by Brian Trenhaile, MTh
in homiletics presentation format
1. Understanding this concept will rid us of fears and feelings of inadequacy.
2. Some people struggle grasping the significance of this simple statement.
3. While others just take God at His word and run with it.
Proposition: Tremendous implications apply when God says “I am with you.”
1. What does it really mean, when God says this?
2. Do we practically benefit from this statement, not only for ourselves, but for God and for others?
Transitional Sentence: To better understand of this statement lets look at it from two perspectives. First from God’s point of view, second is from our point of view.
First Division: First, let us look at the importance that God attaches to His statement “I AM with you.”
a. Subdivision: One indication of importance is that it is one of Names
1. This name means – I am the ever present One, or God’s abiding presence, or the Lord is there.
2. We all know God is omnipresent; this is one of His attributes. In Psalm 139:7-12 David says there is no way to get away from God. He is everywhere no matter where you go.
3. But for the believers, God is with us in a very special way.
4. Corporately with us Ezekiel 48:35 “… and the name of the city from that day shall be, ‘The LORD is there.’”
5. Individually with each of us Ps 23. Yeah though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.
b. Subdivision: I AM with you is also important to God’s because it is an essential part of His very essence. The way He normally does things requires His presence. This is why He usually works through relationships.
Discussion: For Himself, in John 14:10-11 Jesus said “… I am in the Father, & that the Father is in me? … Believe me when I say that I am in the Father & the Father is in me; …” Also in Jn. 17:23 Jesus prayed for us “I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity …” How much more can someone be with us than this?
1. Certainly God wants to be with us, because we were created for relationship with Him.
2. But Adam broke this intimate relationship by sinning.
3. But God wanted to restore the relationship. So the Father sent Jesus who redeemed us from sin and restored the intimate relationship that God always wanted. John 17:3 says “This is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God and Christ Jesus whom Thou hast sent.”
c. Subdivision: He often says to people “I am with you.” It must be important to Him because is one of His favorite statements.
Discussion: Moses and Gideon are two examples people who did not catch on at first but later on they did.
1. Moses had two pivotal conversations with God on this matter:
a. The first conversation is recorded in Exodus Chapters 3 and 4. In Ex. 3:10 God speaks to Moses and says “I am sending you to pharaoh so that you may bring My people out.”
i. Moses offers a litany of excuses, in Ex. 3:11 his excuses start with “Who am I that pharaoh would listen to me?” In vs. 12 God tells Moses “I will certainly be with you.”
ii. Then Moses said “What if Your people don’t listen to me” and God patiently gave him instructions to deal with getting them to believe.
iii. Moses last excuse – “I can’t talk.” Then Moses said “Send the message by someone else.”
iv. In Ex. 4:14 God eventually gets angry with Moses, but God said Aaron your brother is coming he will speak for you.
v. Obviously, at this point Moses has not caught on!
b. The second conversation is recorded in Ex. Chapter 33. Here Moses speaks to God with a whole different attitude.
i. This conversation occurred a little after God had revealed His great power.
1. The plagues, the Red Sea and the destruction of the world’s most powerful army were all past history.
ii. This conversation occurred right after God’s people had an adulterous party.
1. They did not think God or Moses were with them anymore.
2. So they made a golden calf to be with them and they worshipped it.
3. God was tired of their sinning.
4. He tells Moses I will send my angel before you when you go into the land. Ex. 33:2.
5. It appears as if God did not want to be with them anymore.
iii. But by this time Moses attitude had completely changed.
1. Moses says to God “If You don’t go with us there is no sense in us going on at all.”
2. Now God going with them was only thing that Moses would settle for.
3. He talked God into going with them. cf. Ex. 33: 13-17.
iv. So Moses, who wrote the first five books of the Bible initially failed to grasp the meaning of “I am with you.”
1. But by this time he had learned and he knew the potency of this statement.
2. Gideon went through a similar process:
a. In Judges 6:12 the angel of the Lord says to Gideon “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of God,” while Gideon is hiding in the winepress threshing grain.
b. Again in verse 16 “And the Lord said unto him, Surely I will be with thee …”
c. Eventually Gideon also caught on and went on went on to lead a measly army of 300 men to a great victory over their Midianite oppressors.
d. Verse 5 says there enemies were like swarms of locust and the number of which was impossible to count.
e. The only way they could have accomplished this feat was through God being with them.
Discussion: Now Joshua and Mary are two precious examples of the right response to God’s pronunciation “I am with you.”
1. Joshua is an awesome example. Lets look at Joshua 1:9, which says:
a. “Have I not commanded you, be brave be bold be strong, for I AM WITH YOU wherever you go.”
b. Notice that this is a command. God did not give Joshua the option to be fearful, timid or weak. We should also be brave, bold and strong. Why? The same reason, BECAUSE God is with us. II Ti. 1:7 “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, love and of a sound mind.”
c. Joshua obeyed and went on to lead God’s people to victory so that a whole country received their inheritance. Tremendous results came from being aware that God was with him.
2. Mary the mother of Jesus is another precious example. In Luke 1:28 the angel said “Hail favored one, the Lord is with you.” Later in the conversation, verse 38, Mary said “I am the Lord’s servant, May it be to me as you have said.” With the understanding that He was with her, she demonstrated the proper response, she simply yielded to the Lord. Her act of obedience had tremendous consequences. She brought our salvation, the Messiah, into this world.
Transition: So we have covered the importance of this statement to God. How He names Himself “I AM with you,” it is how God operates and He employs this statement often when dealing with His children.
Now we will go on to discuss why this statement should be important to each of us.
Second Division: The personal significance of God’s statement “I AM with you.”
a. When we sin and need restoration He is with us.
Discussion: Jesus stands beside us, he is our advocate when we sin.
1. I Jn. 2:1 says “My little children, these things I write unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” So He is with us, even when we sin.
b. When we are afraid He is with us.
Discussion: Understanding that He is with us, enables us to move out from fear and into faith.
1. Isaiah 41:10 Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not anxiously look about you for I am your God. I will help you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
2. Hebrews 13:6 I will never, no never, no never leave you nor forsake you, so we confidently say “The Lord is my helper, I will not fear, what shall man do unto me.”
3. Luke 24:36-41 – The disciples are hiding in the upper room. Jesus appears and says “Peace be with you,” … they were glad to see Him. What happened? Their fear went away, because He was with them.
c. When we feel all alone or deserted He is with us.
Discussion: John 8:29 indicates that Jesus was always aware that the Father was with Him.
1. In John 16:32 Jesus said “But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.
2. Paul said: “all deserted me, the Lord stood by me.” II Ti. 4:16, 17
3. In John 14:16-17, Jesus says “And I will ask the Father and He will give you another Comforter (Helper, Intercessor, Advocated, Strengthener, Standby) that He may remain with you forever. The Spirit of Truth whom the world cannot receive, welcome take to its heart, because it does not see nor know and recognize Him, but you know and recognize Him because He is with you constantly …” – Notice that these verses say the H. S. is with us forever. The Holy Spirit is with us constantly.
d. When we are in a battle God is with us.
Discussion: We have a very active enemy constantly trying to take us down. Most of this warfare is in our mind and is an attack is on our faith.
i. I John 4:4 the Apostle John says: “You are of God little children and have overcome them, because greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.”
ii. I John 5:4 states “Whatever is born of God overcomes the world, and this is the victory that has overcome the world, our faith.”
e. When we need guidance He is with us.
Discussion: This special help comes through the presence of the Holy Spirit.
1. The Holy Spirit Guides us: John 14:26
2. In fact through the Holy Spirit all the resources of heaven are at our disposal John 16:13-15
f. When we are working a secular job God is with us.
Discussion: He often says to me “I am with you.”
1. When you are self employed, like I am, you are all alone. You cannot run to the boss for help. If you’re the only employee you cannot run to anyone for help, except God.
a. A prominent lawyer hands me an expert witness case, a type I have never done before, and the Lord says to me “Do it! I am with you.” I trusted His words, though somewhat reluctantly, and He helps me to do it. The guidance He gave was not specific, but as I worked on it and just kept trusting that He was with me. This case came out wonderfully.
b. In another incident I had to come up with derivations for computations that I had never done before. There were no available resources to show me exactly how to do these mathematical procedures. Plus I had massive quantities of numbers to crunch, if I made a mistake people could die. It is normally hard for me to do derivations even when I’ve had sleep and conditions are calm. But at this time I had very little sleep for days and the conditions were extremely tense. During this time He said to me over and over again “I am with you” and He brought me through. I know I could never have done this in the natural. I did not know how to do it and I did not have the rest or strength needed to do it. Through Him being with me I can say with Paul “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Phil 4:13.
g. When we need to minister he is with us.
Discussion: Max Lucado, in his book “Grace for the Moment,” offers a devotional for I Co. 3:9 “We are God’s workers, working together.”
1. Illustration: Max states: “It’s a wonderful day indeed when we stop working for God and begin working with God. For years I viewed God as a compassionate CEO and my role as a loyal sales representative. He had His office, and I had my territory. I could contact Him as much as I wanted. He was always a phone or fax away. He encouraged me, rallied behind me, and supported me, but he didn’t go with me. At least I didn’t think he did. Then I read II Co. 6:1 We are “God’s fellow workers.” Fellow workers? Co-laborers? God and I work together? Imagine the paradigm shift this truth creates. Rather than report to God we work with God. Rather than check in with him and then we leave, we check in with Him and then follow. We are always in the presence of God.
Discussion: Jesus utilized illustrations to show us how he wanted to work together with us.
1. The first is the yoke: In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus says “Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me for I am meek and lowly of heart and you shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
2. The second illustration is the vine and branches. In John 15 He says that He is the Vine and we are the branches, apart from Him we can do nothing, but when we are abiding with Him we are fruitful.
3. The preceding examples imply that HE is with us. But He also told us blatantly that He is with us. Look at Matthew 27:20 Jesus says Lo I am with you even to the ends of the earth.
Transition: In conclusion, the statement “I am with you” really means a whole lot to us right here and now.
1. So we don’t have the option to be weak and fearful. Further, there is really no reason to be since He is with us. Because of His presence, we can be brave and strong.
2. So the next time He gives us a task and tells us “I am with you,” are we going to respond like Mary and say “Be it be done to me as the Lord says?”
3. Or are we going start off following after God like Israel did, then later think that God has deserted us, and then go worship some idol?
4. The choice is up to us, it is always up to us. But when we know for sure that He is with us, we will have a greater tendency to make the right choice and then He will faithfully bring us through.
1. Extra parts to the last main division
a. Add in Mary section, she gave birth to Immanual, the very name means “God with us.” Isaiah 7:14.
b. Or as Paul put it:
i. I Co. 6:19 We are the temple of the HS
ii. II Co. 6:16 I am with you
c. Some Old Testament examples.
1. Gen 21:22, God is with you in all that you do. This is what the heathens (Abimeleck and Philcol) told Abrabham.
2. Isaiah said even though the Assysrian army surrounds us it will come to nothing, it shall not stand, for God is with us. Isaiah 8:10
3. Isaiah 43:2 I am with you through the sea, through the rivers and through the fire. HE TAKES US THROUGH not over, under or around.
4. In the call of Jeremiah, God tells him, I Am with you twice, Jer. 1:8, 19.
- Keywords for further study: In Him, hand of the Lord, anointed, temple of the Holy Spirit, vine braches