“Why Do You Follow Jesus?”
Are you acquainted with the term “fringe benefits?”
It usually makes reference to the benefits or privileges received by merely being associated with something or someone.
Sometimes we enjoy certain fringe benefits from our association with particular people.
In John 6 we are told of a group of people who associated with Jesus solely for what they could get out of it.
They followed Jesus for selfish reasons.
You may be thinking, “God forbid that that sort of thing should happen in our day!”
But dear friend it does happen.
Some have joined churches, and even made a profession of faith for no other purpose than to influence some special girl or boy in their life.
Some politicians and businessmen are quick to speak of their association with a church in order to appear honest and trustworthy before the voting public.
These are “fringe benefit followers.”
They lay claims to Jesus only for what they can get out of it.
The sad fact however, is that any supposed benefits from this type of relationship with Christ will not help them in eternity.
Look at some of the fringe benefit followers of Jesus’ day.
I. Some Followed Because Of The Miracles He Performed
A. They Were Excited By The Miracles.
1. The miraculous healings excited the masses.
2. A marvelous meal fascinated the crowd.
B. They Were Not Transformed By The Saviour.
In spite of Jesus’ miracles, many did not believe on Him.
This type of response to Christ’s miracles was not uncommon.
It isn’t enough to believe in the miraculous.
One must belong to Jesus.
The main idea by these verses is that many associated themselves with Jesus merely as religious seekers.
Verse 23 indicates that because of the miracles Jesus performed, “many believed in his name.”
That simply means that they had confidence in Jesus as a miracle-worker, but had not committed themselves to Him as their Saviour.
A lot of people in our day could care less about being in God’s house unless it is entertaining.
When it comes to the teaching and preaching of God’s Word, they don’t have time for that.
Some people will associate with Jesus if you preach a “health and wealth gospel,” because that excites the flesh.
II. Some Followed Him Because They Wanted A King
Jesus had just miraculously fed five thousand men, plus women and children.
Some in the crowd connected this miracle with a similar miracle in Moses’ day, when God fed the children of Israel in the wilderness.
Because of that they decided that Jesus was to be their leader.
1a. They missed the point.
They were looking for someone to deliver them from Roman rule.
1b. There are a lot of people today who view Christ and the Church as merely vehicles to accomplish their own personal agendas.
The Jews wanted to force Jesus into being their king.
But Christ’s kingdom was to be given to Him by the Father, not by man (John 18: 36).
The motive of the Jews was a selfish one.
The fact is, this motivation for following Jesus was all wrong.
III. Some Followed Him Because Of The Meal He Provided
A. They Had Witnessed A Miracle.
Mark 6: 41-44
B. They Had Missed The Miracle’s Meaning.
1. Many in this crowd saw Jesus’ miracle merely as a free meal.
2. The point of this meal was to illustrate the nature and purpose of Christ’s ministry.
Through the miracle of the five loaves and two fishes, Jesus was illustrating the essence of his ministry.
He was the One sent down from Heaven (v. 33), not to fulfill the temporal physical needs of mankind, but to supply their spiritual need for eternal salvation (v. 27).
As food nourishes the physical body through eating, even so Christ meets the needs of man’s spirit by being invited into his heart by faith.
The purpose of God’s goodness is not so man can experience the “goodies of God,” but that he might see his need for the “grace of God” in Christ.
Unfortunately, we still have some of these folks around today.
Their only interest in the church and Jesus is what they can get out of them.
They have no intention of committing themselves to Christ.
IV. Some Quit Following Jesus Because Of The Message He Preached
A. Jesus Preached That Man’s Efforts For Salvation Are Useless.
1. Jesus made this plain.
2. The Apostle Paul repeated this principle.
Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”