Christians Rejoice in the Cross, But Others Despise It!
I. Introduction (Psalm 119:165)
A. Do you know what it means to be offended? To irritate, upset, annoy, disturb, insult, or make sick. Like the smell of “slurry”; blast of a car’s horn behind you at a light; or yapping of a dog all night outside your window!
B. According to Ps 119:165, nothing offends the person who loves this Book! But there is one thing that seems to offend most everybody else (1 Pet 2:6-8), and that is the Jesus Christ of the Bible. People seem only to want a “loving Jesus” who won’t interfere with their life. So they have a hard time accepting an offensive Jesus - who just rubs people the “wrong way” (1 Cor 1:18).
D. Come to John 6, and you read of how that multitudes of people are following Jesus because of His miracles (6:2)! Then you read of Jesus feeding 5,000 people on top of that! But the next day, when the people came looking for Jesus, they could not find Him. But when they did, they were shocked by what He said to them (6:24-27)! He soundly rebukes them for only following their bellies! They didn’t seek Christ!
E. This rebuke sets the tone for the rest of the chapter, because the people did not accept the rebuke well, and become very offended at Christ. Isn’t it strange that people don’t get offended at nudity on TV, or at explicit language on the radio, or at the attacks on the family today, but they easily get offended at the words of the only Saviour who loved them, and came to die for them!? Isn’t that strange?!
F. There are some simple reasons why they and many others get offended at Christ. Let’s learn this morning how to stand up for Christ, and count the cost of following HIM, and not the crowd!
II. Message - The Offence of the Cross of Christ (6:47-71). Just what is it that offends people about the cross?
A. It is Offensive Because of its Simplicity (47-50) - Clarity. The Cross is not complicated:
1. It‘s design was to bring eternal life (6:47) - What everyone wants but can’t seem to find through drugs, medicine, meditation, etc!
2. It simply requires faith alone (47,48,28,29,35). People want some work for their hands to do, but Jesus looks for faith from the heart, and people don’t like that - something is wrong with their hearts!
3. The Cross simply presents Jesus Christ alone (48-51). People love and look for miracles (Fatima, Lourdes, healings, 30,31). Jesus contrasts Himself with the miracle of manna in the OT, showing the worthlessness of that bread, or anything else other than Himself
a. Those Jews died - that bread only dealt with physical needs
b. But Christ here promises that only He can give eternal life - not dealing with physical life, but with the soul and spirit!
c. But the life He offers requires His death as a sacrifice
4. Add anything else, and you complicate what God meant for a child to grasp (Matt 18:1-4)
5. But this is why I came to trust Christ - I was sick and tired of all the complicated religious rubbish and confusion! Amen!!!
B. It is Offensive Because of Its Conclusions (6:50). The Bible is a negative Book - against us until we accept its conclusions and remedy!
1. The Cross has concluded us ALL under sin, and therefore, ALL will die (6:50; 3:18,36; Rom 6:23)
2. The Cross has concluded that ALL need Christ - no exceptions, no other Saviour, and no matter how good we are (Isa 64:6)
3. People don’t like those kind of “judgmental” statements. They want a religious system that tells them they are OK! They get offended at a holy God who is revolted by our sin! But it’s true!
4. That’s why people would rather read books ABOUT the Bible, than read it for themselves, because they don’t like its approach to the Human race - lost, on its way to hell & in need of a Saviour!
5. But this is what led me to believe this Book - because I wanted something that was honest with me, which would tell me like it is!
C. It is Offensive Because of its Sacrifice (51-58) - The cross is not a picnic - It was a bloody, violent judgment for the sins of the whole world, placed upon One Person, all in a brief moment of a few hours!
1. Christ gives His life like “bread” to the world
2. That bread of life must be received like you would food - eat
3. But the eating and drinking is by FAITH, not by chewing (6:35)!
4. Christ is dealing with a substitution - His life, for ours
5. He is dealing with a bloody sacrifice (Heb 10:5,10-12) for our sins
D. It is Offensive Because of Our Pride (59-62) - Conceit blinds best! This is probably the least understood part of the Bible here in Ireland because of the following reasons:
1. We are too proud to learn, to be taught - don’t want people to think that maybe we are ignorant. In the crowd, everyone wanted to give the impression that the problem was with Jesus, not with themselves - how convenient - blame the teacher! But the problem was not with Jesus - they just didn’t want to find out the answer. Not so with the 12 disciples- they always hung around for answers
2. We are too proud to think for ourselves - always want to let someone else do our thinking for us - want someone to “interpret” life (fortune tellers, palm readers, tarot cards); to interpret the Bible (priests, bishops, catechisms, missals). Takes work!!!
3. We only hear what we want to hear. All they heard was the physical eating part, not the “belief” - and yet, that is all they went looking for anyway (6:26; Phlp 3:19)! People are the same
4. So Jesus confounds, or confuses these people on purpose (1 Cor 1:27-29) - sets up a stumblingblock! He has to, or else they would just keep pretending that they are following Him, when they are only following the miracles, excitement, good times, free food, and good company! And boy does He confuse them, and others!
E. It is Offensive Because of Its Challenge (59-69) People want a Bible that is Easy, and does not “rub them the wrong way” (2 Tim 4:2-4). No athlete would waste 5 minutes with a coach who did not push them, challenge them, and urge them on farther! The damnation of this world is found in its complacency, and religious smugness!
1. It tests our desire to know the truth (6: 60; 8:32) - to get the answers, or to just get something that we already agree with! They couldn’t stand to listen, because they weren’t desiring truth at all!
2. It tests our faith (6:61-63) - not dealing with the physical meat, or miracles, or works, but FAITH. Are we operating by FAITH or by sight? That was their test! They lived only by contentment in their belly, while Christ was talking about salvation, resurrection, and heaven - not dinner!!! Everything He said was dealing with the spiritual realm. His body would do nothing for them in their mouths and stomachs! It would only give eternal life on the cross!
3. The Cross tests our commitment (6:66-69) - even when we don’t fully understand Him, and when He is not popular! Are we committed to paying the price?
a. To get saved? At all costs or lose everything! Humble yourself
b. To serve Christ? At all costs! People settle for the smallest excuses why not to live for and follow the word of God. Don’t!
c. To stay with Christ? Are you committed? Consistency is rare!
1) The true Christian is committed because there really is no where else to go - they know nothing else compares!
2) Because only Christ has the WORDS of eternal life - no one else does, no church does, no university, no one!
3) Because Jesus is really the Christ, the Saviour - the One worthy of everything we do for Him!
III. Conclusion - The Offence of the Cross of Christ (6:47-71)
A. It is Offensive Because of its Simplicity - Clarity
1. It simply results in eternal life
2. It simply requires faith alone
3. The Cross simply presents Christ Jesus alone
B. It is Offensive Because of Its Conclusions
1. Concluded us ALL under sin, and therefore, ALL will die
2. The Cross has concluded that ALL need Christ
C. It is Offensive Because of its Sacrifice (51-58) - The cross is not a picnic - It was a bloody, violent judgment for your sins!
D. It is Offensive Because of Our Pride - Conceit
1. We are too proud to want to take the time to learn
2. We are too proud to want to think for ourselves Takes work!!!
3. We only hear what we want to hear.
4. So Jesus confounds, and confuses people on purpose
E. It is Offensive Because of Its Challenge
1. It tests our desire to know the truth
2. It tests our faith to trust and follow His words
3. It tests our commitment to get saved, serve Christ, stay with Him
Does Jesus Christ and His words offend you (disturb, upset, annoy you)? Then that is a good place to be. You see, they are the WORDS of eternal life, and are meant to get you to push you to make a decision - God hates apathy, and complacency. How much do YOU hunger and thirst for things that are true, and eternal? You are in a bad way if that hunger is not there! But if you do hunger for eternal things, then Christ is your answer - but only by faith that turns from sin, and clings only to HIM!!!
Bible Baptist Church Blarney
29 Westcourt Heights
Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland