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.