Summary: The feeding of the 5,000 was not just an outward miracle, Christ was teaching His disciples and growing them spiritually. This sermon is looking specifically at the process Christ used to teach the disciples and then demonstrate that it is the same proces
“ The Process Of Spiritual Growth”
Dcn. Chris Nerreau
TITLE: The Process of Spiritual Growth
SCRIPTURE: John 6:1-14
INTRODUCTION: May the words of my lips and the meditation of my heart be always acceptable in thy sight, giving praise glory and honor to Your name, our Rock and our Redeemer. (PLEASE OPEN YOUR BIBLES TO JOHN 6:1-14)
BACKGROUND: In our passage today, after having spent some time in Jerusalem healing, teaching and arguing with the Pharisees, Jesus was weary. It seemed Jesus desired to go some place quiet where He could instruct the disciples. As such He gets on a boat and heads toward the other side of the sea of Galilee (approx 4 mile ride). At the same time, having done great miracles the people made the decision to chase after Him. If you can picture it, there was a crowd walking along the shoreline following the boat. Because the Passover was near, there were many thousands of Jews heading into Jerusalem at the same time. So we see that as the small crowd heading out of Jerusalem following Jesus connects with the larger crowds coming into Jerusalem for the Passover, in the end we find what is described as a “multitude” of many thousands looking for Jesus.
Jesus and the disciples arrived at the other side before the multitude, who probably ended up walking double the distance as they went around sea. The scriptures then say that Jesus climbed a mountain and “sat down”, this is the traditional position for the rabbi to begin teaching. It was then that Jesus saw the “multitude” coming toward Him. Jesus decides to being teaching and in this teaching we begin to see the process Christ uses to grow Christians.
ILLUSTRATION: When I was about 13 years old I got my first job. It was not glamorous, I was a dish washer making 3.50 an hour. I can remember when I first started, I was terrible at it, sloshing around making a giant mess and not being able to keep up. I was very inefficient. But over time the head cook began to teach me that there was a process to washing dishes. Wash for 10 min., Rinse for 10 min., Dry for 10 min. do the little ones, save the pots for the end or they will dirty the water. Once I began to get it, the job went much smoother.
Today I realize that much of life is made up of processes. A plant cannot grow until it is first placed in the soil, watered and set in the sun. A child will not grow until it is nurtured, feed and loved. A marriage will not grow until (2) people learn to live for each other rather than themselves.
PROPOSITION: Why do Christian’s believe that Christianity is any different? Christ uses a process to grow us, when we understand that process, we can cooperate with Him. Today, in our passage on the feeding of the five thousand, I will try to reveal this process to you.
ORIENTATION: From a very high level, the process is made up of three crucial components:
1. Test You – Christ Will Test You (John 6:5-9)
2. Strengthen You – Christ will use His power to strengthen you (John 6:10-11)
3. Feed You – Christ will set aside enough to feed you (John 6:12-14)
Let me begin to explain by looking at how…
I. TEST YOU – (John 6:5-8)
EXPLANATION: In (John 6:5) Jesus say’s to Philip after seeing the large crowd – “How are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” This would have been a legitimate question except Christ was not really looking for an answer.
In (John 6:6) it tells us that Jesus – “said [this] to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.” This shows us just how premeditated Jesus plan was.
WHAT WAS THE TEST: The test was to reveal the disciples lack of faith in Christ and their weakness in the ability to feed the multitudes.
HOW DID PHILIP AND ANDREW DO: Both Philip and Andrew failed the test. Philip said it was impossible to feed all the people and Andrew, while doing a little better said we have some food but not enough.
WHY DID JESUS DO IT: Jesus was not testing them for himself, He was testing them to reveal their spiritual weakness!
This idea of testing is not new to Philip, it is a principle found throughout Scripture. God tested Abraham’s Love (Gen. 22:10), God tested Daniel in the Lion’s Den (Dan. 6:13-24), God tested the disciples in the Storm on the Sea (Mt. 8:6).
ILLUSTRATION: In this world there is a principle, namely that if you work really hard at something, you will improve at it or even master it. For example, to play the piano well, we must practice and practice until we are free to play. The more we practice the better we become.