Believe: Gospel of John • Sermon • Submitted • Presented • 31:59
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The Summer of 2006 was an Exciting summer for me.
It was the summer that Corrie and I got married.
Father’s Day Weekend.
But more importantly than that…It was the Summer the Dallas Mavericks made it to the NBA Finals.
To Be honest with you, I don’t care much about basketball.
But you better believe that I was watching the Dallas Mavericks- Miami Heat battle it out on my Honeymoon.
And I wasn’t the only one.
We lived in Dallas-Fort Worth at the time and I had never seen so many Maverick Jerseys in my life.
Everyone and their mother was wearing a Jersey and cheering on the Mavericks.
Then on June 20, 2006 the Dallas Mavericks lost in Game Six of the Finals.
And it was a bummer.
And that bummer lasted approximately 24 hours for me.
Why? Because I didn’t really care about the sport.
The Team or even the Championship.
There is a term for this kind of sports fan.
Well, there are a couple, but we are in church so we won’t say all of them.
They are either called Fair-Weather Fans or Bandwagon Fans.
A wannabe fan.
These type of fans aren’t committed to the team, but only to the winning.
Here’s the connection to this morning’s text.
There are those that say they want Jesus, but they aren’t committed to him.
They want things from God, but they don’t want God.
And this morning we are going to see the difference between a true disciple of Jesus and a Bandwagon Follower of Jesus.
A wannabe Disciple.
60 Therefore, when many of his disciples heard this, they said, “This teaching is hard. Who can accept it?” 61 Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, asked them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you were to observe the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 The Spirit is the one who gives life. The flesh doesn’t help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. 64 But there are some among you who don’t believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning those who did not believe and the one who would betray him.) 65 He said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted to him by the Father.” 66 From that moment many of his disciples turned back and no longer accompanied him.
Just for a quick recap of what’s happening.
Jesus recently fed a multitude of people.
He was then followed by a crowd that wanted more from him.
He then starts teaching them the truth that he is more concerned with saving their souls than he is with filling their bellies.
Jesus fed them with bread but then started teaching them the truths about himself.
That he was going to die.
And that his followers would have to be able to partake in that same kind of self-mortification if they wanted to follow him.
And those following him said John 6.60 “60 Therefore, when many of his disciples heard this, they said, “This teaching is hard. Who can accept it?””
The word for hard here does not mean difficult to understand.
Rather it means harsh or offensive.
To them the teaching Jesus was giving them was offensive to their hearts and to their ears.
So what was it they wanted from Jesus?
What these people wanted from Jesus wasn’t Jesus himself, but what they thought Jesus could do for them.
From the previous section we can tell that they wanted:
To be fed by him. They wanted bread.
Jn 6:26 “26 Jesus answered, “Truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate the loaves and were filled.”
They wanted him to be king.
John 6:14-15 “14 When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, “This truly is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 Therefore, when Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.”
They wanted more miracles
John 6:30-31 “30 “What sign, then, are you going to do so that we may see and believe you?” they asked. “What are you going to perform? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, just as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.””
They liked Jesus as an option. But Jesus told them that he isn’t an option he is the only option.
And they thought that this teaching was too harsh.
Jesus knew their hearts. He knew their thoughts and he heard their complaints.
Just like the Jews that opposed Jesus in the Synagogue these disciples grumbled about what Jesus was saying.
And naturally as Jesus Does he asks them if they are offended by his statements.
What was offensive about his statements.
Most likely the whole eating flesh and drinking blood.
But also that Jesus came down from Heaven.
Why else would he ask them about watching him ascend to where he was before?
But here’s the thing the only way Jesus is going to ascend back to where he was is for him to descend first.
He was going to have to die.
He was going to have to sacrifice himself.
He was going to have to submit in humility and obedience to death.
And here’s what’s hard and offensive.
As Jesus’ disciples they would have had to do the same thing.
The Gospel of John is keen on this point.
If you want to Follow Jesus.
If you want to be his disciple.
You have to live like him.
You have to follow him where he goes.
And he always leads into a place of humility and obedience.
And this kind of discipleship and desire to follow Jesus where ever he may go can only be put in us by God.
We can only have this desire if the Spirit of God gives it to us.
Listen to what Jesus says, John 6:63-65 “63 The Spirit is the one who gives life. The flesh doesn’t help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. 64 But there are some among you who don’t believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning those who did not believe and the one who would betray him.) 65 He said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted to him by the Father.””
The Spirit makes us alive.
The Spirit transforms us.
The Spirit gives us the desire to follow Jesus.
We can’t do it in the flesh.
And sadly there are many people who try to.
There are many who play Christian.
They try to do it in their own power.
And when they do…it ends in disaster.
Not everyone who calls themselves a Christian is actually a christian.
Not everyone in this crowd that is called a disciple is a true disciples.
Jesus even warned us of this truth in Matthew
Matt 13:1-9 “1 On that day Jesus went out of the house and was sitting by the sea. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, while the whole crowd stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying, “Consider the sower who went out to sow. 4 As he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seed fell on rocky ground where it didn’t have much soil, and it grew up quickly since the soil wasn’t deep. 6 But when the sun came up, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it. 8 Still other seed fell on good ground and produced fruit: some a hundred, some sixty, and some thirty times what was sown. 9 Let anyone who has ears listen.””
Matt 13:18-23 “18 “So listen to the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word about the kingdom and doesn’t understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the one sown along the path. 20 And the one sown on rocky ground—this is one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy. 21 But he has no root and is short-lived. When distress or persecution comes because of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 Now the one sown among the thorns—this is one who hears the word, but the worries of this age and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 23 But the one sown on the good ground—this is one who hears and understands the word, who does produce fruit and yields: some a hundred, some sixty, some thirty times what was sown.””
One of the things that this parable and the scene in John will tells us is that you can follow Jesus without being committed to him.
What I mean is you can like the idea of Jesus.
You can like the teachings of Jesus.
You can like the moral stances Jesus takes, but not like Jesus for who he is.
This happens in “Progressive Christianity” and it’s infiltrating our churches.
They are rejecting fundamental teachings of Jesus and the Bible because it makes them uncomfortable.
I want you to know that I am not trying to make them our enemy.
I want us to love them and point them back to the true gospel.
Which is also the same with those of us who are not progressive.
We get so concerned with the things of the flesh.
The things that don’t have life.
The things that don’t help at all.
And we make those things the most important.
For the progressives they abandon orthodoxy.
They abandon the fundamental teachings of Jesus.
For Conservatives we make rules and standards that are extra biblical.
We don’t become progressive, we become legalists.
Both of these run counter to the Gospel.
They run counter to Jesus’ teachings.
They base our belief on what we want to believe and not what Jesus has revealed.
Here’s a couple of real life examples that are happening.
I’ll take one from the progressive christian segment and one from the conservative christian.
I don’t know if you’re aware but the UMC is about to undergo a pretty big split.
The leadership of the UMC has now stated that they are going to start affirming and ordaining LGBTQ pastors and ministers.
That’s what happens when you abandon the word of God for the sake of culture.
Just a couple of weeks ago there was a Tent Revival put on by a conservative church out of Edna.
One night I visited this Tent Revival just to hear and see what it was all about.
At the end of the night, the pastor of the church got up and preached a works based gospel.
Here’s what he said.
“The most important decision you have to make on this earth is if you will get into heaven and avoid hell. And If all you have to do to get into heaven is read your bible 1 hr a day, pray for 1 hr a day, and dress appropriately then there is nothing that is going to keep me out of heaven.”
Do you hear that…That’s not the gospel.
That’s not right belief. That’s not trusting in Jesus for your salvation.
That’s trusting in your own works for salvation.
And the crowd there at the meeting ate up what he said.
Is reading your bible good? yes.
Is praying good? yes.
Is dressing modestly good? yes.
But will those things save you? NO.
Are either one of those groups the progressives or the legalists true disciples of Jesus?
Well if they are more concerned with the culture and legalism than they are with Jesus I would have to say no.
Because they aren’t living in the Spirit. They are trying to come alive in the flesh.
Which is worthless. It doesn’t help at all.
So what’s the remedy to fight against progressive and legalism?
Jesus tells us, “The Words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”
We have to listen to Jesus.
We have to follow Jesus.
Like truly follow him.
Not when it’s convenient.
Not when we want to.
Not on Sunday Mornings.
Our lives are to be devoted to following him.
And what happens when some people hear that following Jesus isn’t about getting what they want rather submitting to him?
John 6:66 “66 From that moment many of his disciples turned back and no longer accompanied him.”
Probably one of the saddest verses in the bible.
They walked away.
He wasn’t the savior they wanted.
They wanted him feed them, save them from Rome, perform more miracles, but Jesus said this is what I came for.
He came to make you alive.
He came to save your soul.
Jesus isn’t an accessory to your life.
If you are a true disciple you won’t treat him like a segment of your life.
You will submit to him as Lord.
Meaning that he rules and reigns over all your life.
Regardless of the hard things that Jesus says are you ready to follow him?
Are you ready to listen to him?
Or are you walk away.
Are you going to depart.
That’s the Question that Jesus asks to those still with him.
67 So Jesus said to the Twelve, “You don’t want to go away too, do you?” 68 Simon Peter answered, “Lord, to whom will we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” 70 Jesus replied to them, “Didn’t I choose you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil.”
Jesus turns to the remaining disciples and asks them if they want to leave too.
But Jesus knows what’s in their hearts and in their minds.
So he isn’t asking for his sake.
He’s asking for theirs.
Are they ready to follow Jesus Anywhere.
Jesus knows that he is well known. But he also knows that he isn’t well liked.
He knows that the road ahead of them is going to be long and painful.
He knows the endgame.
He knows and he wants to make sure that they are ready, willing, and able to follow him.
And we give Peter a lot of flack.
We see Peter as that one disciple that regularly stuck his foot in his mouth.
But on this occasion he definitely gets it right.
John 6:68-69 “68 Simon Peter answered, “Lord, to whom will we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.””
This confession is similar, but not exactly the same as Peter’s other confessions in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
Matthew 16.16 “16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.””
Mark 8:29 “29 “But you,” he asked them, “who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.””
Luke 9:20 “20 “But you,” he asked them, “who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.””
Peter knows the reality.
They have no where else to turn.
They have no hope or life outside of Jesus.
There are no other places, beliefs, or people that will satisfy our souls.
There are no good alternatives to Jesus.
The Atheist believe there is no God and therefore all they have is this life.
So they want to make the best of this life, right now.
And usually they end up empty.
Because the things of this world, money, morals, and relationships will never give hope or life.
People turn to other religions.
They search for life and hope in dedication to religious activities.
Spiritual Practices that are hollow and dangerous.
Allowing for the spiritual world to impact their hearts and souls apart from Jesus.
Being fed over to the demonic.
Listen, there are a myriad of places that you can turn to, but there is only one person you can turn to who will give you life and hope.
His name is Jesus.
We looked at earlier what it means to be a False Disciple.
And simply put that means you want what Jesus can do but you don’t what who Jesus is.
So in order to be a true disciple we have to want who Jesus is.
How do we know who Jesus is?
First, we need to know that He is the Word of God and He is revealed to us in the Scriptures.
This may be a simple point and you may be rolling your eyes at me b/c this is where I’m starting.
But can I tell you that there are a startling number of those who claim to be Jesus followers who don’t take his Word seriously.
One of the things I have found in the past several years is that most people don’t know what the bible says or how to properly read it.
I will be the first to admit that this is mostly the fault of the local church not training people how to study and read the word of God.
But here’s the thing you have to want it too.
Peter says here that Jesus has the words of eternal life.
There is life in the words of Jesus.
There is life in the words of Scripture.
Don’t you want to go where life can be found?
Now Selfish plug here, we have opportunities for you to grow in your understanding and study of God’s Word.
Sunday School is available.
Wednesday night Bible Study is available.
And Guess what, I don’t charge for those classes yet. lol.
For Women there is now as Bible study that meets on Wednesday Mornings at 9:30.
But the church isn’t the only place you can or should grow.
There are lots of resources online and apps on your phone that will help you read, listen, and study the Word of God.
For the Christian, The Bible is a life blood.
Now hear me well.
Studying, memorizing, and reading your bible will not save you.
But it will train, equip, and bless you if you take some time to study and read.
Why? Because in the Scriptures, the Word of God, the Power of Salvation and life live.
It’s exciting to me when I talk to people who are consumed by the word of God.
Where they spend their daily commutes listening to Scripture.
When they come and ask questions about what they read.
But heres a great reason to know and study God’s Word.
It will keep you from digesting all the mess that’s outside.
It will protect you from wrong teaching.
It will keep you close to Jesus.
jn 8.31 “31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you continue in my word, you really are my disciples.”
We must continue, abide, or dwell in his Word for that is where we find life.
That is where we place our hope.
And I want you to know that you don’t have to have or know all the answers when reading or studying.
In fact, if you were with us on Wednesday night we came to a passage that was super confusing in our study.
I don’t even know what to make of it 100%, but we still trust what God has revealed to us.
And we rest in the mystery.
Because we can take God’s Word seriously.
Jesus has the words of eternal life, but what else did Peter say.
John 6:69 “69 We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.””
This believing is simply an acknowlegement but a trust in who Jesus is and what he has done.
We know that he is the one and only way to salvation and we trust that if we have been given to him as a gift from the Father then he will hold us secure.
He is the king of kings that calls us his own.
We have been made alive through the Holy Spirit.
Jesus is the Holy One of God.
This is an interesting phrase that isn’t used often in the NT.
But The Holy One only ever refers to God in the OT.
And here Peter is acknowledging that Jesus is the Holy one.
Jesus Is God almighty.
He is Word that Put on Flesh.
He is the one promised of old come to save his people.
And then John puts in here this phrase that doesn’t seem to fit well.
John 6:70-71 “70 Jesus replied to them, “Didn’t I choose you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil.” 71 He was referring to Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son, one of the Twelve, because he was going to betray him.”
Why here does Jesus reveal that one of the 12 that he chose is going to betray him?
First, Jesus wants us to know that he is not unaware of what is going to happen.
He chose the 12, and in choosing them he knew that one would betray him.
He knew the moment he chose Judas to follow him that he would be the one to give him over.
So even though Judas followed Jesus for 3 years he was still not a true disciple.
Secondly, Jesus is never surprised when one follows him and then ends up walking away.
We can all play the part if we want to, but only true disciples will stand the test of time.
Only true disciples will abide in Jesus.
Being a follower of Jesus will never be a Fake it till we make it activity.
True disciples are called by the father, secured by the Son, and sealed by the HS.
There is purpose in all that God does.
We may not understand it.
We may not even like it.
But we must trust him.
Here’s where we are this morning.
Are you at true disciple or a false one?
Are you a Fair-Weather Disciple or a Die Hard Disciple?
I can’t answer that question for you.
Are you willing to give up everything and follow Jesus?
Do you love Jesus for who he is or do you only love him b/c of what he can do?
This is going to be a time to reflect on your relationship with Jesus.