Home Media Sermons by Pastor Nicki Coertze Series 12 The all sufficient bread of life . Stop grumbling. Eat your food

. Stop grumbling. Eat your food


http://12d38d224c2abe5fa63a-1db4ec0fed747b962fac0a483e2c9d9e.r18.cf2.rackcdn.com/C84E2F60-DBC3-44E9-99F2-E57AC888B551.jpgJohn 6:41-47 (ESV) 41 So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 43 Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— 46 not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.”



This title ‘stop grumbling, eat your food’ has nothing to with – eat your physical food, so nobody must come to me afterwards and say ‘Nicki, stop grumbling eat your Brussel sprouts’. Obviously my title is going to drive us to verse 47 next week where Jesus says “he who believes”, or “believe”. So in essence I could have entitle my message “stop grumbling, believe”.


Let’s get everybody back on track where we have gone with John 6 for my last two sermons. You will remember that Jesus was followed by this crowd of diligent seekers who eventually found Him on the West Side of Galilee near to the city of Capernaum. Here they engage Jesus in conversation most probably in the Synagogue according to verse 59. Jesus exposed their true motives. On the surface they seemed like diligent seekers but Jesus knew their hearts and He showed them clearly that they were self-driven, bread-driven and material-driven seekers, nothing else. They wanted bread that spoils instead of believing in the bread that satisfies the soul that comes down from heaven. So before Jesus exhorted them to trust in Him for salvation He first of all exposed their true hearts.


These supposed diligent seekers were in every way like seekers today – they ask for signs and when they get it they want more, they do not understand the real purposes and claims of Christ but in the midst of this hopeless picture Jesus rests on a true doctrine of salvation and that is that salvation is not the work of man, but that God’s grace guarantees that an elect people will be given by God the Father to Jesus Christ and that they will believe in Him and be saved.  Now this very teaching of Christ which shows their human inability, contrasted with God’s ability and the guarantee that He will draw men and give them to Christ is maybe one of the most offensive doctrines that any pastor can teach. It is a doctrine that invokes questions, draws out arguments and causes grumbling.


It was true with Christ then and it is true today that when the doctrines of the natural depravity of man and God’s unconditional election are preached people get their backs up.  I was exactly like that. When I was in my natural state and even for a while after being saved I was offended by the very thought that salvation is entirely in the hands of God?  Surely I must go to hell because I am a sinner by choice and therefore I need to be saved because I am a Christian by choice.


Guess what? Man is going to hell because he is a sinner in Adam and by choice and man will go to heaven when he is in Christ, and decides for Christ, but you cannot decide for Christ according to our text unless the Father draws you. Your free will to choose Christ has been dead and your natural will is in alienation towards God. This I did not understand. It offended me that God could make the choice of whom He will save by the work and the merits of His own Son?  And so daily this doctrine invokes grumbling and arguments when as an actual fact it should be one of the most freeing doctrines of all doctrines.


Spurgeon obviously had fun with this in his church as well. On March 7th, 1858, Charles Spurgeon preached a sermon on John 6:44 entitled, “Human Inability”. He makes an interesting statement in his introduction where he says: “Coming to Christ, though described by some people as being the very easiest thing in all the world, is in our text declared to be a thing utterly and entirely impossible to any man, unless the Father shall draw him to Christ.  It shall be our business, then, to enlarge upon this declaration.  We doubt not that it will always be offensive to carnal nature, but, nevertheless, the offending of human nature is sometimes the first step towards bringing it to bow itself before God. And if this be the effect of a painful process, we can forget the pain and rejoice in the glorious consequences.” So we need to agree with Spurgeon that this is a difficult text for various reasons.


Rest assured my friends, there are many things difficult to understand. There are mysteries in the text before us, and I can never resolve all the mysteries for you. There are some paradoxes on the sovereignty of God, which we need to leave to God to know exactly how it works. They are profound and as soon as we figure them out they have lost their full profoundness.


So for those of you who find it simple and easy to understand – bless you, and for the rest who find it profound and difficult – join the club.


Let’s march on. Last week we saw the question they asked and then we saw Christ’s answer. Today we are going to look at their response to the answer of Christ and then to Christ’s response to their grumbling.


Point 1. The natural man’s response to Jesus.

John 6:41-42 (ESV) 41 So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”


The first thing that we see here is the rebellious response of the Jews to what Jesus has been teaching.  And in their response we see the response of all men if they are left to themselves.  This isn’t something rare; this is the universal response to Jesus apart from God’s effectual grace.  Unless the Lord opens the heart it is closed to the truth about Jesus. Rising out of the text we once again see three characteristics of unbelievers as expressed in this crowd.

1.1 They were a proud people.

Verse 41 says that the Jews began to grumble. Jesus as the son of Joseph, the one whose father and mother they knew did not fit their estimation and they grumble. Now they saw the miracles, so why would they doubt? At the root of man’s heart always is pride that leads to agitation with the demands of Christ and turns him into a scoffer rather than a believer.  According to verse 59 this whole discussion is taking place at the Synagogue. Now these were learned Jews, Jews who knew the Old Testament, Jews who understood the law and Jews that knew all about Moses.


Now these Jews are confronted at the very centre of their own pride and their own knowledge. They have been listening to Jesus but they are not affected unto repentance and faith. They saw themselves as the authorities and judges of what was being taught and how it was taught.  It is what they know, that determines truth, and they knew He was the son of Joseph and Mary. They wanted physical bread and their judgment of Jesus would be based on His ability to provide that. However, He now comes and says that He is the bread and that He came down from heaven. What an insult to their knowledge and pride. If Christ did things their way it would stimulate their pride. Just think how they could go around and say Jesus is our King and man, He is greater than Moses was to our forefathers because He gives us bread every day. But their sinful hearts caused them to murmur when Jesus did not play the game their way.


Is this not true of all men? The will, the mind, the rationality and the reasoning of man has been poisoned and corrupted by sin. If left to his own power he is hopelessly prejudiced against God and Christ and all spiritual truth because of his sinful nature, because of the sinful bent of his wicked heart. And the place where this is all chiefly manifested is in man’s pride.  He is a pitiful creature in his lost condition and the greatest manifestation of his terrible condition is that he doesn’t naturally see it or sense it.


I don’t know who said the following but I love the quote as it explains just how deceived man is. “Man feels powerful when he is pitiful.  He feels wise when he is foolish.  He feels safe when he is in great danger.  He feels self-sufficient when he is in absolute need.  He feels righteous and noble when he is wicked and in need of salvation.  He feels puffed up when he should be bowed down low before God.  In a word, man is deceived.” That there would ever be an opposition party to the Son of God is just a small picture of the fact that the entire world is an opposition party to the Son of God. It is amazing arrogance that the creature that is deserving of judgment and on its way to judgment would spurn the love and mercy of the creator, and debate with Him and quiz Him and question Him as if He has to account to them.


And sadly, even when we are saved, we have potential to display that pride on a daily basis, and we often eclipse His glory. Let me give you one example. Johnny Mc Humble says: “God is so good, by His grace and grace alone He did the following for me”. Mary Mc Pride, that dear old Scottish lady responds: “It is because I prayed for you that this happened.” How often don’t you hear this kind of statement? It sounds so godly, but it is filled with so much pride. Sadly these people never own up, when things don’t work out. For example: “I passed my exam with distinction” --- “oh it is because I prayed for you.” “I failed my exam”: Silence ………………. Pride is at the centre, even with so many believers.


1.2  They were an agitated people.


And in their pride, they are offended.  They are agitated and murmuring and grumbling and muttering which expresses their agitation. I see this even in the church today, that when Christ makes demands for obedience, people grumble. They were offended by Christ when the word of God clearly says in Luke 7:23 (ESV) 23 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” The word offended’ comes from the Greek word   skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} ("scandalize") It literally means to put a stumbling block in the way over which someone may trip. Sadly Christ became a stumbling block to them and they missed out on the greatest blessing.


But take note, Christ was not a stumbling block when He gave them bread, He was not a stumbling block when He healed their sick, but as soon as He started making definitive statements about who He is and what He wants out of people, automatically men just move away.  Unbelief comes from that, not the deeds of Christ, but from the definitive claims of Christ when He says, "I am that bread," "I came down from heaven," and they stumble over Christ and walk away.


But again, this is not just true of the Jews.  This is true, universally, of the natural man. He is not offended at a Jesus of his own making, a Jesus that accords with his own comfort zone.  Jesus the social worker, Jesus the healer, Jesus the bread giver, even Jesus the teacher of moral standards doesn’t bother him.  But Jesus the Saviour, Jesus the Lord, Jesus the bread from heaven is someone whom the natural man finds unacceptable and UNDESIRABLE. Even today where the gospel is faithfully preached you will sometimes see wagging heads, and rolling eyes, and a heart that finds the message agitating. This agitation is sinful, and Jesus rebukes it.  “Stop your murmuring.”


1.3  They were a scoffing people.


Why are they grumbling?  They are offended because of the claims that He makes about Himself.  He has claimed to be someone who came down from heaven. Here is an amazing thing.  They were willing to believe in Jesus on some level. They already said that they saw Him as the prophet who had come into the world. They already were ready and willing to make Him their king. They already acknowledged that there is something clearly different about this man, and that supernatural things are taking place at His hands. They were just like Nicodemus in John 3:2 (ESV) “2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.”


But where these people “spit on the ground in disgust”, is when Jesus tells them the truth about His nature, and His identity. As soon as Jesus tells them that He is divine, that He pre-existed before He made His appearance on earth and that He came down from heaven they become agitated and they scoff. The reason: They viewed Jesus according to the flesh. They saw Him as the son of Joseph and according to their estimates the son of Joseph cannot be divine.


Is this not still the case today? The world is willing to acknowledge many things about Jesus, Jesus the moral example, Jesus the great teacher, Jesus the prophet, Jesus the influential man and Jesus the miracle worker. But what the world will not acknowledge is that Jesus was God in human flesh, that Jesus was God’s chosen sacrifice to pay for the sins of those whom He would save, that Jesus died as a substitute for sinners, that Jesus rose from the dead bodily and that Jesus is alive and saves sinners who come to Him, by faith, for eternal life.


Sadly there are even theologians today who view Jesus in the flesh. Some say He cannot be born of a virgin as it is biologically impossible. He cannot be raised from the dead that is scientifically impossible, God could not have created everything as is – let’s rather ask Darwin, he as an atheist knows better.  Jesus cannot be returning on the clouds and every eye will behold Him, that is humanly impossible, and so the list goes on. And so today the world and sadly many theologians join the choir and say that Jesus was just a man, the son of a carpenter, the son of Joseph and Mary. Do you realize that this was precisely what changed in Paul’s life when he was saved? 2 Corinthians 5:16 (ESV) “16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.”


So this illustrates the common treatment of Jesus not only in those days, but, you know, today men treat Christ the same way.  They reject Christ because they feel no need of Him, because they are too smug, too indifferent, too self-centred, and too self-righteous to think they have need of anything.  And like those Jews, when men today are faced and confronted with the claims of Jesus Christ, they still grumble, they still mutter, they still mock in whispers of unbelief. Now we will see more of Christ’s response next week, but we need to touch on it somewhat today.


Point 2. The response of Jesus to the natural man.


How does Jesus respond? John 6:43-45 (ESV)43 Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—“

2.1  He rebukes their grumbling.


He doesn’t go into a detailed defence of His claims, or even respond to their scoffing.  He has stated the truth and now He restates it with a bit of emphasis: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” and that is enough.  But He rebukes them for their grumbling because it is the sinful response of the unbelieving heart.


2.2  He reveals their only hope


But He goes further and reveals the only hope that any man has to recognize Jesus for who He really is. I don’t want to elaborate on it now as this will be next week’s sermon, but two things need to happen and this is man’s only hope. The Father must draw them and the Father must teach them. When a person comes to the Lord Jesus Christ honestly, genuinely, earnestly seeking to know the truth, that person will know the truth.

Question: Why would Jesus introduce the idea of election in the context of their lack of understanding and lack of belief? These would be words of encouragement to believers who were trying to witness to unbelievers.  I could see the Lord saying, don’t be troubled, those who are chosen will come.  But why would you speak it to the unbelievers themselves?

I believe the answer is this: Firstly, I believe that Jesus is making plain that He isn’t troubled by their unbelief.  He is grieved by it on some level, (like weeping over Jerusalem), but He isn’t surprised by it, nor is He detoured by it, nor does He need their confirmation to be who He is.  This strikes at their pride. There is an attitude on the part of the Jewish leaders that THEY are the doors to Israel, that THEY are the way in and out of the fold. Jesus has already made plain that HE IS, and that His sheep will hear His voice and follow Him.  There is nothing that the Jewish leaders can do about that, and indeed they should desire and long to be His sheep.


Secondly, I believe God would use these words, perhaps, in an effectual way to draw men to His Son.  All those whom the Father teaches will come to the Son of God.  Next week we will return and hear our Lord as He tells us what the only hope for sinners is, in coming to Him for life.



What is your response to the biblical Jesus? Are you proud and you see no need for Him? Are you agitated? Do you find His claims unbelievable? Do you realize that you are not in a position of strength if these are your attitudes?  Do you realize that you are actually in great need and in great danger?  And what is your only hope?  It is that the Father would teach you about his Son, and would open your heart and draw you to Jesus.


Have you been taught by the Father?  Do you desire to be taught by the Father?  Are you willing to be taught by the Father?  If a man taught by God comes to Jesus, what is he taught?  What will he see in Jesus?  What is there in this internal instruction, what vision is given of Jesus that insures that a man will come? Have you come? Do you want to come?

Make sure that you are here next week as we continue with this topic.



Soli Deo Gloria

Logos Community Church:  08 October 2015