A Love, Hate Relationship

(John 7:1-13)



I’ve never been through physical therapy, but I’ve heard stories that it can be pretty brutal. ​​ The physical therapist is trying to help you recover from an injury or surgery, so you can be fully functioning again. ​​ What that requires is pain and pushing your body beyond what you thought possible.


I can only imagine that you develop a love, hate relationship with the physical therapist. ​​ You love the fact that they push you to help you improve and recover quickly, but you also hate them when they push you beyond your breaking point and the pain sets in.



  • ME

    • Working out

        • I don’t know about you, but I have a love, hate relationship with my stationary bike

        • I love how I feel after I finish a 30-minute workout, but I hate getting started with that workout

        • My legs don’t want to peddle at first, but by the time I’m 10 minutes in, I’ve gotten into a rhythm and my body is warmed up and ready to go

    • Food

        • I also have a love, hate relationship with food

        • I love to eat food, but I hate when I eat too much food because I know that I’m going to feel bloated

        • I also know that when I’m trying to watch how much I’m eating, that I feel defeated when I overeat


  • WE

    • Love, hate relationships

        • I’m sure that we can all relate to having a love, hate relationship with certain things

        • Some of us have experienced that relationship with physical therapy, exercise, and food

        • Perhaps others of us don’t struggle with any of those things, but we do struggle in other areas


We’re going to see today that the people of Jerusalem had a love, hate relationship with Jesus. ​​ Some people loved Him and others hated Him. ​​ The message that Jesus shared was what caused the world to hate Him. ​​ He testified that what the world was doing was evil. ​​ The world did not hate Jesus’ brothers, because they were part of the world – they did not believe in Jesus, yet! ​​ We have to ask ourselves this question today . . .


BIG IDEA – Am I loved or hated by the world?


We strive so hard to be loved by the world (other students, our family members, neighbors, coworkers, bosses, social media followers, even strangers, etc.). ​​ We are driven by the number of likes or followers on our social media accounts. ​​ We may be driven by how many people look up to us as a mentor, trusted authority, or leader. ​​ As followers of Jesus Christ, we should expect to be hated by the world. ​​ “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. ​​ If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. ​​ As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. ​​ That is why the world hates you.” ​​ (John 15:18-19)


Let’s pray


  • GOD (John 7:1-13)

    • Temptation (vv. 1-5)

        • After this

          • John uses the phrase “after this” to transition us to another episode in Jesus’ ministry

          • We know that he referenced the Jewish Passover in John 6:4

          • He now references the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles

            • This feast was six months after Passover, which would also mean it was six months after the feeding of the 5,000 and the bread of life discourse

            • It lasted for seven days

            • The Feast of Tabernacles took place in September/October and it commemorated the wilderness wanderings of the Israelites

              • In order to connect with and remember the wilderness wanderings, the people would build makeshift shelters out of light branches and leaves

              • Those in rural settings would put them up where they lived, perhaps in the field [Carson, The Pillar New Testament Commentary, The Gospel According to John, 305]

              • Those in an urban environment would place their “booths” on their rooftops or in their courtyards [Carson, 305]

            • It also marked autumn and the harvest of olives from trees and grapes from the vines (the harvest of grain happened between April and June)

              • It’s easy for us in Adams County, PA to connect with the Feast of Tabernacles

              • The first two weekends in October is always the Apple Harvest Festival

              • If you’ve ever been by the Adams County Fairgrounds during the festival, you would probably agree that it would be easier if you just erected a makeshift shelter out of light branches and leaves, so you wouldn’t have to fight traffic to get to the festival

              • Perhaps you’re one of those seasoned attenders who knows that it’s best to park in one of the small towns around the area and catch a shuttle bus to the fairgrounds

              • Other people just avoid the fairgrounds and surrounding roads during the Apple Harvest Festival

            • Jesus wasn’t avoiding Judea because of the crowds or because the Feast of Tabernacles was taking place

          • Reason to remain in Galilee

            • As a Jewish male, there were three feasts that you were required to attend every year, and the Feast of Tabernacles was one of them

            • John gives us the reason why Jesus continued to minister in Galilee and purposely stayed away from Judea, specifically Jerusalem

              • The Jews were waiting to take His life

              • They weren’t happy with His teachings about being one with God, coming down from heaven, being the only way to God and heaven, and how they needed to eat His flesh and drink His blood

          • Now that John has set the stage for us, he begins to explain, what I’ve entitled this point, “Temptation”

        • Jesus’ brothers

          • Who were these brothers?

            • These would have been Jesus’, younger, half-brothers

            • Their parents would have been Mary and Joseph

            • These would have been brothers from another Father (you thought I was going to say Mother, didn’t you?)

          • Go to Judea

            • They were challenging Jesus to go Judea (Jerusalem) so that His disciples could see the miracles He did

              • Jesus’ brothers were probably aware of the mass exodus of His disciples, that we saw at the end of chapter 6, and perhaps they thought if Jesus went to Judea He could somehow salvage His ministry by doing miracles there [Carson, 306]

              • Also, Jerusalem would have been bustling at this point, since the Feast of Tabernacles was the most popular feast of the year and Jesus could perform miracles in front of larger crowds and word would spread quickly about Him

            • Culture of shame and honor

              • “In a culture where shame and honor were extremely important ingredients for societal standing, the desire on the part of the brothers to force Jesus into taking a stance is quite understandable.” ​​ [Borchert, The New American Commentary, John 1-11, 280]

              • If Jesus’ brothers were aware of the large number of disciples who had turned away from Jesus and His teachings, then Jesus would need to do something on a large scale to restore His honor in the region

            • The brothers were playing into the human condition of wanting to be known, seen, and valued

          • Public figures do things publicly

            • YouTube and other social media outlets

              • From my humble observations, most famous YouTubers start out doing something unique to them, but eventually they all start doing the same challenges

              • My guess is that they run out of ideas for their followers, or the thing that made them unique at the beginning isn’t so unique anymore

            • One hit wonders

              • For those of us that grew up before the social media craze, we remember certain musicians who had a song that shot up the charts quickly

              • Everyone knew the tune and lyrics to the song

              • Once the song was no longer popular, and several years went by, we would start wondering what ever happened to that musician

              • In some cases, they left the music industry and got another job, because none of the other songs they wrote or sang became popular

            • To be loved by the world means we have to do things out in public and not just in private

              • Amazingly, some celebrities lament the fact that they can no longer casually walk around in public without being noticed

              • Some of them probably wish for the days when they were not popular

            • Jesus’ brothers believe He needs to do His miracles in a very public way at a location that is central to the largest religious group of the day, the Jews

              • “If Jesus is interested in religious prominence, his brothers reason, sooner or later he must prove the master of Jerusalem.” ​​ [Carson, 306]

              • The pattern has not changed since the 1st Century – if you want to make it politically, you have to be known by your constituency – you have to be in the public eye

              • We know that eventually Jesus does make Himself known to the world, but that was not God’s plan for the Feast of Tabernacles

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – God’s plan is perfect.

              • God was working out His perfect plan to redeem the world

              • His plan did not include Jesus showing Himself to the world at the Feast of Tabernacles

              • His plan was to wait six more months for Passover to come again

              • That way John the Baptist’s words about Jesus would carry greater significance, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” ​​ (John 1:29b)

              • Jesus would be the perfect, one-for-all, sacrificial Lamb

            • We see the motivation behind why Jesus’ brothers encourage Him to show Himself to the world

          • Unbelief

            • They did not believe in Him

            • Can you imagine what it must have been like to grow up as the younger siblings of Jesus

              • He never mistreated them

              • He never hurt them

              • He probably looked after them

              • He never called them names

              • Why wouldn’t you believe in someone who always did everything right?

              • Translate that to our own lives today and we know why they didn’t believe in Him

              • It’s difficult to grow up under the shadow of another sibling who seems to do everything right

              • Unfortunately, that’s normally a misconception, because they don’t always do everything right – they’re just good at hiding what they are doing wrong

            • Mark 6:4, Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.”

            • His brother’s unbelief was not a lifelong condition

              • We know that Jude eventually believed in Jesus, because he authored the book of the Bible that bears his name

              • James also believed and wrote the book of James and was eventually the leader of the Christian church in Jerusalem

        • Since Jesus’ brothers didn’t believe in Him, it was difficult for them to understand God’s perfect plan and His perfect timing

    • Wrong Time – Publicly (vv. 6-9)

        • Jesus

          • Jesus explains that the right time for Him has not yet come

          • When we talked about God’s perfect plan, we saw that His timing would be six months later, during Passover

            • PRINCIPLE #2 – God’s timing is perfect.

            • God had the timing of His redemption plan all laid out

              • He knew exactly when Jesus needed to enter Jerusalem

              • God also knew all that Jesus needed to do over the next six months to prepare for His passion

                • We see just a glimpse of some of those things in John 7-13 (forgive an adulterous woman, teach about being the light of the world and the coming judgment, heal a blind mind and teach about blindness, raise Lazarus from the dead, be anointed with perfume, and ride triumphantly into Jerusalem on a donkey)

                • Certainly, there were many more things that Jesus did and taught during that six-month period that are not recorded in John’s Gospel

              • Galatians 4:4-5, But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.

                • God’s timing to send Jesus into the world was perfect!

                • He knew that over 2,000 years ago was the perfect time

                • He knew that 30-33 years after His birth would be the perfect time for Jesus to start ministering in the region

                • He knew that 3 to 3 ½ years later would be the perfect time for Jesus to die on the cross to take our punishment for sin

              • Romans 5:6-8, You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. ​​ Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. ​​ But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: ​​ While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

                • Sinner – that’s the condition of every human being born into this world (Rom. 3:23) and a Holy and Just God has to punish sin (Rom. 6:23)

                • Instead of having every human being take their own punishment for sin, God provided His Son, Jesus, as the perfect, once-for-all sacrifice for our sins (1 Cor. 15:3-4)

                • If God had not fulfilled His perfect plan at the perfect time, we would all be responsible for the punishment of our own sins, which is eternal separation from God in hell

                • We have to repent of our sins and turn to God for His perfect plan of redemption

                • [Parachute illustration from Living Waters Ministry]

                • John 1:12-13, Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

                • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Repent of my sins, receive Jesus, and believe in His name, so I can be part of God’s family.

            • Jesus tells them why He cannot go up for the Feast of Tabernacles

          • Reason why Jesus had to wait

            • The Jews in Judea were waiting to take His life (Jn. 7:1)

            • The Jews hated Him, but we also know that the world hates Him

              • In the context of this story, we know that the Jewish religious leaders and other Jews did not like His teachings

              • In the greater context we know that the world hates Jesus and what He stands for

                • Jesus’ testimony is that what the world does is evil

                • No one likes to be told that what they are doing is evil or wrong

                • “The world always hates to have its evil exposed, to be convicted of its sin.” ​​ [Carson, 308]

                • Jesus’ life and testimony causes human beings to feel guilty about their sins

                • Because we are created in God’s image, He has written the requirements of His law on our hearts

                • Romans 2:14-15, (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.)

                • We know what is right and wrong whether or not we have every been introduced to the Ten Commandments or the other 600 commands found in Scripture – it’s a part of every human being’s make-up/DNA

          • While the world hates Jesus, it does not hate His brothers

        • His Brothers

          • Jesus states that any time is right for His brothers

            • The Jews are not waiting to kill them

            • They can go to Jerusalem (Judea) anytime they want without fear of being arrested, beaten, and killed

          • The world cannot hate you

            • The reason the world cannot hate them is because they don’t believe in Jesus and are still part of the world

            • John 15:19, If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. ​​ As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. ​​ That is why the world hates you.

            • Am I loved or hated by the world?

              • This is an important question that each one of us needs to wrestle with

              • Jesus’ brothers did not believe in Him

              • They had no mission from God, like Jesus did

              • As followers of Jesus Christ, we have a mission from God, to make disciples (Matt. 28:18-20)

              • When we are truly on mission, then the world is going to hate us, because sharing the Gospel exposes their sin and their faulty beliefs about how to get to heaven

                • The Good Person Test asks the question, “Are you a good person?” and most people respond, “Yes.”

                • Can I ask you a couple of questions to see if you are a good person by God’s standard?

                • Have you ever lied? ​​ What does that make you? (a liar)

                • Have you ever stolen anything that doesn’t belong to you, no matter how small? ​​ What does that make you? ​​ (a thief)

                • Have you ever hated someone in your heart? ​​ What does that make you? ​​ (a murdered)

                • Have you ever looked at another person with lust? ​​ What does that make you? ​​ (an adulterer)

                • By our own admission, we are lying, thieving, murdering, adulterers at heart

                • When you stand before a Holy and Just God will you be innocent or guilty? ​​ (guilty)

              • Sharing the Gospel will cause the world to hate us, because they hated Jesus first

              • To be loved by the world means that they don’t see us as any different from them

                • If they see us lying, hating others, gossiping, cheating, stealing, becoming drunk, taking the Lord’s name in vain, not honoring our parents, etc., they aren’t going to see the need to respond to the Gospel

                • But if they see us pursuing holiness, speaking words of encouragement, revering the Lord’s name, speaking the truth, loving others, living honestly, honoring our parents, studying God’s Word, praying, and much more, then they may turn to God in repentance and believe in Jesus

              • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Determine if I am loved or hated by the world and make any changes, so I can identify with Jesus as being hated by the world.

                • This may mean being bold for Jesus at school, work, and our neighborhoods

                • It may mean persecution by our family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors

                • It could result in the loss of relationships with family members, friends, and coworkers

                • It some cases it could mean the loss of our job

                • God is faithful!

          • Jesus’ brothers were loved by the world at this point, but as I mentioned earlier, some of them eventually became His followers, His disciples and were hated by the world

        • Jesus stayed in Galilee while His brothers went to the Feast of Tabernacles, because His time had not yet come

    • Right Time – Privately (vv. 10-13)

        • The “yet” in verse 6 lets us know that Jesus was probably still going to the Feast of Tabernacles, but not in the way His brothers wanted Him to go

        • After His brothers left, He also went up, but did it privately

          • He wasn’t riding in on a white horse

          • He wasn’t performing miracles like a magic show

          • He quietly went up to observe this very important Feast

        • The Jews were watching for Him

          • God is all-knowing, so His plans and timing are perfect

          • He knew that Jesus could not go to Jerusalem publicly, at this time, because the Jews were looking for Him

          • They wanted to arrest Him and put Him to death

        • The crowd was divided

          • PRINCIPLE #3 – Jesus’ message of truth, divides.

            • Some said He was a good man

              • We don’t from the text if these individuals believed in Jesus and were His disciples

              • They simply could have viewed Him as a good person, a good teacher, but not the Son of God, their Savior, or the Messiah

              • They were perhaps open and receptive to Jesus’ teaching

            • Others said He was a deceiver

              • This was a serious accusation in the 1st Century

              • “According to Jewish law, the punishment for leading people astray was stoning, further distinguishing between those who mislead an individual and those who lead an entire town astray.” ​​ [Köstenberger, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, John, 232]

            • “As it is in Jerusalem, so today audiences will be divided. ​​ Some appear open and receptive, others appear cynical and hostile.” ​​ [Burge, The NIV Application Commentary, John, 231]

            • Am I loved or hated by the world?

          • Whether they thought Jesus was a good man or a deceiver, neither group was willing to say anything publicly

        • Fear of the Jews

          • Both groups were afraid of the Jewish religious leaders in Jerusalem

          • That tells us something about their leadership – they were probably hard and harsh

          • Those who thought Jesus was a good man would not risk saying that publicly, because they knew how the Jews would react

          • Application

            • We can be the same way today

            • Our religious freedoms are under attack

            • New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, himself not a Christian, described his concern about increasing hatred toward Christians in the leading edges of society, writing, ‘In liberal circles, evangelicals constitute one of the few groups that it’s safe to mock openly.’” ​​ [Henderson, Old Paths New Power, 25]

            • We live in fear of saying anything about Jesus at school or work because we will be ridiculed and persecuted

            • We may fear losing our job if we say anything about our faith, and yet we are supposed to have freedom of religion and speech

            • We have to be willing to share openly about Jesus, no matter the cost


  • YOU

    • We have to ask ourselves the question, am I loved or hated by the world? ​​ (That will determine what steps we need to take as a follower of Jesus Christ)


  • WE

    • We need to boldly proclaim the truths of the Gospel, without fear, no matter what others may think



“Dear Fear-Of-What-Others-Think:


I am sick of you, and it's time we broke up. I know we've broken up and gotten back together many times, but seriously, Fear-Of-What-Others-Think, this is it. We're breaking up.


I'm tired of overthinking my status updates on Facebook, trying to sound more clever, funny, and important. I'm sick of feeling anxious about what I say or do in public, especially around people I don't know that well, all in the hope that they'll like me, accept me, praise me. I run around all day feeling like a Golden Retriever with a full bladder: Like me! Like me! Like me!


Because of you, I go through my day with a cloud of shame hanging over my head, and I never stop acting. The spotlight's always on, and I'm center stage, and I'd better keep dancing, posturing, mugging, or else the spotlight will move, and I'll dissolve into a little, meaningless puddle on the ground, just like that witch in The Wizard of Oz. I can never live up to the expectations of my imaginary audience, the one that lives only in my head but whose collective voice is louder than any other voice in the universe.


And all of this is especially evil because if I really stop and think about it, and let things go quiet and listen patiently for the voice of the God who made me and the Savior who died for me, in his eyes, it turns out I'm actually—profoundly—precious, lovable, worthy, valuable, and even just a little ghetto-fabulous. When I find my true identity in Christ, then you turn back into the tiny, yapping little dog that you are.


So eat it, Fear-Of-What-Others-Think. You and I are done. And no, I'm not interested in "talking it through." I'm running, jumping, laughing you out of my life, once and for all. Or at least, that's what I really, really want, God help me.”


Jessie Rice, "An Open Letter to My Fear of What Others Think," Church of Facebook blog (11-23-11).






Will You Stay Or Will You Go?

(John 6:60-71)



We are all probably familiar with a couple of Christian leaders who have renounced their faith recently.


Joshua Harris, author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye, announced on July 26th that he and his wife were separating. ​​ In a follow-up post on Instagram he made this statement, “The information that was left out of our announcement is that I have undergone a massive shift in regard to my faith in Jesus. ​​ The popular phrase for this is ‘deconstruction,’ the biblical phrase is ‘falling away.’ ​​ By all the measurements that I have for defining a Christian, I am not a Christian. ​​ Many people tell me that there is a different way to practice faith and I want to remain open to this, but I’m not there now.”


Right on the heels of Joshua Harris’ announcement was Marty Sampson’s announcement on Instagram. ​​ He said, “Time for some real talk. ​​ I’m genuinely losing my faith, and it doesn’t bother me. ​​ Like, what bothers me now is nothing. ​​ I am so happy now, so at peace with the world. ​​ It’s crazy. . . This is a soapbox moment so here I go . . . How many preachers fall? ​​ Many, no one talks about it. ​​ How many miracles happen. ​​ Not many. ​​ No one talks about it. ​​ Why is the Bible full of contradictions? ​​ No one talks about it. ​​ How can God be love yet send four billion people to a place, all ‘coz they don’t believe? ​​ No one talks about it. ​​ Christians can be the most judgmental people on the planet – they can also be some of the most beautiful and loving people. ​​ But it’s not for me.” ​​ He later clarified that he wouldn’t say he has “renounced” his faith but would say “it’s on incredibly shaky ground.”




This is important when we read what John said in 1 John 2:18-19, Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. ​​ This is how we know it is the last hour. ​​ They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. ​​ For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.



  • ME

    • Fully committed

        • Judy and I have always believed that marriage is “until death do us part.”

          • We were both Christians long before we knew each other, which formed that belief in us

          • Divorce has never been a word that is used or talked about in our marriage – it’s not an option for us

          • That doesn’t mean we haven’t argued with each other, been angry with other, or taken some time apart to cool down

        • We feel the same way about our relationship with Jesus

          • When we made the commitment to follow Jesus and be His disciple, it was a lifetime commitment we were making

          • Renouncing our faith is not a word that is used or talked about in our relationship with Jesus – it’s not an option for us


  • WE

    • Fully Committed

        • Perhaps every one of us is fully committed to something or someone

          • Are we fully committed to our spouses?

          • Are we fully committed to our job?

          • Are we fully committed to Idaville Church?

          • Are we fully committed to Jesus Christ?

        • Everyone take a moment to consider what you are fully committed to


Jesus has been sharing what most refer to as, His “Bread of Life” discourse. ​​ It started after the feeding of the 5,000. ​​ He was making some statements that were difficult for the Jews and His disciples to believe and accept. ​​ He had told them that He had come down from heaven and that in order to receive eternal life and live forever, they had to eat His flesh and drink His blood, which simply meant they had to come to Him and believe in Him – they had to believe in His perfect sacrifice for them on the cross. ​​ This was definitely not the kind of “king” they were looking for, and as we’ll see today, not someone they wanted to continue to follow. ​​ That did not come as a surprise to Jesus. ​​ What John wants us to understand is that . . .


BIG IDEA – Jesus knows who His true disciples are.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (John 6:60-71)

    • Going (vv. 60-66)

        • Disciple’s grumbling

          • On hearing it

            • This is probably referring to three things that Jesus had just taught them

              • He had come down from heaven as the bread of life (we know that offended the Jews, but perhaps it offended His disciples as well)

              • Jesus’ death was the only way for them to receive eternal life (that wasn’t their idea of a Messiah/King)

              • The use of the metaphor for believing in Jesus – eating His flesh and drinking His blood

            • At least one of those teachings, but probably all three, are what is being referred to here as what they heard

          • His disciples

            • Most of the time when we see the word “disciple” used we think of the Twelve Disciples that followed Jesus wherever He went, but there is a distinction here

              • In verse 67 we’ll see Jesus speak directly to the Twelve (that’s the first time this word is used)

              • Earlier in John we see that many people believed in Jesus name, but were not truly disciples

              • John 2:23-25, Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name. ​​ But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. ​​ He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.

            • “At the most elementary level, a disciple is someone who is at that point following Jesus, either literally by joining the group that pursued him from place to place, or metaphorically in regarding him as the authoritative teacher. ​​ Such a ‘disciple’ is not necessarily a ‘Christian’, someone who has savingly trusted Jesus and sworn allegiance to him, given by the Father to the Son, drawn by the Father and born again by the Spirit.” ​​ [Carson, The Pillar New Testament Commentary, The Gospel According To John, 300]

            • John 8:31-32, To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. ​​ Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

            • As we’ll see in just a moment, these “disciples” will not hold to Jesus’ teaching any more

          • Hard teaching

            • Jesus’ teaching was not hard to understand

            • These “disciples” knew exactly what Jesus was teaching them

            • It was hard in the sense of being offensive, harsh, and intolerable

            • They didn’t like what He was teaching them, because it offended them (Jesus was going to die for them, and following Him meant they had to die also – dying to self and/or martyrdom)

          • Who can accept it?

            • Other translations have, “who can hear, listen, or understand it?”

            • The original Greek means “accept” with the idea of obeying Jesus’ teachings

            • So, being a disciple of Jesus is more than just hearing His words, but accepting them and being obedient to them

            • That’s the intent of John 8:31, holding to the teachings of Jesus – it’s continuing to be present, to persevere, to cleave to or hold fast to His Words

            • Application

              • Have you accepted Jesus’ teachings?

              • Are you being obedient to His teachings?

              • Are you holding to, cleaving to, and persevering in His teachings?

              • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Make sure that I’m not just hearing Jesus’ teachings, but accepting them and being obedient to them.

              • Being obedient to and holding on to Jesus’ teachings is evidence that we are really His disciples.

              • Jesus knows who His true disciples are.

          • He also knows what they are talking about, so He responds to their grumbling

        • Jesus’ response

          • Jesus knows what they are saying

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – Jesus is omniscient (all-knowing)

              • This principle continues to come up each week for the past several weeks, which means that it’s an important principle that God wants us to grasp, accept, and understand

              • In fact, this principle will be seen in vv. 64 and 70

            • The knowledge of what His disciples were grumbling about was supernatural in nature – He knows their hearts

            • So, He addresses their concern

          • Does this offend you?

            • Jesus’ response lets us know that they were offended by His teachings, and not that they didn’t understand His teachings

            • Jesus’ next statement challenges them

              • If they’re offended simply by His teachings about how eternal life is obtained, through His death, burial, and resurrection, how will they react when it actually happens

              • Jesus has been telling them that He is going to give His life for the world (John 6:51)

              • He is now telling them that His ascension, back to heaven, will only come after His death, burial, and resurrection

            • Then He explains that the Spirit gives life and that flesh counts for nothing

          • Spirit gives life

            • Wait a minute, in verses 41-59 Jesus talked all about how the bread, which represented His flesh, will be given for the life of the world, so that human beings could experience eternal life and live forever

              • Now He’s saying that flesh doesn’t count for anything, and that the Spirit gives life

              • We have to understand that Jesus is not talking about His flesh here

              • He is talking about trying to understand His word in our humanness

              • Read 1 Corinthians 1:18-31

              • He is also talking about trying to obtain eternal life in our own strength

                • How many of us have done that in the past?

                • We think that being religious will get us to heaven

                • We think that following the correct philosophical ideas will bridge the gap between us and God

                • We think that being moral will someone please God to the point of Him allowing us into His kingdom

                • We think that good works will punch our ticket for eternity

                • None of things bridge the gap between sinful people and a Holy God

                • Isaiah 59:2, But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

                • Proverbs 14:12, There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.

              • I cannot make someone fall in love with Jesus.

                It really came home for me, literally, with my own teenage daughter, who, 18 months ago, was not in love with Jesus. I spent nights crying, bawling, praying to the Lord. Here, I am known for my ability to communicate, but there was nothing I could do for my own daughter that would make her fall in love with Jesus. Of course I could still guide and lead her, but I was powerless to convict her.

                I prayed, ‘God, either your Spirit comes into her or your Spirit doesn't. It doesn't matter how great a dad I am. I cannot bring her to life.’

                One day she came into my room and said, ‘You were right, Dad. The Holy Spirit was not in me. But now he is.’ She talked about how near she was to God and how everything had changed. My wife and I were skeptical. We wanted to see evidence of change. But 18 months later, I can say she really is a new creation. I didn't do that. It was the Holy Spirit.

                Condensed from our sister publication Leadership Journal, © 2010 Christianity Today International. For more articles like this, visit

                Francis Chan, "Catching Waves,” (posted 5-17-10)


            • The words He has spoken are Spirit and they are life

              • Jesus’ teaching about His ultimate sacrifice for the sins of the world is the only way to bridge the gap that sin has created between us and God

              • 1 Timothy 2:5, For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.

              • 1 Peter 3:18, For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.

              • Romans 5:8, But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (ESV)

              • John 3:16, For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

              • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Believe in Jesus and His words, so I can have eternal life.

            • Perhaps there are people here today who have not believed in Jesus

            • Jesus knew that some of His “disciples” did not believe His words

          • Jesus knew who the true believers were

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – Jesus is omniscient (all-knowing)

              • None of this came as a surprise to Jesus, because He already knew, from the beginning, which of them did not believe

              • He knew their hearts and why they claimed to be His disciple

              • He knew their motives for following Him and that it wasn’t because they believed His words

              • Jesus knows who His true disciples are.

            • He also knew who was going to betray Him, but we’ll look at that in verses 70-71

          • Jesus reminded them of what He had already said, about God drawing people to Him – God’s sovereignty (John 6:37-40)

          • What we see next is the action of these “disciples”

        • Disciple’s action

          • It seems that as soon as Jesus finished sharing with them, that these “disciples” turned back and no longer followed Jesus

          • This wasn’t just a temporary turning away from Jesus and not following Him any more

            • The verb for “turned back/withdrew” is aorist, meaning that it was decisive and not temporary – they had made up their minds about Jesus and His teachings

            • The verb for “followed” is imperfect, which shows how permanent their decision was

          • “These former followers, literally, ‘went away to the things they had left behind’ and no longer ‘kept moving about’ with Jesus. ​​ In other words, they renounced their discipleship and fell away. ​​ Jesus was not the Messiah they expected.” [Köstenberger, Bake Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, John, 220]

          • PRINCIPLE #2 – Not everyone who claims to be a disciple of Jesus is a Christian.

            • This has been proven true in our own day with Joshua Harris, Marty Sampson, and others

            • Perhaps we all know of someone who claimed to be a Christian, but later turned away from the Lord

            • Maybe every one of us has heard another person say, “I tried Christianity, but it didn’t work for me.”

            • Jesus taught about true and false disciples through a parable found in Matthew 13:1-23

              • He used the imagery of a field and different kinds of soil to help us understand how the Gospel of Jesus Christ is received by human beings

              • Path/Hard soil (seed never penetrates the soil, birds came and ate it) – someone hears the message and does not understand it, Satan comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart

              • Rocky soil (not much soil, sprang up quickly, scorched by the sun, withered because of no root) – someone who hears the word and receives it readily with joy, but it only lasts a short time, because when trouble and persecution come, they fall away

              • Thorny soil (the thorns grew up with the seed and choked it) – someone who hears the word, but the worries of life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful

              • Good soil (the seed grew and produced a crop) – someone who hears the word and understands it

              • What kind of soil are we?

                • If we are hard, rocky, or thorny soil, then we are only claiming to be a “disciple” of Jesus Christ and not a Christian

                • Jesus knows who His true disciples are.

            • Peter taught about making our calling and election sure

              • Read 2 Peter 1:3-11

              • If our relationship with Jesus Christ is genuine, and we are true disciples, then that faith will motivate us to pursue the qualities of goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love

              • Are you pursuing those qualities?

              • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Make my calling and election sure, by pursuing the qualities listed in 2 Peter 1:5-7 in increasing measure.

            • “It is impossible to be a genuine disciple merely for a time. ​​ You either turn from your sin, place your faith in Jesus Christ, and follow him until you get to heaven, or you don’t. ​​ There is no middle ground!” ​​ [Carter & Wredberg, Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in John, 165]

        • Jesus now turns His attention away from the unbelievers (former disciples) and talks to the Twelve Disciples He has chosen and called

    • Staying (vv. 67-71)

        • Jesus’ question

          • Jesus asks if they want to leave too, but the way the question is structured in the Greek, Jesus was expecting a negative response – the structure demands the answer, NO!

          • We see that Peter’s confession of faith supports that answer

        • Peter’s confession of faith

          • It’s not just Peter’s confession of faith, because he uses the plural, “we”

          • The Twelve don’t know of anyone else they should follow, because no one else is Jesus

            • Jesus is the only One who has the words of eternal life

            • Peter implies that all Twelve of them are not offended by Jesus’ words

              • They believe that He is the bread of life that came down from heaven

              • They believe that the only way to have eternal life is to believe in Jesus’ perfect sacrifice by giving His life for the world

              • They understand the metaphor of eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking His blood, as meaning to accept His death for all humanity

          • Firm conviction

            • In Peter’s statement, “We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God”, the “we” and “you are” are both emphatic, meaning that it is a firm conviction

            • The Twelve have arrived at this firm conviction through a thorough process of watching and listening to Jesus

            • There is no doubt in their minds that Jesus is the Holy One of God

            • PRINCIPLE #3 – True disciples of Jesus believe and know that He is God!

              • Do you believe and know that Jesus is God?

              • Do you have a firm conviction that there is no one else to go to and no other way to have eternal life, except through believing in Jesus Christ and His death, burial, and resurrection?

          • Jesus replies to Peter’s confession of faith

        • Jesus’ reply

          • Jesus begins his reply by clarifying with the Twelve that He has chosen them

          • Jesus then brings a corrective to Peter’s confession, that represented the whole group of Twelve

          • While Peter was not yet aware of Judas’ betrayal, Jesus was, which leads us back to PRINCIPLE #1 – Jesus is omniscient (all-knowing)

          • Jesus tells the Twelve that one of them is the devil

            • Most English translations have “is a devil.”

            • The Greek literally has it as “is the devil.”

          • Jesus knows who His true disciples are.

          • We see John’s note in parenthesis

            • John is able to give us this note, because he is writing after Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection and Judas’ betrayal

            • Jesus was talking about Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot

              • Most of the time Judas is referred to as Judas Iscariot

              • We know Judas’ father’s name, but we also know his place of origin (what town he was from)

              • Most scholars agree that Iscariot is a transliteration of the Hebrew word meaning, “man of Kerioth” [Carson, 304]

              • That would have been the town where he and his family were from

            • He was one of the Twelve, but later betrayed Jesus

              • I’m sure that Peter and the other disciples assumed that because Jesus chose them that everyone believed in Him the same way

              • This shows the ability of human beings to be able to fake true discipleship, at least for a little while

              • Eventually the truth will be revealed, because they cannot hide who they really are

              • There should be evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in addition to the qualities Peter listed in his second letter (2 Peter 1:5-7)


  • YOU

    • It can be very easy to simply hear Jesus’ teaching, but not accept them or be obedient to them

        • Being a true disciple of Jesus means accepting His words and being obedient to them

        • It also means making our calling and election sure by adding to our faith the qualities of goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love

    • Before you can add those qualities to your faith, you have to have genuine faith in Jesus

        • Genuine faith comes through believing that Jesus is God

        • Believing that He willingly died on the cross to take your punishment for sin – He saved you from eternal separation from God

        • I encourage you to make that decision today


  • WE

    • We can’t naively believe that everyone who claims to be a disciple of Jesus is a Christian

    • We need to be praying that each of us will pursue goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love

        • That is evidence of a transformed life

        • Unbelievers will recognize a difference in us

        • It will move us toward unity as a body of believers



“If you have any knowledge at all of human nature, you know that those who only admire the truth will, when danger appears, become traitors. The admirer is infatuated with the false security of greatness; but if there is any inconvenience or trouble, he pulls back. Admiring the truth, instead of following it, is just as dubious a fire as the fire of erotic love, which at the turn of the hand can be changed into exactly the opposite—to hate, jealousy, and revenge. Christ, however, never asked for admirers, worshipers, or adherents. He consistently spoke of ‘followers’ and ‘disciples.’”

—Søren Kierkegaard, Danish philosopher and theologian (1813–1855)


Søren Kierkegaard, unknown; submitted by Bill White, Paramount, California






Eating Is Believing

(John 6:41-59)





  • ME

    • Asparagus

        • Growing up I never really liked asparagus

        • We didn’t have it very often, that I can remember

        • I just remember not liking it the times that we did

        • After moving to Birmingham, AL my parents became friends with a family whose father was a trained chef

        • He was opening a restaurant and our family got invited to opening night

        • Can you guess what the vegetable was that evening – asparagus!

        • That was the first time I actually liked asparagus

        • I’m not saying my Mom didn’t cook asparagus well – I was older by the time we had it prepared by a chef, so I guess my palate had become more refined

        • I love eating asparagus now


  • WE

    • Refined palate

        • Perhaps every one of us can remember turning our nose up at a particular kind of food as a child

        • It was something we did not like and would refuse to eat

        • Take a moment to think back to your childhood, what was the food?

        • Do you like that food item today?


One item that was prohibited for the Israelites to eat was meat that still had blood in it. ​​ They were also prohibited from drinking blood. ​​ So, the Jews in this passage today were definitely struggling with Jesus’ statement, that unless they eat His flesh and drink His blood that they have no life in them. ​​ Jesus obviously was not talking about literally eating His flesh and drinking His blood. ​​ As we will see today, what is required to have eternal life and to live forever is believing in Jesus’ perfect sacrifice for us. ​​ John wants us to understand that . . .


BIG IDEA – If you believe, you have eaten.


Augustine of Hippo actually said, “Believe, and you have eaten [Carson, The Pillar New Testament Commentary, The Gospel According to John, 297].


Let’s pray


  • GOD (John 6:41-59)

    • Grumbling (vv. 41-46)

        • The Jews are not happy with Jesus’ teaching

        • They understood that Jesus was saying He was from heaven, but that didn’t go together with what they thought they knew about Him (vv. 41-42)

          • They knew that Jesus was the son of Joseph and that His mother was Mary

            • Jesus had grown up in Nazareth of Galilee and that was the only thing they knew about Him

            • All they knew was Jesus of Nazareth and not Jesus of Bethlehem in Judea

              • Luke 2:16-19, So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in a manger. ​​ When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. ​​ But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

              • My guess is that Mary and Joseph kept Jesus’ miraculous conception and birth pretty quiet, especially after they moved to Nazareth in Galilee

              • Those in Galilee were not familiar with Jesus of Bethlehem

            • The Jews premise would be correct if Jesus was just the human son of Mary and Joseph

              • “How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”

              • Jesus wasn’t deity, He was just the son of a carpenter

              • We know His family

            • So the Jews were grumbling among themselves

              • This was not the first time the Jews had grumbled

                • There are references throughout this discourse to the manna from heaven and the Jews forefathers

                • The Israelites had grumbled before and after they had received the manna from heaven

                • Exodus 16:2, 8, In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron . . . Moses also said, “You will know that it was the Lord when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. ​​ Who are we? ​​ You are not grumbling against us, but against the Lord.”

                • Numbers 11:4, The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat!”

              • “Grumblers seldom take their issue directly to those who can resolve it.” ​​ [John White, Leadership, Vol 14, no. 2]

              • Application

                • This is true of us today

                • It’s much easier to talk to other people about the issue we are having than to go directly to the person we have an issue with

                • Many times our assumptions about the situation or the person are not correct

                • If we would go directly to the individual, we can avoid misconceptions and gossip

                • Once something false is said, it’s very difficult to retrace the path it has taken, with the truth

                • This is not easy, but it’s necessary – we need to go directly to the person we have an issue with and not to anyone else

                • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ With the Lord’s help, go directly to the individual I have an issue with instead of talking to others about it.

            • The Jews thought they knew who Jesus was, but their assumption was false

          • Jesus proves that He is more than merely human when He calls them on the carpet

        • Stop grumbling! (v. 43)

          • PRINCIPLE #1 – Jesus is all-knowing (omniscient).

            • He knew what they were doing and saying and He put a stop to it, immediately

            • Application

              • We need to follow Jesus’ example here

              • When we hear gossip or grumbling we need to step in and confront the individual(s) immediately

              • If someone approaches us and tries to get us to engage in gossip or grumbling, we need to ask them if they have talked with the individual they are sharing with us about

              • If they haven’t then we need to encourage them to do that

              • If they’re afraid, then tell them that you will go with them

              • Accountability is the key, and it will bring unity

          • Once Jesus stopped the grumbling, He was able to teach them more about who He was

        • Doctrine of election (vv. 44-45)

          • Jesus began to teach this doctrine as we saw in verses 37 and 40 last week, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away . . . For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

          • God’s sovereignty (v. 44)

            • We see God’s sovereign act of drawing people to the Jesus

              • The Greek words means, “to draw by inward power, lead, impel”

              • It’s God’s drawing power

              • His holiness and righteousness draw people to Him

              • The Holy Spirit does the work within human beings to soften their hearts to the things of God – to bring them to a place of repentance

            • Those whom God draws to Jesus will be raised up on the last day

          • Human responsibility

            • Jesus then uses Isaiah 54:13 to help the Jews understand human responsibility in salvation

              • Isaiah 54:13, All your sons will be taught by the Lord and great will be your children’s peace.

              • Isaiah is foreseeing a day when the Israelites will return from exile, rebuild Jerusalem, and worship the Lord – their spiritual fervor, for the Lord, will be restored and renewed

            • Jesus is basically telling the Jews that the reason they don’t believe in Him is because they are unwilling to be taught by God

              • Imagine how those words fell on the ears of pious Jews who prided themselves in studying the Torah

              • Is Jesus saying we don’t know our own Scriptures?

            • Jesus makes it clear that everyone who has heard the Father and learned from Him comes to Him [Jesus] – that’s our human responsibility

              • “To ‘hear from the Father’ is to hear Jesus, for the One who spoke long ago at Sinai now speaks through the Son, and only through the Son. ​​ If they do not hear the Son, they will not hear the Father, and if they do not hear and learn from the Father, they will not come to the Son.” ​​ [Michaels, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, The Gospel of John, 387]

              • This is the responsibility of every Christian

              • Matthew 28:18-20, Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. ​​ Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. ​​ And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.”

              • Romans 10:14-15, How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? ​​ And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? ​​ And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? ​​ And how can they preach unless they are sent? ​​ As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

            • God’s sovereignty and human responsibility cannot be separated

          • It is both elements together and not one or the other that brings about salvation

            • “Salvation is never achieved apart from the drawing power of God, and it is never consummated apart from the willingness of humans to hear and learn from God. ​​ To choose one or the other will ultimately end in unbalanced, unbiblical theology.” ​​ [Borchert, The New American Commentary, John 1-11, 268]

            • The concept of God’s sovereignty and human responsibility can be difficult for us to understand or comprehend

            • During his days as guest lecturer at Calvin Seminary, R. B. Kuiper once used the following illustration of God's sovereignty and human responsibility:

              ‘I liken them to two ropes going through two holes in the ceiling and over a pulley above. If I wish to support myself by them, I must cling to them both. If I cling only to one and not the other, I go down. I read the many teachings of the Bible regarding God's election, predestination, his chosen, and so on. I read also the many teachings regarding 'whosoever will may come' and urging people to exercise their responsibility as human beings. These seeming contradictions cannot be reconciled by the puny human mind. With childlike faith, I cling to both ropes, fully confident that in eternity I will see that both strands of truth are, after all, of one piece.’”

              John Morren, Lake City, Michigan. Leadership, Vol. 7, no. 3.


            • So, God draws us to Jesus, but we are drawn because we have heard the Father and have learned from Him

            • Jesus is the key

          • Jesus expresses His deity to the Jews

            • Jesus is speaking in the third person

            • He is from God and, therefore, has seen the Father

            • PRINCIPLE #2 – Jesus is deity.

              • Making this statement was going to be difficult for the Jews to accept

              • Remember, they have already questioned His statement about coming down from heaven

              • They thought they knew His genealogy (Joseph and Mary)

              • Throughout Jesus’ passion we know that the religious leaders were upset that He claimed to be from God – they said He blasphemed

            • Jesus is the key!

            • Two months before [Orthodox priest] Aleksandr Menn was felled by an ax, he was asked in a radio interview broadcast across Russia, ‘Does one need to be a Christian, and if one does, then why?’

              ‘I think there is only one answer, and it as follows,’ he said:

              ‘Man always seeks God. The normal state of man is, to some extent, to be connected with a higher power, even when the higher power in the human mind is distorted, and turned into something secular. Eras of Stalinism ... and all other isms seek some false god even if God is taken away. This turns to idol worship, but still the inner instinct of seeking God is there. ...

              ‘The question is totally different when it is put this way: Why Christianity? Is it because of the sacred scriptures? No, every religion has sacred scriptures, and sometimes with a very high quality of spiritual content. ...

              ‘Then why Christianity? Morality? Certainly. I am happy that in our society the high moral values of Christianity are accepted, but it would be totally erroneous to maintain that there are no moral values outside Christianity. ...

              ‘Then why Christianity? Should we embrace ... a position that God is revealed and therefore can be found in any religion? No, because then the uniqueness and absolute character of Christianity will disappear. I think that nothing will prove the uniqueness of Christianity except one thing – Jesus Christ Himself.’”

              Larry Woiwode, Books & Culture, Vol. 2, no. 2.


        • All of this leads up to a teaching that will separate true disciples from all the rest

    • Believe (vv. 47-58)

        • In verses 47 to 58 we see a lot of repeated ideas in a chiastic structure that points to the central idea that Jesus wants the crowd to understand

          • A chiastic structure has matching parts that eventually narrow down to a main idea

          • It is like a “greater than” symbol pointing to the center

          • The chiastic structure for these verses is as follows:
            A – vv. 47-48
             ​​ ​​​​ B – v. 49
             ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​ C – vv. 50-51a
             ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​ D – v. 51b
             ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​ E – vv. 52-53 (central idea/main point)
             ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​ D’ – vv. 54-56
             ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​ C’ – vv. 57-58a
             ​​ ​​ ​​​​ B’ – v. 58b
            A’ – v. 58c

          • The whole theme is about living forever and having eternal life

        • Eternal life/live forever (vv. 47-48, 58c)

          • These first two sections help us to understand what Jesus is really trying to communicate

          • In verse 47 Jesus says, the one who believes has eternal life

            • What exactly does someone need to believe?

            • We see that in verse 48, I am the bread of life

            • This takes us back to verse 35, Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. ​​ He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”

          • Then in verse 58c we read these words, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever

            • Notice how Jesus uses both believe and feeds to mean the same thing

            • If you believe, you have eaten.

          • Jesus uses eternal life and lives forever to mean the same thing

          • If the Jews or anyone else believes in Jesus and what He came to earth to do, then they will have eternal life and live forever

          • Jesus tries to help the Jews understand the significance of His claim that He is the bread of life

        • Ancestors died (vv. 49, 58b)

          • Back in verse 31 the Jews used Scripture (Exodus 14:4) as a proof text for what happened to their forefathers

            • The Israelites were sustained by God, for 40 years, through the miraculous bread from heaven – manna

            • The Jews in Jesus’ day wanted a miraculous sign from Jesus on the same level as manna from heaven

          • Jesus explains that manna did not provide eternal life and the Israelites did not live forever

            • We know from Old Testament scripture (Numbers 14:29-30) that not every Israelite made it to the Promised Land

            • Those who were 21 years old or older, who rebelled against the Lord when He brought them to the Promised Land the first time, would die in the wilderness

            • In fact, everyone who ate manna in the wilderness eventually died

            • Manna from heaven did not provide eternal life

          • Jesus explains that there is a bread from heaven that provides eternal life

        • Bread from heaven (vv. 50-51a, 57-58a)

          • In verses 50 and 58a Jesus speaks about Himself in the third person, But here is the bread that comes down from heaven . . . This is the bread that came down from heaven

          • Then in verses 51a and 57 He speaks of Himself in the first person, I am the living bread that came down from heaven . . . Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me

          • Jesus uses the metaphor of eating and feeding in these verses to refer to believing in Him

            • He uses the negative in verse 50, not die

            • Then He uses the positive in verse 57, will live

          • Jesus then moves to the hard teaching that will separate the genuine disciples from the fake ones

        • Eating flesh and drinking blood (vv. 51b, 54-56)

          • Jesus is moving the Jews away from the idea of physical bread to the idea of spiritual bread

          • Here is the key to these verses

            • John 1:14, The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. ​​ We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

            • Jesus is not talking about cannibalism or vampires

            • The reference to eating His flesh and drinking His blood is referring to His sacrifice for humanity (for the life of the world) on the cross

            • Later on during the Last Supper He will explain the bread as His body which was broken for us and the wine as His blood that was poured out for us

              • However, in this passage it is not referring to the Eucharist/Communion

              • That would require us reading back into this passage something that happened after the events of this passage

              • The Lord’s Supper wasn’t instituted yet

            • Jesus is foretelling His death

          • Live forever/eternal life

            • Once again we see Jesus using these two terms interchangeably

            • That is the result of recognizing and believing in Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice on the cross and then coming to Him

          • Raised up at the last day

            • Verse 54 and verse 40 are almost parallel and help us to understand that Jesus is using the metaphor of eating to describe believing in Him

              • John 6:54, Whoever eats my flesh and drinks by blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day

              • John 6:40, For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

            • If you believe, you have eaten.

          • Abide

            • Jesus is basically saying that if we continue to believe in His sacrifice on the cross that He will continue to be with us

            • “That the believer remains in Jesus means he or she continues to be identified with Jesus, continues as a Christian (to use a later term), continues in saving faith and consequent transformation of life. ​​ That Jesus remains in the believer means that Jesus identifies himself with the believer, but not in reciprocal trust and transformation (that would be absurd) but in help, blessing, life, and personal presence by the Spirit (cf. 14:23-27).” ​​ [Carson, 298]

            • John 15:5-8, “I am the vine; you are the branches. ​​ If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. ​​ If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. ​​ If you remain in me and my words remain you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given to you. ​​ This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

          • Jesus has been speaking positively up to this point, but that changes here at the center

        • Center – No life (vv. 52-53)

          • The Jews are trying to understand

            • Their question, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” is similar to Nicodemus’s questions

              • John 3:4, “How can a man be born when he is old?”

              • John 3:9, “How can this be?” (Jesus talking about being born again)

            • The Jews are wrestling with the truth that Jesus is God and has been sent from God to redeem the world and provide eternal life for everyone who believes in Him and comes to Him

          • The negative

            • The Jews were arguing between themselves and again Jesus answers their question even though it wasn’t directed to Him

            • Jesus is saying to them, “You have to believe in Me as the One sent down from heaven from the Father to provide eternal life.”

            • If they refuse to do that, they do not have life in them

              • They will not have eternal life

              • They will not live forever

              • They are not guaranteed entrance into the Kingdom of God

          • PRINCIPLE #3 – God’s desire is that every person believe in Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice.

            • We are no different than the Jews in Jesus’ day

            • We are not guaranteed heaven apart from believing in Jesus and remaining in Him

            • What we all deserve is eternal separation from God, because of our sin

              • Isaiah 53:6, We all, like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

              • Notice that the prophet Isaiah said that we all have turned to our own way – meaning we have turned away from God and His way

              • Repentance is turning back to God’s way

              • Acts 3:19, Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you – even Jesus.

              • Repentance is more than just saying a prayer with the preacher or evangelist

              • True repentance is evidenced by a transformed life – desiring the things that God desires

              • It is being completely committed to Jesus and faith in Him

            • “Do you understand the illustration? ​​ That is what faith is. ​​ That is what it means to eat Christ’s flesh and drink his blood. ​​ It is to commit yourself to him. ​​ It is to accept his promise and pledge on your behalf and to repeat his promise, vowing to be his for eternity. ​​ If you have done that, you have done the most important thing there is to be done in this life, regardless of what you may already have accomplished or may yet accomplish. ​​ If you have not, you should know that today is the day of salvation. ​​ Today is the day of your union with Christ, if you will have it so. (Boice, II, p. 220).” ​​ [Gangel, Holman New Testament Commentary, John, 130]

            • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Repent and turn to God so my sins can be wiped out and I can experience eternal life.

    • Location (v. 59)

        • John helps us to know where Jesus was when He gave His “Bread of Life” discourse

        • We already knew that He was in Capernaum

        • Now we know He was in the synagogue in Capernaum


  • YOU

    • If you have truly repented of your sins and turned to God, then going directly to the person you have an issue with will be your first reaction instead of talking to others about it

    • Please make today the day of salvation, the day of repenting and turning back to God

  • WE

    • We have a responsibility as fellow believers to follow Jesus’ example of stopping those who are grumbling, complaining or gossiping – accountability is the key

    • We also have a responsibility to share the good news of Jesus Christ with those around us



“Most kingdoms do anything they can to protect their king. This is the unspoken premise of the game of chess, for example. When the king falls, the kingdom is lost. Therefore, the king must be protected at all costs. Another notable example comes from the Allied invasion of Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill desperately wanted to join the expeditionary forces and watch the invasion from the bridge of a battleship in the English Channel. U.S. General Dwight David Eisenhower was desperate to stop him, for fear that the Prime Minister might be killed in battle. When it became apparent that Churchill would not be dissuaded, Eisenhower appealed to a higher authority: King George VI. The king went and told Churchill that if it was the Prime Minister's duty to witness the invasion, he could only conclude that it was also his own duty as king to join him on the battleship. At this point Churchill reluctantly agreed to back down, for he knew that he could never expose the King of England to such danger.


King Jesus did exactly the opposite. With royal courage he surrendered his body to be crucified. On the cross he offered a king's ransom: his life for the life of his people. He would die for all the wrong things that we had ever done and would do, completely atoning for all our sins. The crown of thorns that was meant to make a mockery of his royal claims actually proclaimed his kingly dignity, even in death.”


From Philip Ryken's sermon "Long Live the King!"






The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

(John 6:22-40)



There are all kinds of videos and posts on the internet about how McDonald’s hamburgers don’t rot. ​​ It’s seems as though their hamburgers will last forever, but there is a simple explanation that the following video will explain.



Just hang in there with me and you’ll understand why I showed you this video this morning



  • ME

    • Planned Obsolescence

        • I studied Business Management and Economics in college

        • For one of my Economics classes, I wrote a paper about planned obsolescence

        • Here is the definition of planned obsolescence – “a policy of producing consumer goods that rapidly become obsolete and so require replacing, achieved by frequent changes in design, termination of the supply of spare parts, and the use of nondurable materials.”

        • Basically companies make products that they know will not last, or use colors and designs that will eventually not be trending, so that we have to replace them

        • This guarantees a continual demand from consumers, which in turn guarantees future sales, and the growth of a company


  • WE

    • Replacing appliances

        • How many of us have had to recently replace a washer, dryer, dishwasher, stove, microwave, television, computer, etc.

        • Our first step is usually trying to have the appliance repaired, but then realizing it’s cheaper to just replace it because the replacement parts are expensive

        • We all understand the idea of planned obsolescence because we have experienced it


Jesus is talking with the crowd in the Capernaum synagogue (John 6:59). ​​ They have just experienced the miraculous feeding of over 5,000 people and Jesus wants them to understand that they are seeking Him for the wrong reasons. ​​ They want to continue to receive free food from Him, but He wants them to believe in Him. ​​ The crowd is seeking food that will spoil, but Jesus is offering them food that will lead to eternal life. ​​ They are seeking the temporal and Jesus is offering the eternal. ​​ John wants us to answer this question today . . .


BIG IDEA – What kind of “bread” are you seeking?


Are we seeking temporal bread that will spoil or eternal bread that leads to eternal life.


Even though McDonald’s hamburgers and other thin-made hamburgers don’t rot for lack of moisture, I would still be hesitant to eat one after it has set out for years. ​​ It’s still a temporal food source that will not last once it’s eaten.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (John 6:22-40)

    • Seeking Jesus (vv. 22-24)

        • Review

          • Jesus has just fed the 5,000 on the north eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee in what is the modern day Golan Heights

          • He compelled the disciples to get in their boat and cross back over the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum

          • He dismissed the crowd and then went up on the mountainside to pray

          • Jesus sees the disciples struggling against the oars because of a storm on the Sea of Galilee, and He walks on the water to be with them

        • John picks up the story line again on the north eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee

          • Night has passed and some of the crowd had remained where the miraculous food distribution had taken place

          • The wording lets us know that some of the crowd probably returned to their homes nearby

          • The remaining crowd realized that the disciples had taken the only boat that had been on the shore, and that Jesus was not with His disciples on the boat

          • More boats arrive

            • While the crowd is pondering everything and probably looking for Jesus, some boats from Tiberias arrive at the place where Jesus had miraculously fed the 5,000

            • Tiberius would have been south of Capernaum on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee

            • We’re not told why these boats arrived the next morning

            • Perhaps they had heard about Jesus and were seeking Him also

            • Perhaps it was the sovereignty of God to allow the remaining crowd to cross over to Capernaum

          • When the crowd realizes that Jesus and His disciples are not with them on the north eastern shoreline, they get in the boats and cross over the Capernaum

          • They are searching for Jesus and knew that Capernaum was the hometown of several of His disciples (perhaps they also knew that Capernaum was His home base for ministry while in Galilee)

        • Their search for Jesus doesn’t take long, at least in our text

    • True Motives (vv. 25-34)

        • We don’t actually know how long it took the crowd to find Jesus

          • My guess is that another crowd was already forming because Jesus was teaching, so it wasn’t hard to find Him

          • We know from John 6:59 that Jesus was teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum

          • His “Bread of Life” discourse may have started out in the open, but it was completed in the synagogue

        • Full of questions

          • We’ll see in these next ten verses that the crowd is full of questions for Jesus

            • Jesus doesn’t always answer their direct question, because He knows their hearts and what they are truly asking

            • Their questions also reveal where their focus is and what they were taught about entering the kingdom of God

          • Question 1

            • “When did you get here?”

              • Perhaps the question they wanted to ask, but were too afraid to ask is, “How did you get here?”

              • They knew He hadn’t gotten in the boat with His disciples

              • They also knew there weren’t any other boats for Him to use

              • “The question they ask means both when did you get here? (NIV) and ‘How long have you been here?’” ​​ [Carson, The Pillar New Testament Commentary, The Gospel According to John, 283]

              • The crowd is trying to clear up the confusion they have about how Jesus got to Capernaum ahead of them

              • They have seen Jesus do the miraculous, but they still don’t understand who He is

            • Jesus’ answer gets to the true motive behind why they were seeking Him

              • PRINCIPLE #1 – Jesus knows our heart, because He is all-knowing (omniscient).

                • Jesus knew the reason why the crowd was looking for Him

                  • They weren’t seeking Him for spiritual reasons at all, but rather for physical reasons

                  • They wanted another free lunch

                  • The miraculous signs were very important, because they were designed to point people to Jesus

                  • But, the crowd had missed it

                  • The meaning of ‘sign’ in this Gospel is that it points beyond the physical, concrete reality to the reality of revelation. ​​ It provides insight into who Jesus is.” ​​ [Borchert, The New American Commentary, John 1-11, 262]

                • Jesus knows the reason why you and I seek Him

                  • What kind of “bread” are you seeking?

                  • He knows what kind of discipleship we are pursuing, with Him

                  • Is it a discipleship of the physical or the spiritual?

                  • Every person makes sure that their physical hunger is taken care of, which is especially evident in our American culture (myself included)

                  • Speaker Mike Benson tells how one night, as his family was finishing dinner, his eight-year-old daughter left six green beans on her plate. She normally ate her veggies, and Mike did not usually allow this sort of thing to bother him, but this night he was irked and said to her, ‘Eat your green beans.’

                    She replied, ‘Dad, I'm full to the top.’

                    ‘You won't pop,’ he responded.

                    ‘Yes, I will pop!’ she said.

                    ‘Risk it!’ he said. ‘It will be okay.’

                    ‘Dad, I could not eat another bite.’

                    Mike knew that night they were having her favorite dessert, pumpkin pie squares. So he asked, ‘How would you like a double helping of pumpkin pie squares with two dollops of whipped cream on top?’

                    ‘That sounds great!’ she responded as she pushed her plate back, ready for dessert.

                    ‘How can you have room for a double helping of pumpkin pie squares with two dollops of whipped cream, and not have room for six measly green beans?’

                    She stood up tall out of her chair and pointing to her belly said, ‘This is my vegetable stomach. This is my meat stomach. They are both full. Here is my dessert stomach. It is empty. I am ready for dessert!’

                    What we eat reveals what we hunger for.”

                    Phillip Gunter, pastor of Crossroads Chapel, Round Rock, Texas


                  • We do whatever it takes to satisfy our hunger

                  • “Compare that to how much time and energy and effort we put into making sure our spiritual hunger is met. ​​ Do we even think about it? ​​ Do we give any thought to what sustains our spiritual lives, what nourishes our souls? ​​ Even when we attend church, are we thinking about anything other than what we want and what we like?” ​​ [Carter & Wredberg, Christ-Centered Exposition: ​​ Exalting Jesus in John, 151]

                  • Jesus knows the motives behind why you and I come to church and why we claim to be a Christian

                  • He knows if our motives are about our own preferences and getting our own way

                  • He knows if we’re holding on to something that’s not Biblical

                  • He knows if we’re holding on the past instead of following His leading into the future

                  • He knows if coming to church is just a “check box” item for us, and not about going deeper with Him and finding nourishment for our souls

                  • If our thoughts are consumed with what’s happening after church instead of what’s happening during church, Jesus knows!

                • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Pursue what sustains my spiritual life and nourishes my soul, with the same effort and energy as I pursue what sustains my physical body.

              • That transitions us into Jesus’ words to the crowd about pursuing the eternal over the temporal

            • Eternal over temporal

              • Jesus instructs the crowd to move from the physical to the spiritual

                • What kind of “bread” are you seeking?

                • They were focused on the physical – receiving free food and not having to work anymore

                • Matthew 15:17, “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body?”

                • Physical food doesn’t last

                • The crowd was still going to have to eat, but Jesus wanted them to pursue the eternal with the same effort they pursued the physical

                • He is One (Son of Man) who is going to give them the spiritual food that will endure to eternal life

              • Jesus explains that He has received God’s seal of approval

                • When I hear the words “seal of approval” I always think of The Good Housekeeping Seal of approval [show the Good Housekeeping Seal]

                  • They test products, so you can trust it

                  • They’ve been doing it since 1909

                  • Did you know that they have expanded the seal to other areas as well?

                  • The Green Good Housekeeping Emblem [show image]

                  • The Good Housekeeping Innovation Emblem [show image]

                  • The Good Housekeeping Humanitarian Seal [show image]

                  • The Good Housekeeping Nutritionist Approved Emblem [show image]

                • We are not told in the passage when Jesus received that seal of approval

                  • There are various thoughts as to when He received the seal of approval

                  • Some believe it was in heaven before He came to earth

                  • Others believe it was during His baptism by John the Baptist

                  • We don’t know, because we’re not told

              • Jesus is moving closer to His declaration of being the Bread of Life, but He has to deal with the crowds preconceived ideas first

            • That leads us to the crowds second question

          • Question 2

            • “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

              • Notice that the crowd focuses on the wrong thing

              • Jesus intended for them to focus on the goal (spiritual instead of material) and not on work

              • Unfortunately, they focused on the work aspect instead of the goal

                • At this point they understood that Jesus was talking about the spiritual and not the material/physical

                • “As good Jews they wanted some way to work in order to gain God’s favor . . . ‘To Jewish questioners, attaining eternal life consisted in finding the right formula for performing works to please God . . .’ (Tenney, EBC, p. 75)” [Gangel, Holman New Testament Commentary, John, 122]

                • Application

                  • How often do we do the same thing?

                  • We think that there is some special formula that God requires of us in order to please Him

                  • We try to find out how many times we have to go to church in a week, a month, or a year

                  • We try to determine how much we need to give to the church, missionaries, homeless, etc.

                  • We wonder how long we should pray or study the Bible each day

                  • All of that is meaningless if it’s done only to please God, and not out of our love for Him, our desire to bring Him praise and glory, and because of His gift of salvation offered to us

              • Jesus explains that it is not works (plural), but work (singular)

            • The work of God (what God requires) is for us to believe in Jesus

              • God requires faith in Jesus

              • PRINCIPLE #2 – God’s desire is that His created beings believe in Jesus.

              • “Faith, as we have seen, is the touchstone by which works are judged, not the other way around.” ​​ [Michaels, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, The Gospel of John, 367]

              • Faith in Jesus, and the transformation He brings in our lives, sets us up to serve God by serving others with the right motive

              • It’s out of love for God and a desire for His name to be honored and glorified that we attend church, give to the church, missionaries, and the hurting, that we pray, and study His Word, that we visit the sick and those in prison, and so much more

            • The crowd is starting to understand what Jesus is saying, so they ask Him a third question

          • Question 3

            • They realize that Jesus is saying that they need to believe in Him, because He is the One that God has sent

            • Their third question is really saying to Jesus, “Prove it!”

            • “What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? ​​ What will you do?”

              • Does anyone else find it interesting that most of the crowd, if not all of the crowd, just witnessed Jesus taking five small loaves of bread and two small fish and feeding a crowd of over 5,000 people with it?

              • Was that not a miraculous sign?

            • PRINCIPLE #3 – Faith comes by hearing and not seeing.

              • Too often, we’re just like the crowd in this story

              • We want God to do something miraculous for us, and then we will believe in Him or follow Him

                • “If You’ll just help me to get an A on this test, then I will believe in You.”

                • “If You’ll just heal my Dad, grandmother, child, friend, or me, then I will believe in You, Jesus.”

                • If You’ll just get me out of this financial hole, then I’ll follow You.”

                • If You’ll just heal my marriage or other relationship with a family member, coworker, neighbor, or fellow church attender, then I’ll believe in You.”

                • The list could go on and on

              • Romans 10:16-17, But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. ​​ For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” ​​ Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

                • Jesus had been teaching them about God

                • They had heard the word of Christ, directly from Him

              • It wasn’t going to matter if Jesus did another miraculous sign for them

                • What matters is trusting in Jesus by faith and watching Him transform us from the inside out

                • Through that transformation we can and will see Him do the miraculous for His honor and glory

                • 1 Corinthians 10:31, So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

                • When we do everything for the glory of God:

                  • We’ll do well on our tests, because we have studied to the glory of God

                  • We’ll see God’s miraculous healing power (physically, emotionally, mentally, relationally)

                  • We’ll experience God’s provision for our needs

            • The crowd wanted to see something on the scale of manna from heaven, just like their forefathers had experienced with Moses

              • “If Jesus is superior to Moses, as his tone and claims suggest, then should not his followers be privileged to witness mightier works than those seen by the disciples of Moses?” ​​ [Carson, 286]

              • There was a Rabbinic belief that the Messiah would call down manna from heaven, like Moses did [Carson, 286]

              • Some Rabbi’s interpreted Exodus 16:15 this way

            • Jesus reminded the Jews who had provided the bread from heaven

              • It was God who had provided it

              • God was now providing the true bread from heaven – Jesus Christ

          • The crowd was still struggling to understand that Jesus is talking about Himself as the bread of life

            • Perhaps they thought Jesus was speaking metaphorically of some kind of gift from God [Michaels, 372]

            • They want to receive this bread from now on

            • This would have been an incredible request if they truly understood what it meant

            • “The spiritual bread that the Lord can provide is necessary for life, suited for everyone, must be eaten daily, and produces spiritual growth in those who believe it.” ​​ [Gangel, 123]

              • We need Jesus in our life – He is necessary for us to live life fully

              • Suited for everyone – Jesus is gluten free, lactose free, peanut free (whatever allergy you may struggle with, Jesus is suited for you)

              • We need to feed on the bread of life daily

        • The crowd is so close to believing in Jesus

        • They want the bread of life, but they aren’t quite sure what it is and how to obtain it

        • Jesus makes it clear in this final section

    • True Bread (vv. 35-40)

        • “I am the bread of life.” (vv. 35-36)

          • Jesus cannot make it any clearer than this

          • What kind of “bread” are you seeking?

          • He is the bread of life that God has sent down from heaven

            • Come to Jesus

              • Jesus promises us that when we come to Him we will never hunger spiritually

              • “Jesus is the bread of life; he’s the only one who can fill the emptiness inside us. ​​ A full life is a life spent in pursuit of Jesus. ​​ A life spent any other way will feel barren and unfulfilled.” [Carter & Wredberg, 152]

              • Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. ​​ Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. ​​ For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

                • Jesus encourages us, in this passage, to partner with Him in our life

                • He will teach us the right way to go as we follow His leading

                • Coming to Jesus will provide rest for our souls

                • “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” ​​ [Augustine of Hippo, Confessions]

              • Revelation 22:17, The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” ​​ And let them who hears say, “Come!” ​​ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.

              • Coming to Jesus means believing in Him

            • Believe in Jesus

              • We see here a return to the Samaritan woman at the well who was seeking living water

              • It is the same as not being hungry – Jesus satisfies every spiritual need we have

                • The greatest need we have as humans is the need to deal with the sin we are all born with

                • It affects every aspect of our lives

                • We are all born sinners, separated from God because of our sin (Rom. 3:23)

                • Since God is holy (perfect) He cannot allow sin into heaven

                • God is also just, so He has to punish sin (Rom. 6:23)

                • God is also love, so He made a way to take care of our punishment for sin (Rom. 5:8)

                • Romans 10:9-10, That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. ​​ For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

                • Being saved is another way to express having eternal life

                • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Come to Jesus and believe in Him, so I can be saved and have eternal life.

          • The amazing thing is that they still didn’t believe even though they had seen Jesus face-to-face (v. 36)

          • Jesus then promises to protect those who come to Him and believe in Him

        • Jesus’ protection (vv. 37-40)

          • PRINCIPLE #4 – God promises to protect those who come to Jesus and believe in Him.

            • Most scholars see the doctrine of election in these final verses

              • All that the Father gives me will come to me

              • There seems to be the idea that the Father has chosen certain people to come to Jesus

              • When those individuals come to Jesus, He will never drive them away – this is an incredible promise for us as followers of Jesus Christ

              • What is in tension here is God’s sovereign will and human responsibility

                • God’s sovereignty – All that the Father gives me will come to me

                • Human responsibility – whoever comes to me I will never drive away

              • We see Jesus submitting to the Father’s will – He is not doing His own thing on earth, but only what the Father has told Him to do

            • Jesus expresses God’s will in two ways

              • God’s will is that Jesus will not lose any of those that God has given to Him – He will protect them and raise them up at the last day

              • God’s will is that everyone who looks to Jesus and believes in Him will have eternal life – He will protect them and raise them up at the last day

            • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Claim the promise that God will protect me, until the last day, when I come to Jesus and believe in Him for eternal life.


  • YOU

    • What kind of “bread” are you seeking?

    • Pursue what sustains your spiritual life and nourishes your soul, with the same effort and energy as you pursue what sustains your physical body

    • Come to Jesus and believe in Him, so you can be saved and have eternal life.

    • Claim the promise that God will protect you, until the last day, when you come to Jesus and believe in Him for eternal life.


  • WE

    • When we pour ourselves into pursuing what sustains our spiritual life and nourishes our soul, those around us will see a difference in us and as a body of believers we will experience peace and unity

    • The Gospel is something that everyone needs to hear – it is part of the Great Commission of Pursuing Disciples, Growing Disciples, and Multiplying Disciples for Jesus Christ



I want to close with this illustration from Gangel that helps us understand the doctrine of election, which combines God’s sovereignty and humanity’s responsibility.


“My seminary theology professor, Dr. Alva J. McClain, used a wonderful illustration to explain the doctrine of election, one which I have repeated hundreds of times throughout my own ministry. ​​ He talked about standing outside a beautiful garden, perhaps like the Butschart Gardens on Vancouver Island, or perhaps the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina, or the DuPont Gardens in Delaware. ​​ As we stand outside the gate surveying the beautiful array of flowers, we ponder what it might cost to spend two or three hours strolling around the gardens and photographing the beautiful scenery.


About this point, we look at the stone archway over the gate and read in large letters, ‘Whosoever Will May Come.’ ​​ Surely it cannot be possible. ​​ Places like this are always expensive. ​​ But there is no ticket booth, no waiting line, no signs offering different rates for children, adults, and seniors. ​​ Assuming the sign means what it says, we enter the garden and begin to peruse its botanical treasures. ​​ Before we get too far down the pathways, however, we want to see that welcome sign one more time – inviting us without charge to enjoy this magnificent place. ​​ But as we turn, we look up at the interior of the wall and see the wording of the sign has changed. ​​ Now it reads, ‘Chosen in Him from the Foundation of the World.’


McClain’s point was both brilliant and simple: ​​ to unbelievers, the message is a universal call to faith in Jesus Christ; to believers, it is a reminder that God has controlled our eternal destiny from the beginning. ​​ To state it theologically, only the elect will come, but those who come demonstrate they have been chosen.”


[Gangel, Holman New Testament Commentary, John, 132-133].





This morning, we are participating and celebrating this Back to Church Sunday as part of a national movement. This is a great opportunity and we are excited to be joining with other parts of the body of Christ across the country to reflect on and reclaim the true nature of the church as a place and expression of love, peace, and hope for our friends, neighbors, communities, and world. As a church, we are the collective hands and feet of Christ, who reflect Him and do His work in the world as we grow in our relationships with Him and with each other. So whether you are new to Idaville Church or have been here all your lives or somewhere in between, we are better together.

This phrase, “Back to Church” got me to thinking about the reasons why people leave the church and don’t come back, maybe, for a month, a year, or even longer. So, of course, I googled it. Here are some of the reasons I found why people leave the church. One, they got out of the habit. They stopped going one Sunday and that one Sunday became two and then four and then a year later they are still not back in church. Two, they were hurt by someone or something that happened in the church and stopped going to church. Third, they never felt connected to others in the church. Four, some stop going to church because a favorite pastor left or retired. Five, sometimes young people stop going to church after high school. They go off to college and get out of the habit and stop going altogether. Finally, some people move away or get a new job with different hours and stop going to church.

Now I think it’s only fair to also tell you the reasons why people come back to church and maybe you can identify with one of these reasons. First, people come back to church because they were invited. That is the number one reason why people come back to church. Two, some people start going back to church because they’ve passed by a church and something stood out to them, maybe it’s the modern look of the building or the denomination. Three, some see the advertising on the church’s website or Facebook page and they decide to try that church out. Four, people get married, have kids and realize they want to bring their kids up in the church like they had been. Five, whatever causes them to stop going to church in the first place ends, like a job, and they go back to church. Lastly, the Holy Spirit draws them back to church.

Which brings me to my story of going back to church. When I was about 18 or 19, working on my Associates degree in Law Enforcement, and I started working part time as a security guard in two office high rise buildings. I worked on Friday and Saturday nights from 11 pm to 7 am and for the year I worked there, except for a couple of times, probably Christmas and Easter, I did not go to church. I used the excuse that having worked all night I was tired and needed to sleep. About the time that I finished my degree and had decided that I needed a full-time job I was given the opportunity to work for a family owned business. So I quit the part-time night security job and took the full-time job working Monday through Friday during the daylight hours and guess what? I went right back to church. The thing that I let keep me away from church ended and because my parents had instilled in me the priority of going to church, it made it a no-brainer to go back.

But I also fully believe that the Holy Spirit was calling me back to church. God had far reaching plans for me that started that day back in March 1986 when I decided to go back to church that still impacts my life today. The continuation of my story is that as soon as I went back to the church that I had grown up in all my life I met a person named Jackie who was from Pennsylvania. She had started to attend my home church and was in the same young adult Sunday school class I was. She had moved down from Pennsylvania to get a job and was living with a family who also attended my church. One Easter Sunday, as my family was out of the country, she invited me to her house for lunch. Her mother and sister were down from Pennsylvania and were going to be there as well. Maybe you have heard the story or can guess where this is going but the sister that I had lunch with that day was my now wife, Judy. I still marvel at how God orchestrated the seemingly random events of finishing my degree to quitting my part-time job to finding just the right daylight job to making the decision to go back to church to meeting Jackie to meeting my wife to getting married and moving to Pennsylvania to being led into ministry to now standing before you preaching a sermon. It was a God-thing. It is also a God-thing that all of you are here this morning as well. Whether this is your first day back in church in a while or you haven’t missed church in a long time, God has us all in this place for many reasons. One of those reasons is because we are better together than apart.

Now, I can’t promise that you will find a wife at church but you will find new friends and you can experience peace through the different relationships you make at church. You may not became a pastor or missionary but can find peace by being in ministry and serving God in the church. I can promise that if you come to church with the intent to grow spiritually and strive to be more like Christ, you will have peace in your life and you will find peace with God. Which brings me to our big idea this morning which is “in fellowship together we can find peace.”

But before we start to unpack this idea of being at peace in fellowship together let’s dedicate our time this morning to God with prayer. Let’s pray:

Father, we come before you this morning asking for your Holy Spirit to fill us so that as we hear your message today from your word, our faith will be increased. We ask that you would use your word which is living and active and sharper than any double edged sword to rightly divide us even to soul and spirit, joint and marrow. Use your word to expose the thoughts and the attitudes of our hearts. And use your word to give us practical next steps that we can use in our daily lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen

The theme for Back to Church Sunday is Together, and as I thought about togetherness and what it means for us as followers of Jesus, I thought of Legos. Who could have imagined that these pieces of plastic would be worth billions of dollars? The Danish toy company that began in the 1930s has built a Lego empire around the building bricks that they introduced in the 1950s. Individually, Legos are just cheap pieces of plastic—but despite their basic design, the magic is in the way they fit together. Legos are designed to be together—that’s what those little raised circles are for, to attach each brick to another. And together these plastic pieces can be made into fantastic creations. So if you didn’t know Pastor Stuart collects Legos. Here are some pictures of the Lego structures he has in his office.

Full-scale models of castles, cars, airplanes, spaceships have all been built from Legos. If you’ve ever been to one of the LEGOLAND theme parks, you’ve been treated to scaled replicas of the world’s most famous buildings and landmarks. It seems that Legos can be put together to create almost anything. They are just pieces of plastic, but together they create something much bigger and better than the sum of their parts.

The church is like Legos, a collection of individuals of various sizes, shapes, and colors. Individually, we may be kind of a big jumble at a glance, but when we come together the way God intended, we form the Church, which is a creation much greater than the individual members. God takes our chaos and, by His design, makes something spectacular and gives us purpose. In real life, this concept is powerful and life changing. Christ invites us to be together with Himself and together with one another. Together we are on a journey of transformation and “in fellowship together we can find peace.”

This morning we are going to be looking in the Book of Ephesians, chapter 2, verses 17-22. Ephesians was written by Paul while he was in prison in Rome. He wrote this letter to a group of believers in the city of Ephesus about 30 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection. The theme of this letter is “togetherness” and Paul comes back to it again and again. Like all of the early church, the believers in Ephesus got their information in a very communal way. The people receiving this letter did so by gathering together and listening to it being read. When it came to processing and understanding what the letter meant, the people of Ephesus did so—together. Together they listened and learned and shared and discussed and wrestled through the challenges of living out their faith in Christ in the midst of a culture that operated in a vastly different way. So we will be following their lead together in wrestling with the ways Christ invites us to live both together with Him and together with one another and by doing so have peace.

Paul had previously spent time in Ephesus as a missionary, so he knew the culture and the challenges this group of believers faced. He knew that they were a group of people surrounded and challenged by other ideas, beliefs, and practices. The church at Ephesus needed the strength of unity to grow and survive, not unlike our church today.

Paul wrote this letter to encourage and instruct the young church in how to have peace. Our world seeks peace in so many different ways. We seek peace among nations, peace in our cities, peace in our families, peace in our churches, and peace in our own hearts and minds. As we explore the concept that “in fellowship together we can find peace”, let’s look at Ephesians 2:17-22. This is what God’s Word says: “[Christ] came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”

According to this passage there are three ways we can have peace. The first way we can have peace is in unity with other believers. Do you ever find yourself, or those you know, searching for a place to belong? Are you searching for a way to be part of something bigger than yourself? Where can you experience that sense of belonging? Paul says that the body of Christ—the church—is our place of belonging, rooted in the restoration and unity brought by Jesus.

Paul takes us directly into the central issue of togetherness, which is unity and foundational to this unity is grace. Nobody can claim a higher position or status, because all believers are of the same status. We are all sinners in need of grace. Ephesians 2:8-9 says “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” When we recognize that it is grace that has saved us, it forces us to open our arms and hearts to all in gratitude. We have all been there. We have all experienced the same need. We have all been offered the same gift. Grace does not allow exclusion, instead, it brings us together in unity.

Paul goes on to explain how Christ’s purpose was to unify the two major divisions of people—Jews and Gentiles. By including these two groups, Paul is including everyone. In chapter 2, verse 14, Paul says, “For he himself (talking about Jesus) is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.” By coming to save the world—all people of the world—Jesus broke down the deepest divisions of eternity between God and man, and the deepest divisions of humanity between God’s covenant people and others. In doing away with that separation, He brought peace, real, lasting, ultimate peace. Obviously, that peace will not be completely realized until Christ returns to complete God’s ultimate restoration. But through Jesus’ death and resurrection, the door to peace is open to all of us. And it opens up unity as a definitive characteristic of God’s people.

Paul is clear that we find peace in unity, but that does not mean in uniformity or sameness. The church at Ephesus was full of diversity, and the goal was not to change this. The goal was unity in the midst of those differences. It’s the same goal for the church today and the same goal for us here at Idaville. We are all different. We are all different ages and we all have different personalities. We all have different thoughts of how things should be done in the church but we all love God and his son, Jesus. God doesn’t want us to be all the same, but he does command us to love one another and in doing so we can be unified by the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can be unified together as we fulfill the Great Commission to Pursue, Grow and Multiply Disciples.

We don’t find peace by separating ourselves from the world or from each other, but by leaning into the grace and unity that Jesus brings. What would happen in our lives and community if church was a place to come together in peace and allow God to remove all dividing walls of hostility? How would this change our church body right here at Idaville? Let’s be a people of unity. Let’s be a people of grace. Let’s be a people of peace. Which brings us to our first next step on the back of your communication card which is to willingly sacrifice my personal preferences in order to be unified as a body of believers.

The second way we can have peace is by being in God’s presence. We live in a world that seems increasingly full of discord and anxiety. News stories demonstrate every day that as a population we struggle with anxiety, depression, and isolation. Headlines proclaim divisions and conflicts of all sorts, from personal disagreements to political wars, both ideologically and physically. We need peace!

Paul is crystal clear in verse 14 that Christ Himself is our peace. Peace is not a thing. It’s a person. We find peace—both personally and as a body—in relationship with Jesus. In Galatians 5:22, Paul describes the fruits of the Spirit. He says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,” These are characteristics of people who are in relationship with Jesus and peace will be evident if God’s Spirit is living in and through us. Peace isn’t something we can create in ourselves; the Holy Spirit in us brings peace and enables us to live it out. Together as believers we are the collective dwelling place of God’s Spirit, who is our peace. That’s good news!

We are not alone. We are citizens, family, and most importantly, a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit. While our struggles do not magically disappear, together in the middle of our struggles we can experience peace. Even now as our church struggles with relationship and financial issues and a lot of our people and their families are struggling with physical and mental health issues we can experience peace because we have the presence of the Holy Spirit in us. And because of that we can also share and offer peace to others, even when struggles or disagreements arise.

So what does peace look like in our lives? First, I can tell you first what peace is not. Peace is not ignoring differences, ignoring conflict, or ignoring reality. Peace is not an image to be upheld or a feeling to be pursued. Peace is the presence of God in His people. And His presence through the Holy Spirit enables us to experience peace and to remind each other and the world around us that He is the source of all peace. Where anxiety and fear are strongest, we can be a living reminder that God cares for the details of our lives, as well as the eternal redemptive story of the world.

So maybe you are here this morning and you do not have peace. Maybe you don’t have a relationship with Jesus and so have never felt the presence of the Holy Spirit inside you. Jesus promised that when we accept him as our Lord and Savior he would come into our lives, as the Holy Spirit, and be our advocate, counselor, and comforter. Maybe you want the Holy Spirit to come into you today so you can have the peace that comes from a personal relationship with Jesus. If so, the second next step on the back of your communication card may be for you which is to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior and to feel the power of the Holy Spirit in my life.

The third way we can have peace is by committing to the process of peace. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could find peace once and be done with it? But peace is not just a one-time event. When faced with an unpeaceful world, Jesus invites us to return to Him and to each other again and again. The prophets who foretold the coming of Christ gave Him the name Prince of Peace. And through His death and resurrection, He made the way of peace available to each of us. In the face of all life’s battles and an unpeaceful world, Jesus offers the terms of peace and the way forward. When we daily surrender to His power and to His will we embrace the way of peace.

But what about the fact that peace seems so temporary and fragile? It seems that peace can be interrupted or destroyed in an instant. The peace we see in the world never seems to last. The good news is that as believers our peace goes beyond a circumstance or a feeling. That is because our peace is the never-changing, always-present Spirit of God. Jesus knew the hardships His disciples would face, and He promised them peace. He told them in John 14:26-27, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Just as Jesus promised, the Holy Spirit is with us continually and is our source of peace. But we all need reminders. We all need encouragement and support. We all need each other to relate with in unity and peace and to share it with a world that needs it. And that’s where the church comes in. We are better together.

Paul closes Ephesians 2 with this: “And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” Like those Legos we talked about earlier, we fit together to form the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit fills and enables us with the peace of Christ. Why do we come back to church, and invite others to join us? Because coming together here does not just put us in the church. Instead, it is here that we realize we are the church—and as the church, God dwells with us.

So we come together to live and worship in unity, to collectively turn our focus to Jesus and experience the source of our peace, and to offer the way of peace to the world. Together we are so much greater than the sum of our parts. Together we encourage and support each other when we are weak. Together we reflect the nature and relationship of God. Which brings us to our last next step on your communication card which is to encourage and support this body of believers and to reflect the nature and relationship of Christ to each other.

I want to close today with a story called “Clinker Bricks.” Although at times it seems as though the church is in ruin and rubble, God sees it as a beautiful building. Clinker bricks are bricks that did not quite make it. For some reason or another, they come out of the kiln misshapen or deformed. Gates Presbyterian Church in Rochester, New York was intentionally built of clinker bricks. Apparently, the congregation wanted to send a message, so they built their church of imperfect, rejected bricks. The message is that people are like clinker bricks. We are all sinners, we are all imperfect people full of weaknesses, but through Christ we become living stones in his church. We do not become living stones because we are so great, but it is Christ who is great. We are connected into his church through him.

May we all remember that we are imperfect, rejected bricks and are all sinners saved by God’s grace through his son, Jesus Christ. And by remembering we treat each other with love and respect and live in peace together though the Holy Spirit.

As Gene & Roxey come to lead us in our final hymn this morning and as the ushers get ready to pick up the communication cards lets pray:

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that you would bring this community of believers peace and unity through your son Jesus. May we be good role models of peace and unity to the people around us, in the church and outside the church. May we strive to be more like Jesus, kind, caring, compassionate, loving, giving, forgiving and humble. Bring us together as a family. Grant us the patience to work together with understanding and compassion in our hearts. Let us not be rude or arrogant towards one another, as we light the way to your heavenly kingdom. In Jesus’ name. Amen



Storms of Life

(John 6:16-21)



“For the past 25 years, Jim Cantore, The Weather Channel's ‘Storm-tracker,’ has tracked, chased, run into, and then reported on some of the most extreme storms on the planet. A 2011 USA Today article on Cantore noted, ‘Whether he is leaning into the ferocious winds of a hurricane or shivering as a blast of polar air drops down from the Arctic, Cantore, 47, is often on the scene to help viewers appreciate how weather tests us.’


In the spring of 2011, Cantore provided coverage in the midst of the severe tornado outbreaks in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Joplin, Missouri. Both towns suffered extensive damage. ‘It was as unthinkable as you would think,’ Cantore says. ‘Houses were piled up into corners, and the streets looked more like movie sets.’


But according to Cantore, these kinds of storms pale in comparison to the personal storms of life that some people experience on a daily basis. In particular, Cantore thinks of his two children, both of whom were born with Fragile X syndrome, a genetic disorder that can lead to autism-like symptoms. Cantore says that his children have the real storms of life, or what he calls the ‘storms that hurt the most and never go away.’


Cantore says, ‘What my children have to deal with on a daily basis is by far more difficult than anything I will ever come in contact with.’”


Jonathan Lebowitz, "Jim Cantore Has Weathered 25 Years of Chasing Big Storms," USA Today (8-10-11); submitted by Van Morris, Mt. Washington, Kentucky.





  • ME

    • Rowing up the Susquehanna River

        • Each year, for several years in a row, my three boys and I would go with Rick Runyan and his two boys for an adventure on the Susquehanna River

          • We would pack our camping and fishing supplies along with some canoes and kayaks and make our way upstream to one of the islands, north of City Island, that had a camp site on it

          • We would spend at least one night on the island, sometimes more

          • Our boys enjoyed hacking out paths through the thick underbrush on the island and usually at least one or more of them would wind up with poison ivy

          • We would cookout over an open fire and fish and kayak around the island

        • One of the years we went, there was a storm brewing when we set out from the boat ramp

          • Levi and I were in one of the canoes that was loaded down with equipment and supplies

          • We were paddling upstream, against the current with a strong wind blowing in our faces

          • It was all I could do to make headway upstream

          • What made it more difficult was the storm wind kept turning the front of the canoe around

          • Everyone else had made it to the island and Rick saw that we were struggling, so he kayaked back down stream to help

          • What we finally did was tie off the kayak to the back of the canoe and Rick and I hopped in the water and pulled the canoe the rest of the way to the island

          • Rick was our “savior!”

        • I was exhausted, wet, and frustrated by the time we got to the island, but a good night’s sleep helped a lot


  • WE

    • Storms in nature

        • How many of you have been in a hurricane?

        • How many have been close enough to see a tornado?

        • How about a Sharknado? ​​ (that’s for our younger crowd)

        • An earthquake?

        • Wildfires?

        • Tsunami?

    • Storms of life

        • These can come in many forms too

          • Bankruptcy

          • Health issues (high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes, cancer, eye problems, back problems, mental health, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, cutting, etc.)

          • Death of a loved one

          • Relational struggles (work, neighbors, family, church)

          • Divorce

          • School (you may be struggling with learning)

        • When we go through these difficult times it can seem pretty dark and we wonder if God or Jesus is there


The disciples went through a dark and lonely time. ​​ They were expecting Jesus to be there, but a storm came up on the Sea of Galilee. ​​ They were never out of Jesus’ sight even when they couldn’t see Him. ​​ He was there with them, but they had to invite Him into their storm. ​​ John wants us to understand that . . .


BIG IDEA – Peace comes when we invite Jesus into the storms of our lives.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (John 6:16-21)

    • Going Back (vv. 16-17a)

        • Evening came

          • John’s account

            • John makes it sound like Jesus went up on the mountain by Himself to avoid the crowd, who was trying to force Him to be their King

            • The disciples just made their way down to the lake (it almost sounds like they casually strolled down to the lake)

          • Matthew and Mark’s account

            • Their accounts make it sound like there is some urgency

            • The same Greek word is used in both accounts for “made”

            • Jesus is compelling them, driving them, persuading them, entreating them to get into the boat and cross to the other side of the sea

            • Matthew 14:22, Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.

            • Mark 6:45, Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.

            • The urgency comes in the fact that Jesus knew the intentions of the crowd – they wanted to make Him king by force

            • He was protecting His disciples from the attempt, by the crowd, to define His role here on earth

          • Once Jesus has taken care of the disciples, He turns to the crowd and dismisses them, before going up on the mountain to pray

        • Going back to Capernaum

          • John tells us that the disciples went down to the lake, got in a boat, and started to cross the lake on their way to Capernaum

          • It is probable that Capernaum was the mission center for Jesus in Galilee

            • Perhaps He and the disciples had just come from there when they crossed over to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (John 6:1)

            • Capernaum was on the northwest side of the Sea of Galilee

            • The disciples would have been rowing across the northern tip of the Sea of Galilee

        • The disciples are by themselves on the sea, while Jesus is on the mountainside praying and spending some time by Himself

    • Dark and Stormy (vv. 17b-18)

        • Dark

          • The disciples are on the sea and it’s dark

          • Perhaps they weren’t too concerned, because some of them were seasoned fishermen and had spent time on the water in the dark

          • The fact that Jesus had not yet joined them is more for the reader of the story than for the disciples who are part of the story

            • John knew the end of the story and gives us a note about the fact that Jesus had not yet come to them

            • “‘Not yet’ implies that he will come. ​​ This has to be the reader’s expectation, not that of the disciples. ​​ The writer assumes that his readers know (more or less) what will happen, just as earlier when he told them that Jesus knew what he was going to do (v. 6). ​​ Their impression is that Jesus will come. ​​ The only question is when.” ​​ [Michaels, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, The Gospel of John, 355]

          • The disciples can’t see what’s going to happen, because it’s dark

          • Application

            • “Maybe, like the disciples, you’re at a point in your life where it’s dark and you don’t sense the presence of the Lord at all.” ​​ [Courson, Jon Courson’s Application Commentary, New Testament, 483]

            • Examples

              • Perhaps you’re facing bankruptcy and you don’t sense the presence of the Lord in that dark time

              • Maybe you’ve just been diagnosed with some medical condition that has you feeling like it is a dark time in your life and you’re wondering if Jesus is real and if He is with you

              • Some of you may be dealing with a marriage relationship that is anything but loving, caring, and nurturing and you find yourself afraid, scared, frustrated, angry, and depressed (it’s a dark time in your life – where is Jesus?)

              • Anxiety and depression can overtake us when school assignments start piling up, when our children are sick, when relationships are strained, and for many other reasons (the darkness starts to envelope us and we struggle to understand where Jesus is in all of this)

              • As a church, we can look at the payroll tax debt, tight finances, and decline in attendance and allow it to take us to a dark place (we can feel like Jesus isn’t here)

            • Here’s hope!

              • As followers of Jesus Christ, we have the hope that Jesus is always with us

              • Hebrews 13:5-6, Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” ​​ So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. ​​ What can man do to me?”

              • Psalm 23:4, Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

              • Did you hear those promises from God, today?

                • God will never leave us or turn His back on us

                • He is aware of the dark things you are going through and is right there with you

                • He is there to comfort you

                • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Claim the promise that God is always with me, even during the dark times of my life.

              • You can take comfort in the fact that Jesus is coming to help with your situation, even though you may not sense His presence yet

          • The disciples are in the dark, and on top of that, a storm has come up on the sea

        • Storm

          • Storms or rough waters were not uncommon on the Sea of Galilee

          • They still experience these rough waters today, which require the modern powerboats to remain docked [Köstenberger, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, John, 204]

          • “The Sea of Galilee lies about six hundred feet below sea level. ​​ Cool air from the south-eastern tablelands can rush in to displace the warm moist air over the lake, churning up the water in a violent squall.” ​​ [Carson, The Pillar New Testament Commentary, The Gospel According to John, 275]

          • Jesus knew that the disciples were going to have to face rough waters

            • He compelled them to get into the boat and start out across the Sea of Galilee

            • They had experienced some pretty incredible miracles in the days leading up to this boat ride, and perhaps Jesus was helping them to not lose focus and faith in Him

            • When incredible things are happening, we can begin to rely in our own strength instead of focusing on Jesus

            • The dark times of our lives and the storms that come up should cause us to seek the face of God more earnestly and not to turn away from Him

            • “Jesus is not only the Savior in the storm but also the sender of the storm. ​​ And, just as He did with His disciples, He will send you into a storm knowingly and lovingly if He sees you’re about to get pulled into the mentality of the crowd.” ​​ [Courson, 483]

            • Remember, the crowd wanted to force Jesus to be their king – they wanted to define Jesus’ role on earth

          • We can look at the difficult situations in our lives as storms

            • Jesus may be knowingly and lovingly sending you into a storm to protect you from being pulled into the mentality of the crowd – one that is not healthy or biblical

            • He may be knowingly and lovingly sending you into a storm so your faith in Him will be strengthened and you will not become proud

            • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Thank the Lord for the storms of life He has knowingly and lovingly sent me into, so I will depend on Him and watch my faith grow.

        • What we see next is that the disciples were never out of Jesus’ view and He was with them

    • Jesus is Here (vv. 19-21)

        • The disciples location

          • The distance across the Sea of Galilee, at the northern part would have been around 5 miles

            • They had rowed about 3 to 3.5 miles by the time the wind began to blow and the waves became rough

            • They were more than half way across the Sea of Galilee when the storm came up

          • The disciples had been rowing since evening, probably before dark

            • Mark tells us that by evening they were already in the middle of the lake (Mark 6:47)

              • Matthew says they were a considerable distance from land (Matthew 14:24)

              • In both Matthew and Mark, “evening” means between 6:00 pm to the beginning of night

                • During Roman rule there were four watches of the night

                • Evening (6:00 to 9:00 pm)

                • Midnight (9:00 pm to 12:00 am)

                • Cock-crowing (12:00 am to 3:00 am)

                • Morning (3:00 am to 6:00 am)

                • So, the disciples perhaps started out at 6:00 pm and had rowed 3 to 3.5 miles by sometime between 9:00 pm and 12:00 am

              • The disciples were making good time until the wind started blowing and the waters got rough

              • That’s when their progress basically came to a complete halt

            • Matthew and Mark tell us that Jesus came to them about the fourth watch of the night, which is between 3-6 am, meaning that they were not gaining ground for about three hours

          • Jesus is aware of the struggle they are having to row against the rough waters

        • Jesus walks on the water

          • The disciples were never out of Jesus’ sight

            • Mark 6:47-48, When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. ​​ He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. ​​ About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake.

            • I love this imagery here, Jesus saw the disciples

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – Jesus sees us in our storms of life.

              • If you are struggling financially (Jesus sees you)

              • In the middle of the negative medical diagnosis (Jesus sees you)

              • When you are struggling in your relationship with your spouse, family member, neighbor, coworker, boss, or fellow believer (Jesus sees you)

              • During the darkest times, when anxiety and depression are overtaking you (Jesus sees you)

              • Even when financial and relational difficulties surface in the church (Jesus sees us)

              • You and I can claim the promise today that Jesus sees us in our storms of life

            • Jesus didn’t just see them, though, He reacted

          • Jesus leaves the solid ground of the land and begins to walk to the disciple’s boat, on the water

            • PRINCIPLE #2 – Jesus is all-powerful (omnipotent)

              • The waves are rough, but that’s nothing for Jesus

              • He is able to walk on the water as if it solid ground

              • He has the power, through God, to override the physics associated with water

              • Individuals have tried to discount this miracle

                • Most of them believe that the disciples were rowing close to the shore line and Jesus was just walking along the shore line where they could see Him

                • Did Jesus really walk on water? Or maybe he just surfed on a patch of ice. That's the conclusion of a 2006 scientific article published in everyone's favorite bedtime reading item—The Journal of Paleolimnology. The article was titled ‘Is There a Paleolimnological Explanation for 'Walking on Water' in the Sea of Galilee?’ Dr. Doron Nof, an expert in oceanography and limnology (the study of lakes), and his co-authors speculate that an odd combination of atmospheric conditions may cause rare patches of floating ice on the Sea of Galilee. According to their calculations, the chances of this floating ice phenomenon happening are less than once every thousand years. But those odds didn't deter them from questioning whether Jesus walked on water after all. Perhaps Jesus just surfed a patch of floating ice.

                  To be honest, I'm not sure which one would be more amazing. Surfing a piece of floating ice across the Sea of Galilee would take miraculous balance. And if those patches of ice appear only once every thousand years, it would take miraculous timing too. I'd love to see a high-definition, slow motion instant replay of either one—Jesus walking on water or surfing on ice. But Dr. Nof's theory may reveal more about the human psyche than the circumstances behind Jesus' miracle. We have a natural tendency to explain away what we cannot explain. And that's why most of us miss the miracle.”

                  Adapted from Mark Batterson, The Grave Robber (Baker Books, 2014), pp 174-175


              • Jesus wasn’t walking along the shoreline and He wasn’t surfing on a patch of ice, He was miraculously walking on the water, because He is all-powerful!

          • The disciple’s reaction is fear

        • Disciple’s reaction

          • John tells us that the disciples were terrified

            • Matthew and Mark tell us that the disciples thought Jesus was a ghost, which made them terrified (Matthew 14:26; Mark 6:49)

            • They hadn’t seen anyone walking on the water before

            • There must have been a belief that ghosts floated above the ground, which would have made sense to them to see a figure “walking” on the water – a ghost!

          • They weren’t afraid of the rough waters, because many of them were fisherman and were accustomed to being on the water during a storm

        • Jesus’ response

          • Jesus identifies Himself to the disciples and encourages them not to be afraid

          • They were probably afraid, because it was dark and they did not, at first, recognize the figure coming across the water

          • We sometimes respond the same way to the miraculous

            • We’re afraid when dark times come our way

            • There is fear in experiencing the supernatural

            • There is fear in the unknown

            • There is fear in what cannot be explained through natural and human thought and experience

            • Jesus is saying the same thing to us today – “don’t be afraid. ​​ I am here!”

            • PRINCIPLE #3 – Jesus’ timing is perfect.

              • “In the midst of your own struggling and toiling, Jesus knows the perfect time to come to you and whisper in your ear, ‘It is I. ​​ Be not afraid.’ ​​ But it won’t be a minute too early, and it won’t be a moment too late.” ​​ [Courson, 483]

              • That truth is something you and I can hold on to while we’re going through the storms of life

              • Jesus is with us and will help at just the right time

              • We don’t have to be afraid

          • The disciples did something pretty important that would bring peace to their storm

        • Disciple’s response

          • When they knew that the figure walking on the water was Jesus, they willingly took Him into the boat

            • Notice that Jesus didn’t force His way onto the boat

            • He didn’t force His way into their storm

            • It wasn’t just enough for the disciples to see and recognize Jesus, they had to invite Him into the boat [Gangel, Holman New Testament Commentary, John, 121]

            • They had to invite Jesus into the difficult situation they were experiencing

            • The same is true for you and me

              • It’s not enough for us to know and recognize Jesus

              • We have to invite Him into the storms of our lives

              • Perhaps you’re experiencing a storm in your life, right now (financial, relational, health, mental, school, etc.)

              • Have you invited Jesus into your “boat,” into your “storm?”

              • Perhaps that is the step you need to take today

              • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Invite Jesus to come into the storm in my life.

          • Peace comes when we invite Jesus into the storms of our lives.

        • Miraculous arrival

          • John tells us that as soon as Jesus stepped into the boat it immediately reached its destination

          • “One can scarcely imagine, indeed, that after an act of power so magnificent and so kingly as Jesus walking on the waters he should have seated himself in the boat and the voyage have been laboriously continued by the stroke of the oar. ​​ At the moment Jesus set foot on the boat he communicated to it the force victorious over gravity and space, which had just been so strikingly displayed in his own person.” ​​ [Godet cited by Milne, The Bible Speaks Today, The Message of John, 108-109]

          • Matthew and Mark tell us that as soon as Jesus stepped into the boat the wind died down (Matthew 14:32; Mark 6:51) – there was peace on the sea


  • YOU

    • Claim the promise that God is always with you, even during the dark times of your life.

    • Thank the Lord for the storms of life He has knowingly and lovingly sent you into, so you will depend on Him and watch your faith grow.

    • Invite Jesus to come into the storm in your life.

  • WE

    • We can do the same things as a body of believers

    • We need to claim the promise that God is always with us, even during the dark times in our community

    • We need to thank the Lord for allowing us to go through the storms of life, so our faith and dependence on Him can grow

    • We need to invite Jesus to come into the current storm of financial and relational difficulties



“Mark Twain was accompanied by his wife on one of his visits to the Holy Land. They were staying in Tiberius on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. It was a moonlit night, and the weather was perfect, which gave Twain the romantic idea of taking his wife for a boat ride on the lake.


They walked down to the pier, and Twain inquired of a man sitting in a rowboat how much he would charge to row them out on the water. Twain was dressed in his usual white suit, white shoes, and white Texas hat. The oarsman, presuming him to be a wealthy rancher from the USA, said, ‘Well, I guess about twenty-five dollars.’ Mark Twain thanked him, and, as he turned away with his wife on his arm, he was heard to exclaim, ‘Now I know why Jesus walked!’”


Ward Williams, "Walking on Water,"






Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

(John 6:1-15)



“You just never know how God might call you to serve him. For instance, in August of 2011 a 12-year-old boy named Gaelen from Vancouver Island, Canada, was hailed as a hero after he helped deliver his new baby brother. It all started when Gaelen's mother woke up in hard labor at 2 A.M. She had planned to deliver the baby in the hospital, but when the time came she couldn't even get out of bed. "I was already in the process of pushing," she said. ‘There was nothing I could do.’


Her cries for help woke her son who was sleeping in the next room. When he entered his mother's room, he said he could already see his baby brother's head.


Gaelen later reported, ‘I grabbed [the baby] by the shoulders and his head was resting on my wrists. Then I gently pulled him out and laid him on the bed.’ Gaelen then went to the kitchen to find some scissors, so he could cut and clamp the baby's umbilical cord.


The family made it to hospital about 45 minutes after the birth. Danielle Edwards and her new baby boy, her fifth child, stayed in the hospital until Sunday morning.


When asked how he knew how to do all of this, Gaelen nonchalantly replied, ‘I watch a bunch of medical [TV] shows.’ He also said that after this experience he is considering a career in medicine.”


Matt Woodley, managing editor,; source: CBC News, "Boy, 12, helps deliver baby brother" (8-22-11).





  • ME

    • Compound Bow

        • We were living in Ohio and I was serving as State Director for CEF

        • I’ve been hunting with a shotgun or rifle since I was 12 years old, but I was interested in learning how to bow hunt

        • As a faith-based missionary, I knew that I couldn’t buy a compound bow on my own

        • One evening, while meeting with a local CEF board, we were sharing about our lives, just getting to know each other

        • I shared about being a hunter and wanting to learn how to bow hunt

        • One of the board members, whose house we were meeting in, said he had a compound bow with a case and a bunch of other accessories with it

        • He couldn’t use it anymore

        • Long story, short, he gave me his compound bow for free

        • That was beyond my wildest dreams

          • I still use that compound bow today

          • God provided something that I thought I would never have


  • WE

    • God’s provision

        • Take a moment to think about a time when God provided for you

        • When we’re struggling financially, God can and will provide just what we need

        • When we’re dealing with relational difficulties, God can and will provide the solution to our problem

        • Have you ever found a time when God’s provision for you has been inadequate?

        • Has there ever been a time when His provision has been late?

    • Faith

        • Many times our faith in God’s provision is weak

        • We may think the problem in front of us is too big for God to handle

        • We may think that what we have to offer Him, to help with the problem, is insufficient or insignificant


The feeding of the 5,000 is the only story that is shared in all four Gospels. ​​ It was a significant miracle that each Gospel writer did not forget. ​​ We will see through two disciple’s responses, to the problem, that there was not enough money to take care of the problem, and that what they did have was not sufficient to deal with the problem. ​​ The disciples already knew that Jesus could do the miraculous, but perhaps their faith was continuing to develop. ​​ What John wants us to understand today, through this passage is that . . .


BIG IDEA – Jesus, more than, satisfies our every need.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (John 6:1-15)

    • The Setting (vv. 1-4)

        • Some time after this

          • This is just another way for John to change to the next story about Jesus so that people will believe He is the Son of God and by believing they will have eternal life

          • It doesn’t carry a particular time frame with it (days, months, years, etc.)

        • Crossing the Sea of Galilee

          • Most of the time in Scripture, the far shore of the Sea of Galilee, is referring to the eastern shore (going from the Jewish side of the sea)

          • It is also referring to the fact that those traveling, to the far shore, are going from west to east across the Sea of Galilee

          • John gives us what was probably the modern name for the Sea at the time he was writing this Gospel

            • The Sea got the modern name from the city of Tiberius that was founded by Herod Antipas around 18-20 A.D.

            • The city was named after Antipas’ patron, Emperor Tiberius

            • The name of the city was then transferred to the sea

          • There are two other names for this Sea in Scripture

            • Lake of Gennesaret (Luke 5:1)

            • Sea of Kinnereth (Numbers 34:11)

              • This name comes from the Hebrew word, kinnôr, which means lyre (as in the musical instrument)

              • Many believed the sea was shaped like a lyre

          • We know then that this story is taking place on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee

          • Jesus had been healing the sick on the western side, which obviously drew a large crowd

        • Following Jesus

          • This crowd that had been with Jesus on the western side of the Sea of Galilee were following Him, because of what they saw Him do with the sick

            • He had been doing miraculous signs on the sick, which most likely refers to healings

            • People were drawn to Jesus because of this

            • We could be really hard and critical of the people following Jesus

              • We could say that they were following Him for the wrong reasons

              • They simply wanted to be around Jesus for the “magic show” that He was doing with the sick

              • But, I want us to be cautious that we don’t do that

              • The miraculous signs that Jesus was doing were to draw people to Him, so He could share about the Kingdom of God with them

              • His intentions were genuine and true

              • John shared just a few of the miracles that Jesus did, so that his readers would believe that Jesus is the Son of God and by believing they would have life (John 20:30-31)

          • Jesus and His disciples had been ministering to crowds of people, non-stop

          • They needed some time to rest and connect

        • Rest and connection

          • Jesus went up on a mountainside

            • A specific mountain is not in view here

            • It is probably referring to the hill country on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee

            • It is identified today as the Golan Heights

          • He sat down with His disciples

            • This was perhaps a time for Jesus and His disciples to take a breather

            • To catch up on all that had been happening

            • We know from Mark (6:6-12) and Luke’s (9:1-6) Gospels that the disciples had just returned from being sent out by Jesus to cure diseases, to heal people, to cast out demons, and to preach the Kingdom of God

            • Jesus knows the emotional and physical demands of ministering to people, so He wants to help His disciples get some rest

        • Jewish Passover Feast

          • John gives us a note about the Jewish Passover Feast being near

          • This helps us know that it was around April 13/14 that this miraculous feeding took place (spring time)

        • John has set the stage for us and now he shares the actual miracle story

    • The Miracle (vv. 5-13)

        • Great crowd coming

          • Jesus and His disciples had traveled by boat to the other side of the Sea of Galilee

          • Perhaps some of the crowd used boats to follow Him, but most of the crowd probably walked

            • Mark 6:32-33, So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. ​​ But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them.

            • They would have walked around the northern tip of the sea, which was a several mile walk

          • When Jesus looked up and saw the crowd coming, He asks Philip a question

        • Human solutions – hopelessness (vv. 5-9)

          • Philip – too big to solve

            • Jesus’ question – “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?”

              • I know what you’re thinking, “Poor Philip! ​​ Why did Jesus call Him out?”

              • Philip had grown up in nearby Bethsaida with Andrew and Peter

              • He would have been familiar with where the marketplaces were or perhaps the baker’s house

              • This question was simply a test, though

              • Jesus was probably trying to determine where Philip’s faith was and/or to gauge Philip’s understanding of who He was, as Messiah

              • Jesus wasn’t trying to gain just information, because He already knew what He was going to do about the need of the hungry followers

              • PRINCIPLE #1 – Jesus is all-knowing (omniscient)

                • Jesus already knew about the need before the crowd followed them around the Sea of Galilee

                • He already knew He was going to do a miracle to feed the hungry people

                • He already knew about the 5 loaves and 2 fishes

                • Application

                  • It should come as no surprise to you that Jesus already knew about the difficult situations you are going through, right now (finances, relationships, health)

                  • You can take comfort in the fact that Jesus already knows what He is going to do about your difficult situation

                  • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Claim the promise that Jesus knows what He is going to do about my difficult situation.

                  • Guess what? ​​ Jesus already knew about the payroll tax debt and the tight finances of Idaville Church

                  • He already knows what He’s going to do about both of these difficult situations in our church

                  • We can trust Him and claim the same promise, corporately

                • We’ll see this same principle, of Jesus being all-knowing, in verse 15

              • John then provides Philip’s answer to Jesus’ question

            • Philip’s answer

              • Philip had seen Jesus do miracles previously, so He knew Jesus had the power to do something miraculous in this situation

              • Philip’s response shows us that he is only able to think in the human, natural world

                • Philip must have been really good at math, because he looks at the crowd, estimates how many people are gathered, and calculates what it would cost to buy just enough bread for each person to have one bite

                • Then he tells Jesus, that it would take eight months’ wages to accomplish what He is asking

                • One denarius was the wages for a common laborer in the 1st Century, so 200 denarii would have been eight months wages

                • The disciples did have a purse of funds, that we later find out was handled by Judas Iscariot, but it didn’t contain 200 denarii

              • To Philip, the task seemed impossible, because he was looking at it from a human, natural perspective

                • He probably felt hopeless

                • You and I are guilty of doing the same thing – looking at our difficulties from a human, natural perspective and giving up because it seems impossible

                • We feel hopeless, discouraged, depressed, and alone

                • Our faith is probably pretty weak during those times

                • PRINCIPLE #2 – Even when our faith is weak, God wants to work in and through us.

                  • Philip’s faith was weak, because his focus was in the wrong place

                  • Our faith is weak, because our focus is in the wrong place

                  • We have to look to Jesus for His plan, His will, His purpose in the difficult times

                  • The first step in changing our focus is admitting that it’s in the wrong place

                  • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Admit to God that I have not been focusing on Him and seeking His solution to my difficult situation.

                  • God wants to work in and through us as we go through our current financial difficulties here at the church

                  • He wants to do the supernatural through us as we offer to Him the resources that we have, even if they seem insufficient

            • What we see next is another disciple offering a solution, but still struggling with his faith in what Jesus can do

          • Andrew – insufficient resources

            • Bringing people to Jesus

              • Andrew comes to Jesus, but he doesn’t come alone

              • This is Simon Peter’s brother, and if you remember from John 1:41, the first thing Andrew did, after he followed Jesus, was to go get his brother and tell him that they had found the Messiah, then he took him to Jesus

              • Andrew finds a boy with a small lunch and he brings him to Jesus

              • Andrew is known in the Scriptures for bringing people to Jesus – what a great role model for us!

            • The insufficient resources

              • Andrew explains what resources he found to deal with the problem of the hungry crowd

                • John makes it clear that the loaves were small – these were not large, long Italian loaves

                • They were small barley loaves

                  • Barley was the grain of the poor

                  • “Barley was common food for the poor, its ‘lower gluten content, low extraction rate, less desirable taste, and indigestibility’ rendering it ‘the staple of the poor in Roman times.’” ​​ [Köstenberger, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, John, 201]

                  • Wheat was reserved for those who were wealthier

                • The two fish were also small

                  • Again, these were not the large catfish that Alger Melton, CJ Armolt, Jim Toms, and Warren Baum catch in the Susquehanna River

                  • These were probably the size of the shiners that these guys use as bait to catch the catfish

                  • They were probably preserved by drying them

                • So, Andrew brings the boy with his small lunch to Jesus, but he adds his own commentary to the resources he has found

              • His faith is weak

                • “How far will they go among so many?”

                • We see again the weak faith of another disciple, who has seen Jesus do the miraculous in the past

                • That just leads us back to the second principle, PRINCIPLE #2 – Even when our faith is weak, God wants to work in and through us.

                • What happens to us is that we sometimes forget how God has worked miraculously in the past

                • We allow the size of the problem before us to cause us to have temporary amnesia

                • We have to stop starring at the huge problem in front of us and begin to look upon the face of Jesus

                • We need to change our focus and remember the miraculous things that Jesus has accomplished in our lives in the past

                • We have to remember that nothing is too hard for Jesus – no problem or difficulty is beyond His ability to deal with

          • What we see next in verses 10-13 is that Jesus does something beyond the wildest dreams of the disciples and the crowd

          • We’ll see that Jesus, more than, satisfies the needs of the hungry people

        • Supernatural solution (vv. 10-13)

          • Organized

            • We know that God is a God of order and not chaos

            • Jesus has the people sit down on the grass

              • Mark tells us that they sat in groups of hundreds and fifties (Mark 6:40)

              • That would certain make it easier to count how many people were there

              • We know that there were five thousand men in the crowd

              • Most scholars believe that the total count of men, women, and children could have been around ten to twenty thousand

            • The mention of grass, simply lets us know that it was still spring time and the hot summer sun and not yet scorched the grass

          • The miracle

            • Jesus took the “insufficient resources” gave thanks and started to distribute the bread and fish to the people who were sitting down

            • PRINCIPLE #3 – Jesus is all-powerful (omnipotent)

              • He is able to do anything

              • There is nothing that is too hard for Him

              • Nothing is impossible for Him

              • In fact, Jesus is able to take what we offer Him and do more with it than is humanly possible

                • What are you offering Jesus?

                  • Time, talent, resources

                • Are you holding back anything, because you think it’s insufficient?

                  • “I can’t do special music, because I feel like my singing voice is insufficient.” (offer it to Jesus!)

                  • “I can’t teach Sunday school, children’s church, or a discipleship group, because my teaching skills are insufficient.” (offer it to Jesus!)

                  • “I can’t give a tithe or offering, because I have insufficient funds due to being on a fixed income, or because I lost my job, or because I have more bills at the end of the month than I have money in the bank.” (offer what little you have to Jesus!)

                  • “I don’t feel like I have sufficient skills to visit people in their homes, greet worshipers on a Sunday morning, help as an usher, or man the Welcome Center.” ​​ (offer it to Jesus!)

                  • “I don’t have sufficient funds to give to the GROW Capital Campaign or to help with the tax debt or the tight finances at the church.” ​​ (offer what you have to Jesus!)

                • Jesus is able to take what you offer Him and do more with it than is humanly possible

                  • Jesus is looking for those who will step out in faith and trust Him to do the miraculous

                  • He can and will do something that is beyond our wildest dreams

            • Notice what each person received

          • More than enough

            • Philip had calculated what it would cost for each person to have one bite of bread (200 denarii, impossible!)

            • Jesus keeps distributing bread and fish to the hungry crowd until they had as much as they wanted

              • They ate until they were full

              • They ate until they were satisfied

            • Jesus, more than, satisfies our every need.

              • When everyone had had enough to eat, Jesus told the disciples to pick up the leftovers and not to waste anything

                • “It was customary at Jewish meals to collect what was left over. ​​ Pieces of bread were not to be thrown around (b. Ber. 50b), and food the size of an olive or larger must be picked up (b. Ber. 52b).” ​​ [Köstenberger, 202]

                • The reason they were to pick up the leftovers was so nothing would be wasted/perish

                • The only previous use of the verb “to be lost” is part of, probably, the most recognizable verse in the Bible, John 3:16, when it says he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life [Michaels, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, The Gospel of John, 350]

                • Perhaps it is an allusion to what Jesus will be doing through His death, burial, and resurrection

                • It will be a visual reminder, in the disciples’ memory, about their role in evangelism after Jesus ascends to heaven (they’re supposed to gather followers of Jesus, so they won’t perish)

              • More than they started with

                • It’s amazing to me to see that after the disciples pick up the leftover barley bread that they had 12 baskets full

                • Jesus started with five small barley loaves, but His provision for this hungry crowd more than satisfies their needs by twelve-fold!

            • God’s provision for Idaville Church

              • We’re a body of believers that is facing what seems like insurmountable debt and financial struggles

              • But, I’m hopeful!!!

              • I’m trusting Jesus to do the miraculous and I know He will!

              • As we focus on Jesus, He is going to build our faith

              • As we offer Him our “insufficient resources,” He will do more with it than is humanly possible

              • I believe, in the end, He will also provide more than what we need, as we trust Him!

          • You can trust Jesus to do the same for you in whatever difficulty or problem you are facing

        • The crowd was starting to understand who Jesus was, but their understanding was flawed

    • The Withdraw (vv. 14-15)

        • As we’ve seen in John’s Gospel, the miraculous signs were done so that people would believe that Jesus is the Son of God and by believing they would have life

          • They had the beginnings of true belief, but it wasn’t that Jesus was the Messiah

          • The Samaritan woman began this same way, “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.” ​​ (John 4:19)

          • The Jews were waiting for the fulfillment of the prophecy found in Deuteronomy 18:15-19

          • The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. ​​ You must listen to him. ​​ For this is what you asked the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.” ​​ The Lord said to me: ​​ “What they say is good. ​​ I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. ​​ If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account.

          • Their understanding of Jesus’ purpose on earth was guided by their own personal desires to be free from Roman rule (natural instead of spiritual)

        • Forcing Jesus into our plans

          • The crowd wanted to force Jesus to be their earthly King

          • They wanted Him to be a political leader instead of a spiritual leader

          • Jesus knew their hearts, because He is all-knowing (omniscient)

            • He knew that their desires were selfish

            • PRINCIPLE #4 – We sometimes try to force Jesus into our plans instead of following His leading.

              • This is human nature, especially in the United States, where we are fiercely independent

              • We are told to make our own way

              • Success means having more than the next guy

              • We want Jesus to do for us what we want, instead of listening to His voice and His leading

              • “On our way back to Georgia from south Texas, my son and his family stopped in New Orleans. ​​ That city has one of the country’s oldest trolleys which carries visitors to the zoo. ​​ It looked like a great idea so the whole family – Mom, Dad, and two children – jumped on. ​​ Jeff assumed the role of sufficient and dependable leader. ​​ He watched his map, looked for landmarks, and told the family when to jump off the trolley. ​​ But as they rose to get off, the driver looked right at him and shook his head. ​​ ‘You’re going to the zoo, right?’ ​​ Jeff nodded and offered a feeble ‘Yes.’ ​​ ‘Next stop,’ said the driver. ​​ Sometimes we lean on our own maps and fail to consult the source of true authority about what we should do with our lives.” ​​ [Gangel, Holman New Testament Commentary, John, 120]

              • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Follow Jesus’ leading in my life and not try to force Him into my plans.

          • Jesus could not allow the crowd to determine and define His plan and purpose on earth, so He left the crowd and perhaps went further up the hillside to be alone


  • YOU

    • Claim the promise that Jesus knows what to do about my difficult situation

    • Admit to God that I have not been focusing on Him and seeking His solution to my difficult situation

    • Follow Jesus leading in my life and not try to force Him into my plans


  • WE

    • As a church we need to claim the promise that Jesus knows what to do about our financial difficulties



“Serving God with our little is the way to make it more; and we must never think that wasted with which God is honored or men are blest.”


Henrietta Mears in Dream Big: The Henrietta Mears Story. Christianity Today, Vol. 38, no. 13.






More Than Words

(John 5:31-47)



“Major Osipovich, an air force pilot for the former USSR, planned to give a talk at his children's school about peace. But he would need time off during the day to give his talk, so he volunteered for night duty. And that's how Major Osipovich found himself patrolling the skies over the eastern regions of the Soviet Union on September 1, 1983 – the night Korean Air Lines Flight KE007 strayed into Soviet air space.


Soon the Soviet pilot was caught in a series of blunders and misinformation. In the end, Major Osipovich followed orders and shot down the unidentified aircraft. The actions of an air force major preparing to talk about peace plunged 240 passengers to their deaths and sparked an international incident that pushed world powers to a stand-off. Our talk is important. But our actions carry far more weight.”


Leadership, Vol. 15, no. 3.





  • ME

    • Scheduling Levi’s driving test

        • Levi got his learner’s permit on his Birthday, which was the same day we were leaving for Ohio to spend time with Judy’s brother and his family

        • The agent at the DMV told us to go on to their website that day and register him for his driving test in 6 months

        • As you can imagine, I didn’t do it that day

        • In fact, I forgot to do for months

        • When Levi started asking me to help with it, I didn’t do it right away

        • When I finally got online to do it, there were not any dates available in January, which was his sixth month mark

        • In fact the earliest dates were in May

        • Saying I would help with that, but not doing something about it caused a lot of frustration for both of us

        • Fortunately, a friend encouraged him to check back every day to see if any earlier dates opened up

        • That was great advice – he was able to get a date in March


  • WE

    • Family

        • We have all probably done the same things or similar things with our family members

        • We’ve promised to help with a project, but have not done anything to move forward with that project

    • Work

        • We may be guilty of doing it at work also

        • We’ve promised to look into something or do something, but have neglected to take any action


The wording in John 5:31-47 gives us the idea of a court of law. ​​ Jesus has made the claim that He is God and now He is calling witnesses to back up His claim. ​​ He knows, that just His testimony about Himself, will not be sufficient for the Jews. ​​ Yet, Jesus will challenge the Jews with the fact that they are relying on just their own words for salvation. ​​ What John wants us to understand is that . . .


BIG IDEA – A transformed life is evidenced by more than just your testimony (words).


Let’s pray


  • GOD (John 5:31-47)

    • Divine Testimony (vv. 31-40)

        • Personal testimony (vv. 31-32)

          • Since Jesus was speaking to the Jews, He used something from Old Testament law that they would have been familiar with

            • Deuteronomy 17:6, On the testimony of two or three witnesses a man shall be put to death, but no one shall be put to death on the testimony of only one witness.

            • Deuteronomy 19:15, One witness is not enough to convict a man accused of any crime or offense he may have committed. ​​ A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.

            • The Jews knew about this Old Testament law and they expanded it to include judicial settings also [Burge, The NIV Application Commentary, John, 179]

            • This is not uncommon for us, even today, to want additional witnesses

              • Our hunting and fishing stories can sometimes seem extraordinary or unbelievable, but when a couple of friends who were with us can verify that it’s true, then people are more likely to believe us

              • Our shopping expeditions, where we got that incredible outfit for an unbelievable deal, can seem outrageous until a couple of other girlfriends, who were with us, verify that we got the outfit for that price

              • The age of cameras included in our cell phones has made it easier to verify that something, that seems unbelievable, actually happened

            • Jesus knew that His personal testimony, about Himself being God, was not going to be sufficient for the Jews – that was to unbelievable for them

          • Jesus’ testimony about Himself was not false, but He needed additional witnesses to verify what He was claiming

            • Jesus says that He has another person who can testify in His favor and He knows that testimony will validate His claim to deity

            • While Jesus doesn’t specifically say, that God is the other witness, most scholars agree He’s referring to God

          • He presents four witnesses to His claim of deity

        • John the Baptist (vv. 33-35)

          • They sent to John

            • The perfect tense of the verbs, “have sent” and “has testified” tells us that this was something that was firmly established as truth for the Jews [Carson, The Pillar New Testament Commentary, The Gospel According to John, 260]

            • John the Baptist was someone whom the Jews regarded highly as a prophet

            • He had testified about Jesus when the Jews questioned him about who he was

              • John 1:6-7, There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. ​​ He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe.

              • John 1:19, Now this was John’s testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was.

              • John 1:24-25, Now some Pharisees who had been sent questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”

              • They were seeking answers from John the Baptist and every time, John pointed them to Jesus

            • John’s testimony wasn’t for Jesus, but for the Jews

          • For the Jews benefit

            • Since they regarded John so highly and obviously didn’t regard Jesus very highly, Jesus uses John as His first witness

            • Jesus wasn’t after the approval of men for the ministry that God had given Him

            • Jesus is looking for common ground with the Jews

              • How can He prove that He is God

              • Jesus’ desire is that they believe in Him for salvation

              • So, He uses a human witness, that the Jews could connect with and believe, as a bridge for them to use to come to Him

            • Their belief in John didn’t last very long

          • They believed John for a while

            • John was a lamp

              • This metaphor is important, because Jesus is saying that John is not the light

                • A lamp has to be lit from a primary source

                • A lamp also can and will burn out eventually

                • The past tense of the verbs, describing John as a lamp, may mean that he had already died or was in prison at the time of John the Evangelist’s writing

              • “A lamp must be lit . . . Our witness will only be effective if God ignites it. ​​ That’s the reason we pray. ​​ A lamp provides guidance and direction; it’s not the destination. ​​ It’s not the center of attention. ​​ The lamp simply illuminates the way to something else; it serves a greater purpose. ​​ A lamp eventually burns out . . . John’s life and ministry served a purpose for a time, but it eventually ended. ​​ We only have a short time on this earth to impact people for Jesus.” ​​ [Carter & Wredberg, Christ-Centered Exposition: ​​ Exalting Jesus in John, 129]

              • Application

                • Has the Gospel of Jesus Christ transformed you?

                • Has God ignited the Gospel in you?

                • Are you committed to the Great Commission?

                • Jeremiah 20:9, But if I say, “I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. ​​ I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.”

                • Does that sound like you and the Gospel?

                  • When it comes to preaching and doing discipleship with a new believer, that’s exactly how I feel

                  • When it comes to sharing the Gospel with strangers, that is NOT how I feel

                  • Yet, we are commanded to make disciples

                  • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Ask the Lord to ignite the fire of His Gospel in my heart, so that I cannot hold it in.

                • We need to be a lamp that directs others to Jesus

              • John was that kind of lamp, and the Jews enjoyed his message for a while

            • Chose to enjoy his light for a time

              • When John was proclaiming that the Messiah was coming and that everyone needed to participate in the baptism of repentance, the Jews were delighted

              • The Jews were looking for the Messiah – they were waiting with anticipation for the Messiah to be revealed

              • Unfortunately, when John began pointing to Jesus as the Messiah, many of the religious leaders stopped believing his testimony and message

              • Jesus didn’t fit into their preconceived ideas about who the Messiah would be and what the Messiah’s purpose on earth would be

              • So, they rejected Jesus and His message, which is why Jesus is providing witnesses for them about His deity

          • Jesus’ second witness carries more weight than John the Baptist

        • Jesus’ own works (v. 36)

          • In the Greek the word “work” is in the plural – “works”

          • This certainly refers to the miracles and signs that Jesus performed while He was on earth

            • John 3:2, He [Nicodemus] came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

            • Acts 2:22, “Men of Israel, listen to this: ​​ Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.”

          • It goes beyond just the signs and miracles, though, to Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection

            • All of the signs, wonders, and miracles that Jesus was given power to do on earth were not what saved people, but rather they were designed to draw people to Jesus

            • God’s greatest work through Jesus was the work of redemption

              • From the time of the fall with Adam and Eve, God was planning and preparing His work of redemption for all humanity

                • Galatians 4:4-5, But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.

                • Romans 5:6, 8, You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly . . . But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: ​​ While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

              • We’re all born sinners, separated from God because of our sin (Rom. 3:23; 6:23)

              • But God’s plan of redemption was fulfilled when Jesus willing died on the cross, taking our punishment for sin (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

              • God accepted Jesus’ perfect sacrifice for our sins by allowing Him to come alive again – winning over sin and death

              • John 3:17-18, For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. ​​ Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

              • Jesus’ ascension into heaven triggered the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on all who believe in Jesus and are saved

              • This is the Gospel that should be burning in our hearts – that we can’t hold in

              • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Believe in Jesus and be saved.

          • Jesus’ own works proved that He was God, but Jesus doesn’t stop there – He has two more witnesses to His claim to deity

        • God the Father (vv. 37-38)

          • Jesus’ next witness is the Father

            • The Father is the One who sent Jesus in the first place

            • “Note how the rejection of Jesus is a “catch twenty-two” kind of problem. ​​ These denying Jews never grasped the Father’s testimony about Jesus because they refused Jesus’ testimony about the Father.” ​​ [Gangel, Holman New Testament Commentary, John, 105]

              • Here’s the irony

              • Jesus is God and speaks God’s Word, but the Jews don’t hear God’s voice through Jesus

                • The Israelites were afraid of God talking to them directly at Mount Sinai and asked Moses to speak to them himself (Exodus 20:18-19)

                • “Old Testament figures who heard the voice of God include Noah (Gen. 7:1-4), Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3), Moses (Exod. 3:4-4:17; 19:3-6, 9-13; 33:11), Samuel (1 Sam. 3:4, 6, 8, 11-14), and Elijah (1 Kings 19:13, 15-18).” ​​ [Köstenberger, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, John, 192]

                • The Jews weren’t discerning God’s voice through Scripture, as we’ll see in a moment

              • Jesus is God in the flesh, but the Jews don’t see God in Jesus

                • God’s form, through Jesus, was standing right in front of them, but they didn’t recognize or accept Him

                • “Abraham (Gen. 18:1-2), Jacob (Gen. 32:24-30), Moses (Exod. 33:11), and Isaiah (Isa. 6:1-5) all ‘saw’ the Lord in one sense or another.” ​​ [Köstenberger, 192]

                • The Jews didn’t hear God’s voice or see His form in Jesus, because God’s Word was not dwelling in them

              • God’s Word was not dwelling (abiding) in the Jews – it wasn’t taking root in their hearts and minds

                • Joshua 1:8-9, “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. ​​ Then you will be prosperous and successful. ​​ Have I not commanded you? ​​ Be strong and courageous. ​​ Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

                • Psalm 119:11, I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

                • Romans 10:8-9, But what does it say? ​​ “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: ​​ That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

                • None of these Scriptures were true of the Jews, that Jesus was addressing

          • Sure, they knew the Scriptures well enough, but only from an intellectual perspective (head) and not a spiritual perspective (heart)

        • Scriptures (vv. 39-40)

          • They diligently studied the Scriptures

            • It couldn’t be said of the Jews that they didn’t diligently study the Scriptures – their study of the Torah was legendary!

            • The only problem was the motivation behind why they studied so diligently

              • It wasn’t to discern who the Messiah would be or when and where He would come

              • It was simply so they would be accepted by God at the final judgment

              • They believed that if they diligently studied Scriptures, regardless of what they learned, that they would receive eternal life

              • PRINCIPLE #1 – Old Testament Scriptures point to Jesus

              • Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35)

                • On the day of Jesus’ resurrection, He joined two disciples traveling from Jerusalem to Emmaus

                • He listened to all they had to say about Him and the events of the past several days

                • Jesus then shared with them these words, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! ​​ Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” ​​ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself (Luke 24:25-27)

              • Reading a book for an assignment

                • How many of us have had an assignment in school that required us to read a book (novel or textbook)?

                • How many of us read the words without trying to comprehend the content, just so we could say that we completed the assignment?

                • Guilty as charged, right?

              • That seems to be what the Jews were doing with the Scriptures

                • They were saying to God, “I read the assignment You gave me to read – Your Scriptures. ​​ Now, can I have eternal life?”

                • They weren’t interested in really getting to know the God of the universe, or in discerning who the Messiah would be, so they would recognize Him when He came

                • How many of us, if we’re really honest, would say that we read God’s Word that same way?

                  • We take 5 or 10 minutes at the beginning of our day to read a devotional and then check that off our list

                  • We don’t really read to discern who Jesus is and what He desires of us

                  • We’re not meditating on God’s Word day and night

                  • We haven’t hidden God’s Word in our hearts (Scripture memorization)

                  • God’s Word isn’t really near us – in our mouths and in our hearts

                  • Reading God’s Word is just an exercise we do, in hopes that God will love us more

                  • “I don’t read God’s Word and pray, so that God will love me more. ​​ I read God’s Word and pray, because I love God.” ​​ [Presenter at FamilyLife Weekend to Remember]

                  • Reading and studying God’s Word without seeing Jesus on every page is missing the point

                  • We don’t read the Bible so that we will possess eternal life

                • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Commit to studying God’s Word, so I can learn more about Jesus and what He desires for me to do for Him.

                • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Register for the Secret Church 2: ​​ Survey of the New Testament study on September 6, 2019.

            • Jesus explains that, the very Scriptures the Jews so diligently study, testify about Him

          • The Scriptures testify about Me

            • “What is the primary purpose of Scriptures? ​​ Is it to record the history of God’s dealings with men? ​​ It does record such history, but that is not its primary function. ​​ Is it to reveal certain truths to men? ​​ Although it does reveal truths, this is not its primary function either. ​​ The primary purpose of Scriptures is to point men and women to Christ. ​​ (John, 2:407).” ​​ [Boice cited by Carter & Wredberg, 134-135]

            • The Jews were studying what we refer to as the Old Testament today

            • They especially studied the Torah, which is the first five books of our Old Testament (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy)

            • “An open heart and open eyes will produce an open mind – but we begin with an open Bible. ​​ Not superstitious reverence, but practical use.” ​​ [Gangel, 105]

            • When we approach Scripture that way, we won’t miss Jesus as the theme of every book in the Bible

          • Unfortunately, the Jews, that Jesus was addressing, had missed, that He was the Messiah, promised throughout their Scriptures

          • PRINCIPLE #2 – Jesus is the only way to have eternal life.

            • He came to give them life – eternal life – but they refused to come to Him

            • He has done the same for us

            • We have to believe in Jesus

            • Acts 16:31, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved . . .”

        • What we see in the final two sections of this passage is that Jesus goes on the offensive and becomes the prosecutor instead of the defendant – he reverses His role

    • Role reversal (vv. 41-47)

        • Self-focused, instead of God-focused (vv. 41-44)

          • Jesus’ desire is to only receive praise from the Father, so He doesn’t accept praise from men

          • PRINCIPLE #3 – God desires that His people seek His praise.

          • Jesus knew their hearts

            • He knew that what really motivated the Jewish religious leaders was power and prestige and not honoring and glorifying God

            • They were seeking the praise of men instead of God

            • We’re no different than the Jewish religious leaders

              • Whether at work or even within the church, we vie for position

              • We want to have influence so we can have things done the way we want them done

              • We are unwilling to change in order to reach the next generation with the Gospel of Jesus Christ

              • Our personal preferences, and finding favor with men is a higher priority than being obedient to God’s vision for us and His church

              • If we have the love of God in our hearts, then we will not struggle with seeking the praise of men over the praise of the only God

              • Because the Jews did not have the love of God in their hearts, they readily accepted the praise from one another instead of praise from God

              • It’s difficult as a spiritual leader to balance shepherding the current flock and reaching the future flock

            • The Jews would and did follow others, claiming to be the Messiah, because of the potential opportunity for advancement, recognition, and praise from men

              • “Jesus told them that another would come in His name and that they would receive that one. ​​ Subsequent historical accounts tell us that no less than sixty-three messianic claimants attracted followers. ​​ People followed them because their claims corresponded with the desires of men. ​​ They offered easy victory, political power, and material advantage. ​​ Christ offered the Cross” (Hughes, p. 112).” ​​ [Hughes cited by Gangel, 106]

              • In the age of technology where a preacher in one part of the country or even the world can reach billions of people, the pressures to compete can be enormous

              • In the document 114 Things You Need To Know About Revitalizing Churches, Thom Rainer makes this statement in the chapter about Facing Reality: ​​ “More church leaders are accepting and teaching unbiblical issues. ​​ Thus many churches are becoming more like the world and its culture.”

              • That’s what Jesus and His disciples were fighting against in the 1st Century and it’s what we’re continuing to fight against in the 21st Century

          • Focus in the wrong place

            • If their focus remained on the praise of one another, then they would not believe that Jesus is God and that He came to save them

            • They should have been seeking the praise of God

            • Romans 2:28-29, A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. ​​ No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. ​​ Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.

          • Jesus makes an amazing statement as He gives His closing argument in this spiritual court of law

        • Shocking accuser (vv. 45-47)

          • He will not be the One accusing them before the Father

          • Moses will be their accuser

            • This would have been an outrage to them, because they had been diligently studying the Scriptures, especially those written by Moses (the Torah)

            • “The reason why Moses would accuse them was that he, as the lawgiver, knew the law’s true purpose. ​​ Rather than being an end in itself, it served to point to Christ (Carson, 1991: ​​ 266).” ​​ [Köstenberger, 195]

          • All of it works together

            • The Jews had to believe everything or reject everything – there would be no middle ground, no straddling the fence

            • If they believed Moses, the Scriptures, God, and John the Baptist, then they had to believe in Jesus as God

            • Unfortunately, they were trying to separate Jesus from God, so they could continue to hold to their traditions and preconceived ideas of who the Messiah would be

            • “Readers are thus powerfully warned that institutional religious perspectives can in fact stand in the way of hearing the call of God and can lead to a fundamental rejection of recognizing God’s presence and activity in the sphere of humanity.” ​​ [Borchert, The New American Commentary, John 1-11, 248-49]


  • YOU

    • A transformed life is evidenced by more than just your testimony (words).

        • We can say we’re Christians, but is there fruit in our actions that prove it

        • Would others testify that they have seen a change in you as a result of your relationship with Jesus Christ

        • Or, would they say that you talk and act like the world when you’re not at church

        • The Jews claimed eternal life, because of their diligent study of the Scriptures, but they refused to believe in the only One who gives eternal life

        • Their words did not match their actions

    • Is the Gospel burning in your heart?

        • If it is, are you sharing it with others?

        • If it’s not burning in your heart, why?

  • WE

    • It’s not too late to begin sharing the Gospel with family, friends, and coworkers

    • It’s not too late to invite people to return to church – we don’t have to wait until National Back to Church Sunday on September 15, 2019

    • Jesus commissioned every believer to go and make disciples, baptizing them, and teaching them to obey everything He has commanded us



Burge in his commentary uses Karl Barth’s explanation how some people can know Scripture and use it in the wrong way.


“Karl Barth provides a harrowing description of this sickness in his famous 1919 commentary on Romans (see his remarks on Rom. 2). ​​ Barth thinks about people who live in a wilderness alongside a canal. The canal was there to bring them water and life, and it was with great effort and cost that the project was built for their place in time. ​​ Great sacrifices were made, and many died as the canal was cut through mountain and desert. ​​ But the great irony is that the canal has become dry, and while its walls still convey evidence of the coursing of water, there is nothing there that can give life to anyone. ​​ Nevertheless, the people continue to service it, to defend it, to name their children after its architects and engineers; but it is only an historic thing. ​​ A canal meant to convey something – water and life – now has become static, an end instead of a means. ​​ Something for the museum. ​​ People tell stories about it instead of drink from it. ​​ The older ones treasure the stories most; the younger ones have to be initiated deliberately; but each generation seems to lose a fraction of the true vision of the canal as time goes on. ​​ And no one has a memory of what water in the canal really looks like.


Barth’s warning to the Swiss and German church following World War I is a word we should heed today. ​​ The possibility always exists that my life, my church, my tradition, my denomination, even my Bible will become relics of religious curiosity instead of living instruments of God. ​​ Men and women will be ordained, earn Ph.D.’s, and launch magazines, publishing houses, colleges, and seminaries with solid evangelical commitments, and it will all be for nothing. ​​ Empty canals. ​​ There are specialists who can cite Scripture and verse, who can measure orthodoxy with exacting precision, who can identify the religious speck in someone’s eye from a great distance, but in whom love for God does not exist (5:42).


On a national level I have seen evangelicals unsheathe their religious swords over arcane doctrinal matters (‘But this is a slippery slope!’ ​​ ‘But this is where liberalism begins!’ ​​ ‘This is an agenda that must be exorcised!’). ​​ On a local level I have seen older church members viciously lash out because ‘the contemporary service’ isn’t to their liking or they perceive that their power and influence are diminishing. ​​ All of it, John 5 suggests, is empty religion, religion that seeks it is own glory. ​​ In the end, it is religion that would condemn and crucify Jesus as a religious duty.” ​​ [Burge, The NIV Application Commentary, John, 186-87]




Not Another God

(John 5:16-30)



Fidget spinners were pretty popular a couple of years ago. ​​ I remember Levi being on the lookout for new and different ones that he had never seen before. ​​ He had some pretty unique ones. ​​ One of them could link with his phone through Bluetooth and play music while it spun.




Jesus has just healed the invalid at the Pool of Bethesda and the man, who was healed, informed the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him on the Sabbath. ​​ This obviously got the attention of the Jews. ​​ What we’ll see today is that the Jews took offense to Jesus breaking the Sabbath code, but their hatred for Him goes even further when He claims equality with God.


Throughout John 5:16-30 we’ll see that Jesus defends His claim of being equal with God. ​​ This was difficult for the Jews to swallow, because they were monotheistic (believing in only one God). ​​ If Jesus was claiming to be equal with God that would mean there was more than one God. ​​ What they were struggling to understand is what John wants us to understand through this passage, that . . .


BIG IDEA – Jesus is God.


Jesus was not another God, He was God in the flesh.


We don’t see the introduction of the third part of the Trinity until Jesus’ ascension into heaven, when the Holy Spirit comes upon His disciples and they preach the Gospel, boldly, in Jerusalem.


Let’s pray


  • GOD (John 5:16-30)

    • The Claim (vv. 16-18)

        • Doing these things

          • John doesn’t tell us what things Jesus was doing, but it seems pretty clear that it was healing on the Sabbath and telling people to break the Sabbath codes

          • The tense of the verb “doing” is in the imperfect with an indicative mood

            • What that means is that Jesus had a regular pattern of healing on the Sabbath

            • At this point in John’s Gospel we only have the one instance of that happening with the invalid at the Pool of Bethesda

            • John tells us that Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples (John 20:30) and that Jesus did many other things as well (John 21:25), but he has not recorded them because the world could not hold the books that would be written

            • So, the Greek tense here, lets us know that Jesus had probably healed other people on the Sabbath – it was a regular part of His ministry

          • This pattern of behavior was what caused the Jews to persecute Him

        • Persecuted Him

          • The verb tense for “persecuted” is again imperfect with an indicative mood

            • Since Jesus’ pattern of behavior was to heal on the Sabbath, the Jews pattern of behavior was to persecute or pursue Him

            • They were constantly pursuing Jesus, probably in an effort to find some reason to kill Him

          • They didn’t have to wait long

        • Equal with God

          • God is always at His work

            • “About the end of the first century, four eminent rabbis (Rabban Gamaliel II, R. Joshua, R. Eleazar b. Azariah, and R. Akiba) discussed the point, and concluded that although God works constantly, he cannot rightly be charged with violating the Sabbath law, since (1) the entire universe is his domain (Is. 6:3), and therefore he never carries anything outside it; (2) otherwise put, God fills the whole world (Je. 23:24); and in any case (3) God lifts nothing to a height greater than his own stature (Exodus Rabbah 30:9; cf. Genesis Rabbah 11:10).” ​​ [Carson, The Pillar New Testament Commentary, The Gospel According To John, 247]

            • God works continually, because people die and children are born, righteous people need to be rewarded, and wicked people need to be punished [Michaels, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, The Gospel of John, 301]

            • All of those things happen on a Sabbath also

            • The problem was that the Jews misinterpreted the OT Sabbath command

          • I’m working too

            • “Jesus now adds that he, too, is working. ​​ He could have objected to the (inaccurate) Jewish interpretation of the OT Sabbath command that prohibited work normally done on the other six days of the week. ​​ These regulations (which referred to regular work) hardly applied to the man’s picking up his mat after a miraculous cure. ​​ But rather than taking this approach, Jesus places his own activity on the Sabbath plainly on the same level as that of God the Creator: ​​ If God is above Sabbath regulations, so is Jesus.” ​​ [Köstenberger, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, John, 185]

            • Helping others, being kind in our actions, healing, and other acts of benevolence would not be considered “work”

            • Another important point

              • Jesus is not saying that because God works on the Sabbath, that human beings should work on the Sabbath

              • He is trying to establish that He is God, so if He is truly God, then He’s able to work on the Sabbath also

              • All of the factors that are true of God would naturally be true of Jesus as God

            • PRINCIPLE #1 – Jesus and God are One.

              • We see this principle here in verse 17, but also in verses 19, 21, and 30

              • It’s what John wants us to understand from this passage – Jesus is God

              • The only reason that Jesus can say that He is able to work on the Sabbath is because He is God

            • That obviously doesn’t settle well with the Jews

          • The Jews’ want to kill Jesus

            • They want to kill Jesus for two reasons

              • He was breaking the Sabbath

              • He was making Himself equal with God

                • This was a problem for the Jews who were monotheistic (believing in only one God)

                • They believed that Jesus was either claiming to take the place of God or claiming to be an alternative to God [Borchert, The New American Commentary, John 1-11, 236]

                • Jesus was not claiming that He was taking God’s place or setting Himself up as another god

                • “What Jesus, as the One and Only Son of God (1:14, 18), claimed was to be sent by God, on mission for God, doing the works of God, obedient to God, and bringing glory to God.” ​​ [Borchert, 236]

                • Philippians 2:6-8, Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. ​​ And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!

                • He was claiming that He and God are One!

        • Jesus then outlines for us, why He is able to make this claim

    • The Defense (vv. 19-23, 30)

        • Jesus surrounds His claim, of being God’s Son, with two statements that show His connection and dependence on God

          • In verse 19, He says, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees the Father doing.”

          • In verse 30 we read these words, By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

          • These two statements are perfect bookends to his defense, that He and God are One

        • Jesus gives four reasons why He cannot do anything on His own, but only what He sees the Father doing

          • Each of the four reasons start with the Greek word gar (for, because) and we see them in vv. 19b, 20, 21, and 22

          • What we’ll see in the first two are generalized statements about the works of the Father and the Son, while the second two give us more specifics about those works

          • Whatever the Father does the Son also does

            • The 1st Century reader would have understood the idea of a son learning His father’s trade (as an apprentice)

            • This illustration is not a perfect fit for Jesus and God, because they are One

            • It does help us understand in human terms that Jesus was not doing anything on earth independently of the Father

              • In an apprenticeship, the Master is constantly watching over the work of the apprentice and checking his work, after he is finished, to make sure it meets the Master’s expectations for quality and craftsmanship

              • The purpose of an apprenticeship is for the Master to impart His knowledge and skill, about his trade, to the apprentice

              • When the apprentice does his work, it should look just like the Masters (in some cases, any regular person, would not be able to tell the difference between the work of the Master and the work of the apprentice)

            • Jesus, as God, would have accomplished each task perfectly

            • “It is impossible for the Son to take independent, self-determined action that would set him over against the Father as another God, for all the Son does is both coincident with and coextensive with all that the Father does. ​​ ‘Perfect Sonship involves perfect identity of will and action with the Father.’ (Westcott, 1. ​​ 189).” ​​ [Carson, 251]

            • The second reason why Jesus can only do what He sees the Father doing is because . . .

          • The Father loves the Son and shows him all he does

            • This is the basis for the Son’s dependence on the Father

            • In the 1st Century, where fathers passed their trade on to their sons, it was obviously because they loved their sons

            • They weren’t going to hold back a part of the trade from them, but rather show them every aspect of it

            • Out of His great love for the Son, the Father will show the Son even greater things than these

              • The reference to “these” is probably referring to the miracles that Jesus was enabled to do by God’s power (healing the government official’s son, healing the invalid at the Pool of Bethesda, and many other healings that took place on the Sabbath)

              • The “greater things” is perhaps referring to, giving life and judging, which are the next two “for/because” statements

            • The third reason why Jesus can only do what He sees the Father doing is because . . .

          • Just as the Father raises the dead and gives life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is please to give it

            • This is a perfect illustration of the principal truth that the Son does whatever the Father does

            • “Rabbi Johanan asserted that three keys remained in God’s hand and were not entrusted to representatives: ​​ the key of the rain (cf. Dt. 28:12), the key of the womb (cf. Gn. 30:22), and the key of the resurrection of the dead (cf. Ezk. 37:13, SB 1. ​​ 523-525, 737, 895).” ​​ [Carson, 253]

              • This is just another affirmation that Jesus is God

              • God was not entrusting the key of the resurrection of the dead to another person

            • The Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it

              • This phrase can make it sound like Jesus is separate from God in the ability to give life

              • Jesus is certainly not a robot

              • “He acts with a certain autonomy, doing what ‘he wants’ (thelei) with the limits of his mission as One ‘sent’ from the Father, and in the framework of his responsibility to obey the Father (see 4:34).” ​​ [Michaels, 312]

            • The fourth reason why Jesus can only do what He sees the Father doing is because . . .

          • The Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son

            • Here we see a transfer of responsibility to the Son

            • The judgment that is in view is the final judgment at the end of the age, which we’ll see in more detail in verses 28-29

            • The Son is not judging in a void, which is what we see in verse 30

              • This brings us full circle

              • As was already stated, Jesus surrounds His claim of being God’s Son with two statements that show His connection and dependence on God

              • Jesus is speaking in first person now, referring to Himself

              • He says that He can do nothing by Himself

              • He only judges as He hears

              • The whole purpose behind His just judgement is to please God – they have the same mind

            • The reason that the Father has entrusted judgment to the Son is that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father

              • This is a key truth that separates Christianity from all other religions of the world

              • The answer to the question, “What do you say about Jesus – who He is and why He came to earth?”

                • Every other religion of the world will minimalize and marginalize Jesus

                • They will say He was a good teacher, another prophet, just a man

                • They will refuse to acknowledge His deity

                • They will reject Him as the only way to the Father, as the Bread of Life, as Living Water, as the Way, the Truth, and the Life

                • They’ll say that they believe in God and that all roads lead to heaven

                • You believe that there is one God. ​​ Good! ​​ Even the demons believe that – and shudder (James 2:19)

                • All roads lead to God, but not all roads lead to heaven

                • Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11)

              • Yet, here, Jesus makes it clear that if we don’t honor the Son we don’t honor the Father either

                • It’s more than just believing in God

                • It’s accepting Jesus Christ as His plan of salvation

                • It’s honoring God’s redemptive plan by believing in Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection

                • But, I’m getting ahead of myself

        • Jesus’ defense is complete, but now He expands on the two specific works that he mentioned in verses 21 (giving life) and 22 (judging justly)

    • The Gospel (vv. 24-27)

        • Jesus explains what every person needs to do in order to experience eternal life

          • Truly, truly (Amen, amen) is letting us know to pay attention – something important is being communicated

          • PRINCIPLE #2 – Eternal life comes through Jesus Christ.

          • Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life

            • Jesus word here is powerful

              • The healing of the government official’s son came by Jesus’ word (“You may go. ​​ Your son will live.”)

              • The healing of the invalid at the Pool of Bethesda came by Jesus’ word (“Get up! ​​ Pick up your mat and walk.”)

              • In both cases the men believed what Jesus said, His word

              • It was more than just hearing Jesus’ words spoken to them, but it took faith on their part to believe what He said

              • Hearing and believe are two important components of genuine obedience [Borchert, 239]

              • The same is true for you and me

                • Genuine obedience is not just hearing the Gospel message, but believing it

                • Read Romans 10:8-10, 13-17

                • We have to confess to God that we are sinners in need of His salvation

                • We have to repent of our sins and genuinely turn away from them, to God

                • We have tell God that we believe that Jesus died, was buried, and came alive again to take our punishment for sin

                • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and believe in God’s redemptive plan, so I can experience eternal life.

            • We see the result of hearing Jesus’ word and believing in God

          • Result

            • It’s eternal life and not condemnation

            • We have crossed over from death to life

            • “The phrase he has crossed over appears in the perfect tense, meaning the actual crossing took place some time in the past, but the result continues to the present. ​​ In short, salvation is an accomplished fact and an assured position.” ​​ [Gangel, Holman New Testament Commentary, John, 102]

        • Jesus is here!

          • Truly, truly (Amen, amen) – pay attention!

          • A time is coming and has now come

            • Jesus is able to speak of a time that is coming, because He is God, He is eternal, and He knew about God’s redemptive plan (Jesus was there at creation, at the fall, and throughout all of human history)

            • The fact that Jesus was with these Jews face-to-face means that the time had now come for God to fulfill His redemptive plan through Jesus

          • When the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God

            • Jesus is not speaking about those who have physically died

            • When He says the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, He is talking about the spiritually dead (all of humanity)

            • The Jews, who are spiritually dead, are hearing Jesus’ voice

            • The question remains, “Will they hear, understand, and accept Jesus as God?”

            • If they do, they will live (have eternal life)

          • Verse 26 is really just a restatement of the truth found in verse 21, because the Father has life in Himself, the Son also has life in Himself (what is true of the Father is true of the Son, because Jesus is God)

        • Verse 27 is an transition verse from Jesus authority to give eternal life to His authority to judge at the end of time

    • The Eschatology (vv. 28-29)

        • Jesus tells His hearers not to be amazed that God has given Him the authority to judge

          • It would seem that amazement would not be their reaction to His statement

          • Rather, it would seem that outrage and anger would be their reaction

          • They are already wanting to kill Him, because He was claiming equality with God

          • Now He’s saying that God has given Him authority to judge, which was another characteristic that the Jews believed only God had the right to do

        • End times judgement

          • The judgement that Jesus is speaking about is not right then, but rather when He returns

            • 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, Listen, I tell you a mystery: ​​ We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. ​​ For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

            • 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. ​​ After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. ​​ And so we will be with the Lord forever.

          • Everyone will come alive again and stand before Jesus as the righteous Judge

            • Those who have done good will rise to live

              • Don’t misunderstand what Jesus is saying here

              • He is not saying that we are saved by the good things we have done

              • The natural outpouring of a transformed life through the power of Jesus Christ is a desire to do good

              • Through the power of the Holy Spirit living in us we are able to do what Paul encourages the Philippian believers to do, do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. ​​ Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others (Philippians 2:3-4)

              • Jesus talks about final judgment in Matthew 25:31-46 and how whatever we have done to for one of the least of these brothers of His, we have done to Him (it’s another reminder of what Paul was saying)

                • Are you living selflessly with humility?

                • Are you considering others before yourself?

                • Are you looking also to the interests of others?

                • Are you helping the hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, sick, and imprisoned?

                • Doing all those things for God’s glory is evidence of a transformed life through the power of Jesus Christ

                • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Evaluate my life to make sure that I’m doing good for God’s glory and not my own.

              • Those who have been transformed by hearing Jesus’ words and believing in God will be raised to eternal life

            • Those who have done evil will rise to be condemned

              • The other group that is raised are those who have continued in their sinful state

              • They died without hearing Jesus’ words and believing in God

              • They continued is their state of sin even to the point of death

              • Their eternal fate is not life, but condemnation and eternal death – separation from God forever

              • Hell will be their home


  • YOU

    • We need to believe the foundational truth that Jesus is God!

        • Without that foundational truth your belief in God is nothing different than all other religions of the world

        • Jesus’ deity, His death, burial, and resurrection make all the difference

        • That’s what sets Christianity apart

        • That’s what determines your eternal destiny

    • Hearing Jesus’ words and believing in God transforms us into people who desire to do good for God’s glory


  • WE

    • A transformed life is what unifies us as a body of believers

    • The world is seeking a genuine body of believers who are like-minded, have the same love, and are one in spirit and purpose

    • We need to be that body of believers for the greater Idaville community



C.S. Lewis wrote:


“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish things that people often say about Him: ​​ ‘I am ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ ​​ That is one thing we must not say. ​​ A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. ​​ He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. ​​ You must make your choice. ​​ Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: ​​ or else a madman or something worse. ​​ You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. ​​ But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher.” ​​ [Burge, The NIV Application Commentary, John, 185].




Do You Want To Get Well?

(John 5:1-15)



Lindsey O'Connor was in the midst of a two-month coma, brought on by complications from childbirth. Her family was told to expect brain damage and believed her death was only a matter of time.