"FAITH IN THE FACE OF UNBELIEF"
(A Series on Jesus)
C.R.3/15/87p.m. John 7:1-53
PROPOSITION: Faith in the Christ will produce the same
three-fold evidence in the face of unbelief and opposition that it did in Christ Himself; the drawing of the Spirit to God; seeking God's glory in righteousness, not own; and committed to the healing of others, regardless of time and place.
- MIRACLES appeal to the emotions.......they are exciting and definitely stimulating to the senses.....they have appeal to the natural man....even the carnal man.
- THAT is not saying a thing bad about miracles, it is by God's design that they attract the attention of carnal men.....to the end that they be saved.
- AND while Jesus changing water into wine, feeding 5,000 with five loaves and two fish, healing the son of one of king Herod's officials, walking on water and telling the Samaritan women about her secret life of sin......the masses loved Him.
- IT was a trip following this man around...you never knew what would happen next. Man, it was thrilling!
- AUTHORITATIVE teaching appeals to the emotions......it lifts you up, temporarily, above your circumstances and gives you a vision of the glory of God. It is thrilling.
- AND while Jesus was teaching, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.".........and, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.".......man, was that ever exciting to listen to. It would just lift you up.
- AND all the time that Jesus was healing the sick and teaching the Words of the Father with authority, masses of people were following Him.
- HE would have to push off shore in a boat to stop from being pressed, so He could go on teaching.
- HE had to steal away to the mountains to get away from the crowds to pray.
- THEY all loved Him.....except the Sanhedrin, because He was becoming more popular than they.
- BUT they flocked to Him day and night....even wanted to make Him their king.
- BUT then something began to erode the excitement of it all.
- THE carnival-like mass enthusiasm started to wane.
- JESUS' popularity started to turn to hatred and unbelief.
- NAZARETH led the way in unbelief.......wasn't this Joseph's son?......Didn't He grow up here among us all?
- EVEN His own brothers and sisters in His family were filled with unbelief.
- AND in John 7, the mood of Israel turns against Jesus just as quickly as they, at first, had followed Him.
- AND verse 7, we find a clue to the reason why. His family wants Him to go to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Tabernacles, because they know of the plot to kill Him. They want to be rid of Him. WHY? He tells us in verse 7;
"The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil."
- THE reason that the crowds and Nazareth and the Sanhedrin and even His own family turn to hate Him in unbelief is because He exposes their sin.
- THE masses of Jesus' time could accept all the pomp and ritual of Pharisaic religion......and the sacrifices and Feasts....but what they couldn't accept was their own lack of righteousness.
- AND you can't be around Jesus very long without having your sin exposed.....and then, when you are exposed, unless you accept Him in total surrender, the only other alternative is to turn against Him in unbelief.
- AND in John chapter 7, we find the unbelief mounting against Him at an incredible rate.
- THE word is out. All the Sanhedrin is waiting for is for Him to set foot in Jerusalem, where they have jurisdiction, so they can arrest Him and kill Him.
- I AM afraid that there is some similarity between the events of John 7 and the current popularity of Pentecost in the 1980's.
- PENTECOSTAL churches and ministries are growing faster than any other in the world.
* There is an Assemblies of God church in Buenos Aires, Brazil that runs over 25,000 in Sunday morning services.
* Dr. Cho's church in Seoul, Korea runs over 500,000. There is a charismatic Presbyterian church in Seoul that has 50,000 active members.
* Many of the largest and most active churches in America are pentecostal......where there is anointed and exciting worship.......gifts of the Spirit in operation.....people being healed.
* We have been blessed with some of this excitement here at First Assembly...and it is all of God's doing.
- AND it is thrilling to be around.....and it is exciting......and there is joy.......and praise......and in many cities, the masses are gathering.
- IT beats watching reruns of Lassie on Sunday morning.
- BUT watch for unbelief, because wherever Jesus is around....sooner or later.......He is going to expose sin.
- HE can do nothing else but expose sin, because it violates the holiness of the Father......and that is where some of the enthusiasm with Jesus and Pentecost will begin to fade.
- AND in this context of unbelief, with Jesus confronting sin, He gives a three-fold measure for identifying true faith.
- IT is given in the context of His own defense, but serves as an excellent measure for the genuineness of our own faith in Him.
- TURN to verses 16-24;
JOH 7:16 Jesus answered, "My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?" "You are demon-possessed," the crowd answered. "Who is trying to kill you?" Jesus said to them, "I did one miracle, and you are all astonished. Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a child on the Sabbath. Now if a child can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing the whole man on the Sabbath? Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment."
- THERE are three tests for true faith in this passage, that Jesus uses as a defense for Himself.
II.HE WHO HAS FAITH DRAWS NEAR TO GOD
- HERE is the first principle of active faith...even when it is against the tide of popular opinion....even when it is under conviction of the Spirit as Jesus exposes sin in your life or mine......
- IT is; HE WHO HAS FAITH DRAWS NEAR TO GOD.
- JESUS said; "My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own."
- JESUS relationship was so close to the Father that He taught what the Father told Him.
* He was close enough to hear the Father.
* He was close enough to obey the Father.
- THEN Jesus said, "If anyone draws close enough to the Father, to want to do His will, He will know Me and receive My teaching."
- ACTIVE faith, as compared with spectator religion, has the distinctive of drawing near to God, near enough to hear, near enough to obey.......and when you are there, you will know Jesus and His teaching.
- THERE can be no knowledge of Jesus outside of drawing near through hearing and obeying.
- ("PRAY AND OBEY" is the slogan at Church on the Rock)
- THIS is the test of faith in a world of unbelief.
- IT is the test of faith for James in 2;
JAM 2:17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder. You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?
III.HE WHO HAS FAITH WORKS FOR THE HONOR OF THE FATHER
- PRINCIPLE #2 is found in verse 18;
"He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him."
- HE who has faith, works for the honor of the Father.
- WHAT is your motivation for the things you do for the kingdom of God?
- WHOSE honor are you seeking?
- HOW important is it that you get the credit for your accomplishments?
- HOW important is position to you and title?
- IT is the measure of true faith in you....it was for Christ and proved His Sonship....it can for you too.
IV.HE WHO HAS FAITH BRINGS HEALING TO THE WHOLE MAN
- PRINCIPLE #3 is found in verses 21-24;
JOH 7:21 Jesus said to them, "I did one miracle, and you are all astonished. Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a child on the Sabbath. Now if a child can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing the whole man on the Sabbath? Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment."
- HERE is the principle; He who has faith, brings healing to the whole man.
- THERE is a job to do among men.
- THE Pharisees just wanted to heal the appearance of man....to make him look holy and obey the laws of man.
- THE scribes and rabbi's wanted to heal the intellect by the instruction of the Torah......they thought that was all that was neccessary.
- BUT Jesus wanted to heal the whole man......he healed the paralytic of Matthew 9, but only after He had said, "Son, your sins are forgiven you."
- JESUS was committed to healing the whole man....and He was unconcerned with the time or place that He did it....and that angered His enemies.
- IT is a test of faith in you.
- HOW committed are you to seeing others healed, mind soul, body, spirit?
- HOW involved are you in their healing?
- SO Jesus defended Himself with this three-fold test of true faith.....but it didn't stop the opposition to Him.
- IN fact the opposition mounted......as He arrived in Jerusalem and started to minister with boldness.
- HE had trained His disciples. They were ready to continue alone as soon as they had received the baptism of the Spirit......so He moved ahead with the Father's plan that He be crucified.
- AND at the high point of the Feast of Tabernacles, the day of the actual feast.......the day called "Hallel", or "praise".
* A great procession would follow the priest from the Temple, carrying a golden pitcher.....and with music and singing they would process through the valley of Kidron, along the terraces of the king's gardens, through the fountain gate and to the "pool of Siloam."
* When the priest reached the pool he would stop and fill the golden pitcher with water, and they would process back to the temple, singing and praising God.
* They would get back to the temple just about the time the sacrifice was being laid on the altar.
* There would be a threefold blast on the trumpets, welcoming the arrival of the priest and procession. Another priest would join him with the wine of the drink offering and the two of them would climb the steps to the altar.
* From there they would approach two funnels that led down to the base of the altar...and pour their water and wine into the funnels and they would run down around the base of the altar....and as they did the crowd would burst out in shouts of praise...with a great "Hallel.....Ya!" or "Praise Yahweh!"
- AND it was in this context that Jesus stood in the Temple on the last and greatest day of the Feast and cried out;
"If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. (vs 37-39)
- THERE were three reactions to Him in this passage;
* Some tried to seize Him and arrest Him in anger.
* Some put their faith in Him.
* Some rejected Him as a crazy man from Nazareth.
- HE is still giving living water.
- WHICH reaction do you have to Him tonight?
ALL HAIL KING JESUS