The Bible says that multitudes followed Jesus. People followed Jesus for different reasons. The same is true today! We need to ask ourselves the question: Why are we following Jesus? This is a question that you need to be able to explain…….young and old! So why are you following Jesus. Don’t settle for a relationship with Jesus that is based on what he can do for you. Remember God will not be fooled or mocked by His creation; God knows those whose motives are wrong and this should cause us to ponder God and His truth this morning. There are good intentional people in the church who are doing the same thing as it was here in John’s gospel who treating the God who gives them breath like a…..
- ATM machine
- Genie in a bottle
- Lucky rabbit’s foot
- Get out jail free card
- Only useful for salvation but for everyday living, no so much
See it’s not hard to deceive ourselves and others at times! As J C Ryle said “a little decent outward profession will often go long way. But it is impossible to deceive Christ.”Why? I Samuel 16:7 says “……. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart." Remember the confrontation that Jesus had with Peter? John wrote “the third time, "Do you love me?" and he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep.” John 21:17. He knows everything! The same rule applies here when the great number of people were seeking after Jesus on the other side of the Sea. Though the crowd sought Him out, they were never interested in either worshipping or obeying Him. They wanted their needs being met! They wanted Him to serve them. Again, a convenient ATM machine that is fast and easy….“give me what I want Jesus” And when I get my fill of you and something comes along that is better I will be jumping ship to bigger and better things! The mindset that says “If Jesus doesn’t work out; I always have my back-up.” Sadly the reality is that there is NO BACK UP! It’s Jesus or nothing! In the church and especially in your life.
To some degree we all tend to live for the present, to live for today, to live for the physical world around us. And yet, we are called on, in Christ, to live for eternity. Salvation comes, not through seeking One who can provide physical food, but through coming to One who can and does supply the spiritual bread of life to all who come to Him in repentance and faith. Jesus’ hearers were not satisfied with the true Messiah, but sought one of their own making. Such is still happening today. The words of Jesus in our passage reveals there are two kinds of food this world seeks! One that perishes and another that endures. First kind seeks their own interest! The other kind seeks the One who gives eternal life freely to those who believe. The question for you [us] is! Which One are you seeking this morning? Is Jesus only useful when it’s convenient for you? Is Jesus only useful when you need something as a last resort?
The problem for these people was their selfish materialistic hearts keep them blind to their spiritual bankruptcy. Look what Jesus says to the multitudes after they found Him on the other side! (v25-v29). It’s not that Jesus doesn’t care about our physical needs or our needs as we just saw previously to why they ventured across the Sea to see Him. Jesus’ major concern was their spiritual life…..because our spiritual life is more important than our physical! They couldn’t see that but Jesus could! Why? He is God and God knows everything. Why did Jesus address this issue of the heart so quickly with the people who crossed the Sea? He knew and wanted to address their motives! Why? He knew what awaits those who chose to follow after their own desires! His eternal Judgement for all eternity. So! What do we learn from this portion as it introduces us to another I AM statement? Why are misleading affections disastrous and harmful to the soul?
It leads to selfish and self-seeking interests. We see things the way we want things to be, so long as I get what I want, when I want mentality. Prov 14:12 speaks about this and the outcome of this type of thinking is destructive. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” A prime example of this is found in the life of Christopher Hitchens “Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.” But sadly the consequence for that kind of thinking is again destructive. As the way of sin and wickedness does, it promising much carnal pleasure and fun and there is a great deal of company in it! It’s a broad road, and its pleasant to the eyes, and seems right, but it leads to destruction in the end. So is the way of the hypocrite and Pharisee that trusts to his own righteousness, and despises others and even the righteousness of Christ found in the gospel. What does it result in? “….'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'” Matt 7:23
It blinds you to the truth found in Christ alone. Paul explains this loud and clear to the church of Corinth that it’s impossible to be a follower of Christ and not understand His truth. 1 Cor 2:14 “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” The bible is very clear about this danger! In Rom 1:18 Paul said “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,” “suppress the truth” means either a person who know the Gospel, which is "the truth", and do not profess it openly or if they do profess it, do not live up to it in their lives. Why? In essence they hate the truth but it requires change of life! Paul also wrote to Timothy that we will see this more and more in the church! 2 Tim 4:3-4 “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” Remember! Not everyone in the church is saved! Again only God can see the heart of conversion found in the gospel. A prime example of Misplaced affections is found in the church of Laodicea. The bible says “…because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.” Rev 3:17. These people who confronted Jesus on the other side of the Sea are just like this church was only satisfied in getting what they wanted! They could care less about who Jesus truly was and what he really came to do which was to give His life to be a ransom for some “as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Matt 20:28
It separates you from the Saviour and the eternal grace found in the gospel. Isa 59:2 “but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.”“have separated” conveys the idea of division, usually by a curtain or a wall! The problem isn’t with God’s power, His knowledge, or His interest. The problem is with our iniquities. Sin has separated you from your God. This statement is still true for millions of people today! They were coming to Him for eternal life….only what they needed now in the physical. They didn’t care about their sin….they were concerned with the NOW! John MacArthur said “The crowd was not motivated by faith, repentance, or genuine love for Him. On the contrary, they followed the Lord because they saw the signs which He was performing on those who were sick . . . . They were thrill seekers who failed to grasp the true significance of Jesus’ miraculous signs . . . which pointed unmistakably to Him as the Son of God and the Messiah……They flocked to see His works, but ultimately refused to accept His words. They sought the benefits of His power in their physical lives, but not in their spiritual lives. It’s a road that leads to destruction as Jesus spoke of in His sermon on the Mount. What keeps an unconverted soul from finding Christ? Their love for sin and their inability or desire to acknowledge they have sinned against a holy God. A God who created every human being in Their image to display the glory of Their splendor. Refusing to repent and walk by the faith given in Christ through the gospel.
These people that came to Jesus and this is happening today! Blinded by our superficial desire of food and miracles, that they [some today] miss the spiritual significance of what Jesus came to do! To give life for sinners. Again listen to the heart of Isaiah "Why do you spend money for [what is] not bread, And your wages for [what] does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat [what is] good, And let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you - The sure mercies of David." Isa 55:2-3. We need to be careful that we don’t get swept away with what Jesus could do for us over what He came to do…….die for sinners! D. A Carson said “Signs and wonders can be performed quite outside the heritage of the God of the Bible. The Egyptian magicians could match Moses miracle for miracle for quite a while (Exo7:8-8:18). Paul predicts, “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing” (2 Thess 2:9-10). The second beast in Revelation 13 “performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men”.”
Man’s blindness does not keep God’s grace from working….that’s the beauty of the gospel; but we need to remember He didn’t come to give you your best life now! He came to give you eternal life. As one writer said “There are many reasons to follow Jesus. So often, we can let these be selfish reasons. When many people grow disillusioned with their walk with Christ, they give the excuse that it wasn't "working for them." What they mean is that being a disciple was harder than they though it would be and they weren't getting the obvious "payoff" out of giving their allegiance to Jesus. However, we don't follow Jesus because of what we get out of him, but because of who he is and what he did for us. Sometimes we have to follow regardless of the temporary circumstances. If all we do is follow when we get what we want, then when hardship comes, trials beset us, the evil one attacks us... we're going to give up God and lose everything. Jesus' blessings remind us who he is and where he is from. They point us to God and our home with him. Let's live for him no matter what our temporary circumstances may be.” Why do you follow after Jesus? Is it because you want your carnal desires filled or is it because you desperately need a Saviour because you’re a sinner? Jesus did not come just to make sick people healthy or bad people good, He came to make dead people alive.