Faithlife Sermons

HG076 pt 1 John 6:22-40

Harmony of the Gospels  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  22:54
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John 6:22–40 NIV
22 The next day the crowd that had stayed on the opposite shore of the lake realized that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not entered it with his disciples, but that they had gone away alone. 23 Then some boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus. 25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” 26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” 28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” 29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” 30 So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.” 35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 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 them up at the last day.”
22-25
Today’s passage opens with a mystery, at least for those whose stomachs had been filled and for the more observant ones. They knew for sure that only one boat was on the lake when Jesus concluded His miracle of feeding the eight or so thousand and sent them all away including His disciples in the one boat on the sea shore. But He stayed behind. That much was ascertained. But He was nowhere to be found. Whilst this was being deliberated boats started to arrive and so they thought, well, if He is not here then let’s find His disciples for surely they know where He is. And off they went. And when they landed they saw Jesus. Hang on a moment. When did you get here? Personally, I find this question a bit odd. I would be more likely to ask: how did you get here? But this does not seem to be a mystery they wanted to get to the bottom of. They were more interested in the fact He is there and when that happened rather than how. Don’t you find it strange? I might think that somehow He got there by boat as that seems to be the logical way but there were no other boats. In not asking the right question they missed out on being told of another miracle. But they were not interested in this, not at all, they were really wondering why He was trying to avoid them and Jesus did not answer their question.
26-28
In fact, Jesus said, they couldn’t care less about miracles or about Him. Amen, Amen. He said. Cutting right across their question. Jesus often said these words to emphasise the truth of what He was about to say. In the KJV it says: verily, verily. And in the NIV it says: very truly. You are here for none other reason than to have your stomachs filled again. You only care about the here and now and your physical welfare. In fact they wanted to be in a benefits system where they were given all they need for nothing in return. That may sound harsh, and leaving present-day politics aside, Jesus is not the welfare state to provide for a more comfortable, soothing and indulgent future.
It is all too easy to be after Jesus for what He can give to us. But our perception needs to change. As our Creator the fact that we have life at all is down to Him. He is worthy of our honour and praise for all things belong to Him and are due to Him. And this is before He came to save us from our sin.
So, Jesus goes on to say do not labour for the bread that perishes.
The story I’m about to tell you is about a man who shortly thereafter died:
In 1965 Somerset Maugham was ninety-one years old and fabulously wealthy. Royalties were continuing to pour in from all over the world despite the fact that he had not written a word in years. His fame seemingly was on the upsurge. He received an average of 300 letters a week from his fans. He was experiencing incredible success. But how did Maugham respond to his success? What had it brought to his life? We gain an insight from an article written by Maugham’s nephew, Robin Maugham, after he visited his uncle before his death at his uncle’s fabulous villa on the Mediterranean.
I looked round the drawing room at the immensely valuable furniture and pictures and objects that his success had enabled him to acquire. I remembered that the villa itself and the wonderful garden I could see through the windows—a fabulous setting on the edge of the Mediterranean... Somerset, had 11 servants, including his cook, Annette, who was the envy of all the other millionaires on the Riviera. He dined on silver plates, waited on by Marius, his butler, and Henri, his footman. But it no longer meant anything to him.
The following afternoon, I found Somerset reclining on a sofa, peering through his spectacles at a Bible which had very large print. He looked horribly wizened, and his face was grim. “I’ve been reading the Bible you gave me … and I’ve come across the quotation: ‘What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?’ I must tell you, my dear Robin, that the text used to hang opposite my bed when I was a child.… Of course, it’s all a lot of bunk. But the thought is quite interesting all the same.”
That evening, in the drawing room after dinner, Somerset flung himself down onto the sofa. “Oh, Robin, I’m so tired …” He... buried his head in his hands. “I’ve been a failure the whole way through my life,” he said. “I’ve made mistake after mistake. I’ve made a hash of everything.” I tried to comfort him. “You’re the most famous writer alive. Surely that means something?” “I wish I’d never written a single word,” he answered. “It’s brought me nothing but misery.… Everyone who’s got to know me well has ended up by hating me.… My whole life has been a failure.… And now it’s too late to change. It’s too late …”
Somerset looked up, and his grip tightened on my hands. He was staring towards the floor. His face was contorted with fear, and he was trembling violently. His face was ashen as he stared in horror ahead of him. Suddenly, he began to shriek. “Go away!” he cried. “I’m not ready.… I’m not dead yet.… I’m not dead yet, I tell you …” His high-pitched, terror-struck voice seemed to echo from wall to wall. I looked round, but the room was empty as before. “There’s no one there, Somerset” [Hughes 1999, pp.200-202]
Many people get to the end of their lives before they realise the futility of all that they have done. Solomon proclaimed: vanity, vanity! emptiness, emptiness! Self-seeking is foolishness for everything here will pass away. We are not guaranteed another day.
Today, these words have great import to us. All that I have preached thus far and most of what is in the rest of this sermon was already in today’s sermon before the phone call I received on Friday evening from Tom. Just last Sunday and we were celebrating with her and Tom their 60th; their diamond wedding anniversary. This week Joyce is no longer with us but with the Lord. The sheer suddenness brings home the fact we are not guaranteed tomorrow.
For Somerset Maugham it was not too late as long as he had breath but when he had died there was nothing that could be done. Did he spur the words of Christ till the day he died?
But whilst alive there is the offer of eternal life. And this is what we truly believe about Joyce that she took up the offer, a woman of God, who is with the Lord as I speak though we really feel the loss and our hearts go out to Tom and his family.
God has set His seal on Jesus for He is uniquely chosen to save us and give a life that will satisfy. Hear the key word in there. Give. Not pay. But it escapes the ears of His hearers. What must WE do? What work do we have to do? They ask.
29
And the hammer falls. The work of God is to believe in Me. Today is Father’s day. What would make His day? For us to believe on the Lord Jesus whom He sent. The only work there is to do is to open up your arms, to open up your heart and receive. The bread that lasts is the one received by faith.
Can you imagine inviting people to your home for a meal. You put on the best roast beef and roast chicken, with all the trimmings and for afterwards apple pie and custard for who does not like that(?!) but there is jelly for those who don’t or want both. And at the end of the meal, fully satisfied and are about to leave and they get out their wallets and purses and say: how much do we owe you? You say; come off it, no! But they insist saying we’re not freeloaders or charity cases! That’s pretty offensive, isn’t it.
This is how it is with Jesus, He gives us the eternal bread of life and we say: what do we have to do? What work do we have to do in return? Nothing. It’s offensive to even ask. It is a gift. . Receive with grace.
Ephesians 2:8–9 NKJV
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
30-34
But their minds are still on their stomachs. Give us bread! Give us bread! Moses gave us bread! You give us bread! Moses fed us for 40 years, you just once! They totally ignored the fact that it was not Moses but God who gave to them. And they are so spiritually blinded they miss out on the fact that Jesus is the manna that gives life. They say give us this bread always and again they miss the point - they don’t mean Jesus, they mean food and welfare. They have tunnel vision. The purpose of bread is to give life. What they are really craving for:
The Gospel according to John (King James Version) D. The Bread of Life: The Source of Spiritual Satisfaction, 6:30–36

• is full and satisfying

• is nourishing and sustaining

• is energizing and has its desires fulfilled

The Gospel according to John (King James Version) D. The Bread of Life: The Source of Spiritual Satisfaction, 6:30–36

When a person comes to Christ and believes (continuous action, meaning continuing to believe), every need of his life and growth is met

35-40
Yet they had seen Him do miracles, seen Him do amazing things that no-one else has done and yet they refused to believe.
Have you come to Jesus? If so, it was the Father who inspired you to do so and all that come to Him He will never, ever turn away.
Conclusion
Are we so focused on the here and now that does not offer satisfaction in the least?
Isaiah 55:1 NKJV
“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price.
The only way our hunger and thirst is sated is through Jesus. Jesus was the choice of Joyce Myles. He is my choice too. But Somerset Maugham, it would seem, rejected Him.
Jesus has indeed saved so completely all of those who have come to Him; He will never let go. Freely He has given and not in return for any work. But the work of Jesus is what saved us and this is what we will presently come to. This is Father’s day. Will we follow then in the footsteps of Jesus who was sent to do the Father’s will? Will we do what the Father wanted? Ans what is that? For us to trust in Jesus completely.
The last words of the passage is that ‘I will raise Him up at the last day.’ Our bodies are left lifeless when we die and subject to corruption and decay but one day our dead bodies will one day be reappropriated:
1 Corinthians 15:52–57 NKJV
52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55 “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Communion

Jesus was sent from Heaven to assume the reality of flesh through the mystery of the virgin birth.
The Saviour of the World Chapter VIII: The Gospel of the Covenant (John 6:38–39)

He came down from heaven not to do His own will, but the will of Him that sent Him. He was sent. He was given a commission, a work, to do. How this conception is repeated over and over again in the discourses recorded by John! Even to John the Baptist He is the “sent of God.” When Nicodemus approached Him as a teacher come from God, He explained that He was not come primarily as a teacher, but as one sent by God to do a work

A plan that had its place in the compassion of the eternal Triune God revealing a love that would not let us go. And this plan was the suffering of His Son so that we would not receive the comeuppance we deserve. Jesus fulfilled His mission and completed the work. The cross and resurrection attest to this.
1 Corinthians 11:23–26 NKJV
For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.

Benediction

Romans 8:38–39 NKJV
38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Bibliography

Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Hughes, R. K. (1999). John: that you may believe. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
Leadership Ministries Worldwide. (2004). The Gospel according to John. Chattanooga, TN: Leadership Ministries Worldwide.
Paterson, A. (2010). Opening Up John’s Gospel. Leominster: Day One Publications.
Warfield, B. B. (1991). The Saviour of the World. Edinburgh; Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust.
Lincoln, A. T. (2005). The Gospel according to Saint John. London: Continuum.
Exported from Logos Bible Software, 17:52 16 June 2018.
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