I saw this on Steve Camp’s blog, and thought it was funny. I’d thought I’d post it here.
Here is Dc Talk’s version of the song almost everyone knows of Larry Norman, “I wished we’ve all been ready.”
I think it is a fitting tribute to him.
Today, had my Dad been living, we would have turned 62. It is hard to believe he has been dead for two years now. This is not a day that I don’t think about him, and I miss him greatly.
There is also another person who has passed away this week who had a great influence on the music world Larry Norman, the father of contemporary Christian music. Here are some videos of some songs he has sung. Let’s not only remember and honor Larry, but all those in the faith who have influenced us and gone on before us. May their legacy continue through our lives.
I miss you and love you Dad.
This is the sermon for Sunday March 2nd, 2008.
GOTTA HAVE FAITH PART 14
A persecuted, enduring Faith.
Last time we looked at the faith that accomplishes something. It moves beyond the fear of the circumstances and get out of its boat of comfort so that God could accomplish great things through them.
This week we are going to look at a difficult subject, and that is a faith that is persecuted, and yet endures.
I don’t know about you, but I really am not a fan of persecution. Persecution often not only affects you by the way you are persecuted (like emotionally, or physically), but it can affect the entire person. And sometimes you just want to strike back when you are persecuted. But Jesus says to us to turn the other cheek, don’t strike back.
I believe that God allows persecution because whether we like it or not, it is part of His plan. It is in persecution, that the light of the truth we believe in really begins to shine.
Now do you face persecution today? How about problems, or struggles as well? Sadly, we live in a day that if you go through hard times and problems, it is not part of God’s will. We have churches filled with “Job’s comforters,” who do not think that God can get any glory today, out of persecution, hard times, difficulties, sorrows, and struggles. They will tell you it is because you lack enough faith, as if faith is something that can be measured in a cup or something to that effect. They can even spout out some bible verse, pulled and stretched out of context to prove their point. It doesn’t prove a thing though, except one thing, they don’t have a true understanding of the Bible, God, and His ways. He is in a nice box they have placed Him in.
Persecution, hard times, problems, sorrows, and difficulties all have a purpose in God’s plan, let me share one story with you.
Pastor J. H. Crowell, when about sixteen, shipped on a sailing vessel, where he was the only Christian, in a crew of twelve. Before leaving his mother he promised to meet her three times a day at the throne of grace. So regularly he went below and prayed aloud. He thought he must. They threw wood at him and poured buckets of water over him, but could not put out the fire in his soul. Then they tied him to the mast and laid thirty-nine stripes on his back. Still he prayed. They tied a rope around his body and threw him overboard. He swam as best he could, and when he took hold of the side of the ship they pushed him off with a pole. At last his strength gave way, and, supposing they meant to kill him, he prayed that God would forgive them, and called out: “Send my body to my mother and tell her that I died for Jesus.” He was then pulled on deck unconscious, but after some time came to. Conviction began to seize the sailors. Before night two of them were gloriously converted. Inside of a week every one on board, including the captain, was blessedly saved.
Like this story, God does have a plan and a purpose for our hard difficult times.
Let’s look at the text this morning and see what God would say to us.
1. Examples of enduring in faith.
Hebrews 11:35-38 GNB – Through faith women received their dead relatives raised back to life. Others, refusing to accept freedom, died under torture in order to be raised to a better life. (36) Some were mocked and whipped, and others were put in chains and taken off to prison. (37) They were stoned, they were sawed in two, they were killed by the sword. They went around clothed in skins of sheep or goats—poor, persecuted, and mistreated. (38) The world was not good enough for them! They wandered like refugees in the deserts and hills, living in caves and holes in the ground.
A. Here we see many examples of faith during difficulties. Most discussing the fact of persecution, but two talking about death of family members (though they were resurrected) and another talking about the poor believers of the past.
Last week we saw believers that overcame the difficulties and conquered them because of their faith. Here we see those who endure because of their faith. They both have one thing in common, God values both types of believers, and approves of commends them for their faith in Him. Lets look at these examples.
B. Those receiving their dead back by resurrection (v. 35a).
I believe the Author is referring too the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17:22) and the woman from Shunem (2 Kings 4:34). They both suffered the loss of a loved one and saw them restored to life again. For believers we have this promise: death may come, but so will resurrection.
C. The tortured (vv. 35b-36).
The Author has been dealing with many great Old Testament saints from the past. All of these had one thing in common, they all put their faith in the one true God, and they were commended or approved for their faith in Him. Here the Author deals with those who are tortured in the midst of having faith in God. They were tortured physically, as well as verbally and emotionally. They refused to give in to the torture, looking toward a resurrection to a better life. Let’s bring this passage up to our day and time. Women face emotional and physical abuse, children and youth are being mocked at school as well as those who are tortured through some unspeakable acts. To all of these I say, “Find your strength in God.” Let Him be your hiding place, your shelter. You have a better life awaiting you. It is a resurrected life that all believers are promised. In this life is no more sorrow or pain. Hold on to that promise.
D. The Martyred (v. 37a).
Many followers of Christ willingly have laid down their lives for Him. We must be willing to do the same.
Larry Norman was an example. He passed away this passed week. Most people don’t know who he was. He is the Father of Contemporary Christian Music. He was also a prophet. He proclaimed the truth no matter what. I’ve been reading stories about him this week, one about how on the streets of Dallas, he led four police officers to the Lord. He truly was a man after God’s own heart. But the world, and the Christian world would not accept him, why, because of his message. He never made money, in fact, he died a poor man. All because of one song, the world, nor Christians would not accept him because of this song. Here are the lyrics.
Sipping whiskey from a paper cup,
You drown your sorrows till you can’t get up,
Take a look at what you’ve done to yourself,
Why don’t you put the bottle back on the shelf,
Yellow fingers from your cigarettes,
Your hands are shaking while your body sweats,
Why don’t you look into Jesus, He’s got the answer.
Gonorrhea on Valentines Day,
And you’re still looking for the perfect lay,
You think rock and roll will set you free,
You’ll be deaf before your thirty three,
Shooting junk till your half insane,
Broken needle in your purple vein,
Why don’t you look into Jesus, he’s got the answer.
You work all night, sleep all day,
You take your money, throw it all away,
You say you’re going to be a superstar,
But you’ve never hung around enough to find out who you really are.
Think back to when you were a child,
Your soul was free, your heart ran wild,
Each day was different, and life was a thrill,
You knew tomorrow would be better still,
Things have changed you’re much older now,
If you’re unhappy and you don’t know how,
Why don’t you look into Jesus, He’s got the answer
You see, he wasn’t martyred physically, but he literally gave his life for one message, and he boldly told the world, in a language that they understood, “Why don’t you look into Jesus, He is the answer.”
E. Those who don’t have anything (vv. 37b-38).
These saints listed here don’t have a penny to their name, but they had faith in God.
And faith in God is richer than all the wealth of the world. Faith in God can take you somewhere that all the wealth in the world can’t – His very throne room. What was the reward for this enduring faith?
Hebrews 11:39 ISV – All these people won approval for their faith but did not receive what was promised…
A. They were approved by God for their faith, not for what they received.
B. In fact, you do not see that they are attacked at all for a lack of faith in their part. In fact they were approved by God equally with those who overcame the obstacles they faced.
C. We need to be careful about rushing to quick judgments when it comes to those going through times of difficulty and sorrow.
They don’t need our words of judgment, they need our words of prayer and comfort.
3. We all receive our reward together.
Hebrews 11:40 GNB – because God had decided on an even better plan for us. His purpose was that only in company with us would they be made perfect.
A. Many people think that the ultimate reward is heaven itself, or maybe even living eternally in God’s presence.
And while that is an awesome reward, it is not the ultimate reward I feel. It is a by-product of that reward.
B. The ultimate reward that these Old Testament saints receive with us is the promised Messiah – Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
C. You see, He is Lord of all – and all of us receive redemption at the cross.
If it wasn’t for Jesus and His sacrifice, none of us would have eternal life – that is why Jesus is the ultimate reward.
Hebrews 2:5-15 TNIV – 5 It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6 But there is a place where someone has testified: “What are mere mortals that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? 7 You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor 8 and put everything under their feet.” In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them. 9 But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. 10 In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. 11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. 12 He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises.” 13 And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again he says, “Here am I, and the children God has given me.” 14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
How can we apply this message to our lives this morning?
• God has a plan and purpose for persecution and suffering.
• Cry out to Him and cling to Him during those times.
• Don’t strike back against those who are persecuting you or who are doubting your faith, keep trusting the Lord.
• Know that you have already been rewarded – Jesus is your Lord and Savior.
• Rejoice that there is coming a better life, when we are resurrected by Jesus to a life of no more sorrow or pain.
How many of you are going through a difficult time this morning? Maybe you are being persecuted. Maybe you are facing some other type of suffering, and the nay-sayers are weighing you down. I’d love to pray for you this morning. I want you to leave here encouraged in the Lord. Please come forward this morning if you need prayer.
Next week will be our last sermon on this subject. We will be discussing those setting in the stands.
This is the Wednesday sermon for February 27th, 2008.
JOHN PART 23
The true bread of life
Last time we saw that Jesus was the only answer to mankind’s spiritual hunger. The Jews were following Him because He provided bread. But the miracle was pointing to something greater, and that was the spiritual hunger of people and the only thing that satisfies that hunger – the true living bread of God.
As many of you can tell, I love to eat. Sunday afternoon, Mac and Jackie took our family to Tomball to a place called Mel’s diner. They are known for their burgers and catfish. Well, I had the catfish, and let me tell you, it was delicious. And while that catfish was delicious, it only fills my stomach and stops the hunger for a short period of time. You see, I will get hungry again.
You see, that is the problem with earthly food. It only satisfies for so long, and then we will grow hungry again. What Jesus said was so true, “Man shall not live by bread (earthly food) alone.” For all of mankind there is a greater hunger than physical hunger – and that is spiritual hunger. And there is only one type of food that satisfies this hunger. That food is the true bread of life that came down from heaven.
Jesus talks further about this subject here in the passage we are looking at tonight. Let’s look into it.
1. The people Jesus just fed demand a sign.
John 6:30-31 GW – The people asked him, “What miracle are you going to perform so that we can see it and believe in you? What are you going to do? (31) Our ancestors ate the manna in the desert. Scripture says, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'”
A. Here is this crowd that has been with Jesus for a couple of days and they are demanding a miraculous sign. What is so interesting is that Jesus has already given them two signs. One He did, the other they do. What were the signs.
This is the same crowd that Jesus the day before had feed miraculously with the bread and fish. That should have been enough of a sign for them. This same crowd also wanted to do the works that would be approved or accepted by God.
John 6:28-29 NET – So then they said to him, “What must we do to accomplish the deeds God requires?” (29) Jesus replied, “This is the deed God requires — to believe in the one whom he sent.”
B. Some scholars believe that the Jews were looking at the coming Messiah as some sort of Super-Moses. A Midrash (Jewish Commentary) on Exodus 16:4 says that just as the former redeemer (Moses) caused manna to descend from heaven, so also the latter Redeemer (the Messiah) will cause manna to descend as well. They thought this of Jesus if He really was the Messiah.
C. What were they exactly looking for in Jesus?
Someone who would provide for each and every physical need. They thought that He would provide food, shelter, and deliverance from Rome. And they could just set back and enjoy the ride.
D. But Jesus didn’t come for their physical needs. He came for a much greater need, and that was their spiritual need.
You see, like us, these Jews are lost in their sins, they can’t save themselves, they are hopeless. Jesus came to seek and save all those, like them and us, who are hopeless – who are lost.
2. Jesus gives them a two fold answer.
John 6:32-34 GW – Jesus said to them, “I can guarantee this truth: Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. (33) God’s bread is the man who comes from heaven and gives life to the world.” (34) They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread all the time.”
A. First of all, Moses did not give them the manna, but it was the Heavenly Father.
The Jews always appealed either to Moses or Abraham. They put Moses on this pedestal, saying he provided their ancestors food to eat. Jesus on the other hand, always appealed to His Heavenly Father. You see, it was the Father who provided the manna, Moses was just a vessel He used. It is always a dangerous thing to put any person upon a pedestal. The reason is because, people will always fail you, we are not perfect in anyway, and those who think they are, are self-righteous and full of pride. The only one we should put on a pedestal is the Lord Jesus Christ.
B. Jesus reveals to them what the true Bread of God is.
The manna that fell from heaven is not the true bread of God. Neither is the multiplication of the loaves and fish. You see, the true Bread of God is nothing that comes from this earth, but it is a person, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
C. The manna in the wilderness only provided for the physical needs of people and that people was one nation – Israel.
Jesus being the true bread from heaven provides for our spiritual need, and not for just one nation, but for all the world.
3. Jesus reveals Himself as the true Bread of life.
John 6:35-36 GW – Jesus told them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never become hungry, and whoever believes in me will never become thirsty. (36) I’ve told you that you have seen me. However, you don’t believe in me.
A. Here, Jesus reveals Himself as this true bread that has come down from heaven, giving life.
Jesus is also using the Greek equivalent of God’s covenant name YHWH. He is in essence saying that He is the God that appeared and led Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses by using this name. This covenant name for God that Jesus uses for Himself is important to John. So far I found that it is used in John’s Gospel about 12 times.
This means, that on 12 occasions in the book of John, Jesus makes claims of deity.
B. What does Jesus mean that He is the Bread of life?
In Greek the phrase literally means, “I am the sustainer of life.” You see, if you don’t eat food, you die. Food is literally the sustainer of physical life. In the same way, if you don’t partake of the person and character of Jesus Christ and do not abide in Him, then you don’t have spiritual, or eternal, or supernatural life. Eternal life can only be found in Him.
4. The Christ-followers assurance.
John 6:37-40 GW – Everyone whom the Father gives me will come to me. I will never turn away anyone who comes to me. (38) I haven’t come from heaven to do what I want to do. I’ve come to do what the one who sent me wants me to do. (39) The one who sent me doesn’t want me to lose any of those he gave me. He wants me to bring them back to life on the last day. (40) My Father wants all those who see the Son and believe in him to have eternal life. He wants me to bring them back to life on the last day.”
A. Notice in verse 37 that is the Father that brings us to Jesus Christ.
Over the years, we have tried to draw people to Jesus through manipulation, fear tactics, forcing people to say prayers, and even trying to bring people too early to Christ, in my opinion. It is not our timing, but it is the Father’s timing. It is by according to His will and plan, by His Sovereignty.
John 6:44 GW – People cannot come to me unless the Father who sent me brings them to me. I will bring these people back to life on the last day.
You see, all of us deserve hell. We all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. But Jesus provided the sacrifice, and the Father draws us through the Holy Spirit to Him. The Father doesn’t need our manipulation, nor our emotional appeals. He just needs us to preach the Gospel message. The Greek for the word “Those,” is interesting. It is in Greek Grammar called, “Neuter Singular.” This means that God is bringing, or given the total body of believers to Jesus at one time – and that time I believe is at the cross. The Father gives all the ones who will follow Jesus to the Son, and the Spirit enables all of them to come and believe in Christ Jesus.
B. Jesus purpose for coming is to do the will of the Father (vv. 38-40).
Jesus was all about one purpose, to do and fulfill the Father’s will. His purpose was to keep that which God had drawn out of the world. This is a great promise for the Christ follower. We abide in Christ, He abides in us. When we are in Jesus, nothing can take us out of His hand. We are secure in His care. Those the Father brings or draws, Jesus Christ keeps, and resurrects in the last day.
How can we apply this study to our lives?
• God has given us the ultimate sign of His love – the Cross of Christ. We don’t need any other.
• In our problems you and I face, put your faith completely in Christ finished work because that is how God will work through your situation – through the cross.
• Ultimately it will be Christ who will sustain you and keep you through every circumstance, so continue to abide in Him.
Next time we will look at how we are to partake of Christ.
This is the sermon for Sunday, February 24th 2008.
GOTTA HAVE FAITH PART 13
The accomplishments done in Faith
Last time we looked at Rahab’s faith and saw that she had a saving faith. This week we are going to look at a grouping of some of the heroes of faith listed in our text. We are going to see how that through their faith in God they accomplished some things.
As I was preparing this message this week, I asked myself the question, “Does our faith in God really accomplish anything?” Of course I knew the answer to that question. Yes it does. You see, faith in God is not a passive thing, although at times God may ask us to stand still and trust Him. But there is also this reality that God wants to work through us as we put our faith in Him. It is the idea that God wants to accomplish things, but He wants to accomplish some things through us, not outside of us.
Throughout this series we have seen God use these Old Testament saints. They had to believe outside of themselves. They couldn’t trust in their own ability, but they had to trust in God.
Laura and I at the beginning of this week at first thought we received good news. I was unsure about it, and Laura jokingly said, “You sound like the children of Israel complaining to Moses.” I told her I wasn’t complaining, but that something didn’t seem right about it. When we went to our meeting, Laura discovered the problem, and our initial joys went to anger and sorrow. You see, I was right that the good news was incorrect. Laura took it well, while I spent Monday night calling some church people, trying to encourage them, while I really needed encouragement myself. I wasn’t feeling it. I had to spend this week re-learning to completely trust God with this situation.
There was a song that Jim Nabors of Gomer Pyle fame made popular, it is called, “The impossible dream.” Here are some of the lyrics: “To dream the impossible dream,
to fight the unfightable foe, To bear with unbearable sorrow, to run where the brave dare not go. To right the unrightable wrong, to love pure and chase from afar, To try when your arms are too weary, to reach the unreachable star! This is my quest, to follow that star, No matter how hopeless, no matter how far … And the world will be better for this;
That one man, scorned and covered with scars, Still strove with the last ounce of courage,
To reach the unreachable stars.”
This is what Christianity is about: dreaming the impossible, fighting the unfightable, bearing the unbearable, righting the unrightable, and reaching the unreachable. In other words, facing challenges and meeting them!
This is what these people did in our text as they put their faith in God. Let’s look at their example this morning.
1. These heroes of faith accepted the challenges placed before them.
Hebrews 11:32 ISV – And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell you about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets.
A. After the Author of Hebrews has given us example after example, he quickly is trying to sum up his message here.
He quickly gives us a few examples of people and their faith. Let’s look at them quickly as well.
His army was reduced from 32,000 to 300 men. He had to believe that with 300 men he could route the Midianites (Judges 6:11 – 8:35).
He served with a woman (Deborah, which by the way was unheard of at that time). He along with Deborah, conquered the army of General Sisera from Hazor, inspite of some cowardly actions on his part (Judges 4:4-23).
Despite his weakness for women, God used him against the Philistines, slaying many in his death (Judges 13-16). Let me also say this, that God never condoned Samson’s sin, but He used Samson to fulfill His purposes.
Inspite of being an illegitimate child, he rose to power to deliver Israel from the Ammonites (Judges 11:1-33).
God used David in many victories over many enemies. But the only way he could defeat his greatest enemy – himself – was to repent of his sins and fall into the hands of his Merciful God.
He was the last of Israel’s Judges and the first prophet of the nation. He was God’s man when the priesthood had fallen into corruption. He was also the spiritual leader in the midst of ungodly leadership (King Saul).
H. The prophets.
Too many to list in this sermon. They all had one thing in common. They were to call God’s children back to Him.
2. What was their reward – They accomplished things through faith.
Hebrews 11:33-34 ISV – Through faith they conquered kingdoms, administered justice, received promises, shut the mouths of lions, (34) put out raging fires, escaped death by the sword, found strength in weakness, became powerful in battle, and routed foreign armies.
A. They conquered kingdoms.
B. They administered justice.
They did the right thing, they ruled, lived, and led with God’s approval. Righteously.
C. They received promises.
God made covenants and promises with many of them.
D. They shut the mouths of lions.
Daniel, Samson, and David were all victorious over lions.
E. They put out raging fires.
The 3 Hebrew Children survived the fiery furnace.
F. They escaped the edge of the sword.
David escaped Saul’s attacks. Elijah escaped Jezebel’s threats. Elishah escaped from the King of Syria.
G. They found strength in weakness.
Hezekiah regained strength after sickness. Jael, a woman, a member of the weaker sex, killed Sisera with a tent peg (Judges 4:21). Ehud, being left-handed (which was considered a weakness back then), killed the King of Moab (Judges 3:12-22).
H. They became powerful in battle.
Gideon, Joshua, David.
3. What is the lesson to be learned – True faith finds its courage and strength in the Lord God.
A. It doesn’t look anywhere else.
B. It knows that God is their only source for courage and strength.
What can we take from this sermon and apply to our lives?
• When God calls, don’t let fear hinder you from walking in His calling.
• Ask the Lord for the strength and courage you need.
• Step out in faith, expecting Him to give you that strength and courage.
Are you fearful about being used by God this morning? It is normal to be fearful when looking at the tasks ahead of each of us. If you are fearful this morning, I’d like to pray for you, love you, and encourage you to go on and take the step of faith.
Here is the sermon that I’m preaching Wednesday February 20th, 2008.
JOHN PART 22
What must we do?
So far in Chapter 6 we have seen Jesus feed the five thousand, and then walk on water.
Now He is going to tackle a fundamental question that all mankind and religions ask, “What must we do to accomplish the deeds that God requires?”
I know that one of the sticklers for me coming to Christ is this concept of perfection. It seemed like God was always up there in heaven, just waiting to pounce on me if I did anything bad. The problem was I knew the condition of my heart. I knew that I did bad things and for a time in my high school years I just threw caution to the wind and lived any old way I pleased. I really thought that I wouldn’t be accepted by God. I thought I had to meet some type of requirement to be accepted by Him.
Have any of you ever felt this way. Here are some facts concerning a survey that was taken.
7,000 Protestant youth from many denominations were asked whether they agreed with the following statements: “The way to be accepted by God is to try sincerely to live a good life.” More than 60% agreed. “God is satisfied if a person lives the best life he can.” Almost 70% agreed. “The main emphasis of the gospel is on God’s rules for right living.” More than half agreed. Most of those surveyed said they would go to heaven because of living a good life, or obeying the 10 commandments, or because all people will go to heaven. Others who said they had made a commitment to Christ said they were unsure about what will happen to them after they die.
So we live in a culture, even amongst Christians that believe we have to do works to earn our way into heaven.
In our Scripture text tonight, Jesus is going to address this issue, plus a few others. Let’s begin.
1. The crowd was searching for Jesus.
John 6:22-25 NET – The next day the crowd that remained on the other side of the lake realized that only one small boat had been there, and that Jesus had not boarded it with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. (23) But some boats from Tiberias came to shore near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. (24) So when the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus. (25) When they found him on the other side of the lake, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”
A. It is now the day after the miracle where 5,000 people were fed.
B. The crowd gets up the next morning and see that Jesus and the disciples were gone.
C. Some how, the crowd learned that Jesus didn’t get into the boat with the disciples, and yet they knew that the disciples crossed the sea by boat because one boat was missing.
D. They leave where they are by boat and go to Capernaum to find Jesus.
E. When they find Him, they ask Him how did He get there.
F. Now the question we need to ask about this crowd is, “Why are they looking for Jesus?”
Is it because He is the Messiah and they want to follow Him? Or could it be because of the miracle of the multiplication of the bread and fish and they knew that they wouldn’t have to work for food again as long as they followed Jesus? Could it have been for one of the other signs He has done? The point is, I think that later on in this chapter we will see the real reason that they follow Jesus. It is not for who He is, but for what He can do for them. It is for selfish reasons.
I think a great lesson can be learned here when it comes to telling others about Jesus. Sometimes we make appeals to people by saying something like this: “Come to Jesus and He will do this and that for you.” When we should just be proclaiming the Gospel, which is telling people who Jesus is.
2. Jesus knew the real reason behind the crowds searching for Him.
John 6:26 NET – Jesus replied, “I tell you the solemn truth, you are looking for me not because you saw miraculous signs, but because you ate all the loaves of bread you wanted.
A. Jesus sees the real condition of their hearts.
He knows that they are not seeking Him because of who He is. They are not even seeking Him because of the other signs He has done. They are seeking Him because He feed them miraculously. I believe they were expecting Him to continue to do this.
You see, they are playing games with the grace and goodness of God here.
B. And before we really jump on this crowd here for doing this, let’s be honest with ourselves for just a moment. Sadly, we often do the very same thing.
We seek Him for only what we can get out of it. He can fill our empty stomachs. He can heal our hurts. He can provide for our selfishness. The thing about Jesus that we need to realize and that this crowd didn’t realize is this: While Jesus can meet our physical needs and physical hunger, He came to meet our spiritual needs and our spiritual hunger. He came to seek and save that which is lost and give them eternal life.
3. What is the work that God requires – believing in Jesus Christ.
John 6:27-29 NET – Do not work for the food that disappears, but for the food that remains to eternal life — the food which the Son of Man will give to you. For God the Father has put his seal of approval on him.” (28) So then they said to him, “What must we do to accomplish the deeds God requires?” (29) Jesus replied, “This is the deed God requires — to believe in the one whom he sent.”
A. In studying this passage, I incorrectly thought that they were saying they wanted to do the same works as Jesus Himself does. But that is not what they were saying.
B. They were saying, “What does God want us to do to earn eternal life?”
C. You see, working and searching for earthly food should not be our primary aim in life.
The reason is because earthly food perishes.
D. Our primary purpose and aim is to seek out food that leads to eternal life. This food is Jesus Christ Himself and believing on Him.
E. But this crowd, as we said earlier, is looking at works that God approves of.
They are viewing this in some legalistic fashion. The Greek word for work here literally means, “labor for approval.” They said they wanted God’s approval, so they thought that it was some way to be earned. In Vincent Word studies it says this about this passage, “The question is from a legal standpoint, works being regarded as the condition of obtaining living bread.”
F. Jesus gives them the answer in v. 29 – the work they are to do is to believe in Him.
You see, salvation is not something that is earned at all. There isn’t some type of work or labor they can do to obtain God’s approval. They are simply to believe in Jesus Christ. In our days and times this concept is still hard for people to accept. You see, it is not about what we do. It is about what He has done for us. Do we abide in Him and rest in His finished work on the cross or not?
• Realize that God’s approval is not something that can be worked toward or obtained by labor.
• But it is and will always be obtained by believing and trusting in Jesus Christ.
• So no matter what you go through, trust Jesus today, place that burden in His hand.
• There you will not only find God’s approval, but peace as well.
This is not original. And unfortunately, I don’t know where I got it so as to give the proper recognition. I wrote it down from the internet, but didn’t write where I got it. I found what I had written yesterday, and I’d thought I’d share it now.
10 ways to avoid failure.
1. Live humble, transparent lives.
2. Stay open to Godly, loving correction.
3. Audit your actions regularly.
4. Stay in touch with the real world.
5. Don’t allow people to make you a celebrity – humble yourselves to wash feet.
6. Make your family a priority.
7. Live modestly and give generously.
8. Don’t build your own kingdom, build a team.
9. Develop keen discernment.
10. Maintain your spiritual passion by having daily appointments with God.
Here is another song that is new that I love.
This is a song I’ve been hearing on the radio a lot lately by Mercy Me. This is a video someone produced of the song.