NOT EVERYONE WALKS AWAY
Intro: Every ministry faces difficult times. It is just a given! There will be
times when things are up and there will be times when things are down.
During all those times there are few ministry leaders who are doing all they
can to see that the ministry loses supporters. In fact, those who are called
to leadership positions in the church and other Christian ministries are doing
all they can to ensure the continued success and growth of the ministry.
In John chapter 6, Jesus seems to be doing all He can to drive away
as many people as He can from His ministry. Evidently, He didn't read
some of the books I have read on the subject of leadership and success in
ministry. I mean, we are always trying to find a successful "enlargement"
campaign, here, Jesus ran a successful "ensmallment" campaign! When John chapter 6 opens, Jesus has over 5,000 people following Him and
listening to Him speak. When this chapter closes, He only has 12 men with
Him and one of them is not even saved.
If Jesus is doing anything in these verses, He is issuing a call to
commitment. He knows that many of these followers are merely there for
what they can get for their flesh. Jesus lays down the gauntlet and calls for
everyone of those followers to commit to Him and to Him alone. His call to
commitment has a two-fold outcome. First, it clarifies His call, His mission
and His ministry for those who would follow Him. Second, it purifies the
ranks of His disciples, effectively weeding out most of those who are not
genuine in their faith or commitment.
Our text verses reveal Jesus clearly stating he truth about Himself and
His ministry. Here, we are allowed to see thousands of people turn their
backs on Him and walk away. After the crowds leave, v. 66, Jesus
immediately turns to His 12 disciples in verse 67, and asks them to make
a personal commitment as well. One can almost hear His heart break as He
asks them, "Will ye also go away?"
Friends, we are living in an hour when many are walking away from the
things of the Lord. This should not surprise us because it is exactly what the
Bible said would happen in the last days. We are told that there will be a
"falling away", 2 Thes. 2:3. We are also told that in the end times, men will
"have a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.", 2 Tim. 3:5.
Yet, when we see it happening all around us, we are surprised. We are
I think the verses we have read this morning shed some light on this
problem. There are some insights in this text as to why people make the
decisions they do concerning their walk with the Lord. Allow me to share a
few of them with you are we consider the thought: Not Everyone Walks
I. V. 60-66 NOT EVERYONE CAN HANDLE THE TRUTH
(Ill. The fact of the matter is that while not everyone walks away from the
Lord, some do. Why is that? If we take this passage as the answer to
that question, it becomes clear that Not Everyone Can Handle The
A. As this chapter unfolds, it becomes increasingly clear that doubt,
suspicion and hostility are mounting against the Lord Jesus. These
people who wanted to make Him king after He fed them, v. 15, want
nothing more to do with Him after they hear His message, v. 26-65.
B. Why the change? Jesus told them the truth and they could not
handle it! Notice His claims:
1. To Be The Way Of Salvation - v. 29
2. To Be The Son of God - v. 32
3. That He Is Superior to Moses and the Manna - v. 35; 49-58
4. That Salvation was a matter of faith alone - v. 35-40; 63
5. That apart from God's intervention, they could not believe - v. 44; 65
C. When truth is revealed to us, there are only two possible reactions
to it: It can be received, or it can be rejected. People receive the
truth when they see it for what it is: Truth! People reject the truth for
many reasons. Here are just a few:
1. Some People Misunderstand It - Nicodemus thought Jesus was
talking about gynecology, when He was actually speaking of the
new birth. The woman at the well thought Jesus was talking
about plumbing, when He was actually talking about Himself, the
Water of Life. The man at the pool of Bethesda thought Jesus
was talking about a rescue mission, when He was actually
talking placing faith in Jesus. This trend continues today! That
is why people join the church and are baptized without ever
being saved. That is why the Word of God is so offensive many
people. They misunderstand the truth and, as a result, they
2. Some People Are Opposed To It - As Jesus revealed Himself
and His demands in this passage, the Jews were in constant and
increasing opposition, v. 41-42; 52; 60. The Jews were not able
to accept His Deity, His impending Death or His claims of Lordship. They opposed Him at every turn! So it is today,
many are opposed to the truths of the Bible and the claims of the
Lord Jesus Christ. His call to commitment goes against their
desire to live for self, and as a result, they find themselves in
opposition to the Lord. Friends, the claims of the Gospel, the
cross and the blood of Jesus are designed to be offensive!
3. Some People Are Blind To It - All the way through this passage,
the Jews had this approach to Jesus: "Show us and we will
believe." They had already seen Him feed five thousand with
five loaves of bread and 2 fish, v. 5-13. They had already
surmised that He had somehow, miraculously, crossed the lake, v. 22-25, yet they were blind to Who He was and what He was
doing. When He made His claims and issued His call to
commitment, they were unable to see the truth because they
were blind! The sad fact of the matter is this: all men are blind
to the truth until their eyes are supernaturally opened by the
intervention of God, 2 Cor. 4:4; John 6:44; 65. That is why so
many people reject the truth and embrace the lie, they are simply
blind to the truth!
4. Some People Want The Experience But Not The Expectation
- These people were following Jesus because He had satisfied
their fleshly appetites, v. 1-15. They wanted more of the same, v. 34. In fact, they wanted Jesus to prove that He was greater
than Moses, v. 22-31. They were looking for something that
satisfied their flesh and that made them feel good about
themselves. They wanted an experience! They wanted to be
following the next king. They wanted the miracles and the
sensational. But, when Jesus began to talk about His
expectations and issued a call for commitment, they turned away
from Him and walked away. Why? They wanted to be carried
away in the excitement of the moment with no commitment.
The same mentality has developed within the church! There
are many today who want a religious experience, but without and
expectations. They want to serve God for what they can get out
it, without any concern for His glory of His will. They want
entertainment and excitement without the commitment that
comes along with the proclamation of the truth. The churches
that are growing the fastest today are those who minimize
biblical doctrine the requirements of the faith and emphasize
entertainment and experience. All you need to succeed today as
a church is a contemporary band, a message that challenges no
one's life, a youth program that will babysit the children while the
parents are lulled to sleep by a "touchy feely" religion that is
devoid of the truth! (Note: People who walk away from the things
of God are selfish! They are only concerned about themselves
and how they feel. Imagine how the disciples felt when the
multitude walked away. Those who are left are always adversely
affected by those who choose to walk away.)
D. Not everyone can handle the truth! Sometimes, the truth is tough!
Sometimes the truth makes demands upon our lives. Sometimes
the truth is brutal and seems unfeeling. But, the truth is always true!
It is always right and it is always perfect. Not everyone can handle
the truth! Can you?
II. V. 64, 70 EVERYONE LIVES IN A GLASS HOUSE
(Ill. Another insight in this passage that needs to be addressed is this: Everyone Lives In A Glass House. Simply stated, regardless of what
we may think, we are hiding nothing from the gaze of the Lord, Heb.
A. In this passage, we see the truth that Jesus why the multitudes were
following Him, v. 26-27, 64. He also knew the deepest secrets of the
hearts of those who appeared to be the most committed to Him, v.
B. When the Lord looks at your life, what does He see? Does He see
absolute commitment and faith? Or, does He see a life that wants
the experiences but lacks the commitment? The harsh truth is that
He sees you and me just like we are! He sees us in ways that we
cannot even see ourselves! Nothing and no one is hidden from His
all seeing gaze today! Not Zaccheaus in that tree, not Peter by that
Roman fire; not even the hearts of the hypocritical Pharisees, not
even Judas Iscariot, who was numbered with the 12. (Ill. Even Judas
had deceived the 11 other disciples! They did not know that he was
C. My friends, you and I live in glass houses this morning! I cannot see
into your heart and you cannot see into mine, but God sees us just
as we are. What does He see when He looks at you? Friends, we
may deceive each other, but we will never deceive God! He knows
where you stand spiritually this morning. There has never been a
better incentive for us to look carefully at our hearts
D. I recently had a conversation with a man who was attempting to hide
his lack of commitment behind a smokescreen of excuses. The
bottom line is this: say what you will, but there are some people who
do not want to serve the Lord. They do not want to be committed to
His will or His work, but at the same time, they want the benefits
they can derive from being in the church and being around God's
people. These people may deceive us, but they will never deceive
the Lord! He sees through their excuses and the smokescreen of
lies they attempt to hide behind. He knows what lies within their
hearts and will hold them accountable for that!
III. V. 67-69 GENUINE FAITH CANNOT WALK AWAY
A. When the disciples are asked by Jesus if they too will leave Him,
Peter answers for the group. He expresses their total commitment
and states the fact that they know Jesus is the Christ, the Son of
God and is the way to eternal life. Peter had taken a step that many
in his day had not, or could not take. Peter had made the necessary
connection between the words of Jesus and Jesus Himself. To
receive Christ is to receive His Word. To receive His Word is to
receive Him! They are always taken together! Because Peter had
placed his faith in Jesus and in His Word, Peter was made the
partaker of two great possessions. These two possessions allowed
Peter to make an absolute commitment of his life to the Lord Jesus
Christ. Those two possessions are:
1. Faith - ("we believe") An inward conviction that Jesus is Who He
claims to be.
2. Experience - ("and are sure") A changed life, a full heart and a
new desire and direction in life are all to potent to be ignored.
B. Peter knew how his life had been changed and this was enough to
make his state with confidence that he would not walk away! Oh,
there came a time of weakness in Peter's life when he failed the
Lord. He did turn his back on Jesus for a time, but he did not walk
away forever! One of the best definitions I have ever heard of what
a Christian really is was this: "One who cannot walk away!"
C. Once you have felt the powerful touch of Almighty God, once you
have walked in the light of His glory, once you have tasted of His
goodness and experienced His best, you will never be satisfied with
substitutes and imitations! You may wander for a time, but you, like
the Prodigal son will "come to yourself". You will remember what
it was like in the Father's house and you will come home! When you
do, He will receive you with open arms and perfect restoration.
D. What are we to think of those who do walk away from the truth?
What of those who choose the way of the flesh of the way of faith?
What of those who willingly reject the truth in favor of the lie? I think
the Bible has the answer: 1 John 2:19. We are to love them and
warn them, but when their decision has been made, we are to leave
them in the hands of God, Titus 3:10. At the same time, we should
examine the level of our own commitment to the Lord! Let us be
sure that we are where He wants us to be, so that we do not
become castaways as well.
Conc: We come back at the end to the question Jesus asked His disciples
in the beginning, "Will ye also go away?" Not everyone walks away from
Him! In fact, some people make a total commitment to the Lord and to His
will for their lives. I hope that is you. On the other hand, some people hear
the claims of Christ and the demands of the Gospel and just walk away.
They go off in search of a better deal, of something more agreeable to their
flesh. Not everyone walks away, what will you do?