Faithlife Sermons

Is th Devil Winning?

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John 6:22–70 ESV
On the next day the crowd that remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. Other boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum. When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.”
This story picks up after one of the most famous miracles in the Bible. Jesus feeds the 5000. Jesus does a sign, he feeds them and tells them I am the bread. I am showing you that my words are truth and life.
John 6:35–40 ESV
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Why don’t the people believe?
What is the ultimate reason for the peoples’ lack of faith?
Was Jesus message ineffective?
“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”
If you have come to Jesus, it is because the Father has given you to Jesus. This is why Christians ought to be the most humble people in the world. To not live humbly is to walk in a lack of understanding of what has been done for you.
Ephesians 2:8–9 ESV
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
God’s choice to draw you was made before the foundation of the world...
Ephesians 1:3–6 ESV
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
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[“whoever comes to me”]
John 6:35–40 ESV
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
The call to come is universal, and we see in this text the ones who will come are the ones the Father gives. But we must not forget that the call is universal. God is calling all people to repentance.
Matthew 11:28–30 ESV
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
John 3:16 ESV
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
The call is for everyone. Whoever believes.
The problem (reason) is sin. Our first parents, Adam & Eve, rebelled against God and brought all of mankind under the curse of sin.
We see with clarity; Jesus’ heart is for people in Matthew 23.
Matthew 23:37 ESV
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!
And why aren’t people willing?
Because of sin.
Paul and Jesus both use deadness as the illustration of our state while under the curse of sin.
Ephesians 2:1–2 ESV
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—
Colossians 2:13 ESV
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,
John 6:53 ESV
So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.
Jesus call to come is for everyone, but because of sin, we are spiritually dead.
Romans 8:7–8 ESV
For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
And if you remember our Ephesians 2 study, you’ll remember BUT GOD. BUT GOD. BUT GOD.
Ephesians 2:4–5 ESV
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
If you believe in Jesus today, it’s because God has given you mercy and grace. He has lavished it upon you! Praise God!
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[“I will raise him up on the last day”]
John 6:35–40 ESV
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
I will raise him up on the last day. Jesus says this 4 times in this text. Twice here.
John 6:44 ESV
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
John 6:54 ESV
Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
John 6:35–40 ESV
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
You are secure in Christ.
If you are in Christ, your name has been written in the book of life of the lamb who was slain before the foundation of the world. God has had his sights on you and has claimed you. He has claimed you to be his people. It bought you with his own blood. Even when you were running away from God, God pursued you. God drew you to himself.
Romans 8:28–30 ESV
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Why do we know all things work for good? Because of God’s faithfulness.
Foreknew - predestined - called - justified - glorified
If you are not in Christ, that is to say, if you have not repented to God for your sin and put your trust in him to save you from death, today is the day. The call has been made; Jesus is waiting for you to respond. I implore you to respond!
Romans 5:8 ESV
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
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Jesus is offering the bread of life. The true bread, come from heaven that gives life. And Jesus says he IS the bread.
And how do the Jews respond?
John 6:41–51 ESV
So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
Eternal life.
Jesus is the true bread.
To feast on Jesus is to be satisfied in him. For him to be your sustenance. To do this is to receive eternal life. Jesus says this no less than 5 times in this text alone:
John 6:40 ESV
For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
John 6:47 ESV
Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.
John 6:50 ESV
This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.
John 6:54 ESV
Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
John 6:58 ESV
This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”
[back to main text - new section]
So first the Jews were hung up on Jesus saying he had come from Heaven, then they get hung up on the “eat my flesh” deal. And I have to be honest, this would come across weird. This was not a “seeker sensitive” message.
John 6:52–59 ESV
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.
It’s almost as if Jesus is adding insult to injury. The Jews are upset and disputing among themselves what this even means. Jesus doesn’t clarify or explain the meaning. He simply says it again. “Eat my flesh and drink my blood.”
We understand because we have all of the story, the full counsel of God.
[back to main text - new section]
So how do the people respond?
John 6:60–65 ESV
When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
If you take offence to this, you will certainly take offence to heaven, to the heavenly kingdom, to who I truly am, God become flesh.
I am speaking life, yet you don’t believe, this is why I told you… no one can come unless it is granted him by the Father.
This is the third time Jesus alludes to the reason these Jews do not believe and why Jesus does not view this whole engagement as a failure. Jesus was not try to convince anyone to follow him. The Father is gracious; people follow him.
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John 6:66–70 ESV
After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.”
Jesus is clarifying here with his words, and John is clarifying for us with his account of the story,
This is not a failure. Jesus’ message is not ineffective.
The unbelief in this chapter is pervasive. And it intensifies as the story goes on. Thousands of people in this chapter are unbelieving — almost everyone who ate the loaves and fish. Most of the disciples themselves abandon Jesus (verse 66). And in the end, a tiny remnant is left believing — the eleven. The most natural question in the world would be: Is the devil winning? The slanderer, the accuser, the liar, the god of this age who blinds the minds of unbeliever — is he winning? It looks like he’s winning.
And the answer of this chapter is: He’s not winning. Jesus has him by the nose. He’s hooked him, and landed him, and put him smack dab in the middle of the Twelve where he will do exactly what God has planned for him to do.
- John Piper
God has a supernatural way, in his sovereignty, to use our sinfulness and rebellion for good. Satan is not winning; even if you are beat down right now, God is in control.
If you are in him, rest...
If you are not in him, repent...
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