So here in this short little paragraph, Jesus confronts this crowd, these people seeking Jesus.
He confronts them with three things, three truths about how they were interacting with spiritual things, and it's true for all people. He dealt with the wrong motivation, he dealt with the right ambition, and he dealt with the real decision. Welcome to Connect with Skip Weekend Edition. Ever know a man who didn't like to read instructions when putting something together?
It seems to be a common shortcoming in us men. When we don't follow the directions, we almost always end up with so-called extra pieces. Now we might think that those pieces are redundant and unnecessary, but they won't seem that way when that deck chair collapses as someone tries to sit in. You see, the simple fact is, when it comes to deck chairs and our daily lives, if we want to get things done right, we have to go about doing them the right way.
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That's connectwithskip.com slash offer. Open your Bibles to John chapter six where we're covering verses 22 through 29. And as you find that spot, we'll join Skip Heitzig for today's study. It was an interesting survey done of churchgoers in America. And here's what was unique about this survey.
They just didn't look at people going to church. They decided to give a survey and examine four areas of churchgoers' lives besides church attendance, probe into their personal lives. And so they discovered, according to this survey, this reveals a varying level of commitment. 19% of Americans we have found are religiously committed. 19%, religiously committed.
That is they practice what they say they believe regularly in all these areas of their lives. 19%. 22% are modestly religious. It's good. It's important. It's sort of needful. 29% are barely or nominally, in name only, spiritual.
So here's the question I have. As a total package of your life, are you seeking the Lord? It's not, do you ever read your Bible?
It's not, do you ever go to church? As the total package of your life, are you seeking God? And if so, why are you seeking God? Are you seeking God because He's so worthy, or are you seeking God because you're so hungry?
Now, if it happens to be not A but B, that's okay, actually. I want you to know that if that's honestly the reason you're seeking God, the best thing to do is deal with that and admit that, because God is very able to deal with the motivation of one's heart and lift that person up to a higher level. That's His intent, in fact. But if you just stay there, that is, if you're really just using God to get what you want, then here's the second statement that applies. Not only number one is searching for God can be hypocritical, but number two, living for self will be detrimental.
If it's really all about you and yourself and your needs, period, that's a dead end road. Verse 27, Jesus continues, do not labor for the food which perishes but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you because God the Father has set His seal on Him. What does that mean? Simply this, don't aim below at just meeting the physical need, the outward physical decaying fleshly life.
Don't aim below, do aim above. That is, as a priority, above even physical need, your spiritual life should be paramount. Now He will develop this thought. In the very next paragraph, go down to verse 35 and notice this. Jesus amplifies this thought. Verse 35, Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life.
See, they're hungry. He says, I'm the bread of life. He who comes to me will never hunger. He's not speaking physically but spiritually. And he who believes in me will never thirst.
So don't make your life all about just satisfying this decaying physical fleshly life but rather seek spiritual nourishment. Now, did you notice, if you put John together, did you notice this is the second time in which Jesus emphasizes the spiritual above the physical life and uses basic human needs to do so? The first time was at the woman at the well. Remember the Samaritan woman at the well? She's there to get water and Jesus uses the water analogy.
Remember what he said? He goes, you drink of this water and you will thirst again but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never thirst. And now here he uses the same idea but he uses the analogy of bread rather than water. So please understand that Jesus is not saying, I don't care about your physical needs.
He's not saying that because he just fed them, right? He's not saying physical needs are not important. He's simply saying what is most important is not physical need.
What is most important is spiritual well-being and spiritual life. So my question this morning is, do you have a spiritual hunger? Are you hungry spiritually? Is there some drive in you that makes you want to get closer to the Lord and want to understand more and your hunger would describe you? Remember on the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said blessed or oh how happy are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness.
You ever stop to think about that? He didn't say, happy are those who casually snack after righteousness. Happy are those who take a bite here and a bite there. Happy are those who hunger and thirst. That's a deeper more intense longing.
A hunger for spiritual things. If you've never read a book called The Screwtape Letters, please read it at least once in your life. It's by the great C.S.
Lewis. It was a required reading for some of us in high school. It's a story about an experienced senior demon who's mentoring his young nephew Wormwood, a younger demon, how to tempt people and ruin people's lives.
Very interesting perspective. And so in one part of the book, the uncle, the senior demon, is telling his young nephew Wormwood, he goes look the goal here isn't wickedness. The goal is indifference. Just make people indifferent. And if you're patient, that's what he calls a Christian or anybody the guy's tempting. If your patient starts getting really concerned about really important issues like spiritual issues, just encourage him to think to think about lunch plans.
Plant that thought in his mind. And the senior demon says I'll always see to it that there are bad people. Your job, Wormwood, is to provide me with people who don't care. How much do you care about spiritual things, about spiritual life? Now that's a pretty easy question to answer because as soon as a person says I really care about God, I care about spiritual things, it's easy to see how much just by looking at how much time that person devotes to spiritual things and spiritual life. The time they devote to it shows how much they really care about that over anything else.
Now this answers the question I left hanging previously. Remember we said and we noticed that if you want to get your needs met in life, the best way isn't to use God with an ulterior motive of getting your needs met. And so what is the best way to get your needs met? It's not by seeking God in order to get them met, it's by seeking God period. It's by seeking God period. Remember this is what Jesus said, seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.
Did you get that? Number one, first God, spiritual things, the kingdom, righteousness and all the other things that you need in life, they'll be added to you. God will take care of you, that's the small stuff.
And so here we are, we have it all reversed, don't we? Our worldview so often is I'm going to seek first all those other things, all of these physical needs and use God to do it. And expect the kingdom of God to be added.
Jesus said no, seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you. If you're interested, I found a little piece called recipe for a miserable life. Here it is, think about yourself, talk about yourself, use the word I as often as possible, mirror yourself continually in the opinion of others.
Listen greedily to what people say about you, expect to be appreciated, be suspicious, be jealous, be envious, be sensitive to slights, never forgive a criticism, trust nobody but yourself, insist on consideration and respect, demand agreement with your own views on everything, sulk if people are not grateful to you for favors shown to them, never forget a service you may have rendered, be on the lookout for a good time for yourself, shirk your duties if you can, do as little as possible for other people, love yourself supremely, be selfish. I'd guarantee you if that's your worldview you will lead a miserable life. But if you seek first the kingdom of God and seek first his righteousness and place the spiritual life above even the physical need, God will take care of the physical need. That's his promise to you, that's his promise to all of us.
Again the great C.S. Lewis put it this way and I love the way he put it, if you aim at heaven you'll have earth thrown in, if you aim at earth you'll get neither heaven nor earth. I think that sums up what Jesus is saying here. Here's the third statement that I'll make about how people deal with spiritual things and with Jesus in particular, that is believing in Jesus, believing and I'll describe the word believing in Jesus must be foundational. Look at verse 28, they said to him what shall we do that we may work the works of God. Jesus answered and said to them this is the work of God that you believe in him whom he sent. Let's get the flow here, do you get the flow? He's saying don't focus on the physical as much as focus on the spiritual life and so they go well then what do we have to do?
And why did they ask that question? What must we do? What do we have to do to work the works of God? Because all of their lives they had been taught that if you're going to have anything to do with God, anything to do with heaven, anything to do with a relationship with God in heaven, you got to work and do something in order to get it. You got to work for it. That was the way they were trained.
You work and you earn it. It was Paul the apostle who in considering his Jewish brethren, the Jewish nation, in Romans 10 said I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God but it's not according to knowledge. For they don't understand God's way of making people right with himself. Instead they're clinging to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law.
They won't go along with God's way. God's way? What's God's way? Jesus tells you what God's way is. Believe. You see what the crowd is doing? What do we got to do?
Is there something we have to do? Jesus said no there's someone you have to believe. Here's the work of God that you believe in him whom he has sent. Now I've discovered something about John. John loves the word believe. The apostle John the writer of this gospel and he looks for every occasion to put it in his writings.
He loves it. That's why the theme of the book is stated behind me is believe 879. Listen to this. The word believe is found 241 times in the New Testament. Genesis to Revelation 241 times. 107 of those times are eaten up by John in his writings. 98 of those 107 times are used in the gospel of John. So he is so he is looking to write about people who believe or Jesus challenging people to believe.
That's what his whole gospel is about. Faith. Believe. Trust in Jesus.
That's the foundation. But justification by faith was foreign to his audience's ears. In fact I would even go a step further and say they really weren't listening to Jesus. Why would they say what must we do?
Because they weren't listening. Did you notice in verse 27 that Jesus speaks about everlasting life which the son of man will what? Give you. He'll give it to you. You don't have to work for it, earn it, do something.
Everlasting life which the son of man will give to you. Well what do we have to do? I just said I'll give it to you. What do we have to do? Well it's a gift.
What do we got to do? Well what do you do if somebody gives you a gift? You take it. You receive it.
It's not how you got to do. Believe. Take it. Have you ever gotten a gift from somebody at Christmas time and turned to them and said I'll pay it off.
I'll work really hard to pay you back. It's a gift. I'll give it to you.
It's free. But it's so contrary to the mind of man especially religious men and women to receive a gift. What do we got to do? How do we got to earn it?
How do we got to work for it? Now I'm going to say something I want you to really grasp. There are only two religions in the entire world. Only two. You say no there's not.
I've been to college and I took that class on comparative religion. There's tons of them. There are many roads that people choose to go.
There are many roads that people choose to go. There's only two. You could take every single belief system any name any ideology and it fits into one or two categories. Number one is the religion of human achievement. The other is the one of divine accomplishment. All of the systems all of the philosophies are typically about what one must do in order to get saved and get to heaven and you got to keep this discipline and make that pilgrimage say those prayers.
It's the religion of human achievement. The second is the one of divine accomplishment. The first one is salvation by works.
The second one is salvation by his finished work on the cross. First one you earn. The second one is a gift. It's a gift.
Now here's the tragedy. Most people go through life banking on the first. They put all their eggs in that basket and they say things like well I believe that if you're really a good person and sincere and you really try hard that you'll go to heaven. Really?
See here's the problem I have with that statement. I want you to hear my heart. As soon as somebody says all you have to do is be good my question to them is well how good is good? Whose standard of goodness are you going to go by?
Yours, hers, his, theirs? Whose standard? By some people's standards everybody's going to happen because everybody's good enough. Everybody tries hard. In fact most people would say about themselves I'm a good person.
I try hard. I'm not perfect but I'm very sincere and their conclusion therefore is that as long as I work hard and be good I'll go to heaven. There's a guy who died and he was at the pearly gates and Peter was there with this clipboard like all the stupid jokes have and so Peter said well you know before I can let you into heaven you have to prove that you're worthy to be in heaven.
That you have done some kind and noble deed that will allow me to give you entrance into heaven. Can you think of something? The man said actually I can think of something. There was a time when a group of motorcycle gang members were beating up an elderly lady and I saw it and I stepped in. I did something about it. I pushed the head guy's motorcycle over and I went to the guy who was beating up the lady and I kicked him as hard as I could in the leg and told the lady to run and saved her life. And Peter said wow that's pretty impressive.
When did that happen? The guy looked at his watch he said oh about three minutes ago. The reason those jokes keep coming is because most people believe that heaven is earned. People do something.
They work hard at it. Somebody once said there's going to be three surprises in heaven. Number one who's there.
Number two who's not there and number three that you're there. And if you're there you won't be there because you earned being there. You will never be able to say let me tell you how I got here.
Let me tell you my life story. Let me tell you how good I was and God just had to let me in. That's not called a testimony that's called a bragimony.
And heaven would be so boring if everybody was bragging about how they got there. If you're in heaven it'll be because you have a testimony and you point to the man with the wounds and say I'm here because of him. Because I believe in him. Not because I did anything but because he did it all for me. And so when they say what must we do to work the works of God.
I'll tell you what you have to do. Believe in the one whom he has sent. But here's the problem. When when we westerners hear the word believe we have a problem with the translation. Because we typically take the word believe as to acknowledge an intellectual assent.
The reception of information and it registers in my mind. So they would say oh I believe in God. That is I intellectually agree that a higher being exists.
But the word believe is a very strong word. It means more than that in the bible. That is to lean on, to trust in, to lay one's whole destiny upon. And that's why I've chosen to read verse 29 to you now in the amplified version to give you the gist of it.
Jesus said this is the work that God asks of you. That you believe in the one whom he has sent. That you cleave to.
That you trust in. That you rely on and have faith in his messenger. That's what it means.
That's what it means. So here in this short little paragraph Jesus confronts this crowd, these people seeking Jesus. He confronts them with three things. Three truths about how they were interacting with spiritual things.
And it's true for all people. He dealt with the wrong motivation. He dealt with the right ambition.
And he dealt with the real and he dealt with the real decision. The wrong motivation. You're seeking God but you're really seeking God because you're seeking God to do something for you.
And that's really not seeking God at all. Number two the right ambition. Spiritual things must come first.
Not secondary first. Seek first the kingdom. Labor not for the food that perishes but the food that is for eternal life. And then finally the real decision and that is belief in Jesus.
His finished work. That's what's required. So my prayer is that you'll do the right thing. And you'll do it the right way. And that's God's way. And that you'll personally and wholeheartedly completely surrender and trust in Jesus Christ. Somebody once said faith is putting all of your eggs in God's basket and then counting your blessings before they hatch. That's good. Count your blessings before they hatch. Well if you'd like to do that, if you'd like to give God all of your eggs and put them in his basket, we'd like to tell you not only what that means but how to go about doing that. It's the right thing to do. We'll explain the right way to go about doing it when you give us a call here at 1-800-922-1888. And with that we're just about out of time for today. But before we go, if you'd like a copy of today's study we can provide one for you for just $4 plus shipping when you contact us at 1-800-922-1888 or when you visit connectwithskipp.com or write to us at P.O. Box 95707 Albuquerque New Mexico 87199. Be sure to join us again next time as we learn the secret of wonder break right here in Connect with Skip weekend edition, a presentation of Connection Communications. Connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever-changing times.
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