Summary: Some people will believe early, some later. We are to remain faithful in praying for and witnessing to those who have not believed in Jesus.
* Proverbs 3:5-6 basically says “Trust in God, Stop trying to fit God into your logic. Just look for His hand around you, and then that Hand will guide you.”
* But I say, “Lord, that is how I try to live, but…”
* What about those we are praying for? What about those around me?
* Read Text…..
1. They cannot find Jesus by their understanding. (21)
* Why? Because we are from the earth, not heavenly minded, by nature (23)
2. If they continue to seek in their own terms, they will die in their sin.
* “Sin” here is singular, meaning one grievous error that separates them from God. (24)
* Jump ahead to verse 24. That one sin is rejecting the claims and person of Jesus Christ.
* Jesus later tells them He would send another comforter that would ““…convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me…” John 16:8-9.
* Sin, however, is compounded by nature. Sin leads to further sin.
* If you die in a state of rejecting Jesus Christ, you will stand accountable for your “sins” (plural).
* That one sin of rejecting Christ will be compounded by the rest of your failure to meet God’s standard.
* In Revelations 20:12-15, mankind’s judgment is described.
* The books were opened, containing all or our failures.
* Another book was opened, the Book of Life. If you name was not found in the Book of Life, you were judged by what was in the books. All of your failures come into play.
* But if your name is in the Book of Life, because you placed your faith in Jesus Christ, Jesus stands in your place and says, “I paid for all those sins and failures.”
* Faith in Jesus Christ is the key.
3. Even following Jesus’ example will not bring one to God.
* Many are teaching that Christ is the best in us, and that Jesus simply set an example of commitment and sacrifice to be the most value to others.
* However, Jesus said, “You simply cannot follow me. Where I go, you cannot come.” (22).
* I believe the Jews were asking the right question but for the wrong reason.
* They were asking,” Who are you?” (25a)
* Jesus’ response was, “I have told you, but the key is listening to the Father.” (25b).
* We cannot simply try to imitate Christ and find favor with God. Why? It cannot be done.
* You can, however, place your faith in Jesus’ substitutionary atonement. Jesus died for you if you will believe.
4. Many make God the last consideration in all situations. (27)
* They heard the words, but they were not thinking it was God speaking.
* Therefore, they missed the message.
5. But there is hope. When Jesus is lifted up, many would believe (28).
* We wonder why Jesus bantered with these Jews so much.
* Yet, He knew His words would not come back as wasted.
* Acts 6:7 - Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.
* We have this encouragement. What about those we are praying for?
* We have been praying for some for many years..
* We can never know, but we have the promise, “His Word does not return void.”
* God is working in the lives of those we are praying for, and we cannot possibly understand how.
* But He is. He loves these more than we ever can.
6. Some will believe early. Some will believe late. Some will believe in mid-life.
* Unfortunately, others will die in their sin and be condemned by their sins. But we cannot know which ones.
* Our job is to be faithful to the Father in delivering the message. (29)
* We must keep praying, keep witnessing, keep living right before those we are praying for.
* Never give up.
* Illust. One who believed late in life saw God’s hand throughout his life.