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The Application

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The Application

John 6:25-59       June 24, 2001


Scripture: John 6:25-29



          The title of this morning's message, The Application, leads us into a discovery of "applications" about the word "application."

          When you go to get a job, you generally don't have a chance at it unless you fill out an application.

          The application matches you with the potential job.

          If you get the job, it will be because you applied for it.

          Without the application, they don't know about you, your desire for the job, or your ability to accomplish it.

          When you write a letter you then want to mail it.

          The letter will not go through the mail unless you apply the stamp to the letter.

          The application of the stamp to the letter is what allows it to reach its destination.

          When you get a cut on your arm, it may get infected unless you apply some antibiotic to it.

          You will not get well unless you make the application of the medicine.

          When we learn some skill or trade by extensive schooling, it will never make any difference unless we apply what we have learned.

          If you are a skilled pianist, no one will ever be blessed by your music unless you apply your hands to the keys.

          If you tell your wife and family that you love them, it carries little weight unless you show it too.

          You must apply your words.

          When we have been privileged to hear truth, we do not truly possess it unless we apply it.

          We must believe it to the extent of life change, thought change, direction change.

          It must make a difference or it has just passed on between our ears.

          Unless the truth changes something, we cannot say we have believed it or that it is ours.


          The last two messages in John 5 have focused upon the testimony of Jesus about himself and his evidence of other testimony beyond himself.

          It was the miracle of his healing the invalid at the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem that prompted this interaction with the Jews.

          They had contested whether he had the authority to heal on the Sabbath.

          So Jesus told the Jews who he truly is (being equal with God, but also subordinate to God, being the life of God, and the only hope [the Son of Man as judge] of man).

But since one's own testimony is not valid in the court of law context in which the Jews were questioning him, he went on with substantiating evidence from five different sources (John Baptist, his own works, the approval of the Father, the Scriptures, and Moses).

The apostle John then tells us about the intervening event of the miraculous feeding of the 5,000 with the 5 loaves and 2 fish on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Perhaps some time had elapsed between these two events, but John has a purpose for us in their sequence.

          This great crowd had followed Jesus to this remote location because they desired his miracles.

          So Jesus, knowing they were helplessly without food, performed yet another miracle to feed them.

After their shallow proclamation about who they thought he was (the Prophet who is to come into the world), Jesus retreats in solitude from the mountain of their misunderstanding.

They saw him as the Miracle Maker.

They had not made the right application of all they had seen and heard.

Therefore Jesus clandestinely walks on the water at night to rejoin the disciples in the boat going back across the lake, heading for Capernaum.

Have you ever tried to lose your baby sister or brother by playing hide and seek, only to split the scene while they were counting time for you to hide?

They would spend much time looking for you in vain only to discover you were not there at all.

It would take them time to make that application of reality.

If your sister or brother would keep looking for you it would be because they either hadn't made the application that you weren't there, or that they really wanted to find you no matter what.

Once the crowd figured out that Jesus and his disciples were not around, they made an educated guess that he had somehow gone back to Capernaum, and so they took advantage of some boats from Tiberias that showed up, perhaps looking for those in the crowd.

They continued their search for Jesus in Capernaum and found him teaching in the synagogue.

Now I believe that Jesus did this by design.

If they wanted to find him so badly, they must face the real reasons for which they wanted to find him.

Jesus wanted to help them make the application of the truth about themselves, about God, about himself, and about eternal life.

If they wanted him, they must face the facts of "why."

And the apostle John writes this for us too.

We have just heard Jesus testimony about himself and the evidence he proclaimed from others.

Now we too must make the application of truth.

It is not ours unless we apply it.

Interestingly, in our text for this morning in John 6:25-59, Jesus tells us four times that he is telling us the truth.

[He also tells us four times that he is the bread (of life) and says six times that he came down from heaven.]

But he applies the truth for us four different times.

We, like the crowd, have been brought to the place of being confronted with making a choice about the truth.

They have been brought into the place of truth (the synagogue) to hear and apply the truth.

Every time in the Greek text where Jesus says, "I tell you the truth ---," it literally reads, "Amen, amen, I say to you ---."

Our insight this morning revolves around these four identical sayings.

We are being forced to define our true religion.

John has written us an evangelistic gospel.

We have the evidence and we are being forced to make a choice.

The people have been given a sign.

Now they must assess the significance of it.

What will they believe?

In what will they now and forever put their hope?

Will it be in the miracles or in the Miracle Maker?

Thus far they have essentially said they want Jesus to serve them rather than they should serve him.

They try to bargain with God for easy meal, a handout to get by just one more day.

Jesus wants them to see past their homeless condition to get to the real remedy, the application of truth.

Big Question:

          What applications about truth does Jesus give us so we can make an informed choice about him?

          Jesus feeds us the truth about ourselves, that our motives in seeking him may be either selfish or spiritual, short-term or long (metaphor about the work of God).

          Jesus feeds us the truth about God the Father, that his motives in seeking us are genuinely life-giving, attractive, and eternal (metaphor about the bread of life).

          Jesus feeds us the truth about himself, that his motives in coming are to reveal God the Father and bring eternal life to believers (metaphor about eating his flesh).

          Jesus feeds us the truth about eternal life, of its very real nature that resides only in him (metaphor about drinking his blood).

I.       Cycle One

          A.      Narrative (vv. 25-29)

          B.      Implication

          Jesus feeds us the truth about ourselves, that our motives in seeking him may be either selfish or spiritual, short-term or long (metaphor about the work of God).

          C.      Illustration

Official American work week, in hours: 38

 In 1910: 50

 Percentage of people who claim less free time today than 3 years ago: 90

   -- World Press Review, 10/91.


Here is a good searching question for a man to ask himself as he reviews his past life: Have I written in the snow? Will my life-work endure the lapse of years and the fret of change? Has there been anything immortal in it, which will survive the speedy wreck of all sublunary things? The boys inscribe their names in capitals in the snow, and in the mornings thaw the writing disappears. Will it be so with my work, or will the characters that I have carved outlast the brazen tablets of history? Have I written in the snow?

   -- Charles H. Spurgeon

A careful look at the gospels shows that Jesus seldom accepted the questions posed to him. He exposed them as coming from the house of fear. ... To none of these questions did Jesus give a direct answer. He gently put them aside as questions emerging from false worries. They were raised out of concern for prestige, influence, power, and control. They did not belong to the house of God. Therefore Jesus always transformed the question by his answer, He made the question new--and only then worthy of his response.

   -- Henri J. M. Nouwen

Faith is nothing at all tangible.  It is simply believing God; and, like sight, is nothing apart from its object.  You might as well shut your eyes and look inside to see whether you have sight, as to look inside to discover if you have faith.

   -- Hannah Whithall Smith

We live under the illusion that if we can acquire complete control, we can understand God, or we can write the great American novel.  But the only way we can brush against the hem of the Lord, or hope to be part of the creative process, is to have the courage, the faith, to abandon control.  For the opposite of sin is faith, and never virtue, and we live in a world which believes that self-control can make us virtuous.  But that's not how it works.

   -- Madeleine L'Engle

Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible.  There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible.  Faith begins where man's power ends.

   -- George Muller

One day I was trying to feed my 2-month-old daughter, Crystal. She cried loudly and frantically, pausing just to breathe. If she would only be still, I thought, then I could feed her. Looking down at her in my arms, I wondered how often I cry out to God, hungry for spiritual food--but am too frantic to allow Him to satisfy my needs.

   -- Julie Collins

          D.      Application

          How thoroughly have you been tested? Would you still believe God about Jesus Christ if you were to go through a "Job-like" experience? Is your faith in Christ because of the benefits you receive, since it is such a good deal you couldn't refuse it? But have you made Christ your servant, or are you his? Today's passage separates the true disciples from the false and helps us distinguish between the two.

          The people wanted a leader instead of a shepherd (Escape from Church, Inc.)

          He did not come to feed on them but to allow them to feed on him.

          They wanted a certain detachment but Jesus said they must feed on him.

II.      Cycle Two

          A.      Narrative (vv. 30-40)

          B.      Implication

          Jesus feeds us the truth about God the Father, that his motives in seeking us are genuinely life-giving, attractive, and eternal (metaphor about the bread of life).

          C.      Illustration

Two years ago, a woman in my audience wrote to invite me to visit her, if I could. A few weeks ago, I was in her home city, along with my teammate and my wife. The woman was suffering from AIDS and by that time was dying. She had come here two years ago knowing she had AIDS. She hungered for something more than she had found in life. She had found Christ and came here for the deeper teaching and enrichment.

   When we walked into her apartment, she was absolutely surprised. I'll never forget her expression. Her mom and dad stood next to her with a friend. She looked like a bag of just bones--a pathetic sight. She muttered words of gratitude that we had come. We spoke with her and prayed with her. When I turned to leave, I noticed a book on her table: The Hunger for Significance by R. C. Sproul. In her loneliest moment, her greatest hunger was being filled, her hunger for significance. That's what our faith in Christ can do. People are able to endure life's unavoidable passages. Today she is with her Lord.

   -- Ravi Zacharias


Read the label on the last loaf of bread you bought. More than likely you'll discover that it has been vitaminized, fortified, and pulverized. Bread is not the simple thing it once was. But how can you improve on the bread of life? More than that, it is unique. You can make physical bread from wheat, rye, rice, barley, corn, even potatoes. Bread for the soul can come from only one source. Jesus said, "I am the bread of life"

A common expression to describe extreme conditions of poverty is "bread and water." Prisoners in solitary confinement have sometimes been given nothing more than that. Monks in their ascetic zeal have sometimes limited their diet to that. Bread and water is not very nourishing. Spiritually, though, it is all we need. Jesus is the bread of life and the water of life. He's all we need.

-- Robert C. Shannon

From the deck of an Austrian gunboat we threw into the Lago Garda a succession of little pieces of bread, and presently small fishes came in shoals till there seemed to be, as the old proverb puts it, more fish than water. They came to feed and needed no music. Let the preacher give his people food, and they will flock around him, even if the sounding brass of rhetoric and the tinkling cymbals of oratory are silent.

   -- Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Many born-again Christians cannot recall just when they were saved. Perhaps they grew up in a Christian home and didn't have a dramatic conversion. Yet they love and trust Christ. Some are very sensitive people, and Satan may try to make then doubt their salvation by suggesting that if they can't remember the date of their spiritual birthday, they must not have had one.

   G. Campbell Morgan told how he dealt with this problem. He said, "The devil is only too glad to take hold of anything whereby he may unsettle anyone." If the devil says to you, 'You haven't had a birthday', treat him as I do and say, 'If I never had one, I will have one now.' If Satan is so very particular about a specific date, take this one and say to God right now,

      'Here I give my all to Thee,

         Friends and time and earthy store;

      Soul and body, Thine to be,

         Wholly Thine forevermore.'"

   Jesus said "...The one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." And that guarantees that any date will do.

Suppose there is a person here who does not exactly know his age, and he wants to find the register of his birth, and he has tried and can not find it. Now, what is the inference that he draws from his not being able to tell the day of his birth? Well, I do not know what the inference may be, but I will tell you one inference he does not draw. He does not say, therefore, "I am not alive." If he did, he would be an idiot, for if the man is alive he is alive,  whether he knows his birthday or not. And if the man really trusts in Jesus, and is alive from the dead, he is a saved soul, whether he knows exactly when and where he was saved or not.

   -- C.H. Spurgeon

A man said to me the other day, "I do not like your Savior".

   "Why?" I said.

   He said, "Because He sends men to hell."

   I said, "I have never heard of His sending anyone there. Men send themselves there."

   "I would, but ye would not."

   "As I live, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked."

   "I would that ye all would turn unto me and live."

   "And yonder Jesus is weeping over doomed Jerusalem,"

   "Jerusalem, O Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings. I would, but ye would not. Your house is left unto you desolate."

   Jesus was never at fault because a soul went to hell. Never! Never! No soul confronting Jesus in that great day of days at the judgment bar of God will ever presume to say, "I am lost through your fault." None will say that to Him.

   -- George Truett

          D.      Application

          And isn't that the case with us too often also? We bargain with God for another day of disbelief, another day of sin, another day of scraping by, another day of avoiding the facts that we need a Savior. Our God takes pity on our earthbound, deathbound existence and offers us the unheard of severance package of eternal life while we go to the bargaining table to argue for just another day of hopelessness. And what if, for our own good, he turns us down? We cry, "Bad God, bad God!"

          And what about when we find this sinbound worldly existence difficult? We face a tragedy of health, relationship, accident, provision, failed dreams, death? We cry out to him for one more miracle and then we will truly believe. Is God there to meet our selfish demands or to provide his grace? Is his grace sufficient for you (Paul)? The first question we must answer to God is whether we believe what Jesus is telling us here, that he is indeed sufficient.

III.    Cycle Three

          A.      Narrative (vv. 41-51)

          B.      Implication

          Jesus feeds us the truth about himself, that his motives in coming are to reveal God the Father and bring eternal life to believers (metaphor about eating his flesh).

          C.      Illustration

During my 30 years of military service, I have collected several sets of identification tags. My favorite tags were issued in 1956 noting my blood type, Rh factor, and religion. Following my name and serial number were the words:  A NEGATIVE PROTESTANT.

   -- Warren P. Schilling

A heavy wagon was being dragged along a country lane by a team of oxen.  The axles groaned and creaked terribly, when the oxen turning around thus addressed the wheels, "Hey there, why do you make so much noise?  We bear all the labor, and we--not you--ought to cry out!" Those complain first in our churches who have the least to do.  The gift of grumbling is largely dispensed among those who have no other talents, or who keep what they have wrapped up in a napkin.

   -- Charles Spurgeon

My husband and I homeschool our two children, Seth and Glenna. One day, the lesson was on "opposites."

   Glenna, who was six at the time, was being quizzed. I would say a word and she would give its opposite.

   When I said, "bad," Glenna quickly said, "good."


   "Hot!" she squealed.

   It was time for something a little more difficult. "How about 'dead'?" I asked.

   Expecting the answer to be "alive," I was delighted when Glenna, without hesitation, replied, "risen."

   -- Laura Conklin

There are two ways of treating the seed. The botanist splits it up and discourses on its curious characteristics. The simple farmer eats and sows, sows and eats. Similarly there are two ways of treating the gospel. A critic dissects it, raises a mountain of debate about the structure of the whole, and relation of its parts, and when he is done with his argument, he is done. To him the letter is dead. He neither lives on it himself, nor spreads it for the good of his neighbors; he neither eats nor sows. The disciple of Jesus, hungering for righteousness, takes the seed whole; it is bread for today's hunger, and seed for tomorrow's supply.

   -- Charles Haddon Spurgeon

My daughter and I saw a man in the mall parking lot coming toward us, waving and calling. He wanted money to buy food.

   I handed him some money and asked if we could pray together. He agreed, sat down on the curb, and put the money beside him. I crouched no one knee, places my hand on his shoulder, and prayed.

   My daughter and I rode home in silence. As we reached the driveway, she said, "Mom, that man was hungry for food, but he was hungrier for attention (relationship). I never realized how lonely the homeless must be."

   For a fleeting moment, three lives had come into contact, and as a result all three had been renewed.

   -- Pauline Knaflich

          D.      Application

          The ones he keeps are the ones who have learned something.

          This ones he keeps are the ones who won't go.

IV.    Cycle Four


          A.      Narrative (vv. 52-59)

          B.      Implication

          Jesus feeds us the truth about eternal life, of its very real nature that resides only in him (metaphor about drinking his blood).

          C.      Illustration

God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.

   -- C. S. Lewis

The biggest enemy of the Church is the development and proliferation of programs to meet people's needs. Everyone has a hunger for God, but our tastes (needs) are screwed up. We've been raised on junk food, so what we ask for is often wrong or twisted.

   -- Eugene Peterson

          D.      Application


Big Answer:

          What applications about truth does Jesus give us so we can make an informed choice about him?

          Jesus feeds us the truth about ourselves, that our motives in seeking him may be either selfish or spiritual, short-term or long (metaphor about the work of God).

          Jesus feeds us the truth about God the Father, that his motives in seeking us are genuinely life-giving, attractive, and eternal (metaphor about the bread of life).

          Jesus feeds us the truth about himself, that his motives in coming are to reveal God the Father and bring eternal life to believers (metaphor about eating his flesh).

          Jesus feeds us the truth about eternal life, of its very real nature that resides only in him (metaphor about drinking his blood).

Timeless Truth:

          The truth that Jesus feeds us is either applicable or despicable, depending on how you bread it.

          The well-bred person will eat for tomorrow and not just for today.

          This is an extreme application for Jesus to say that we must "eat" him.

          The only way to apply Jesus is to "take him in."

          The only effective application of Jesus is internal.

          His is the science of internal medicine for an eternal cure.

          The truth about Jesus is an "inside job."

          It must incorporated and not just coveted.

          Some few weeks ago I noticed a TIDE advertisement on a billboard that said, "Because the grass is always greener on your knees."

          And this has profound theological implications.

          And so I started noticing other TIDE advertisements for other such gems.

          Well, I noticed one just the other day that sums up our truth nicely today.

          It said, "Because the last place baby food goes is in their little mouths."

          Jesus has taught the people, and now us, this lesson of marvelous application that we must eat him, because the last place we tend to take him is where we need him most – in our hearts.

          Like babies, we must be taught that the food is to go inside if it is to do any good.

          Our granddaughter, Elena, consistently now wants to feed herself, but like last night's supper, she puts all the strained squash everywhere on her body except where she needs it.

          We must quit smearing it all over our hands, face, and bodies and find our mouth so we can digest it and grow.

          This is what God wants for us – that we should grow up in Christ by taking him into our lives.

          Not just to covet another day of our miserable, fruitless existence, but to find real life and health and peace.

          Won't you take him in today?

          You will find him quite nourishing – and he will raise you up at the last day.

D. A. Carson

Where does food come from?

What is our staple food?

Why do we work?

What is your favorite snack food?

We are overwhelmed with choices on bread, but bread in Jesus' culture is that without which you die.

This is what bread meant and what Jesus meant when he used the metaphor of bread.

Jesus is the one who gives God's life to us because he himself is God's manna (25-33).

Jesus rebukes their blunt materialism (like a cargo cult).

Having Jesus means things go right, income goes up.

Jesus questions their goals and direction.

They have the wrong idea about works.

They think they can do whatever God requires.

They have a pagan view of God that they can stroke him to get what they want.

Even evangelicals get this wrong when they think they must just get the formula right and God will meet their demands.

But when cancer hits they then wonder what happened to God.

Would God then shell us out just enough mercy to get by?

"God is good, he is bound to forgive us, that is his job."

We can never do enough of these kinds of works to please God.

But Jesus explains the true work of God – it is perhaps the hardest of all.

Jesus draws a comparison between himself and manna (not Moses).

They do not understand Moses or manna.

The OT is not the last word.

The OT when read properly points to Jesus.

Jesus is the one who gives God's life to us because he does his Father's will (34-40).

Christ is not to be presented as someone who just doles out blessings.

Why would anyone ever turn him down then?

The real Jesus is not just a pumped-up blessing dispenser.

As such he would not be able to deal with sin, character, eternal life, heaven, death, etc.

Sometimes we should tell people they are not ready yet to come to Jesus because they have not understood him.

We should tell them to go away.

See references to Is. 54 & 55 here.

It is no more possible for someone whom the Father has given the Son to fall away than it is for the Son to disobey the Father.

Our eternal life depends on the fact that Jesus obeys his Father.

Jesus is the one who gives God's life to us because he reveals God to us (41-48).

They want to hold Jesus at arm's length so that they can stand in judgment of him.

They want Jesus to be like some trained monkey doing tricks on demand.

Are we to stand in assessment of him?

French museum keeper to young mockers, "Gentlemen, in this museum it is not the paintings that are being evaluated."

At the end of the day Jesus evaluates you, not you him.

Is. 54 "all taught by God" speaks of God's loving and wooing us to himself.

It always takes the work of God to convert a damned soul.

Jesus is the one who gives God's life to us because he gives his life on our behalf (49-58).

The chicken dies so that you live.

If the chicken doesn't die, you do (if you grew up on the farm).

The Good Shepherd gives his life for the sheep.

We live because Jesus died.

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