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Will anyone want to know about our Shepherd if we are constantly in pursuit of the same things that the world around us pursues? Basing his message on Christ's statement "I am the Bread of Life" in John 6:35, Todd talks about what our lives should look like when we are able to say with complete integrity, "Christ is enough!" no matter our circumstances.
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The Division, the Defense, and the Duty: Breaking the Spiral of Silence
John 7: The Bible Collapses Here
The Decision that Leads to Division: Who is this Jesus?
The Sovereign and All-Satisfying Jesus: Will You Follow Him?
The Most Grumbled About, Argument-Inducing, Difficult, Disciple-Losing Message Jesus Ever Taught
What Must be True in Our Lives if We are Going to Say "Christ is Enough"
The Danger of Loving the Provision More Than the Provider
The Perfect Shepherd. For Green Pastures and Violent Waters.
Up here on my left and my right are some sheets that have "Raise the Mark" on them. We realize that last night was a tough night. Some of you guys were not able to be with us, but we had an incredible evening in here together. What I would love for you to do, if it would be helpful to you and you're a part of our body that's praying and trying to raise God's work in us and through us…
These are the sheets we used last night. Come up here and grab them, use them with your family in your time this week. Use them personally. Put them by your bed. Pray through the Scripture. It's just a guide to use to purposefully inform your prayers. So these are up here for you. Take them. Take them to your Community Group.
One of the things we talked about last night was that we're called a kingdom of priests. I asked the folks who were with me, "If every priest, every pastor (which is what every member of the body of Christ is), loved as you loved, shared the gospel as you shared the gospel, studied the Word of God the way you studied the Word of God, preached the Word of God the way you preached the Word of God, gave the way you gave, lived holy or unholy lives the way you lived unholy or holy lives, what kind of church would it be?"
So this is a sheet to remind us who we are. I would really encourage you to pick it up, fold it, put it in your Bible, and use it to encourage you. If you're a guest here, we want to let you know we're trying to get out of the way as distractions to you or barriers to faith as we become people who are, increasingly, folks you look at and go, "There's something different about you. Your attitude, perspective, and love are almost supernatural."
That's what we're going to talk about this morning. How can you know if you really understand who Jesus is? I'm going to answer that today out of the context of John 6. So let me pray for us, and then we'll dive in.
Father, I thank you so much for this morning, for these friends, that we can just talk as a family. I thank you for guests who were kind enough to endure that little conversation we just had. I pray, Lord, that we would find great joy and gladness in seeking you and that you would grow our hearts as your people, that we would become more effective as a kingdom of priests, as a chosen people, a holy race, people of your possession, and that we would not be barriers to other people's faith but we would, in fact, be a source through which other people are drawn to you.
That's our great desire. So would you teach us this morning how we can be folks who live in such a way that the world would look at us and go, "You must know something I do not know. Your God must be more than enough. Teach me who he is, that I might walk like you with such peace in the midst of such storms." In Christ's name, amen.
We are hanging out in the gospel of John, and what I want to do today is just glance a little bit at John 6 and wrap up a big idea, as Jesus next week, in John 6:41, begins to address the nation of Israel and their rejection of him as his provision for Israel and, therefore, the whole world. Let me take you back. What we talked about the last time we were in John 6 was the fact that Jesus is the perfect shepherd. He calls himself the Good Shepherd.
He said, "I am the perfect shepherd for green pastures." Remember? There was a multitude of people on a hillside. That's one of the places sheep hang out. He perfectly provided for them there. He's also the perfect shepherd for violent storms. In other words, in prosperity and in panic, Jesus is enough. That really is part of what he's trying to show through these two miracles that are compressed: the feeding of the 5,000 and Jesus walking on the midst of a stormy sea, coming to his disciples, and speaking peace to them and peace to the waters.
He was trying to show his disciples, "You can trust me. I can give you what you need for multitudes of people that you will come across as you shepherd others, and I can be for you what you need in the midst of violent storms." So let me teach you some things that disciples need to be absolutely locked down on if they're going to say, "I know Jesus in all his fullness." Are you ready? Here's the very first thing you need to know.
Christ, when the people came to him, after he had fed the 5,000 and gone away to Capernaum… They showed up. They were excited. He said, "You're here because you want me to feed your bellies again." I mentioned in John 6 when we were looking at it, specifically, that Jesus did not come to satisfy stomachs; he came to satisfy souls. Jesus did not come to provide people with bread; Jesus is the Bread. He did not come to provide people with healing; he is the healing.
So he fed them bread and gave them healing to show them that he is uniquely capable in all of human history to do that which everybody wants God to do if he can do, which is to tend to their needs. God says, "Look. You are made in my image. You're spiritual people. So if all you do is live to satisfy your physical entity, you will still be hungry. You'll still be thirsty. You'll still be filled with panic.
So listen. Because I love you and because you're living in a physical reality, I'm going to show you that I love you and care for you in your physical reality, but every one of you lives in a broken, fallen world, because this world is separated from me. I'm going to judge the world one day. I'm going to get away from all the sin and death and deprivation that is in it, but until that day, I'll care for you. You're all going to die, but you will still live.
There will be a resurrection to life and a resurrection to judgment. And even when you live in this life with abundant physical provision, if your soul is not satisfied and reconnected to me, you can even have a great deal of abundant blessing and still be very, very, very lean. So I want to make sure you don't work for physical food, which will always leave you hungry again, and miss the spiritual food that I am here to provide."
Jesus wants them to know that he is the Bread of Life. This is the very first of the "I am" statements. There are seven of them, and we'll pay a great deal of attention to each one. This one is significant, when he says, "I am the bread of life…" You need to know this. Until you know that God is all you need, you don't know God for all he is. Until you know that God is all you need, you don't know yet who God is completely.
There's a really interesting verse. It's in 1 Corinthians 10:31. It says, "Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." When you hear that verse, you kind of go, "Well, how do I eat and drink to the glory of God?" Here's how. You don't make your life about food or drink.
It is awesome to get a good meal, it is great to have bread that satisfies, but ultimately, you are coming already spiritually satisfied, and if God will provide you physical provision that will make you strong and even glad, you will be glad and you will be strong from that physical provision, but you know that you're a spiritual being. So, where there is physical deprivation or where there is physical abundance, you're not going to act like your ship came in, and you're not going to act like God has forgotten you in times of want.
This makes you very peculiar, because people who are not spiritually appraised will look at you and go, "You've got to be kidding me. What do you mean you're okay in times of plenty or in times of want? I've got to have more and have more and have more." I use this little statement a lot. It's amazing how uncomfortable people can be in a comfortable situation when they are separated from an intimate relationship with God, and it has always amazed me how comfortable people can be in uncomfortable situations when they really know that Jesus is enough.
This is how you know you have really understood who Jesus is. Until you know that God is all you need, you don't know God for all he is. Look. "Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." How do you eat or drink to the glory of God? Well, let me give it to you this way. Not like a 5-year-old. For 5-year-olds, cookies are life to them.
That's why if there are five kids and four cookies, there are tears and bloodshed and bullying and death and dissatisfaction, because, "If I don't get that Oreo, it's over. If I don't get that creamy white center and get to lick it and wear it for hours, life is over." They pitch fits when they don't get candy. They pitch fits when things don't go their way. They want their mom and dad to give them what they want when they want it, because all they know right now is that they are a physical creature.
They are not typically spiritually appraised or spiritually enlightened. What is tragic is when adults act like that and fight over things as if those things can truly satisfy us, even though we have had a life full of cookies and still never been satisfied. We think the next cookie, the next job, the next house, the next car, the next relationship is going to be the one that truly satisfies.
C.S. Lewis talks about this desire for something else that's in all of us. He has a great quote that goes like this: "Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex." Then he goes on to say, "If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."
This is in his book Mere Christianity, where he's talking about the argument for the existence of God through a desire for something more than this world can provide. This desire in you shows that you're a spiritual being, because in every other area where you have a desire, there is some satisfaction for it.
This is why Jesus fed and gave them their physical desires, because he said, "Listen. You're more than a physical creature, and you're still looking for something more. Some of you guys are working for the food which perishes. I want you to work for the food which lasts forever." They go, "What must we do that we would do the works of God?" and Jesus said, "Believe in me. I'm the means through which you can get back to God."
So how do you eat and drink to the glory of God? Here's the thing. You need to be a person who when God blesses you, you're thankful for it, but you don't live for the blessing. You're a person who loves God for who God is, not for God's stuff. We don't say, "God, I'll serve you if this relationship works out. I'll serve you if my team wins." What you do is you say, "God, I'm going to love you and serve you in whatever circumstance."
I'm going to show you in a little bit how godly people have done this throughout history. You know you have more than enough understanding of who God is when you have contentment and peace even when there is want, when you are comfortable in uncomfortable circumstances because you know God is good. Until you are comfortable in uncomfortable circumstances, you have not yet seen God for all he is.
Single? Married to somebody who's not fulfilling all of your desires? Physically unable to do the things you used to be able to do or always wanted to do? Financially unable to get the level of physical comfort you always wanted? Are you still filled with joy, which is an attitude which rises above the circumstance?
The glory of bread is that it satisfies. That's what makes bread so great. The glory of water is that it quenches thirst. The glory of God is that he gives you what it is you're looking for, this peace and this salvation and this joy and this hope which nothing else in this world will ever provide for you. If you're still looking for that peace which passes understanding, it's because you have not yet come to a full understanding of who Jesus is.
Let me say that again. If you're still looking for that peace which passes understanding, it can only be found in Jesus Christ, and if you still are angry or frustrated or have some other strategy to have peace and joy and happiness, it's because you have not learned the lesson of John 6. As one person has well said, the way you honor the life-giving spring on a mountain is not by lugging buckets of water from ponds below up to it and dumping it in there. The way you honor the life-giving spring in the mountain is you walk up to it, you get on your knees, you drink deeply of it, and you go, "Ah!"
So many of us are trying to honor Jesus by bringing things to him and dumping them into him. "Here, God. I love you. I'll give you this." God wants you to know the way you honor him is to enjoy him, to receive from him hope and provision and peace and a prosperity of the soul that nothing in this world can provide for you. If you are still looking for something in this world to provide for your soul contentment and joy and life, you have not yet met who Jesus is, and I want to grow you in your understanding of this one who is the Bread of Life.
Last week, I was up in Stillwater. It was Dads' Weekend. First ever Dads' Weekend for me at college. I had a great time with my little daughter. She has connected with a great body of believers up there, and it was great to go to a church with her last week and sit there and open my Bible and take notes and be encouraged by my little girl that she was doing that and integrating into that body while she's there.
One of the things they did that particular Sunday is they went through what the church today commonly calls Communion, this little deal where they pass out little pieces of cracker and a little juice and pass it down the row. The guy said, "Receive the elements, and we'll take them all together." Camp, my little 7-year-old, got it. He took a couple of them, which we didn't notice, so we kept going.
So he's over there popping the grape juice and firing crackers in his mouth, and all of a sudden, a brother looks at him and goes, "Hey! You can't eat that!" He goes, "Why not? I'm hungry." I thought to myself, "That is beautiful." That's exactly what gives bread glory. It's why you eat bread: because it works. When you're hungry, eat bread. I know the Atkins folks and the Paleo people are freaking out, but I'm just going to tell you something: bread works.
It's what gives bread its glory. It satisfies hunger. I love it. I looked at my son. You know what? That's why we take Jesus. It works, but it's not an it; it's a he. When you take of Jesus, there is something that happens to you where you all of a sudden go, "You know what? I don't need to be anxious anymore. If God is so for me that he did not spare his own Son but delivered him up for me, will he not also with him freely give me all things?
Hasn't he established that he has my best interests in mind, when he would leave the glory of heaven and come to earth, offer his life as a living and holy sacrifice, die on the cross for me, that I might be reconciled to him? If God would do that, I think he's probably pretty concerned about me, so I'm not going to be anxious, but in everything, with supplication and thanksgiving, I'm going to let my requests be made known to my Father."
I'm going to say, "Hey, Lord, I'd love a cookie. Hey, I'd love a relationship. I'd love my womb to give birth. I'd love this economy to turn around. I'd love for evil to be suppressed, but you know what, Lord? I know you're at work in ways I can't see. Sometimes your blessings are not easily discerned in the rain, but I look back at the most evil act in all of human history, and I see that you used that for the greatest good I could possibly imagine."
If I was there, I would have done what Peter did. I would have said, "No! God forbid it, Lord! You're not going to go to a cross. You're going to live forever." I would have stopped God from doing the very thing that saved me. So knowing that he had my best interests in mind in the most evil act in all of human history, it gives me a sense to go, "Lord, this is really a nervous one for me. This is a big deal for me. I love my kid. I don't want my kid to die early."
"This is a really big one for me. I didn't want to get involved in a marriage like this." He might say, "That's why I didn't want you to marry somebody like that the way you did, uninformed, without counsel. Nonetheless, I can even redeem your mistakes, just like I redeemed the sins of the world on the cross. Just follow me. Begin to follow me." Physical provision will always leave you wanting.
I've mentioned before my friend who has had tremendous success in this world, and I can remember having lunch with him. He said something I always come to whenever I read 1 Corinthians 10:31. He looked at me and said, "Wagner, I have walked through the finest kitchens in life and gone out the back door hungry, and you can't eat where I eat. You can't do what I do. You're at the greasy spoon of life based on how God has provided for you compared to me, and there is a satisfaction in you which I cannot explain." I said, "Well, I can, and his name is Jesus." So we had the conversation again.
By the way, how did Jesus let them know he was the provider of their spiritual need? Answer: he provided for their physical need in a way that was not normal. Church of Jesus Christ, pay attention to 1 John 3:16-18. Pay attention with me, in a second, to James 2:15-16. This is what it says: "We know that God loves us." What did I go to earlier when I knew God would love me? In circumstances where I cannot see that God is at work, I know he is for me because I've seen him work in my area of greatest need before.
This is 1 John 3:16: "We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us [that he gave us what we needed] ; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." Now watch this. Verse 17: "But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?" Verse 18: "Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth."
In other words, church of Jesus Christ, the reason we give generously, the reason we support Watermark Worldwide and the orphans overseas, the reason we invest in West Dallas and South Dallas, the reason we care for those among us in our body right here who are physically unable to provide for themselves is because we are the hands and feet of Christ. We are the way that we let them know God hasn't forgotten them.
We don't want them to think God is the car they get when they can't buy a car, the rent check they get when they can't pay rent, but God knows their circumstances, and that's why we sit with people, we look at their financial situation, we see that they're living obedient and godly lives, we come alongside of them, and we make sure you're never going to be homeless, never going to be naked, and never going to be hungry if they're a member of this church, walking with us in community.
If you're not walking with us, we're going to even give you places that we partner with so you won't be cold and hungry in the name of Jesus Christ. We don't just share the gospel and tell them to go on. Why? James 2:15-16: "If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,' and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?"
Jesus didn't do that. He showed up, and he said, "Hey, are you hungry? Don't send them away. I'm going to feed you, but let me tell you something. By feeding you in your physical, finite way (you're going to be hungry in six hours), it's a picture of my great love for you. Hey, are you panicked with circumstances all around you of trauma? I'm going to come into it and speak peace, but more storms are going to come."
Church, we'd better be people who talk about Jesus, proclaim Jesus, model satisfaction in Jesus, but when we see need, crisis, step in with peace, perspective, and hope that those circumstances will not have without an eternally-minded, spiritually-appraised person. Church, when you see hunger or poverty or want, step in. Provide in the name of Jesus Christ. Not to enable continual disobedient lives, but in the name of God, you give it. "This is God's reminder that he has not forgotten you."
Why do I give in this otherworldly way? I'm going to tell you something. When you see people who love and generously show up where there is want, the world stops and takes notice and goes, "Who are you people who in the middle of a wilderness provide?" Answer: we're people of God, called by his name, and we're following the servant example of our leader who has given us in our wilderness of sin and provided everything for us.
We don't love what we have; we love who he is, and that which we have we freely share to you. That's why we do it. It's a means to declare that God, who spiritually informs us, is spiritually aware of who they are, as we meet physical, finite, fleeting needs. Lonely? We're there to love. Abused? We're there to heal. Hungry? We're there to feed the soul and the stomach. Got it?
Secondly, God does not promise to give whatever our hearts desire; he promises to be what our hearts desire. This is significant. God does not promise to give us whatever our hearts desire; he promises to be what our hearts desire. Psalm 37:4, one of the very first verses most people learn and, therefore, take out of context, says, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you [whatever you want, like a genie's lamp, if you just rub it right and go to church and tithe."
Of course not. But how many of us have quoted Psalm 37:4 where we've said, "Look, Lord. You say if I love you you'll give me the desires of my heart, and I want her. I always loved brunettes, and she's a good-looking one" or "I want that job" or "I want this circumstance to turn out this way." I could give you a thousand. That's not what it says.
Let me give this verse to you very clearly. "Delight yourself in the Lord, and when you delight yourself in the Lord, when you kneel down by the life-giving well of eternal life that Jesus himself will provide you will go, 'Ah! This is what I've been looking for. You alone are my desire. You are my delight.'" You can try to find the delight of your soul in a thousand other things, and you'll never find it until you go to Christ and see who he is in his love for you, and then you will go, "This is what I've been looking for."
Pete Maravich, who looked everywhere on this earth and in the galaxies, in the UFO stuff…he painted on top of his house a little landing area for aliens to come, because he couldn't find anything in this world, though he had great athletic success and monetary success and sexual pleasure and all that different stuff…at one point was speaking to a group of men and women, and a guy came up and said, "Pete, one of your good friends for a long time who partied with you and looked for life in all of the things with you is still lost. I know him now, and I love him like you did. What can you give to me to take back to him that I can help him with?"
Pete wrote down these words. He said, "Just give him this." The guy opened it up and looked at it. It had his friend's name down there, and it said, "I have found it. The answer is Jesus. That's what we were looking for. Pete." He said, "I'm kneeling before him, and I'm going, 'Ah!'" But God never said he would give you whatever you want; he said he is what you want. I love this. If you are seeking other things instead of God, he is either going to let you have them or he's going to take them away from you.
This is very important. If you're seeking something else to find life instead of God, then one of two things is going to happen. He's either going to let you have what you're seeking or he's not going to let you have what you're seeking. That, friends, is what you call a safe statement. This is the way to be a prophet and not make an error. Prophetically, with 100 percent assurance, I can tell you this. If you're seeking something today other than God and fullness in Jesus Christ, he is going to do one of two things: he's either going to give it to you or not give it to you. Amen.
How many folks would like a little more unpacking of that? Okay. Here's the deal. Either way, whatever he's doing, his purpose is either to expose the emptiness of something or show you that that thing can never give you what you're looking for. Let me just walk you through this very quickly. When you grow to love something more than the Father, as I said, he's either going to give you more of it and let you still be hungry and cold and unfulfilled, which is to say, he's going to give you all you want of something and still make you want more…
Classic example. Let's say it's beauty. There's a guy named Lord Acton who basically said, "The rich are infinitely better off than the poor, because while the poor still think that money will buy them happiness, the rich know better." The great athlete, the good-looking, the homecoming queen is infinitely better off than the lonely girl riddled with acne who is overweight who has never been asked to a dance, because while the girl who is riddled with acne, overweight, and never been asked to the dance thinks that if she was just the homecoming queen life would be full, the homecoming queen knows better.
Married folks in this room are infinitely better off than single people, because while single people still think if they could just be married they'd have all they want, married people (myself aside) know better. (I have sexual desire. I want it to be satisfied. Thus the last 10 seconds of my message.) I just want you to know something. There's nothing apart from the Lord that will ultimately make you go, "This is it. This is enough."
How many times have we said this? "God, if you just do this one thing for me…this one thing, that's it…that'll be enough. This will be the well I can drink from and go, 'Ah!' and never thirst again," but it's always finite stuff that does genuinely satisfy your thirst for a moment, but we're thirsty and hungry again. Has there ever been anything in this world that you've gotten…?
There's a reason the Boston Red Sox organization is disintegrating right now. They thought if the 100-year-old curse of the Babe could be broken, that city would be happy forever. Right? Well, '96. Way to go. You won it! But that wasn't enough. They have to win again. That wasn't enough. They have to win this year or they have to run their manager out of town, get rid of the general manager. The sky is falling.
Well, wait a minute. I thought if you could just do it once, in my lifetime see the Red Sox win… I'm just prepping you Ranger fans for what's coming. I don't know. But look. You don't just want the Rangers to win once. It won't work. Are UT fans happy? No. I remember a very, very exciting game in the Rose Bowl, and how many of you go, "This is enough. It's all I ever need." Really? Is that all you ever wanted? I don't think so. Yet you live and die every week with this stuff, and it's dishonoring to God.
Let me say it this way. Whatever you do, then, whether you're watching UT football or Texas Ranger baseball, do whatever you're doing to the glory of God, and when you rant and rave and kick your dog and are mean to your kids and have a lousy weekend because your team doesn't win, repent. Repent.
Texas Longhorn fans are infinitely better off than Baylor Bears fans, because while the Baylor Bears fans still think a national championship will bring them happiness, UT fans know better. So, gang, cut it out. Repent. Stop it. Enjoy it. Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you die. Go catch a ballgame, but don't be caught up in that stuff. It is dishonoring to God, and it's destructive to you.
Here's the deal. He'll either give you your national championship and go, "How's that working out for you, Austin?" Hey, he'll give you your million. "How's that working out for you? Okay, I'll give you your marriage. How's that working out for you? I'll give you your baby. How's that working out for you? Are you done? Are you happy? Never complain again?"
"Now I need my baby to be this kind of baby and live this kind of life and be this kind of athlete and this kind of beautiful and bring me this kind of fun."
"Oh, really? Okay. There you go."
He'll either give you what you want or, on the other hand, he won't let you have it. I was going to take you to Ecclesiastes 5:10-12, which talks about how people with a great deal of money… Solomon, who had more than any of us will ever have, said, "Money ain't going to do it." I've read that verse with billionaires, and they go, "Hey, boys, reread that. That's true." When you're sitting in a room with a Solomon and he says, "That's my story," you ought to pay attention.
You ought to go read Psalm 106 sometime. I love Psalm 106. In verse 15, it says, "God gave them their desire, but he sent a wasting disease among them." He sent leanness to their soul. That's what he does. If you think you can find life and seek something apart from God, he'll give it to you and go, "How's that working out for you?"
So cut it out. Quit thinking losing those next 10 pounds is going to be what you need, that next physical sexual experience is going to be what you need, that next dollar, job, response, fame. No, it isn't. Jesus is what you need. If you are seeking other things more than you are seeking the King, you don't know my Jesus.
Now look. All of us get caught up in idolatry at any given moment, and that's where we need the community to go, "Power down." We are giving our hearts away to that which will never satisfy. If we can enjoy it, wonderful. Money is a wonderful servant; it just is an awful master. That's why I try to get it away from me as quickly as I can whenever I get it, because it will grab my heart. I love to put it to work, make it my servant, not me its slave.
On the other side of getting it is that you don't get it. He's going to expose its weakness. Here's Habakkuk 2:19: "Woe to him who says to a piece of wood, 'Awake!' To a mute stone, 'Arise!' And that is your teacher? Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all inside it." In other words, you can never get it. You can never satisfy. This totem pole, this idol you've created, can never give to you what you want. You'll never really ultimately get there.
The same idea is captured in Jeremiah 2:26-28, where it's basically saying if you seek life in anything other than God, it won't ever show up. You'll never be able to get to your Mount Olympus. Sometimes what God does is he puts your Mount Olympus up there, and you can never get there. Sometimes the womb is never opened. Sometimes the ring is never slid on the finger. Sometimes your team never wins.
He just goes, "Why would you keep trying to seek a god that even if you got there wouldn't satisfy you? But I'm not going to let you get there. Maybe you should seek something else, because that's not what you're going to get. You can't get to that god." There are certain things you can't control. You might be in a wheelchair the rest of your life, and if you say, "I'm going to get healthy," he's going to go, "Okay, well, you know what? You're not going to get healthy. So you'd better look for a different god." It's just the way it goes.
God is saying, "I'm still here. You don't need to go up Mount Olympus. You just need to kneel before me and go, 'Ah.' Come to me if you're weary and heavy-laden, and I'll give you rest." I could talk about this all day long. Steve Jobs is such a classic example. He had all this money in the world. He had all the fame and success and was a secular prophet who provided for us innovations and ingenuity and beauty in that ingenuity that the world never thought would happen, yet he was largely reclusive, didn't know his kids, and never really got what he was looking for.
He tried to find peace through Buddhism, but at the end of the day… Maybe the world thought he had everything. He had nothing. Riches do not profit in the day of wrath. I told my kids when Jobs died, "Hey, the guy who invited the iPhone that you guys think that if you just got it you'd never want anything again…he's gone." I go, "By the way, do you guys know how much money he made leading that little company, Apple?"
"No. How much?"
"His net worth was 8.4 billion."
I go, "Yeah. Do you know how much money Steve Jobs has today?" They go, "How much?" I go, "Zero." They go, "What do you mean?" He has none. Zero. It's worthless to him. In fact, those riches couldn't get him what he wanted, which is long life and significance. He's dead. If anybody could have bought a long life, it would have been him.
Queen Mary, when she was alive, offered half of her kingdom to anybody in England who could give her six more months. They couldn't give her six more seconds. He was trying to show her, "I'm not going to give you what you're looking for. I'll give you what you don't know you need, though, queen. It's me. Don't be Bloody Mary. Accept the blood of Jesus Christ. Follow me."
All right. I have to do this last one kind of quickly. It's just this simple truth. It really sums up everything about what I'm saying here. Don't look for God to give you fleeting things; pray that you will be faithful even when all fleeting things fail you. When you get cancer, it wasn't a mistake you got cancer. Don't say, "God, get rid of this cancer and I'll be happy." No, you won't. You're still going to die of something.
Just say, "Father, I don't want cancer, but cancer has come. Help me be faithful in the cancer. I'll avail myself to everything you've given us in this world to mitigate its effects, but I know that death is on me and I will die. If it's through cancer, so be it. Peace reigns in my heart. If it's not through cancer but through something else, peace will reign in my heart. It wasn't a mistake that I got cancer. What would be a mistake, Father, is if I lived as if you have forgotten me in my cancer. I know, Lord, that even in death you're victor. All I want to do is live in this moment, this fleeting life, faithfully."
Pray that you will be faithful even when all things fail you. This is Habakkuk 3:17-19. Go read it. This is Daniel 3:16-18. Go read it. This is 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. Go read it. This is Philippians 4:12-13. What's verse 13? "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." That doesn't mean you can dunk if you're 5'2" with a three-inch vertical.
If God wanted a 5'2" person with a three-inch vertical to dunk, could he make it happen? Let's all say "Yes" together. Yes! But Philippians 4:13 does not mean you can do things physically that you otherwise can't do. Go read it. Philippians 4:12-13. It means, "Lord, whatever circumstance I'm in…cancer, poverty, loneliness, divorce, singleness, unemployment…I can live faithfully." And you are a marvel to the world.
I love this. I got a note as I was teaching on this a couple of weeks ago from a member of our body. She said, "When my Christian husband of 28 years left me for another woman, I had to learn that God was truly more than enough." So she sat down and wrote this. She said, "Lord, help me to be content today because you are enough. Help me to remember that you have numbered my days and each one has a purpose. Therefore, I am going to be content today. I'm going to work to do what I can to change the circumstances I'm in, but I'm content if the circumstances don't change.
You are enough because you love me, because you have set me free from sin, because you fulfill me, because you guide me, because you counsel me, because you direct me, because you're faithful, because you let me know you, because you're happy with me, because you rejoice in my worship, because you give me purpose, because you give me significance, because you give me value, because you are with me in the valley, because you are with me on the mountaintop, because you are with me today, because you will be with me tomorrow, because you will walk me into heaven one day. Therefore, you are enough, and I am content."
That is exactly right. You look at that and go, "Who is this woman?" After 28 years, this guy walks out for another woman, and she goes, "Okay, Lord. I'm going to work to do what I can to deal with my issues and bring healing where I can bring healing, but, Lord, you are enough, not because you will have my husband repent and return to me; you are enough because you are enough." That, my friends, is a miracle. It is supranatural.
Who are you, Christian? Who are you that though your team never wins, your heart is never fully connected with another human, because your heart is fully connected with Jesus you live with a sense of refreshment and "Ah!" and people want to know who your bread is. I'm going to tell you: his name is Jesus. There you go, church. That's spiritual maturity. Get you some of it.
Father, help us to be that church. Help us to live faithfully. Help us to be people who sing "Blessed be your name" in times of plenty or in times of want. Help us to be people who can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
Help us to be people who mourn with those who mourn, weep with those who weep, rejoice with those who rejoice, share in our abundance with others who are around us hope and provision so that the world might say, "I want some of that community. I want some of their Christ. I want what they have, because I am hungry." May we, Father, give you glory by being people who live in satisfaction with you. Would you grow our hearts' understanding, for your glory and our good, I pray, amen.
Go worship him. Have a great week of worship. We'll see you.
Who was Jesus Christ? A mythical man created to give a false sense of comfort after we die? Some sort of character that enables us to justify our own choices while simultaneously giving us the power to judge others? Or was He something much bigger? God, in the flesh, walking and living among His creation. A sinless man who became the sacrifice for our sins. The Gospel of John is more than Christology 101. It is an invitation to a living and active faith in Jesus Christ. Come join us on this life-changing journey through the book of John: the story of Jesus Christ.