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The Gospel of John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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1. Some people get saved (vs. 37-38; 40-43). 2. Some people are stubborn (vs. 44-49). 3. Some people are still searching (vs. 50-53).

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Choose Christ!

The Gospel of John

John 7:40-53

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - December 14, 2016

(Revised September 1, 2019)

BACKGROUND:

*Here in John 7, a great multitude of Jews were gathered together in Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of the Tabernacles. It was one of the three major Feasts God commanded them to observe each year, and Jesus was there. By now, the Lord was in the third year of His ministry, and the religious rulers had been wanting to kill Him for months.

*Jesus was only 6 months away from the cross and was still calling people to receive Him as the promised Messiah. Here in vs. 37-39, Jesus offered to quench our spiritual thirst forever. God's Word says:

37. On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.

38. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.''

39. But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

*Let's read vs. 40-53 tonight to see how those people responded to Jesus, and how we must respond to the Lord Jesus Christ.

MESSAGE:

*All of us make choices in life, and when you think about it, it's amazing how many choices we make every day. From the moment we wake up, to the moment we fall asleep, we are almost constantly making choices. And we have more possibilities every day.

*In 1975 the typical American supermarket had about 9,000 products, but by January 2014 that number had gone up to 47,000! "Consumer Reports" studied this drastic increase. In one supermarket, they found 27 different varieties of Crest products. Then at a local "Stop and Shop" they found 9 varieties of Pringles, 11 flavors of Cheerios, and 53 types Campbell’s soup! According to the company, they missed 21 others." (1)

*We will make countless choices big and small as we move through life, but the most important choice is how we will respond to Jesus Christ. Tonight's Scripture shows us three possibilities.

1. FIRST: SOME PEOPLE WILL GET SAVED.

*Thank God that people get saved! We can see some of these people in tonight's Scripture. In vs. 37-38, they heard Jesus cry out:

37. . . "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.

38. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.''

*Verses 40-43 tell us how the people responded:

40. Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, "Truly this is the Prophet.''

41. Others said, "This is the Christ,'' but some said, "Will the Christ come out of Galilee?

42. Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?''

43. So there was a division among the people because of Him.

*Yes, there were still many people questioning the truth about Jesus, but every one of the people who truly believed in Jesus was saved! And every one of us who has truly trusted in the Lord has also been saved. We heard the truth about Jesus in God's Word. Then by God's grace, we believed in Christ, and we started to follow Him.

*Everybody should believe in Jesus Christ, because He IS the Prophet that Moses spoke of 1,400 hundred years before the Lord was born. In Deuteronomy 18:15, Moses said: "The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear." Jesus is that Prophet.

*And Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah promised in the Old Testament. That word "Messiah" comes from a Hebrew word that simply means "anointed" or "anointed one." It's actually found 39 times in the Old Testament, but most of those times it's translated as "anointed," because it's talking about one of the anointed Old Testament priests or kings.

*Only two times in the Old Testament is this word translated directly as "Messiah." Both of those times are in Daniel 9. And it happened during a desperate time in Jewish history: The Babylonian captivity of the Jews.

*The Kingdom of Judah had gone through a terrible loss to the Babylonian Empire, and it was their own fault. Most of the people had turned their backs on God. They rejected every attempt God made to call them back. And God began to withdraw His protection from His people.

*Their exile to slavery came in 3 stages, each worse than the one before. The "Got Questions" website explained that "God used Babylon as His agent of judgment against Judah because of their stubborn sins of idolatry and rebellion against the Lord. There were several different times between 607-586 B.C. when the Jews were taken captive by Babylon.

*Each time the Jews rebelled against Babylonian rule, Nebuchadnezzar led his armies against Judah until they laid siege to Jerusalem for over a year. Many Jews were killed, many thousands were carried away to Babylon, Solomon's Temple was destroyed, and Jerusalem was left in ruins. (2)

*Against that backdrop, Daniel the prophet cried out to God to confess their sins and plead for God's mercy. Here is the last part of his passionate prayer from Daniel 9:

15. And now, O Lord our God, who brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and made Yourself a name, as it is this day we have sinned, we have done wickedly!

16. O Lord, according to all Your righteousness, I pray, let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people have become a reproach to all who are around us.

17. Now therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and for the Lord's sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate.

18. O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies.

19. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name.''

*In was in that moment of Daniel's prayerful desperation, that God sent the Angel Gabriel to bring the hope-filled promise of the coming Messiah. In Daniel 9:25-26, Gabriel said this to Daniel:

25. "Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times.

26. And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself. . ."

*Those words were spoken to Daniel about 500 years before Jesus was born. The angel Gabriel was talking about Jesus Christ dying on the cross for our sins. And by the time Jesus was born, there was great expectation among the Jews and Samaritans that the Messiah would soon come.

*This shows up in the two New Testament verses that contain the word "Messiah." In John 1:41, Andrew first found his own brother Simon (Peter), and said to him, "We have found the Messiah!'' (which is translated, the Christ).

*Then in John 4, a Samaritan woman at the well met Jesus and was gloriously saved. John 4:25-26 tell us that:

25. The woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming'' (who is called Christ). "When He comes, He will tell us all things.''

26. Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am He.''

*That was the moment the Samaritan woman got saved, because she believed that Jesus is the one and only promised Messiah.

*You might think that if Jesus is the promised Messiah, then that word would show up more than twice in the New Testament. It does. Only instead of using the Hebrew word "Messiah," the Bible writers used the Greek word that means "anointed." That word is "Christ," and this name shows up over 500 times in the New Testament!

*Jesus is the Christ, the promised Messiah. When Jesus died on the cross for our sins, He fulfilled the prophecy that Gabriel gave to Daniel about the Messiah being "cut off, but not for Himself." Our Risen Savior has also fulfilled hundreds more Old Testament prophecies about His birth, His miracles, His death, and His resurrection.

*Many of the believers here in John 7 had seen some of the Lord's amazing miracles. In vs. 38, they also heard Jesus say, "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'' Some of them might have remembered one of Isaiah's prophesies about the Messiah.

*Here's part of it from Isaiah 35:

4. Say to those who are fearful-hearted, "Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God; He will come and save you.''

5. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.

6. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert.

*Those people truly believed in Jesus. That's what it takes to be saved. And everybody should believe in Jesus the Christ!

[1] ONE REASON WHY IS BECAUSE NO ONE CAN SPEAK LIKE JESUS SPOKE.

*Back up in vs. 31-32:

31. . . Many of the people believed in Him, and said, "When the Christ comes, will He do more signs than these which this Man has done?''

32. The Pharisees heard the crowd murmuring these things concerning Him, and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take Him.

*But notice what happened when the officers returned. In vs. 45-46:

45. Then the officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, "Why have you not brought Him?''

46. The officers answered, "NO MAN EVER SPOKE LIKE THIS MAN!''

*Our Savior is one of a kind! No one could speak like Jesus spoke. The Apostle John helped us understand this truth back in John 6:63 where Jesus said, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. THE WORDS THAT I SPEAK TO YOU are spirit, and they are life."

*John 6:66-69 also says:

66. From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.

67. Then Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?''

68. Then Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? YOU HAVE THE WORDS OF ETERNAL LIFE.

69. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.''

*Jesus Christ's words are "spirit, and they are life." And only Jesus has the words of eternal life!

[2] EVERYONE SHOULD BELIEVE IN JESUS, BECAUSE NO ONE CAN SPEAK LIKE JESUS SPOKE. AND NO ONE CAN SAVE LIKE JESUS SAVES.

*Jesus is the only one who came down from Heaven, so He is the only one who could show us how to get there. Jesus is the only one who ever lived a sinless life, so He is the only one who could die on the cross for our sins. Jesus is the only one who ever rose again from the dead, so He is the only one who can give us eternal life.

*No one can save like Jesus can save, but the only way to be saved is by believing in Jesus Christ.

2. THANK GOD, MANY PEOPLE DO GET SAVED. BUT MANY OTHER PEOPLE ARE STUBBORN.

*Many people stubbornly reject Jesus Christ. In spite of the evidence in God's Word, they refuse to believe. They refuse to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

*We see some of these stubborn unbelievers in vs. 44-49. Here God's Word says:

44. Now some of them wanted to take Him, but no one laid hands on Him.

45. Then the officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, "Why have you not brought Him?''

46. The officers answered, "No man ever spoke like this Man!''

47. Then the Pharisees answered them, "Are you also deceived?

48. Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him?

49. But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.''

*Those chief priests and Pharisees were as hard-hearted against the Lord as they could be. They slammed the door of their hearts against the Lord. And there are many people like that today. They shut up their own hearts, and do everything they can to block the way for others.

*However, we must remember that in 1 Corinthians 4:5, Paul warned us to "judge nothing before the time. . ." And Paul demonstrates this truth better than most, because nobody ever hated the Lord more than Paul. But all of that hatred melted away when Jesus appeared to Paul on the Road to Damascus, and Paul trusted in the Lord.

*Tragically, time will run out for everyone who refuses to believe in Jesus Christ. And there is no other hope for them at all. In this Scripture, we see some steps people take away from the Lord.

[1] ONE STEP AWAY WAS THEIR ANIMOSITY. We've seen it before in John's Gospel. Some of these rulers hated Jesus to the point of murder. And here in vs. 44, "Some of them wanted to take Him, but no one laid hands on Him."

[2] ANOTHER STEP AWAY WAS ANGER. It's easy to hear anger when the Pharisees replied to the officers in vs. 47-49:

47. Then the Pharisees answered them, "Are you also deceived?

48. Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him?

49. But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.''

*Of course, there is such a thing as righteous indignation and holy anger. We know this is true, because Jesus got angry. The Lord got angry in the right way, at the right time, and for the right reason. But the anger that drove these rulers farther away from trusting in the Lord was unholy, unhealthy, sinful anger.

[3] ANOTHER STEP AWAY FOR THEM WAS THEIR ARROGANCE. These chief priests and Pharisees looked down on other people with arrogant pride. They thought they were better. They thought they knew it all.

*William Barclay explained that "the reaction of the chief priests and Pharisees was contempt. They called that crowd, those ordinary, simple people 'the People of the Land,' and they considered them to be beneath contempt. To marry a daughter to one of them was like exposing her bound and helpless to a beast.

*Their writings contain these words about the common people: 'Six things are laid down about the People of the Land: entrust no testimony to them, take no testimony from them, trust them with no secret, do not appoint them guardians of an orphan, do not make them custodians of charitable funds, do not accompany them on a journey.'

*It was also forbidden to be a guest of one of the People of the Land, or to entertain such a person as a guest. It was even laid down that, wherever it was possible, nothing should be bought or sold from one of them. In their proud aristocracy, intellectual snobbery and spiritual pride, the Pharisees looked down in contempt on the ordinary man.

*Their plea here in John 7 was, 'Nobody who is spiritually and academically of any account has believed on Jesus. Only ignorant fools accept him.'" William Barclay closed by saying, "It is indeed a terrible thing when a man thinks himself either too clever or too good to need Jesus Christ, -- and it happens still." (3)

*King Duncan told about a modern-day a man like that. He was a cynical, young medical student who confronted a pastor one day. The student said, "I have dissected the human body, and I found no soul."

*The wise old pastor replied, "That's interesting. When you dissected the brain did you find a thought? When you dissected the eye did you find vision? When you dissected the heart did you find love?"

*The student answered thoughtfully, "No, I did not." And the pastor gently said, "Of course you believe in the existence of thoughts, of vision, and of love. And just because you cannot locate a soul on a medical chart does not mean it doesn't exist." (4)

*Hopefully, that young man responded to the pastor's wisdom, and trusted in the Lord.

3. BUT MANY PEOPLE ARE STUBBORN AGAINST THE LORD. THANK GOD, MANY OTHERS ARE STILL SEARCHING.

*Many people are still searching for the truth, and Nicodemus is our example in vs. 50-53:

50. Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by night, being one of them) (i.e. one of the rulers) said to them,

51. "Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?''

52. They answered and said to him, "Are you also from Galilee? Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee.''

53. And everyone went to his own house.

*Nicodemus had already come to talk with Jesus one night. And in John 3, he had heard the crucial truth that we must be born again. That night, Nicodemus heard some of the most moving words in the whole Bible, words like John 3:16-18, where Jesus said:

16. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

17. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

18. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

*Nicodemus was on the way to trusting in Christ. And the day would come when Nicodemus would take a bold, public stand for the Lord. In John 19, Nicodemus went with Joseph of Arimathea to bury the body of Christ.

*Nicodemus was on the way to trusting in the Lord. But here in vs. 50-51, he was still searching for the truth. Here, Nicodemus was tentative and unsure. Here, he was still looking at Jesus as a mere, mortal man. And there are many people like that today. They are being drawn to Jesus Christ. They want to know the truth, but they are not there yet. And they need our help.

*During World War II, Christian author Corrie ten Boom and her family were arrested by the Nazis for protecting Jews. Corrie and her sister were sent to the Ravensbrück prison camp north of Berlin. Between 1939 and 1945, over 130,000 female prisoners passed through Ravensbrück. Only 40,000 survived.

*Corrie's sister Betsy died in that concentration camp, but Corrie miraculously survived. Her miracle came through an accidental release by a prison official just one week before the Germans killed all the women her age.

*After the war, Corrie went everywhere she could telling people about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. When she was 80 years old, Corrie spoke at a church one Sunday in Copenhagen. After church two young nurses invited her to their apartment for lunch. Corrie went with them, only to discover they lived on the tenth floor, and there was no elevator.

*She didn't think she could make the stairs, but the nurses were so eager for her visit, she decided to try. By the fifth floor, Corrie's heart was pounding, her legs were buckling, and her breath was gasping!

*Corrie collapsed on a chair in the landing thinking she could go no further. And she silently complained bitterly to the Lord. (You know, the kind of complaining we do sometimes.) Looking up, the stairs seemed to go on to infinity, and Corrie thought, "Perhaps I am leaving earth to go to heaven!"

*But she felt the Lord's leadership and pressed on. When she finally reached the apartment, the parents of one of the girls were there. Corrie soon discovered that neither parent was a Christian. But both were eager to hear the gospel.

*Corrie opened her Bible, and carefully explained the plan of salvation. Then Corrie told them, "I have traveled in more than 60 countries and have never found anyone who said they were sorry they had given their hearts to Jesus. You will not be sorry, either." That day both parents prayed for Christ to enter their lives.

*Going down those stairs, Corrie sure was a lot happier than going up. And on her way down the steps, Corrie said, "Thank you, Lord, for making me walk up all these steps. And next time, Lord, help Corrie ten Boom listen to her own sermon about being willing to go anywhere you tell me to go, -- even up ten flights of stairs." (5)

CONCLUSION:

*The wonderful truth is that if you have believed in Jesus, if you have received Him as the Lord and Savior of your life, then you are saved, your sins are forgiven, and you are on your way to Heaven!

*So choose Christ! Then do everything you can to help other people get saved, -- even if it takes you up ten flights of stairs!

(1) "What to Do When There Are Too Many Product Choices on the Store Shelves?" - Published: January 2014

https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2014/03/too-many-product-choices-in-supermarkets/index.htm

(2) Sources:

-SermonCentral sermon "Passed on to Me" by Melvin Newland - Jeremiah 29:5-7

-https://www.gotquestions.org/Babylonian-captivity-exile.html

(3) Adapted from BARCLAY'S DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES - NEW TESTAMENT by William Barclay - Revised Edition - Copyright 1975 - First published by the Saint Andrew - Press, Edinburgh, Scotland - The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - "Unwilling Admiration and Timid Defence" - John 7:45-52

https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dsb/john-7.html

(4) Sermons.com email illustration 06292002

(5) Sources:

-Wikipedia.org - Ravensbrück Concentration Camp

-SermonCentral.com sermon "The Anointed Servant" by P. A. Solomon - Isaiah 61:1-7

-Corrie ten Boom, CLIPPINGS FROM MY NOTEBOOK - Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982, pp. 53–55 - Source: Morgan, Robert J. - FROM THIS VERSE - Thomas Nelson Publishers

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