“MEETING GOD’S REQUIREMENTS” By Pastor YAU
Text: John 6:28-40
1) The doubt of a pastor: Here is a confession of a seasoned pastor. He said, “When I was a young pastor, I used to have a recurring nightmare. In the dream, I would rise to preach on Sunday morning, look out at my congregation----and see no one in the pews! It doesn’t take a therapist to interpret the dream. It grew out of my belief that everything in the church depended on me. I mistakenly believed that if I did not preach with power and persuasion, did not meet the requirements of God and the people, the congregation will fade away and the church would fold. I thought I needed to do all the works of the church to meet the requirements of God and men to hold the church together. Every night when I go to bed, I always ask myself: What else could I do to make the people keep coming?”
2) The doubt of the Israelis: In today’s passage, the Israelis asked Jesus a personal question: “What must we do to do (meet) the works (requirements) God requires?” (John 6:28) Through out history, men have always been taught by religious leaders that they need to do or work on their own to meet requirements of their deity. They need to earn their rights to go to heaven, to be redeemed or to a new life in the next life such as in the theory of incarnation. No one is ever sure of their own efforts, regardless of how hard they try. Look at all the religions around us today, the fear, the worry and the uncertainty are still there in many hearts on this question: “What else must I do to be saved?”
SALVATION BY MAN’S WAY:
1) It fits into our nature: Throughout our life experiences, we were told and trained that: you work and you get paid. Our moms had told us: Be a good boy (girl) and you will get your cookies. When we grow older, we were trained to work hard and get good grades, get a promotion, a bonus and a prize. We have to work to earn things, buy a car, a house, make a living. Nothing is free. This idea of do it on your own has been ingrained into our system. It applies in all aspects of our life including salvation of our souls.
2) It reinforces human pride: If you have seen champions celebrate their victory by holding up their trophies, waving their fists and showing their medals, you understand the pride they have and we all rejoice with them. This is human nature: I made it and it is my moments of pride and success. Many people don’t want handouts that put them on the receiving end. They want to make it by themselves which will keep their pride. If one can work on his own efforts to earn salvation that makes him feel proud.
3) It cuts men off from Grace: When men are so sure that they can make it to heaven by their own power, there is no need or room for men to ask or receive grace from God. Salvation is either by God’s grace or by men’s work. It cannot be both at the same time. This is why Paul argued so much in his letters to the early churches on salvation by grace, not by work. “And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.” (Romans 11:6)
4) It pushes men to eternal loss: Since no man can ever be sure if he has done enough good to earn his salvation, and no man can do enough good to meet God’s requirements of supreme holiness, no one may be saved by his own efforts. This is not just one of the ways to salvation, it is a dead end, a hopeless pursuit that will never succeed by men. Trying to meet requirements of God to salvation is a sure push to eternal loss.
SALVATION BY GOD’S WAY: (John -40)
1) God provides heavenly bread: “Jesus said to them: I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (-33) No man, ancient or modern of any time, any place, any religion, may give anything that gives life to the world. Only the one who sent by the Father can give the bread of life. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one goes to my Father except through me.” (John 14:6) The Bible further declared, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saves.” (Acts )
2) God provides full coverage: “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never send away.” () No one has to be pre-authorized or earn a right to come to Jesus for the bread of life. God has sent His Son to us in Jesus Christ so whoever wants to come to Him to receive the heavenly bread will never be rejected or sent away. The door of salvation is always open to those who will come. Peter explained, “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
3) God guarantees salvation: “This is the will of Him who sent me that I shall lose none of all that He has given me.” ()The security of our salvation is guaranteed not by our effort but by the promise and the grace of God. We are not saved by our work. So the security of our salvation can’t be guaranteed by our work either. We are saved by God’s grace and our security is also guaranteed by God’s grace. Jesus further guaranteed our salvation in this, “I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:28)
4) God provides eternal life: “My Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” () Eternal life and resurrection are gifts of the Father God because of our faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. This is all about the grace of God and not the works of men so no one may boast, “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God---not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) Jesus further guaranteed, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life.” (John 3:14-15)
STEPS MEN NEED TO TAKE:
1) Men needs to believe in Jesus: “Jesus answered: The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent.” (John 6:29) John explained how to meet the requirement of God: believe in the One God has sent that is Jesus Christ. It is not about doing works of God He had required. It is about believe in him whom God has sent. It is never about our work but about our faith. God ahs already sent His Son to us, it is up to us to believe His Son Jesus Christ. Paul explained, “If you confess with your mouth: “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
2) Men need to accept God’s gift: “Sir, they said, from now on give us this bread.” ()This is about believing and receiving the bread of life, the eternal life. Men needs to believe in the bread of life sent by God to receive the eternal life. Only the heavenly bread can satisfy all our deepest needs, spiritual and emotional. Eternal life is a gift of God, paid by the blood of His Son on the cross. For the gift to be effective, you must receive the gift from your heart, so Jesus can come into you to become the Savior of your soul and the Lord of your life.
3) Men will receive eternal satisfaction: “Then Jesus declared: I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” (6:35)Internal hunger and spiritual thirst can never be quenched with things of the world but with the bread of life. No human achievement may fill the emptiness of a man’s soul. King David expressed his desire for eternal satisfaction in Psalm 42:1, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.” Nothing in this world may give our soul eternal satisfaction except The Lord God. No money, success, fame and name, power or even human affection may provide us eternal satisfaction.
4) Men need to make decision: “But as I told you: you have seen me but still not believe.” (6:36)Many have heard the gospel, seen the new life in many believers but still not believe. It is not just what Christians should do to share the gospel or live true Christian life that may impact people to believe. When you have heard the gospel, seen how Christians live their life, you are the only person who can make decision for your eternity.
1) No man can fight gravity: Or you may fight, but you won’t win over gravity as long as you live on this earth. All men have sinned and have come short of the glory of God. Not one man may do all good to satisfy the law of God to earn his salvation. No one is ever certain what it really takes to be saved. With the sinful nature of men, there is no hope that anyone could be saved by his own efforts.
2) God has done everything: The gift is presented. All it takes to for the recipients to accept the gift. There is no other way to be saved except through the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Do not hesitate or doubt God’s love and mercy in saving your soul. Ask Jesus to come into your heart and you will become a new person.
3) Don’t wait till tomorrow: The need of salvation is so important that requires our immediate full attention. Do not push it away to another day or time. No one can be sure if he/she will have another chance tomorrow. Accept the grace God has prepared for you. Ask Jesus into your heart today. Confess your sins and ask Him to forgive you. Today is the best day to make that decision and receive the best gift of all: eternal life.