Everett Swanson - "Jesus the 'I AM'" - Washington, USA - 2010

Thank you for your prayers, testimonies and thankfulness. I have been reading about the "I AM's" in the Old Testament and in the New Testament.

Exodus 3:4, "God spoke to Moses and he said, 'Here am I.'"  This is the right response when the Lord speaks to us. It is like giving God the authority to work in our life. Then the Lord spoke to him again in verse 11 and Moses said unto God, "Who am I?" and then the answer, verse 14, "God said unto Moses, 'I AM THAT I AM.'"  It is a wonderful thing to have this kind of a response. Shortly after Moses said "Here I am," he wondered "Who am I?"  I really don't think I am capable and able for this. You are asking. I am only frail; I think it would be better if you used Aaron or someone else.  Maybe it is very healthy for us to ask the question: "Who am I?"

Luke 18:13, “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote his hand upon his breast, saying, 'God be merciful to me a sinner.'” God looked down at that man and said, "That man is justified."  He heard the broken spirit and contrite heart. God says, "I live with that man."

So the Lord heard a cry and spoke to Moses about that cry. This cry that arose to the ears of God changed history. If you lose your song, that is serious, but if you lose your cry, it is fatal. A cry to the heart of God has changed the whole course of history.

There is a nice verse in Psalm 34:17, "The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles." When God heard that cry, He moved Moses and Aaron to do something about that situation. God's servants are about to go and preach the gospel and you wonder why there aren't more cries. This world is ideal to produce a need. There are lots of problems, lots of strife, war. Jesus came preaching and showing the glad tidings of the Kingdom of God and there are a lot of sad tidings, but Jesus came to bring glad tidings.

The Lord said to Moses, "I want you to go to King Pharaoh and speak to him."  How would you like to have that job?! Pharaoh said, "Who is the Lord?", but he found out Who the "I AM" is! It wasn’t long and the rivers turned to blood and He gave darkness to the Egyptians and light to the Israelites. He gave life to the children of Israel and death to the Egyptians. Finally, Pharaoh said "You can go, but bless me when you go." He began to see who "I AM" is. He didn't know how great God is and we don’t know how great God is, either.

In the New Testament, we read about the "I AM."  John 6:35, "I am the Bread of Life." The children of Israel did something that was quite dangerous to do. They "limited the Holy One of Israel."  One time God said, "I could have brought honey out of the rock for you - I didn't ... I could have defeated all your enemies for you" and in Isaiah 48:18, "I could have made your righteousness as the waves of the sea" ... "I could have made your peace like a river" ... Exodus 13:17, 18 - "I could have given you an easier way to go into the Promised Land" ... He didn't have to take them across the Red Sea and through the wilderness. God had a much easier way for them, but they would not go. This year can be a lot easier for us if we can just cooperate. We can look back and see all the things that could have been done for us, but one thing I love about the gospel: it is the work of prevention. In Psalm 119:11, "Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee."  God keeps us back from independence.

There was a young man, who went to convention, and he was in the work. He decided after this convention he was leaving the work, but it was Bread that prevented him leaving. God can prevent us from a useless life. God can prevent us from a lot of sorrow. It is the "I AM" that can do this for us. How many hundreds of needs do we have in this convention? Amongst us we have hundreds of needs and He just said: "I AM." Whatever you need spiritually, "I AM."  Do you need peace? "I AM."  Do you need to forgive someone? "I AM."  There is no one on earth can say "I AM" except Jesus. A man might say: "I am a chiropractor" and a lady, "I am a nurse" but only Jesus can say, "I AM."

One day I went to a large warehouse. I was going to get some plumbing supplies for convention. There was everything a person would need for plumbing. I picked up all these supplies and arrived at the counter. He said, "What name are you purchasing this in?" I couldn't use my name as I didn't have an account. I gave the name of our friend. He looked it up and said, "Yes, do you have a right to use that name?  If so, you can buy anything you want in this building!” Jesus said, “You can use My name before the Father. You can pray in My name, you can ask in My name. Whatever you need, My Father will give it to you.” The storehouse is completely open. There are no shortages. There is no lack, but we cannot come in our own name.

That is the hope we have as we pray in Jesus' name. John 6:35, "Jesus said, 'I am Bread.'"  For you, when you bring Bread to the Sunday morning and Wednesday night meeting, you can say, "I have Bread today."  Jesus said, "I am Bread. I was willing for the planting, I was willing for the dying, I was willing for the growing, for the crushing, I was willing for the fire." When we walk into the Sunday morning meeting, we walk into the presence of the "I AM;" we walk into the presence of the King. People go into the meeting and sometimes they are heavy-hearted and they leave and they are so happy. Sometimes friends wonder why we are not so friendly at the beginning of the meeting. It is because of reverence. After the meeting they said, "Oh, that meeting really helped me!" They talk now. In the Kingdom of God, we don't have common days, normal days. When we get into the presence of the King and we are cleansed and we have seen Christ, we are inspired and we have a song. Is that a common day? When we walk with the "I AM," is that a common day? What a privilege to be in the work, where there are no common days!

Jesus said, "Give us this day ..." Did He say, "Give us this day our weekly bread?" No. He said, "Give us daily bread." One morning a man went to work and told his children, "Good-bye." Ten minutes later, he came back and his son said, "Dad, how come you've come back so early?" "I forgot to get my daily bread. I forgot to meet with the King today. I didn't get into the presence of the Holiest today. I have to spend some time alone with God first." 

There is a country where friends cannot meet together for meetings and they cannot leave the country.

One day a man told his wife, “I am having my convention today.”  He went into the convention and closed the door and said, "I want to be alone today all day."  He met with the King, he met with the "I AM."  He began to sing, and he began to pray and God was there, and the whole day he spent just alone with God. We often sing, "God is here amongst His people."  A neighbor came over and asked, "Where is your husband?" "He doesn't want to be bothered today, because he is spending today with God."  There is a verse in Ruth that says, "God has visited His people by giving them bread."  God will visit you today with Bread and tomorrow God will visit you with Bread.

Recently, I was in a third world country and someone said, "We are going to have lunch with a very poor lady. She really cannot afford to feed us like she does."  We went into the home and she had a lovely meal for us. They said, "She really can't afford this."  When I looked at the food, she said: "Have some more."  I felt guilty even having a bite! She said, "I love to do this!" She wanted to share her bread with us. She has such a beautiful spirit. She feeds with her spirit. When I sat down at that table, I didn't know how much that cost her.  When I sit down at this table here, I don't know how much this has cost. I have no idea how much this cost God. I have no idea how much this cost Jesus, and the Lord's servants even shed tears before meetings like this. Sometimes, they spend hours getting alone with God and I like to realize that this is the Lord's Table.

Remember in the Old Testament a story of a rich man who had lots of sheep and animals and he spared them.  He wouldn't use them and he came to a poor man that had one lamb. He took that lamb and killed it for that man who was passing through. That traveler sat down and he had no idea how much that meal cost. There was a family with broken hearts, because their only little lamb was given.  This traveler sat down and never realized how much this meal cost. I feel like that man in the Old Testament that was put down at the table, Mephibosheth, and he put his lame feet under the table and all looked at him and said, "You are like one of the king's sons."  He ate with royalty and he ate with the king.

John 11:25, there is a little bit of confusion. It has to do with "I am the resurrection."  Lazarus had died and when Jesus came, it seemed too late. If you had come earlier, you could have saved Lazarus, but You are too late. Jesus said, "I AM the resurrection."  They saw Jesus as the "I was," as what He could have done if He had come earlier. To Martha, He said, "I AM the resurrection."  Martha said, "Yes, I know he will be raised later." She saw Him as the "I was" and the "I will be."  He said, "Martha, "I AM."  What could He do for us today as the "I AM?"  Christ is a Creator. We often sing, "Create in me more love for Thee."  He is a Creator.

There is a verse in Romans about us having the spirit of the resurrection now. When we come into the presence of Christ, even in a fellowship meeting, there is a spirit there. In life, we can have the spirit of the resurrection before we die. We were talking to a man recently and he said, "I just lived for myself until I sat at the funeral service and realized that is my mother that is being buried today; this is the end of my old life."  He was going to allow the Lord to be working. He looked at this faithful life and said, “I am going to change.” There is only One can change us, and that is the Lord.

There was a marriage in which the lady wanted to change her husband and she couldn't. She told the workers, "My husband is impossible; he’s like an orangutan!"  She said, "I am a lady."  We said one thing, "Before you go after 30 years, love him and be so kind to him as never before, for 30 days and don't worry about the reaction."  Thirty days later, we asked, "How is it going?"  She said, "I am married to the best man in the world!"  A changed man because of a changed woman! How can we change somebody else? It starts here in the heart. The Lord wants to change us, and that can even help our companion and our friends, but it is the “I AM” that can create something in us that we never had before.

Today is the day of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. It seemed like this was the end of Jesus.  Three days later, people came to anoint His body. "He has died, but we will try to anoint His body; that is the best we can do. We will bring some spices."  They looked, and there was nobody there, and there were two angels in the tomb. One sat where Christ's head had been and they realized, "He's alive!" ... "Why are you seeking the living among the dead?"  One angel was marking out the walk of Jesus, sitting where His feet had been, and the other angel was exactly at the head, marking out the mind of Jesus. We are glad there are no changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Something else Jesus said, in Revelation 3:14, "'I AM' the Amen."  Christ was the "Amen" of God. When God asked Jesus to die for our sins, He said "Amen."  He had a struggle to say Amen. There was no battlefield like Gethsemane. When Jesus came into Gethsemane, there were two wills, but when Jesus left Gethsemane there was only one will. Jesus was willing to be conquered, willing to submit Himself to the will of God. He learned to say "Amen" every time God spoke to Him. Could you pass the "Amen" test? When the Lord asks us to do something, can we say "Amen?"  I thought of Peter facing the "Amen" test. Jesus came to wash his feet… "No, you're not going to wash my feet!”  You know how strongly he said that "You will never wash my feet."  Jesus then said, "Well then, YOU can have no part with Me."  It took a matter of seconds from the time when he said, "Never," till he said, "Wash my hands, feet and head."  Peter passed the "Amen test." Jesus said after Peter had fished all night, "Go back out." 

He was hungry, tired, and the nets were washed. He didn't want to go, but he added a very important word I need in my vocabulary: “nevertheless."  Jesus said, "Nevertheless."  Peter said, “Nevertheless, I will go out into the deep.”  He passed the "Amen" test and then James and John came out and helped too. They all got involved in a miracle. The miracle is on the other side of obedience. Because he passed the "Amen" test Jesus said, “You can catch men now instead of fish.”

Another "I AM" is found in Hebrews 4:14. He is the High Priest. Do you know what He is doing right now? He is before God and He is interceding for us. He said, "If you confess Me before men, I am going to confess you before God."  The next time you talk to somebody about Jesus, Jesus will talk to His Father about you. He is the High Priest between us and God. In the Old Testament, the High Priests wore a mitre and right over his brow were the words “Holiness to the Lord,” but he was still a sinner. Christ is the only One Who had perfect thoughts. When we get into the presence of the "I AM," we are in the presence of Holiness. On His shoulders were the names of the tribes of Israel, the Lord's people. It is nice to think that He is carrying our burdens. They did a little work on the shoulders and they engraved these names. We sometimes sing “engrave this deeply on my heart.”  You might take something from this convention that is engraved on your heart.

The "I AM" can engrave something that is permanent. There is something about this high priest that is encouraging. At the bottom of his garment was a pomegranate and a bell, and a pomegranate and a bell all the way around his garment. What made the sound? It was the fruit hitting the bell.  In Jesus' life, His words came from fruit.  And when that priest walked in the temple, they realized He is still alive and He is carrying blood for me and for the ministry and carrying blood for the church. We have a High Priest today that is talking to God on our behalf.

In the Old Testament, there is a little picture I want to give. The Lord wanted a tabernacle built, Exodus 35, and He chose two men. Did He choose those men because they were highly skilled? They weren't skilled. God gave them skills. God made them able to do what they were doing. In this ministry, we are not able, but God can make us able. This year, the journey will be too long for you, and the mountains will be too high for you, and Satan is going to be too strong for you, so you will need Christ, you will need the "I AM."

He is able to "do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think."  He does the impossible all the time. We just had a mission recently in the West. A couple came to one meeting and she said, "I hate this I don't like this at all."  He said, "I like it."  She said, "If you keep going, it is the end of our marriage," but he kept going and pretty soon she said, "You are changing ... I like these changes! ... maybe I can go and change." Now, they are both coming together and they are happier people. He couldn't do it and she couldn't do it, but the "I AM" can do it. He does the impossible.

When I thought about going in the work, I thought I can't do it! I couldn't and I still can't, but He is able, and so one thing I appreciate is the fact that I am happier in the work than I was when I was out of the work. If we allow Christ to come into our life, we will be happier, because He is the High Priest and He is able.

We had a Bible study and one little thing I liked: a man came to Jesus and said: "My child is dying, will you come to my home?"  Jesus never went to the home. He never went to see the boy that was dying. Jesus said, "Your son lives," and the man believed. As soon as he got home, they said: "The fever has left your son."  "What time was it that the fever left him?"  "It was the certain hour that the fever left and he became well." He said, "That was Jesus!" That is the "I AM."  "He didn't even have to know where my boy was."  That message just went and came to where that boy was and he became well. It says that the man believed. When we believe, it opens the door for miracles. Jesus said to Nathanael, "I saw you under the fig tree," and he believed it.  Jesus said, “You are going to see greater things from now on if you believe that! I am going to take you further and now you are going to see angels ascending and descending on the Son of man.”  As soon as we believe, another door opens. The "AMEN" and the "I AM" comes in and does His work.