Summary: This is the 20th sermon in a series we've been doing on John's Gospel. In this sermon we focus on seeking Jesus as He is the greatest treasure, the only meaningful gift, not necessarily what He gives us, but He, Himself.
What do you seek: The gifts or the Giver? (Gospel of John Part 20)
Text: John 6:22-27
So we’ve been in John’s Gospel for some time now… and we’re in one of the longest chapters of the entire book… Chapter six… it has 71 verses. And the reason for that is because in all of those 71 verses; John is really trying to get us to see something, so he’s spent a little extra time on it, and gone into more detail.
Now remember; the purpose of John writing his Gospel account is so that people will believe in Jesus. But we could also point out that there’s a secondary purpose in this chapter that John stresses and emphasizes for us. And that is: Not everyone who is interested in Jesus is actually a true believer, or a true follower of Christ. In-fact; in verses 64 and 70 Jesus even says that one of the 12 Disciples isn’t even a true follower… of course He’s talking about Judas. So we have Judas, and we have the Jews, and we have the crowds, and they are all showing us that just because a person says they are following Jesus, or just because a person shows an interest in Jesus, that doesn’t mean that they’ve truly been born again by the Spirit of God.
And the Bible gives us a lot of examples of how that happens… for some, it’s the allure of the world and deceitfulness of riches that draws them away… for some it’s that they don’t want to face the persecution that comes with following Christ. For some people… let’s just be honest, they don’t want to repent of their sin… and for others… it’s that Jesus doesn’t fit their mold. They want a Messiah who fulfills all their wants… not one who says, “Take up a cross and follow Me.” So for some people, they have this version of Jesus that’s not Biblical. It’s a Jesus created by their culture, or their desires, but then… once they read the Scriptures, and they see the real Jesus of the Bible, they actually don’t want anything to do with Him. The Gospel actually is an offense to them, it’s a stumbling block.
So let me read the text to you, set it all up, and explain what’s happening here.
(READ john 6:22-27).
So… a bunch of false disciples have gathered around Jesus… They’ve been attracted to Him for a number of reasons. First of all… crowds tend to draw larger crowds. Initially Jesus drew a crowd because of His healing miracles, and the water into wine… so He drew a crowd, and then people started coming to see what the crowd was all about, and the crowd got bigger. And of course; false disciples are attracted by crowds… They’re easy to hide in, and it’s easy to remain anonymous if you want. Now on the flip side of that… they also like lone sheep. False teachers like to find solo Christians when other Christians or their pastors aren’t around… They like to put thoughts and ideas in their ears… So… they like to single you out to fill your head with false doctrine and wrong thinking, but they like crowds because they can hide in them, and they feel that the larger the crowd the more important the thing is…
The second thing we see is that false disciples are overly fascinated with the super-natural… Now understand this… if you read through Scripture, you can’t deny the supernatural. Jesus really did miracles. Jesus really did cast out demons. Angels and demons exist. And so, to flat out deny that miracles happen, and that the supernatural exists is to deny the teaching of the Bible… but at the same time, to be overly fascinated with the supernatural is dangerous. It’s not healthy. So these folks... they wanted to see it, they wanted to be a part of it. They were overly fascinated with the supernatural. We still see this today, and we’re going to see more and more of it. As our society as a whole moves away from the ability to think logically and clearly about anything, more and more people are going to demand entertainment, signs, wonders, miracles… and more and more people are going to be deceived. And even if you promise the miraculous and can’t actually deliver it… I’m thinking of guys like Benny Hinn and Kenneth Copeland here… you’re still going to draw the crowds, because false disciples want to see that stuff… They want that excitement, that mystery, that possibility of the supernatural.
The third thing we see here is that false disciples have their minds set on worldly benefits. Remember from last time, Jesus feeds over 5000 people, and they all of a sudden want to make Him their king.