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John 6 and the call to believe in Jesus

Scripture reading: Matthew 13:1-23

This morning we are going to take a look at John 6. In this particular passage there is a lot going on

-It's year 2 of Jesus' public ministry (mentions another Passover celebration)
-Jesus is being followed by great crowds because of his many miracles on behalf of the sick
-Herein he miraculously feeds 5000 men
-The crowd, having seen the miracle concludes that Jesus is the Prophet whom Moses spoke of as coming and made plans to make Jesus king-- by force
-This text also features the first of Jesus' "I AM" statements (all being claims to His being God)
-Jesus also performs the miracle of walking on the water. This scared his disciples at first but resulted in a deepening of their faith
-The tex features some incredible claims by Jesus regarding His identity and mission-- his most memorable claim being "I AM the bread of Life"
-John 6 serves as a watershed moment in Jesus' public ministry. It was a turning point-- the end result being that many left him and stopped being his followers
-While many left, the faith of his core disciples grew


A. AT THE HEART OF JOHN 6 IS A CRITICAL QUESTION

After the crowds caught up to Jesus and asked him when he arrived where he was Jesus said to them these words.....

"I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval." John 6:26-27

Upon hearing Jesus say this the people asked Jesus a million dollar question, a question that I want to explore with you with this morning.

The peoples question "WHAT MUST WE DO TO DO THE WORKS GOD REQUIRES?" v.28

What can and should we do to please God? This is a great question that not enough people ask!

To many people assume they know what God requires of them-- thinking that good works will get them into Heaven, thinking that following the 10 commandments will get them into Heaven, thinking that being sincere about whatever religion they choose will get them into Heaven and at peace with God

Something to note:

The question of the people that day focused on "do". What can I do? Problem: What can we do as sinners/as those who fall short of God's standards in every way, to please God?

JESUS' ANSWER: "THE WORK OF GOD IS THIS: TO BELIEVE IN THE ONE HE HAS SENT" v.29

In response to the crowds question JESUS ISSUES A CALL TO BELIEVE IN HIM AS SAVIOR AND LORD

Jesus tells them plainly, if you want to please God/if you want to be right with God, then believe in me, the one He has sent

Note: This is no small claim! Many times Jesus declared that he had come down from Heaven, telling the people that he was from above

Jesus call to believe in Him was picked up by his disciples. For example in Acts 16:29-31 a jailor rushes in before Paul and Silas, falls on the ground before them and asks "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" To which they both replied "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved..."

Similarly, in Romans 10:9 it says; "if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Note: Being right with God has nothing to do with some work we can do. Salvation is by faith in Jesus alone. As Ephesians 2:8-9 says; "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.

JESUS CALL TO BELIEVE IN HIM AS SAVIOR AND LORD STANDS TODAY AS THE ONLY WAY TO PLEASE GOD

SUBNOTE

Alongside of Jesus call to believe in him, he made some big claims

-Jesus herein claims to be the giver of eternal life v.27
-Jesus claims to be sent from the Father and approved of by the Father v.29
-Jesus claims to have come down from heaven v.33
-Jesus claims to be the Bread of Life v.35
-Jesus claims that if you want to have eternal life that you need to eat his flesh and drink his blood v.53. In the verses after this Jesus explains that he meant spiritually and not physically, yet the crowd did not understand and were quite upset by Jesus' words
-Jesus claimed that those who believe in Him possess eternal life v.50
-Jesus claimed that on the last day that he will raise to life those who believe in him v.54


B. THE CROWDS RESPONSE: THEY WALKED AWAY. THEY REJECTED JESUS v.66

First they demanded a sign (though Jesus had filled their stomachs the day before), then they walked away

Interesting: They liked when Jesus filled their stomachs but they couldn't stomach what He said and the claims he made

Something quite important to note

C. Over the course of his earthly ministry, Jesus backed up his claims and the call to believe in Him, by performing many miracles

Last week I introduced you to the reason the Gospel of John was written. John 20:30-31 says; "Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."

In addition to performing many miracles, Jesus was further attested by...

1. John The Baptist; who said of Jesus "I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God." John 1:34
2. God the Father-- who at Jesus' baptism said "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." Matthew 3:17
3. The Scriptures which he fulfilled (dozens upon dozens which prophesied his coming, where he was to be born, how he was to die, his resurrection, the nature of his ministry, etc)

POINT: JESUS PROVIDED MANY GOOD REASONS FOR THE PEOPLE TO BELIEVE HIS CLAIMS AND TO PUT THEIR FAITH IN HIM.

FURTHER THOUGHTS ON JESUS' CALL TO BELIEVE IN HIM

D. JESUS' CALL TO BELIEVE IN HIM COMES WITH SOME GREAT PROMISES

Promise #1: He will meet all our needs v.35

In our text, in response to the crowds demand for a sign in line with Moses manna from heaven, Jesus makes the first of what are called "The I AM" sayings of Christ, by saying "I am the bread of life. He who come to me will never go hungry, and who he believes in me will never be thirsty."

In saying "I AM the bread of life" Jesus is making a unique claim. He's claiming to be God. He's claiming to be the source of eternal life. He's claiming to be the one who can meet all of our needs and particularly our greatest Need-- the forgiveness of our sins, that we might be right with God.

As it regards Christ meeting all our needs: We need to wait upon Him-- for the right job, for the right spouse, for deliverance, whatever it may be

Side note: All to often we turn to the wrong things to meet our needs. i.e Husbands and wives sometimes think their spouse will meet all their needs. It's impossible.

Further: As Saint Augustine said "Our hearts are restless until they rest in you."

As bread is necessary for life, a relationship with Jesus is necessary for eternal life and peace with God.

Promise #2: He will not drive away or lose any of those whom the Father gives to Him-- being those who put their faith in Him v.37

In v.37 Jesus says "All that the Father gives to me I will never drive away"

While some people walk away from Jesus-- as it happens in this very chapter-- for Jesus' words offended some of those who called themselves his followers, Jesus does not cast out any who come to come in faith and repentance-- though as Christians we often sin.

The wondrous news of the Gospel is this: "he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6


Promise #3: Those who put their faith in Jesus receive and possess eternal life v.47

In v.47 Jesus says "I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life"

What is eternal life?

-It's means to be spiritually alive versus spiritually dead (which the Bible says that we are apart from Christ---- dead in our sins)
-To have eternal life is to have Jesus, the giver of life, the source of life, the author life
-To have eternal life means that one will live forever with God
-In John 17:1-3 Jesus speaks of eternal life in this way "Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent."

When a person puts their faith in Jesus, the Bible teaches that they go from being spiritually dead and under the judgment of God for their sins, to being spiritually alive, united with Christ, and an heir of heaven as their home.

Promise #4: Those who put their faith in Jesus will be raised up on the last day v. 39,40,44, 54

In John 6:39,40,44,54 Jesus makes a promise to each one who puts their faith in him "I will raise him up at the last day"

The Scriptures, from the Old to the New Testament speak of a coming day when the dead will be raised. Daniel 12:2 says; "Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt."

The promise of Jesus is that those who put their faith and trust in Him as Savior and Lord, that on the day of resurrection, they will be raised up-- given to new and eternal bodies-- and that such ones will spend eternity with Him on the New Earth.

Because of Jesus' words and his resurrection from the dead, as Christians, we are not to fear death-- we don't fear death, nor do we see it at those who have no hope-- for Jesus triumphed over the grave

CONCLUSION

1. Jesus makes a clear call in John 6, to believe in him as Savior and Lord. Have you responded in the affirmative?

2. Over the course of his earthly ministry, Jesus backed up his claims and the call to believe in Him, by performing many miracles

3. Jesus' call to believe in him comes with some great promises. These promises are not empty

4. Where are you at with Jesus?

Are you inclined to go with the crowd or do you identify with what Simon Peter said...

"Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God." John 6:68-69

The matter of believing in Jesus is of the utmost importance. Consider these words of Jesus from John 8:24 "If you do not believe that I am [the one I claim to be], you will indeed die in your sins."