Choose to Follow Christ!

The Gospel of John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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When we choose to follow Christ... 1. We will avoid the disaster of disbelief (vs. 1-7). 2. We will see the goodness of God (vs. 5-7). 3. We will trust in the Lord’s timing (vs. 6-8). *So choose to follow Christ! (vs. 9-13).

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Choose to Follow Christ!

The Gospel of John

John 7:1-13

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - November 9, 2016

(Revised August 19, 2019)


*Please open your Bibles to John chapter 7. Before we begin to explore this chapter, notice that it begins by saying:

1. After these things Jesus walked in Galilee; for He did not want to walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill Him.

2. Now the Jews' Feast of Tabernacles was at hand.

*"After these things Jesus walked in Galilee," that is, after He had fed the five thousand with five loaves and two fish, after He had that long conversation at Capernaum about being the Bread of Life, and after many more things John did not report.

*There is a time gap here in John's Gospel between chapters 6 and 7. Bible scholars estimate that it was months long, based on the 6-month time period between the second Passover of Christ's ministry and this last Feast of the Tabernacles. (1)

*We will go into very interesting detail about this feast when we get to "the last day, that great day of the feast" in John 7:37. But right now, it's important to stress that John went into great detail about the events that centered around this Feast of the Tabernacles. John Phillips tells us that this part of John's Gospel stretches from John 7:1 all the way to John 10:21. (2)

*It's a mystery how the Holy Spirit led the different Gospel writers to include different events in the Lord's ministry. And we can't be sure how that worked. But we can be sure about the most important things of God! He always knows what He's doing, and He always does the right thing! We can also be sure that the Holy Spirit of God inspired those chosen men to write exactly what God wanted us to know.

*We can be sure that there is more than enough spiritual food for us here in God's Word! More than enough for us to be saved, more than enough to show us how to live. And Christians: There is more than enough to feed our souls until the Lord takes us home to Heaven.

*It's also sure that the cross of Christ is now 6 months away, because the Feast of the Tabernacles was midway between the Passover Feasts. And it is sure that everyone should choose to follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

*With this background in mind, let's read John 7:1-13, and as we read, please think about following Jesus.


*Who are you following these days? It makes all the difference in the world. Stephen Fournier told about a night when his mother-in-law was driving home in a nasty storm. It was one of those blinding rains like we get around here from time to time. It was super hard for her to see. But she could just make out the tail lights on the car ahead, so, she followed as closely as she could.

*All of sudden the car in front of her came to stop. She began wonder what had happened. And she was real nervous, because of course, stopping in the middle of the road can cause a wreck.

*Much to her alarm the car in front turned off their lights! Now she was getting mad. Why in the world did he do that? Then, there was a tap on her window. And there was a man standing in the pouring rain wanting to speak to her.

*She cracked open the window and said, "What’s the problem?" The man said he wanted to ask her the same thing.

*She said, "I’m not the one who stopped in the middle of the road and turned off the lights." He said, "Lady, you’re not in the road. You’re in my driveway." (3)

*Stephen’s mother-in-law was following the wrong leader. That will always take us to the wrong place, and this is especially true when it comes to spiritual matters. Everyone should choose to follow the right leader, the only perfect leader: Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!


*Most of the people in this passage were unbelievers, and the Lord helps us to see the disaster of their disbelief.


*We see this truth in the Lord's brothers who at this point did not believe that their older brother Jesus was the promised Christ and Savior of the world. Verses 1-5 say:

1. After these things Jesus walked in Galilee; for He did not want to walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill Him.

2. Now the Jews' Feast of Tabernacles was at hand.

3. His brothers therefore said to Him, "Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing.

4. For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.''

5. For even His brothers did not believe in Him.

*Jesus’ brothers were trying to get Him to go to Jerusalem for the feast. And on the surface, their arguments seemed logical, but the Lord knew their hearts. Jesus knew that they didn’t believe in Him. That's why they were sort of daring Him to show up in Jerusalem and do something big. They were trying to manipulate the Lord.

*The devil did the same thing when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness. Matthew 4:1-11 says:

1. Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

2. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.

3. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.''

4. But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.' ''

5. Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple,

6. and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: 'He shall give His angels charge concerning you,' and, 'In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.'''

7. Jesus said to him, "It is written again, 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'''

8. Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.

9. And he said to Him, "All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.''

10. Then Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.'''

11. Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

*Just like the devil, the Lord's brothers were trying to manipulate Jesus. And sometimes we might try to manipulate the Lord for our own selfish ends. But that is certainly the wrong thing to do.

*At the same time though, we can ask God for our heart’s desires. We can ask God for big things, because God wants to do big things in our lives! And our faith-filled prayers touch the heart of Heaven.


*As Jesus talked to His brothers in vs. 6-7, He mentioned this evil hatred:

6. Then Jesus said to them, "My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready.

7. The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil.

*The unbelieving world hates Jesus Christ. And the main way they manifest that hatred today is by hating the Lord's followers. On the night before the cross, Jesus told us they would hate us. In John 15:17-21, Jesus said:

17. "These things I command you, that you love one another.

18. If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.

19. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

20. Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

21. But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me."


*Unbelief can ultimately lead to murder. We see this truth back up in vs. 1, where God's Word says, "After these things Jesus walked in Galilee; for He did not want to walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill Him.

*The Christ-rejecting Jewish rulers in Jerusalem had been wanting and plotting to kill Jesus for about 6 months. Back in chapter 5 Jesus healed a man who had been terribly sick for 38 years. But Jesus healed that pitiful man on the Sabbath Day. This miracle broke the man-made religious laws of the Jews, and the penalty for breaking that ridiculous law was death. But the Jewish rulers wanted to kill Jesus even more, because He called God His Father. And that was making Himself equal with God.

*The Bible gives us the details in John 5:5-18:

5. Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years.

6. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, "Do you want to be made well?''

7. The sick man answered Him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.''

8. Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your bed and walk.''

9. And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath.

10. The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, "It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.''

11. He answered them, "He who made me well said to me, 'Take up your bed and walk.'''

12. Then they asked him, "Who is the Man who said to you, 'Take up your bed and walk'?''

13. But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place.

14. Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.''

15. The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.

16. For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath.

17. But Jesus answered them, "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.''

18. Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.

*Two thousand years ago, the unbelievers murdered Jesus. Today they murder His followers. During the Chinese Boxer Rebellion of 1900, rebels captured a mission station. They placed a cross flat on the ground in front of the open gate.

*Then they passed the word that anyone who trampled on the cross could go free, but anyone refusing would be shot. Terrified, the first seven students trampled on the cross, and they were allowed to go free.

*But the eighth student, a young girl, refused to deny Jesus. Kneeling beside the cross, she prayed for strength. Then, she got up, moved carefully around the cross, and went out to face the firing squad. Strengthened by her example, all of the other 92 students followed her to the firing squad. May God give us that kind of faith! (4)


*Verses 5-7 point us to the Lord's goodness. Here again, God's Word says:

5. . . Even His brothers did not believe in Him.

6. Then Jesus said to them, "My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready.

7. The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil.


*Verse 7 shows us that Jesus shines the light on evil, and that’s why the world hates Him. The Lord's holiness and purity stand in stark contrast to the wicked ways of this world. And if that weren’t enough, He testifies that the works of the world are evil.


*Verse 5 tells us that Jesus' brothers did not believe in Him. But think how the Lord treated them. Jesus' brother James is our best example. Jesus didn’t give up on James. The Lord was patient and kind to him. And 1 Corinthians 15:7 tells us that after Jesus rose again from the dead, He made a special appearance to James.

*And so, the Lord's brother James got saved. Then in Acts 15, we see James as a leader of the church in Jerusalem. On top of that, James had the privilege of writing a book for the New Testament. It's the wonderful, power-packed little book that bears his name.

*All of this reminds us that God is not through with us yet! Through Jesus Christ we have great potential, possibility and purpose! And all of this happens because our Lord is patient and kind.

*Jesus goes all the way to save us. He even went to the cross for us! So, we must believe in the goodness of God! Believe that Jesus was nailed to the cross for our sins, believe that 3 days later, Jesus broke the bonds of death! And believe that His unseen Hand is at work in our lives every day. Then, like Jesus' brother James, we must seek to fully follow the Lord, and grow in God's grace.


*God always does the right thing at the right time, and vs. 6-8 remind us of this great truth:

6. Then Jesus said to them, "My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready.

7. The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil.

8. You go up to this feast. I am not yet going up to this feast, for My time has not yet fully come.''

*The original Greek word for "time" in these verses is "kairos." Kairos is the proper time, the right time, a time of special opportunity. It includes the idea of "God’s special time." And God has "kairos" times for us.

*As George Mueller once said, "The stops of a good man, as well as his steps are ordered by the Lord" But that can be hard to see when we are going through a crisis, and even when we're stuck in traffic for an hour or two. (5)

*Sometimes we are like the sparrow Mark Reed told about. One day, Mark was eating lunch at a café, and he saw a sparrow hop through the open door. Then the bird began to peck at the crumbs near Mark's table.

*Mark said, "When the crumbs were gone, the sparrow hopped to the window ledge, spread its wings and took flight. Brief flight. It crashed against the windowpane and fell to the floor. The bird quickly recovered and tried again. Crash. And again, crash.

*I got up and tried to shoo the sparrow out the door, but the closer I got, the harder it threw itself against the windowpane. I nudged it with my hand. That sent the sparrow fluttering along the ledge, hammering its beak at the glass.

*Finally, I reached out and gently caught the bird, folding my fingers around its wings and body. It weighed almost nothing. I thought of how powerless and vulnerable the sparrow must have felt. At the door I released it, and the sparrow sailed away. As I did with the sparrow, God takes us captive only to set us free. (6)

*Church: You may feel like God is holding you down or holding you back. But God has special times for you!


*So choose to follow Christ!

*In vs. 9-13, people were trying to decide about Jesus:

9. When He had said these things to them, He remained in Galilee.

10. But when His brothers had gone up, then He also went up to the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.

11. Then the Jews sought Him at the feast, and said, "Where is He?''

12. And there was much murmuring among the people concerning Him. Some said, "He is good''; others said, "No, on the contrary, He deceives the people.''

13. However, no one spoke openly of Him for fear of the Jews (i.e. the Jewish leaders).

*Many of the people were trying to decide about Jesus. And today we also have to make a choice. It's the most important choice we will ever make. It's the choice that determines how we will live in this life, and where we be forever. It's the choice between an eternity in Heaven, or eternity in hell.

*In vs. 12, "Some said, 'Jesus is good'; others said, 'No, on the contrary, He deceives the people.''' Well, Jesus Christ is good! In fact, He is the only perfect man who has ever lived.

*But we have to understand that Jesus is much, much more than a good man. He is the Almighty, eternal Son of God who humbled Himself to become a man. Jesus Christ did that to reveal God to us, to die on the cross for our sins, and to conquer death forever. Jesus is infinitely more than just a good man.

*C. S. Lewis put it so well when he wrote: "I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him." That is: "'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.'

*That is one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic -- on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg -- or he would be the devil of hell.

*You must make your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us." (7)

*Choose to follow Christ! Believe in Jesus and receive Him as the Lord and Savior of your life. Then make up your mind to follow the Lord every day. He will never steer you wrong.

*Would you please bow for prayer.

(1) Sources:

-JOHN GILL'S EXPOSITION OF THE BIBLE by Dr. John Gill, D.D. - 1697-1771 - Published in 1746-1766, 1816 - John 7:1

-BELIEVER'S BIBLE COMMENTARY by William MacDonald - Edited by Arthur Farstad - Thomas Nelson Publishers - Nashville - Copyright 1995 - "The Son of God's Third Year of Ministry: Jerusalem" - John 7:1-10:39 - "Jesus Rebukes His Brothers" - John 7:1-9

-WORD PICTURES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT by Archibald Thomas (A. T.) Robertson - Published in 1930-1933 - John 7:1

-EXPLORING THE GOSPELS: JOHN by John Phillips, Kregal Publications, Grand Rapids - "The Animosity of His Family" - John 7:1-10

(2) EXPLORING THE GOSPELS: JOHN by John Phillips, Kregal Publications, Grand Rapids - "His Deity in Focus" - John 10:22-42

(3) SermonCentral sermon "The Road To Jerusalem" by Stephen Fournier - Matthew 21:1-11

(4) "Today in the Word" - February 1989, p. 17 - Source: - Persecution

(5) Sources:

(6) Mark Reed, Camarillo, California. "Leadership," Vol. 15, no. 1 - Source: The Bible Illustrator: Topic: Liberty - Index: 2134-2136 - Date: 7/1998.2300 - Title: Freedom Through Captivity

(7) SermonCentral illustration contributed by Joel Smith - SOURCE: C.S. Lewis, "Mere Christianity", pp. 55-56

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