RS: If you would, turn to John 6. This is our third week in John 6, and I’ve taught this three times already this week, and let me just tell you this. This is a very sobering message that we’re going to look at today. It’s not a real feel-good message. It’s just, I think, a very serious issue that Jesus confronts regularly, and is very concerned about. And, as we get into it, I think you’ll see where I’m going with it. Everybody at John 6? Take a second, if you would, and read verses 52 to 71.
All right. I’m going to go back, and I want to read two verses that really go back to our last lesson, and I didn’t get to it, and I am going to get to it today, but I want to read these. Back at 39 and 40; let me just read this real quick. It says, “This is the Will of Him Who sent Me, that, of all that He has given Me, I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the Will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise Him up on the last day.”
Now, as you read through, we’re at John 6:52-71. As you read the Gospels, and if you pay close attention, you’ll recognize that Jesus makes reference to three separate groups of people. On the one hand, you have what I just read, in 30 and 40, you have what is called the true believer. He says, those who are truly Mine. So, that’s the first group. The second group are those who are not Christians, and, in our culture, there are many who basically, they’ll acknowledge it, no, I’m not, I don’t really even believe in that stuff. Or, I don’t have any interest in it. My life is sufficient without God. No interest in spiritual things, and don’t go to Church. They’re out there. But this next group is the most interesting group, and it’s the one that Jesus has great concern about, and I would call this false Christians. Now, does anybody want to give an opinion on what they think a false Christian is? Someone who what?
Unidentified audience member: Goes through the motions.
Unidentified audience member: Deeds.
RS: How about this. They think they’re Christians and they’re not.
Unidentified audience member: Kind of a Pharisee.
RS: Well, that’s what the Pharisees thought. We are right with God. And yet, Jesus says, you honor Me with your lips, yet your heart is far from Me. You’re the lost sheep of Israel. And Jesus had great concern for this group, and He addresses this often. Now, let me just talk about each of these groups for just a minute. I don’t know how many of you were at the BCC breakfast. We’ve got copies of that. We have copies of Drayton’s talk last week as well. But, I talked about what is true belief. You see, true belief transforms who you are, and the reason it transforms who you are is because it involves the heart, and not just the head. You know, guys, that’s where repentance comes in. Surrender of your heart to Christ. You remember Romans 10:10? Very critical verse. Romans 10:10 says, “With the heart you believe, resulting in righteousness.” In other words, resulting in salvation. I mean, obviously you have to believe in your head, but true belief involves the heart.
I don’t know how many of you were there, but I shared the story that I don’t know that I’ve shared here at the Bible study, of a man that was at my Dad’s funeral, almost eight years ago. I was doing the eulogy, and I walked in the church about an hour before it started just to kind of get the lay of the land, and there was this 89-year-old man in there. The first person there. I did not know him personally. I knew who he was. Eighty-nine years old. And seven days later, I was at another funeral, and the man whose funeral it was had sent a letter to the minister months before explaining to him how he had come to Christ at a late age. And after the funeral, there was a visitation, and I’m just kind of minding my own business, and this guy comes up and grabs my arm. And he’s got this really concerned look on his face. I can remember it so vividly, and he said, I need your help. I said, well, what can I do for you? And he said, I have just realized, and here he is, 89 years old, I have just realized that for all these years, Jesus has been in my head, but has never made it down to my heart. Can you help me? And the next week, that man became a Christian.
Unidentified audience member: That’s a pretty good description.
RS: Yeah, it is. But, you know what happened? He realized, that day, that he was a false Christian, because he realized, I don’t have true belief. All I’ve got is Jesus in my head, and it hasn’t had any impact on my life. And, I might add, true belief is when you get to that point of surrender. Basically, when you’re surrendering your heart, it’s like you’re opening your heart and the Holy Spirit comes in. Remember, we read that about Nicodemus, in John 3, and you’re born again. That’s what true belief is. Now, furthermore, let me just add this and I’ll stop. In verse 39 that I just read, we just look at real quick, it tells us something more about the true believer. I believe this is critical, guys, particularly as I look around, you know, none of us are getting any younger, this ain’t a young crowd, I don’t know. Chuck, I’m not sure how old you are, and Jeff, you and [unintelligible] are kind of young.
RS: Kind of young.
[Laughter and comments]
RS: You know, back when I was in my 40s, I thought, you know, when you get in your 60s, you’re old. But I don’t believe that anymore. I really don’t. But, this is a big issue, and what I just read is where Jesus says, in verse 39, He says, talking about those who are Mine, He says, I shall lose none of them that have been given to Me. And He’s talking about having an assurance of salvation. That’s the great thing, when you are a true believer in Christ, and the Holy Spirit resides in you, you are assured; you’re, basically, we’re going to read another verse in a minute that shows this, and this is important, because, you know, over the last couple of years, I’ve had four different men, four conversations with different men who believe that salvation is two parts. There’s two parts to salvation. One is what we’ve just described. But the second is that you’ve then got to maintain your salvation by good works. And, in each of these occasions, as I recall; I’m not sure exactly how the conversation went in all of them, is the natural question to ask is, so, at this point in your life, what you’re telling me is, you don’t know for sure whether you’re going to Heaven, do you? They thought through, and said, well, yeah, I guess I don’t. And then the next question is, well then, how good do you have to be? I mean, if you died tonight, have you been good enough? Well, I think so…there was no certainty.
Ken Boa, this is kind of funny, but it’s very much in line with what I’m talking about, but Ken Boa is a real scholar, I don’t know if you know him, but he’s very well-educated, and this was years ago, and he was leading; he was having what he called a discussion group, and I’m not sure that many of these people were Christians. I don’t – he didn’t really give details – but he said, in this discussion, he said, I asked the question, “what is good enough to get man into Heaven?” He said, several responded, “well, you’ve got to keep the Ten Commandments and follow the Golden Rule.” He said, well then, I asked, “how many of you do that?” He said they started lowering the standard. Because he said, well even if you don’t keep them perfectly, they all agreed, we should always seek to do our best to keep them. So, Boa then asked the question, well, “do any of you do your best all the time?” He said, no one could respond with a resounding yes, so the group lowered the standard again. They felt that if you tried your best most of the time, you would be in a good standing with God. He said, well, “what does most of the time mean? Is that 51% of the time, or 80% of the time? What percent do you have to be doing your best?”
He says, in the final analysis, at the end of the meeting, the group admitted that it was unable to determine one’s level of commitment and obedience that would be necessary for salvation, They didn’t know. You see, that’s the problem with works-oriented salvation. You just don’t know. Now, just to kind of share with you, I think, really point out, and after I read this, I’ll stop and see what you’ve got. But where Jesus, I think, really gives us that assurance of salvation, is in John 10. So, put your finger here and go to John 10, and I need somebody to read verses 26 to 29. Jeff Grantham, can you handle that for us?
Jeff: Yes, I’ve got my reading glasses right here.
RS: You know, hold on. I’m looking around, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, reading glasses. And I’ve got them on too, I mean, I tell you, it’s an old group.
Unidentified audience member: Reading contacts.
RS: You got reading contacts?
RS: You’re the only one that’s got good eyes in this group.
Unidentified audience member: You know, one’s nearsighted, and the other is farsighted.
RS: All right, Jeff, go ahead.
Jeff: 26 to 29?
Jeff: “But you do not believe because you are not My sheep. My sheep listen to My voice. I know them and they follow Me. I give them eternal life and they shall never perish. No one can snatch them out of My hand. My Father, Who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are One.”
RS: Jesus is talking here, in John 10, He talks about being the good shepherd, and He talks about His sheep. And His sheep, basically, they know My voice, and they will not perish. No one can take them out of My hand. No one can snatch them out of My hand. You know, if you think about it guys, a shepherd’s job is to care for the sheep and not lose any of them. But this is interesting. The main role of the shepherd is to protect the sheep from their stupidity. And so, it’s no real compliment when God compares us to sheep, the most stupid animals on the face of the earth. They’re all cute and whatever, you know, people love the little lambs, but they’re just dumb. But He says, once you’re one of Mine, no one can snatch you out of My hands. You can’t lose your salvation. But the key is, you’ve got to be a true believer. Let me stop here. You know, I said this is a very sobering message. Any comments or questions?
Unidentified audience member: You know, I was just thinking when you were talking a minute ago about the whole grade or standard, or how good, you know, made me think about the Andy Stanley book, How Good is Good Enough?
RS: Great book.
Unidentified audience member: And it said in there, after you just went through that example, I was thinking it said, think about how unfair that would be, for God to say, okay, here’s how to get into Heaven, but, I’m not even going to tell you what the standard is.
RS: Yeah. You just try your best. Maybe you’ll get in and maybe you won’t.
Unidentified audience member: And then you don’t know. Because I’m not going to tell you. That would be unfair.
RS: That’s the height of unfairness if you want to use that term. That’s a great book, by the way, if any of you want to read it. I have a couple of copies. Charlie?
Charlie: Talking about false Christians, we should go back to Matthew 7:21-23, and you may be getting there.
RS: That’s where we’re going. In fact, hold that thought, because we’re…I’m going to…that’s the one I use a lot. There are several more that we are getting ready to look at. Anybody else?
Well, I want to go back to this thought that Jesus, He’s not just flippant about this. He is deeply concerned for those who are false Christians. I mean, Paul was terribly concerned about this as well, particularly at the church in Corinth. In II Corinthians 13:5, he says, Test yourselves. Now remember, guys, he was not writing this to the city of Corinth. He was writing in to the church of Corinth. And he says this, in II Corinthians 13:5, “Test your selves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves, or do you not recognize this about yourselves? That Jesus Christ is in you? Because, if He’s not, you fail the test. I don’t think Paul would write this, words to a group of non-believers. He wrote this to those who think they are Christians, or think they are in the faith, but they are not. Think about, just some of the parables that Jesus shared. Think about the parables in Matthew 25, guys, of the ten virgins. Some called them the bridesmaids. And outwardly, these ten bridesmaids all appeared to be the same. But only five are really ready to go in. The other five are not. And so, when the bridegroom shows up, only five are allowed into the wedding feast, and five are not. And the five that were not let in, they were knocking on the door and saying, “Lord open the door of the wedding feast.” And the bridegroom says, “I don’t know you.” You see that term used a lot. I don’t know you.
Unidentified audience member: Matthew what?
RS: That’s Matthew 25, I don’t have the verse, but you’ll find it in there. Let me give you, let’s look at another one where Jesus, again, uses a parable. Keep your finger in John and go back to Luke 13. Who’s got the NIV? Who can read for me who’s got the NIV? I like the NIV.
Chuck: I got the NIV.
RS: All right, Chuck. Give everybody a second to get there. Luke 13:22-27. All right, go ahead.
Chuck: “Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as He made His way to Jerusalem. Someone asked Him, Lord, are only a few people going to be saved? He said to them, Make every effort to enter in through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, Sir, open the door for us. But, he will answer, I don’t know you or where you came from. Then you will say, we ate and drank with you and you taught us in our streets. But he will reply, I don’t know you or where you come from, away from me all you evildoers.”
RS: Okay. What are we to make of those, where He says, Sir, open up the door for us. I mean, there’s this expectation that I should be in, that the door should not be closed on me. Well, I don’t know you. Away from Me! But we ate and we drank with You, and You taught in our streets, it’s like they’re saying, we believed in You. But again, He says, I don’t know you. There’s that phrase again. I don’t know you. And then the verse that Charlie mentioned, and then I just, I know of two men who, one of them was here yesterday, who are dynamic Christians today because, they say, Matthew 7:21-23 woke me up. And, if you’ll remember, that’s where Jesus says, listen to this, this is powerful. It’s important. He says, “Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” That’s the heart of false belief. He says, “On that day, many will say, But Lord,” and they’ll start arguing and say, I did this, and I did this, and I did all these wonderful works, and I did them in Your Name. And again, He says, depart from Me. I never knew you. Which clearly is an indication that the mark of a true believer is one who knows God and has a relationship with Him. You see, there’s so much more to being a true Christian than a life of just doing good and being a member of a church. Let me stop here. What are your comments and questions?
Tommy: Richard, let me ask you something. I never knew you, depart from Me. Does that mean that these folks never came around and became Christians, I mean, do we know, or is it just….
RS: Yes, I’ve thought about this a lot, and I’ve taught on this a lot, and I use this a lot, because I think it gets people’s attention. I think what you see is there is a presumption here that, I should be in, and I think the basis of it is, and the basis is, really, they’re arguing, because it says, but Lord, I did, and then they lay out all these things that are very religious works. I was religious, and I did all these things and I did them in Your Name. But, as you just said, they never received., I mean, there was never, true belief, that’s why I go back to true belief. It’s only been in the last probably ten years that I’ve really grasped this. Again, you believe with the heart, and the way you do that is repent. I just went through The Investigative Study with a guy yesterday, and at the very end, he became a Christian. But, we went through all the verses about repentance, that, unless you repent you will perish. Jesus says, that the message you are to take out into the world, this is the Resurrected Christ, in Luke 24, the message you will take out into the world, is repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And Paul, in the sermon at Mars Hill, he says, God is telling all people everywhere they must repent. Repent, in this term, means the surrendering of your heart, and so, that’s what most people, many, I think, Tommy, have not done, and you know, one of the reasons, there are all kinds of reasons, but, you know what? As I go through The Investigative Study, a lot of people, they don’t know. They say, I’ve never heard this before. Nobody has ever told me this. But, even then, sometimes, they’ve got to make a decision. Do I really want to do this? You see, this is the thing I find, and I don’t mean to digress too much, but, when you talk to people who have really, have any kind of interest, everybody wants God to bless them. Everybody wants to be forgiven of their sins. Everybody wants to go to Heaven, but, when repentance is required, they walk. And, in one sense, as you’re going to see in a minute, that’s what’s happening in this account in John. Is that, when they start hearing and realizing what Jesus is really kind of demanding, they walk. They love the miracles. Remember, they wanted to make Jesus the King. And now, when they’re really realizing what it’s all about, they’re walking. Anyway, hopefully, I helped you with that. Yeah, Charlie?
Charlie: Comment about man and this heart thing. Something that I think took me a long time to learn, or discover, but, psychology tells us that if we’re trying to protect ourselves by controlling one emotion, we’re effectively controlling all of our emotions, and so, if we tough it out on the sports field, suck it up, don’t feel pain, don’t express it, all that kind of stuff, we’re trying to control that, and our careers, and whatever, but if we don’t open up and get real, we’re not going to truly be open to Christ, we’re not going to be open to our wife, we’re not going to be open to others. And, we’ve got to get real. And so, life, I guess, at least for me, just beat me up, I mean, He was…beat me up, and so finally, I let go. And that man that you talked about that said he realized it, well he realized that his heart was feeling something that he couldn’t control.
RS: Well said, Charlie. That’s really good. Really good. Anybody else? Yeah, Mike?
Mike: Richard, in this chapter, in 7:21, those people were very involved in the church, so they were casting out demons, prophesying, even performing miracles, and I always equate it to like, well, you know, you can graduate college, go to work for a corporation for 30 years, get excellent performance reviews, do your job very, very well, but never even meet, know, or even have any kind of relationship with the CEO.
RS: Yeah, that’s good, Mike. That’s real good.
Mike: And, so, the other thing too, that’s kind of deceptive here is that it shows that God can work through false Christians, I mean, that’s how sovereign He is. He can perform even through people who are deceived and so….
RS: Well, I will say, yeah, and that Matthew 7 has woken up many a person, because the two men that I’m referring to, both realized, that’s me right there! I’m none of those guys arguing with Jesus about, look, I’m in church every Sunday. You know, I give a lot of my money to all of these great organizations. And he realized, that’s who I was. I didn’t know God. I believed in Him. I went to church, but I didn’t have true belief. I didn’t believe with the heart. So, this, as you see, this is a very sobering message. Now, we’ve got 20 minutes, so, I want to go through a couple of these verses, all right? Just kind of walk through.
Jesus, I think as you read this, you kind of wonder, what’s Jesus doing here? In verse 51 (John 6), go back, Jesus says, I Am the living bread that came down out of Heaven. And by the way, this is what really started disturbing them, is that He’s claiming to be God. I have come down from Heaven, and if anyone eats of this bread, He will live forever and the bread which I will give for the life of the world is my flesh. All right, now He’s kind of getting into, He starts talking about His flesh and His blood. Now, when He does this, what happens? Well, the Jews begin to argue with one another, saying, how can this man give us His flesh to eat? Now, if you go back to 41, they’re starting to grumble about it. Now, they’re starting to argue and saying, they’re really not, they’re upset. And then look at verse 53, you know, Jesus, when people start to grumble and argue, you know, most, so many leaders, you know what they’ll do, they’ll try to calm everybody down, you know, they don’t try to stir the pot, they say, now, calm down, let me, don’t get so bent out of shape here, but does Jesus do that? Nah. He kind of presses it to the; look what He says in 52, 53. “So, Jesus said, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, you will not have life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day.’” I mean Jesus just kind of, pfhooh! And then, verse 55, which I think is a key, He says, for My flesh is true food and My blood is true drink. Now, I want to read to you (verse) 53 from the Amplified, because, you know, we have a hard time, I think the English language does not do justice to the Greek. It says, “Jesus said to them, ‘I assure you, most solemnly, I tell you, you cannot have any life in you unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood.’” In other words, unless you appropriate His life and the saving merit of His blood.
Guys, Jesus has been talking about, think about it, living water. He uses metaphors. He uses physical metaphors to express spiritual truth, and He’s been talking about living water, back with the woman at the well. She thinks He’s talking about physical water, literal water. Even Nicodemus, he talks about being born again, and he thinks about how do you come out of your mother’s womb a second time? Jesus talks about being the Bread of Life, and in 35, it says, if you eat the Bread of Life, you’ll be, basically your soul will be satisfied, and you’ll never thirst again and you’ll never hunger again. Then, when He talks about eating His flesh and blood, it’s not, He’s not talking about cannibalizing Him. And verse 63, I think is kind of a key. He says, in 63, He says, “It’s the Spirit that gives life. The flesh profits nothing. The words that I have spoken to you are Spirit and are life.” He says, I’m talking about what is spiritual. It’s the Spirit that gives life. But they’re not listening. The woman at the well finally got it, but these people don’t get what He’s talking about. It’s like it goes right over their head. They take Him literally.
Now, again, what I find interesting, is that so many Christian leaders do everything that they can to retain their members and their followers. And they don’t want to offend anybody, so they water down the message, or they don’t talk about issues that make people feel uncomfortable. But not Jesus. I mean, it’s almost like He’s trying to run these people off, and maybe He is. You know why? Because, what does He say? He knew they didn’t believe. Isn’t that what He says, what is it, in 64? Not 64 – yes, it is 64. “But there are some of you who do not believe.” Even though they are referred to as disciples. But, you really don’t believe. But, you know, Jesus, if you want to say He runs them off, you know what He does? He speaks the Truth, and the Truth runs them off. In fact, what you’ll see in John 7, remember what He says? So many of you hate Me. Why? Because I tell you the Truth.
Now, all the commentators that I read pointed out the significance of verse 60, because this is when, this is kind of the beginning of the end. In verse 60, it says, “Therefore, many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, ‘this is a difficult statement’.” The NIV says, “This is a hard statement.” These are hard words. Who can listen to it? And the word “disciple” means people that were following Jesus. By the way, you want to talk about the Truth? Let me give you a little – you know, people don’t necessarily want to hear the Truth. A little levity here. (draws on board) I don’t know if you can see this, but you’ve got two booths, and nobody is at this booth. And here you’ve got a long line of people. And at the booth that nobody is interesting in, it says, “Unpleasant Truths”, and the one over here says, “Comforting Lies”.
RS: That’s what everybody says. Yeah, tell me a comforting lie. That’s what I want to hear. But, anyway, in verse 60, that word “disciple” means people that were following Jesus. “Disciple” literally means “a student”. So, they were listening to Him. They probably witnessed miracles. They probably believed He was the Messiah, and they were trying to elevate Him to be the King to deliver them from the Romans, and then Jesus is going in a completely different direction. And William Barclay says, that word “difficult” or “hard” is the Greek word “skleros”, and he says, it does not mean it’s hard to understand here (points to head), it means that it’s hard to accept here (points to heart). Listen to what he says. Barclay says, “Here we come to a truth that reemerges in every age. Time and again, it’s not the intellectual difficulty which keeps men from becoming Christians. It’s the height of Christ’s demands. Repent. Surrender. The real difficulty of Christianity is two-fold. It demands an act of surrender to Christ and acceptance of Him as the final authority, and it demands that you follow Him and that you obey Him. The disciples were well aware that Jesus had claimed to be the very life and mind of God come down to earth. Their difficulty” – the people we’re reading about right here – “their difficulty was to accept that as true with all of its implications.”
In other words, they had a hard time accepting that He is God, and He is saying, you follow Me. In one sense, that’s what He’s saying when He talks about eating My flesh and drinking My blood. This goes back to the living water. The bread of Heaven. Jesus says, I’ve got to be your food and drink. He’s saying, what is it that really makes you tick in this life? What drives you? What gives you the basic energy to live? What is the center of your life? What is your food and drink? Jesus is saying, I’ve got to be that. I’ve got to be the Center.
Again, I don’t know how many of you were at the BCC, the breakfast, but, I read about all, specifically, all of the successful men who, back during the financial crisis, took their lives. And, what had happened? They had failed in their business life, and therefore, had lost the meaning of life, because business success and the glorification they received from it, was their meat and drink. And when it was gone, their souls dried up and blew away. And here in these passages, Jesus claims absolute Lordship, it wasn’t hard to understand it, it was just hard for them to accept it. Ultimately, it was hard for them to repent. You see, it’s like, they had a picture of what they wanted Jesus to be for them – a worldly King. And that picture starts to blow up when He starts talking like this and claiming to be God. And claiming to be, I need to be your food and your drink. Now, Tim Keller believes, and I think he’s right on this, that true Christians, and non-believers, have a true grasp on this issue of Christ’s lordship. Because the non-believer generally knows that, I don’t want to have anything to do with that. I’m not interested in church, I’m not interested in spiritual things, and usually, they want, the reason is, they want to live the way they want to live, and often are very morally wayward. It’s very common. But the false believer is generally, is often not aware of his lostness. Think about it. The people in Matthew 7 that we read about, they weren’t aware that they were lost until they realized, I ain’t gettin’ in! And Keller believes that’s what the Parable of the Prodigal Son is all about. You know, he wrote a whole book on it. The Prodigal God. If you haven’t read it, it’s a short read, and it is a great read. Because, he says, you know what, what do we call the parable? The Parable of the Prodigal Son. We think it’s just about the wayward young son who gets back in right relationship with the father. But Keller believes that the real main target in the parable is the older brother, who led the good, moral life. He saw himself as the favored son. Ya’ll know it; you’re familiar with the parable.
Unidentified audience member: Richard, it does have a typecast, that it’s my favorite sermon ever.
RS: Yes, it’s so powerful. I’m just kind of digressing for a second. Todd Liscomb has two groups of men that he teaches that are older guys, and one of them, I mean, really old. I mean, they’re in their 80s, and they’re funny.
Unidentified audience member: When you get to be 80, it won’t be that old.
RS: I tell you what’s so funny. They all come in with their Bibles, and I say, well, we’re going to read the Prodigal Son, and none of them open their Bibles. I said, what’s the deal here? One says, well Todd always has typed out what we’re going to read. And I said, well, why do you have your Bibles? And they said, well, it’s a Bible study, and I said, why does he type it out for you? Why don’t ya’ll just read…he says, it’s because we all have different translations. Some have the NIV, some have the New American, he says, we get hung up on words, so Todd brings us the, and that’s the kind of group. They have their Bibles and never open them. But, when we read the Parable of the Prodigal Son, you know what they all said? Not all of them. Some of them said, we don’t like this parable. Why not? Because the older son is not treated fairly. He doesn’t get what he deserves. And the message I was sharing with them was about grace, because we don’t get grace. It is hard to understand grace. But Keller says, Jesus is coming after the works-oriented approach to salvation that the older brother had. And which he was so concerned about. Because, you see, in the end, of the Parable of the Prodigal Son, or the two sons, the prodigal son enters the feast and the older brother doesn’t. And this is so important to recognize. The danger for those who think they are right with God and they are not. They do all the things outwardly that Christians do, but they have never repented, they have never surrendered their heart to Christ, and they have never really believed with the heart. And it strikes me that you take a non-believing, morally wayward person, and he knows his loss. Where a church-going, moralistic, good American false believer, has a difficult time seeing his lostness. And that’s why, when we go through The Investigative Study, I showed, the guy yesterday, I said, I want you to answer this question. We went through and read ten verses on repentance and I asked this question. Is it essential that you repent, that you surrender your heart, that you believe with the heart, is that essential to salvation? And we go through and read, and I get to the end, and I say, how essential is repentance? And he looked up, and he says, it’s non-negotiable. You’ve got to have it to enter the Kingdom of God. And so many of them have never heard that. They didn’t realize it. I don’t know. Maybe they, I don’t know, I can’t look at the heart of every man, but this is a huge issue. And this is where false belief comes in, and hopefully, this has been helpful.
We’ve got five minutes. I want to look at Peter’s response, but, before we do, any comment or question?
Unidentified audience member: You know, Tim Keller mentions Frank Barker in a couple of his sermons. This is phenomenal. Right on the point.
RS: Well, you know, interestingly, Frank is one of, you may have heard me share this, but there are two ministers, and he is one of them, and he’s the one who, Frank says, I’m halfway through seminary. I’m a seminary student, I’m halfway through seminary, and I realize, I’m not a Christian. And then another one was an Anglican priest, who says, I was ordained in the Church of England and realized, I’m lost. So, you can see how a false belief is such a serious thing. And that’s why it needs to be exposed. It’s the most loving thing you can do.
Now, let’s go to Peter real quick. You know, as you read the book of John, and you read the Gospels, people wanted a lot from Jesus. I was reading this morning from Matthew, they say, show us a sign, give us a sign. But then when He demands absolute authority in their lives, what happens? They split. And basically, it says, they, we kind of got into an argument when we talked, did everybody leave? Was it just the twelve left? It says, He turns to the twelve, and it says, many of them departed. We don’t know. My guess, it’s kind of like, most everybody left except the disciples. And Jesus says, hey, do you guys not want to leave too? I mean, if you want to, go ahead. But, I love what Peter says. And there are two parts to his response.
Unidentified audience member: Where are we?
RS: John 6.
Unidentified audience member: I thought we were in Peter.
RS: Oh, I’m sorry. John 6, right at the very end. We’re in verse 67, where He says to the twelve, do you not want to go away also? And I love Peter’s response. There are two parts to his response. You know what Peter realized? I can’t save myself. We’re powerless and helpless. He said, “We have no other place to go. Whom else are we going to look to?” We can’t save ourselves. Then, secondly, Peter says, look at what he says. “You alone have the words of eternal life.” There is no one else for us to go to. I love the way the apostle Paul puts it in II Corinthians 1:9. Paul said, you know, we don’t trust in ourselves. We don’t just put our hope in any God. He says, “We put our hope in the God Who raises the dead.” Now, guys, if you’re not going to put your hope in the God Who raises the dead, who are you going to put your hope in? And Peter is right. There is no other place to go.
Let me leave you with Barclay’s words. He says, “At the end of John 6,” think about it, we are only six chapters into John, and he says, “you see the beginning of the end for Jesus.” And he says, “There was a time when men came to Jesus in large numbers. When He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, many saw His miracles and believed in His name. (John 2:23) So many came to be baptized by His disciples that the numbers were embarrassing. (John 4:1-3) In Samaria, great things happened. (John 4:39-45) In Galilee, it says the crowds flocked after Him, just the day before. (John 6:2) Now we are at the end of John 6, and it says, the tone of things had changed. From now on, there became a growing hatred which was going to culminate in the cross, and already John is launching us on that last act of this great tragedy, which, in one sense, is not a tragedy, it’s our Good News.” But this is what he says, and I’ll leave you with this, he says, “It is circumstances like these which reveal men’s hearts and show them in their true colors.”