Sermons

Summary: Christ's became man to present the good news to the world. One aspect of this was to affirm who He was and why He came. We too are to be Christ's presence and affirm what we believe.

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Introductory Considerations

1. This is the 4th message in a series. Peter says "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness

into his wonderful light." 1Pet 2:2,9. We "declare the praises" of Christ and follow the mandate of the great commission by being His presence in this world.

3. According to David Augsburger, there were 3 dimensions or aspects to Christ becoming a man that enabled Him to bring the message of salvation. These are:

Identification

Demonstration

Affirmation

4. As Christ was sent by Father to reveal the Father so we are sent to reveal Christ and His Father. Unless people know them and trust in them they are not saved. We also bring the message through Identification, Demonstration and Affirmation.

5. We have previously deal with Identification and Demonstration and now deal with Affirmation.

Teaching

1. In first 4-5 chapters of John, Jesus identifies or sympathizes with man and his situation (turns water into wine because of need, feeds the 5,000) and demonstrates His love through healings and other miracles. As a result the crowds grow and they even want to make Him king.

2. Something happens. Everything seems the change. From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. (vs.66). The people (supposedly disciples) turn from Christ and soon will turn against Him.

3. We may find same situation to those to whom we bring Christ’s presence. They seem receptive but then they close their ears and hearts and/or walk away. That can be discouraging for us in our witness.

4. Our passage tells us why the crowds turned back and why we experience the same in our ministry.

a. Jesus made a claim which they could not accept. People accept our understanding and love for them but they have trouble with our Affirmation of the truth.

i. In verse 35 Jesus says "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." As a result the Jews begin to grumble (v.41) and argue (v.52) and the people began to question Him (v. 60).

ii.Today also, society in general and people individually reject the claim that Jesus is the only way to God. (John 14:6) The church can reach out in love to others but to make this claim is unacceptable to them. We are called arrogant and intolerant.

b. Christ tells them they must feed on Him. He is talking in symbolic language and points to the meaning of the Lord’s Supper which represents us taking Christ inside us spiritually. (believing)

i. He challenges their Jewish religion based on works and their own efforts to reach God will fail. Only He can atone for sins and restore us to the Father.

ii.This means people need to accept that they are basically bad and sinners and that they cannot be truly good on own. Only then do they put trust in Christ alone.

iii.This requires humbling (through cross) and a rejection of humanistic views extolling man’s goodness and wisdom.

iv.Just as alcoholic needs to acknowledge need for higher power (can’t do on own strength) so must man admit our need for Christ.

v. People cannot accept this and walk away.

c. Jesus says "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him," (vs. 44, see also vs. 37 and 65)

i. Unless God through Holy Spirit plants faith in heart through regeneration (rebirth), people will not and cannot accept the message we bring.

ii.People need to choose to follow Christ and believe but that decision can be made only if God changes our heart.

iii.We must accept that some people simply have not been drawn to Christ and we must not put undue pressure on them or see ourselves as failures.

5. If Christ lost followers for affirming these truths, so will we.

6. There are three ways we respond to this:

a. We show love and care but we do not present claims of Christ. Many churches do this. Problem is how can people know they need to repent. We give them false security. We Identify and Demonstrate but not Affirm the truth.

b. We get discouraged and stop trying to be Christ’s presence. We stop Identifying, Demonstrating and Affirming.

c. We remain faithful to our call to do all three and realize that God will bless our continued efforts. A good example is the parable of the banquet in Luke 14:15. If many do not come, find others that will.

ILLUSTRATIONS

1. Personal example of someone who seemed receptive but rejected the message of hope.

REFERENCES

Proclaiming Good News - David W. Augsburger

Anatomy of the Fourth Gospel - R. Alan Culpepper

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