Sunday, June 20, 2010

MANY WILL FALL AWAY

MANY WILL FALL AWAY
A. Brother
©2010 Narrowgate Publishing


“From this time many of His disciples turned back
and no longer followed Him.”  
John 6:66

 Because some follow Jesus for the wrong reasons, they fall away.

“For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not 
believe and who would betray Him.” John 6:64

  • Some of us come to Jesus because we believe in the security He brings us.  We read His promises all the time.  We devour the promises of God—the verses that speak of His provision—the promises of food, clothing, shelter, protection, blessing, peace, contentment—the things that make us feel safe.  We may be like the ones who speak with Jesus here, demanding our bread as part of the price we ask of the Lord for following Him.  But what happens when God calls us to suffer deprivation, or we lose our security, our earthly blessings, our earthly peace?
          “I tell you the truth, you are looking for Me…
            because you ate the loaves and had your fill.”
                                                                                 John 6:26

  • Some of us may come to Jesus because we want to be part of a powerful movement.  We want to fight for a cause, to be a significant participant in something that matters.  Like these Jews who thought Christ would make their enslaved, poverty-stricken country a bigger force, and bring about the political kingdom they wanted.  But Jesus withdraws from such people, because He is not in the business of politics or power on this earth.

          “After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, ‘Surely this is
            the Prophet who is to come into the world.’  Jesus, knowing that they intended to come
            and make Him King by force, withdrew again to a mountain by Himself.”  John 6:14

  • Some of us come to Jesus because He provides us with excitement and wonder.  He does miracles, which we can see in front of us.  We call upon Him to do these miracles, because we want them, so that we can believe.  But what happens when the miracles don’t occur?  What is our faith really set on?
          “Unless you people see signs and wonders, 
           Jesus told him, “You will never believe.”
          John 4:48

The Lord Jesus told the parable of the farmer sowing his seed in Matthew 13:3-23.  He explained it in detail to His disciples, just to make sure they understood that not everyone who followed Him as a disciple would end up with Him.  He was teaching them that true disciples stick through all the hardship to the end, and don’t give up.  They don’t abandon Jesus just because they’re hungry, or they are weak and powerless politically, or they haven’t seen a sign or miracle to lift them up recently.

We must follow Jesus for the right reasons.  We must understand His call to hardship and be willing to undergo “discipline”, which comes from the same root word as disciple.  That means tough training in righteousness, and in dying to self, and in reliance only upon Christ, and His Spirit in us.  There is no room for a soft gospel, which is no gospel at all.  The good news of the Kingdom of God is for those who will respond in faith to the Father’s call to follow Christ to hell and back if necessary.

We seek Christ because the Father draws us. (John 6:37)  When Jesus spoke to the crowds in John chapter 6, He had just shown them the miracle of the loaves and the fish, and now He spoke of Himself as the bread of life.  He told these large crowds that, to be true disciples, they would now have to eat His flesh and drink His blood.

“I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you…For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.  Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood remains in Me and I in him.”  John 6:54-56

At this teaching, many left Him, even those who were called by the Father.

“On hearing it, many of His disciples said, 
‘This is a hard teaching.  Who can accept it?”
    John 6:60

Was Jesus talking about a symbolic grape juice and wafer communion service here?  No, otherwise why would these people have left?  They knew this meant something much deeper.  They sensed it meant that to follow Jesus His disciples would have to eat what He ate, the bread of suffering and affliction, and to drink what He drank, the cup of the cross.  To follow Jesus would mean trouble, and persecution, and hardship.  That’s what Jesus was saying, and that’s why the people fell away from Him.  Just because the Father has called us, doesn't remove the need for obedience.

Our Lord has never changed.  His Word has never changed.  The way men teach His Word has changed, and many of us have grown up under, or come under, teaching that ignores Christ’s Way.  He still calls us today to discipleship, and to call others to true discipleship.  The authentic call of God to come to Christ will be like the call in Acts, which the apostles gave to the disciples.

“Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening and encouraging them to remain true to the faith.  ‘We must go through many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God’, they said.”  
Acts 14:21,22

Let’s strengthen and encourage one another today to live as true disciples.  That as seeds we would fall into the ground and die, so that by obediently going through the hardships of living with Jesus Christ, many more of those the Father is calling would become disciples, would hear the Word of God and obey.  And become the type of disciples who will not just walk away from their Friend and Firstborn Brother when the going gets tough.

“And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that I shall lose none of all that He has given Me, 
but raise them up at the last day.”  John 6:39





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