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Jesus was the greatest teacher who ever lived with the greatest message ever given because He is the visible image of the invisible God. Despite the perfection of His message and person, His people grumbled, argued, found His words difficult and many withdrew. The question is: What are you going to do with His great grace, His great love and His great message? In this episode you'll learn seven great truths about God, Christ and grace, and figure out today if you are part of those who follow or the multitude who withdraw.
The Light that will Put You on the List: How to be One of the Most Spiritually Powerful People Today
My Favorite Bible Story that's not in the Bible
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.
I am fired up about what we are going to look at this morning. It is some truth that has come directly from the throne of heaven. If you could do a Bible study with Jesus after a miracle, today is your day because he is going to walk you through why he did what he did. This is as close as you will get to taking a class with Jesus on theology (which is derived from theos and –logia).
Theology. It's a word that we hear a lot. All it means is God word. You're going to hear this morning a word from God. Some folks when they hear it are going to go, "Now I don't like that. That doesn't sit right with me. That offends me." I'm going to show you, in fact, a progression that always happens whenever God's Word is taught.
This is a moment for you to sit back, and if you don't like it, that's okay. "If you are wise, you are wise for yourself, and if you scoff, you alone will bear it." I'm going to just share with you, not my ideas, not the best ideas of men. I'm not going to share with you from sages or gurus or even prophets. I'm going to share with you this morning what the Word of God said about God's word. It is revelation in its purest and finest form. It will be a stumbling block to some, foolishness to others, and life to a third group.
I will tell you, I'm asked periodically when different teams come to town to do their chapels. The Rams had asked me to do their chapel this weekend. It was supposed to be last night at 8 o'clock. In a way, an NFL team is like traveling with the president. They get their schedule mapped out, and they don't change it for nothing, but I got a call after they landed, "Hey, this has never happened before. We are moving our chapel to 9 a.m. tomorrow morning. Coach Spagnuolo is going to surprise the guys."
He threw them on a bus and took them out to the World Series. They had 60 tickets at the last minute and took the Rams out to watch their fellow professionals in Saint Louis maybe score more points than the Rams will today. We'll see. You can only hope, right? I said, "Look, I'm not doing that."
I would rather be with you all this morning talking about what I'm talking about than be in a room with about 30 of the Rams. That's about who will show up at the chapel. They're good guys, some really good guys in that group that I know. But I will tell you that this morning, if I had a chance to sit before those who the world thinks is cool to kind of run with or sit with you who God loves and wants you to know this truth from John 6, it was a no contest.
So I walked right out, tapped my shoulder, and I said, "I'm going to the bullpen." So JP, who doesn't know "sic 'um" from "come" when it comes to football… I mean that. He is like, "Who? What?" I said, "JP, perfect. Get out there and love on them." He is blessing the Rams this morning, and I hope to bless you. I'm not going to give you my ideas or my opinions. I'm going to give you the very Word of God. Let us pray, and I'm going to show you what I mean.
Father, thank you for these friends. I thank you for how excited I am when I study your Word to look around and say, "Who can I share this with?" I pray that I would live continually that way and every friend in this room would do the same. That we would take this message, if you give us ears to hear, by grace and that we would not just be satisfied in and of ourselves with it, but that we would run out to other paupers who are starving and say, "Come, let me show you where I have received the bread that satisfies my soul and there is an abundance there at my Master's table. Let me share it with you."
I pray that this morning that you transform some people, that you take them out of the kingdom of darkness and drag them into the marvelous light of your revelation, the enlightenment which can only come, Father, when you in your goodness and kindness give it to us. So Lord, give us ears to hear. You have done something to get us in this room.
Now will you do something, Father, to move us into your presence or to deepen our conviction that what we hear from you is so true that it should change everything about who we are, where we go, what we do, what we say that the world may know that the one whom you have lifted up whose name is Jesus is the one who can cure us from all our darkness and death and futile love itself? May we learn the love of you so that it will change us forever. In Christ's name, amen.
The first Sunday we moved into this new facility, I took you through some Scripture that talks about the things that I hope happen in this building. One of them was 1 Corinthians 2:1-5. If you have your Bible, open up to 1 Corinthians 2. We're going to start there. I'm going to read most of this chapter, the first 16 verses or so.
I'm going to tell you. This is what's great about being a conservative, hopefully orthodox communicator of the Word of God. I don't have to do anything but tell you what God has said and you're going to think I'm genius. I don't have to be creative. I don't have to be witty. I don't have to be insightful. I have to be a faithful messenger of God and bring to you what he has brought to me, what he has preserved for you and me.
Verses 1 through 5 say: "And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the [words of men] . For I determined to know nothing among you except [God's Word] Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling…" He goes on. "…and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God."
That is what I hope happens when I'm here. If I can convince you of something, somebody else can convince you of a different thing. All I want to do is faithfully carry to you what God has said. So watch this. When you do that, this is what's going to happen. Paul says, "Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory…"
In other words, "What I'm going to show you," Paul says, "is what God has done that he has always planned on doing. That you might look at him and go, 'What kind of God are you? How magnificent and awesome and glorious and filled with loving-kindness and truth, how slow to anger are you? How rich in mercies are you? How great and glorious are you!'"
Paul said that this was God's plan all along. He knew when he spoke us into existence that we in our finite brokenness put before a Deceiver would seduce us away from his perfection that would only then be an opportunity that his glory could be made known that he would both satisfy the wrath that would come on those who reject him and he then would declare his goodness by saving those who deserve death.
So the question of, "Who is the most powerful in all of eternity?" would be settled and, "Who is the most wonderful?" would forever be known. This text is the fulfillment of everything that God wants you to know. It says right here in 1 Corinthians, this text we're going to look at, John 6… He goes on to say, "Look, I'm about to tell you, 'THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN…'"
In fact, if you go look back at Greek mythology, you don't ever have one of the gods dying for the humans. That's beneath a god that he would save a mortal. They didn't even dare dream it in all their wine and merriment and storytelling, but that is the message of Scripture. That is, in fact, what God has done. He says,
"For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God." What we need is the Spirit of God to tell us what God says. Paul is saying,
"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised."
I have no pressure on me this morning. If I am faithful to this text in John 6 and you don't like what I have to say, it says more about you than it does about me. If I am faithful to the text and I share with you these spiritual truths and you reject it, it says more about you than it does about me. I'm okay with that.
I'm not here for you to love me, like me, think I'm witty, insightful, smart, or anything else. I want to be faithful to the text that those whom God in his grace is going to awaken your hearts that you might fully respond. Now even that statement is offensive to you and I will back it up as theologically correct as words from God, because these aren't my ideas.
Don't be mad at me. Be mad at the Manna from heaven, Jesus himself. "But he who is spiritual appraises…" You're going to be on the edge of your seats. I'll be able to look out there and see your disinterest or your great, humble gladness. It tells me everything I need to know about who I'm with. I'm going to love you either way. God loves you. He died for every one of you. He would love for everybody to come. The truth is no one comes unless God draws you. I'm going to prove it to you this morning.
So let me be faithful. This is the one of those messages that I have to pray twice. Because it has everything to do with what God, in his grace, is going to do for you and very little to do with you and me. Now that being said, it has everything to do with you because God will be culpable to no man. He tells you to come. Your responsibility is to respond what he has declared. So if you know nothing this morning, would you just pray this?
Father, teach me what I otherwise could not know. Let these blind eyes see. Will you give me grace I don't deserve or even want? I am indifferent toward. Will you, Father, allow me to want you because I am a rebel and ignorant and filled with pride. I live in darkness and need the light. Father, I pray that your Spirit would convict of sin, righteousness, and judgment would reveal the glory of Jesus Christ and I would be faithful to the text.
Lord, may your Spirit do an efficacious, irresistible work in the ears of all who hear. Those of us who have heard it and have, by grace, responded before, may we run out of here in every way that we should so that others may know the greatness of our God. Amen.
John 6. Open your Bibles there. This is good stuff. Jesus is in the middle of doing some things that cause people to have some interest. It brings interest because they are fired up that this guy can satisfy their stomachs. It can reconstitute their being. It changes their reality. You know what happens when you eat bread? It changes your constitution. You go from being kind of irritable and angry and focused on one thing, and all of a sudden you eat and now you can move on.
It changes your reality. It changes your experience. That's what physical bread does. Jesus' point is that's what spiritual bread does. It reconstitutes you. It changes your reality. If you are the same in your manner, if you are the same in your living after you eat the spiritual bread of Jesus Christ, then you have probably not eaten it.
Your reality and your constitution transform when you take in Spiritual bread. If they don't, it's because you didn't eat. You were popping something else in your mouth or you put it in your mouth, swirled it around, tasted it, and spit it out. If you don't change, you have not ingested truth.
Watch this. He is going to start speaking right now. We're going to pick it up in verse 41. By the way, just to get started, I'm going to show you in verses 41, 52, 60, and 66, the normal progression of what happens when folks hear this stuff. This stuff, this (I can't believe I called it that) eternal revelation and glory from God. Here's what happens. It starts off in verse 41. It says,
"Therefore the Jews [heard Jesus talk about himself and they] were grumbling about Him, because He said, 'I am the bread that came down out of heaven.'" They didn't understand this. They have no problem with a wise man, a great military leader, a prophet. They have no problem with a sage, a guru, but you start telling them that you are not just a good man who has risen to be a great teacher.
That's what the world wants Jesus to be, but they don't like the biblical Jesus. "I have come from God, and I am God's gift to you." Now that is an offensive statement. Jesus, a little bit later in this text is going to say, "Look, I know you have a problem with that, but I'm gong to raise my body up from the grave, and that will end the conversation."
I would go with that. You are unique when you are dead and risen again, and not just risen again. To die once more, that is a resuscitation. There are a number of men who have resuscitated, but I'm talking about men who have been resurrected to eternal life and have ascended to the right hand of God until he returns to judge the quick and the dead. That is one man. His name is Jesus.
So these guys were grumbling. That's the first thing. You're going to see a progression. When you go down to verse 52, it then in verse 52 says, "Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, 'How can this man give us His flesh to eat?'" They don't understand because they're not spiritually appraised.
So they go from grumbling to arguing and then you jump down over to verse 60, and there you'll see at this particular place it says they found what he was saying difficult. "Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, 'This is a difficult statement…'" We can't figure it out. Doesn't make sense to me. Let's argue about what it means. We just as fleshly men reject it.
Then they get out of there. They are gone. Verse 66: "As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore." You will grumble at what I'm going to say this morning. Some of you will argue about it, this eternal conversation about divine sovereignty and human responsibility. Some of you will find it very difficult and some of you will take off. I am in good company.
So let me begin. Here we go, verse 41, "Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, 'I am the bread that came down out of heaven.'" Again, I've already made the case. Lots of guys love good men. Seven steps to wholeness or spirituality. Eightfold path of alignment. Five pillars of good works that you could one day do these things. That all makes sense to men.
Working to earn makes great sense to man, but when God comes down from heaven to say, "You can't work to earn nothing. I have to give it to you. Unless you eat of me, you will starve to death spiritually," and you start to talk about grace and you start to talk about imputed righteousness and you start to talk about, "I'm not just some prophet. I'm not just some sage or guru, I am God," men go, "Oh."
I don't blame us. We should. We should test the spirits. Do they walk on water? Do they feed 5,000? Do they raise the dead? I'm leaning in. Now look, go to the state fair. Look what you can do with mirrors when you see a guy who exists from here on up, so don't be too easily swayed by apparent miracles and signs because you can be fooled.
The easiest people to fool are people who think they cannot be fooled. Mark that. Because in the last days, you're going to find that the Antichrist, the one who will come and tell you to worship him, will do some things that you're doggone sure there's no way he could do it if it wasn't real. I will tell you that if it weren't for God's grace, we would all be led astray.
Jesus said, "I'm not going to come again and I'm not going to reveal myself through a series of signs. I'm going to reveal myself through the scrolling back of the clouds. That's how you'll know it's the Messiah coming again. Don't you be swayed by things that you're sure have to be what you think they are. Pay attention to this man."
"They were saying, 'Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, "I have come down out of heaven"?'" See look, when I tell you this, you go, "That's no problem, Todd. That's Christmas. That is the incarnation. I totally get that. It is the virgin birth. It is the Spirit of God, because God can do whatever he wants to do except contradict his own character.
It's not contradictory to his own character to love. It's not contradictory to his character to humble himself and give himself away. It's not contradictory to his character to be perfect eternal divinity and die for fallen mortality. That is what a loving and kind God does. In order that he might be a perfect substitute, he had to become like the one who he was subbing in for, so he placed himself in the womb."
Now you get that. You don't have a problem. You may not know the term hypostatic union, but you're spiritually appraised if you understand that this is perfect divinity and full humanity where both natures are completely entwined, one without compromising the other. That's who Jesus was. But this, to the Greeks, to the Jews, they go, "This doesn't make sense to me. How in the world can he say…? We know he's a man. Isn't that Joseph and Mary's son? How can he say he's from heaven?"
You go, "Christmas? That's how. God did this." But when you're not looking for God, when you don't understand the greatness and glory of God, when the mystery hasn't been told, when you haven't watched TheSixth Sense and gone all the way through and go, "Of course! Now I see what was going on in that movie. Now I see what's happening." You go back and watch that movie The Sixth Sense, you know. The kid who sees dead people? Spoiler alert, right, if you haven't seen it.
You watch that movie and you even watch the Director's Cut and the rules that they played under and you go, "I can't believe I missed it. It's so obvious when you know it." But if you are not The Sixth Sense appraised, if you are not spiritually appraised, you're going through this thing and, "This doesn't make any sense. This freaks me out. Freaks me out."
Okay? Watch this. Go get it early. It's going to be out at all the Redboxes this week. So if you haven't seen it, go get it. All right. Here we go. It says, "I have come down out of heaven…" By the way, I will tell you I can remember when I was younger and spryer; I would participate athletically in different things.
One of the things I was asked to do is go with a group of guys down and help the Jamaica national basketball team get ready for the FIBA CBC Championship, which would get them in the pre-Olympic tournament. A group of us went down there and put a team together of a bunch of guys who had played some ball.
We played their national team in a three-game series. It's not nearly as impressive as it sounds. The Jamaican national court is outside. It was raining one night and so they moved us inside. It was a nationally televised game in Jamaica. They're still taping the court down. It was supposed to start at 8:00. At 8:20, they're still putting duct tape inside a convention hall, moving baskets from the outside in so we could play.
Anyway, these guys, there were some very, very outstanding players on that Jamaican team. Many of them played internationally and did different things. We went down there and played a three-game set. The deal was we'd come down there and do that and help them get ready, but at halftime, we were going to share what it was that motivated us to serve them.
I can remember that outdoor stadium. We'd be playing running up and down the court, and I would smell things that you don't smell in a typical NBA stadium. You smell it maybe in the bathroom or out in the parking lot, but there was a fresh odor of burning leaves that filled that little outdoor court.
I remember standing there at halftime talking to them about the things I'm sharing right now about the Son of God who had left heaven, taken on full humanity without compromising his eternal nature in order that he might give himself to those who were far from him that he might be perfectly just and still justify those whom he loves.
I could almost see some guys take their joint and look at each other and go, "I want what that guy is smoking. I want what that guy has, because that is the most fantastic story I've ever heard. If that is true, that changes everything. I don't need to sit here and smoke weed. I need to get to know the Word."
I'm telling you, it's like that. When you first hear this story, you're like, "You have to be kidding me." Now look, if you're wise, you're going to say, "Back that up. Show me that that is true." That's exactly why Jesus did miracles early on in his ministry. Then he backed off and he said, "I'm done with miracles." "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah." Three days swallowed up in darkness and death, spit out to offer life.
By the way we're studying Jonah right now in the Journey. The book of Jonah is not an issue of genre: is it metaphorical or not? It is a Christological question. What did Jesus think about the book of Jonah? He thought Jonah was really swallowed up in death and darkness for three days. He thought Jonah was really spit up and preached words of life to a fallen people who deserved judgment.
Unless you want to allegorize and spiritualize the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, you'd best not allegorize and spiritualize the book of Jonah. See, the book of Jonah is easy once you know who Jesus is. My, my, my, we're just on verse 42. Verse 43. It says, "Jesus answered and said to them, 'Do not grumble among yourselves.'""Humble yourselves under me."
Do you remember what the Father said at the baptism of Christ? Do you remember what he said at the transfiguration? "This is My beloved Son, listen to Him!""Don't listen to each other. Don't speculate. Don't read books. Don't go to philosophers. Don't try and envision things you can't otherwise know. Listen to him."
Why? "Because this is the only begotten Son of God, full of grace and truth. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son of God, he has explained him. Listen to him." That's what you need to do. This is who this Jesus is. He has come from heaven that you might know. Jesus says, "Don't grumble."
Then he goes on to say this, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him…" Now this, folks, is starting to get uncomfortable. In Greek, I looked at the word no one. Let me tell you what it means. It means no one. That's what it means. It doesn't mean the folks who are just not really smart, folks who didn't go to seminary. They have to be helped out.
It means everybody. Billy Graham, Mother Teresa, Chuck Swindoll, you. You aren't coming unless the Father draws him to you. Now look, if you have a problem with this, I'm going to make it worse. Because most of us think that we were just smart enough to get it and figure it out and on our own came to this place where we knew if there was not divine righteousness that incarnated into fallen flesh and yet did not compromise his perfect nature and if he did not live a life and impute his righteousness to us that by faith we might receive it and that gift of grace would then transform us and allow us to be reconciled to God…
You did not dream that up. You are not better than Cicero, Aristotle, Socrates, Plato, or Homer. You just were left in the dark, and God revealed it to you by grace, by the preaching of Word, by the pricking of your Spirit. The word draws out here is the word that is used a number of other times. Helkō is what it is in the Greek. That word draws is a word which is used to describe taking things out of where they want to be and almost violently placing them somewhere else that they otherwise would not be. Now watch this.
It is used of Peter in John 21, of taking fish that want to be alive in a lake and dragging them, leading them with will and force into a boat where they otherwise did not wish to be. It is used in John 18, of Peter dragging (same word) a sword that wants to be in the womb, this little sheath where it was protected and not going to be nicked, and it was safe, of dragging that sword out and using it to cut off an ear and get bloodied and become messy.
It is used in James, chapter 2, of how rich people oppress you and violently drag you to court where you don't want to be. They use their power, their position, their privilege, and their money and they put you where you don't want to be. They draw you out. It is used of Paul and Silas when they're in Philippi and they're ministering.
In fact, it says they were at a prayer meeting and because they had gotten in some conflict with some folks who were making money off exploiting those who were far from God and in effect spoke words of God that shattered this business model, these men took them and violently dragged them before the authorities and took them to prison. It took them from where they wanted to be and took them to where they did not want to be.
Jesus is saying, "Look, I have no pressure. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws you. So do you want to know why you have a problem with me? It's because you are not spiritually appraised. You have a hardened heart as a people." This is what he is saying to the Jewish people who are rejecting him. "Because you are lost in your religiosity in a way that seems right to men, but in the end it is the way of death."
You get that? Let me just show you this. Ephesians, chapter 2:1-5. Your salvation is completely and fully and absolutely a work of God. You are a wet bag of wood in a pouring rain. You have no match. There is no spark. You are dead. When I was a kid, I used to listen to Dr. Demento. There was a great song on there called "Dead Puppies." Do you remember "Dead Puppies?" Of course not, because you had better things to do with your life than I did.
That song…dead puppies aren't much fun. That's kind of the chorus. "My puppy died late last fall; he's still rotting in the hall. Dead puppies aren't much fun." Why? Because when you call your dead puppies, they can't come. They're dead. They have no will. Now look, if you want to drag your dead puppy and impress your friends how he listens, he won't run away from you or fight you, but he is not coming from the backyard into your living room to wag his tail unless you go get him and pick up his tail and wag it.
Dead puppies are dead. They can't assist you. They can't make a mistake and wander into where you are. They are dead. "Mom says puppy's days are through; she's going to throw him in the stew." That's all they're good for is to be cooked and boiled. Dead puppies aren't much fun. Ephesians 2.
"And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God…"
My goodness. "But God…" Those two words change everything. But God brought manna from heaven. "…being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us…" Sent his Son. Now folks, that changes everything. You were dead in your trespasses and sins. There were none who sought him out. Romans 3, in verses 8 through 19 says,
"THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS […] THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD…" None of us. People ask the question of me all the time of the unevangelized heathen. "What about that person who is in the jungle who definitely wants to get to know God and there is no Watermark there for them?"
You need to know something. Even when there is a Watermark here for you, you don't want God. Now you may want something to change. You may want your life that is lost and broken to be taken out of this spiral of death and destruction that you find yourself locked in, in your disobedience. I believe that just like God brought light to you here, God will bring light to them there.
It's our job, God said, to take that light to them. He will take care of those who don't, but "…for there is no other name under heaven [other than Jesus] that has been given among men by which we must be saved." Men will not be sent to hell because they reject a Jesus of whom they have never heard. Men will be rejected from God because they did not respond to the grace they have been given through creation, through conscience.
It's all Romans 1. It's Romans 2. Romans 3 says, "…THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD…" You don't need to worry that there is some unevangelized heathen who is desperately wanting to be a theologue. No man anywhere wants to be a theologue. God pricks the hearts. I believe he has pricked the hearts of those who don't have churches there in ways that we can't understand, and we'll deal with that later. But whatever is true of them, I'm not teaching right now on the unevangelized heathen.
If you want that, I did a series called Tough Questions. I give you six truths about that. Go look at the tough ones on Watermark Radio. You can listen to a whole message on that even though I've given you the highlights. What you need to know is whatever is true of them is not true of you. You have heard.
The most irresponsible thing that you can do is to reject the message that God wants you to receive so you can know it so you can go there and tell them. Meanwhile, while you're here, you need to know there is no one who comes unless God in his grace pulls you out of the sheath of rebellion, drags you into the court of awareness, or pulls you into the boat of life.
That's not my idea. That's not Paul's idea. That's not Calvin. That's Jesus. That is the Word of God for you to know. It is a God-glorifying, man-deprecating truth. All right. Let's move. Here we go. He goes on to say that not only does the Father draw him out, he says, "…I will raise him up on the last day.""I will finish and complete this work."
This is what is called the doctrine of eternal security. "If you come to me, the Father gives you to me, I will begin this good work in you and I will bring it about to completion in the day of Christ Jesus." That's Paul in Philippians 1:6. This is Paul, Romans 8:28-31. "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?"
Jesus says the question is, "Will you receive me? I am for you. I have come to give you bread, and I will bring about to completion that which I have begun." It is called eternal security, but hang in there. Hang in there, because you'd better make sure you are secure in truth and not just accepting of some propositional idea.
If you want to say God is a sluggard? This is the way the sluggard is described in Proverbs 26. It says, "The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is weary of bringing it to his mouth again." He can't finish what he started. Proverbs 12:27 says, "A lazy man does not roast his prey, but the precious possession of a man is diligence."
He will go and kill the beast, but he cannot eat because he doesn't skin it. He doesn't bone it. He doesn't cook it and he doesn't, therefore, get nourished by it. If you want to say that God is a sluggard and he can't finish what he started, that's your business. Jesus says, "I will do what I have come to do, which is in knowing you, predestine you, to call you, to justify you, and I will glorify you."
That's who he is. He is a perfect and complete from beginning to end, from alpha to omega Savior. He is wonderful. He says in verse 45. "It is written in the prophets, 'AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me." There it is. That's Romans 3.
Now watch, verse 46. I don't need to talk about this very long because a lot of folks, and I think I agree with them… Some of you guys have your Bible. You do know that Paul, when he wrote the Bible, did not have two pens there, one in black and one in red. He didn't put the black pen down and pick the red one up for you.
That is an effort of translators and people who love the Word of God trying to tell you things. I don't think Jesus said verse 46. It doesn't really matter because, "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching…" So whether Jesus the man said it or the Spirit of God brought that to John's awareness and he wrote it down or whether this is just John doing, I think, what he did in John, chapter 1, verse 18, reminding you of this great truth.
"Hey look, I know this is hard, but this isn't my idea. I'm writing to you this gospel that you might know these things and this isn't just some teacher. This isn't just some prophet. I want to remind you [verse 46] that this is the guy who saw the Father. He is the only begotten, the one of the same kind from the Father. He has seen the Father. He and his Dad, who are one, have chatted about this and he came to tell you this. It is ex cathedra, from the throne of God. He is not a vice-regent as some puppet sitting in Rome.
He is not a man who is a vessel and a prophet like Moses. He is not a man who needs revelation like Muhammad. He is not a man who needs enlightenment like Buddha. This is God. So if you don't like it, that's okay. That's cool. We'll still be friends. I'll still hang out with you. I'm not going to make you my companion. You're not going to love what I love, do what I do, run the way I run, or hope the way I hope. But I'll still love you, and I'll tell you why I hope and love what I do. Meanwhile, this isn't just me. This is God telling you this."
I think that's John. That should be in black. So get a black highlighter and go over it. Now verse 47: "Truly, truly…" Now this is Jesus again saying. This is why John is saying, "Tune in. Lock in." "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes…" This is huge. "…has eternal life." Not will. This is big. This is why people reject the message of Jesus.
This is why Gandhi said, "I love your Jesus. I just don't like his people. I love your Christ. I just don't like his Christians." It's because we have reduced what Jesus has come to do to be some sort of fire insurance at the grave. It does not say, "He who believes will live at the grave and so you can go sit on a cloud with a harp, wear a nice white robe, and live forever."
That sounds more like hell to me than heaven. Nonetheless… By the way, the Bible nowhere suggests that's what heaven is like. See the Why series. Why there is hope. Let me just say Jesus wants you to know when you eat of this bread, it will reconstitute you. It will change you. It will affect your reality. You will be transformed. Just like a grumpy, hungry man gets bread and is now at peace and satisfied, when you come to know me, it will change who you are.
If you are not transformed, then you should really, really go back and ask yourself, "Have I eaten?" Not just been okay with the idea, but eaten, ingested by faith the entire thing. Let me just say this. If Jesus saves men and gives them eternal amnesty but does not reconstitute this nature, he has done society the greatest disservice ever.
If I'm a politician and I pardon men to let them out, if I give them clemency only to release them back into a society where now because they've been pardoned they can go and rape and pillage and steal because I'll let them out again, then I am not a good and lenient and gracious leader. I am a bane and a curse on society. I exalt the wicked, and there will be death and darkness and despair in the land.
Jesus does not give men clemency and let them be. He takes murderers and he makes them ministers. If you still are murderous… Again, what Jesus does not do is make us perfect. That's common, but there is sanctification that happens when the Spirit of God comes inside of you. You no longer think as a fleshly man. You now think with a new spirit, a Holy Spirit, not a fallen spirit. If you are not changed, it should make you question whether you have chewed correctly the Christ.
I'm just going to tell you, church, he isn't looking for you to go true or false. He is looking for you to say, "I will follow." It is not a matter of perfection, but it is a matter of direction. Is it the practice and habit of your life to hate sin, repent of it, reconcile, make amends, seek forgiveness, grant forgiveness, love, and be generous if you have not changed?
If you are still just as immoral, just as pagan, just as materialistic, just as filthy, just as vile, having no problem with your sin as you did before you checked the box, walked forward at the crusade, or said yes to Jesus, then I would tell you that you have not believed in the way that John suggests that you should believe.
I would tell you to go back and see again who this Jesus is who says, "Follow me. Not just raise your hand, pray this magic prayer, and move on as if nothing changed. Because I have come that you might have eternal life." The person who believes in Jesus has. That is called present tense. It is a quality and a transforming of life.
I love this church because I am in the midst of people who have eternal life. Not folks who can sing at the grave, but folks who sing songs of love, grace, and forgiveness with their hands and with their mouths, and who worship all week long. Not perfectly, but directly and intentionally. Amen? You know those people? I do. That's the way the world applauds a compromised church. Right there. I guess they're saved, but I want to tell you something.
When you really are transformed by Jesus, the world goes, "Who are you who love, who stop, who take time for me, who prioritize this way, who reconcile, who stay married when it's difficult, who shepherd their kids and don't chase after fleeting things? Who are you who use your resources to do that which is good for others? Who are you who take time to share with me things that I don't like? Who are you who speak with grace and truth and is respectful?"
Now that's a church the world loves. That's Jesus' church. Jesus says, "I am the Bread of Life. I will satisfy." Verse 49: "I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died." In other words, "Look, I am more than what Moses gave you. I am greater than Moses. That finite bread will lead to a physical pleasant moment but will lead to an ultimate still physical death."
"This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh." See, there are lots of men when they hear that, they go, "How do we eat his flesh? I don't really get it."
It's like, "Have you been listening?" "Yes, but I don't have ears to hear." We are not cannibals. We are men who take the spiritual Bread from heaven, Jesus Christ, and by faith receive it. I'm going to give you seven quick things, and then we're going to sing. I've given them to you all already. Like everything I do, it's always on watermarkradio.com. All those notes are there. If it's up here, it's there for you. Are you ready? I'll give you seven. I'll give them quickly. I'll remind you of where they were in John and we go.
1 . Grace has come. You need it? He gives it. His name is Jesus. You may not even think you're hungry. No one does. "I'm satisfied." Now every now and then, God predestines that you would run to the end of yourself and there is leanness in your soul and you hunger for something more than the world can offer you or he strips you away of what you had that so satisfied.
You see my message from last week. Then all of a sudden you go, "There has to be something more. There's a desire in me which nothing in this world can satisfy." Then you'll go for that grace. That, my friends, is for knowing, predestining, calling, and ultimately justifying you when you take it. Grace has come. You need it and he gives it.
2 . Grace comes to you. You don't go to it. There is no assist. You're a dead puppy. It is wonderful. It is awesome. It is unspeakable. We should never get over it. You won't go to it. You don't even care that it's there. If God, in his goodness and kindness, allows your ears to perk up and quickens you, you thank him forever.
3 . Grace completely saves. From beginning to end. He'll take you all the way through. Whatever good work he begins in you, he will bring about to completion. If you stall out, if you find the direction of your life running away from him, it would give me great pause. All I can say about people who have said they know God and continue to live baseless, fleshly lives is the quicker you die, the more hope I have, in fact, you do know him.
But if you live a long, lingering life practicing deceit, if there is no sin that leads to death in your life, it would suggest that you do not have a Father who disciples those whom he loves. All I want to tell you is you can be the exception if you want, but I'm going to call you to the rule, which is that you will increase in Christlikeness if you have eaten of the Bread of Life.
4 . Grace demands humility. Unless you take what God says you need that you may not even hunger for, you won't get it. Unless you understand that God gave you what you would never want for yourself, you will not live as you should. Can I say it this way? Christians should be the most humble people on the face of the earth.
I never, when somebody rejects the message of Christ, get angry with them or think that they're foolish or stupid, that I'm smarter than them and why can't they see what I see? I am overwhelmed and humbled that God would allow me to know the Bread which came from heaven. I want to just be as gracious and transformed and loving and as thirst-creating and as hunger-creating as I can be and loving toward them.
I'm never surprised when a sinner sins. I'm never surprised when the deaf can't hear and the blind can't see. I'll pray that God opens their eyes. I'll be every means I can to be used by God to bring them to him, but I want to tell you something. If you are arrogant and pious in your faith and you are a Sister Bertha-better-than-you, you don't know grace.
We ought to be the most humble people on the face of the earth. We ought to walk out of here with our heads bowed and our hearts lifted and our mouths ready and say, "Can I share with you what God has given to me?" If there is any arrogance or boasting, then you lack grace. You lack love. You may not know Jesus. All we are is people who sing. We don't wag our mouths about how much better we are than the atheist, the Muslim, the hedonist, the homo- or the heterosexual who is living in immorality and sin. We have been saved by grace. Shut up and sing.
5 . Grace changes you. I made that case. See verse 47.
6 . Grace satisfies. Jesus made that case. See verse 48. If you're still looking, still searching, you haven't swallowed or you aren't studying. You aren't eating at the table that God has given you.
7 . Grace is the way and there is no other way. Verse 51. Jesus says, "I am the living bread […] if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever…" There is no other way. If there are multiple roads to heaven, if there are other means to God, then somebody should tell narrow-minded Jesus, because he said, "This is it! There is no other delicacy coming. There is not a meat from heaven, a salad from heaven. There aren't veggies from heaven. There is bread from heaven and I am it."
There is no other name under heaven by which you must be saved other than Jesus Christ. That isn't my idea. That is Jesus'. Folks, this is amazing grace. This is great truth. If we do any other thing than sing about it now and sing about it later, we are fools and we are to be pitied. We should live in horror. If you know it, you should have great hope. Amen?
Well, Father, let us leave here today as a choir that is overwhelmed with this truth. I thank you for this amazing text. I thank you for what Jesus did. He said, "Boys, gather around. Let me explain to you why I did what I did with the bread. I'm trying to teach you something." I thank you, Father, that all these things that we said about grace, about Christ are true, and that you have taught many of us to understand.
I pray for those who are in this room, Father, whose ears may be opening now, whose hearts may be softened by your Spirit now. Would you draw them out of their indifference, take them from where they are to where they don't yet know they want to be so that they now, being on the other side, can sing with us, "How sweet the sound of this grace that saved a wretch like me."
Father, we thank you for this text and this song. I pray that our lives would be changed. If there is someone here who does not know the truth of this, I pray that they would come and that they would not leave until we can guide them to the throne of Jesus. In Christ's name, amen.
Hey folks, it's 10:18. What we're going to do between now and January 1 is we're stopping hard. Then we're going to get off this idea if we go past a certain moment and we have not done what we said we're going to do and we're going to finish on Sundays. It's 10:18. The song is going to be sung over you while you leave. May it fill your heart as you go, but we always say 10:15 to 10:20 is the hard stop, so we're going to show you we can do it.
Then come January 1, we aren't going to sweat it anymore. So come in here with a sandwich so you have the strength to go. Just so people know that we can do what we said we're going to do and this isn't a moral problem, we're going to do it for two months. Go satisfied. This isn't about an ego. It's about what we're doing to reach people, but you are dismissed, those who have received amazing grace.
Have a great week of worship.
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.