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To Whom Shall We Go?

John 7:1-71 • January 22, 2020 • w1284

Pastor John Miller continues our study through the gospel of John with a message through John 6:60-71 titled, “To Whom Shall We Go?”

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Pastor John Miller

January 22, 2020

Sermon Scripture Reference

In John 6, we came across the first “I Am” statement of Jesus. You say, “Well, what do you mean, ‘I Am’ statements?” In the gospel of John we’re going to have seven statements when Jesus said, “I Am;” and then He would say, “I am the bread of life, I am the resurrection and the life, I am the Good Shepherd, I am the way, the truth and the life.” These are statements where He’s claiming to be God and revealing who He is and why He came. Jesus introduced us to His message, “I am the bread of life.” Look at it with me as we back up and get a running start on verse 60.

In John 6:35, “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” This is the first of the seven “I Am” statements. He makes it several times in this chapter, but He said, “If you come to Me and believe in Me, you’ll never hunger and never ever thirst.” The question is: How will the people listening to this message respond?

The message was brought about in that He fed the multitude and the people wanted more bread. They wanted more food. They wanted their stomachs filled. They didn’t really come to Him because He was the Son of God, the Savior of the world. He was a bread provider. That’s why they were following Him. We’re going to see tonight a division between the false disciples and the true followers and disciples of Jesus. Jesus went on a little sermon with them. He talked to them about being the true bread of God who comes down from heaven, different than the manna that their fathers ate in the wilderness and are dead. This is the bread that if you eat of by faith, you will have eternal life.

There were three responses to the message Jesus gave on “I am the bread of life.” We’ve already covered the first. It was verses 41-59, but I want you to note verses 41-43. “The Jews then murmured,” so the first response were that of the Jews. Whenever you find the expression, “the Jews,” it’s a reference to the spiritual religious leaders of the Jewish people. “The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. 42 And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? 43 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.” The first response was that of the religious Jews, and they murmured. The word “murmur” actually comes from a word that kind of sounds like what it is. They just kind of, “Murmurmurmur,” and they’re just kind of griping and complaining. Then, Jesus, knowing their hearts, said, “Why do you murmur among yourselves?”

Jesus said that they had to eat His flesh and drink His blood (verses 53-56), and notice verse 59, “These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.” The teaching took place in a synagogue, and the Jews who were religious, the leaders, were murmuring and complaining, “How can He give us His flesh to eat? How come He said, ‘I’ve come down from heaven,’” and they pretty much did not believe. What you have developing in the gospel of John is the belief and unbelief—those who believed in Jesus, those who did not believe in Jesus. This is why it’s called the gospel of belief. John said in John 20:31, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” But at this point the Jews are murmuring and reject Him.

There are two more responses. I’ve said all that to lead up to this. The first response, the Jews murmured. We get two more responses tonight. The first is in verses 60-66. It’s the response of the false followers, called in the text “disciples,” but they’re not real believers in Jesus. Follow with me beginning in verse 60. John says, “Many therefore of his disciples,” we’ll come back to that, “when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? 61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? 62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that quickeneth,” or gives life, “the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning,” notice that, “who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. 65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. 66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” So, the first response, the Jews murmured, and the second response was now of His own followers, His disciples.

The word “disciples” in verse 60 is not a reference to the twelve disciples. Notice in verse 67 it makes it clear that this is not a reference to the disciples. “Then said Jesus unto the twelve,” that’s the next section. The “disciples” here is not a reference to Peter, James, John, Thomas, and Bartholomew; it’s a reference to people who were following Jesus. That word is used in the Bible for true believers and just people who are professors or superficial and not genuine and not authentic. Here’s a really good example of that. There are a lot of people today, and we all know it’s true, that say, “I’m a follower of Jesus Christ,” but they’re not really born again. They’re not a true, genuine, authentic Christian.

We use the term “born again” Christian. The reality is, that’s the only kind of Christians there really are. I’ve had people say, “I’m a Christian, but not a born again Christian.” Well, the only kind of Christians there are are born again Christians, right? That’s what it means to be a Christian—you have the life of God in your soul. There are people who go to church and believe in God, and they try to live the Christian life, but they’re not real disciples. They’re not real followers of Christ. They have ulterior motives, and they’re not really truly believers in Jesus. They weren’t authentic.

I want you to notice (verse 61) they respond by murmuring. Basically, these people finally heard Jesus teach—now they had been watching Jesus do miracles and especially provide food for their stomachs so everything was cool. Everything is hunky-dory. We say, “Yeah, we’re eating and He’s doing miracles and this is really cool and things are happening and this is exciting,” and then Jesus starts to teach. Jesus said that He came from heaven, and Jesus said you have to eat His flesh and drink His blood. They’re thinking, Oh no! Good thing gone bad. Why doesn’t He just feed us and not talk? Why does He have to teach? You know, a lot of people come to church, but when they hear the Word of God, they get turned off. They come to church and hear God’s Word, God’s truth, and they don’t receive it. They don’t like it, they don’t listen to it, and they fall away. These people were fine as long as they were getting what they want—feeding their flesh. The minute Jesus began to do His discourse or His sermon and preach things that were hard to understand, then there was no longer any receptivity. They turned away and walked no more with Him.

I remember Jesus gave us a parable (mark it down) in the Bible. He gave the parable of what is called the sower and the seed. It’s really the parable of the seed, not so much the sower, but also a parable of the soil. I prefer to call it the parable of the seed and the parable of the soils and how they received the seed. Remember Jesus said the sower goes out to sow? Now the seed is the Word of God, and He said, “Some seed fell by the wayside, the hard-beaten path, and the birds flying overhead come down and scooped up the seeds and ate it. Then, there’s other seed that fell on shallow soil and sprang up quickly, but when the wind and the sun and the heat beat down upon it, it withered and died. It lacked depth and moisture. Then there’s other seed that the sower sowed that landed in thorns. It started to grow up, but the thorns choked it and it bore no fruit. The last category of the seed fell on good soil. It wasn’t hard, it was soft. It wasn’t shallow, it was deep. It wasn’t cluttered, it was clean; and the roots took in the soil and brought forth fruit—some thirty, some sixty, and some a hundred fold.

Jesus was telling us a parable about the Word of God goes out and the heart of man is like the field. Some people’s hearts are hardened, and they don’t receive God’s Word. Some people have a shallow, emotional commitment to Christ. They hear the Word but there’s no depth, and when a time of trial or testing comes, they wither away and are gone. There are others that receive the Word and start to grow, but the cares and the deceitfulness of riches and the problems of this life choke it out and they fall away. They don’t become fruitful. Then, there’s that last category—the only category that really brought forth fruit were the true believers. They received God’s Word and brought forth fruit to different degrees. That’s what we have here in this first category of disciples, that they really are not true believers.

Notice verse 66, we’ll get there in just a moment, they “…went back, and walked no more with him.” Have you ever known someone that you thought was a real Christian, you thought loved Jesus, it seemed to indicate that they were following Christ, but then fell away? They turned their back. We call it backsliding—they turned away from the Lord. It does happen.

Now, why did they fall away? I want to analyze this text in light of that question: Why did they fall away? What were the reasons that they went no longer to follow Jesus. Write them down. The first is from the text, the “hard saying” of Jesus. Go back with me to verse 60. It says, “Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this,” when they heard what? They heard Him talking about eating His flesh and drinking His blood. They heard Him talking about coming down from heaven. “…when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?” Now, you don’t get the real meaning of what they said in the English translation. It’s a little bit obscure. What they meant by “hard saying, who can hear it,” was not that they didn’t understand what Jesus said, but they didn’t like what Jesus said. They understood what He said perfectly, but they didn’t like it. They took offense to it.

There’s a lot of people today that hear the Bible and it’s not that they don’t understand it, it’s that they don’t like it. They don’t want to hear its message. Someone said, “It’s not what I don’t understand in the Bible that bothers me, it’s what I do understand that bothers me.” A lot of people have objections with the Bible for moral reasons. The Bible says, “Thou shalt not lie,” they want to lie. The Bible says, “Thou shalt not steal,” and they want to steal. The Bible says, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” and they want to live a sexually permissive life. So, it’s for moral reasons, not really intellectual reasons, but they put up a smoke screen of intellectual reasons, and reality is it’s a moral reason they reject the Words of God and the teachings of the Scripture. The “hard saying” is not that they didn’t understand it, it’s they didn’t like what they heard. It doesn’t really fit with their own views.

Mark this down because this is very, very common today. I’ve been preaching long enough, and I’ve been looking at people when I preach long enough that I can get a pretty good read on people that are listening to me, understanding me, or receiving from God’s Word. I can’t tell you how many times people will look at me, and if looks could kill, I’m dead! “Who does that preacher think he is telling me that if I don’t believe in Jesus, I’m going to go to hell?” “Who does that preacher think he is to tell me I can’t just divorce my wife or my husband willy-nilly?” “Who does that preacher think he is,” and this happened to me Sunday morning, “who tells me a child in the womb is a human being and should be protected and taken care of?” People get upset. They get mad. They look at you like, man, if looks could kill. You should see when I do a wedding. I do weddings. When I officiate weddings, a lot of non-Christians come, and I read from Ephesians about wives submit to your husbands. Wow! If looks could kill, I would be dead! I could see the hairs standing up on the back of their neck like, “Who does this preacher think he is?” I know what they’re thinking, What cave did he just crawl out of?

A lot of times when people hear God’s Word, they understand it, but they don’t like it and don’t agree with it, and they rebel against it. Make sure that you’re not in that category. When Paul wrote to Timothy, his last words, literally the last recorded words we have from Paul, he said, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine,” and then he told him why, and I’ve taken this to heart, “For the time will come when they will not endure,” they won’t tolerate, “sound doctrine; but after their own lusts,” their own desires, “shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” Paul said to Timothy, “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” That passage has become my life verse. The more I see people wanting their ears tickled—turning their ears away from the truth—the more committed I am to preaching God’s Word—sharing nothing more, nothing less than the Word of God. Too many pastors today are abandoning the Bible to tickle people’s ears and tell them a feel-good, happy kind of positive message that makes them feel good about themselves.

Now, it’s wonderful to know God loves you, but before you can experience the forgiveness of God, you have to feel bad about yourself and realize, “I’m a sinner, lost and undone, and I need the grace of God in order to get to heaven.” You want the truth. You don’t want it watered down. We live in a world today, as Paul predicted, when men “…will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.” The problem was that they had a “hard saying” that they didn’t like, they wouldn’t accept.

Let me break it down a little further. What were the teachings of Jesus that the crowd would not tolerate (very similar to what people will not tolerate today)? First of all, that Jesus came down from heaven. I want you to see it in verse 51. Back up there. Jesus said, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven.” All they wanted was food. They didn’t want this teaching, this doctrine that You came from heaven because you know what’s implied in that? The implication there is He is God. If He came from heaven, He is divine. It speaks of His divinity. Let me tell you what people don’t like today. They don’t like the doctrine that Jesus Christ is God. Tell them Jesus is a good teacher, tell them Jesus is just a good religious leader, tell them Jesus is just a good moral example, and they’ll think you’re fine, everything’s great; but you tell them that Jesus is God and He came down from heaven, took on humanity—you tell them the doctrine of the incarnation—and they will not like it, unless they are given to Jesus by the Father. We’re going to see that in just a moment.

I would say the doctrine of His deity and His humanity under the heading of the incarnation—the latin word which means becoming flesh. He’s God incarnate. This is what the Bible teaches about Jesus; and if you reject that, then you don’t have the real Jesus. You don’t have the Jesus of the Bible. The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is the second Person of the Godhead—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit—that He left heaven, came down to earth and entered earth through the womb of a virgin by the name of Mary, so He took on full humanity. The Bible teaches that He is fully God and fully man, one Person—not two people, one Person; two natures, human and divine—which makes Him absolutely unique and suited to be the Savior of the world. He can save man because He is man, and He can also save us because He’s God. He’s the perfect bridge builder between God and man, but they reject that. It’s a problem today.

All the major cults—false religions—reject the deity of Jesus Christ and even some who reject His full humanity. When you read the epistles of John, John was writing to deal with a problem in the church known as Gnosticism, and there were a branch of gnostics that actually believed that Jesus was God, but He wasn’t really man. He didn’t have a human body. He wasn’t flesh and blood. It’s just as heretical to deny the humanity of Christ as it is to deny the deity of Christ. Today, people don’t want to hear that.

The second thing that was a “hard saying” for them was His crucifixion. Look at it in verse 51. “…I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” He made statements several times (I just read the one in verse 51), “…I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” Jesus is talking about the cross and His crucifixion. The Bible is clear that we have what’s called the offense of the cross—to the Jews it’s a stumbling block, to the Greek it’s foolishness, but unto us who are saved it is the power of God to salvation. Do you know the cross is offensive to the natural heart, natural man? The idea that God would send His Son to die on a cross…you hear the new atheists mocking the idea that there would be a God who would actually have His Son crucified for people to be saved and how ludicrous that is. The reality is that the cross is the wisdom of God. It’s the power of God, and all the attributes of God and the wisdom of God are displayed in the power of God in the cross of Christ. What a glorious thing! That’s why Paul said, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”

Do you know the cross is the dividing line. People reject the cross, they turn from the cross, and if they do think about the cross, they want a cross that is called the moral love of God and theory of the cross—that God was just demonstrating His love for us, that all Jesus was doing on the cross was showing that God loves us. No, it was a sacrifice for sin, and God’s holy righteous wrath was poured out upon His Son on that cross. There are depths in the cross of Christ that I don’t think any Christian could ever plumb. Jesus hung on the cross and cried, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” In all the years I’ve studied, known, and preached on that I’ve never been able to plumb the depths, the wisdom, that is in that statement. That God the Son would be forsaken by God the Father, that God the Son would become sin, an atonement for me? So, this is a heinous idea to the natural heart, the fleshly mind of man. They don’t like that concept because it humbles my pride, and it shows me that I can’t work for my salvation. I can’t earn it or deserve it. All I can do is believe in what Jesus did for me on the cross, the finished work.

The cross is God saying, “Finished,” or “Done.” Religion says, “Do.” Christianity says, “Done. It is finished. He paid, in full, my debt upon the cross.” A reason why they turned and followed Him no more, much like people today, is that not only did they reject the fact that He came from heaven but the idea He would die for them in order to believe and to be saved. The cross is the substitution. The cross is a propitiation—Jesus died to satisfy the demands of a holy, righteous God. The cross is a reconciliation. It’s bringing sinners back to God. The cross is an atonement for sin where He paid the penalty and a redemption.

First of all, it’s His incarnation. Secondly, it’s His crucifixion. Thirdly, the “hard saying” that caused them to stumble and turn back and follow Him no more was that faith in Him alone can save. Notice verse 53. “Jesus said…Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” Jesus’ message, “Unless you eat My flesh and drink My blood,” turned people off. You can imagine the disciples saying, “Lord, you know what? You need to preach a different sermon, if you want the church to grow. You really need to like stay away from this stuff. This is a little too radical, Lord, You need to, you know, tell them that God loves them and wants them to have lots of donkeys, lots of clothes, and lots of things. You know, make them happy, Lord. Make them feel good about themselves.” I can imagine that they would want to counsel the Lord about this “eating Your flesh and drinking Your blood” that it really is nothing that they should be talking about, but Jesus wanted to tell them the truth.

Now, I say that faith in Him alone can save because notice the word “except” in verse 53. “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” We talked about what it means to eat His flesh and drink His blood. It means that you come to Him. It means that you believe in Him. It means that you put your faith in Him. So, this is the doctrine that faith in Christ alone will save. The natural proud heart of man hates that doctrine, and it will cause them to stumble—the doctrine of grace alone, faith alone, in Christ alone. How are we saved? By grace alone, not by works; by faith alone, not by works; by Christ alone, and our faith must be in Christ. Notice the word “except.”

Remember John 14:6, where Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” then what did He say, “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Can you imagine Jesus being interviewed by Oprah? She would freak out. I don’t know why she hasn’t read John 14:6. She has her little favorite verses that suit her little fancy. She doesn’t read the whole Bible. She has her little Jesus that fits into her scheme of things, but the minute you preach a Jesus—the way, the truth, the life—“Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no. I can’t have that.” She turns and goes no further. She claims to be a Christian but says there’s not one way to God, that all paths will lead to God, you don’t have to believe in Jesus to get to heaven. But what could be a bigger abomination? From Jesus’ own lips, and I’ve actually heard what are considered to be evangelical pastors, and I picked out Oprah because they were interviewed by Oprah. Oprah asked this pastor, “Is Jesus the only way to heaven?” and he didn’t give the biblical answer, but he’s a leading evangelical pastor today. That’s pretty tragic. He could’ve quoted what Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” not a way, not one of the ways, not many ways, not just a way; if you want to follow Me, “I’m the only way.” Then, Jesus made it very clear, “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” What He’s saying there is you can’t get to heaven except by Me.

We used to say, “If you want to get to heaven, you can’t go around the cross.” You can’t get there by meditating. When I was in high school, Transcendental Meditation was the big thing. It was hippiedom at the time. I was in high school in the late sixties and early seventies, and everyone was doing Transcendental Meditation. I got saved my senior year in high school, but all my friends were into Transcendental Meditation. I remember sharing with one of my friends, talking about Jesus—the only way, the truth, and the life—and he said, “John, you know, you’ll go to heaven by believing in Jesus, and I’ll go to heaven by meditating; and I’ll see you there.” I knew this guy had a Catholic background, at least, so I asked him and said, “You believe that Jesus died on the cross,” “Oh yeah, I believe that.” “Why would God the Father give God the Son to die on the cross if you could meditate and get to heaven? Don’t you think the Father would’ve said, ‘Well, You don’t have to go to the cross,’ if people could just meditate and get to heaven?” What did Jesus say in the Garden of Gethsemane? “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” It wasn’t possible. The only way for God to save humanity was through the death of Jesus Christ. There was no other way, and God did not spare His Son but gave Him for all of us. This is something that stumbles people. It’s one of the “hard sayings” of Jesus—the idea that you must put your faith in Me—and He gives that exception.

Notice fourthly, in verse 63, that they thought only of the flesh. This is getting to the heart of what caused them to stumble. They thought only of their flesh. Look at verse 63. It says, “It is the spirit that quickeneth,” I’m reading from a King James translation. The word “quickeneth” is old English for gives life or brings life, so the Spirit is what brings life. The flesh profits nothing. The physical body, the natural man—the sinful Adamic nature—doesn’t please God. It brings nothing. It says it profits nothing. “…the words,” and I circled the word “words” that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” The thing that caused them to stumble was His words. The thing that causes people to stumble today is the Word of God, and so He says, “the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.”

I want you to notice that in verse 63, the statement, “the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life,” and “the flesh profiteth nothing.” The reason they were offended and said, “This is unacceptable. We can’t tolerate what He’s saying,” is because all they thought about was the physical. All they talked about, thought, and were motivated by was the flesh.

You know, a lot of people today think that Christianity is simply something that you do. You get baptized. You ask somebody, “Are you a Christian?” “Well, I’ve been baptized.” “Well, I didn’t ask you if you’ve been baptized, I asked you if you were a Christian?” They believe that being baptized equates to being saved. The Bible teaches that baptism is an outward showing of an inward reality. Baptism doesn’t save. Water cannot wash away your sins, right? You can be dunked all you want, and you’ll just be a wet sinner. You won’t be a forgiven saint. That’s why people who come to church and get religious, they’re not sheep, they’re goats. Forgive me for that, but that’s a biblical concept. They’re not really children of God. They’re not the saints, they’re sinners, and need to be regenerated by the work of the Holy Spirit.

Some people think that if you go to church, it will make you a Christian. They think if you take communion, you become a Christian; and I would just repeat the words of Jesus, “the flesh profits nothing.” You’re saying, “John, we shouldn’t go to church?” “No, you should go to church.” “John, we shouldn’t be baptized?” “No, you should be baptized.” “John, we shouldn’t take communion?” “No, you should take communion.” These are the things you do because you’re a Christian, not in order to be a Christian. You don’t do them to become a Christian and to earn salvation, you do them because you are a Christian and that’s why you go to church and you pray and you read your Bible.

Remember what Jesus told Nicodemus, a very religious Jew? Jesus says, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” “Nicodemus, you must be born of the Spirit.” The flesh, again, profits nothing. Write down Romans 8:8, “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” There’s nothing that you can do. We sing that song, Nothing in my hands I bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling. We come naked, and He clothes us in His righteousness.

Let me give you the fifth reason that they no longer walked and followed Jesus (and we’ll get through this passage), they weren’t drawn by the Father. The Greek actually would have dragged by the Father, verses 64-66. Go back with me and read the passage. “But there are some of you that believe not,” so, again, the gospel of belief, “For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not,” so Jesus wasn’t fooled. Jesus knew their hearts. He knew where they were coming from. He knew they didn’t really believe. “…who they were that believed not, and who should betray him,” He’s speaking of Judas, and I’ll get to that in a minute. Notice verse 65, “And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man,” here’s the point, “can come unto me, except,” here’s another exception, “it were given unto him of my Father. 66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.”

Verse 65 is a profound and mysterious and amazing statement Jesus makes, “…no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.” This is a reference to God drawing us by His Spirit because of His grace and mercy to salvation. It’s not of ourselves, “it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” I don’t fight this, I just accept it. I believe it’s taught biblically that you are a believer and you are truly saved because you are drawn to Christ by the Father. You are a gift of the Father to the Son. That’s a marvelous, marvelous truth. The reason they walked no more, they didn’t follow Jesus any longer, is because they didn’t qualify of what Jesus described. They weren’t given to Him by the Father, “…no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.”

If you’re a Christian, you can rest assured that God sought you, that He opened your heart, and He saved you by His grace, and you have nothing to boast. If you’re strutting around thinking, Man, I’m awesome. I believed in Jesus. I got saved. Man, I’m really into the Bible. I made such a smart decision. I accepted Jesus. I understand that you did trust Christ, but you only did so because God drew you by His Spirit. You have nothing to boast. You can’t take any credit for your salvation.

It’s like a drowning man boasting, “Did you see me let the lifeguard save me?” You know there are some people that are drowning on a busy day at the beach and they’re so embarrassed they don’t want to cry for help so the lifeguard can save them? Have you ever noticed when you’re at the beach and the lifeguard has to save somebody, if it’s a big macho dude that can’t swim very well, the lifeguard drags him in, and he tries to kind of slither up on the beach and doesn’t want anyone to see, “Oh, no. I’m so embarrassed. I had to be saved by the lifeguard,” rather than saying, “Whew! Thank you, man. I’m so glad you saved me.” What kind of a Christian is like, “I’m so embarrassed. I had to trust Jesus. I’m so embarrassed. He saved me by His grace.” When you realize, “I was drowning. I was going to die. I was perishing in my sin, and God reached down and rescued me! All praise and all glory be to Him!” Amen? So the reason they turned and walked no more with Him was because they were not given to Him by the Father.

The Bible does teach, and I don’t want to get sidetracked, in John 3:16, “…that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” so I believe in a whosoever gospel, but I think the “whosoever believes” will be those who are drawn to Christ by the Father’s gift to Christ. What a marvelous truth that is!

Jesus said in John 8:31, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed,” so they did no longer walk with Him, they no longer followed Him in verse 66, so they weren’t really truly His disciples.

Write down 1 John 2:19, where it says, “They went out from us, but they were not of us,” the fact that they went out from us is proof that they were not of us. Had they been truly of us, they would have continued with us. Now, that’s kind of a paraphrase, pretty close, of what John says in that verse (1 John 2:19). So they did not continue following Christ because they were not authentic, they weren’t real, they weren’t genuine. There are times that a true believer may stumble or fall, but like the prodigal son, they will get out of the pig pen and will return back to the Father. There are false disciples in the church today, make sure you’re not one of them.

Now, there’s one more section (and we probably should take two weeks just in these sections; but let’s look at it quickly, and if we have to, we’ll go back over it next week) verses 67-71. This is the third response to His message: I’m the bread of God who comes down from heaven. This is the response of the true followers of Christ. These are the true genuine believers. “Then said Jesus unto the twelve,” now, He’s going to make clear that one of them is Judas, and he’s not a real believer; but for the better part, the twelve were genuine believers minus Judas Iscariot. He asked them this penetrating question (verse 67), “Will ye also go away? 68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. 69 And we believe,” leave it to Peter to speak for the group. Judas is probably thinking, I don’t know about that. Peter says, “And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ,” You’re the Mashiach, the Messiah, the anointed of God, “the Son of the living God.” In the Greek it actually reads: The Holy One of God.

Verse 70, “Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? 71 He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.” Again, I’m going into these verses because they’re so cool. I don’t want to wait a week to go back over them, so bear with me. Jesus now turns to the twelve, Judas is in the group, and He says, “Are you going to leave also?” Now, whenever Jesus asks a question, pay attention to His question. In the Greek, the grammar indicates that it’s a rhetorical question expecting a no answer, but then it qualifies that there is one whom He’s chosen that is a devil. Now, it doesn’t mean literally that Judas is not a real human, that he’s the devil, it just means that he is influenced by satan. Remember when Jesus turned to Simon Peter, our spokesman in this text, and says, “Get behind me, satan.” He wasn’t saying that Peter was the devil, He’s just saying that he was being influenced by the devil here. So, He says to them, “Are you going to go away also?” He asked them this searching question, and I believe that Jesus asks you and me the same question tonight: Are you going to turn away? Are you going to fall away when something doesn’t suit you and tickle your fancy? When you don’t believe a certain doctrine or truth in the Bible are you going to turn away? Jesus asks this question.

Peter gives his answer (verses 68-69), “Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go?” I love that! Not, where shall we go, but to whom shall we go? “…thou hast the words of eternal life. 69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ,” the Messiah, “the Son of the living God,” or the Holy One of God as it would read in the Greek translation. Peter’s answer shows us the characteristic of his genuine faith, and there are two characteristics I want you to see.

First of all, their faith, being real or genuine, was exclusively on Jesus. Their faith was in Christ alone—exclusively on Jesus. Go back to verse 68. He said, “…to whom shall we go?” They didn’t say, “Where shall we go?” or “What shall we do,” but “to whom,” speaking of a person. Peter was pointing out that, “Our faith is in You, Lord. Our faith is in You and You alone.” It’s not in someone else. It’s not in anything else. If you’re going to be a genuine Christian, guess what? It’s faith in Christ alone. Faith in Buddha will not save your soul. Faith in Muhammad will not save you. Faith in Krishna will not save you. Faith in Charles Darwin will not save you. Faith in Oprah Winfrey will not save you. Faith in the United States government won’t get you to heaven. The only faith that will get you to heaven is faith in Jesus Christ. He has to be the object. Where else would we go? Where else will you go if you turn away from Jesus? Back to your life of sin? Back to a life of hedonism? Materialism? Emptiness and darkness? Only Jesus has the words of eternal life.

Notice the second quality of Peter’s genuine faith (verse 69). Peter’s faith was fixed and final. This is the heart of what Peter said here. He said, “Lord, to whom shall we go?” Now, I’m going to give you a literal rendering of verse 69. If you were to literally render what Peter said, this is the way it would read: “Lord, to what person shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have a settled conviction and a final realization that You are the Holy One of God.” Peter’s statement in the tense of the Greek means that we are sure and we are absolutely sure and we are finally and totally convinced that You are (and in the Greek it’s actually) the Holy One of God. Only one other place in the Bible where Jesus is called the Holy One of God, and it’s when a demon-possessed man comes into the synagogue. The demon speaks out through this man and says to Jesus, “We know who You are. You’re the Holy One of God.” So, Peter actually says, “We know and we are sure,” so his faith was fixed, it was final, and it was unwavering.

I want to point something out in verse 69, the words “believe” and “sure.” Those two words, notice the order in which they appear. It’s not, “We’re sure, so then we believe,” it’s “We believe and therefore we’re sure.” This is an absolutely important point; that is, it’s the divine order that assurance comes from believing God’s Word and taking God at His Word. In the world it’s: Seeing is believing. In God’s economy: Believing is seeing. Do you know why a lot of people don’t see Jesus? Because they don’t believe in Jesus, and they don’t believe in Jesus because they rejected His Word. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. When you hear the Word and you believe, then assurance comes.

Jesus (John 11:40) said this to Martha, “…Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” If you believe God, then God will reveal Himself to you, and God will give you assurance. A lot of times people are struggling in their Christianity with assurance because they’re not just believing God’s Word. It’s that simple. God said it, I believe it, that settles it. Amen? People say, “Oh, you’re crazy enough to just believe the Bible?” “Yeah, isn’t it awesome?” What peace, what joy comes into my heart because I believe what God has said is true. This is what James Montgomery Boice said, “The secret of arriving at a point of certainty in spiritual things is that we believe what God tells us; then, believing, we find knowledge following. For the certainty Peter spoke of did not come primarily from viewing Christ’s miracles—the turning of water into wine, the healing of the impotent man at Bethesda, the multiplying of the loaves and the fish, or the walking on water. It came rather from hearing and believing the words of eternal life which Jesus, the Holy One of God, spoke to him.” I love that! If you believe God’s Word, then you will be sure that He is the Holy One of God.

Jesus then closes with a warning (I’ll just read it and we’ll wrap it up next week), “Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? 71 He spake of Judas Iscariot,” who was a false follower, “the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.”

The important thing to realize is that we take God at His Word. There are false believers or Christians or followers or disciples, and there are genuine, authentic believers. This warning that ends this section is for all of us to search our hearts. Am I a real believer? Have I trusted in Christ alone? Do I believe His Word? Have I thought that I could get to heaven by my own good deeds or my own good works, or is it grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone? Only Christ can save. Amen?

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About Pastor John Miller

Pastor John Miller is the Senior Pastor of Revival Christian Fellowship in Menifee, California. He began his pastoral ministry in 1973 by leading a Bible study of six people. God eventually grew that study into Calvary Chapel of San Bernardino, and after pastoring there for 39 years, Pastor John became the Senior Pastor of Revival in June of 2012. Learn more about Pastor John

Sermon Summary

Pastor John Miller continues our study through the gospel of John with a message through John 6:60-71 titled, “To Whom Shall We Go?”

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Pastor John Miller

January 22, 2020