That You May Believe–Journey Through John
Notes from Sunday’s Sermon – June 26, 2011
“HOW WILL YOU DIE”
13 So the Pharisees said to Him, “You are testifying about Yourself. Your testimony is not valid.”
14 “Even if I testify about Myself,” Jesus replied, “My testimony is valid, because I know where I came from and where I’m going. But you don’t know where I come from or where I’m going. 15 You judge by human standards. I judge no one. 16 And if I do judge, My judgment is true, because I am not alone, but I and the Father who sent Me judge together. 17 Even in your law it is written that the witness of two men is valid.
18 I am the One who testifies about Myself, and the Father who sent Me testifies about Me.”
19 Then they asked Him, “Where is Your Father?”
“You know neither Me nor My Father,” Jesus answered. “If you knew Me, you would also know My Father.” 20 He spoke these words by the treasury, while teaching in the temple complex. But no one seized Him, because His hour had not come.
21 Then He said to them again, “I’m going away; you will look for Me, and YOU WILL DIE IN YOUR SIN. Where I’m going, you cannot come.”
22 So the Jews said again, “He won’t kill Himself, will He, since He says, ‘Where I’m going, you cannot come’?”
23 “You are from below,” He told them, “I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 Therefore I told you that YOU WILL DIE IN YOUR SINS. FOR IF YOU DO NOT BELIEVE THAT I AM HE, YOU WILL DIE IN YOUR SINS.”
25 “Who are You?” they questioned.
“Precisely what I’ve been telling you from the very beginning,” Jesus told them. 26 “I have many things to say and to judge about you, but the One who sent Me is true, and what I have heard from Him—these things I tell the world.”
27 They did not know He was speaking to them about the Father.
28 So Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing on My own. But just as the Father taught Me, I say these things. 29 The One who sent Me is with Me. He has not left Me alone, because I always do what pleases Him.” 30 As He was saying these things, many believed in Him.
The relationship between Jesus and the religious leadership continues to deteriorate. By refusing to acknowledge their importance, his ministry threatens their power and prestige. Therefore, they turn on him: attempted arrest, entrapment, theological tests, dismissing his answers on technicalities, and now mocking his words. Jesus responds with what we might call, “Tough Love.” He warns of their precarious position before God—they risk dying in their sin. Unless they find a provision for their failures, they will face their Maker clothed in their own righteous deeds, which the Bible calls “polluted garments,” or “filthy rags.” God records this interaction to challenge where our faith rests. Many claim Jesus without committing themselves to who he claims to be. May God give us grace to hear and examine ourselves in the light of the Word.
Illustration: “Can’t Cheat Death”
The story is told of a man walking in his neighborhood when he came face-to-face with Death. Death was obviously shocked to see the man, but said nothing; the two simply passed in the street. But the more that fellow thought about this strange meeting, the more frightened he became. So we went to a wise friend and asked what he should do. The friend told him that Death had probably come to take him away the next morning—he had best flee.
So the man headed to a distant city to elude Death. He traveled treacherous streets slickened by snow, roads rarely used at night because they wound through steep mountain passes. But he survived the terrible journey, and congratulated himself on having escaped. As he watched the sunrise, however, Death tapped him on the shoulder and said: “I have come for you.”
“What are you doing here?” exclaimed the terrified man, “I thought I saw you yesterday near my home!”
“Yes, you did,” said Death. “That was why I looked surprised—for I had been told to meet you today in this city.”
It reminds me of the inscription on the tombstone:
Someone scratched into the weathered cement these two additional lines:
- To Follow You I’m Not Content,
- Until I Know Which Way You Went.
There is a Faithless Seeking that Does Not Save (John 8.21-24a)
I am meticulous and perhaps a bit OCD when it comes to my books. This is particularly problematic when I am looking for a book that I can’t locate. I know where they are supposed to be. I could take you with little thought to almost any volume you asked for in my library with just the theme. So, when I’m looking for a book, especially one I’m more than a little familiar with and I can’t locate it I can become frustrated.
The fact is that when you “know” exactly what you are looking for, an unexpected difference can blind you and frustrate you. The Jews had long scanned the shelves of time for Messiah. They knew exactly how he would look: a mighty King like Solomon and David who would rescue and restore Israel to her former glory. But God wraps Messiah in a different “dust” jacket. They sought a lion; God provides a lamb. As a result, they cannot “see” God’s solution, resulting in this sad pronouncement: “You will seek me, and you will die in your sin.” Jesus—always attractive, always inviting, always welcoming—harshly warns: “Your seeking can be in vain.”
There are two ways to seek God and yet not find him.
(1) Seeking God from a Position of Self-Righteousness (22)
- · They believed their own Press
- · It was assumed that they would get into heaven based on behavior
- · Jesus therefore had to be talking about someplace else they couldn’t go
- o Suicide it was assumed would result in damnation…that must be it.
John MacArthur states: “Self-righteousness is a deadly deception, and utterly contrary to genuine salvation.”
- For many there is a Veneer of Good Works over a Rotted Wood of Wickedness
(2) Seeking God from a Motivation to Stand Out (23)
- Jesus refers to these Religious Leaders as being “of this world.” (lit. worldly)
- Seeking God so that others will think more highly of me is not the seeking which saves—we will die in our sins.
- For a picture of what this is let’s take a moment to think about a fella named Esau.
27 When the boys grew up, Esau became an expert hunter, an outdoorsman, but Jacob was a quiet man who stayed at home. 28 Isaac loved Esau because he had a taste for wild game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.
29 Once when Jacob was cooking a stew, Esau came in from the field, exhausted. 30 He said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stuff, because I’m exhausted.” That is why he was also named Edom. 31 Jacob replied, “First sell me your BIRTHRIGHT.” 32 “Look,” said Esau, “I’m about to die, WHAT GOOD IS A BIRTHRIGHT TO ME?” 33 Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore to Jacob and SOLD HIS BIRTHRIGHT to him. 34 Then Jacob gave bread and lentil stew to Esau; he ate, drank, got up, and went away. So ESAU DESPISED HIS BIRTHRIGHT.
- · Financially, a double portion of the family inheritance
- · Spiritually, the line of the Lord’s Blessing
The World and Worldliness
- · What the World Offers is Often Flashy
- · What the World Offers is Often Easy
- · What the World Offers is ALWAYS Temporary
Esau Sought What the World Offered and as a result “Despised” his birthright.
The Religious people Jesus is debating with sought the worldly praise and recognition of the people around them—how often Jesus called them out on their “public” lives in contrast to what was inside of them.
There is a Faithful Seeking That Does Save (24b-29)
24 Therefore I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”
25 “Who are You?” they questioned. “Precisely what I’ve been telling you from the very beginning,” Jesus told them.
26 “I have many things to say and to judge about you, but the One who sent Me is true, and what I have heard from Him—these things I tell the world.”
27 They did not know He was speaking to them about the Father.
28 So Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing on My own. But just as the Father taught Me, I say these things.
29 The One who sent Me is with Me. He has not left Me alone, because I always do what pleases Him.”
There are Two Ways to Die:
- · You Can Die In Your Sins – Without the Lord
- · You Can Die To Your Sins – In the Lord
Then I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “let them rest from their labors, for their works follow them!”
The debate was all over who Jesus is and claimed to be.
“Does it matter exactly who Jesus is?”
It matters because YOU MUST BELIEVE HE IS WHO HE CLAIMS TO BE in order to have the courage to ACCEPT WHAT HE OFFERS. He offers a way to die that yields eternal life and joy.
We can believe Him and trust Him for three reasons:
- First, Because of His Proclamation. (25-27)
- · He had been Declaring who He is from the Beginning
- · His Message is from God
- · He is Commissioned to Proclaim the Terms of Salvation
- Second, Because of His Personification (28)
- · Lifted up on the Cross as the Sacrifice
- · Lifted up from the Grave as the Savior
- · Lifted up into Glory as the Sovereign
- Third, Because of His Perfection (29)
- The age old excuse for our faltering: “I know I’m not perfect.”
- God’s Standards and Holiness DEMANDS Perfection
- · None of us measure up in terms of perfection.
- · All of us have fallen short of God’s standard.
- · The penalty for that shortcoming is separation from God.
- · Unless someone who could live up to the standard
- · And then Become a representative for us all we would be doomed.
- That is exactly what we have in Jesus.
- He ALWAYS did what pleased the Father, without exception or failure.
- He Became the representative for us, taking out sin upon Himself at Calvary
Conclusion – How Will you Die? (FOX NEWS: We Report, You decide)
__ In Your Sin – Lost without Jesus Christ
__ To Your Sin – Saved through Jesus Christ
It Takes Faith in Jesus: Nothing More…Nothing Less