“Oh Lord, please make a bee-line for our hearts today, and convict us of our sin, and turn us to the cross of forgiveness where we might kneel in repentance. Please give us that which enables our hearts to worship You. And then teach us how to live. How do we apply your Word oh God? What changes need to be made in our lives? How do we live to honor You? Oh come and open your Word to our hearts, and open our hearts to Your Word.”
I want to begin this morning by telling you that it is possible to live our lives in such a way that all our needs are met, and every fear is calmed. It is possible to meet every test and trial, every difficulty and hardship with great confidence. It is possible to live in this way.
Now I want to take you to several places in Scripture that show us exactly how to do this. As we’re turning, please answer the question, what do these passages have in common? So the first one is Psalm 25:15: “My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare.” Psalm 25:15 (NIV) “But my eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign Lord; in you I take refuge--do not give me over to death.” Psalm 141:8 (NIV) O our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you." 2 Chronicles 20:12 (NIV) 20 "Gather together and come; assemble, you fugitives from the nations. Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood, who pray to gods that cannot save. 21 Declare what is to be, present it-- let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me. 22 "Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. Isaiah 45:20-22 (NIV) “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
So in the OT passages we have several difficult situations, but the same remedy in them all. 1 guy was trapped in a snare but his eyes were on the Lord to release him, another guy faced a vast army and didn’t know what to do, but he turned his eyes to the Lord to win the battle. Then there were those who were praying to idols and were lost, so God says, “Look to me, all the ends of the earth and be saved.” Different situations, same solution. “Fix our eyes on Jesus,” and specifically how He endured the cross and then sat down at the right hand of God.
That is how to live our lives so that we can face traps or troubles or testing or trials confidently. Not looking to ourselves as if we had the solution, but looking to God. Looking to the God who made us, and the God Who sent His Son to die for us.
Now let’s open our Bibles to John chapter 6. Let me remind you this morning that there have only been two people who have ever walked on water. Only two. And it was not Jesus Christ and Bruce Almighty. No, it was Jesus and Peter. And Peter could only walk on water as long as He was looking at Jesus. As long as he fixed his eyes on Jesus he could walk supernaturally, he walked on top of his problem while focusing on Christ, and so do we. But the moment he started focusing on the winds and the waves he sunk. When he became distracted he started drowning, and so do we. But when he looked to Jesus and said, “Lord, Save me,” Christ raised him up. And all of these Scriptures are an illustration of our text today in John 6 verse 40 that says:
“For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:40 (NIV)
Looking to Jesus and believing in Him always results in life and being raised up. The title of my sermon this morning is simply “look to Jesus and live” or, you can change it if your situation dictates to “look again to Jesus and live” if you’ve gotten your eyes off of Him.
Now today I want to remind us of where we have been in John chapter 6 so as to set the stage for the passage of Scripture we’re looking at today. So we’re going through a review before we get to our new passage. I’ll be upfront and tell you the reason why we are doing this review is because I can’t stand ripping verses out of context. I crave context, and hence the review. So, there are three main sections in John chapter 6: the miraculous feeding (verses 1-15), the miraculous walking (verses 16-24) and the miraculous teaching (verses 25-71).
Our first week in this chapter we saw the “miraculous feeding” of the multitude in verses 1-15. We can picture a little smile on Jesus’ face as He asks Philip a question in verse 5, Hey Philip, “where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” We noticed that this was just a test (the beginning of verse 6 says “He asked this only to test him”). Philip was being tested here. And the end of verse 6 says “He already had in mind what He was going to do.”
In this situation the problem seems huge (5000 men and their families must be fed), and the Bible says their resources are small (verse 9 says “5 small barley loaves and 2 small fish”).
You see this story tells us how we can face our tests in life when our problems seems so huge and our resources so small. And that is, we look to Jesus to meet the need. In fact, every test that we go through in life, Jesus already has a plan. He can take whatever small resources we have and multiply them and meet the entire need and then some! He’s got the solution before He ever presents the problem. Remember that next time your problem seems huge and your resources are small. Look to Jesus and live.
But it’s very important to notice that Jesus puts this story of the miraculous feeding into the larger context of the main story of the Bible. He had just fed the multitude and then notice how he connects that feeding with the main reason why He came in verse 33 when He says, “the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." And look at verse 35: “then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”
See, we’re like that multitude spiritually: we’re starving and parched in our sin, and Jesus came to give His life (that is, to die on the cross) in order to nourish our hearts with the forgiveness of our sins. So just as the multitude was taught to look to Jesus for bread, so we are taught to look to Jesus for life. He comes down from heaven to give His life for our lives. And in His death He feeds a multitude with eternal life. Look to Jesus and live.
And then we saw the “miraculous walking” in verse 16-22 where the disciples were in trouble. Verse 18 says “a strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough.” And verse 19 tells us that they had only rowed about 3 or 3.5 miles. They were struggling and in danger, and then verse 19 tells us they were terrified. But Jesus came to them walking on the water to help them in their distress. So that verse 21 says as soon as they took Jesus into the boat immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading. His Word calmed their fears, look at the end of verse 20: “It is I, don’t be afraid.” His Word calmed their fears, but His presence calmed the storm, as Mark 6:51 says: “Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down.” In any storm of life, look to Jesus and His Word will calm your fears, and His presence will calm the storm. They were taught in this, “Look to Jesus and live.”
So both of these stories point us to the miraculous Christ. He is the Solution when our needs exceed our resources, He is the Solution when storms of life terrify our hearts. These are really two word-pictures, two illustrations that would teach us to look to Jesus: when we have needs, He’ll meet them; when in storms, He’ll rescue us.
Oh it’s my heart’s desire that we, as the church, would together look to Jesus to meet all needs. And that we would continually point each other to Christ. Charles Spurgeon said, “there is life in just one look at the Savior!” And that brings us to our passage today. In John 6:40 Jesus says, “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
But wait a minute, there is something within every person that prevents us from looking to Jesus. It is the belief that we’re really pretty good. We know we’re not perfect, but hey we’re not too bad. And the world teaches us we’re ok, I’m ok, you’re ok, we’re all ok. and if I’m ok what do I need to look to Jesus for? A well person doesn’t need a doctor. See we’re all like Jim Henson of the Muppets. He didn’t feel perfect, but he thought he was alright, he just had a little cold. 12 days later he was dead, he had walking pneumonia. You and I are born with spiritual walking pneumonia; we think we’re ok, the reality is we have a fatal disease called sin and we will die from it one day.
Look with me at Romans chapter 3 and I want us to see exactly what we are by birth. This passage is the opposite of what the world teaches. The world teaches us we’re all good, we’re born good.
10 As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." 13 "Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit." "The poison of vipers is on their lips." 14 "Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness." 15 "Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 ruin and misery mark their ways, 17 and the way of peace they do not know." 18 "There is no fear of God before their eyes." Romans 3:10-18 (NIV)
Our condition by birth is sinful, unrighteous, corrupt, and condemned to death. We are godless, profane, reprehensible, reprobate, sinister, shameful, vicious, vile, wicked, wrong, and guilty. And if God would reveal this truth to us by His Spirit, we would look to Jesus in a heartbeat. We would flee, we would run to Him.
I want to illustrate this for us, turn to Numbers chapter 21. Keep in mind that we’re illustrating that “anyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him has eternal life.” 4 They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; 5 they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!" 6 Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. 7 The people came to Moses and said, "We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us." So Moses prayed for the people. 8 The Lord said to Moses, "Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live." 9 So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.
See before these people were bitten they would have had no desire to look to some pole with a snake on it. They didn’t need it. There was no attraction to it. But when they were bitten, and they knew they had venom running through them, and they knew they were condemned to death, oh that pole had a tremendous draw because it meant life to them. And you could put our passage today right on top of this: “it is the Father’s will, that anyone who looks to the uplifted pole and believes will live.”
So that when we see that we too have been bitten, and that the venom of sin is running through our veins, and we are condemned to death, oh there was never a more beautiful site that the uplifted pole where our Savior hung. Now we see. We see that the cross, where Jesus was raised up on the pole, is the solution to our sin. And then we see that in Him we are forgiven and pardoned. We see that we are accepted and loved. We are redeemed and exonerated, justified, and released.
So by way of application this morning, I want to ask you “have you looked to Jesus like that?” Have you looked as one bitten by sin and perishing, looking unto Jesus as Your remedy?
You know there are two kinds of people who need to look to Jesus in this way: the first is the man or woman who has sinned deeply, who has a past that is broken, who has ruined their reputation and has been dominated by sin. They need to simply turn from their sin and look to Jesus and they will find open arms, full forgiveness and complete pardon.
The second kind of person who needs to look to Jesus is the one who has lived pretty decently, who has a decent job and a good family, and though they admit they’re not perfect, they can certainly compare themselves favorably to many other people. They’re really done pretty good, and they know it. They need to turn away, not from their sin but from their righteousness. Their righteousness. They need to acknowledge that they’ve been bitten and look to Jesus and live.
I want to give us just 3 practical ways we can look to Jesus, real quick:
1. Be in the Word of God. There will be no healing of our snake bite if we are not in God’s Word. We will be self-defeated, we will be horribly discouraged, or horribly prideful, all because we are not in God’s Word. That’s how we look to Jesus.
2. We look to Him in prayer. We call to Him in prayer. We pour out our hearts to Him in prayer.
3. Get around other Christians who are looking to Jesus, and let them encourage you to do the same. Don’t expect to get cured if you’re not willing to get around others who are looking to Jesus.
I want to close today by noticing something beautiful about John 6:40. “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:40 (NIV)
This is a double promise guaranteeing our eternal life. The double promise is that it is the Father’s will that we live, and it is by the Son’s power that we will live. The Father’s will is that we look to Jesus and live, and the Son’s power will raise us up. So that “no power of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from His hand.” Not even death will defeat the purpose of God to redeem all who look to Jesus.
The uttermost confidence belongs to the true believer in Christ. No power of flesh, darkness, or hell can take the life of the believer.
God wills that we live, the Son raises us up. We are saved when we look away from ourselves and look to Jesus. And then, it is possible to live our lives in such a way that all our needs are met, and every fear is calmed. We can meet every test and trial, every difficulty and hardship with great confidence. How? By looking to Jesus.