Blessed are the Un-Offended: For They Are the Elect of God (John 6:60-71)

May 22, 2022 • David Schrock • John 6:60–71

If the gospel is defined as the good news about Jesus Christ, the message of his death and resurrection should be confused with "soft” news. In other words, the goodness of the gospel is not like K-Love's positive, encouraging new stories. Instead, the good news of God is a message that must deal with the hardness of the human heart and the depravity of the human race. Addressing men and women in such perilous conditions, it is not surprising that Jesus offers words that are hard. Hardened sinners need strong medicine, and Jesus words give us just what we need. Indeed, John 6 might include some of the hardest sayings of Jesus, as many of his disciples say (v. 60). As a result, many of his disciples leave (v. 66). And yet, when they leave, Jesus does not bat an eye or change his approach. Instead, he offers an off ramp to his Twelve too. What is he doing? What kind of Savior is Jesus that he is so willing to let his followers depart? What does it say about God and man that his words come across as so hard? Such questions are the ones that either push people away from Jesus and draw them close. And this Sunday we will consider these kinds of questions. From John 6:60–71, we will learn that the words of Jesus are hard. But in their firmness we will find a solid foundation on which to build our lives. Truly, in a hard world, we need something harder on which to stand. And Jesus gives us that firm foundation. If you want to walk with Jesus for all of eternity, therefore, John 6:60–69 is a passage with which you must come to grips. And this Sunday we will look at it together to bolster our faith. In preparation for Sunday, take time to read John 6 again and pray that God would give us an unswerving commitment to follow Christ, hard sayings and all. For His Glory and your joy, Pastor David --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Discussion & Response Questions: John 6:60-71 What does this text reveal about the words of Jesus? What does this teach us about belief and unbelief? About the Spirit and flesh? What distinctions would you make between the disciples who left Jesus, and the twelve? Why would Jesus teach “hard sayings” knowing that some would turn away and no longer walk with him? Many will decry giving offense, seeing anything that causes division negatively. Some will soften messages to keep people together, rather than addressing different issues. Biblically, how should we consider these things? What does biblical fidelity look like? When is division necessary, and when should unity be preserved? Consider Peter’s confession (vv. 68-69), and your confession. How did the Lord work to bring you to faith in Christ? Compare and contrast the disciples’ question in verse 60, with Peter’s question in verse 68. What makes the difference between them? How is it that Peter is able to confess these things? How do we see Father, Son, and Spirit working in this text? How would you describe Jesus from this text? How should we respond to these truths?

More from John

John 8:31-47

June 26, 2022 • David Schrock • John 8:31–47

In the context of a court case, God’s children and God’s enemies debate liberty, the source of life, and their implications for living. This week in America, this description well-fits the much prayed for decision to overturn Roe v Wade. For that decision, we give thanks to God and we consider now, what further steps can be taken to protect life in our county, our state, and our country. At the same time, this description of a courtroom debate over liberty fits the debate between God’s Son and the children of Satan who oppose his life-giving message. In John 8, Jesus sifts the “believers” to find out who they really are. Are they children of God? Or are they children of the devil? Indeed, going back to the beginning, there has been a cosmic battle between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. And in John 8:31–47 Jesus gives the definitive explanation of this reality. That is to say, he will tell us how to know if we are children of God or not. Even more, Jesus words in John 8 will give us light to understand the darkness around us. When advocates of abortion threaten death and destruction to those who are standing for life, we need to know that something more than a courtroom decision is prompting such rage. There are spiritual forces at work. The devil and his lies are animating such hostility. And this Sunday, we will see from Scripture why this is and what Jesus says about it. Today, let us pray for the peace of our nation, the protection of churches and pregnancy care centers who have been threatened, and let us come to Sunday expectant that the words of Christ will give us the life and liberty we need to know how to walk in a world filled with violence. Jesus says to his true disciples, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” This is the life and liberty which God promises his people. And we need to pray that his infallible promise will continue to uphold his church, no matter what happens in the world around us. As the Lord allows, I look forward to seeing you Sunday, as we worship Christ and learn from him. For His Glory and your joy, Pastor David ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Discussion & Response Questions: John 8:31 - 47 When Jesus speaks about freedom and slavery, he is speaking on the last day of the Feast of Booths, which follows the Day of Atonement, which kicks off the year of Jubilee? How do those OT festivals inform Jesus’s words? How does Jesus speak about and contrast freedom and slavery? What is the truth that sets one free? How does one receive this freedom? What is the relationship between identity and one’s actions? God is Father, Abraham is a father, and the devil is a father. How are these contrasted in this discussion? What does this reveal about the world, the church, and the children whom God gives us? What does Jesus teach about his relationship to the Father? How should this discussion impact our self-understanding? What do we observe about who Jesus is? How ought we to respond to this text?

John 8:12-30

June 19, 2022 • David Schrock • John 8:12–30

During the Feast of Booths, the final festival on the Levitical calendar (see Lev. 23), there were two ceremonies. The first was as water pouring ceremony where waters were poured out from the temple and allowed to flow down hill. The second was a court lighting ceremony, where one of the temple precincts was lit up all night. In John 7, we saw how Jesus spoke on the last day of the festival and decreed that the Spirit he would send would fulfill the water pouring ceremony. Now, still on the last day of the festival, Jesus addresses the Pharisees and he says that he is the light of the world. This too matches the Feast of Booths and sets up a lengthy discussion about judgment, sin, and salvation. On Sunday, we will dig into this debate and with the light of Zechariah 14, we will see how Jesus, as the long awaited king, has come to bring light to the world. But instead of defining light however we choose, we will see that this light has a particular design—namely, judgment and salvation. To prepare for Sunday, take time to read Zechariah 14 and John 8. Remember, John 8:12 is best understood as coming immediately after John 7:52, which puts these two declarations about water (John 7:37-39) and light (John 8:12; cf. John 9:5) on the same day. As we will see, this is not accidental and it helps know more of Christ and how his light give us light for life, decision-making, and rendering judgment about matters that require discernment. As the Lord allows, I look forward to seeing you Sunday, when we will also begin two new Sunday School classes—one on parenting (in the sanctuary) and another on engaging culture (downstairs in Room 4). For His Glory and your joy in Jesus, Pastor David ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Discussion & Response Questions: John 8:12 - 30 1. How well do you do in making judgments? Why is it important that we have a perfect judge? 2. How does John 8:12 (“I am the light of the world”) relate to the theme of judgment that fills John 8:12–30? 3. How does the Feast of Booths provide a helpful background for John 8? 4. What were the Jews looking for, expecting, hoping for when they celebrated the festival with lights? See Zechariah 14 (esp. vv. 6–9). 5. How does Jesus bring light? What does his light do? 6. In what ways does John 8:12–8:30 continue the courtroom motif in John’s Gospel? 7. How does Jesus bear witness about himself? Why does it matter that there are two witnesses (v. 17)? 8. How does this announcement of his death (vv. 21, 28) relate to his kingship? 9. How does that light help us make decisions and judgments today? 10. How can you walk in Christ’s light? What will walking in that light produce?

John 8:1-11

June 12, 2022 • David Schrock • John 8:1–11

Reading the Bible can be difficult. It is even more difficult when our English translations say something like this: The earliest manuscripts do not include John 7:53–8:11. Have you ever noticed this editorial remark? Or given thought to what it means? Have you read what the Preface to the Bible says about this kind of thing? Or noticed other places in the Bible where manuscript questions arise? On Sunday, we will consider this passage, its absence in earlier manuscripts, and its presence in our Bibles. In our time, we will learn a little of how we got the Bible, how we can have confidence in the Bibles we hold, and what this passage in particular illustrates about Jesus Christ. To be sure, Sunday will require an extra shot of caffeine to understand some of the background information to our Bibles, something called textual criticism, but it will help us all know more about God’s word and how God brought us his Word. To prepare for Sunday, take time to read John 7–8, and if you have time, I would encourage you to read one or many of these articles on John 7:53–8:11 Timothy Miller, an article outlining different approaches to John 7:53–8:11 Daniel Wallace, “My Favorite Passage Not in the Bible" John Piper, a sermon John 7:53–8:11 Pastor David, a blogpost on this passage May the Lord open our eyes to see who he is and how he has revealed himself to us. As the Lord allows, I hope to see you Sunday. Pastor David ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Discussion & Response Questions: John 7:53 - 8:11 1. What is textual criticism? And how does it relate to John 7:53–8:11? 2. Does textual criticism strengthen or weaken our confidence in the Bible? 3. What are reasons you can trust your Bible? 4. How can we approach John 7:53–8:11? How should we treat those who disagree with us, or hold a different view? 5. Moving the text, what is the main point of John 7–9? Of John’s Gospel? Hint: See John 1:12 and 20:31. 6. How does John 7:53–8:11 illustrate key truths from John’s Gospel? 7. By this story what do we learn about God? What others truths in Scripture reinforce this picture of God in Christ? 8. What else do we learn from John 7:53–8:11 and the Gospel of John?