Sermon: "i'm not a fan" (John 6.60-71)

This is the outline of the sermon I preached today, March 18, 2012 at Antioch Fellowship Baptist Church. Formatting into blogger has proven to be a task, and it is not done properly, but I hope that does not distract from the message.  As a side note, I am only about half way through Kyle Idleman's book not a fan.  Any major similarities are most likely a coincidence unless noted.

“i’m not a fan”  (John 6.60-71)
This sermon is not based on the book not a fan by Kyle Idleman, but it is influenced by it.  It is something we need to consider. I make no apologies for being a fan of certain things: the Buccaneers, the Rays, the Lightning, Alabama, FSU, USF, Sport do Recife (soccer in Brasil), bands like Seventh Day Slumber, Officer Negative and Hawk Nelson.  
However, being a fan is not being committed with your whole being.  Need an example?  Fine.  I was a fan of the NY Yankees (hate ‘em now), the NY Islanders, Flamengo (Brasil soccer) and bands like Twisted Sister, Minor Threat and Black Sabbath.  That was true, but, as a fan, I turned from them for different reasons.  I turned from the Yankees and Islanders for the Rays and Lightning.  I turned from Twisted Sister, Minor Threat and Black Sabbath due to a commitment to Christ “getting in the way.”  I could not support the lifestyle and messages to which they they we committed.
As a fan, our commitment is limited.  Jesus faced the same type of issue.  We see it in John 6.60-71:
When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him. (ESV)
The people who left were the equivalent of fans.  Fair weather fans to say the least.  Jesus did not call fans.  He called people to be followers.  Biblically, this concept of a follower is seen emphasized by Paul in Romans 1.1: “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God...” (ESV)
The word for servant here in Romans 1.1 is the Greek word doulos, which can be translated as bond servant or slave. According to the  Definition: 1. a slave, bondman, man of servile condition; a slave; metaph., one who gives himself up to another's will those whose service is used by Christ in extending and advancing his cause among men; devoted to another to the disregard of one's own interests; a servant, attendant
The significance is that the follower of Jesus is to be the same: more than just a servant, but a slave.  A total commitment without reservation.  More than just a fan (defined in the book not a fan as “an enthusiastic admirer”); the call is for us to be followers.  Giving ourselves up for another’s will- giving up our desires and wants for Christ’s call and Lordship in our lives.  


I. The Fickleness of Fans (v. 60-66)
    1. Difficult teaching uncovered a lack of true devotion
      1. In the preceding verses Jesus calls Himself the bread of life
        1. They followed Him because of being fed miraculously
        2. He offered Himself as the Living Bread (John 6.51)- similar to how He called Himself Living Water to the Samaritan Woman  (John 4.1-42)
          1. Difference: the Samaritans believed in Him (John 4.29, 42)
          2. These “disciples” “no longer walked with Him” (John 6.66)
          3. They took Him literally- cannibalism is obviously not acceptable to these Jews
      2. Jesus confronted the “grumbling”
        1. They asked who can follow this “hard saying”?
        2. If they were truly committed to Christ they would have searched for the meaning; they would have cared enough to understand
        3. If they were truly committed they would have craved that communion with Christ as the Samaritans thirsted for the Living Water
        4. Do YOU crave the bread of life? Do you thirst for the living water? Can you echo the Psalmist in Psalm 42: “As a deer longs for streams of water, so I long for You, God. I thirst for God, the living God.” (Psalm 42.1-2a)?
      3. Jesus also told them it was not them who came on their own
        1. “And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” (John 6:65 ESV)
        2. He also says it is not the flesh, but the Spirit that gives life.  It is the Spirit Who brings conviction unto repentance.  Without that no one would come to repentance on their own.
          1. as it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.’” (Romans 3.10-12)
          2. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1.12-13 ESV)
    2. All these are things that were more than their commitment could stand 
      1. Jesus knew it beforehand: “‘But there are some of you who do not believe.’ (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.)” (John 6:64 ESV)
      2. Jesus always know His followers from His “fans”
 II. The Faithfulness of Followers (v. 67-71)
    1. Jesus questions the core disciples about their commitment
      1. Do you want to go as well?” Did they truly have commitment to Him?
      2. Would they follow the crowd and ‘no longer walk with Him?’
    2. Peter answered for them
      1. To whom shall we go? They had no other person to follow- they were committed.
      2. Peter recognized the words of Jesus brought life like no other message ever had
      3. Peter and the disciples believed and came to know Jesus is “the Holy One of God”- as testified in other places, Peter calls Jesus the Christ, the Holy One of God (Matt. 16:16; Mark 8:29; Luke 9:20).
    3. They had believed
      1. Not just a mental understanding- not just knowing about Jesus, but having trusted Christ for the salvation of their souls... Becoming followers- committed, devoted and regarded as slave to Christ (slave [in this sense]: a servant who has given up his will to live solely for his Master’s will).  Emptied out of them selves and filled with Christ living through them.
      2. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2.20 ESV)
    4. Jesus even knew who was a fan among the core disciples, His betrayer
      1. Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him.” (John 6:70-71 ESV)
      2. Jesus was never deceived about a persons true motivations during His ministry, He knows ‘the reasoning of men’s hearts’ (Luke 9.47)
    5. Where do we stand? Are you a fan of a follower?
      1. Are you a fan?
        1. A FAN: expects Jesus to share a place in his heart
        2. A FAN: is like a man who pledges himself to a woman, but not exclusively 
          2. Or do you go whoring around with the charlatans of this world? (See Israel’s track record in the Old Testament- especially the book of Hosea)
          3. Is there even a question to whom you are devoted?
          4. Does Jesus occupy the throne of your heart or did you put Him on a futon or a hide-a-bed?
        3. A FAN: is one whose devotion is conditional, as long as something better does not come along
        4. A FAN: will turn when things get difficult (ever see a team get booed by their own fans?)
        5. A FAN: can throw off their allegiance as quick as throwing of a jersey) when the Bucs play poorly, is it tempting to toss the jersey onto the floor?
      2. Are you a follower?
        1. A FOLLOWER: gives Jesus control of his life
        2. A FOLLOWER: looks to none other than Jesus exclusively (the world’s enticements do not sway him
        3. A FOLLOWER: has unconditional devotion- even unto death:

          I Always Have Jesus Before My Eyes
          John Stanescu-Romania-1960’s
          (from the Jesus Freaks Devotional Book)
          The Russian colonel entered the cell carrying the cane used for beating prisoners. As director of the slave labor camp, he had been informed that someone had dared to preach the Gospel. “Who is the culprit?” he demanded. When no one responded, he said, “Well, then all will be flogged.”
          He started at one end of the cell. Soon the air was filled with the usual yelling and tears. When he came to Stanescu, he said, “Not ready yet? Strip this minute!” As he stood up, the Romanian deacon John Stanescu replied, “There is a God in heaven, and He will judge you.” With this, John’s fate was sealed. Everyone knew he would surely be beaten to death. There was a sudden hush.
          At that moment, a guard entered saying, “Colonel Albon, you are called urgently to the office. Some high-ranking generals have come from the Ministry.” The colonel left, saying to Stanescu, “We will see each other again soon.” However, things did not turn out as the colonel had planned. Communists hate and often jail each other for no reason, and the generals had come that day to arrest the colonel! After an hour, Colonel Albon was back in the cell, this time as a prisoner.
          Many inmates jumped at him to lynch him. But Stanescu jumped to his defense, shielding the defeated enemy with his own body. He received many blows himself as he protected the torturer from the flogged prisoners. Stanescu was a real priest, a royal priest. 
          A Christian prisoner later asked him, “Where did you get the power to do this?” He replied, “I love Jesus ardently. I always have Him before my eyes. I also see Him in the enemy. It is Jesus who keeps them from doing even worse things. The grace of God brings about His blessings in the spiritual and material realms. As His children, we do not have to be buffeted about by all the torments that afflict the world. Even when trouble comes, the sunlight of God is shining, and there is peace within us.”

        4. A FOLLOWER: takes Jesus’ words seriously
          1. WHEN HE SAYS: “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2.10 ESV) We are prepared to suffer for His sake.  We will endure ridicule and physical beatings; we will willingly surrender our possessions and even our lives if necessary.  
          2. CHRISTIANS IN IRAN ARE FACING THIS NOW: Since the international pressure to spare Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has increased on Iran, they are raiding underground churches and arresting Christians with more fervency.  What if it became illegal to serve Christ here? How would we react?
          3. WHEN HE SAYS: “Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14.25-26 ESV) Is our devotion to Christ so great that our other relationships seem like hatred in comparison? AND THE NEXT VERSE...
          4. WHEN HE SAYS: “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:27 ESV)  Are we willing to take up the cross of Christ in our lives? COUNTING THE COST OF FOLLOWING HIM?
          5. WHEN HE SAYS: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13.13-35 ESV) It means we need to show love for one another unconditionally.  It does not mean ignoring sin, but correcting and reproving when necessary; encouraging and lifting up when needed; Stepping in front to shield when appropriate- protecting others’ dignity and their general well-being.
      3. Interference (defined in sports as: “Illegal obstruction or hindrance of an opposing player, such as hindrance of a receiver by a defender in football, hindrance of a fielder by a base runner in baseball, or checking a player not in possession of the puck in ice hockey.”)
        1. In sports it is illegal to interfere with an opponent
          1. Fans consider it off limits for Jesus to interfere with their lives
          2. Fans do not want any directions or inconvenience from Jesus except- POSSIBLY (not always)- on Sunday mornings
        2. Would you allow Jesus to interfere with your life?
          1. Can He change your direction?
          2. Does He have free reign in your life to change your way of thinking?
          3. Will you accept new desires? “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37.4 ESV)  God gives new desires, not just what you desire!
          4. CAN JESUS PUT YOU IN A PLACE THAT WILL HARM YOU, BUT GLORIFY GOD AND YOU STILL ACCEPT IT?  John Stanescu said YES! Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani is saying YES! Stephen (Acts 6-7) said YES! If it comes to you to do the same, is Jesus important enough for you to say “YES!”?
III. The Fan versus the Follower (Examination Time)
    1. The fans in John 6.60-66 deserted Jesus because they did not like His words.  Some today will not like the Word of God and will try to fit His Word into their little, carnal box.  
      1. St. Paul’s “church” in Clearwater: accepted so many perversions that they openly welcome them with all sorts of letters- we are probably familiar with LGBT’s meaning, but this so-called “church” adds about six other letters.  Despite God’s Word warning about sin that excludes from the Kingdom of Heaven, they celebrate these things and reject His Word.  They are not alone. They have long ago stopped walking with Jesus.
      2. On the other end of the spectrum is the Westboro Baptist Church- the ones who protest soldiers’ funerals and some homosexual events.  They parade around with signs saying “God hates fags” or “Thank God for dead soldiers”.  They violate God’s Word in there hatred and blasphemies.  They have long ago stopped walking with Jesus.
      3. Still others just cannot be inconvenienced with the idea of sacrificing.  Or being told what to do by God.
    1. The followers in John 6.67-71 were committed to Christ (except for Judas)
      1. The 11 who were true followers followed under threat of death- 10 of them were killed for Christ.  Only John died of natural causes.
      2. They were the ones Jesus used to build His church as we see in the book of Acts and in Church History.
      3. They gave all for Jesus because they were totally committed.  
      1. If you are a fan, now is the time to come to Jesus.  To surrender yourself- EVERYTHING.
      2. Jesus never once called for fans.  He only called FOLLOWERS.
      3. If you are neither a fan nor a follower, but the Holy Spirit is convicting you- you feel  like He is drawing you to respond to this message--- come and be a follower of Christ.  You never have to be just a fan.

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