When a man says, “I will” it doesn’t necessarily mean much. I don’t think I’d have to listen long to people responding to the question, “Has anyone ever told you they were going to do something and then didn’t follow through?” before hearing tales of broken promises and unfulfilled intentions. In fact, we very often say “I will” when we don’t even mean to do what we say.But when we come to the places where Jesus Christ said “I will”, He means to do what He says. Everything He promised to do, He is able and willing to accomplish. You can go through all of Scripture and not find any place where He says, “I will” do this or “I will” do that and not trust that what He says He did, is doing or will do. God keeps His promises and what He sets out to do by His will, He does.
Today, I’m going to take a few minutes to share with you seven places in the New Testament where Jesus indicates what He wills.
The “I will” of Salvation
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.
John 6:37 (NIV)
Some people say of themselves, “If I had my act together, I would come to Christ. But when I think about all the stuff that’s happened in my life, things that I’ve done myself…I’m just not good enough.”
Then too, some people say of others, “Their life is so messed up, they’ve done such despicable things, there is no way they could ever change – there’s no way they will know Jesus Christ even if they wanted to – they aren’t good enough.”
However, I must emphasize this morning that Jesus Christ came to save not good people, not the upright and just, but sinners like you and me who have gone astray and sinned and come short of the glory of God. In fact, it is often those who think they have it all-together, and who don’t see anything wrong with their life, who think they are basically good people that are in danger of being the farthest from Christ.
When the kings and princes of this world issue invitations, they send for the rich, the mighty, the powerful, the honorable and the wise; but Jesus, when He was on earth, invited the vilest of the vile.
That was the principal fault the people found with Him. Those self-righteous Pharisees were not going to associate with harlots and publicans. The principal charge against Christ was: “This man hangs out with sinners and eats with them!”
Listen to what Jesus is saying here, “…whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” There are no exceptions in that statement. There are no escape clauses to the verbal contract. I don’t care who the man or woman is or what his or her trials, troubles, sorrows or sins are. If that one person will come to Jesus, to the Master, He will not turn them away!
Come then, friends, come as you are and take Jesus at His word.
So compassionate and focused is He in His mission and desire to save sinners that Jesus will take everyone who comes to Him. He will take those who are so full of sin that they are despised by all who know them; who have been rejected by their fathers and mothers; who have been tossed out by their spouse. He will take those who have sunk so low that no one even looks at them with pity. Jesus will take any who come to Him! That is why He left Heaven and came into the world; that is why He left the throne of God – to save sinners.
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
Luke 19:10 (NIV)
Jesus didn’t come to condemn to the world but to save the world.
For those who are not believers this is a very important message to hear. But it is also a very important message for Christians to hear as well. One of the devils tricks is to try and fill people with doubts that God accepts them completely. The devil tries to convince people that just coming to Jesus isn’t enough. He tries to lure them onto the guilty broken stones of self-righteous works and doubts. Whenever the devil whispers in your ear that you aren’t good enough, that you’ve failed one to many times, that your sin is a permanent stain you speak to Him the “I will” of Christ, “Whoever comes to me, I will never drive away”.
The “I will” of Cleansing
12 While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” 13 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him. 14 Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” 15 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
Luke 5:12-16 (NIV)
If there is any man or woman here today who is full of the leprosy of sin, if you go to Jesus and present your sin to Him, he will speak to you as He did to that poor leper. “I am willing, be clean!” and the leprosy of your sins will be gone.
The Lord and the Lord alone can forgive sins. If you say to Him, “Lord, I am full of sin; You can make me clean”; “Lord, I have a terrible temper, you can make me clean”; “Lord, I have a deceitful heart, cleanse Me, grant me a new heart.”; “O Lord, give me the power to overcome temptation and the snares of the devil!”; “Lord I am full of unclean habits…” – if you come to Jesus with a sincere spirit, you will hear the voice, “I am willing, Be Clean!” It will be done.
If God, who created the world out of nothing, who by a breath initiated life in the universe says, “Be clean”, do you think it’s not going to happen?
Today, you can make a wonderful exchange. You can have spiritual health in the place of sin sickness. You can get rid of everything that is vile and hateful in the sight of God. Jesus is here, speaking through scripture, and saying, “I will take away your leprosy and give you health instead. I will take away that terrible sin disease that is ruining your body and soul and give you My righteousness in its stead. I will clothe you with the garments of salvation.”
Now that, friends, is something to get excited about! That’s what He means when He says, “I will!” Are you going to receive His invitation this morning?
The “I will” of identification
Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.
Matthew 10:32 (NIV)
It’s one thing to come to Jesus, it’s one thing to be cleansed by Him – to believe in His death and resurrection to believe that He did it for you and that through His sacrifice your sin is dealt with. But it’s another thing to take it the next step further and identify with Christ. In other words, is your life defined by what He did? When you think about who you are, do you consider yourself belonging to Him?
Or, are you ashamed of being a follower of Christ? How do you know? Do you talk about Christ’s love to others?
In our world today, much is made of the achievement of individuals who receive accolades in the form of a medal, a front page article in printed media, or a crown of celebrity status. People fawn over the times their names get mentioned in newspapers, TV, or radio. People will go to great effort to associate with the popular or the well-known in the attempt to have their own name known. In our consumer and self-conscious society our identity is too often tied up in what we wear, who we know, what we eat, and what we do rather than who we are.
The truth is every person who has come to Christ is now a child of God. We are no longer know by our sin, but we are known by His righteousness. This reason alone should give cause for us to be jubilant of our identity in Him and to confess Him wherever and whenever we can! The wonderful truth of scripture is that when we acknowledge Christ before our fellow man, He mentions our name in the kingdom of Heaven! To acknowledge Christ before men is to accept who you are in Him, your identity in Christ, and to not be ashamed of it!
Many Christians go groping about in darkness and never get into the clear light of the Kingdom of God because they are ashamed to confess the Son of God and haven’t truly embraced who they are in Him. One of the worse states for a person to be in is that of being ashamed of who they are. An even worse state is for a person to be ashamed of who they are when their identity is that of greatness. Yet that is exactly how many Christians live today.
Don’t be ashamed! Acknowledge Christ before men in your speech, in your deeds, in your life and rest assured that Christ is speaking your name in the throne room of heaven in the familiar recognition of someone who is one of His! On the other hand, heed the warning of Christ as well,
But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.
Matthew 10:32-33 (NIV)
The “I will” of Service
18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
Matthew 4:18-20 (NIV)
There are many Christians who come to the place where they declare, “I want do serve Christ in some way”. Jesus is saying to us as He said to His first disciples, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
There is no Christian who cannot help to bring someone to the Saviour. Christ says,
But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”
John 12:32 (NIV)
In the context, he is of course talking about his imminent journey to Calvary and His being lifted up on the cross. But in a prophetic way Jesus was also talking about the reality of what occurs when His followers lift Him up to the world around us. Our business as believers is to lift up Christ.
Jesus said, “Follow me, Peter, and I will make you a fisher of men”; and Peter simply obeyed. On the day of Pentecost we see the result of that obedience. I doubt if Peter ever caught so many fish in one day as he did men on that day. It would have broken every net they had on board if they had to drag up three thousand fish!
I came across a story about a man who took passage in a stagecoach. Now granted, we’re in a day and age where the humble beginnings of the automobile and the transition from horse and buggy to motorized vehicles are being lost to the passage of time. But in those early years these horseless stagecoaches’ worked great on flat roads and gentle inclines but when they came upon a hill they would need assistance getting to the top.
Well this man was in this stagecoach and there were first, second, and third-class passengers. But all the passengers were sitting together without distinction. He could not understand it.
Eventually they came to a hill. The coach stopped. The driver called out, “First-class passengers keep your seats. Second-class passengers get out and walk. Third-class passengers get behind and push.”
Friends, in the church we have no room for first-class passengers – people who think salvation means an easy ride all the way to Heaven. There is little place for second-class passengers – people who are carried most of the time, and who, when they should be showing their faith by their works, go trudging on giving no thought to helping others along. All church members ought to be third-class passengers – ready to dismount and serve willingly.
I came across this neat definition of a church by John Wesley, “All at it and always at it” Every born-again believer is to be a worker. You don’t have to be a preacher, or and evangelist to be useful. You can serve and should serve God wherever He has placed you! A person can be as useful in a business sphere as in another. A person can be as useful in the marketplace as in the church.
20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.
1 Corinthians 1:20-25 (NIV)
There is one reason – and a great reason – why so many do not see fruit in Christian service. Good people have asked, “Why is it we don’t see any results? We work hard, we pray hard, we preach hard, yet why are there no results?”
The answer is this, We spend so much time mending nets that no wonder we never catch anything. We must invite and be persistent in inviting people to come to Jesus and thus pull the net in and see if we’ve caught anything. It’s all fine and dandy to cast the net, to plant seeds or whatever analogy you want to use, but at some point we’ve got to pull the net in! If you are always mending and setting the net, you won’t catch many fish! It’s time that we stop worrying about what people might think, and worrying about our reputation, and start inviting people to Jesus – offering people a chance to make a decision about Christ.
God uses the weak things of this world to confound the might. God’s promise is as good as a bank note. And here is one of Christ’s notes: “If you follow Me, I will make you fishers of men.”
Can you not lay a hold of that promise, trust it, and follow Him right now? If a man shares the Gospel faithfully, he ought to expect results then and there. It is the privilege of God’s children to reap the fruit of their labor three hundred sixty-five days in the year.
We must lift Christ up, then seek men out and bring them to Him. This poor world needs a Saviour, and if we are going to be successful in catching men, we must preach Christ crucified – not His life only, but His death. And if we are faithful in doing this, we shall succeed. Why? Because there is His promise: “If you follow Me, I will make you fishers of men.”
The “I will” of presence.
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
John 14:18 (NIV)
It is comforting to know that Christ has not left us alone in this dark wilderness here below. Although He has gone up and taken His seat by the Father’s throne, He has not left us as orphans.
He did not leave Joseph. When they cast Joseph (remember the guy with the coat of many colors) into prison, “God was with him.” When Daniel was cast into the den of lions, they had to put the Almighty in with him. They were so bound together that they could not be separated.
If we have Christ with us, we can do all things. Let us not be thinking how weak we are. Let us lift our eyes to Him and let us see Him as our King, our Lord, who has all power in Heaven and on earth. He says to us as He said to His disciples before ascending to His throne,
…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)
Some of our children and friends leave us, and it is a very sad time when that happens. But the believer and Christ shall never be separated! He is with us here, and we shall be with Him in person one day. We shall see Him in His beauty. But not only is He with us, but He has sent us the Holy Spirit. Let us honor the Holy Spirit by acknowledging that He is here in our midst. He has power to give sight to the blind, liberty to the captive, and to open the ears of the deaf that they may hear the glorious words of the Gospel.
The “I will” of Resurrection
For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
John 6:40 (NIV)
I’m excited when I think of my Saviour who has power over death. My blessed Master holds the keys of death and Hell. I fell sorry for the poor unbeliever who has no hope in the resurrection. But every child of God can open this chapter in God’s book and read the promise and have their heart leap within him for joy!
When you walk past shop windows you usually find the shop owners putting the best specimens of the items they sell in the window to show us the quality of their stock. When Christ walked the earth, He gave us glimpses of what He could do. He raised three from the dead, that we might know what power He had – Jairus’ daughter, the widow’s son, and Lazarus of Bethany. He raised all three so every doubt might be swept away from our hearts.
Friends, this world would be a dark and gloomy place indeed if we had no hope in the resurrection! But when we Christians lay our loved ones down in the grave, it is not without hope. We have seen them in the terrible struggle with death; but there has been one star to illumine the darkness and gloom – the thought that though the ties of presence with them have been broken on earth – they shall be joined once again in the world of heavenly light.
You how have lost a loved one, rejoice as you read this “I will!” Those who have died in Christ shall be made alive again! The darkness will flee away, and the morning light of the resurrection shall dawn upon us. It is only a little while, and the voice of Him who has said it shall come, shall be heard most powerfully in the grave – “I will raise him up at the last day”
This is the blessed hope and joy of every believer!
The “I will” of Glory
“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
John 17:24 (NIV)
This was Jesus, last prayer in the guest room on the last night before He was crucified on Calvary. Many believer’s faces light up at the thought that he shall see the King in all of his majesty and beauty one day.
Yes, there is a glorious day before us in the future. Some think that on the first day we come to Christ that we have everything. To be sure, we receive salvation and peace – but there is a glory for the future yet to come. That’s what kept Paul rejoicing. He said,
7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ
Philippians 3:7-8 (NIV)
And so, when things go against you, cheer up! Remember that the night will soon be done, and the morning will appear quickly. Death never comes there. It is banished from that beautiful land. Sickness, pain and sorrow come not there to mar that grand and glorious Home where we shall live with the Master. God’s family will be all together there!
What an incredible future friends! And it may be a great deal nearer than many of us think. During these few days we are here on earth, let us stand steadfast and firm, and eventually we shall be in that place of eternal light and joy in the midst of the King!
Remember the “I wills” of Christ – and be encouraged!
- “Whoever comes to me I will never drive away” – Jesus says, “I will save you”
- “I am willing, Be Clean!” – Jesus says, “I will cleanse you”
- “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.” – Jesus says, “I will identify you as one of my own”
- “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” – Jesus says, “I will work through you to reach others who are lost”
- “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” – Jesus says, “I will always be with you”
- “I will raise him up at the last day” – Jesus says, “I will be your life”
- “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory…” — Jesus says, “I will show you my glory”