Summary: Sermon for the 12th Sunday after Pentecost, Year B

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John 6: 51 – 58 / Guilty or Not Guilty

Intro: The conversation went something like this after the alarm clock was turned off after the first buzz. “Dear, you must get up. It is time to get ready for church.” --- “But, I don’t want to go to church this Sunday. It is so boring and those people don’t really like me.” --- “I don’t care. It is Sunday and we need to go to church.” --- “But, I don’t feel well and I just can’t face another boring service at that church.” --- “Dear, you have to get up and get ready. You are the pastor!”

I. Why do you go to church? I personally think it is because you want to hear another flawless sermon by a wonderful pastor. What does it mean to you and me to come to church?

A. Barbara Brokhoff in her book, “Faith Alive” says, “The Happy Hour for the Christian should be the hour of worship on Sunday morning.” Is the thought of worship agony or ecstasy for you? We are coming here to meet God, not just anybody, but God! Shouldn’t the delightful suspense of worship make our breathe short and our hearts beat faster?

B. For how many people do you really think that is the case? We come and almost mindlessly go through the morning liturgy. How many of us really work at praising God? How many of us are here out of the true delight to praise God in song, prayer and meditation upon God’s word read and preached?

C. Are you here thinking about other things? Things like: how the roast is doing in the oven at home, where you will go to eat after church, what you could be doing if you weren’t here, thinking about all the work that awaits you tomorrow when you get to work. Can’t we love God one hour a week with our whole being instead of being concerned whether the pastor is going to preach too long and we what time we will get out of church?

II. Vs. 52 – “The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?

A. The words that John puts into the mouth of Jesus at this point were interpreted literally by the Jews even though that was not the intent of Jesus. So what is Jesus saying to the skeptical Jews and to us?

B. The words that John puts into the mouth of Jesus at this point were interpreted literally by the Jews even though that was not the intent of Jesus. So what is Jesus saying to the skeptical Jews and to us?

C. It is like having a book on a shelf. Until a person takes it off the shelf and “devours” or reads it, the book remains an inanimate object and does not come alive in anyone. A book only takes on life when it is read and understood by a reader, a person.

III. Vs. 53 – “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.”

A. The word “life” in Greek is ZOAINE as it is used here. It is used a great deal by John to designate the result of faith in Christ. In most cases it is stated expressly that the follower of Jesus possesses LIFE, zoaine in this world and the next.

B. As long as Christ Jesus remains a figure in a book, He is nothing to us. We must take him into our being, study His words, follow His example and rely on His strength.

C. Jesus is calling those around him from observation to participation. He is issuing that same call to us. If YOU are just observers of Christianity and not participators, YOU HAVE NO LIFE IN YOU.

Conclu: Ben was a member of the Lord’s Church. Morally, he was a good man. He didn’t lie, curse, drink beat his wife, or smoke. He paid his taxes, came to Sunday School and worship services. He paid his bills and gave a few leftover bucks to the Lord. He never opposed anything that was good. One day Ben died and stood before the Righteous Judge. The Judge said, “Ben you are charged with trying to close the church. Are you guilty or not guilty?” --- “Not guilty,” responded Ben. “I didn’t do a thing!” “Guilty as charged, ruled the Judge. “Ben you have confessed to the most effective way ever devised of closing the church, the kingdom of God. You didn’t do a thing. You didn’t visit the sick, encourage the week, feed the hungry, or welcome the strangers among you. You didn’t care for the well-being of those in your community of faith by praying for or with them. You didn’t reach out to the lost with the Gospel. You didn’t reach out to anyone. You didn’t DO anything and that’s exactly how you close a church. How do you plead? Guilty or not guilty?

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