Summary: Pentecost 14(B) - Faith believes the "hard teachings" of Scripture. Many decide to reject Christ and his word. God’s Spirit gives life through Christ’s words.
FAITH BELIEVES THE “HARD TEACHINGS” (Outline)
August 17 2008 --
PENTECOST 14 --
INTRO: One basic meaning for the word faith = trust. Everyone has faith in regards to the word trust. Each and every day people trust that certain things are going to happen. This is faith in the ordinary events of every day. The sun will rise and set. The days will come and go. The car will start. Work will be waiting to be done. This is faith or trust in the ordinary. There is also faith or trust in the extraordinary. We might call extraordinary trust Christian faith. Scripture has a simple definition for the faith of the Christian. "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see"(HEBREWS 11:1). The words of our text remind us:
FAITH BELIEVES THE “HARD TEACHINGS”.
I. Many decide to reject (Christ and his word).
II. God’s Spirit gives life (through Christ’s words).
I. MANY DECIDE TO REJECT
A. John 6 begins with the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000. Jesus then explains he is the true Bread.
1. Jesus gives his flesh for food and his blood for drink. This was a hard teaching for many.
2. Verse 60. Humanly and reasonably speaking none could/would accept such a teaching.
B. Verse 61. Jesus knows their doubt, their questioning, and the hardening of hearts that is starting.
1. Jesus asks: “Is this a stumbling block to you?” “Will you stumble at the truth?”
2. Verse 62. There are even harder things that will be known only by faith.
C. Verse 63a. These followers were relying on their reason and strength. It counted for nothing.
1. Jesus is very blunt, verse 64. Some do not believe. This also included Judas, the betrayer.
2. In verse 66 many followers decided to reject the Christ. They were “too wise”.
D. Our society today places a very high value on education. It is hard to get ahead in this life without a degree of one kind or another. At least that is the philosophy and practice in our nation. The learned, the professors, and the scientists often use their “intelligence” to oppose God and his wisdom. This is not a new problem. "The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped. Since they have rejected the word of the LORD, what kind of wisdom do they have?"(JEREMIAH 8:9). Sin traps us. Sin is nothing less than saying that we are wiser than God. Sin says we do not have to listen to what God and his word says. Sin says we will do what we want, when we want in order to please only ourselves.
E. The world around us presents all kinds of challenges to our Christian living. The world offers all kinds of temptation that can seem more appealing than what God has to say. Satan is behind it all. Satan wants us to give up on God and give in to the world. "The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God"(2 CORINTHIANS 4:4). At times we are blinded by the lure of money, power, glory, and honor. “Going for the gold” can become an all-consuming passion. In our Christian walk and race the crown we strive for is not temporary but eternal. Sadly, many reject Christ and his saving word. This is a “hard teaching”.
F. How can it be that anyone would not want eternal life? Why would anyone reject what God freely gives? This is a “hard teaching” to truly comprehend. We consider ourselves an advanced society and educated people. Earthly wisdom and human intelligence often denies the simple message of salvation. "They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts"(GALATIANS 4:18). Mankind hardens his heart against the truth of God’s word. Sin causes us to deny Christ. Sin causes us to act in ignorance. God’s simple truth is that mankind has only one choice concerning his eternal salvation. That one choice is rejection. It is by grace that God wants all men to be saved. It is by man’s hardness of heart that God is ignorantly rejected. Adam and Eve made the wrong choice in the perfect world of the Garden of Eden. Will or can any of us really expect to make any better decisions in our sinful world today?
FAITH BELIEVES THE “HARD TEACHINGS”.
Sadly many reject Christ and his saving word.
II. GOD’S SPIRIT GIVES LIFE
A. Jesus describes himself as the Bread of life. Many disciples (= followers) decide to reject and leave.