8 48-59 Christianity, What's In It For Me
liberty bible church 10/5/08 a.M.
By Tom Zobrist
“christianity: what’s in it for me?”
Illus. of “The Miser and His Gold” Aesop's Fables- Once upon a time there was a Miser who used to hide his gold at the foot of a tree in his garden; but every week he used to go and dig it up and gloat over his gains. A robber, who had noticed this, went and dug up the gold and decamped with it. When the Miser next came to gloat over his treasures, he found nothing but the empty hole. He tore his hair, and raised such an outcry that all the neighbours came around him, and he told them how he used to come and visit his gold. "Did you ever take any of it out?" asked one of them. "Nay," said he, "I only came to look at it." "Then come again and look at the hole," said a neighbour; "it will do you just as much good." Wealth unused might as well not exist. That’s not only true about worldly wealth, that’s true about Spiritual wealth as well. We’ve heard a great deal lately about greed in the wake of all the Wall problems. We live in a “Get all you can, can all you get, and poison the rest” culture. Many come into the church questioning Christianity. What does it offer me? As believers, we know the blessings of following Christ. Our task is to communicate that with the world. So, what does Christianity offer the common man?
OPEN to the passage.
Prop. In this passage, Jesus shows a few blessings that are offered those that trust in Him.
Open in PRAYER.
PREVIEW the passage. For several weeks, we have been following this confrontation that Jesus has had with some of the religious leaders in the Temple during the Feast of Tabernacles. We are coming to the conclusion of that section here. Once again, He has claimed to be God and Messiah. He has shown that those that genuinely receive Him will live like Him. Last week, the tension was heightened when Jesus said that their father was the devil. Cf. v 37-47 The religious leaders counterpunch and in that process we see some of the blessings we reap if we follow Jesus. The first benefit of believing in Jesus is that…
i. christianity brings eternal life vs. 48-53
Illus. of The patient awakened after the operation to find herself in a room with all the blinds drawn. "Why are all the blinds closed?" she asked her doctor. "Well," the surgeon responded, "They're fighting a huge fire across the street, and we didn't want you to wake up and think the operation had failed." Everyone wants to live forever. No one in their right mind would say that they want to die. Jesus brings eternal life. However…
a. Not everyone will believe in Jesus, even if they are religious
V 48 1. This is a low blow. Samaritans were half-breeds. Their religion was considered apostate by the Jews. They were taking a shot at his birth, as they had last week, Cf. v 41, they were saying that His religious teachings were heretical and His worship was unacceptable. To say that He was demon-possessed was to say that He was crazy, unclean, and evil. Jesus had just said that their father was the devil, they respond accusing Him of being demon-possessed.
V 49 2. Jesus again responds to their accusations with the truth. He didn’t have a demon. As they dishonored Him, He sought to honor God. He was not seeking His own glory, but the glory of His heavenly Father.
V 50a 3. A demon possessed person would seek to draw attention to Himself. Jesus sought to draw attention to the Father.
V 50b 4. Jesus could not justify Himself at this time. People can judge Jesus wrongly, but one day, God will vindicate Him. One day, every knee will bow before Him, but in this life, we have a choice.
V 51 5. Here is one of those sure truths. If anyone is obedient to Jesus, they will live forever. Cf. John 3:16; 5:24 But, not everyone will believe and follow Jesus. Here’s the result.
b. They are confused about the gospel
V 52 1. Obviously, those that opposed Jesus thought that He meant physical death. Following Jesus does not mean that life will be easy and pain free. We may have trials, we may have financial struggles, we may suffer physically and certainly we will die. Just like Abraham and the prophets. The greatest men of God had died, physically. But what they failed to realize was that they were still alive spiritually.
V 53 2. In the Greek, the first question expects a negative answer. But, Jesus was greater than Abraham, they just didn’t believe who He told them He was. He had stated very clearly who He was yet they are accusing Him of being demon-possessed. They are confused because they refuse to repent and believe in Jesus.
Trans. CHRISTIANITY BRINGS ETERNAL LIFE, but not everyone who says they are religious will believe in Jesus and the Gospel will cause them a great deal of confusion. True Christians will seem a little wacky, maybe even demon-possessed to the unbelieving world. A second benefit of Christianity is…
ii. christianity brings joy vs. 54-56
Illus. of A Baptist preacher and his wife decided they needed a dog. Ever mindful of the congregation, they knew the dog must also be Baptist. They visited an expensive kennel and explained their needs to the manager, who assured them he had just the dog for them. The dog was produced and the manager said, "Fetch the Bible." The dog bounded to the bookshelf, scrutinized the books, located the Bible, and brought it to the manager. The manager then said "Find Psalms 23". The dog, showing marvelous dexterity with his paws, leafed thru the Bible, found the correct passage, and pointed to it with his paw. Duly impressed, the couple purchased the dog. That evening a group of parishioners came to visit. The preacher and his wife began to show off the dog, having him locate several Bible verses. The visitors were amazed. Finally, one man asked, "Can he do normal dog tricks too?" "Let's see" said the preacher. Pointing his finger at the dog, he commanded "Heel!" The dog immediately jumped up on a chair, placed one paw on the preacher's forehead and began to howl. The preacher turned to his wife and exclaimed "Good grief, we've bought a Pentecostal? dog!" Dogs bring many people a lot of joy, as does being healed. What is it about Christianity that brings us joy?
a. We can know God
V 54 1. Once again Jesus did not seek self-glorification. It is God that honored Him and these people claimed that they knew God. In reality, whether they knew it or not, their father was Satan.
V 55 2. Two different words for “know” are used here. Jesus had an intimate relationship with God, so knew Him intuitively. The Jews didn’t even know Him by experience or observation. If Jesus denied that He knew God, He would be a liar like these people. Proof of this was in the fact that He kept His Word. He was obedient to what God said. Illus. of this is the test for any that claim to know God. Do they keep His Word? Jesus did.
b. We can see god work
V 56a 1. Now Jesus refers to Abraham as their father. He was not their father spiritually, but he was physically.
V 56b 2. Abraham was given a promise by God back in Genesis 12:3. All the nations would be blessed through Him. He was given a son of promise in Isaac through whom the Messiah would come. Abraham knew that God would bring salvation in His time and he rejoiced to know about it and he was present on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus and Moses. Abraham witnessed God work, as can all who believe in Him. This brings us great joy.
Trans. CHRISTIANITY BRINGS ETERNAL LIFE and CHRISTIANITY BRINGS JOY. We can know God and we can see Him work in the world around us. Finally,
iii. christianity brings protection vs. 57-59
Illus. of A rookie police officer was assigned to ride in a cruiser with an experienced partner. A call came over the car's radio telling them to disperse some people who were loitering. The officers drove to the street and observed a small crowd standing on a corner. The rookie rolled down his window and said, "Let's get off the corner." No one moved, so he barked again, "Let's get off the corner!" Intimidated, the group of people began to leave, casting puzzled glances in his direction. Proud of his first official act, the young policeman turned to his partner and asked, "Well, how did I do?" "Pretty good," replied the veteran, "especially since this was a bus stop." God’s not like this police officer. We knows when to protect us.
A. serving god angers the enemy
V 57 1. This doesn’t mean that Jesus was in His late forties. It just illustrates the point that this group could not understand how Jesus could have possibly ever had any contact with Abraham, who lived 2,000 years before. They truly believed that Jesus was demon possessed. Once again, their lack of belief kept them from understanding.
V 58 2. Jesus was superior to Abraham in every way, even in longevity. As God, Jesus was eternal. Jesus already existed when Abraham was born. “I am” is a title for God. Jesus was eternal and the people’s response indicates that they understood it this way.
b. the enemy will seek to destroy us, but god can protect us
V 59a 1. This was the only response they could offer one who was blasphemous. Stoning was the punishment for blasphemy.
V 59b 2. “hid Himself” could refer to a supernatural means of protection, yet “going through the midst of them” indicates an ordinary means of exit. It was not Jesus’ time. The whole point is that the world cannot touch us until it is time. God can protect us.
There are many benefits of being a Christian. These are just a few. CHRISTIANITY BRINGS ETERNAL LIFE, JOY and PROTECTION. So, what does this mean for us?
1. The only way to live forever is to trust in Jesus alone. GOSPEL This is the ultimate benefit.
2. The only way to true contentment is serving Christ. We seen the results of greed in recent days in our economic woes.
3. We can do what God wants without fear. Nothing can happen outside of God’s will.
Illus. of the infomercials that promise satisfaction guaranteed, 30 day free trials, etc. or your money back.
Nothing in life offers the benefits of being an obedient follower of Jesus Christ. Try it. You’ll see that nothing compares. Satisfaction is guaranteed.
“christianity: what’s in it for me?”
As believers, we know the blessings of following Christ. Our task is to communicate that with the world. So, what does Christianity offer the common man?
i. christianity brings vs. 48-53
a. Not everyone will believe in Jesus, even if…
Cf. John 3:16; 5:24
b. They are confused about the _________________
ii. christianity brings vs. 54-56
a. We can __________________ _________________
b. We can see ______________ ______________
Cf. Genesis 12:3
iii. christianity brings vs. 57-59
A. serving god ____________________ the enemy
b. the enemy will seek to __________________ us, but god…
What does this mean for us?