37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. 39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. 41 I do not receive glory from people. 42 But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. 44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? 45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”
Father, we just ask you to remind us that you are the source of all teaching. And Jesus, as an obedient Son, was just a mouthpiece. And His teaching is the same as Your teaching. We ask you, Lord, that You would send your Spirit to illuminate the teaching of Christ because the teaching of Christ clarifies everything. It makes everything crystal clear. So Jesus, we want to meet You today. We want to follow You today. We want to abide in You today. We want to come to you and receive eternal life. Speak now, Lord. This is your time, Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen
If I were just to sum up today’s point, which I believe is the point of your existence, in one line, it would be this – the point of your life, the point of my life, the point of why we exist is to come to Jesus, to meet Jesus, to receive life from Jesus, to abide in Jesus, to follow Jesus all of your days. Yet, why don’t we do it? Why don’t we do it? It’s so simple. Yet, why don’t we do it? I want to talk about the reasons why.
One reason, as we see in John 5, is that we fail to understand Scripture. How many sermons have you heard in your lifetime? Hundreds? Thousands? Tens of thousands? And when you heard the Scripture being preached, did they tell you the reason why the Scripture is there? Or did the preachers get lost in secondary teachings? Was the takeaway of every sermon that you heard, was it what Jesus said, that all of Scripture in the Old Testament, it testifies about me?
Some like the Pharisees, they studied Moses. They love Moses. They honored Moses. He was their celebrity preacher. They love the teachings of Moses. The problem is, if you stay with Moses and you exalt Moses and you try to learn how to imitate Moses, you put your hope in him, and you’ve missed the whole point. Likewise, Apostle Paul wrote 80% of the New Testament. How many people today abide in Paul’s teachings?
And the takeaway is something different than what we read in John 5. It’s about church. It’s about ministry. It’s about how to be a leader. And you abide in Paul’s teaching and he is your celebrity preacher. He is your hero and he is the person you talk about in the end. You’ve put your hope in Paul the same way that in Jesus says the Pharisees put their hope in Moses.
All of Scripture bears witness, Jesus says, about me. And so if you listen to a sermon and the conclusion ought to be everything being a pointer to Jesus. This is a mystery of Jesus that we get a better glimpse into who He is. If that is not the takeaway of a message, then the preacher has fallen short of the goal. Not only has he fallen short of the goal of that sermon, he’s fallen short of the goal of his existence. Jesus says so clearly every time you open up Scripture. You’re learning not facts, not principles but you’re meeting a person – Jesus. Jesus is the Word and when you study the Word, you’re learning and you’re getting to know the person of Jesus.
And so one reason why we don’t go to Jesus I think is the preacher’s fault. We have not taught properly, we have not shown that all of Scripture – Old Testament and New – is a pointer to Jesus. May God have mercy on the preachers and the teachers of the Word.
Another reason why we don’t go to Jesus is frankly we love the world too much. We just love the world too much. One verse arguably the most famous verse in all the Bible is John 3:16.
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
And Jesus gave this most incredible verse to Nicodemus, a Pharisee, and then he goes on…
17 “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
Before Jesus came into this world, there were 400 years of spiritual darkness. For centuries, God had sent prophets, kings, priests and judges, but for 400 years after Malachi, that’s the last writing from the Old Testament – God is silent. That’s about as dark as it can get. And people back then in the synagogue, did not realize that God has stopped speaking and they were just going through the motions. They’re going to the temple and sacrificing animals, they’re thinking “Everything is good between me and God. God loves the nation of Israel.”
They did not realize how deep the spiritual darkness was that they were in. And not just the religious system, but the whole world was spiritually dark. It’s been dark from the beginning.
But thank God that He loves the world so much. He sent His Son, Jesus, who is the light of the world. The light came. And you would think people who are groping in darkness and stumbling and bumping into things that they would be so grateful for the light. They would be gravitating toward the light. You would think that would be the case, but instead the light came and the people got accustomed to darkness. They saw the light and they fled the other way. They scurried into the corners and into the closets.
And there are some in this world who never, ever come to the light and they will not be saved. They have zero chance of being saved. There are some in the world who are like that and the reason for this is that they love the darkness. It doesn’t matter what God does for them. It doesn’t matter how much God pours out His love on that person, that person will never, ever come to the light because they love the darkness.
And if you love the world, brothers and sisters, you are loving dark things. You’re actually loving darkness spiritually speaking. If you love this world, you put your hope in this world. You want to make a name for yourself in this world. You love darkness.
Nicodemus shows a stark contrast. Here’s a Pharisee unlike most of his co-workers in the synagogues and the other Jewish religious leaders who loved darkness. Nicodemus is different. The fact that he is meeting Jesus and he’s talking to Jesus. And the fact that Nicodemus is coming to the light shows that he is not like everybody else. He’s not hiding things. He’s not shamefully stuffing things in the closet and then showing up at the synagogue all cleaned up.
No, he is somebody whose works are not dark. He’s a good man. He’s lost. But he’s a good man. And he’s coming to the light which shows this man does not love darkness. That is why Jesus is is going to save Nicodemus.
The reason why I say if you love the world then you love darkness is in John 7. I want to look at one verse where Jesus is talking to his brothers.
7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil.
Why did the world hate Jesus so much so much so that the secular government officials and darkened spiritual leaders are all conspiring together to kill him? Why did they hate Jesus so much? It’s because Jesus had only one thing to say about this world – Your works are evil. Everything that you stand for is evil. Everything is deception. Everything is corruption. There’s nothing in this world that Jesus would say is salvageable or good. No, he says a one-line summary. Jesus says to the world that its works are evil.
No wonder he was hated. No wonder he was crucified. He had only one message for the world – to repent. The world’s works are evil and so, brothers and sisters, if you love this world, you’re loving darkness. If you want to be popular in this world, you’re going in the complete, opposite direction that Jesus was going.
Jesus was testifying prophetically to the world that its works are evil and to repent. And he was hated for it. Does it make sense for a Christian to be worldly? When Jesus was hated by this world, it doesn’t make sense for a Christian to say I want to be somebody in this world. It makes no sense.
Jesus says to his brothers that the world loves them. They are one of its own because at this point, the brothers of Jesus did not believe in him and so they are in this world. They are of this world. Their works are evil. And Jesus says the world cannot hate them, and there are some people even in the church that it seems like the world loves them. The world cannot hate them. They’re so popular. They’re so famous and the world adores them. And that is not where you want to be. Spiritually you do not want to be loved by this world because Jesus was hated because he was calling out the sins of this world. Its works are evil and the world is dark.
So for the non-believing brothers of Jesus, the principle Jesus says is that the world cannot hate you because you’re in it and you’re of it.
Brothers and sisters, the reason why we’re safe is Jesus rescues us from this world that we may no longer be attached to this world and we no longer love this world. We are no longer wanting to grab onto things and hold onto things in this world.
So one reason why we don’t go to Jesus is that we fail to understand how everything in Scripture testifies about Jesus. Another reason why we don’t go to Jesus is that we love this world too much. And then the last one.
We don’t go to Jesus because we love the praise of man. And this is the one that God has been showing me the most about this week going back to our main text John 5.
41 I do not receive glory from people. 42 But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him.44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?
From these verses we can conclude one statement – that if you are seeking the praise of man, the love of God is not in you. If you are seeking the praise of man, the love of God is not In you.
Why is that a true statement? Because Jesus had the love of God in him, right? Jesus had the love of God in him. He was a beloved Son and the fullness of God’s love was upon Jesus, right? And did Jesus live for the praise of man? No, he did not. Whose praise was he living for? Whose glory? His Father’s Glory.
How do we know that He lived for His Father’s glory? He did not live for His own will, but He lived for the Father’s will. He only said what the Father said. He only taught what he heard from the Father. He only did what He saw the Father doing. He is a perfectly obedient Son in whom the love of God was upon Him. And Jesus says I have zero desire to be praised by men. Zero. I’m perfectly satisfied in God my Father’s praise for me. I lack nothing. I’m totally satisfied and all-sufficient because I’m living for the Father’s glory and His love is upon me.
We’re going to have to get at the at the core of the issue of what drives you and what drives your decisions. Because if I ask the average Christian, do you live for the praise of man?
Most people will probably would say no, I don’t live for the praise of man. I’m not famous. But if you explore your decisions, you will see that Jesus is making a very profound statement. That a lot of the decisions that we make if you dig to the root, it is because you want to be praised not by your Heavenly Father but by one another.
1 After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him. 2 Now the Jews’ Feast of Booths was at hand. 3 So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. 4 For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 For not even his brothers believed in him. 6 Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil.
I think here we’re seeing the mindset of somebody who is in the world, someone who is living for the praise of man and is coming from Jesus’ own family – his siblings who mean well. They know Jesus is special. They see His powers. They witnessed the feeding of thousands and thousands of people. They know and have seen Jesus up close though these brothers don’t yet believe in him. But they know this is not an ordinary person. The things that Jesus does – the wisdom that He has – He is not ordinary.
So these brothers speak from a worldly mindset. And they say why are you doing things in secret? Why are you doing things in secret? You have to be a public person. You have to do a public ministry everyday. You need to maximize your gifts and your reach. Why are you doing things in secret?
And actually if you look at Jesus’ decisions, He does things almost exactly opposite of what we see in churches today. If we did church the way Jesus did church, I think the outcome would be so different. Because in John 6, Jesus feeds 5000 men, so maybe including women and children 15,000 people. And that is a lot of impact in a single day – that you fed 15,000 people.
If that happened today, what would the church do if we had an event and 15,000 people came? Well first, we would take an offering. We would say, “give me the money.” That’s the first thing the churches would say. Give me the money.
The next thing they would say is “Let me make sure I have your information.” They didn’t have cell phones back then. They didn’t have email or Twitter. So Jesus could say, “Okay, meet me here tomorrow. I’m going to be right here. You come back and bring your friends.”
And so 15,000 becomes 30,000. Hey, this is working. Let’s keep doing this. You see how the brothers their mindset regarding Jesus’ ministry is don’t listen to your Heavenly Father. Don’t do this. Don’t do things the way you’ve been doing things. Do it the worldly way which is to grow bigger and bigger and to maximize your gifts and reach to the world. Isn’t that why you came to reach the world and to become famous and have a big platform so that you can reach more?
Show yourself to the world. That is how many churches live. They are living for the praise of man. The crowd is looking for Jesus. This is the crowd who was just fed. Jesus didn’t even have to do an email marketing campaign. The crowd got fed. And so now they’re looking for Jesus. This is so easy. This church could have exploded. That would be easy. You don’t have to work at bringing people. The people are looking for you. You don’t even have a church building, but they’re looking for you.
25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?”29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
So the crowd was just fed right before. We’re not sure how many days have passed but they’re looking for Jesus. Jesus doesn’t have an address. Jesus doesn’t have a church building. They don’t know where to find Him. They’re just looking for Him because they got fed, they got something from Jesus and they’re looking for Him.
And if you’re thinking from a worldly mindset and a hungry crowd is coming. What do you do? You feed them because you want them to keep coming, right? You had 15,000 and they’re coming again. The church today caters to large segments of the body of Christ who have no interest in Jesus. Just zero interest in Jesus.
That’s why they don’t even talk about Jesus. They talk about what the crowd came for. The crowd came for food. So if you are a worldly-minded leader, you would say “Oh they’re coming for the food. Give them food. Just just keep coming.” Yeah, if they come for the food or for the program, for the band or for the children’s program, or for Community – if they come for all these reasons, at least they will hear the word of God. That is the mindset of a worldly church pastor or priest.
And you would think if Jesus is trying to grow His church the way that people today grow churches, the first thing He would do is ask, “Who’s got some food. Let me multiply some food again.”
This time he doesn’t do it. He fed them before out of compassion and as a sign to show who He is. Now that the crowd knows who He is or they should know who He is – that this is not just an average preacher. He’s not just a Rabbi. This guy who multiplies bread and fish and feeds 15,000 people – from this sign, they should know that the Messiah has come. Jesus has come.
But do they care about the sign? Are they there for this? Jesus says I know why you’re here. You came because your stomach is growling. You ate and were stuffed last time and now you came to be stuffed again. The church caters to people who have zero interest in Jesus. Just give them food in the College Ministry. Just do games to keep them coming. College students are hungry. Just give food and games and they’ll keep coming.
Zero interest in Jesus. That’s why Jesus doesn’t establish ministries that just continue infinitely. Jesus is not here to do a soup kitchen.
He could have every time He spoke. He could have done a soup kitchen. No, He did it as a sign of who He is so that people would come with a right hunger. Not a physical hunger but a spiritual hunger, right?
The way Jesus did ministry is by listening to his Father. So on one particular day he feeds 15,000 people. The next day zero feeding. The next day you can’t even find Jesus and He is just with his disciples. Is He trying to be famous? Is He trying to be praised? Is He trying to grow an audience? No, He is listening to His Father who tells Him, “Today you work. Tomorrow you rest.”
Jesus he only really worked in ministry and it’s not even every day, but he only really worked for three and a half years of his life. What was he doing for the first 30 years? He was abiding in His Father’s love. He was hearing from the Father. He was growing spiritually. He was preparing for the work assigned to Him in His three and a half years and even in that three and a half years, it was not every day that he was working. He only worked when He saw the Father working.
And churches – we just establish ministries and we just think this train needs to keep moving. We just keep doing what might have been initially okay and inspired by God to do it. But do we ask next week, next month, next year, should we keep doing this?
Maybe it served a purpose for a moment for Jesus to show Himself to be a sign and to give people a chance to hear and receive the true Bread of Life. If we did church the way Jesus is showing us, we would be on the move. We wouldn’t be buying a big building and putting a stake in the ground saying we’re going to be here until Jesus returns. All the way Jesus did church, it’s what the Father is telling me. Today, I’m going to feed the crowd. Tomorrow, I’m going to minister to just one person – the Samaritan woman. Just Nicodemus.
We can say from a worldly mindset, “But Jesus, You are so gifted and so powerful. You’re wasting your time on one person. No, let your disciples take care of Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman. You’re here for the crowds.
See the way Jesus did church and the way that we do churches shows that people today in the church are living for the praise of man. We’re living for the praise of man because bigger is better, right? More fruitful labor is better, right? You start a ministry and it keeps growing and growing, and God is pleased, right? The money is pouring in, people are coming in greater number.
I want to invite you to look through all your decisions and if you’re honest with yourself, you will see that when you make decisions, it comes down to – you want people to praise you. You want to be shown as somebody who is capable, somebody who can juggle many hats. You want to be known. You want to be respected. You want to have things to show for your life. You want to have degrees. You want to have a big bank account. You want to be on the cover of magazines. You want to write books. You want a big church.
All of this, if you go down to the root, much of what you do is because you want to be praise by one another and if you’re busy looking for the praise of one another, there is no desire to receive the praise from the only One that matters.
Reasons why we don’t go to Jesus. We don’t understand that all of Scripture bear witness about Him. And if you read the Bible and you don’t know Jesus any better, you’ve wasted your time. Because all Scripture bear witness, they testify about Jesus.
Another reason why we don’t go to Jesus. We love the world. And Jesus’ relationship with the world is so clear. He is here to declare repentance. To say to the world, your works are evil. You need to repent. There’s nothing in the world that draws Jesus. He’s not trying to become someone in this world.
And most specifically, Jesus is not looking for the praise of man. He’s receiving all the praise that He needs from His Father. And He is an obedient Son. And the Father is so pleased that His love rests upon Jesus.
And if Jesus did life this way, our only job is to be close to Jesus. And Jesus, He’s close to the Father. And Jesus and the Father are tag teaming with the Spirit’s help, they will guide you and the decisions that you will make if you really follow Jesus, often times, your decisions will be contrary to the world. It will feel like you’re making mistakes. It will feel like you’re losing. It will feel like you’re going in reverse. But that is God’s way.
Because for me, He is removing all traces of worldliness. All desire to be praised. It’s a journey where God is trying to save me. He doesn’t want me to be tripped up by the praise of man. He does not want to be stumbled by a world that is dark. He’s setting me free.
And if I follow Jesus and I’m close to Him, the love of the Father that is on Jesus is also upon me. But if you’re too busy seeking praise from one another through your achievements, through your promotions, through things that you can show for your life, the love of the Father is not in you. That is a sobering statement.
We want to be people who can say, I don’t care about this world. At the end of my life, do I know Jesus? Do I know Him? Did I live for the glory of my heavenly Father? Does His love rest upon me? Am I so secure in His love for me, I don’t have to prove myself to anybody? I don’t have to say, I know I am worthy of love because look at what I’ve done.
At the end of your life, even if if you have nothing to show for it and your parents think you’re a loser, and your friends, they’ve left you. And the church is empty. The fact that to the best of your ability, you’re trying to follow Jesus and you want the Father to be glorified through your life and you’re trying your best to listen for the Shepherd’s voice, I bet that your life will look very much like Jesus.
The way that Jesus is portrayed in big churches is not the true Jesus. Just look at how Jesus did life. He was not living for the praise of men. Every decision was contrary, it was the exact opposite of somebody who’s living for the praise of man. In the end, He had a small following.
He could have maximized His gift and been the biggest megachurch preacher ever. In the end, he has a 120, but really poured Himself into 11. Not impressive, but He was totally obedient to his Father and the Father’s love rested upon Him. And Jesus did not live for His own will. He lived for the Father’s will.
In a moment, we’re going to take the Lord’s Supper, the bread symbolizing the body of Christ that was broken for you and the cup symbolizing His blood that was shed. All throughout the Gospel of John, Jesus says, I am the bread of life. I am the Living Water. You must drink my blood and eat of my flesh. You must hunger and thirst for me and I will satisfy you.
Father, we repent. We say sorry to you. We’ve messed up. Forgive us, Lord. We care so much what other people think of us. We care so much how popular we are. We care so much how many friends we have on Facebook. We care about these stupid things – how many likes we get. It’s so foolish, Lord. We’re so foolish.
If we live for the praise of men, Lord, you tell us so clearly in your word, the love of God is not in us. The Pharisees loved to be praised. They love to be recognized. They loved to be called rabbi, teacher. They loved titles. They loved positions of authority. They loved influence. They loved people greeting them in the marketplace. They wanted to be somebody. And you said, the love of God is not in them.
Father, we have the same problem. Lord. If we’re honest, we have the same problem. We love this world too much. Forgive us, Lord. We love our reputation too much. Forgive us, Lord. Even in church, we do church in such a worldly way, contrary to the way that Jesus did life.
Jesus, when you were getting too popular and the crowds wanted to raise you up as king, you disappeared. You did life so differently than churches do life today. You did not come to be famous. You knew you were going to be hated because you’re calling out sin. You’re telling the world to repent of its wickedness. You are not popular. You upheld the truth.
Father, forgive us. We don’t understand the things of God. Your ways and your thoughts are higher than our ways and our thoughts. Forgive us, Lord. I want to live for you, Lord.
Jesus, we want to go to you, Lord. Jesus, we want to abide in you, Lord. Jesus, we want to know you, Lord. Jesus, we want to love you, Lord. Jesus, that is the purpose of our lives. Help us, O Lord. Jesus, help us. Jesus, meet us now in this time. We thank you. In Jesus Name, Amen