I Am …

John 1:12

12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—


When looking at that title up there on the screen … “I Am …”, what are some thoughts which come to mind?  Go ahead and say them out loud.

Jesus in the gospel of John gives a total of seven “I Am” metaphors which he uses to describe who he is.

“I am the bread of life” (John 6:35,48)

“I am the light of the world” (John 8:12; 9:5)

“I am the door” (John 10:7, 9)

“I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11, 14)

“I am the resurrection and the life (John 11:25)

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6)

“I am the true vine” (John 15:1)

Looking at the title of the sermon and looking at the list of these seven statements, it would be easy to think that our sermon this morning is going to consist of me looking at these seven statements.  If that is what you are thinking or if that is what you are hoping … then I’m the bearer of bad news because that is not what we are going to look at this morning.  If I was going to do that, if I was to give them proper justice, I would have to preach them in a sermon series because to do all of them now would mean we would be here all morning and afternoon.

Instead of doing that, we are going to look at these simple two words in a different way.  We are going to look at them in the way which was looked at when nine of our junior high youth, two other adults, and myself attended the Believe youth event in Louisville a little over a month ago.

I am … I am a son, a brother, a husband, and a father.  I am a pastor, a bowler, a basketball player, a novice wood worker, a lover of the outdoors and I am one who is willing to act goofy in order to make someone laugh.  Each of us can look at these two simple words and if asked, I’m sure you could very easily develop a list much like mine which says something about who you are.

But you know, even though the things I listed are a small sample of who I am … I still struggle.  I struggle at times trying to figure out who I am.  I struggle with who God wants me to be and what He wants me to do.  And I’m not alone in this. There are hundreds, thousands, if not millions of people who are struggling with trying to figure out exactly who they are.  From junior high aged kids to college students to full functioning adults … there is a major identity crisis going on in our world.  Through social media, through shows on TV, through articles and pictures in magazines, we are all being bombarded by the world telling us that I need to be different than who I think I am.  If I want to be successful I need to act this way, if I want people to recognize me then I need to look like this.  These things can very easily make us wonder … who am I.  Who am I really?

And even if we try to keep up with the suggestions of the world, I wonder … would we ever really figure out who it is that I am suppose to be? … I don’t think so, actually, I know we wouldn’t because those who have chased after this “ideal self” … they have always come up short and they find themselves to be exhausted.  Exhausted of resources as they have tried to find themselves and exhausted mentally, spiritually, and physically.

I don’t know about you … but I’m tired of being exhausted.  When I look in the mirror I can easily see a person who is aging as those gray hairs just seem to keep on making their appearance known and as my joints just don’t heal like they use to.  As I look in the mirror I see a person who enjoys the food he cooks a little too much.  As I look in the mirror, I can see all kind of flaws, not just flaws on the outside, but I also see the flaws on the inside.

I am … I am flawed.  I am broken.  I am a sinner.  That is the reality of who I am.  That is the reality of who you are.

Yet John, one of Jesus’ disciples says, “Yet to all who received him,” yet to all who received Jesus, “to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).  Through the miraculous Sacrament of baptism and through the hearing of the Word of God, the seed of faith, the ability to know and believe in Jesus as one’s Lord and Savior is planted.  This seed of faith, it is nothing you or I asked for.  According to John, “Jesus came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him” (1:11).  Jesus came to save the lost.  He came to save the flawed, the broken, the sinner.  He came to save you and me and all people.  But too many people, when they look in the mirror they think … why would God want to save me?  I am … I am flawed.  I am broken.  I am a sinner.  There is nothing good in me.  And all of that is true.  There is nothing good in any one of us.  We do not deserve to be saved at all.  We deserve to suffer, we deserve to be exhausted in trying to keep up with what the world thinks I should be.

But that is not who God wants you or me or anyone else to be.  God instead wants us to be His children.  He gives us the right, the privilege to become His children through the precious thing called faith.  St. Paul tells us that this precious thing of faith is a gift.  “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is a gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).

Not only does God give us the gift of faith so that we can believe in Jesus as our Savior and thus be children of God, listen to what else Paul says.  “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph. 2:10).  Not only are you a child of God, but you are God’s workmanship.  You are created!  Psalm 139 says, “For you {God} created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (139:13-14).  God knit you together in the dark depths of our mother’s wombs.  In that dark place … He created, not me, but He created a masterpiece.  A masterpiece unlike any other masterpiece.

Because you are God’s workmanship, God’s masterpiece carefully made and because you are God’s child by the faith He gave to you as a gift … God looks at you and says, “Don’t listen to the world.  Listen to me!  Don’t look in the mirror and say that you see a flawed person, a broken person, or a sinner for you are my precious child.  I don’t care what the world thinks of you.  Know that you are a masterpiece, you are beautiful, you are handsome in my eyes.  You don’t believe me, look at what I did so that you can be mine now and for all of eternity.  I sent my one and only son whom I love dearly to be flogged, to be broken, to be a sinner in your place.  My son Jesus willing went to that cross and grave and conquered everything by rising from them victoriously in order to save you, in order that you may be with me.  You, my dearly loved child.

I am … I am flawed, I am broken, I am a sinner, but I am also uniquely created by God, I am a masterpiece in His eyes, I am created to serve Him and to love others, I am forgiven.  As the t-shirts the participants from our church wore say and as the songs we sing today say, I am … I am a child of God.  “In my Father’s house, there’s a place for me. I’m a child of God, Yes I am.” Amen.

The peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord, now and forever.  Amen.