7 40-52 Why Isn't The World Christian
liberty bible church 8/17/08 a.M.
By Tom Zobrist
“why isn’t the world christian?”
Illus. of “Helping Hand” A priest is walking down the street one day when he notices a very small boy trying to press a doorbell on a house across the street. However, the boy is very small and the doorbell is too high for him to reach.
After watching the boy’s efforts for some time, the priest moves closer to the boy's position. He steps smartly across the street, walks up behind the little fellow and, placing his hand kindly on the child's shoulder leans over and gives the doorbell a solid ring. Crouching down to the child's level, the priest smiles benevolently and asks, "And now what, my little man?" To which the boy replies, "Now we run!" If the priest would run, this certainly would be a poor testimony. Many times, people say they don’t want to be a Christian because the church is full of hypocrites. I’m not disputing that. What I do think is that many times this is not the real reason. If Christianity is true, then why do the majority of the people on the planet reject it? Is it just because Christians are bad testimonies, or is there more to it? Why isn’t the world Christian? Why do so many reject the message of the Gospel?
OPEN to the passage.
Prop. In this passage, we see why many reject Christ and His message of salvation.
Open in PRAYER.
PREVIEW the passage. We’re in the middle of a confrontation between Jesus and the religious leaders at the Feast Tabernacles, about six months prior to His crucifixion. The crowds are confused over who He is or how they should react to Him. In these events, we see why many reject Christ. First, they reject Him because…
i. THE MESSAGE OF JESUS causes separation vs. 40-44
Illus. of the response the article about COCUSA got this summer. Many positive, some negative. What’s interesting is that the author covered a Jewish camp before and got zero responses. Why so many for COCUSA? Because the message of Jesus is so divisive. It separates people. Let’s look first at…
a. Differing Opinions about Jesus
V 40a 1. Cf. 37-38 and explain.
V 40b 2. This refers to the future prophet mentioned by Moses in Deut. 18:15, 18. They were right. Jesus did fulfill that prophecy. Cf. Acts 3:22 But still, many rejected Him.
V 41a 3. Others thought that He was the Christ or Messiah. And they were right, but that idea was rejected because of Jesus’ hometown. V 41b
V 42 4. They were right again. These people seem to know more than their religious leaders about the Scriptures. According to Samuel and Isaiah, Jesus would come from the line of David and Micah predicted that He would be born in Bethlehem, David’s hometown. They were so close. If they would have done some investigation, they would have seen that indeed Jesus fulfilled all the OT prophecies. But they didn’t and so there were…
b. differing factions over jesus
V 43 1. Jesus was the source of the division by just being Himself. Illus. of sometimes when we serve God and do what He wants, we will be a source of division in a sinful culture. I.e. COCUSA When we represent Christ, there will be those that oppose and we may be a source of separation.
V 44 2. Those that opposed Him wanted to arrest Him and get rid of Him, but they didn’t. It was not yet time and God used the division among the people to allow Jesus to continue His teaching.
3. It must be noted here that many had a favorable opinion of Jesus but they failed to commit themselves to Him. Illus. of in our world there are many people that have a favorable opinion of Jesus, but they fail to personally put their faith in Jesus. To trust in Him alone may put us in a position of being divisive, because His message causes separation. Cf. Matt. 10:34
Trans. Most of the world is not Christian because THE MESSAGE OF JESUS CAUSES SEPARATION. Second, they reject Christianity because…
ii. the message of jesus is too simple vs. 45-52
Illus. of our world values education and rewards it handsomely. They struggle with something as simple as the Gospel, which cannot be earned. It must be received by grace through faith. Hard workers struggle with this concept. It is too simple. They want a religion that takes some effort. As we saw in our Scripture reading, God has made foolish the wisdom of the world. We see that here.
a. Jesus’ message is simple, yet impressive
V 45 1. The men who were sent to arrest Jesus came back without Him. How hard could it be? He’s not armed. Why didn’t they arrest Him?
V 46 2. The reason they didn’t bring Jesus in was because His message was so different. He wasn’t like the other religious leaders. Jesus was an impressive teacher. Even those that opposed Him were often impressed by Him. His message was simple, but it was delivered with power. It was impressive. Second…
b. jesus’ message is simple, yet wise
V 47 1. The Pharisees reveal their pride in this question to the officers. If they were impressed by Jesus, they must be taken in or deceived. They must be simpletons. No wise person would follow or believe in Jesus.
V 48 2. Ironically, some of the religious leaders did believe in Him. Cf. John 12:42; 19:38-39 The religious leaders were jealous of Jesus and His popularity. They continue to berate the officers.
V 49 3. The people are uneducated. They don’t know the Law. They are accursed because of their ignorance and failure to obey the Law, as described in Deut. 28:25. They couldn’t recognize Jesus as a deceiver. Once again, there is irony here. It is actually the religious leaders who are accursed because they are rejecting Jesus as Messiah. Cf. John 3:36
V 50- 4. Nicodemus had come to Jesus to investigate for himself who Jesus was back in John 3. Many believe that he
51 became a believer in Jesus. He didn’t want the religious leaders to be too hasty. If they would talk to Jesus, perhaps they too would believe.
V 52 5. They foolishly rebuffed a respected teacher. They already hated Jesus so much that reason with them was not effective. They made fun of Nicodemus saying he was from Galilee as well. No prophet comes from Galilee. Nicodemus should know this. But they missed the wisdom of the simple message of Jesus.
Most of the world is not Christian because THE MESSAGE OF JESUS CAUSES SEPARATION and because THE MESSAGE OF JESUS IS TOO SIMPLE. How are we affected by these truths?
1. We still must respond is faith to this simple message of Jesus. GOSPEL
2. Everyone who likes Jesus isn’t necessarily a believer in Jesus.
3. When we speak the message of the Bible and live the message of the Bible, it’s going to cause some separation; maybe from family, friends, etc.
Illus. of “Coach’s Rejection” In 1988, I was playing for the Seahawks against my old team, the 49ers, when I learned first-hand that there are two competing value systems. Now, I wasn’t bitter that my old team had traded me, but I wanted to beat it, all the same. Dave Krieg had been injured, and I was to start. I had a great week of practice and felt totally prepared. I entered the Kingdome in Seattle brimming with excitement. I envisioned leading my team to victory and establishing myself as the Seahawks’ starter. Coming out of the pregame meal, one of the offensive coaches put his arm around me and strongly affirmed his faith in me. “I want you to know how happy I am that you are the Seahawk quarterback. I’ve been waiting for this day.” I felt honored, valued, esteemed. This was going to be a great day! Well, we ran the ball in our first two possessions, and we didn’t gain much. On third down and eight, I threw to Hall of Famer Steve Largent. He split two defenders. There was tight coverage. I hit him right in the hands, and yet he dropped the ball. Next to Jerry Rice, Steve is, statistically speaking, the greatest receiver in history. He is also one of my best friends. But all I could do at that moment was chuckle and moan, “Steve, what’s the matter? You never drop the ball. Why are you doing this to me?” After that Steve didn’t make any mistakes. I did. In fact, I played the worst game of my life. At the end of the first half, the 49ers were ahead 28-0. Every person in the Kingdome, with the exception of my wife (and there isn’t even a witness to vouch for her), was booing me. Have you ever heard nearly sixty thousand people booing you? It’s quite an experience. As I came off the field at half-time, I knew that I might be benched. But I wasn’t defeated. Ever since I had been a small boy, my father had been drumming into my head Winston Churchill’s brave words to the students at Harrow School in the dark days of 1941: “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.” I waded through the players to find the coach who had been so supportive before the game. I wanted to discuss some offensive strategies that might turn things around in the second half. As I approached him and began, “Coach—” he turned his back on me without a word. Then he called to another quarterback, put his arm around him, and began to discuss plays he would run in the second half. Now, I understood that I was being taken out of the game. That made sense. I was hoping it wouldn’t happen, but I understood. But that coach didn’t say one word to me for the rest of the game, even though we stood next to each other on the sidelines. Nor did he say anything on Monday when we watched the game films. For about a month, there was complete rejection. He simply couldn’t deal with the fact that I hadn’t lived up to his hopes, that I hadn’t helped the team succeed. He rejected me relationally because my performance fell short. Jeff Kemp, “Rules to Live by on and off the Playing Field,” Imprimis, July, 1998, p.
When we represent Jesus in this world, we will be rejected. But unlike the rejection that Jeff Kemp experienced in this account, our coach, God, will never reject us. He knows what we are going through and will give us the strength to endure whatever comes our way. We are foreigners in this world. Many will reject the simple message of the cross. But for those that receive it, they experience freedom from sin and hope of eternal life.
“why isn’t the world christian?”
If Christianity is true, then why do the majority of the people reject it?
i. THE MESSAGE OF JESUS causes vs. 40-44
a. Differing ________________________ about Jesus
Cf. Deut. 18:15, 18; Acts 3:22
b. differing ________________________ over jesus
Cf. Matt. 10:34
ii. the message of jesus is vs. 45-52
a. Jesus’ message is simple, yet __________________
b. jesus’ message is simple, yet __________________
Cf. John 12:42; 19:38-39; Deut. 28:25; John 3:36
How are we affected by these truths?