A. Summary of the story of the “Prodigal Son” (Luke 15:11-24)
B. Jesus says, “Whoever comes to Me I will never cast out” (John 6:37).
- Jesus says, in essence, “No matter what they’ve done – no matter where they’ve been – no matter what they’ve lost – if they come to Me like the prodigal son came to his father, I will receive them and love them, and will never drive them away.”
- Like the prodigal son, we deserve to be turned away. C. What is grace?
- “Grace” (charis), used 157 times in the New Testament, refers to God’s favor and loving kindness to sinners who do not deserve it.
- Repeatedly, the New Testament emphasizes that man’s salvation is a result of God’s grace.
- Though our text does not use the word “grace,” we see an example of it in verse 37 and 40. D. There is a temptation to present an unbalanced picture of God’s grace to others.
- When talking to Christians with sin in their lives, it is tempting to play the ‘grace card’ in an effort to minimize the seriousness of their sin. As a result, some actually think that God will overlook the sins that they do not want to give up!
- When talking to non-Christians, it is tempting to only stress God’s grace and Christ’s love while minimizing their need for repentance. We fear we will run people away from the gospel if we talk about sin, so we try to keep the conversation positive.
E. Jesus did not believe in easy believe-ism; He taught exactly what was coming between them and God’s grace.
- When the rich young ruler asked what he needed to do to inherit eternal life, Jesus could have said, “It’s easy: God loves you, and I love you too! Just believe in Me and you’re good to go!” Instead, He pinpointed the man’s heart problem (Luke 18:22).
- Jesus told the unbelieving crowd that they must die to themselves (Mark 8:34-35).
- It turns out that following Jesus is not so easy!
F. Jesus never taught anything less than total commitment, and as a result, many left Him (John 6:66). G. What was keeping the Jews from coming to Jesus in faith?
I. Disbelief (John 6:36-40)
A. The Jews asked for a “sign” that they might believe (cf. John 6:30). Yet, Jesus had given them more than a sign; they had listened to His Words and they had witnessed an astonishing miracle the day before (cf. John 6:1-15). Neither the miracle nor the sign influenced them to believe.
B. Their problem was not a lack of evidence, but stubbornness and reluctance of heart. C. An adequate amount of evidence is not always the answer to disbelief.
- If one miracle were insufficient, what difference would a second miracle make?
- The rich man’s brothers had ample evidence from the testimony of Moses and the prophets (cf. Luke 16:27-31), and people today have plenty of evidence from Christ and His apostles.
- Miraculous “signs” are inadequate to the complete testimony of Jesus (cf. 1 Cor. 13:10). D. There must be a desire to believe the gospel; God will not force mankind to believe.
II. Wrong Attitudes (John 6:41-43)
A. Some were probably suffering from an attitude of over-familiarity with Jesus and His family.
- Jesus, now in Capernaum (cf. John 6:59), might have lived with his family in Capernaum (cf. John 2:12). His audience was well acquainted with His earthly family.
- Some may have been thinking, “The Jesus I’ve watched grow up couldn’t be the Son of God!” 3. Based upon a false assumption, some today think, “Jesus is too nice to condemn anyone
B. Some were probably suffering from an attitude of presumptuousness.
- They thought, “There’s no way Jesus is from heaven, He has a mother and a father!” 2. Like Nicodemus, they were trying to fit God’s ways into man’s ways (cf. John 3:10-12). 3. They were oblivious to Christ’s virgin birth (cf. Luke 1:26-33).
C. Some were probably suffering from an attitude of dissatisfaction with God’s plan.
- Note the Old Testament parallel. God gave bread in the form of manna to Israel during the
days of Moses, and they grumbled (cf. Ex. 17:3; Num. 11:1).
- God graciously provided for them, but they were still not satisfied (1 Cor. 10:9-10).
D. The wrong attitude certainly keeps many from coming to know Jesus today.
- “Stop grumbling” (v. 43) is the only response Jesus directly gave to what the Jews’ attitude.
He did not bother to defend Himself against their complaint.
- Arguments from bad attitudes are seldom worth responding to (cf. Matt. 7:6).
III. Apathy (John 6:44)
A. These words would have been very sobering to anyone with a soft heart. B. Genuine belief in Christ is more than a casual response made on a whim.
- For a matters of the heart, one must be led (“drawn”) to Christ by of God Himself through the penetrating power of the Gospel.
- There are many who have followed Christ for superficial or temporal reasons.
- Yet, a desire for God must be etched on the human heart for belief to be valid (Jer. 31:33).
IV. Ignorance (John 6:45-46)
A. Previously, Jesus stated, “No one can come to Me unless the Father Who sent Me draws him” (John 6:44). How does God draw men? Through the teaching of His Word.
- Calvinists argue that God, through an obscure influence of His Spirit, ‘picks and chooses’ who He will “draw” to Himself. Yet, if the term “draw” is an irresistible force, then all would be saved because Christ “will draw all people” to Himself (John 12:32).
- The “drawing” of (John 6:44) is a beneficial, yet universal, pull through the Gospel’s power. B. Jesus quoted (Isa. 54:13).
- Thus, all who learn properly of the Father come to Christ, for His teaching influences them and points them to His Son.
- All who are drawn to Christ by the Father are those who have believed the Law and the Prophets and (today) the teachings of the New Testament.
- God told Israel in the days of Jeremiah (Jer. 31:3).
C. The truth was given to the Jews, but they refused to be taught, and thus their ignorance was keeping
them from the Bread of Life (cf. Hosea 4:6).
D. How many today are lost, weak, or insecure in their faith because of ignorance of God’s Word?
V. Stupidity (John 6:47)
A. Stupidity: “foolish, senseless” (Random House); “lacking common sense” (Collins English Dictionary.” B. Jesus’ Jewish audience was suffering from stupidity because they were spiritually near-sighted; they
were not thinking about eternity, they were only thinking about their current physical condition. C. Jesus is the Bread of Life (John 6:35, 48), meaning believing and obeying His Word is essential for
eternal life with the Father (cf. John 3:16).
D. It is the highest degree of stupidity to not be concerned about one’s eternal salvation.
A. Being saved by the God’s grace is more than simply mentally acknowledging Jesus as the Son of God. 1. Faith apart from works is dead (Jas. 2:20-26)
- (Mark 16:16; 2 Thess. 1:8)