Summary: Fans walk away. Followers follow. But why do Fans walk away and how can we be sure we're not "one of them"?
(Note, this sermon doesn't follow Idleman's approach. I preach differently than he does and felt I would fail to do justice to his message if I did it his way. I apologize for any frustration this may cause to those who read this sermon)
A man named Charlie Moore moved into a new community with his family. He wanted to make friends, so he joined the local softball league. In the opening game Charlie took his family to the park and he went to join his team.
Charlie got up to bat, set his feet, squared his shoulders… and as the ball came across the plate, he missed it by a mile. The crowd groaned.
But one voice could be heard over the den of people: “You can do it, Mr. Moore!”
The second pitch came and again he swung wildly and missed, and again the voice could be heard. “You can do it Mr. Moore!”
The third pitch – swung again and the voice cried: “That’s OK Mr. Moore!”
When the game was over, the family got into their car, and as the made their way down the road, the dad turned to his son and said: “Was that you that yelled out ‘You can do it Mr. Moore’?”
When his son admitted that it was indeed his voice the dad said he appreciated his son’s encouragement, but he wondered “But, why did you call Mr. Moore?”
“Well,” the boy said, “I didn't want anyone to know I was related to you.”
For the next few Sundays our sermon series will be based on a very famous study series by Kyle Idleman entitled “Not A Fan”. In that series, he points out that in any church there people he’d called “Followers of Christ” and there are others he would call mere “Fans.”
Fans are the folks who only go to church. They don’t really DO much for Jesus because they have other priorities. These people were happy to show up and shout out encouragement at church but they really don’t ACT like they were related to Christ.
They willing to shout out “You can do it Jesus”… and that’s about it.
That’s the difference between a between a FAN and FOLLOWER.
A Fan just shows up.
They’ll stay as long as it benefits them, but if it doesn't benefit them to hang around… they usually don’t. As long as they’re happy they’ll show up.
But they often get easily offended when they can’t get their own way.
ILLUS: A popular British preacher (W.E. Sangster), told of a lady he knew about.
It seems that the church choir was scheduled to sing in a town hall, but the platform was not large enough for the whole choir. So a few choir members had to stand at a slightly lower level and apparently this woman had been one of those who was forced to stand on the lower level. Sangster said she “was so offended that she quit the choir and left the church. Perhaps she did not know Him who ‘was oppressed and He was afflicted. Yet He did not open His mouth’.” (Isaiah 53:7).
This woman was a fan, not a follower.
Fans are those who “walk away.”
You've seen them at ball games.
They’ll be at a Basketball game or a Football game and their team is getting swamped. Their team gets so far behind in the score that they’ll never catch up. It’s now 10 minutes before the close of the game… and what do a lot of people do?
They get up to leave don’t they?
They want to get to their cars before everyone else so they can head for home.
They’re not going to be there to continue to encourage their team.
The team is losing and can no longer meet their expectations for that game.
Things aren't going the Fans’ way… so they go away.
That’s what happened here in John 6:66
“From this time many of his disciples turned back and NO LONGER followed him.”
They no longer followed Him.
But why did they just STOP following Him?
Because Jesus had offended them.
He said something they didn't like.
They were pushed beyond their comfort zone… so they left and they didn't come back.
You see, the crowd wasn't there to FOLLOW Jesus…
In fact, they weren't really there FOR Him at all!
They were there because they expected Jesus to be there FOR them.
Just a day or so before this incident Jesus had been teaching a huge crowd. The text tells us that 5000 MEN had gathered (along with women and children) to hear Christ preach to them. But as the day progressed, Jesus knew the people were getting hungry so He performed a miracle.
Jesus took 5 small loaves of bread and 2 small fish from a little boys lunch, blessed them, broke them and gave them to His disciples to hand out to the crowd to feed them.