After reading the text here in John, A question arose in my mind, "How do people go through the process of rejecting or accepting?" Thus the thrust of this lesson. Several corporate models were studied then made applicable for this lesson. Hope you enjoy the research. - kirk
Rejection & Acceptance
Rejection & Acceptance
A. Every teaching of Jesus is not always pleasant to the ear.
1. Rich young ruler - go sell what you have give to poor; come follow
2. Man by side of road - Let the dead bury the dead.
3. Each of us - If you love father, mother, sister, brother more than me you cannot be my disciple.
4. Matt. 23 Scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites.
5. Here in John 6 - Eat my flesh, drink my blood. - Consume my manner of living.
B. In Jn. 6:66 one reads that, ÂMany went back and walked with him no more.Â
1. Herein we find many who wanted to take Christ by force and make him
king now REJECTING and abandoning him.
2. They would accept him as being a military leader. They wanted him
to serve their purpose - to feed their army as they waged war on Rome. They wanted to recreate Jesus and his purpose in on earth.
3. In 6:53 He offered them an excuse to leave. He gave them a hard saying, a difficult task. They were not willing to eat of his spiritual bread, only the bread of war. So they walked with him no more.
C. But within this story of disappointment we find someone of rock solid faith - Peter.
1. To whom shall we go?
2. Jesus will permit you to leave in order to test your character. He
knows there will be many hard things one must endure for his cause. He knows you will fail at times, he knows that by his grace you can succeed if you remain close by his side.
D. Today, I feel I stand before an audience of people who have chosen to stand by his side.
1. We are not at all perfect, but we have not rejected him. Each of us
have disappointed him but we remain faithful. We may have stumbled, or slipped along the way, but have not turned our back on Jesus.
2. Today, I would like for us to think about why many walked with him no more by examining the process of rejecting and accepting information - pecifically Spiritual information.
II. We must realize that apostasy is contagious.
A. Like a sheep, who , if one goes astray, many will follow.
B. Why do men apostatize? Why do they turn back? Why do they stop following Jesus?
1. The reasons are multiple - Can not bear ChristÂs doctrine. Human
pride. For the sake of gain. Terrified by persecution. Unequal unions(marriages). Sensuenjoymentnts. Because of riches. Peer pressure. Spiritual laziness, et.al....
2. Many who have turned away, have said in their minds, ÂI will return
when things get better, or this gets worked out...Â Return they do, but with their hands folded across their chest and their eyes closed in death. Heb. 6:4-6.
C. We must ask ourselves, ÂIf I turn back now, how many may I lead astray today?
1. Apostasy is contagious.
III. God has always praised and blessed the faithful.
A. Because of faithfulness, Abraham was called Âthe friend of God.Â (Jas. 2:23)
B. David was known as the man after GodÂs heart (Acts 13:22).
C. The faithful churches, Smyrna & Philadelphia (Rev. 2:8ff; 3:7ff).
D. You and me (Jas. 1:12) Âwhich the Lord has promised..Â
IV. How does one go through the process of Rejecting new information.
A. Examine the crowd and make applications:
1. They donÂt understand it or the purpose for it. They did not understand JesusÂ purpose of feeding the multitude. You and I may not understand why youth dye hair green, going Gothic, tattoos, etc..Religious people reject weekly observance of LordÂs supper, simplistic worship practices because they donÂt understand their purpose.
2. Recalling Prejudices. The Jewish crowd during the time of Christ
were prejudice against every person who was not a Jew. Prejudices are taught ideals which originate from oneÂs peers. They may or may not reflect the attitude of the Divine nature. One may be taught to hate a sin simply because their peers didnÂt approve, not because God said to disapprove it. As the crowd then many today reject divine truths because peers have prejudiced their mind.
3. Harboring Preconceived notions. The crowd had preconceived ideas concerning the Christ. They assumed him to float down from the temple pinnacle announcing his beginning conquest from Roman oppression. When he didnÂt they rejected him. Today Some look about and say, ÂThe world is coming to an end because of the sign of theprognosticationtual prognosticators have no place in the church. Who gives one that information? Did the Bible tell you or me that when the world became so corrupt God would end it? Everyone has preconceived notions concerning the end of time, or about who is God, what is the church, how to worship and so forth. Some notions may be correct, but most ÂnotionsÂ are not. Preconceived notions must be abandoned or one will reject truth.
4. Lack of information. From where did those in the crowd get their information concerning Christ? Some get their world & religious view from the tabloids. Some get their spiritual guidance from sanitized sources(creeds, institutions, preacher so-in-so, radio, TV). Hosea 4:6. So many reject church doctrines because they make up their mind by consulting only one or two verses in the Bible thus rejecting his church and his teachings.
5. Lazy mental exercises - or Hasty generalizations. The crowd failed
to exercise mental discernment. All accept easy-to-comprehend material, yet reject the difficult because of a failure to exercise the mind to discernment. People base their facts on two or three examples without thorough investigation. This is the unscientific approach - start with answers, then formulate the questions to reach conclusions you desire.The CSI TV series is trying to teach us how to go about distinguishing truth from theory.
6. Appealing to that which is Familiar. The crowd was unfamiliar with the way God worked. They assumed he was only on their side. When Jesus began showing mercy and extending forgiveness to the unlovable this was unfamiliar to them. Thus they rejected him. Someone can tell you something is good for you but reject it because you are not familiar with it. If someone tells you something which is false a thousand times it is still false. However, because of repetition, you come to believe it and welcome it. Someone offers an alternate explanation and it is instantly reject because we are unfamiliar with that view or belief. Blessed is the man who is quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.
7. Inconsistency of information or ambiguity of an idea. I reject the UFO phenomenon because of the inconsistency in the stories. Some reject the Bible because of a different retelling of a spiritual event which occurs occasionally in the Gospels. Consider the discussion about salvation, Paul says it is by grace (Eph. 2:8, 9); James says it is by works (Jas.2:13-26). An untrained mind finds it hard to accept both parts - Gods which is grace, manÂs which are works.
8. Privilege. No doubt some in the crowd would notice Jesus taking the 12 apart from the rest. What was they doing? What was he telling them that he wouldnÂt tell the public? He didnÂt choose me to be part of the inner circle so IÂm going to get back at him. Information which is deemed sacred, secret, special or restricted automatically takes on greater value than that which is disclosed to all. (Censorship - people want to view or read it just because it has been censored where as if it were not censored folks would yawn at the production) Such organizations which practice closed meetings are often rejected as being cultic.
9. Lack of Sparkle. Many reject the church of our Lord because we
refuse to let our emotions control our doctrines. Emotional attachment toward an experience reinforces reluctance to change. (Try telling someone who practices rituals to stop) Feelings many times override truth. Performance over function (cramped sports car). Beauty or choreography over simplicity (I like this church because it is beautiful or music is good, presentations very entertaining). As P.T. Barnum put it, ÂThere is a sucker born every minute!Â
10. Visual presentation. What a visual presentation - eat my flesh, drink my blood. We say we must make the church appealing. Just as I was on this part of my lesson I received a call from Texas from a religious group which have acquired the skills of a Disney consultant in dramatizing Bible stories for small children on DVDs. Could not this be the problem with the church of the 21st century? We wish to make things look so good that we forget that Christianity is not all peaches and cream. However, we all have tendencies to reject a new dish based upon appearances. Whom will you pay more attention to - someone proclaiming sternly the word of the Lord or a man in an Armini suit smiling speaking in soft tones? Several years ago the rock and roll industry fashioned the ÂJesus lookÂ (long wavy hair etc..). Televangelism has recreated GodÂs preacher. If one is familiar with upscale auditorium then visits a common meeting house it may reflect upon the receptivity of the listener.
11. Contrasting. The mind exaggerates differences perhaps as a means of distinguishing items. Earlier Jesus confronted those who contrasted his teaching with that of Moses. Many will reject the original church Jesus established because they contrast it with what is known to them in their mind and then hyper inflate the differences preventing change.
12. Conformability. The crowd could not conform to JesusÂ doctrine. Dieting practices win acceptance or are rejected based upon the difficulty of the program. We each ask ourselves, ÂCan I make adjustments to this new doctrine?Â If the information is perceived as too difficult, then it cannot incorporate it into my life. This is what is happening in John 6.
V. What are some of the process one goes through when they accept new
information? How do we get to the point as Peter, ÂTo whom shall we go, thou has the
words of life.Â Where could he go? The Pharisees - legislators of the law which kills? The Stoic or Epicurean philosophers - psychobabble of the day. The rebels - to die for a lost cause? The heathen - to worship idols which speak not see not, neither hear? To the way of the world - which is the enemy of God?
Where is it that you and I go when it appears that all the world is forsaking Christ?
A. This eating his flesh and drinking his blood was just as new information to Peter as it was to those which turned away. Let us see how he accepted New information; make appl.
1. When it is made plain & Specific (or unambiguous) Jn. 6:44-45
Peter could receive the new information because he knew scripture. He could quote scripture in his preaching because he had studied scripture.
One is not drawn to God by vision, dream, or special deliverance (from accident) but solely through the study of the word. If you do not feel drawn to God, you have done so by choice. You have refused to hear his truths taught.
2. When the evidence is irrefutable 6:48 Jesus had proved his
deityship through the miracles. This evidence brought forth PeterÂs confession and can bring about ours as well.
3. When the message is Realistic (constraints faced) Peter had sat in
on the sermon on the mount. Jesus never promised us a rose garden (Matt.5:11; 1 Pet. 4:15, 16) 6:67
4. When Time restraints on his person is clearly identified (Rev.
1 Cor. 15:56) Peter knew the call to him was not a short term event.
There is no fine print in the Bible. Jesus asked us to take up the cross daily and follow him.
5. When the rewards or consequences are Measurable. Contrast, pleasurable time on earth to eternal bliss; unpleasantness of earth to
horrors of eternal damnation 6:51, 63
6. When the desired goal is Attainable 6:38 Peter couldnÂt catch
enough fish to make him happy. He could catch men! Pursuit of the worldÂs pleasures is always just a grasp away. Heaven is promised, reserved and attainable for all those who love the Lord. The subject of grace is explained over and over in scripture. (Eph. 2:8; 1 Tim. 1:15, 16)
7. When the Motivation is sincere or by proper means - 6:51 Free
get-aways are motivated by salesmanship. Insurance motivated by fear of the unknown. Why do I attempt to get people to join themselves to Christ? Numbers?Money? Am I on Commission? No, but I am on a mission! - the cross. One does not become a member of the church just because other family members are. Jesus never motivated us through vain promises, empty chatter, or visions of grandeur. His offer of rewards is the same for the one who has worked one hour as those who worked all their life (Matt. 20).
We have discussed at length why people reject or accept new information.The walk with Jesus is purely voluntary. ThereÂs no coercion involved.No one can truly walk with Jesus who walks unwillingly. What preserves one from falling? Keep humble. Be zealous in your obedience. Watch and pray. Shun profane company. Should we not cling to Jesus as Mary did the day she found him outside the tomb? And why should we not cling? The Son has the words of life - Pardon, purity, peace; wisdom, strength, consolation; love, grace, hope. To whom shall we go? To what or to whom are you clinging to?