Written by Cheyenne Klein. Media by Steven Potter.
During the celebration of Christian Life Week, Greenville College invited Reverend David Hawkins to be the guest speaker. Hawkins is pastor of Living the Word Church Fellowship in Collinsville, IL. During this week, he continued with the theme of speaking on the “I Am” statements of Jesus.
On Monday, the lively preacher spoke of the “I Am” statement in John 8:58. “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” Hawkins explained that the word used here is Yahweh, which is the name God gave to the Israelites to call him. Therefore, by this statement, the original audience would have realized Jesus was referring to himself as God. Before Jesus makes this statement, the Jews were questioning his identity. Hawkins said Christians today are not like Jesus because we hide our faith. We are afraid to be countercultural. Hawkins also explained how the Pharisees would use the laws in the Torah to convict people and break them. This wasn’t the goal. The goal of the laws of the Torah was to drive people to God because they knew they could never uphold these laws on their own. Hawkins ended his sermon by saying “when we limit God, we limit the potential of our life.” The good news is Yahweh has partnered with us. Having faith means that God is unleashed.
On Friday, Hawkins first spoke about John 20:31 which reveals that the whole purpose of the book of John is to tell people that Jesus is the Messiah. In the Bible, Jesus asked the questions “Who do men say I am” and “Who do you say I am” of the disciples. Christians must ask the same question: “Who do you say Jesus is?” Are we giving Jesus access to every part of us? Have we gotten comfortable with our Christianity? Referring to our own lives, Hawkins used the phrase “If he is not Lord of all, he is not Lord at all.” He then covered the “I Am” statement in John 14:6. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Hawkins called this a scandalous statement. If we believe this as true, then we are dismissing all other religions. This is why people call Christians pushy: we believe our way is the only way. Our religion is unlike any other in that you do not have to get clean before you come to God. Jesus will come and free us from our sin. He will do everything to help us get back to the Father. We are pushy about it because we know that when you meet Him, He will set you free.
Hawkins finished his speech by stating, “People do not remain the same when they hear the truth.”
Hawkins shared some of his testimony by telling us that in college he had been looking into the Islamic religion. Hawkins was raised in the Christian church, but he never truly knew Jesus. He told us of his conversion experience. One day, his friend asked him to read John 10:10 with him. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” At that moment of reading the verse, he felt something change inside of him. No other thing he had ever pursued had offered him life. He told us that Jesus is like an identity thief in reverse. He comes in and takes our identity, not to rack up a debt for us, but to make us debt-free.
David Hawkins was definitely a favorite of the audience. He had the audience roaring with laughter from the Drake reference of “starting from the bottom now we’re here” to when he tried to teach us a lesson in Ebonics. Even more powerful than his humor was his call to “show up” so that God can use us and the testimony he gave of Jesus being the only way we can be satisfied.
A recording of Pastor Hawkin’s Message can be found here.