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Gospel of John - Chapter Six
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Pastor Ovid Need
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This is no doubt the most powerful (as well as the longest) chapter in this book. The doctrine taught in this chapter is resisted by the natural man. By natural we mean the part of us which is influenced by natural instincts, "The animal passions and desires, in opposition to those who are influenced by the Spirit of God."
The word sensual also express this idea. (The Spirit of God works in total harmony with God's word. The natural man is the sinner part that desires to act independent of God and His word. See I Cor. 2:14. In Prov. 14:12, the natural man is described as that part of us that seems to be right [feels right, looks right, etc.], but is contrary to God's Word. What is presented in Jn. 6, just does not seem right to the natural man.
Jesus ended His sermon to the religious leaders, and went over the Sea of Galilee. A great multitude followed Him because of the miracles He did. They followed Him for what was in it for them. It was Christ's practice to sit on a hillside, so He could address the crowd.
Christ taught the great multitude following Him many things. (Mk. 6:34.) The day wore on, and evening was upon them. They were out in the wilderness, so the disciples urged Christ to send the people away, so they could get supper. Rather than doing that, Christ does something else. (Lk. 9:11-13.)
1. Philip was one of the twelve. What did Christ ask Philip, v. 5?
a. Why did Christ ask Philip this, v. 6?
b. What did Philip reply, v. 7?
Remember, Christ is performing miracles, v. 2, and Philip is watching. Christ is trying to teach His disciples by His actions. Philip should have understood that Christ could feed the multitude just as easy as He could heal the sick. But the natural man cannot understand this about Christ.
2. Andrew finds out that a lad had brought his little lunch with him. What did this lad have, v. 9?
3. Andrew brings the report to Christ. What does Christ do, v. 10?
a. Then what does He do, (Lk. 9:16), v. 11?
b. How much was left over, vv. 12, 13?
c. How many people were present, v. 10?
d. What did the men say, (Lesson 4, Q 8-c), v. 14?
4. What did the people want to do, (Lesson 2, Q 7), v. 15?
a. Why, v. 14?
Christ did tremendous miracles here before this great multitude of people. Christ would NOT permit them to do v. 15. The submission to His authority that pleases God is not submission because He does great things, i.e., "Submit to Christ, and here is what God will do for you." Even the natural man will submit to a person who will do great things for him. The reason for submitting to Christ, that is pleasing to God, is through FAITH. If it were submission because of the mighty works, what would happen if the mighty works are not there? Would not such people seek after another king who will do more for them? If submission to Christ is by faith (because God tells us to), then whether there are mighty works or not, we submit to the authority of His word. Acts 2 (vv. 36, 37, esp.), is clear on this point, as is a host of Scriptures.
Another point herethe lad. He did not have much compared to what was needed, yet he gave what little he did have to Jesus. The Son of God took that little bit that was willingly given, and He used it to meet the tremendous need. The condition for God using a person IS NOT how much talent, time or even money which they have. It is their willingness to give all of what they do have to the Master to use as He sees fit, I Cor. 4:2. It will surprise the person who gives all of what little he or she does have how God will use them.
5. Christ departs and goes into a mountain alone to pray. What had He told His disciples to do, Mk. 6:45?
a. They entered into the boat and set out to sea. What happened, Matt. 14:24?
b. They were working hard but no progress. Then what happened, Jn. 6:19-21?
(The account in Matt. 12:24-33, is interesting. No matter how difficult the storms of life may be, Christ can and will see us through them. Also, hard work apart from Him is wasted effort.)
Vv. 22-25, the next morning after the great miracles, the people see that Christ is gone and so is the boat. They knew that Christ was not in the boat when it departed, so they then set out to find Him.
6. Why did the people seek after Jesus, v. 26?
See Heb. 4:12. The written Word of God (another name for Jesus) exposes even the motives of the heart, which is a reason many people do not like to read and study it.
7. What does Jesus tell these folks they should be looking for, (laboring for, Matt. 6:33), v. 27?
a. What is the work of God which will take a person to heaven, (lesson 3), v. 29?
Christ now tells them of the bread from heaven which will satisfy them. (Remember, this is the same crowd which He fed the night before.) They are looking for physical bread (the woman in chp. 4 was looking for physical water), so they will not be hungry. They are thinking of the manna God supernaturally provided for Israel in the wilderness, Ex. chp. 16. Christ points out that He is the true bread that alone can satisfy the hunger.
8. Even though they saw Christ and the miracles, what does Jesus tell them, v. 36?
Starting here in v. 37 through the end, v. 71, we have a portion of Scriptures the natural man cannot understand and will fight against. This is a portion to which we must apply Heb. 11:3a, By faith we understand... All we can do is say, "God said it, that settles it. Even though I don't understand it."
a. These people saw His marvelous works, yet still did not believe. Why, vv. 37, 44, 65?
1. Why again, II Cor. 4:3-6?
b. Why did Jesus come down from heaven, (as the manna came down from heaven in the wilderness ), v. 38?
c. What does Jesus promise, vv. 37, 40?
9. What is the will of the Father in v. 40?
10. This comparison between Christ and the manna caused what, v. 41?
As we read through vv. 45-71, remember that eating of Christ would include: a.) Trusting in Him as our Lord and Saviour, resulting in eternal life, and b.) Daily reading, studying His word, and prayer for strength and guidance for every situation of life. His word alone gives knowledge, wisdom and strength for victory for Him in this lifeknowledge and wisdom as to how to apply His laws of life to every situation which we confront.
V. 63, the words of Christ cannot be understood by the natural man at all. This is why the comparison of eating of Christ and the eating of the manna was so confusing to these listening listened to Him.
V. 64, is another verse we must accept by faith. We have no way to explain or understand this statement.
V. 66, there were more than just twelve disciples following Christ, although there were only twelve apostles. Most of the disciples could not understand or accept what Christ had said. Those who left Him over His sayings were not really His disciples. (See I Jn. 2:19.) V. 67, the twelve stayed.
11. Who chose who would follow Christ faithfully, v. 70?
This fact (v. 70) is extremely difficult for the natural man to grasp, yet it is the word of God. Let us add that many who claim Christ in our day will "depart" from Him over this same issue as found in v. 70.
Let's conclude this chapter with an illustration which may shed some light upon vv. 45-71. I was saved in '77, while as an associate pastor of a good, sound fundamental Baptist church. After God moved us on into the pastorate, we met a young man who was a pastor in a neighboring community.
He had been in the pastorate for several years, even starting some churches. The Spirit of God confronted him with the fact that he had never trusted Christ as his Substitute and Saviour, revealing to this young man that he was lost. He was not at all happy about that condition, yet he was not able to deal with his pride and do something about it. So he prayed that God would convict him of his sin of rejecting Christ. This went on for some time. We spoke at a meeting on the necessity of trusting in what Christ has done for us and of the many false plans of salvation going around today.
God used the message to convict the young man of his sin, breaking all vestige of pride. The Holy Spirit totally destroyed all assurances other than Christ which he young man had. I had the privilege of leading him to faith in the finished work of Christ and baptizing him.
How can we explain what took place? When the young man understood his lost condition, he prayed that God would deal with him. Yet Jn. 6:37,44, 64 and 65 are extremely clear. I cannot explain it at all. All I know is that the Holy Spirit broke the young man's heart over his rejection of the finished work of Christ, and he fled to Christ as a result of his prayers that God would deal with him.
Do you need the same work in your life? I would encourage you to do what this pastor did before it is eternally too late. Do not put it off.
We have a little booklet, "The Other jesus" available concerning the many false plans and the truth of God's word concerning salvation. Let me know if you want a copy.
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