Summary: Though some folks profess themselves to be believers in Christ, their reasons for making that claim are faulty. This message shows that some people follow Christ for all the wrong reasons.
FRINGE BENEFIT FOLLOWERS
Text: John 6: 63-66
ntro: We a re all acquainted with the term “fringe benefits.” It usually makes reference to the benefits or privileges received by merely being associated with something or someone. For instance, some of you may enjoy the fringe benefit of an excellent medical insurance plan through your job. Some companies allow certain employees the use of a company vehicle. Other companies offer their workers double time-and-a-half for working on holidays. These benefits are received merely by being associated with a particular organization.
On the other hand, we sometimes enjoy certain fringe benefits from our association with particular people. For example, my wife and I used to be closely associated with a Christian chiropractor. One of the fringe benefits of that friendship was free chiropractic treatment anytime we needed it. Though we certainly didn’t befriend this individual and his wife for the ulterior motive of getting free care, it was a beneficial outgrowth of our relationship. On the other hand, one of the fringe benefits of his kindness to us was that we frequently recommended him to other people. So both of us benefited from our mutual friendship.
In the sixth chapter of John’s gospel, we are told of a group of people who associated with Jesus solely for what they could get out of it. They followed Jesus for selfish reasons. You may be thinking, “God forbid that that sort of thing should happen in our day!” But dear friend it does happen. Some have joined churches, and even made a profession of faith for no other purpose than to influence some special girl or boy in their life. Some politicians and businessmen are quick to speak of their association with a church in order to appear honest and trustworthy before the voting public. These are “fringe benefit followers.” They lay claims to Jesus only for what they can get out of it. The sad fact however, is that any supposed benefits from this type of relationship with Christ will not help them in eternity.
Look with me at some of the fringe benefit followers of Jesus’ day. You’ll find that they were not so different from those of the present.
Theme: In Jesus’ day:
I. SOME FOLLOWED HIM BECAUSE OF THE MIRACLES HE PERFORMED
A. They Were Thrilled By The Miracles.
1. The miraculous healings excited the masses.
John 6: 2 “And a great multitude followed him because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.”
Matt.11: 5 “The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.”
2. A marvelous meal enthralled the masses.
John 6: 10 “And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
11 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.
12 When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.
13 Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.
14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.”
B. They Were Not Transformed By The Master.
1. In spite of Jesus’ great miracles, many did not believe on Him.
John 6: 36 “But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.”
2. This type of response to Christ’s miracles was not uncommon.
John 2: 23 “Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.
24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men,
25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.”
NOTE:  It isn’t enough to believe in the miraculous. One must belong to the Master. The main idea fostered by these verses is that many associated themselves with Jesus merely as religious thrill-seekers. Verse 23 indicates that because of the miracles Jesus performed, “many believed in his name.” That simply means that they had confidence in Jesus as a miracle-worker, but had not committed themselves to Him as their Savior. This is made clear by the statement that, “…Jesus did not commit himself unto them…” (v.24). In other words, Jesus did not recognize them as true believers.