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The Pathology of False Disciples, Part 1

John 6 January 05, 2014 43-37

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     For this morning, we’re going to go back to something old, and that’s John 6.  We’ve been sort of milling around in John 6 now for five weeks, and what a tremendous blessing.  This is not an easy chapter to pull together.  Seventy-one verses to start with.  Even with, say, let’s say we do six messages on this.  For me, covering 71 verses in six messages is a minor achievement because there’s so much here.

     But I’ve tried to tell you that this chapter, the sixth chapter of John, really one of the great chapters in all of holy Scripture.  While it has diverse components, and in most cases, it’s treated that way, people who comment on this or preach on this chapter sort of break it up into pieces and maybe miss the whole purpose of the chapter.  Those who established many many years ago where the chapter breaks should go really had a relatively easy time doing that.  In this case, because it begins with, “After these things, Jesus went away.”  And then it ends in chapter 7, verse 1, “After these things, Jesus was walking in Galilee.”

     So this is clearly an isolated series in this sixth chapter, divine revelation from the Holy Spirit.  And it incorporates things that happened over a couple of days at the very end of our Lord’s Galilean ministry.  His ministry in Galilee lasted over a year.  This is kind of the wrap-up on it.  And so what we get is kind of a finality to this whole thing.  And you don’t really understand where the chapter is going until you come to the end of the chapter.  That’s what I’ve been telling you.

     So look at verse 66 very near the end.  “As a result of this” – “this” referring back to what had been said and done through that chapter - “as the result of this, many of His disciples withdrew from Him” - from association with Him – “and were not walking with Him anymore,” and there’s finality there.  They made the final decision to walk away from Christ.  This chapter then is the story of the disciples who were following Jesus who abandoned him.  Keep in mind this is at the end of a lengthy ministry in Galilee in which He has done miracles on a daily basis, and in which He has taught the principles concerning the kingdom of heaven, which He has vindicated all His claims by His work and His words, and their final decision is to walk away, and it’s not a few.  It’s the many.

     In fact, “In contrast to them,” – verse 67, “Jesus said to the 12, ‘You do not want to go away also.  Do you?’”  Did it come down to the fact that they all left except the 12, and there were thousands upon thousands upon thousands of them?  Well maybe not.  Maybe there were some others left, but the best that can be said is after the resurrection when Jesus appeared in Galilee, there were only 500 who had gathered together to see Him after His resurrection.  So the thousands and thousands that followed Him seems to be diminished here significantly, and even after His resurrection, 500 eyewitnesses to His appearance there is all there were among the tens of thousands in Galilee.

     It’s a story then of defection.  It’s a story of false discipleship.  It’s a chapter about that.  It all starts out with a flurry in the miracle of feeding the 5,000 men plus women and children, which puts you between 20 and 25,000 people.  The Lord creates food.  The same day He created the food, He was healing and casting out demons, and it was just another day like any other day of miracles for Him, but featured that amazing healing miracle.  Subsequent to that, in verses 16 to 21, is the story of Him walking on water.  And of course, John includes those two miracles because it fits his purpose.  The miracles prove that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. 

     John uses that as evidence for His deity and His claims.  Starting after the two miracles, we begin to hear Jesus teach, and He teaches for virtually the rest of the chapter from, say, verse 26 to verse 59.  It’s His word.  So it starts out with His works and then moves to His words, and that fits John’s purpose.  John is concerned to be able to show the reader that either the works or the word of Jesus give ample evidence to confirm that His claim to be God, the Messiah, the Savior is a legitimate claim.

     “Believe me,” Jesus says, “for my words.  Believe me for my works.”  So John, true to his mission, true to his statement of purpose in John 20:31, is writing these things about His works, these things about His words “that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you might have life in His name.”  So it’s an evangelistic purpose.  But in this chapter, the hope that you might have that the works of Jesus and the words of Jesus would convince all the people who were following Him and seeing His miracles and hearing His words dies.  Because you come to verse 66, and many of those who were His students – that’s what disciple means, mathetes, “learner, student” - many of His students who had followed Him for some period of time abandoned Him with finality.  They leave.  In that sense, it’s a sad chapter.  Very sad, and it’s very sad for Christ, and we’ll see that today, and then one final message next week.

     But our Lord gives us in this chapter a glimpse of the characteristics of false disciples.  Who is likely to defect?  Who is likely to walk away?  Hebrews 2, 3, 4, 10, 6 warn about hearing the truth, knowing the truth, and walking away from the truth, and the more severe punishment that comes to people that do that.  First John 2 says, “They went out from us.  They were not of us.”  Jesus warned that there would be soil that would receive the word, and then it would die.  Wither and die.  Temporary converts.  So that’s a big part of biblical teaching. 

     But here, more than any other chapter, you see something of sort of the internal pathology of false discipleship.  What motivates these false disciples, these defectors, who even though they’ve seen miracles – not just one, but many - and even though they’ve heard Jesus not just once but many times, decide to walk away from Him.  This chapter gives us a glimpse into what is going on in their minds and in their hearts.

     I guess we could pose the question, What were the defects in the minds of the defectors?  What are the marks of false, temporary disciples?  How can we understand them?  We have endeavored to answer these questions now, as I said, for weeks.  We even included this chapter, didn’t we, on Christmas Sunday right there in John 6 because that was a perfect chapter to celebrate the incarnation as well.  So we’ve been looking at this.  I’m going to give you a very brief review, and we’ve put together the marks, the characteristic attitudes, that dominate false disciples.

     One, we saw at the very beginning of the chapter they are attracted by the crowd.  They’re attracted by the crowd.  The bigger the crowd, the more interest they have.  They’re looking for the excitement.  Secondly, they are fascinated by the promise of the supernatural.  They’re fascinated by the promise of the supernatural.  These crowds were massive because supernatural things were promised and supernatural things actually were happening, and they wanted to get in on that.  That still marks false disciples.  They’re drawn by crowds and fascinated by the promise of the supernatural. 

     Thirdly, we saw that they are interested only in earthly benefits.  They try to take Jesus, remember, by force and make Him a king so He would be able to do for them every day what He had done for them in creating a meal and in providing healings for them.  They had no interest particularly in Him, but they did have an interest in what He could provide, and they wanted to force Him to become their king.  That’s how it is with false disciples.  They’re concerned only with earthly benefits.

     Fourth, we saw false disciples are indifferent to worship. They are indifferent to worship.  We saw that in the little encounter where Jesus walks on the water.  We compared that with Matthew 14:33 where Matthew records the same event, and he says when Jesus got to the boat after walking on the water, they said - the disciples - that You are the Son of God, and they worshiped Him.  They worshiped Him.  That’s true of true disciples.  True disciples are true worshipers.  False disciples are indifferent to worship.  They might come to what is called worship in a contemporary sense.  There is this kind of music environment that is created today that’s called worship. They may like the music and the experience.  They have no interest really in directing praise and adoration toward God.

  And then we saw, number 5, that false disciples seek personal prosperity.  In verses 22 to 27, they indicate their interest in earthly bread, in earthly things.  And Jesus rebukes them in verse 26.  He says, verse 26, “You’re here not because you saw the miracles, signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.  Do not work for the food which perishes.”  They were preoccupied with their personal prosperity, very much like seeking earthly benefits, only this becomes very specific and very personal. 

     Jesus says, “Stop working so hard for the food that perishes,” chasing Me all over the north end of the Sea of Galilee to get another meal.  And rather, “labor for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.”  So number 5 was seeking personal prosperity.

     And then last time, before Christmas, we looked at the sixth point, false disciples make demands on God.  They see God as a bank.  They see God as a repository for all that they want, and all they want to know is the mechanism to get it from Him.

     What is the way to do that?  Today, they’re being told positive confession will do that.  If you believe it, if you speak it, if you say it, you literally create it, you make it happen, you put it into existence, you make it work.  False disciples have always put demands on God.  We saw that in verses 28 to 33.  First, they say, “What should we do that we may work the works of God?”  Remember that?  They want power.  Okay, “How can we do what you do?  The works of God, we know you do the works of God.  No man can do what you do unless God is with Him.”  That’s what Nicodemus said.  “So we know you have divine power.  How do we get that power?  Give us the power.”  Jesus said, “I’m not going to give you that.  The only power you will ever be able to exercise” – the only work of God that you will ever be able to do is to believe – verse 29, “to believe in Him who He has sent.”  Nothing more than that.  He will not delegate His power to them.

     It was delegated, you remember, only to the apostles and the 70 temporarily, but not to the crowds.  Not to the masses.  So they weren’t going to get His power to be able to create food to make a world that they wanted to live in.  So they said, “Okay, if you’re not going to give us the power,” verse 30, “then what are You going to do for a sign?  If You’re not going to give us the power to do it ourselves, then it’s up to You to do another miracle.  You’ve got to keep the miracles coming.  If You want us to believe in You, You either give us the power, or You give us the provision.  You either give us what we need to do the miracles, or You keep doing the miracles that satisfy our desire.”

     So here we see false followers, the shallow, the curious, the selfish who continue to tell the Lord what they want.  They continue to make demands on Him.  He needs to display miracle power on their behalf to provide what they want if He expects them to believe in Him.  “Give us what we want, and we’ll believe in you.”  These are seekers of personal satisfaction, demanding the Lord respond to them.  This is the very opposite of a true disciple.  Of a true disciple. False disciples think God exists to do what they want for them.  True disciples understand that the opposite is true.  True disciples understand that they have confessed Jesus as Lord, and therefore no longer will they ever say, “This is what I want.  I expect You to deliver it.”

     Let me say it another way.  When a true believer confesses Jesus as Lord as an act of the will, as an act of your will; when you confess Jesus as Lord in saving faith, that was the last selfish act of your will.  That was the last.  And at the same time, it was the first act of recognition of divine dominion.  When you confess Jesus as Lord, you gave up your sovereignty.  That was the last act of your will, alone.  And even that was not alone, but from your perception, when you embrace Jesus as Lord, you declare His sovereignty, and that becomes the first act of your recognition of His dominion.

     Never again in the life of a true disciple is it about what you want.  It’s always about – What? - He wants.  So false disciples have a completely selfish personal preoccupation that causes them to view God as a dispenser of the things they want, and all they’re looking for is mechanisms to get those things.  That’s why the name-it-and-claim-it prosperity gospel, positive confession faith movement, is so ludicrous. And it simply accumulates false disciples. 

     Then number 7, and this is where we are today.  Number 7.  False disciples do not find their desires fulfilled in Christ.  They do not find their desires fulfilled in Jesus Christ.  Back in verse 27, the Lord said, “Stop working for the food that perishes.”  Stop with the temporal, earthly desires and begin to work, labor for the food that “endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you.”  Our Lord called them to turn from the food that perishes to the true food that satisfies forever.  What is that food?  Well, He says He’ll give it.  He will give it.  He says, “I will give it to you.  The Son of Man will give it to you.”

     Go down to verse 35.  We’ll find out what it is.  Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life.”  He will give Himself.  He will give Himself, and then that even becomes more explicit when He says later in the chapter, “You must eat My flesh and drink My blood,” and He says it over and over again.  In verse 58, “This is the bread which came down out of heaven.”  He will give the soul-satisfying bread.  He is the soul-satisfying bread.  I can’t say it more simply than to say this.  For the true disciple, Christ is everything.  For the true disciple, Christ is everything.  Everything.  It is never what He can give that the true disciple seeks.  It is who He is that the true disciple seeks.  He is the sole satisfaction of the true disciple.

     Paul’s cries “that I may know him, that I may know him.”  Paul says, “Everything else was manure when I met Christ.  Christ was everything.  I considered everything I’d ever achieved, earned, gained, acquired trash, garbage, when I found Christ.  For to me live is Christ.  Die is gain.”  Philippians 1.  “I’m crucified with Christ.  Nevertheless, I live, yet not I but Christ lives in me.”  The true disciple is completely consumed with Christ.  The true disciple would say with the apostle Paul, and I think you would understand this, the true disciple would say, “I know how to be abased.  I know how to abound.  I know how to have little.  I know how to have much.”  It’s all irrelevant.  I don’t care if I have a car or a house.  I don’t care if I have health or I don’t have health.  All I want is Christ.  Christ is all there is.  Christ is all I need.  Christ is all I want.

     That’s the preoccupation of a true disciple.  You see that if you go with me back to Matthew 13.  Matthew 13, that is a great chapter on the parables of the kingdom that our Lord gave.  In Matthew 13, I’ll remind you of what is no doubt a familiar little section, verses 44 to 46.  Two very brief parables.  Unusual to get two parables in three verses, but that’s what’s here. 

     “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again.  And from joy over it, he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls.  And upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.”  Very simple little stories.  A man finds a treasure when he’s plowing a field.  He could have just grabbed the treasure and ran, but he’s an honorable man, so he put it back.  And according to Jewish law, if he was to be entitled to that treasure, he had to buy the entire field, which he did.

     And so he had to sell everything he had to purchase the field to get the treasure.  He came across it somewhat inadvertently.  In the second story, this is a merchant looking for pearls.  This is a man on a mission - and he finds one pearl of great value - who went and sold all that he had and bought it.  So here’s the key.  Finding a treasure, whether you stumbled across it or whether you were in a search for it, that is so valuable, you literally sell everything for this one treasure, this one treasure.

     It was common in ancient days to bury treasures in fields.  There weren’t banks and such that were safe, so you buried it in a case in a field, and it could come up maybe generations later, years later when different owners owned the field.  That was not uncommon.  And pearls were believed to be the most valuable of all things in terms of jewelry.  Here is then something very familiar to those folks.

     The interpretation somehow gets confused through the years in the church for reasons that I don’t know.  It’s pretty simple.  What is the treasure and what is the pearl?  Whatever it is, it’s the most valuable thing possible.  It’s the most valuable thing there is.  So valuable that literally, you’d give up everything to purchase it, absolutely everything you posses.  The answer is the treasure is Christ, the pearl is Christ.  You buy Christ.  You sell all to buy Christ.  Rich is beyond comprehension and incorruptible and undefiled, unfading, infinite, eternal. Rich is in Christ.

     It’s all about Him.  In Him are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  In Him, we find redemption and wisdom and righteousness.  First Corinthians 1:30.  Christ is all in all.  In Him, we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies.  Christ is everything.  False disciples don’t see this.  That’s why Christ is not the feature of the preachers.  He’s not the message.  He’s not the attraction.  He’s not what is sold because false disciples don’t look at the glories of Christ and find in Him all they ever want; but true disciples do.

     The sole – S-O-L-E - the sole satisfaction of a true disciple is Christ and Christ alone.  Everything he wants is in Christ and Christ alone.  And to be Christ’s and to belong to Christ and to be owned by Christ and cared for by Him and blessed by Him and promised future glory by Him and kept by Him is sheer joy and exhilaration to the true disciple.  Out of sheer joy in the hope of forgiveness, salvation, holiness, righteousness, heaven, the true eternal riches.  The true disciple looks at everything he has in this world and considers it manure compared to Christ.  

     The false disciple, he wants more of what he’s already got, from Christ.  He wants more money, more stuff, more success, more worldly trash, more of what Paul calls dung.  The true disciple, all he wants is Christ.  Christ is all in all.  I love that little song, and I hear it all the time.  Fernando Ortega sings, “give me Jesus.  Give me Jesus.  Just give me Jesus.  In my life, in my death, give me Jesus.”  That’s all his soul wants.  That’s all the true disciple wants.  Not about heritage.  It’s not about achievement.  It’s not about money.  It’s not about acquisitions.  It’s about Jesus.

     But that’s not the case with false disciples.  Yes, eternal life is a free gift.  Yes, already purchased by Jesus Christ.  But paradoxically, it’s costly.  You sell everything.  Why? Because Christ is singularly precious.  Give me Christ, although you take everything else away.  Rich young ruler, that was not a deal he was willing to make.  He was rich, he wanted to hang onto his money.  He wanted Jesus if Jesus gave him more of what he already loved.

     You see, the true disciple is saying, “I will forsake everything.”  The true disciple denies himself, takes up his cross, even facing death, and follows Christ.  The true disciple will hate his father, his mother, his sister, his brother, yes, and even his own life.  The true disciple will count the cost, and no matter what the cost, Jesus is worth the price.  I know wise investors don’t put all their money into one single investment, but that’s exactly what a true believer does.

          You can spot a false disciple by the preoccupation of that disciple with what Jesus gives.  You can spot a true disciple by the preoccupation of that true disciple with who Jesus is.  Go to the verse, 36 of John 6.  This group that day weren’t interested in Jesus, and that’s the point.  They have no real interest in Jesus Himself.  So verse 36, “I said to you that you’ve seen Me.”  It’s a full disclosure.  “You’ve seen Me with your own eyes.  Not like faith, this is sight.  You saw.  You’ve seen the miracles.  You’ve participated in them.  You’ve heard Me, and you do not believe.”

     This is the hardness of the human heart.  They saw it all, heard it all.  They have no interest in Him.  They don’t want Him.  Oh, they want what He can provide.  Give us this bread daily.  They want the power.  They want the provision.  They don’t want Him.  They have no love for Him.  This is a powerful blow.  It would be a powerful blow to anyone.  If it’s not your experience, I’d be surprised if you have done your best to proclaim Christ to someone to give them the gospel to make it understandable, believable, and you’ve been scorned, and you’ve been repudiated, and you’ve been completely rejected, and somebody turns their back and walks away.  Maybe you’ve done that with family members.  Maybe you’ve done that with close friends, acquaintances, people at work, and you just sort of don’t understand how can this happen. 

     How after all that you have said and all that Christ means to you and all that you’ve conveyed can somebody turn their back and walk away from Christ?  Well, Jesus is in that very position, only exponentially so, because He has literally been in their presence doing these miracles on a daily basis for over a year.  This group still doesn’t believe.  And it isn’t that they don’t have evidence.  It is that they’re not interested in what He offers.  Of course the danger at this point is to change the offer, which is what contemporary evangelicalism has done and started offering people exactly what they already want, which is a perversion.      

     So how does Jesus handle this?  Now remember, Jesus is human.  He reacts, I think, like a man would react, like I would react.  He reacts in a most amazing way.  You know these verses, verses 37 and following.  You know them, but I wonder if you know them in this context.  Starting with verse 37, there’s a soliloquy here.  That’s a kind of a talking-to-yourself moment.  They would have heard Him, but Jesus is speaking in a sorrowful way.  It’s kind of defensive, I guess you could say.  These are words that are helping Jesus get His balance.  If you and I expect people to respond to the gospel, what might have been His expectation as a man?  Would He not have had the expectation that all that He offered would have been most glorious, most welcome? 

     I think this is a painful moment in His life.  I think this is a moment that is disappointing, heartbreaking, crushing to Him.  I don’t know if He wept, but He might well have.  We don’t have a record of that.  This is a heartbreaking moment.  So how does He react?  Listen to how He reacts.  Verse 37.  “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me.”  Wow; amazing!  What is He doing there?  I’ll tell you what He’s doing.  He’s leaning hard on divine election.  He’s doing exactly what you have to do.

     He’s doing exactly what I have to do to explain the exact circumstance.  Why don’t they believe?  Why don’t they listen?  Why don’t they come?  Why don’t they accept?  Why don’t they acknowledge?  The truth; it’s so wonderful.  It’s so - evidence - is so powerful.  Why don’t they react, and where do you go?  Eventually, you rest in the sovereign purpose of God.  Right?

     I don’t want to break your world apart, but I will just tell you this.  Jesus was the first Calvinist in the New Testament.  He just leaned hard on divine, sovereign election and divine, sovereign calling.  And He knew that no one could come unless the Father drew him.  “All the Father gives Me will come to Me.  The one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out, for I have come from heaven not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”  In that sense, He’s like us.  We didn’t come down from heaven, but His one goal in life is to do the will of the Father, and that the Father’s will would be fulfilled, and He rested in that. 

     Verse 39, “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me, I lose none, but raise it up on the last day.”  He backs up into this great, massive, overwhelming doctrine of divine, sovereign election in salvation that no one is going to believe unless the Father decides he must believe.  Verse 44.  “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.”  Verse 65.  “For this reason, I have said to you, ‘No one can come to Me unless it’s been granted him from the Father.’”

     Here is our Lord Jesus.  You could safely say the disappointed evangelist, the heartbroken evangelist, who has literally demonstrated His deity and the validity of His message for over a year to these people.  They will not believe.  Where does He go for comfort?  Where does He go to find His equilibrium, to find His balance, to end His disappointment, to deal with His sorrow?  He rests in the Father’s will, the Father’s choice, the Father’s calling, the Father’s instruction of the sinner’s soul. 

     And he says, “When the Father draws, when the Father gives to Me, I will receive, I will keep, and I will raise him at the end.”  In the tenth chapter of John, there is a very similar text.  In verse 26, again, He’s always facing this rejection.  Verse 26, “You do not believe.  You do not believe because you’re not of My sheep.  My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me, and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand.  My Father who has given them to Me is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”

     Again, the same scenario.  “You don’t believe.  You don’t believe.  But then again, those who are the Father’s, who are given to Me who then become My sheep, will hear, will believe.  I will receive, I will keep, I will raise.”  This is a great statement of our Lord’s confidence in divine, sovereign election and calling unto salvation.  And then in verse 40, the other side.  “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.”  Do you see that?

     That is the apparent paradox.  That is the two sides of the everlasting discussion about the sovereignty of God and human responsibility.  Verses 37, 38, and 39.  The Father draws.  The Father wills.  It’s all His plan.  And then in verse 40, Jesus looks at the other side and says, “Everyone who believes, everyone who believes.”  There’s no self-consciousness here.  There’s no effort to explain the mystery of this great reality.  “I will raise those up whom the Father gives Me.  I will also raise up anyone who believes.”  I just want to comfort you in saying even our Lord Jesus Christ doesn’t explain a middle ground.  He doesn’t look for some bridge between those two challenging realities. 

     But the bottom line for us in this text is, they didn’t believe.  They didn’t believe.  They didn’t believe.  This gets repeated in verse 47.  “I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.  He who believes has eternal life.”  And He says it again, repeatedly, through this entire sermon on Himself as the bread of life.  “Whoever believes has eternal life.  Whoever believes has eternal life.  Whoever believes has eternal life.”  You don’t believe, but then again, no one can believe unless the Father draws him.

     I can take you no other place than where our Lord is right here, and you have to find comfort in both realities and know that they’re clear to God, even though they may not be to you, which is a good indication that you’re not God, and that’s very important for you to know.  So here are false disciples who do not believe.  They’re drawn by the crowd.  They’re fascinated by the supernatural.  They think only of earthly things.  They have no real desire for worship.  They seek personal prosperity.  They see God as a bank.  They want to make demands on Him.  They have no real interest in Christ.  They’re not attracted to Christ.  So this kind of superficiality is easily disillusioned and easily led astray and easily influenced, and so the Jews jump in.  This is the Jewish leaders in the synagogue. 

     All this is happening in synagogue in Capernaum, verse 59 says, “So the Jews are grumbling,” gogguzō.  It’s kind of an onomatopoeic word meaning “to murmur,” kind of speaking privately, quietly mumbling, murmuring, grumbling under their breath about Him.  And He hears the mumbling, and He said, “I am the bread that came down out of heaven.”  He reinforces His incarnation.  And they were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph whose father and mother we know?  How does He now say, ‘I’ve come down out of heaven?’”

     This is scorn, this is mockery, this is ridicule.  They’re laughing at him.  Verse 43, Jesus answered and said to them, “Stop grumbling among yourselves.”  “Stop grumbling among yourselves.”  Why are they grumbling?  He shattered their hope.  What was their hope?  Free food.  Miracle power.  Signs and wonders.  Easing life, healing the sick, delivering the demon possessed, feeding the hungry.  That’s all they wanted.  They would have made great social gospel people who just wanted to fix the world a little better on the surface.  I’m not against helping people.  I’m not against making life better.  I’m not against, you know, doctors and hospitals and medical care and prayer for sick people.  I’m for all that.  But that’s not the message of the gospel.  That’s a message everybody will accept. 

     That’s the message everyone will accept.  They’re going to like Christians who give money to poor people.  They’re going to like Christians who help the down and out.  They’re going to like people who do social welfare kinds of things, and that’s just part of being human, and that’s good, and that’s right, but that’s not the gospel.  That’s not the message they were called to preach.

     If that’s how people view Christianity, they’re going to like that kind of Christianity.  But Jesus said, “I’m not interested in that.  I could keep on healing you.  I’m done.  I could keep on feeding you.  I’m done.”  They had no desire for repentance.  They had no desire for faith.  They had no need in their own minds for salvation because they were the people of God.  After all, they’re sitting in the synagogue with scrolls from the Old Testament.  They just wanted to dine, if you will, on the husks fit for pigs and not the sweet bread of heaven.

     So they mock.  So they mock.  Jesus says, “Stop mocking.”  And then again, this has gone from, “You don’t believe,” to, “You mock.”  And how does He find some comfort now?  Same way, verse 44.  “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.  And I’ll raise him up on the last day.”  And again, He rests on the Father’s will, on the Father’s divine, electing purpose and calling.  “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.”  He doesn’t say, “Okay, okay, okay, if you’re going to be like that, I’ll keep healing.  Okay, okay, okay I’ll make lunch.”

     No.  They’ve gone from not believing to mocking.  And these are the leaders.  I acknowledge, these are the leaders, but they influence the crowd, and their influence is pretty strong because in verse 66, many of His disciples walk away.  I think part of what pushed them to that final decision was the attitude of their leaders.  That shows up all through His ministry.  The truth is rejected, they don’t believe, and then they mock.  You almost sort of have to do that.  You have to do that to justify your rejection.  You have to make a joke out of it if you’re going to reject it.

     You have to heap scorn on it.  You can’t just say, “Well, it’s a wonderful message, and Jesus is a glorious person, and He’s the Son of God, and the evidence is all there.  I’m just not interested in believing, but it’s certainly worthy of belief, and I hope many people do.”  No, that’s not how it goes.  Once you’ve walked away and refuse to believe, you will mock the message that you have rejected for the preservation of your own ego.  Jesus doesn’t argue with them.  He doesn’t change the message.  He leans again on divine sovereignty.  He finds His comfort and confidence in God’s power.

     “Father who sent me must draw, and when the Father draws, I will raise Him up on the last day.”  And then He basically validates this view from the Old Testament, 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.”  So how does one come to Christ in faith?  One, the Father has to will it.  The Father has to draw.  And listen, the Father has to teach.  Did you see it there in verse 45?  This is basically borrowed from Isaiah 54:13, but similar statements can be found in Jeremiah, Micah: “They shall all be taught of God.”

     You know, it’s not in the sinner’s power to believe.  It’s not in the sinner’s power to come.  It’s not in the sinner’s power to repent.  And that’s where Jesus establishes His confidence.  “No one can come unless the Father who sent Me draws him.”  And how does that work?  It’s all written in the prophets.  “They shall all be taught of God.”  What is His drawing?  His drawing is when God internally teaches the sinner’s mind a convincing truth of the gospel.  Faith can’t come except by hearing, and hearing by what?  The word concerning Christ.  No gospel, no salvation.  But it’s not just the external hearing.  It’s the internal instruction of God. 

     Those who come are the ones the Father wills to come.  Those who come are the ones the Father draws, and those who come are the ones the Father teaches.  So there’s divine instruction going on in the mind and the heart that makes that heart hunger for the bread of life.  It’s not going to happen unless the Father is the teacher.  How does the Father teach?  Well, verse 46.  “No one has seen the Father.”  So you didn’t have a private class, sorry to tell you that.  You didn’t go to heaven and talk to Him.  He didn’t come down and talk to you.  So how are you going to be taught by the Father?

     Well, there is one who is from God.  He has seen the Father, so if you’re going to be taught by the Father, you have to be taught by the one who alone knows the Father, and that’s the Father’s Son.  I say to you, “He who believes has eternal life.  I am the bread of life.”  How does the Father teach?  Through the Son, through the gospel of the Son.  Hebrews 1, “God in the past spoke through the prophets.  God has now spoken to us in His Son.”  “Faith comes by hearing” - Romans 10 - “the word concerning Christ.”

     It’s so comforting to me, and I hope it is to you, to understand that Jesus finds this confidence in the midst of a heart wrenching, heartbreaking ministry by leaning on the absolute reality and reliability of the Father’s will, the Father’s call, the Father’s instruction in the heart of the sinner.  All that the Father draws will come, and Jesus’ part is to say, “I will receive, I will keep, and I will raise them all and lose none.” 

     But the point we’re making here is you don’t have any interest in Me.  What do I offer you?  Salvation, security, and heaven.  To receive you, to hold you, and to deliver you to the eternal kingdom.  That’s what Jesus offers.  It’s all about the world to come.  Whether you have it here or don’t, whether you’re well known or completely obscure, whether you realize the things you thought you wanted to accomplish in your life or none of them ever happen.  Whether you have a lot or nothing, whether you’re well or sick, you have Christ.

     That’s all true disciples ever want.  Christ is sufficient.  Christ is enough.  We’ll pick it up there next time.

     Father, thank You again for leading us as You have this morning to the richness of this passage, and I can only pray that your Holy Spirit will make what has been said feebly here indelible somehow in the hearts of those who have heard.  Thank You for the clarity of your Word.  The message just leaps off the page with so much lucidity.  It is so alive and so bright, unmistakable, and life transforming.  Thank You for encouraging us in our worship, the beauty of music, and the opportunity to express our praise in those frames and in those ways.

     And now, Lord, we are responsible for what we know about You from this passage.  We are responsible to proclaim to the world that everyone who believes Christ will receive, and then rest confidently in the fact that no one can unless the Father draws.  So Father, we place ourselves as always at Your disposal to do your work.  We submit ourselves to the lordship of Christ, for no other purpose than to see His will accomplished in and through us. 

     Father, again, we thank You for the gift of Christ, and we thank You for the gift of Scripture, which reveals Christ.  We would not know Him were it not for the Word of God.  Thank You for the story, the completeness, the richness of it all.  What a treasure.  We bless Your name.  We worship You with thanksgiving.  We thank You for what You have given us in Christ, may we love Him more supremely.  May He be our all in all.  We ask these things in His name.