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Summary: # 23 in series. There are some things in life that you can be neutral about but Jesus is not one of them.

A Study of the Book of John

“That You May Believe”

Sermon # 23

“Christ the Great Divider”

John 7:40-53

There are some things in life that you can be neutral about but Jesus is not one of them. Yet many people in our country are still trying to be neutral about Jesus. They claim that Jesus was a good man, maybe a even a great man, but that was long ago and in another time and it has nothing to do with how they live their lives. And it certainly does not require that I go to church much less belong to a church. They say, “You don’t have to go to church to believe in Jesus.”

In Luke 11:23 (Matt 12:30) Jesus said, “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he Who does not gather with Me scatters.”

Jesus says that neutrality to him is really opposition to Him. To decide for God, one must decide for Jesus. In a cosmic war there are no spectators; everyone lines up on one side or the other. The implication is to be careful which side you choose.

In verse forty-three we are told, “So there was a division among the people because of Him.” In Luke 12:51-53 (Matt 10:34-35) Jesus told his disciples, “Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. (52) For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. (53) Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

Faith in Jesus always has been and will continue to be a dividing line in this world. In parts of the world today where Christianity is not the predominant religion it is still very much so. In countries in which Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam are the predominant religions, to come to faith in Christ often means being disowned by your family.

You may be saying how does that concern me in modern America? R. Kent Hughes in his commentary states, “Christ brings division to everyday life. We all have experienced this. Maybe we are at the store, in school, or at work, and we are talking animatedly with someone about any number of things – maybe politics or education or sports or even the weather. Then someone says something like, ‘My life has really been different lately because of Christ.’ Suddenly there is a silence and a shuffling of the feet. Someone coughs. Someone else looks at his watch and says, ‘I’ve got an appointment to get to or I’ll be late.’ Another says, ‘Oh, yes I have to go feed the dog. I must be going.’ But in reality the man who said he had to feed the dog did not have a dog to feed and the other person’s appointment was the next day. Yet the mere mention of Christ brings division to life.” [R Kent Hughes. John: That You Might Believe. (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1999) p. 222]

In John chapter seven Jesus has been teaching at the temple during the feast, it had made a big impression on some of the people, but it was not certainly not unanimous and “there was a division of the people because of Him” (7:43). The great sadness of this division is that it means that there are those who choose not to believe in Jesus and by that decision reject the only means of being saved.

What we have revealed this morning are Three kinds of Unbelief.

First, There Are Some Who Choose To Believe Some of His Claims (v. 40)

“Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, “Truly this is the Prophet.”

Some of the listeners were sure that Jesus was “the prophet” (v. 40). This is the prophet predicted by Moses in Deut. 18:15-18. These people like many today, believed Jesus to be a great prophet but not the Son of God. An interesting perspective is to understand that even the Moslems believe that Jesus was “a” prophet.

But a partial faith is not a saving faith.

Secondly, There Are Some Who Choose To Believe Intellectually. (v. 41a)

“Others said, “This is the Christ.”

There were even others who went a step further and said of Jesus “This is the Christ” (v. 41a) and although that may sound like true belief it is not!

If we think for a moment we understand that just a knowledge of the facts about Jesus and even believing them true does not save a person. Lots of people have grown up in Christian homes, attended good sound Bible believing churches, gone to Church camp, attended Youth group, in fact had ever spiritual advantage, and yet have never come to trust Christ. And those people who have all that knowledge are just as lost today as the worst person on skid row. They are in our community. They can quote Scripture verses, and can believe them all to be true and still be lost. In fact they can even be sitting in this worship service this morning.

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