The Consequences of Not Recognizing Jesus

John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Jesus presents a series of consequences that follow from not recognizing him.

Notes
Transcript

Introduction

I despise caution lights! I’ve often wondered if that yellow light wasn’t invented just to cause people to get caught. When it comes to caution lights, my dad told me that he missed getting his driver’s license on the first try because he ran a yellow caution light. Have you ever tried to follow someone who’s bad at rushing to get through caution lights? My dad always accuses me of doing that! One of my cousins is really bad at running caution lights when you’re following him, and so you either get way behind or get lost when you’re traveling together! Caution lights can also make you late for work. When I first got out of college the caution light in town often made me late for work because it seemed like every time I rounded the curve to cross the bridge the light would change from green to yellow. I would punch the gas to the floor and try to make it, but it never happened; I would always get caught at the stop light. (Pause) On the other hand, did you know that caution lights can save your life? One night a friend and I road our motorcycles over to watch some high school football. On the way home there was a lot of traffic and it started drizzling rain. As I was approaching a traffic light in town, my friend was around 50 yards ahead of me, the light changed from green to yellow and I quickly slowed down to stop, knowing that I could have made it through, except for the fact that there was a transfer truck that came barreling across my path. The driver in the truck could see the fact that the traffic light was going to change, and instead of waiting on the change he just kept on coming, and had he hit me it would have surely killed me on impact! So, sometimes it pays to heed a warning. Did you know that your Bible contains warnings too? That’s right, and by not paying attention to those warnings, in the end, you’ll pay the consequences. Sometimes those warnings aren’t necessarily spelled out in black and white but are implicit in the text because of the truths that are being conveyed and taught. In the fifth chapter of John’s gospel, you might say that by presenting us with information about who Jesus is, John is also implicitly giving us a warning at the same time. He’s saying, “Look, this is who Jesus is, now repent and believe!” Now, when you don’t pay attention to a warning, either implicit or not, you eventually pay the consequences, and have you noticed that often consequences start out fairly small, but the farther you go the worse the consequences get? Well that’s what happens in the text we’re going to look at, Jn. 5:38-47. You see, in the first thirty-seven verses of John 5, you get to see who Jesus is, and in the last portion of the chapter you get a series of consequences that follow from not recognizing Jesus as the Son of God, the Savior of the world. So, let’s dive in and look at this text.
John 5:38–47 NKJV
38 But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. 39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. 41 “I do not receive honor from men. 42 But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. 43 I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. 44 How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God? 45 Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”

Prayer

You Can’t Properly Understand the Bible.

John 5:38–40 NKJV
38 But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. 39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
If you would, look with me at verses 38-40. The first thing I would like to point out to you is that without properly understanding who Jesus is, you can’t properly understand the Bible.
(Larry King) I used to know a man, a number of years ago, and I must tell you that every time I talked to him, he seemed like a pretty likable person, until you mentioned anything related to the Bible because when you did his entire demeanor would completely change! In fact, I once listened to my dad talk to him about Scripture and he point blank stated that in his opinion the Bible was nothing more than a book of fairy tales. To this man Jesus was no more than a good and moral teacher. Now, I don’t know if the person I’m speaking of ever changed his mind concerning God’s Word and God’s Son; I can only hope that he did because if not, he’s currently in the first few years of spending an eternity in separation from God. You see, when it boiled right down to it, he could never seem to reconcile the fact that God’s Word is true and that the person it points us to, that being Jesus, is in fact the only way to heaven, which is the underlying point of what Jesus is saying here in Jn. 5:38-40. Without recognizing who he is you can’t properly understand Scripture.
While I was preparing for this message, I took a little time and did a simple Google search on the following question, “What do people think the Bible is?” Some of the things you’ll find will absolutely shock you, and frankly many of them I would prefer not to repeat from the pulpit because I have too much respect for God’s Word to do that. Suffice if to say, however, that much of what you’ll find consists of the following, some people attempt to compare the Bible to a book of moral lessons similar to Aesop’s Fables or fairytales by the Brothers Grimm. Others point to it as being history book. Still, others say that the Bible is book full of codes that need to be broken, and if we can do that, we’ll be able to unlock what the future holds. Now, let me say that I think there’s a measure of truth in some of these statements, certainly, the Bible does contain moral lessons, and it does give us a history of the world we live in, but in Jn. 5:38-40 Jesus points out that you cannot rightly understand the Bible unless you come to grips with the fact that the whole thing is about him. You see, Jesus said that the people he was speaking to “searched the Scriptures” thinking that “in them” they had “life” (Jn. 5:39), but they failed to understand that all the Scriptures they had [in their case the OT] pointed to the salvation that’s found in only him. The point is this, you can study the Scriptures all you want, there’s nothing wrong with studying both OT and NT. You’ll learn a lot about history, and you’ll also come away with some excellent moral ideals, but if you don’t recognize that the One to which the Scriptures all point is Jesus, then your study has been absolutely pointless in the big scheme of things! It is Jesus that this book is about, from cover to cover, and if you don’t recognize that the story is all about him and what he has done, and then place him in the position of Lord and Savior over your life, then this book really means nothing to you!
(Appeal) That said, if you don’t know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, why don’t consider doing that today. There is nothing more important, nothing more urgent that you could possibly do than make him Lord and Savior over your life. The consequences of not doing so are far greater than anything you could possible ever imagine!

You Will be Unable to Truly Love God.

John 5:42–43 NKJV
42 But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. 43 I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.
The second point comes in verses 42 and 43, that being that if you don’t recognize who Jesus is you will be unable to truly love God. Look a Jn. 5:42, Jesus says to them, “But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you.” The fact that Jesus “knows” them refers to what he said back in Jn. 2:24-25 when he wouldn’t entrust himself to the people after he cleaned out all of the money changers in the Temple. Jesus knew that those people didn’t really believe in him and he also knew that the people he was talking to in the verses we’re looking at now didn’t believe in him either. And guess what, he knows whether you truly believe or not as well. Jesus says in Jn. 5:42 that these people “do not have the love of God” in them. Church, this points to the fact that that they love darkness more than light, in that they love their sin. Personally, I think one would be safe to say that not much has changed in nearly 2000 years because so many people in our world today are the same way. You and I need to be absolutely certain that this isn’t describing out state of mind. I don’t think we can lose our salvation, but I do think we can fall into periods of hard heartedness at times. Look at Jn. 5:43, here Jesus explains why it is that these people, and by default why people today are unable to truly love God. It’s because as Jesus says, “I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive me …” Lots of people in our world today make the claim to love God, but here Jesus says you can’t truly do it unless you accept him for who he is, Lord and Savior. You see, he is the physical manifestation of God. Money cannot buy you salvation, neither can a famous name, not can any other “religious figure”. Not even perfect church attendance will get you into the kingdom. None of those things can get you in. No, you cannot truly love God unless you understand who Jesus is and place him in the position of complete authority over your life.
(Appeal) No one is able to love God without loving Jesus and the consequences of not loving God are huge! So, let me ask you, do you want to run that risk? Playing with the destination of your soul is serious business.

God Will Not be Properly Honored.

John 5:44 NKJV
44 How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?
The third point is found in verse 44, and it is this, if you don’t recognize who Jesus is God will not be properly honored. [This point is related to the last one, but it’s slightly different. When it comes to love, I’m making reference to the fact of your affection and care for someone. On the other hand, honor deals more in the realm of respect.] The key to understanding this verse is found in its relationship to what Jesus said at the end of Jn. 5:43, “… if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.”, note especially the phrase, “… comes in his own name”. That phrase is referring to the fact that these people were eager and willing to accept people who were, in fact, only messianic pretenders. These pretenders came seeking their own glory instead of wanting God to receive the glory that is only due him. Friend do you realize that when you honor God any honor you might receive bounces right back to him because what you’re doing is actually reflecting him for those around you to see? (Pause) These leaders Jesus was talking to were big on receiving honor from each other, which is why Jesus says what he does there in Jn. 5:44, “How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes only from God.” Just like I said before, not much has changed has it? People today are glory hounds just like they were when John sat down to write this Gospel. In fact, it’s easy for all of us to fall into this trap because we like the benefits that come with being honored by men. However, when those benefits come at the expense of God, we need to be very careful. Now, in saying that, I want to make sure you understand me completely here, I’m not saying that there’s something wrong with you and I being honored for a job well done, but when we place ourselves on a pedestal we begin to worship the created instead of the creator, and when we do so God will not be properly honored. The consequences that come with this lead down a path that can go nowhere but to destruction and if you’d like to read about it, I would encourage you to take the time to read Romans 1:18-32.

You Will be Judged!

John 5:45–47 NKJV
45 Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”
The last point comes in verses 45-47 and centers on the fact that by not recognizing who Jesus is, you will ultimately be judged. The leaders Jesus was talking to were going to face judgement for denying Jesus, both a near and far judgment. The near judgement came within one generation as the city of Jerusalem was leveled by the Roman army under Titus. The far judgment is future even to us today but will come when these men along with anyone else who hasn’t placed their faith in Jesus will stand at the final judgement and give an account. Now, when that happens it won’t be Jesus who levels the accusation against them? That’s right, it’s going to be Moses! You see, Moses wrote about the coming of the Messiah, and had these men understood how to correctly interpret the very Scriptures they were combing through, they would have realized that it was him they were talking to! The reality, however, is that they were unable to see the forest for the trees. The very Law that Moses wrote down should have pointed them to the fact that they were sinful to the core and in need of a redeemer, but instead they looked to the Law for redemption. Friends, the fact is that none of us can or ever will be redeemed by keeping the Law because we are totally incapable of keeping it. We must have a substitute, one who stands in our place. Not only does this substitute stand in our place when it comes to perfectly keeping the Law, the substitute bears the curse that we deserve for not being able to keep it. That substitute is none other than this Jesus we’re talking about in this text. But see, there’s a catch, in order to have what the substitute has done credited to you, the requirement is that you put your faith and trust in him and him alone. Are you willing to do that? Are you willing to trust Jesus? There are two, and only two pathways in life. One that leads to life that comes through faith in Jesus Christ, and another that leads to judgment. Which one will you walk down?

Invitation

Prayer

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