“WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM GOD?”                    By Pastor YAU

Text: John 6:24-35                                                          October 22, 2006

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)     The “to do” list: Film director Woody Allen has been quoted as saying, “If God would only give me some clear sign, like making a large deposit in my name at a Swiss bank account, then I may consider believe him.” The reasons some people give for not believing God often times boil down to “something they want God to do” to prove Himself. In making “to do” list for God, we miss so many things He has already done.

2)     Either blind or forgetful: Even those who witnessed many of His miracles still asked for more proof.  Comparing Jesus to Moses, they asked, “What sign will you perform that we may see it and believe you? Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” (John 6:30-31) The startling thing about their request is that just one day earlier Jesus had indeed given them bread that fed 5,000 with the lunch of a little boy. If I were in Jesus’ place, I would say, “Are you blind or forgetful? What about the bread I gave you yesterday?”

 

WHAT IS IN YOUR “TO DO” LIST?

1)       Something they want: Like Woody Allen, many people want something from God which they don’t have: lots of money, good job, beautiful girl friends, power, position, prestige or any number of other things. These people don’t really want to believe God but want God to give them things they can’t make it themselves. They treat God as a Santa Claus who brings things to people for nothing. Most of these people can get by their life without the things they want. They just use these excuses to justify that they have good reason not to believe God.

2)       Something they need:  Needs are not the same as wants. Some people believed God when their desperate needs were met with the grace of God. Things like a miraculous healing of a terminal disease, restoration of a broken marriage, repentant of a wayward spouse or a child, often times will lead people close to God and believe in His love and power. In His wisdom and timing, God will answer sincere prayers and requests of legitimate needs and the result, sometimes, will bring people to believe God. But there are others, more than we like to see, who will not believe God after received what they need and receive from God. Once they are healthy, once the crisis is gone, you don’t see them with God any more. There are too many of these kinds of people.

3)       Some have blind spots: There are people who do not have the spiritual insight to see God and what He has done need proofs to remove their intellectual blockage. Regardless of so many things God has done to prove His existence and power, some people may still have their own “blind spots” they just can’t see. They treat God like a college student: you must pass the tests before I let you graduate. These people may be sincere but they have a problem: they always have another question or three more questions for God and they will make sure that God will never pass their tests so they won’t have to believe in Him.

4)       Some will blame God for everything: These people have many excuses for not believe in God by finding fault in the world and blame God: from world hunger to violence on the street, terrorist attacks and social injustice, corruption in politics and the rich and powerful, children born with defects, natural disasters, suffering of the innocents, the poor and the helpless, and the list goes on and on. They will claim if there is a good God, how can he allow any of these things to happen? They want God to be the world police to do things according to their agenda and satisfaction. These people are like difficult customers: you can never make them happy with your service and they are always right.

 

IT’S WRONG TO HAVE A “TO DO” LIST:

1)      God doesn’t owe you anything: Not just God doesn’t owe you anything in fact no one in this world owes you anything including your parents and family. You were not born to any entitlement that someone owes you. All that have been given you, love, care, support, supplies and convenience and many other things to make you grow, makes your life easier, more comfortable and sweet, all have done because of love and grace from others, not you. God certainly doesn’t owe those who don’t want to have anything to do with Him. God doesn’t owe you any reason the way He does things. He doesn’t owe you any explanation to make you happy or satisfied. In fact, God doesn’t need you to make Him happy and secured. No one can do God any good which He can’t do. The fact that God want you to believe in Him is for your own good not His.

2)      You have no right to demand God:  Since God doesn’t owe you anything, He is not obligated to do things you demand. No one is in any position to demand anything from God and to become mad or upset when God doesn’t follow his command. Even if you don’t believe that God is the great Creator, the first of everything, God at least is not a servant under your command to do things you want Him to. God doesn’t exist to make you happy but to help you live your life His way so you will enjoy true happiness. Even the proud and dominating ancient Emperors in China realized that they need to revere and obey God not the other way round.

3)      You don’t know the best:  Even if you are not a parent, you still will agree that parents should not give everything their children ask or want because children don’t know what is good or right for them. With little knowledge and experience, children may want something parents know it is bad for them. Some children will get upset, some even will wrestle and cry and start a war with their parents. But good and firm parents will not yield to the demands of their children and comply with their commands. God is lot wiser and He does know what is good or bad for us. He cares for our safety, well being and future more than we know for ourselves. So, to have a “to do” list and demand God to follow our command is never the right way to treat God.

4)      You already have so much from God:  The fact that you are alive and healthy, have a sound mind to ask questions, a pretty good job, a comfortable home, a family and good and smart kids, a peaceful society, some good friends, a nice church and friendly people you feel comfortable to come to, just to name a few, are all gifts of God and not because you can do it yourself. You have all these not because you are exceptional or really good but because bestow His grace to provide you. In many parts of the world or even this local community, there are people who are as good as you are, work as hard as you do, but do not have what you have. Please do not add any “to do” list to God. Be grateful and take Him to heart.

 

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THEM? (John 6:24-35)

1)    Wrong intention: (6:25-27) “When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, Rabbi, when did you get here?” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth you are looking for me not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the bread and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils but for food that endures to eternal life.” Most people want something from Jesus for temporary physical satisfaction. But Jesus asked them to seek things from Him that will provide lasting spiritual satisfaction. Here is the problem of many who want something from God before they believe God. There are many people and places where you can find temporary satisfaction of needs like food, but only God can provide spiritual needs that will last forever.

2)    Wrong approach: Then they asked Him, “What must we do to do the works God required?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent.” (11:28-29) Through out human history, man has tried very hard to approach God with their own efforts in many ways: good deeds, self discipline, be religious, learn more, seek harder, be good, kind, preserve lives, accumulate merits, following religion and philosophy, etc. But they all end up in dead ends: no man can ever do good to meet the measure of God. Jesus pointed to them a new approach: to believe in the Son God has sent is what God has required of man. Man should not require God to do things so they can believe Him. Man also should not try to do works that may buy their way to God. No one can do enough good to buy his own salvation.

3)    Wrong request: “So they asked Him, What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you?” (6:30) From vv. 1-14 of this very same chapter, Jesus had fed the 5,000 in the wilderness with the lunch of a little boy. These same people had followed Jesus to the other side of the Sea. Had them not seen the miraculous sign? Yes, they did. Then why did they ask for more signs? Did they really want to see just one more sign and then will believe? The answer is no. They will ask more and then more until they have seen them all and still asking for more. Some people who are diehard not-to-believe will always have another request for Jesus. Their problem is not how many signs they need to see, they use this kind of requests to cover up their true color of not to believe. Jesus gave an answer to these people when he told Thomas, “Because you have seen me and have believed; blessed are those who have not seen me and yet have believed.” (20:29)

4)    Wrong object: Their following Jesus was in fact for seeking physical needs, bread. (6:26-27) These people were fed by Jesus the day before, but they continue need to be fed. That’s why they focused so much on bread. (31) Knowing that physical needs are endless and no human heart or stomach will ever be truly satisfied, Jesus pointed them to the true bread which the Father gave to the world for eternal satisfaction. “I am the bread of life,” Jesus said. “He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” (6:35)

 

CONCLUSION:

1)    Check your request list: What do you want from God? Do you treat God as the Santa Claus to bring you things or do things for you to make your life easier? Remember, He is God, not a servant.

2)    Remove your stumbling blocks:  Be honest to see the things that are stopping you from believing in Jesus and have eternal life? Do you have endless questions for God to answer? Are they excuses?

3)    Make that decision:  No decision you have ever made will be more important than accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior today. He is the true bread that will supply all your needs now to eternity.