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Why We Do Not Believe

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If you spend any time at all thinking about where this world is heading, you will come to the reality that mankind is ABUNDANTLY flawed...
I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to figure this out.
This past week, on facebook, I saw some posts from my family down in Tennessee that my cousins daughter’s high school basketball team was playing really well...
And that they had made it to the playoffs.
Night after night I would see that they won their game and so they continued on in the tournament...
And they just kept winning - game after game...
And it was in that framework, that another video online caught my attention..
It was of some really good - what I thought was a high school basketball team..
TURNS OUT - it was a kid in 8th grade, that plays on the same team that Lebron James’ son plays on....
AND the title of the video was - The Best 8th grade Basketball player in the World!
So no - not high school team - 8th grade team.
SO - I was intrigued. I watched it.
The kid was pretty good - for an 8th grader...
But it wasn’t HIS SKILL that stood out to me.
It was something else - APART from his SKILL - that stood out to me...
and it’s something that EVERY SINGLE one of us - in here right now - DEALS WITH!
And it’s a DANGEROUS thing!
Today we’re going to see this same very THING play out in our text...
And show us that NOTHING has changed when it comes to MANKIND...
Let’s get to it...
John 5:30–47 ESV
30 “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. 31 If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true. 32 There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true. 33 You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. 34 Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. 35 He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. 36 But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. 39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. 41 I do not receive glory from people. 42 But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. 44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? 45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”
Today we’re going to be CONFRONTED with the reality of WHO WE ARE…at the core.
And THIS text, when understood, will PIERCE EACH OF US...
CAUSING us to - Need Each Other!
I hear people say all the time - Just give me my Bible…I don’t need ANYONE else!
NOW - while that’s partly true…it’s also partly - COMPLETELY false.
If you READ that Bible you want so desperately, and APPLY it to your life…it WILL lead you to other believers.
God intends to do things in you, which He will ONLY do through the ministry of other believers
What’s the implication of this - FOR YOU?
This implies:
You NEED other believers!
Other Believers NEED you!
I hear this ALL THE TIME too - “I struggle believing”...
I Struggle to Believe!
And YET - these are the same people who DO NOT surround themselves with BELIEVERS!
They DO NOT engage the church...
They DO NOT invest in the people of the church...
They STAND OUTSIDE the CAMP - and say - I struggle understanding and believing what it’s like inside the CAMP!
We all NEED each other - and we’re going to see this today...
If you REMEMBER last week - we saw how Jesus Christ HEALED a man on the Sabbath...
And we saw how the Jews RESPONDED to this...
They want to Kill Jesus!
Jesus HEALED a MAN - and instead of REJOICING at this man’s healing - ALL the JEWS could see was that this man was - Breaking the Sabbath - in their eyes.
NOW - we pointed out the fact that it was THE JEWS who got angry with Jesus...
BUT MAKE NO MISTAKE -
our text last week - APPLIED to ALL OF US! TODAY!
What’s YOUR sabbath - today?
What are the IDOLS in YOUR closet - today?
The JEWS response in wanting to KILL Jesus was IN PART due to:
ignorance of who God is
their own interpretation of the Sabbath
their own PRIDE
So let’s BRING THESE points into our WORLD - today...
WE - today - RESPOND to Christ the way we do…DUE TO:
ignorance of who God is
Our own interpretation of LIFE
Our OWN pride (abortion?)
These ISSUES that we see here in John - are - yes - ON THE SURFACE - directed at the Jews...
BUT by implication - directed SQUARELY at you and me
So WHY don’t we believe today?
SLIDE:
What makes it hard for us to believe today?
We’re going to jump around a bit in the text - but it will all make sense…in the end.
John 5:30 ESV
30 “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.
What’s the THEME of this verse?
It’s AMAZING!
This is JESUS speaking - and YET - the theme is this:
SLIDE:
Not me, but God
THINK ABOUT THIS - **ever wonder WHY there’s a TRINITY? (Christ our Example)
And so NOW we’re pointing in the DIRECTION of our problem...
Of WHY we can’t believe - why we have a hard time BELIEVING!
John 5:31–32 ESV
31 If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true. 32 There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true.
Jesus here is going to DESCRIBE 4 witnesses about Him!
John the Baptist
and God the Father
The works of Jesus
The Scripture
John 5:33–34 ESV
33 You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. 34 Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved.
What’s Jesus saying here - He saying -
The TESTIMONY of mankind is NOT decisive in DEFINING who God is..
Meaning - Just BECAUSE John the Baptist spoke about God and Jesus, DOESN’T mean - that BECAUSE it was John the Baptist, his testimony is true...
In other words - the TRUTHFULNESS of God doesn’t REST/DEPEND on the testimony of man.
BUT - Jesus here - POINTS to John the Baptist - BECAUSE these Jews DID at one time - give credibility to John the Baptist...
John 5:35 ESV
35 He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.
So like the SEED (4 Soils) that fell on Rocky Soil…the plants come up quickly...
People HEAR the word and immediately receive it with JOY...
BUT THEN - trials come and they FALL AWAY!
So YES - John the Baptist is a witness of Christ...
But then Christ lets us know that there is a GREATER witness...
John 5:36 ESV
36 But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me.
SLIDE:
The WORKS of Christ bear witness to the TRUTHFULNESS of Christ
Jesus says - Listen, if you don’t believe Me - believe my WORKS...
But even His works are not the DECISIVE witness..
What does this verse say?
WHO gives Jesus these works to DO?
For the works that - THE FATHER - has given me to accomplish...
SHORTENED verse...
John 5:37 ESV
37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen,
God the Father is the final WITNESS of the truthfulness of Jesus Christ...
And if that’s true...
THEN THE QUESTION BECOMES...
SLIDE:
If God the Father is the final witness to the truthfulness of Jesus Christ, then why is it that those who seem to know God best (the Jews) do NOT believe?
NOW AGAIN - these words in John 5 are directed at the JEWS - but these words DO APPLY to us today...
they apply to YOU and ME...
John is going to finish this section by giving us REASON after REASON for why they DO NOT believe...
And so think about these things in your own life...
For the UNBELIEVER - what keeps you from SURRENDER
For the BELIEVER - know this -
God intends to do things in you, which He will ONLY do through the ministry of other believers
And so as we think through these CHARGES against us...
KNOW that we NEED other believers in our lives who will help us with these things...
KNOW that other believers NEED YOU in their lives so you can help them with these things!
First Reason…first charge:
John 5:37–38 ESV
37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent.
Ok the first CHARGE:
You do not have God’s word abiding in you...
…FOR you do NOT believe the one whom He has sent
This is BIG for us today - Jesus is saying - My testimony will not work for you because you will not LET IT WORK for you...
See - THESE JEWS would ONLY RELY on - traditions...
they could NOT accept the testimony of “God in the Flesh” (God Himself) speaking into their lives!
So what about you?
Are you someone who is merely - DATING the church?
You struggle with BELIEF - and YET - you’re not committed to the church.
You just want to hang out by the ESCAPE HATCH....hand on the EJECTION BUTTON...
…no commitment.
We need other believers in our lives who will challenge us to:
get to church
to not FADE away
to get to Bible Study (Listen - Isolation is a dangerous thing in Christianity)
We need to help each other with this...
OK - next charge (Remember - these things help keep us from BELIEVING
John 5:39–40 ESV
39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.
You’ve read the TORAH....committed it to memory…thinking THAT brings you favor with GOD...
The problem is - it’s in the head but NOT the heart!
It says - you REFUSE to come to Me - it literally means - YOU DO NOT WANT TO COME TO ME!!
So how about you?
You’ve HEARD ALL the Christian LINGO -
You know ALL the sayings… all the ANSWERS on the test...
But ARE YOU A FOLLOWER - of Jesus Christ?
Do you just have head knowledge about Christianity…?
A way to know what the answer to that question is in your life is to do this:
LOOK at how Christian beliefs shape your life?
Do you find yourself WARRING against Christian beliefs when you’re not here?
Next CHARGE:
John 5:41–42 ESV
41 I do not receive glory from people. 42 But I know that you do not have the love of God within you.
Jesus is saying - I don’t NEED to be GLORIFIED by people to GAIN self-worth...
or to feel better about myself...
or to COMPLETE Me...
I don’t NEED THAT - because I LOVE God the Father - and He is my satisfaction!
BUT YOU - you don’t LOVE God.
You’re NOT SATISFIED in Him!
So how about you?
Do you LOVE Christ?
We PURSUE what we LOVE…do we not?
**How many of you LOVE the dentist?
Ok, now - I ASSUME you still go to the dentist? YES…why?
Because we HAVE to!
Does going to the Dentist MEAN that we LOVE the dentist?
NO!!
Going to the Dentist DOES NOT EQUATE to - Love for the Dentist, or PURSUING the dentist.
In the same way that coming to church - DOESN’T equate to LOVING Jesus!*
Are you seeing how OTHER BELIEVERS help us in this?
We’re going to STRUGGLE to wake up every morning - LEAPING to our FEET and SINGING -
OUR GOD - Is an AWESOME GOD HE REIGNS!!
We need HELP!
NEXT CHARGE:
John 5:43 ESV
43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him.
What does Jesus mean here?
He’s saying - I come in my Father’s name and you DO NOT receive Me!
But - if another comes in HIS OWN name…you will receive him.
WHY?
Because this OTHER that comes in his own name - will be JUST LIKE THEM...
Think of the MISSION of Jesus -
Mission of Sacrifice
Came to DIE
To lay one’s life DOWN
in HUMILITY
WHO WANTS THAT?
If we get on THAT train - then we’ll have to DIE TO SELF!
NO THANKS!!
BUT - if another comes in his own name...
He’ll gain power - and he’ll STRUT around...
AND I CAN - RELATE to THAT!!
WE ALL - want power...
We ALL - crave power…CONTROL...
So HOW YOU DOIN?
Another CHARGE against us!
Next CHARGE:
John 5:44 ESV
44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?
This verse is a question - but there’s no answer given in the text...
You know why?
Because it’s not really a question!
It’s saying:
You cannot believe when you’re enslaved to the pursuit of receiving glory from man...
Next Charge:
John 5:45–47 ESV
45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”
Jesus says - You won’t need Me to judge you....Moses will.
WHY? Because he wrote of ME - and yet - You don’t see it!
You don’t BELIEVE Moses…therefore you CANNOT believe My words.
And so there they are...
6 Charges… of why we Do NOT Believe - why we have a hard time believing!
Verse 38: You don’t have God’s word in you. You don’t believe the one whom he has sent.
Verse 40: You don’t want to come to me.
Verse 42: You don’t have the love of God in you.
Verse 43: You don’t believe me.
Verse 44: You cannot believe.
Verse 45: You don’t believe Moses, and you don’t believe me.
And so when we think about WHY we don’t believe...
Why these JEWS did not believe.... even though they knew Moses so well...
were SO acquainted with Moses’ writings...
There a BASE-LEVEL answer to this unbelief - and it’s in our text...
verse 40 sheds light on this...
John 5:40 ESV
40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.
You DO NOT WANT to come to Me...
Their DESIRE - pointed in ANOTHER direction!
But what did it point at? We need to know this ...
It’s actually a SELF-DIAGNOSIS...
v44 tells us what THEY desired MORE...
what WE desire MORE!!
John 5:44 ESV
44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?
They didn’t WANT to come to Christ...
Because they LOVE the Glory of man…NOT the glory of God!
They LOVE the praise of man - not TO PRAISE God...
THEY - LOVE to be - MADE MUCH OF...
THEY want to BE EXALTED...
THEY want to BE AT THE CENTER...
And SO THE REASON they CAN’T BELIEVE - or HAVE FAITH - when this is their heart posture...
Is because...
Faith seeks not its own glorification
FAITH - seeks NOT its own glorification!
AND YET - we ALL struggle with this...
We all SEEK to be GLORIFIED!
To be PRAISED
To be WORSHIPPED...
Therefore - we.need.each.other.
SEVEN REASONS SMALL GROUP FELLOWSHIP (discipleship) matters:
Now this can happen:
in Bible study
in a discipleship group
in a variety of ways...
The impulse to avoid painful growth by disappearing safely into the crowd in corporate worship is very strong.
The tendency toward passivity in listening to a sermon is part of our human weakness.
Listeners in a big group can more easily evade redemptive crises. If tears well up in your eyes in a small group, wise friends will gently find out why. But in a large gathering, you can just walk away from it.
Listeners in a large group tend to neglect efforts of personal application. The sermon may touch a nerve of conviction, but without someone to press in, it can easily be avoided.
Opportunity for questions leading to growth is missing. Sermons are not dialogue nor should they be. But asking questions is a key to understanding and growth. Small groups are great occasions for this.
Accountability for follow-through on good resolves is missing. But if someone knows what you intended to do, the resolve is stronger.
Prayer support for a specific need or conviction or resolve goes wanting. Oh, how many blessings we do not have because we are not surrounded by a band of friends who pray for us.
SEVEN REASONS SMALL GROUP FELLOWSHIP (discipleship) matters
SO what have we seen today...
SUMMARY:
What Keeps Us From Believing?
Seeking Our Own Glory
And BECAUSE this is true of each of us…we NEED each other!
SO - with this being true, the next question becomes....
what changes are you going to make to help others in this church?
what changes are you going to make to receive help from others in this church?
FAITH hangs in the balance...
Let’s Pray
LORD’S TABLE:
Where do we go from here?We start with ourselves.
Each of us must start with himself or herself.
Because we are all bent toward seeking praise......
because we are surrounded by a culture which constantly tries to appeal to our pride
......we must be on guard, and honest with ourselves before God about this.
We cannot compromise our desire for praise of man by sweeping it under the rug.
Confess before the Lord, what grips us.
This brings us to the Lord’s Table…a time for each of us to reflect on our lives,
to examine ourselves spiritually
and to remember the cost of our faith.
We were bought with a price, and these elements remind us of this.
1. Have you experienced the Saving Power of Christ at the cross?
I ask because IF you haven't...you should not partake.
The Bible says not to take this lightly.
Scripture says – “ whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.
2. If you are a child of God - Saved from your sins by the Blood of Christ...then I ask - Have you been seeking the PRAISE of MAN?…
Have you been FORSAKING living out being a PART of this body of believers?
Have you neglected being a POSITIVE piece of THIS puzzle?
Take time now and examine yourself before the Lord.
Mackenzie?
22 While they were eating, He took some bread, and after a blessing He broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is My body.” 23 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 And He said to them, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly I say to you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
“do this…in remembrance of me.”
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