Are you following Jesus for the wrong reasons? Even a good thing like that can become warped, especially overtime in a broken world. In your walk with God, it is essential to continually check the vital signs of your faith and reflect… How has following Jesus really been going for you? Discover and avoid the warning signs exhibited by the crowd who followed Jesus while being 100% self-focused.
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And in a moment we’re gonna lay into John chapter six. So if you have a Bible, you can go ahead and turn there, or if you have a Bible on your phone, you can turn that on and jump to that. I did want to just I know I mentioned it in the prayer, but I did want to thank Darren for that amazing testimony. I just felt like what he talked about is so much of what our culture today is dealing with, particularly in the younger generation of kind of this postmodern viewpoint. And to see somebody walk all the way through that and come on the other side of that and realize that at the very end all there could be that could give anybody hope is truly Jesus.
It’s just such an incredible thought. Yes. I also want to mention Josh Mays talked about our deacon appointment that’s going on. We’re working on bringing new people into our deaconship. And so if you have a moment, if you’d like to jump on our website and hit the little button called The Hub, there’s a little ballot for nominating some deacons. If you have any ideas about who that could be, you can jump on that and take a look at that.
Again, we’re in John, chapter six. Today we’re going to do something a little bit challenging. We’re going to take on the entire chapter. It’s a long set of, it’s a lot, but we’re going to do it anyway. And so I’m going to set up the context for you and then we’ll dive into it. Jesus has been on a journey to seek and save that which is lost, to heal the broken, to redeem the people who are demon-possessed, to give freedom to the oppressed, to give sight to the blind. There has been this kind of missionary effort and it’s been quite successful.
Last verse, last week we read about the verse where Jesus says, look, I’m going to multiply my effort a little bit by sending out twelve new disciples to do the work that I’m already doing. So he sends out the twelve. And the twelve are so successful that the crowds have become so large, in fact, that the Bible gives us for the very first time a number of people in the crowds. In verse ten, in John chapter six, we learn that the crowd is 5,000 men. Matthew, chapter 14, verse 21, tells us there are about 5,000 men besides women and children.
According to one historian I read who has some expertise of the time and the family dynamics, they said that the ancient Hebrew peasants, which would have been the people in the crowd, those families typically had four to eight children. So let’s do some rough math here. The ministry has been so successful that you have 5,000 men, probably 5,000 women, assuming there’s no single people at all, which I would imagine there are some. But just to keep it round numbers, let’s say there are 10,000 men and women, and then you have between four and eight children per family. Let’s call it five kids per family. And so we have a total of 25,000 children. So at most, the crowds are somewhere in the 40,000 person range and at smallest, they’re somewhere in, let’s say, the 12 to 13,000 range. That is a pretty massive group of people that Jesus is speaking to.
And so there is Jesus with his disciples. And as we read last week, he’s taken his disciples on a little retreat. They’ve done this work. They’ve been very effective. And he goes, hey, it’s time to rest. So he spends some time alone. He pulls them away from the crowd. It’s a time for resting. And when they emerge, they look out and before them is upwards of 30,000 people. The text has two great miracles in it the feeding of all these people, which is a miracle, and Jesus walking on the water. But we’re not going to really focus on those miraculous signs because there is a teaching in this passage that I think we have to face head on. And I believe that the Holy Spirit will want us to face head on. And so instead of focusing on the miraculous signs, this morning we’re going to focus on some warning signs.
The point of today’s lesson is to serve as a mechanism of measurement for your own life. It’s a way of asking yourself, how am I really doing? And I know that a sermon focusing on warning sounds quite intense, but the goal here isn’t to be kind of doom or gloom. My hope is that you would take an introspective approach, or almost like a self reflective approach, a posture of looking at yourself and going, okay, how am I doing as a follower of Jesus? And maybe you’re not a follower of Jesus. And so if you’re not a follower of Jesus, this is just a time for you to think about what you’re getting into if you choose to be a follower of Jesus.
One of my jobs as a minister is to warn people. There are numerous passages in the Scriptures that tell me to encourage the saints, to admonish the saints, to correct the saints, and to warn the saints. And so that’s what today is going to be. It’s going to be a warning. It’s going to give you some of a sense of your own life. Really, more than anything, I’m going to give you some questions that will serve as tools of evaluation for your own spirituality. You’re good with that?
Because this is the text. It’s kind of insane. The text starts out with 30,000, but at the end, in John, chapter six, verse 66, this is what it says, from this time, many of the disciples so this is the end of the text turned back and no longer followed him. You don’t want to leave too, do you? Jesus asked the twelve. Simon Peter answered, these famous, famous words. Lord, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe that you are sorry that you are the Holy One of God. The chapter comes at a conclusion of Jesus ministry in Galilee. He’s been there for a year and a half, preaching and teaching again, he’s gotten all these followers. And at the end of the chapter, the Bible tells us that the vast majority of the people leave.
This, by the way, would be the opposite of what we would consider a successful ministry campaign. Jesus loses everyone. Maybe a better way to think about this is Jesus is sifting those who claim to follow him and whose hearts are not really in it. So really that will be a sifting for us in our hearts. And no matter what you have seen in the history of the Church, I would say nothing compares to this.
This is the largest exodus of disciples of all time. Jesus goes from, let’s call it 300 to as little as eleven by the end of 70 verses. It’s a long chapter, so we’re not going to cover everything. But while we’re talking about it, this is what we’re going to do. We’re going to look for one thing.
Look for one thing. We’re going to look for the characteristics of a failing faith. How do I know if I’m the eleven who say, lord, where else am I going to go? Or if I’m one of the thousand to abandon Jesus? So we’re going to take the time to evaluate what are the characteristics of a faith that fail.
And maybe you can put it on the positive way. What are the characteristics of a faith that will say, where else, Lord, would I go? Amen. I didn’t write that down, though probably more positive, but amen. I am where I am.
Church, allow these words to test you. Allow this morning to be sort of a test to see if you are just temporarily or surface levelly, or a phony soil, or whether you’re kind of fruitless branches, or whether you are wholeheartedly committed to the gospel of Jesus. Let this be a test for your soul. Let this be a test for your heart. Open your heart really wide and allow God’s word to sift you to see if you are truly in the faith.
We’re going to skip all the way to verse 24. That’s where we’re going to start. The chapter begins with the feeding of the 5,000, more like the 30,000, including women and children. Jesus feeds them with just a few crackers and just a few fish. There’s an enormous crowd at the end of the feeding of the 5000, people are so amazed by Jesus that they want to make him the King. That would make sense. These people live perpetually hungry. And so Jesus is like, I give you food. And they’re like, I would love for you to lead me and give me food all the time.
Jesus is not interested in being their king and so he slides through the crowd, makes his way on the mountaintop where he gets away from everyone. But before escaping to the mountainside to pray, he sends his disciples along the Sea of Galilee in a boat to the other side of the lake. He sends the crowds away. He sends his disciples away on the other side of the lake. Jesus prays in isolation on the mountain and while his disciples are crossing the Sea of Galilee, Jesus eventually finishes his prayer when evening comes and then he begins to get back to his disciples. And how he chooses to get back to his disciples, it is an amazing miracle. He walks on the water. Pretty dope. He meets the disciples who are fighting the storm. They think he’s a ghost.
The whole thing happens with Peter. He allows him to walk on the water also. And the Bible says in Matthew chapter 14, verse 33, those who were in the boat worshiped him saying truly you are the Son of God. The disciples worship him. Eventually they land in Capernaum. They’ve crossed over that four mile journey on the Sea of Galilee and it would pick up the story in verse 24. So what’s happening? Jesus has pulled himself away from the crowd. He’s on the other side of the Sea of Galilee with his disciples. Verse 24 picks up the next morning. Says this, once the crowds realized neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got in their boat and went to Capurnum in search of Jesus.
They wake up and they’re like, Where’s Jesus? They notice that he’s not there. They notice that the boats that he used to get there aren’t there and they go, I’m going to go get him. So they hop into a bunch of boats and they travel across the Sea of Galilee to get to Jesus.
When they found him on the other side of the lake they asked him, rabbi, when did you get here? When did you get here? What happened was this last night. I know you didn’t have a boat. Remember he walked on the water. Verse 26, Jesus answered very truly, I tell you, you were looking for me not because you saw the signs I performed, but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. The crowds from the day before noticed that Jesus is gone. Can you just imagine that? 20,000 people, 30,000 people hopping in a boat or in a bunch of boats to chase down one man. They cross the Sea of Galilee. There are terrible storms in the Sea of Galilee. They have a passion, right? They have a passion for Jesus. But the question is what is their passion for? And here we find a question that kind of leads us to the first warning sign. And this is the question for all of us to evaluate our own faith. Do you seek Jesus for what he gives or for who he is?
What do these people want? Jesus actually says it. You’re following me because you ate and now it’s morning and you’re hungry again. So what do they want? They wanted breakfast. What’s interesting is that they are seeking Jesus while also being 100% self focused.
They’re motivated to follow Jesus, but in a self-focused way, right? Their motive is self. I come to God for myself. They are looking for Christ because of what he will give them. And over and over again, we find the scriptures, warn men and women about their proper motivation while coming to Christ.
Matthew seven, verse 21 is the famous one. Not everyone will come to me who says, Lord, Lord. He says, Many will come to me and will say, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name and drive out demons in Your name? And the Lord will turn to them and said, I never knew you. Okay, fine. You’re searching for me. Fine. You use my name. That’s a good thing. But here’s the deal. I never really knew you. Why did I not know you? Well, because you did not come to know me. You came to get something from me.
It’s interesting because these guys do the right thing, right? They’re seeking Jesus. In fact, they’re super passionate. They row a boat 4 miles in a stormy sea. Who does that? Imagine someone’s like, I came to church this morning and I rode a boat for 4 miles to get here.
You’d be like, wow, you’re a committed disciple of Jesus. And Jesus can see through all of that work and just go, yeah it doesn’t really matter what you did. What matters is the condition of your heart. You ever been on one of those rowing machines? Like, you can’t even be on one of those for four minutes before getting tired. Like, these guys are 4 hours of rowing. In order to get to Jesus, again, they are passionate. But the question you need to ask your heart, and I need to ask my heart is what is their passion for? Or what is my passion for? Is my passion for a relationship with Christ? Or is my passion for the things that he provides?
Their passion is for food. Their commitment is to their stomach. Their passion is for their physical needs to be met. It might appear outwardly like it’s the same thing, but to Jesus it’s not. Jesus understands motivation. Their motivation is for what could Jesus could give to them? They could care less about having a relationship with Him. It’s pretty intense. It’s pretty amazing, right? Jesus does the wonders and the signs, and I think it’s important that you realize that these signs are all to point to his divinity.
They aren’t for us to get our comforts met. He fed the crowd that day so that they would realize that he’s God, and they would come and worship Him, come to have a relationship with Him, come to engage with Him. He didn’t do it so that they would decide, oh, here’s my free source of food forever more.
I do believe, and let me just say this, that God will if you let Him meet all of your physical needs. The most famous passage is in Matthew, chapter six, right? Don’t worry about anything, but seek first the kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you. If you follow Jesus, he will improve your marriage, he will improve your family, he will improve relationships, he will help you get out of debt. That’s all true, because the principles in the Scriptures are made to help order your life. But the point is, why are you seeking Him? Are you seeking Him first to have all your needs met? Or first because of who he is? Because of who he is.
I just want to make a quick note about something. If our heart seeks Him only for what he creates, we fall into the kind of Romans one sin, which is that we serve the created things rather than the Creator. And we should be cautious of that, right?
There’s actually a strange terminology that that come came about in the last decade in the church. You’ve heard this like, I don’t get fed here. I’m not getting fed. I have no idea where that terminology comes from. I come to get fed or I don’t feel fed by the music or I’m not fed by the sermons or I come here to be fed.
And I think it’s something a little different than that. It’s actually you don’t come here to be fed. You come here to kind of feed or something like that, right? You come here to worship. You come here to connect with God, not so that someone else can sort of help you have all your needs met.
Does that make sense? We come to worship a king, to participate and to partake in sweet fellowship. We come to be close to God, not so that we will have all of our needs met. A little thought, a little thought. I’m not going to read this next verse.
We’re just going to move on. Verse six, verse 27. So, you know, a warning sign. Why am I here? Am I here to be close to Jesus? Or am I here to just have the things that he provides? Then Jesus says this do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give you. For on him, God the Father has placed his seal of approval. Jesus says, hey, guys, you’re looking for food, but it’s actually the wrong stuff.
If you come to me, you should come to me looking for the right stuff. And here’s the question for you. Another selfevaluation question is this do you care more about the temporary? Or do you care more for the eternal? Do you care more about what’s in your 401K or whether or not you have treasures in heaven?
Do you care more about who wins the election November the 7th? Or do you care more about your family finding the Gospel of Jesus? Do you care more about the US economy or the economy of the kingdom to make sure that God’s ministry could spread throughout the world? Do you care more for the temporary or more for the eternal?
Jesus pinpoints their desires. He goes, look, your problem is that you seek me only for the temporary stuff, but I’m here to give you the eternal stuff. So much of the scripture builds a teaching around this idea. Second Corinthians, chapter four we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. Since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. Or chapter five in 2 Corinthians. For we know that the earthly tent we live in is destroyed. We have a building from God and eternal house in heaven. What is he saying? The temporary is the tent. The eternal is a house from God eventually. We trade the tent for glory every single day. It goes on, there’s other passages. I’m not even going to read them to you just for the sake of time. But over and over again in scriptures, we are reminded to focus our attention on eternal things, to point towards life, that is, life everlasting, and not to seek the temporary, meaningless stuff on earth.
Instead of worrying about your retirement, you should be focused on the eternal. Somehow we need to stop allowing our minds to be occupied with the streams of material desires, of social status, of career success. All those thoughts need to fade into the background. And what needs to be highlighted are the things that Jesus cared about and that he taught in his ministry that we should care about. We should replace our constant thoughts of temporary living with eternal things.
Why? Because all the stuff on earth spoils and fades, but the stuff that is in heaven lasts forever. The type of faith that is fixated on the eternal can stand tests of hardship and challenges and fire and even death. Because who cares if the body is killed? Who cares? Because I have an eternal glory that’s found for me in heaven. Jesus is like, look, you come to me only for the temporary. I wish you would come to me for more important things. Next thing, then they asked him, what must we do to do the work that God requires? Remember, they’re here to get breakfast, but now they’re at least going with the preacher guy for a little bit.
What do we have to do? Jesus answered the work of God is this to believe in the One who he sent? What’s? The work of God. Hey, believe in me. Aka trust in me. This is his first preaching point. Believe in me. That was the point of all my miracles, to help you believe in me. I did these things so that you would believe in me, not so that you would have your fill, so that you would come to trust in me.
That’s why the Bible tells us that Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of the disciples. Why did he do that? These are written so that you may believe. That’s why they’re there. Jesus performs the miracles so that you would believe.
Verse 30. So they asked him, what sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? It’s a great question. They’re like, well, we want to believe you, but what are you going to do for me to help me believe you? Jesus is like, Come to me for the eternal. And they’re like, well, you gotta do something right here so that I could really put my faith in you. What will you do? They have an idea. Our ancestors ate the mana in the wilderness. As it is written, he gave them bread from heaven to eat. They think they’re trapping Jesus. All they want is food, right? They think they found their way to get their food. Hey, just do one more miracle. We didn’t know the last miracle was to help us understand that we’re supposed to believe you. So can you do one more? Because if you did one more, then I really would come to believe you. One final request. One more thing. You ever pray like this? God, I know you’ve given me everything I’ve ever asked for, but just do this one more thing and then I’ll really come to faith. One more thing. Just make us breakfast, and then we’ll be fully and finally satisfied. You gave food to 15,000 people or 20,000 or 30,000 people yesterday, but you know what Moses did? Moses gave food to a million people for 40 years. Can you top that? Let’s see what you can do, right? That’s what they’re doing here.
And you want to see, all these people are going to fall away. Every single one of them. Every single one of these people are going to fall away. And here’s a question for you. These people have an attitude that I think this question will help you unpack a little bit. Are you satisfied with what Christ has already given you?
For these people, there was never going to be enough wonders. There were never going to be enough miracles. There were never going to be enough needs met by God. They were never gonna be satisfied. They were never going to be satisfied.
If Jesus would have done, you know, magic tricks, if he would have been like, OOH, they would have never been satisfied. Never, ever been satisfied. And so another way to ask the same question is this way, and this is a negative way to look at it. Do you live in a constant state of discontentment? There’s never enough that God can ever do for you to make you happy.
You think to yourself, if God can only give me better health, then I would be happy. I did get a wedding, a marriage that I didn’t think I was going to have, and kids that I’m blessed with, and a job. But now I have a cough. God, if you heal that, then I’d really be happy. If you just give me a better house, then I’d be happy. If you just give me a better spouse, because the one I have right now not cutting it, just give me an upgrade to that, then I would finally be happy. If you could only fix my financial situation. See, the thing is, God, I know you’ve given me every breath I took as a blessing from you, but just get me out of debt and then I’ll turn to you. Then I’ll live at peace. You’re never content, never believing that God knows what he’s doing.
I’ve been praying for a husband for years and I still don’t have one. And so, you know, because you haven’t given me one, I’m leaving. I’m taking my ball and I’m going home. You know, I thought my depression was going to go away. And if you won’t do that, that’s fine. I’ll go look for a healing of that some other place. This is the attitude of these people. They are never content with what Jesus has already done for them. Never content. Let me tell you, every breath you take is a blessing from God.
And until we learn to get on our knees and praise God for that, until we learn contentment, we’ll really never learn to pray vulnerable, vulnerable prayers that God will listen to.
He goes on, right? This text is just here’s how he responds to this attitude. Man, there’s so many words. Sorry. Jesus said to them very truly, I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.
For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. He’s setting them up, man. Verse 34, sir, they said, always give us this bread. You and I have figured out what we really want. It’s bread. We’re on the same page now. Jesus.
Jesus replied, I am the bread of life. You, you’re really what those temporary desires are pointing you towards is me. I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and you still don’t believe me. What is he telling them?
Don’t look for your physical needs to be met only. But come to the person that could satisfy your soul. I’m the bread of life. What is he saying? I will satisfy your soul.
I will satisfy your soul. I heard a story about a sister in our church for many years ago who was facing some serious health issues. Her desire was for healing, of course, but God in the moment was not meeting that desire. Over the years of chronic pain and test and test and test, without any clarity of her getting better, she began to say prayers and write them down to be kind of like anthems for her heart. And this was one of the prayers that she wrote. She said, Lord, I will submit to Your plan for my life. Whether it bring hardship or blessings.
Can you pray this prayer? Lord, I’ll submit to you whether it brings hardship or blessing, because you’re a good God and I totally trust in you. I tell you what, this is the type of faith that will never die, whether in hardship or blessing. Lord, let Your will be done. I’m with you, God. You don’t need to do anything else for me.
You’ve already done more than I could ever imagine. I come to you not because you will heal my body, but because I believe you will heal my soul. I’ve asked you to do things, but I know that the greatest need of my heart, the greatest need of my life is for my heart and my soul to meet the only thing that could ever satisfy it. Jesus wasn’t going to offer these people any more food because he knew that they were only there for that. From this point on, he would only offer things that would give them satisfaction of their soul. But the crowds, the people of a failing faith, do not want that.
A question you can ask yourself. What if God never gave you relief from any physical hardship? Would you still worship him? This is probably the ultimate test. We have men and women here who are passing that test with flying colors, men and women here who are just crushing it, who put our faith to shame often.
We get angry at God when we have a stubbed toe. These people are dealing with cancer and Parkinson’s and whatever else, and they’re going like, God gave me this body. He could take it away. I worship Him no matter what. Do you trust God enough to worship Him in the hardships of life?
Anyway, he has changed the conversation. Now he’s talking about spiritual things, as he always does. We’re going to skip to verse 41. At this, the Jews there began to grumble. This is Jesus going, hey, I need you to eat my flesh and drink my blood.
He’s going, Look, I don’t want you to eat physical food. You need to consume me. Have a relationship with me. At this, they grumble about Him because he said, I am the bread of life that comes down from heaven. They said, is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know, how can he now say, come, I come down from heaven? They hear that they’re not getting what they want, and what do they do? They grumble. Grumble, complain. They mock.
You do this, don’t you? You do this, I do this. We all do this. We even do it here at church. You say, not here at this church. Yes, here at this church. We complain when someone calls us to change something. Hey, I don’t really bro, I can see that you’re doing blah, blah, blah. Who are you to talk about my life? Grumble, grumble, grumble. Right? We grumble when God says no to something that we think he should say yes to.
Or when the scriptures are very clear that we shouldn’t do something. And the church is holding you accountable for not doing that thing. Grumble, grumble, grumble, grumble, grumble. This church doesn’t care about me. Grumble, grumble. I don’t like the songs that we sing. Grumble, grumble, grumble. I don’t like the preacher. I don’t like the way he talks. Grumble, grumble, grumble, right? Like, I have so many options. I can do whatever I want. Why are they telling me what I need to do? This is the world we live in.
At this point, they realized that they didn’t like what he said, and so they grumbled. I mean, if that doesn’t tell us about America, there’s nothing else that tells us about America. Here’s a warning sign. Here’s a question for you, and I’m going to use this as a noun. Here’s a question for you to ask yourself. Are you a grumble? I use it as a noun because in CS. Lewis’s famous book The Great Divorce, he uses it as a noun, and it’s just epic. I’m going to read it to you.
Hell begins with a grumbling mood. Always complaining, always blaming others. But you are still distinct from it. You’re still distinct from your grumbling, right? But there may come a day when you can no longer be distinct from the grumbling. Then there will be no you left to criticize the mood or even to enjoy it, but just to grumble itself, going on forever like a machine. It is not a question of God sending us to hell. In each of us, there is something growing which will be hell unless it’s nipped in the bud. What will be hell? It’s that constant complaining, that constant grumbling, that constant criticism, that constant, this is not enough. Why don’t you make things better? Why did you send me with this woman? Why is my marriage such a wretch? It’s this constant moment where you are constant state of grumbling and complaining and grumbling and complaining and everything that God wants you to do and everything that’s before you and every blessing you have. Someone asks you how you’re doing and you’re like, oh, it’s really hard. And meanwhile, you’re living in America with a fulltime job and two kids and a dog and whatever. And meanwhile, you have your health and you have everything that any person in a developing nation could ever want. But you’re a grumbler. A grumbler. And you grumble and complain.
Success doesn’t stop you from grumbling. Some of the most successful people I know are grumblers. Grumble, grumble, grumble, grumble, grumble, grumble, grumble, grumble, grumble about everything. You know what the antidote for grumbling is? How about you start expressing some gratitude? Get on your knees and you say, God, I may not have what I want because I’ll never be satisfied because I’m a grumble. But thank you, Lord, for giving me what you’ve given me. Teach me to be content with what I got.
These people grumble and complain about Jesus. People who leave the faith, they can grumble and complain about Jesus, about the church, about whatever they choose to grumble and complain about. And I want to say something. There is a place for criticism, of course, right? There is a place a place for correction. There is a place for going, Tony, you said something that was inappropriate or was wrong in the Scriptures, totally, there is a place for that.
But sometimes you can cross over the line and become somebody that’s not just trying to help with your criticism, but you’re just a grumble. I’m not going to say anymore. For the sake of time, we’re going to skip down to verse 60. On hearing all of this, that he is the bread of life, that he to eat his flesh and drink his blood. On hearing it, the Bible says many of his disciples. This is not just the crowds, these are disciples said, this is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?
They say, hey, this is hard. I like that they say that because this is maybe the first true thing they’ve said all day. It is hard. It is hard. To follow Jesus, you have to be willing to die. You have to be willing to give up your whole life. This is hard. This is hard. This is not for the weak. It’s for the hard.
This is for people who are sold out, who give their whole life to this. And so they understand it, but they notice how hard it is, and then they choose to walk away anyway. Man verse 61. Aware that the disciples were grumbling, there’s that’s that word again. Jesus said to them, does this offend you? Am I offending you?
At some point, a modern preacher would say something like, I don’t mean to offend you. I want to keep you in the church, come every week and be a part of our wonderful church service. But this is not what Jesus says. Jesus is a savage. Next thing. That’s probably inappropriate. I don’t know whether or not that is. Jesus is awesome. I love you, Lord. I’m not sure what’s inappropriate anymore. Ah.
All right. We have to set that up. And Jesus is not going to just let that statement go. He doubles down on what should be offensive. Then what if you see the Son in man ascending to where he was before? The spirit gives life. The flesh counts for nothing. The words I’ve spoken to you, they are full of spirit and life. Yes, there are some of you who do not believe, for Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him.
Now we end where we’ve begun. Verse 66. From that time on, many of the disciples turned their back and no longer followed him. You don’t want to leave too, do you? Jesus asked the twelve. Simon peter answered, Lord, to whom shall we go? I mean, where else are we going to go? You have the words of eternal life we have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God. Here’s the last principle. Our faith is hard. There are times when you don’t understand it. There are times when you’re tempted to grumble. But at the end of the day, look, all these disciples are going to struggle too, but at the end of the day, none of them quit. So here’s the last question for you. You have to ask your heart. Oops, will you quit?
Obviously it’s kind of a mystery for all of us whether or not we will actually quit. But if we just hold on to the idea that look, I don’t give up. This is hard, but I’m never going to give up. Everyone else is leaving, but I’m never going to leave. There’s no backroom. This room next week could be 30 people. But I don’t care. I’m here for the Lord.
The people who stayed when it was really difficult are heroes to me. Because quitting is so easy, man. Quitting is so easy. They haven’t given up. Many of you have seen friends and families give up.
Many of you have seen the people that led you to give up. Many of you have seen the people that were preaching on stage telling you not to give up, giving up. And yet you stayed faithful. You said, Where else am I going to go? I’m going wherever God’s word is taught. I don’t care about whatever else is happening. Some may stumble, some may fall. But you have to make a conviction in your heart that says, if everyone quits, I will never quit. We have the attitude of Peter, I have nowhere else to go. I only hold on to the eternal words that come from Christ Jesus mouth. Look, I don’t grumble. And maybe if I do grumble, I repent of my grumbling, but I don’t quit. I hang on when the whole building is burning down. Look, I don’t even care. I’m going to make it to the end. They may behead my friends, but look, I’ll just figure out how to be faithful anyway. Don’t give up. Don’t give up. Don’t give up. Don’t give up. Don’t give up. Don’t give up. The haunting reality is that many will give up. I want to encourage you don’t give up. Don’t do it.
The story ends not on this positive note, but actually on a really sad note. There’s a preparation for some baptisms, by the way. It ends like this, then Jesus replied look, these words father, where else are we going to go? You have the words of eternal life. This should be the end, right? It’s like a climax. Whoa, Lord. Yes. And we sing that song father, where else would I go? We’re like yes, you have. We’re like all excited. But that’s not how the chapter ends. The chapter ends like this then Jesus replied have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is the devil.
He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though he was one of the Twelve, was later to betray him. And then the chapter ends. Prototype defector.
I think it’s there because you sometimes think it’s the unnamed people who leave, but it’s often the people who are closest to you. That doesn’t mean you go on a witch hunt. Don’t go on a witch hunt. But he becomes the prototype defector. Judas is the perfect illustration, right? Judas sat in the seat of the church for years. He worked on the Count team or something like that.
But his heart had left many years ago. He was still physically there. He was still giving, he was still singing the songs. He even lifted his hands. He led some Bible studies, but his heart was no longer there.
He never listened to the warning signs of the others. He grumbled against leadership. He really did. He drifted slowly. And then finally he leaves. And everyone would wonder why he left. Judas may be, but here’s the thing about Judas it’s interesting is that he could be any one of us. He could be you, he could be me. If we don’t guard ourselves, guard ourselves from the temptation of the Word and watch the warning signs and if we watch the warning signs, all of us will have a faith that lasts for eternity.