Can’t Or Won’t? – III

July 6, 2016

John 6:60, 66-69

(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)

We are back again to the series, Can’t Or Won’t! – the idea that we always have a choice concerning following Jesus Christ as our Lord!  The Scripture is John 6:60, 66-69:

      Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is an
      hard saying; who can understand it?”…From that time many of His dis-
      ciples went back and walked with Him no more.  Then Jesus said to the
      twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”  Then Simon Peter answered
      Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life. 
      Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son
      of the living God.”

Jesus greatly reduced the number of His followers – from thousands to twelve!  The thousands wanted Him to continue to supply free food like He had demonstrated when He fed the five thousand (see John 6:1-14).  But His mission was to offer Himself as eternal spiritual nourishment!  As He told the crowd in John 6:55, “My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.”  That bold statement turned the vast majority of the crowd away (see John 66:60, 66) – all except the twelve disciples who told Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.  Also we have come to believe…that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (John 6:68 and 69).  The crowd said, “We Can’t follow Him!”  But what they were really saying was, “We Won’t follow Him!

We have that same choice today!  He calls us to be willing to forsake all that we have – all that we are – and follow Him completely! (See Luke 14:26, 27).  We’ve looked at that call concerning what the Scriptures tell us concerning the Bible and prayer.  Let’s look further:

•      Church (emphasis by underlining, mine) – I have met too many people who say they don’t need to come to church.  My friend who recently passed, Mitch, told me, “My best place of worship is by the river at sunrise!”  The bank of the river at sunrise may be a place of worship, but it is not Church!  (By the way, I have learned to capitalize Church when referring to the Church universal.  When it is not capitalized, it refers to the local church).

      ✞      Matthew 16:18 (Modern King James Version) – “…I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”  It is the Lord’s Church, and it cost Him His life’s blood spilled on the cross to purchase it!  So it must be very important to Him!  Should not it then be very important to us as His followers? (See also Ephesians 1:22; 3:21; 5:25; Colossians 1:18).

     ✞      Acts 2: 41, 42 – “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.  And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”  It is generally recognized among conservative scholars that the examples given us in the book of Acts are what we should be following as Christians today!  In this record of what happened at Pentecost and immediately following, the new followers of the Lord laid great importance upon the frequent gathering together as believers!  Shouldn’t we?

      ✞      I Corinthians 12:28 – “…God has appointed these in the church:  first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.”  Whether or not you agree that all the Spiritual gifts are valid for today, it is evident that God had given His gifts to the church to be used in the church for the benefit of the church! (See I Corinthians 14:4, 5, 12).

      ✞      I Timothy 3:15 – “the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”  The Church, in this Scripture, is equated with the truth!  I have met few people who claim they are not interested in discerning the truth.  Jesus tells us in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life.  If the Church is where we learn about Jesus Christ, the embodiment of the truth, how can we ever afford to neglect the Church?

     ✞      Hebrews 10:24, 25 – “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and to good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as you see the Day approaching.The Day of the Lord’s return is coming – perhaps soon!  In light of this, we are commanded to gather together frequently, to carefully look upon one another, and encourage each other in proper Christian living!

      ✞      Revelation 1:12, 13, 20 – “…I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man….the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.” Jesus is seen by John as standing in the midst of His churches.  In examining Revelation chapters 2 and 3 – although the letters to the seven Asian churches are sent to both obedient and disobedient congregations – the Lord is still in their midst!  The Church is always important to Jesus Christ!

The Bible testifies to the great importance of the Church!  Should not the Church then be important to individual followers of the Lord Jesus Christ – important enough to make it a regular part of our Christian lives?

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