found right here in this 8th chapter in a verse that we shall consider later on. For later in the chapter the Lord Jesus says in the 47th verse, “He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.” So the person who is of God hears the words of God when men do not hear the words of God, and do not here them finely, that is the evidence that they are not of God, so Jesus says.

It’s possible for individuals to attend classes in Believers Chapel, to hear the words that are spoken, to even hear remarkable expositions of the word of God from the various teachers of the word and still not understand what is transpiring. As you know, the Bible makes it very plain that the natural man is unresponsive to the ministry of the word of God. The things that are said pass by him and he does not understand them at all. Sometimes his ignorance is willful ignorance. It’s rebellion. It happens to be the case that he understands the words that are being spoken. He does not like the sentiments that are being expressed, and he becomes angry and objects, often objects in a very visible way.

When I was in the insurance business in Alabama and had been converted, I came into contact with several families of Christians in the Bible classes that we attended. On family particularly I remember, because the wife was a true, sincere believer, the husband was not as is so often the case. The husband, however, was often discussing the things of the Bible, because his wife was a very earnest Christian and they just naturally came up. He was very rebellious, unresponsive. He was a member of a church, but he was very rebellious and unresponsive. And as the years went by his rebellion seemed to increase, and the thing that really upset him was any reference to Salvation through the blood of Christ. Later, near the end of his life whenever his wife mentioned the blood of Christ he would go upstairs and there he could be heard to grown and mutter over the things that had just been said. He visible, and audibly I should say, would groan and moan so that he could be heard downstairs. Not long after that he had a stroke, and at the hospital as he was dying from the stroke he said to his wife, who reported this and at the same time reported that there was no indication of salvation necessarily. But he turned to her and he said, “Patti, only your Jesus can help me now.”

It’s possible for us to be very, very unresponsive to words that are spoken very plainly to us. I guess there is no one who ever spoke more plainly, and more directly, and more accurately than the Lord Jesus Christ. And yet the generation to which he preached by and large did not respond to his ministry. The scene of the verses that I have read for you in the Scripture reading is the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles. The Lord Jesus has already proclaimed himself as the true rock out of which came the water that fed the children of Israel as they made their way through the wilderness. He has also said that he is the true light, “I am the light of the world.” And now he proclaims himself to be the true Messiah.”

Did you notice as we read through the Scripture the occurrence of the expression, “I am he.” For example in verse 24, “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” And then in verse 28, “When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself.” And finally in the 58th verse, a verse that we did not read, “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” We might even render that, “I am he.” So here is an expression, “I am he,” that indicates that our Lord is someone special.

Now, I must confess I don’t know exactly how to render that expression, I am he, because actually, strictly speaking all that is said is I am. Now, I do know that back in the Old Testament when the children of Israel were being led out of the land of Egypt, God selected Moses as the deliverer. And Moses, remember, when he saw the burning bush that was not consumed by the fire and recognized that this was a theophany, and appearance of God, he said to God who had spoken to him, “Now when the people ask me who you are, what shall I say to them?” And God said, “I am who I am.” For as I’ve often said to you, it’s impossible for God to define himself. If he were to use our terms to define himself, he would be limiting himself, and one of the fundamental facts about God is that he in an unlimited being, an infinite being. And so he can never define himself for to define is to limit. Now, he can say, “I’m the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob,” that’s a descriptive term of him. That points out that he is the God who dealt with Abraham, who dealt with Isaac, who dealt with Jacob. He’s the covenant making and keeping God. But that’s all he can say.

Now, the prophets, of course, guided by the Holy Spirit picked up that phrase, so later on you will find them using it. Isaiah particularly, several times he speaks about the God who has called him to minister as “the first and the last, the beginning and the end,” And then he also speaks of the God who is his God as the “one who beside whom there is no one else.” In face, he uses the very expression, “I am he,” that God. And that Hebrew expression enyou is picked up by the New Testament authors. And the Lord Jesus particularly uses it. It’s the language of deity. And you’ll find it incorporated into the things that our Lord says. John’s gospel in chapter 6, in chapter 18 uses the expression. And of course all the predicates that Jesus attaches to it, like “I’m the door.” “I’m the way, the truth, and the life.” “I’m the good shepherd.” Those are expressions built on the expression, “I am,” because Israel should have been prepared for the use of the expression, “I am,” of deity.

Still it’s possible to render this in different ways. One well known and very qualified interpreter has suggested that there are really three thoughts in the expression, “I am he.” First of all, “I am he” in the sense of I am precisely what I say that I am. And of course, I say that I am the Son of God. And then it is possible to have the expression me, “I am he,” that is the one that we’ve all been looking for, the promised Messiah. Or “I am he” that is absolutely the one who posses the name of God, the divine name. All of these may be present, all of these ideas. He is the eternal God. He is the Messiah. He is the one upon whom God has put his name. He’s the second person of the divine trinity. He’s the one that in the Old Testament led Israel out of the land of Egypt. He’s the one who made the covenants with them. He’s the one who wrestled with Jacob. He’s the one who spoke to Abraham. He’s one whom Daniel saw. And he’s the one whom Gideon dealt with, and so on. All the theophanies of the Old Testament are theophanies of the Son of God most likely. So when he says here that “I am he,” the divine Messiah, the Son of God, the one who made the covenants with the fathers, the eternal God in whom we are to trust.

Now, the Lord Jesus is continuing his discussion with the Jews, and in the 21st verse we read that the Lord Jesus said to the men about him, “I’m going my way, and you shall seek me, and you shall die in your sins. Whither I go ye cannot come.” There are three statements here regarding the nation of Israel. First of all he says, “I go my way, and ye shall seek me.” One might hope, of course, that this is a prophecy that the nation will turn to him and truly seek him in faith. It’s likely that that is not the sense. As the context goes on to indicate it does not really harmonize with what follows. So I, with most of the commentators, feel that this is not a seeking in faith but a seeking in frustration. Perhaps it finds some illustration at the destruction of the city of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. when the nation was looking about for a deliverer as the Romans were closing in but were unable to do anything about it.

Like Esau, remember Esau? Esau was an individual who lost his blessing. He lost his birthright, because he really just couldn’t bring himself to faith and trust in the promises of God. And when the circumstances arose that allowed him to sell his birthright, well he sold it. Now, the blessing, which was still his so far as the text of Scripture goes, when the blessing came up and Jacob managed to deceitfully, with the connivance of his mother, obtain the blessing from Isaac. When Esau heard the words of his father he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, “Bless me, even me also, oh my father,” almost a seeking on the part of Esau of the blessing. And then in verse 38 Esau said to Isaac, “Hast thou but one blessing, my father. Bless me, even me also, oh my father.” And Esau lifted up his voice and wept. I think most of us feel a tug of compassion for Esau. But he lost his opportunity because for one morsel of bread, the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews says; he sold his birthright and gave it all up. And this was the consequence of it. So he sought the blessing but he was turned away, because there is a time for seeking and when that time passes by the doors are shut.

One of the most terrible of the expressions the Lord Jesus ever used is used in one of his parables when he has the parable of the virgins finally coming, and we read, “And the door was shut.” We do not know, of course, when people are the subject of divine retribution. We only know that such exists. The Lord Jesus says here, “I am going. You’re going to seek me,” but so far as the context is concerned, it’s too late.

Now he says further, “You shall die in your sin.” The Authorized Version has this as a plural in verse 21 but probably the singular is used. You shall die in your sin, in your original sin, or in the guilt and condemnation brought upon the race by the fall of Adam in the Garden of Eden, or by the rejection of the Son of God. You shall die in your sin. One of the best on the commentators on the Gospel of John has said, “Those who in their self-sufficiency reject the light, place themselves outside the scope of his salutary, though not its condemnatory effect.” So to reject the light is to reject the salvation the light brings, but it is not to reject the condemnation that that rejection will bring. So I’m going my way, you’re going to seek me, but you shall die in your sin.

And in fact he goes on to say, “Where I am going, you cannot come.” There are some who have the pseudo doctrine of a second chance. The Lord Jesus says, “Where I am going you cannot come.” There is no such thing as a doctrine of a second chance. The opportunity that we have to respond to the gospel of Christ is in this life. There is no second chance beyond this life. “It’s appointed unto men once to die and after this the judgment.” Jesus says, “You cannot come where I am going.” Richard Baxter has a very interesting prayer. He said, “Oh God, for a full heaven and an empty hell.” It’s a great prayer; it’s just not going to be answered, because hell is not going to be emptied. There is such a thing as a hell. There is such a thing as a place for those who have refused the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Now, the Jews respond to our Lord’s words. They say, “Will he kill himself?” It’s obvious they don’t understand what is going on. The Lord Jesus said, “You shall seek me, you shall not find me.” They say, “Will he kill himself?” He says, “Whither I go you cannot come.” Is he talking about suicide? All Bible teachers and preachers who preach the gospel of Jesus Christ will tell you of people after they’ve given a message in which by all accounts among Christians it’s a message of plainness and simplicity, will have people come up afterwards and ask a question which indicates they don’t understand a thing of what has been said, thereby setting their seal to the truth that “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God.” And so they come and say, “Will he kill himself?” This taunt of suicide is really a bitter caricature of the truth, because the Lord Jesus does say this, “The Son of Man came not to be ministered unto but to minister and to give his life a ransom for many.” Yes, he is going to give his life. He’s going to offer himself as a sacrifice. It’s not suicide in the sense of the term suicide. But he is to give himself to death. But it’s in order that he might be a ransom for many.

Our Lord’s response, however, is not to turn to that. He looks at the real reason why they say the things that they say. What do they say showing they do not understand anything that he says? “Will he kill himself?” Jesus said, “You are from beneath. I am from above. You are from this world. I am not of this world.” There are two orders of men. There are men who are related to the Lord Jesus through the new birth and the possession of the Holy Spirit. They are men who are from above, for their life comes from above. They have been born from above, as he himself has spoken in John chapter 3. And then there are those who are from beneath. There are those who are of this world. They are characterized by this world. The love of this world characterizes them. The values of the world characterize them. The concerns of the world characterize them. But on the other hand there are those who are from above. “You’re from beneath, I’m from above. You are of this world. I am not of this world.” Later on the Lord Jesus says of his true disciples, “You are not of this world.” You too have a different disposition. Your values are different. Your concerns are different. Your interests are different. Your life is different. So “you’re from beneath. I’m from above.” That’s why you say, “Is he going out to commit suicide.”

Now he admonishes them. He said, “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins,” this is plural, “for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” That’s, I think, a rather interesting statement. “If you believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” Occasionally you will hear people say, “It’s not so important what you believe in Christ, it’s important that you personally trust him.” And people will even says, “The essence of the Christian faith is just the personal relationship with our Lord.” Now, of course, the relationship that we have with the Lord is a personal relationship, but it’s impossible to exclude the intellectual from the Christian faith. And so we read in our Lord’s own words, “If you don’t believe that I am he,” the Messiah, Yahweh, the Son of God, the covenant keeping God, “then you cannot come. If you do not believe that I am he, you shall die in your sins.”

Now the very fact that he says, “If you are not a believer that I am, you shall die in your sins,” is an indication that one must have in order to be saved, the very highest estimate of the person of Jesus Christ. If you do not believe that “I am he” you shall die in your sins. In other words, there is an important intellectual content of the Christian faith. We’re living in a day in which the intellectual is not very popular; because it appears to me we don’t like to study. We don’t like to think. We don’t like to reason. But that is part and parcel of the Christian faith. We’re not suggesting that a man has true faith in Christ if he believes a certain intellectual proposition. We’re only saying that in order to have a true faith, one must have a true intellectual understanding of who Jesus Christ is, a high view of Christ. And furthermore, unless we believe that he is more than man, we can never trust him with the faith that is saving faith. If your faith is a kind of faith that rests in the person of Christ but at the same time rests in the person of Christ apart from an understanding that he is more than man, that faith is not saving faith.

Now you may have trust in your wife, or your husband, or your good friends, or your children, or your children may have faith in their parents, but that faith is to be distinguished from the kind of faith that saves. The kind of faith that saves involves an intellectual comprehension of the dignity of the person of the Lord Jesus Christ and that he is more than a man. Otherwise, it’s not the kind of faith that will sustain us in the trials of life. So, “If you do not believe that I am he,” Jesus said, “you shall die in your sins.” That’s something for us to apply to ourselves, too. If you do not believe that Jesus Christ is he, you shall die in your sins. If I do not believe that, I shall die in my sins.

Well you can imagine the kind of reply that they might give. And that is the kind of reply that they give. They believe the best defense is a good offense. And it’s obvious that they’re on the defensive. And so they reply to him, “Now, as for you, who are you? You’re saying it’s necessary that we should believe that you are he. Just who are you?” I know this is not the time to speak of football, but this is an attempt on their part to exercise ball control. They want to keep control of this conversation. They don’t like these terms that our Lord is using which seem to pin them down under conviction. So, “Who are you?”

Well, our Lord replies. He says in the 25th verse, “Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.” We could render this, “exactly.” That Greek expression may mean that, “exactly what I declare unto you” or “exactly what I have been claiming to be.” In other words, if you want to know who I am, listen to my words. I am exactly what I have been saying to you. If someone were to ask me what I am, you couldn’t say, I couldn’t say honestly, “I’m just exactly what I tell you I am,” because I may color it a bit. I may forget to say a few things. I may even think I’ve been honest. But I know that my mind and my heart are such that I cannot respond perfectly, truly, to a question like that. But the Lord Jesus is able to say, “Exactly what I am telling you.” If you want to know what he is, then read these texts that he is speaking in his word.”

Now, when we read the New Testament and particularly when we read the Gospel of John, if we want to understand what Jesus is we read these words. In fact, John the Apostle tells us that he would like for us to know him, and the way to know him is to ponder the things that he has written. “I have written many things. Jesus did many remarkable signs. Btu these in my book are written that you might know that Jesus is the Messiah the Son of God and that in believing you might have life through his name.” “Who are you?” “Exactly what I have told you I am.” Or we could put it another way, “Just what John the Apostle says that he is.”

Now, I like the statement in verse 26, he says, “I have many things to say and to judge of you” Notice that, many things to say to you, and many things to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.” What a magnificent statement for preachers. Yesterday I received through the mail a bulletin from a church pastored by a friend of mine, and at the bottom of his bulletin he had a little statement about the comet and the sun. I thought it was interesting because it seems to describe a great deal of what is going on in evangelicalism today. He says “We gaze more on a comet than one the sun. This is the reason why erratic teachers are for a while popular and attract public attention. It’s given out that they are some great one, and all the town is staring with open mouth. The nine days wonder is every day’s talk. The new teaching is something marvelous. And the old creed is to be driven out of the land. New lights are to eclipse the old, at least so we’re told. Let us wait a while, however, and the comet will have vanished and the half forgotten thick stars will be seen to be shining with unfading splendor. May the Lord give us,” he says, “such fixed and established judgments that no novelties of doctrine may ever dazzle us. Children are fond of new toys. Let us be men and keep to the tried word of God.”

Jesus Christ’s standard of preaching and teaching was very simple, what I have heard from the Father. That’s what a preacher is to do. He’s not to add anything to the word of God; he’s not to subtract anything from the word of God. This is a word for preachers and teachers. We’re not to tone down the truth or tone up certain aspects of the truth that we particularly like. We are ambassadors. We are to give the word of the King. “And I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.”
There is a story which I have repeated before in your presence, at least a good number of you. And perhaps even more than once, but I like it. It’s about P.T. Forsyth, a famous theologian and preacher in the earlier part of the 20th century. Dr. Forsyth was called “the Barth before Barth,” as if to suggest that he was a remarkably original kind of theologian. He visited the United States some years ago. And when he got back to Britain he told of an incident in one of the classes at one of the theological seminaries that greatly amused him. He was staying at a certain seminary, and the professor of homiletics asked him to come to the class with him.

And they went in on Monday morning, and the professor had the habit of asking the students what they had preached or taught on the day preceding. And he would go around the class and ask them what they preached on the day before. Forsyth thought that was very interesting and worthwhile. And he said there was one conversation that he would never forget. The professor said to one student, “Were you preaching last night?” And the young man said, “Yes, I was preaching.” “What text did you take?” “Well, I took the text from Hebrews, ‘How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?'” The professor commented, “Why, that’s a great text. Tell me how you treated it.” He said, “I really didn’t try to treat it. I just took the two obvious points.” The professor said, “What are the two obvious points?” “Well, first of all, the greatness of our salvation.” The professor said, “Ah, that’s very good. What was your second point?” He said, “Well, a little advice on how to escape if we neglect it.” [Laughter]

Mr. Forsyth said, “I think there is a great deal of preaching along that line right now.” The Lord Jesus said, “I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.” Now notice the 27th verse, “They understood not that he spake to them of the Father.” Isn’t that striking? Here our Lord Jesus is speaking. You would think that they would understand that he was speaking of the Father. And they do not understand that he is speaking of the Father. How is such possible? Well, such is possible because the Bible says so plainly the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God. They are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, for they are discerned through the Spirit. So the natural man does not only not understand, but he cannot understand. It’s impossible for you to understand in your natural intellect. The Bible is not something that you can of your own ability understand. You must have illumination from the Holy Spirit. That was one of the first truths that I learned. That meant a great deal to me.

And when I was in the insurance business, and Dr. Barnhouse who loved this text, cited it. He commented upon the fact, “That’s why so many of you in this audience,” in my Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, “do not understand the things of the word of God. You are natural men. You are not spiritual men. You are not saved individuals. You are members of the church. You have been baptized. You may attend this church regularly, but you have not been born again. You are natural men. You do not understand. You cannot understand until that great transaction has taken place by which you receive the Holy Spirit and have a teacher who is able to cast light upon the word of God.” What a difference takes place when we have been born again. Desire to know the word of God, have a teacher to teach us, and the words of the word of God become significant and understandable to us. Not every one of them, but the process of growth in understanding has begun, but only begins when we have been born again. “They understood not that he spoke to them of the Father.”

There was a remarkable man by the name of Jedediah Buxton. He was a famous peasant. He was so famous and so well known because of one thing, he could multiply nine figures by nine figures in his mind. Some of you look startled because you have trouble with one figure by one figure. [Laughter] He could multiply nine figures by nine figures. He was once taken by a friend to see David Garrick, the famous actor and playwright. When he went back to his own village someone asked him what he thought of the great actor and the things that he did on the stage. Well, Mr. Buxton said, “Oh, I don’t really know what I thought. The only thing I saw was a little man who strutted about the stage and repeated 7,956 words.” [Laughter] That was the only thing he got. He was interested in the words and the number of them. So the message of the play was something he never really understood at all.

I think there are people like that that attend Believers Chapel. They’re here on Sunday morning, they go to church. That’s about it. As far as really understanding the word of God, and I think sometimes, and I speak of myself too, don’t think I am trying to put the finger on you, because we are all members of the human race. There are times really just simply because we’re here. And we’re not really here. Some of you ladies are cutting out a new dress. Some of you are adding a room to your house. Some of you are thinking about how you can get back at your husband because he’s done something that displeased you and vice versa. And some of the children are thinking about school tomorrow, because tomorrow is Monday. And you’re trying to think of anything you can to make it interesting, waiting earnestly for twelve o’clock to come. One minute until twelve now. [Laughter] That should be an encouragement to you. But as far as the word of God is concerned we don’t really have much heart for it.

They did not understand. And so the Lord said to them, “When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he.” Now, the lifting up, John explains later, is a reference to the cross. And when he says here, “When you have lifted up the Son of man, then shall you know that I am he,” he’s not saying, “Then you shall know with a saving understanding,” but then you shall know having lost your opportunity to receive the life that comes from Christ. You see, when he says you have lifted up the Son of man, or when you have crucified me, then you shall come to know, he’s talking about the indefinite future when finally they will come to know that they did crucify the Messiah. Because you see, God is going to illumine all men sufficiently so that all men shall ultimately know that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, even the lost. Not only that but they shall confess it. Paul says in Philippians chapter 2, he was obedient to such a death as the death of the Christ. God has highly exalted him. He has given him a name that is above every name. That’s the name of Yahweh, or Lord. He, and furthermore, that everyone shall confess that he has that name, of those who are in heaven, of those who on earth, and of those who are under the earth, all shall confess he is the Messiah. He is Yahweh. He is the eternal God. But for many it will be too late.

Now, Jesus concludes by saying, “He that sent me is with me. The Father hath not let me alone. I do always, those things that please him.” There are two ways to die. One may die in one’s sins, Jesus says. Twice he says it. Mirabeau, the noted French statesman said, “Give me more laudanum that I may not think of eternity, oh Jesus Christ,” as he passed into eternity without Christ. Sir Francis Newport said, “Oh eternity, eternity, forever and forever, oh the insufferable pangs of hell.” That’s one way to die. The other way to die is to die in the Lord. The last book of the Bible, in the 14th chapter of the Book of Revelation contains these words, “I heard a voice out of heaven saying unto me, Write blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.” Moody died in the Lord. He said as he died, “This is glorious, earth receding, heaven opening, God calling me.” No man ever yet repented of being a Christian on his death bed.

My earnest desire and prayer to God for you is that when the time comes for you to die, if Jesus Christ does not come, that when you are on your death bed, you shall die with the Christian faith in your heart. May God help you if you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ to come to him whom to know is life eternal. May God help you to recognize your sin. May God help you to come to understand that Christ has died for sinners and that you may have eternal life as you flee to the Rock of Ages, cleft for sinners. Come to Christ. Come to him. Trust him. Enjoy the hope of eternal life and the understanding that comes with it in the mean time.

[Prayer] Father, we are grateful to Thee for these magnificent words that Jesus Christ has spoken. We confess, Lord, that he is the eternal God. We trust only in him. We do not trust our good works, our church, our culture, our education, our good intentions. We know our sin. We know we’re lost. We confess our lost condition. We lean only on him. Oh, Father, if there are some here who have not yet come to Christ, may at this very moment they be confessing their…


Posted in: Gospel of John