When Hearts Are Hard
By Bobby Blakey on June 5, 2016
When Hearts Are Hard
By Bobby Blakey on June 5, 2016
This is a rush transcript.
[00:00:01] Happy endings. That's what we like from our stories, from a very young age. We are used to hearing once upon a time, and if it starts that way, then it's supposed to end how happily ever after. That's where we get used to happy endings. And it starts with the books that our parents read to us. Perhaps you've been a parent. Perhaps you've read a book like this. Are you my mother by P.D. Eastman. Anybody ever read this book? The most unlikely of tales, right? Bird falls out of the nest and survives right now. I mean, it's a cute little book. It's written by the guy who wrote Go Dog, Go. You ever read that one before? I mean, talk about classic material, right? Skye knew how to crank out the hits and this bird falls out of its nest and is looking for its mother. And so it starts to go up to other animals, like a bird going up to a cat and asking the cat, Are you my mother? And the cat politely says, no. And the bird moves on to the dog, into the chicken, into the cow. And then the bird starts talking to vehicles like the car and the boat. And eventually the bird gets picked up by a crane and dropped back into the nest where it meets its mom. All right. And you just think, no, the way this story should end is like. And the bird died, right? I mean I mean, that's really how it and the bird never actually ever met its mother. Right. You just keep waiting for a dose of reality. But no, we just keep saying nice things because we're trying to teach kids how to read certain words. Right. I mean, go dog go. Should end with an all the dogs stopped. Mike, drop. Walk off the stage. Right. But how does it actually end in like a dog heaven with a party up on a big tree? And do you like my party? Yes, I do like that hat. Right.
[00:01:58] I mean, everything ends happily. I mean, think about all of the the movies in the TV shows. And whenever somebody ends with a dark ending, it's like, oh, yeah, like Empire Strikes Back where the bad guys actually win. Right. We we we realize as we grow older that life doesn't always end up happy and we start to appreciate these realistic tragedies is what they're called in literature where the story doesn't go the way that you are hoping for, but it actually turns bad in that final act, the part where Romeo and Juliet both end up dying because of their love for one another that now cannot live. See, that's called the catastrophe right there at the end when the story takes a dramatic turn, not in the way that you were hoping, but for the worse.
[00:02:47] And sometimes we need to talk about the bad endings because life is not going to end up happy for everyone. And one of the tragedies, if you really want to study tragedy, you need to look at the life of Jesus Christ here on this world because it ended with a catastrophe. And we see that in John. Chapter 12, verse 37. If you'll grab your Bible and turn there with me, we're at the last sermon of our series through the Gospel of John for this whole year, the first 12 chapters, which I think is a good unit. And I think this is really a good conclusion to the first half of this book. And it is not the conclusion that we would want. It is. It is a tragic but realistic conclusion that we see here in John. Chapter 12, verse 37 is where we left off. And we're going to read through the end of the chapter. And this will be our text. And you'll see what I'm talking about right away here when this is not a happy ending to our study of believing in Jesus Christ. John Twelvers, 37, it says it like this. Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him.
[00:03:59] So that the words spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled. Lord, who is believed in what, who has believed what he heard from us and to whom as the arm of the Lord been revealed. Therefore, they could not believe for again, Isaiah said he has blinded their eyes and heart in their heart, lest they see with their eyes and understand with their heart and turn. And I would heal them. Isaiah said these things because you saw his glory and spoke of him. Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him. But for fear of the Pharisees, they did not confess it so that they would not be put out of the synagogue, for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God. And Jesus cried out and said, whoever believes in me believes not in me, but in him who sent me and whoever sees me sees him, who sent me. I have come into the world as light so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him, for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words. Has a judge. The word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.
[00:05:18] For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the father who sent me has himself given me a command and what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say, as the father has told me.
[00:05:34] And so we see here the tragic twist. We thought our story was going in one direction and now it seems it's taken a dark turn because from the very beginning, if you've studied this book at all with us, you know, hey, this is the theme of the book that John is going to give us some signs if you just want to write this down. Excuse me. You want to put this down one more time? He's given us some signs and the signs are here so that we would what? What is the point of these signs that we would believe? And if we believe that we have what eternal life see? So I mean, we have been here. We've seen this. And now we see tragically in verse 37 that even though he had done so many signs, they did not believe this hasn't gone the way that we were hoping it would go. And so we see now that their hearts are hard. And we have here, instead of an uplifting report on people here who have believed that our church or people who believed at this time when Jesus did all of these miracles, no.
[00:06:38] Instead, we have the report that we don't want to hear that there are so many people who still don't believe in Jesus Christ and that these people did largely not believe in him. In fact, it says many still did not believe in him.
[00:06:53] And that's just a tragic thing to consider.
[00:06:56] Maybe not the happy ending, but what is going to happen to those who do not believe in Jesus Christ? Why don't they believe in him? And if they continue to persist in their unbelief, what is there and what is the end of the story like? If it's not happy.
[00:07:14] And so that's what we're talking about today. And the doctrine we're really getting into here this morning in this text is judicial hardening. If you want to write that down on anybody's favorite favorite doctor and maybe you've never even heard of it before. But what we're talking about is a hardening of the heart that God does to sinners, that sinners has as the consequence of their own unbelief, that this is the judgment. This is what happens when you do not believe in Jesus Christ. Your heart gets harder against him. You don't stay in some kind of neutral ground like we might like to imagine. People do know their heart is hardened. And it really says that's even the reason they did not believe is because they had this hard heart, this hard heart that was prophesied about two prophecies are given to us here, verse 38, so that the words spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled. And if you're taking notes, you want to make sure you write down there. Isaiah 53, verse one. That's a quote from Isaiah 53, verse one. We referred to that chapter so many times throughout our series in the Gospel of John. If you look back through your sermon notes, you'll see Isaiah, 53, has shown up quite a few times in our study because this is an ancient prophecy that talks about Jesus being crushed for our iniquities being pierced for our transgressions.
[00:08:36] This is Jesus dying on the cross for us all. We, like sheep, have gone astray. And yet he, like a lamb, led to the slaughter before it.
[00:08:46] Cheers is silent and he dies for our sin. And right there in the prophecy that Jesus is going to die for us. There is a prophecy that people won't believe it.
[00:08:58] Who is believed, what he has heard from us?
[00:09:00] And now we see that prophecy is fulfilled, that there when the servant came to suffer and die, to be lifted up and glorified on high, when he came for us, we could not see it. And we did not believe at least the Jewish people at that time, they did not believe it. And then this prophecy gets even more concerning here in verse 39 says, therefore, they could not believe. That's a very sobering statement when you think about it.
[00:09:26] They were not able to believe why. For again, Isaiah said he has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart. And this is not Satan blinding their eyes that he hears, referring to the law blinded their eyes hard in their heart that they see with their eyes and understand with their heart, then they would turn. And I would heal them. Then they would turn and they would live in their faith in Christ. So we need to understand, why do people's hearts get hard? How does this work?
[00:09:56] Turn with me back to Deuteronomy, chapter twenty nine. Like most good doctrines in the Bible. This comes from the law of the Old Testament. You can kind of find the genesis of everything there in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus numbers and Deuteronomy. And here in Deuteronomy, before the people enter the Promised Land, they are told that they can obey the commands. They can believe what God says, and they can be blessed or they can disobey. They can not believe and they can be coerced. And it says here in Deuteronomy twenty nine, start with me and verse two. And Moses summoned all Israel. And he said to them, You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt. Look at all the miracles. Look at how you saw God deliver you out of Egypt.
[00:10:41] Look at what he did to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land. And these great trials that your eyes saw these plagues upon the land of Egypt. The signs, those great wonders, even though you've seen the signs. Verse four. But to this day, the Lord has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear. So we see that when people's hearts are hard. If God doesn't give you a new heart, if God doesn't open your eyes. If God doesn't give you the ears to hear, then you can not believe is the idea here. A very sad and tragic idea that people who saw great miracles of God still did not believe.
[00:11:28] Now, when we see the hardening under judicial hardening, you might want to jot down a couple of headings. One is divine sovereignty. We cannot deny that God does a work in hardening people's hearts. Clearly, Pharaoh is a great example of that, where it says flat out that the Lord hard in his heart to say no. That the people would not go out of Israel. So there is a part that is divine sovereignty. But then also you could jot down human responsibility. We also see that the reason people's hearts are being hardened is they are not believing. They are choosing to reject what is being shown to them. And we see that here later on in Deuteronomy 29, where people are making a willful choice to turn away. And it says Deuteronomy 29, looked down a verse 18 with me. Maybe you're not familiar with this, but look at how it describes. Now, someone who has seen these signs but does not believe and turns away. And it's a warning to all of us. Beware. There be among you a man or a woman or a clan or a tribe whose heart is turning away today from the Lord, our God, to go and serve the gods of those nations. Hey, watch out. If somebody is hard, is getting hard, and it's turning away to go live like the rest of the world and the rest of the world at this time was polytheistic. And they were worshiping all kinds of gods. And the Israelites had the one true God your way that they were worshiping.
[00:12:49] And so there's a warning. Hey, be careful, because even as I'm telling you what God says, your heart might get hard and you might turn away and want to be like the rest of the world. One who, when he hears the words of this sworn coven in verse 19, blesses himself in his heart, saying, I shall be safe, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart.
[00:13:14] How many people have been to church?
[00:13:17] And her to convicting sermon where they knew they needed to turn so that God could heal them, that they needed to turn from their sin so they could live in Christ. And yet they've said to themselves that somehow, even though I don't believe, even though I reject what's being offered to me, I'm still going to be safe, even though I walk in the hardness of my heart.
[00:13:37] I've still got time. It'll still work out. I'll still have a happy ending. I'm rejecting life, but it it'll still end up happily ever after.
[00:13:46] And it says people are thinking this to themselves when they hear the word preach, they're telling themself in a way that it's not true, the consequences won't apply to them, like somehow they're going to be the exception. And it says this will lead to the sweeping away of moist and dry alike. It is kind of a reference there to, hey, everybody is going to be judge. Don't be deceived that you're going to get out of it. Verse 20, the Lord will not be willing to forgive him, but rather the anger of the Lord and his jealousy will smoke against that man.
[00:14:20] And the curses written in this book will settle upon him. And the Lord will blot out his name from under have it.
[00:14:30] So let's just make sure that nobody here this morning.
[00:14:33] If you have not yet believed in Jesus Christ, do you not think that you can leave this place and harden your heart and that there is any safety anywhere but the cross of Jesus Christ?
[00:14:45] Because the only place that you can hide from the judgment to come is where judgment already came. And that's the cross of Jesus Christ. And if you reject the cross of Jesus here this morning, then all you have left is judgment. See?
[00:14:58] And there's a hardening of heart that happens now. How does this all work? How where does God's sovereignty and human responsibility? Where does it start and end? Hate this. And this is kind of disturbing me as you're explaining this. You mean God is involved in the process of hardening people's hearts? I don't feel comfortable with that. I don't like that kind of a thinking. I thought God wanted to save people. How does this all work? Well, when you figure out how it all works, you come tell me so I can tell everybody else here this morning. All right. It's not no coincidence that where we have this clear understanding that God has not given you the eyes to see or the ears to hear, and you are turning in your own heart thinking, I'm going to be safe even though there is no safety for you. It's clear that this chapter, which introduces that heem and that idea or states it clearly. Look at how the chapter ends. Deuteronomy 29, verse twenty. It's a famous verse. Maybe you've heard it before. It says, The secret things belong to the Lord, our God. OK, he understands things that we're not going to be able to understand here this morning. But the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law. Hey, how does all the judicial heartening work? How do I reconcile this in my mind? How do I see what God's doing and what people are held responsible for? Well, it might be a little above our pay grade, my friends. It might be a little bit up beyond our comprehension to fully understand the secret things and how God is working. But here's the point of why he does reveal to you that there is a hardening that happens so that you'll be careful the hardening doesn't happen to you. That's the point.
[00:16:40] Take it out of the theoretical and let's get real life for people here in this room who know they need to believe in Jesus but are deciding that they're going to be safe, not receiving the life that is in Jesus Christ. Well, no, you need to obey the words of this of this law. You need to believe in Jesus while you have the opportunity.
[00:16:59] That's the point that you need to dwell on. Go to Isaiah, Chapter six. Here's another example where we see the hardening taking place. This is now not just the statement being given for it. This is God actually saying that people are going to be hardened even through the preaching of the word. It is going to have a hardening effect on the people you're prophesied. And this is one of the passages quoted in our text in John Twelve, Isaiah, Chapter six. Now, you might be familiar with the story of Isaiah Chapter six, because it's one of the most epic accounts in all of scripture. It's Isaiah's vision of God, and he sees him high and lifted up on his throne. And it's one of the great passages we use to say why we need to have such a high view of God is wholly in heaven. Look at Isaiah, chapter six, verse one. It says, In the year that King's I died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne and he was high and he was lifted up and the train of his robe filled the temple and above him stood the Seraphim.
[00:17:59] Each had six wings and two. He covered his face and with two he covered his feet. And with two, he flew these angelic creatures that we call Seraphim here with all these wings, they got six wings and they're only flying with two of them. And with four of them, they're shielding themselves from the holy presence of the Lord.
[00:18:16] And they cry out. They call to one another and said, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts. The whole earth is full of his glory. And when they say this, the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called and the house was filled with smoke. And I said, Now here's Isaiah, the prophet's reaction to seeing the holy presence of God. He says, woe is me. Basically, that he was going to be judged, that he was going to be damned. Basically what was me for?
[00:18:45] I am lost. I'm a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.
[00:18:51] My eyes have seen the king, the lord of hosts. Oh, man. Look at His Holiness. Who could compare with him? Who could stand in his presence. Oh, woe is me. Look who I am. Look where I come from. I'm doomed. Isaiah says. But one of the Seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that had taken that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said, Be old.
[00:19:15] This has touched your lips. Your guilt is taken away and your sin atone for all the good news. When we see God's holiness in our sin, there's good news that our sins can be taken away and atone for.
[00:19:28] And then we have perhaps this famous verse that you ever read before. I heard the voice of the Lord saying, Whom shall I send? Who will go for us? And then I said, Here I am. Send me. And then we all closed our Bibles and we said, Wow, Isaiah, what a guy. That's usually what happens, right? What a powerful passage. Right. Notice when we preach it, we often leave out the next few verses. How convenient that is for us to leave those verses out. There's only a few more versus and then the chapter is over. What could it be about? He's got his guy, Isaiah now. He sees the holiness of God. He sees his sin. He's been forgiven. He's ready to go give the word to the people of the glory of the vision of God that he has seen. And it says here in verse nine and he said, go and say to this, people keep on hearing, but do not understand. Keep on seeing but do not perceive. Make the heart of this people dull in their ears, heavy and blind, their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with your ears and understand with their hearts and turn and be healed.
[00:20:29] And then I said, how long a lord, how long will I go and speak to people who are not going to see or hear or believe?
[00:20:36] And he said, until cities lie, waste, without inhabitants and houses without people and the land is a desolate waste and the Lord removes people far away and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land. And though a tenth remain in, it will be burned again, like a tarabin or an oak. Whose stump remains where it is felled. The holy seed is its stump. God sent Isaiah out with a glorious vision of his of who he was and His Holiness. But it was to a people who were ultimately not going to believe a people who were ultimately going to be judged. And God knew that. And Isaiah's prophecy did not lead to a revival. It did not lead to a repentance. Isaiah's prophecy led to a hardening of heart that God ultimately judged so that where there was a people, there was no longer a people.
[00:21:27] And I think that it's so odd how people are going to be quick to say after a sermon like this. Well, who is God to judge us? And immediately start judging God in their heart. Isn't that the ultimate irony, that if you try to judge anybody or you say anything judgmental? Well, nobody should be judging anybody. That's the mantra of today. And yet we judge God because we don't like maybe this idea that people's hearts are getting hardened and eventually they're going to be judged for their sins.
[00:21:58] But that's what we saw happen to the people of Israel, and Isaiah was a prophet with a glorious message that was largely not listened to, is that how you feel as a Christian in America right now? So I feel when I preach here at our church many times, I drive by the swap, meet after our church sometimes, and I realize, man, that stuff seems a lot more exciting than what we were just dogged about. Look at all these people over here at this swap me. You ever drive by that thing? It's going off every weekend. Man. I mean, that is exciting, cheap stuff. That is exciting to many people. The glory of God, forgiveness of sin.
[00:22:32] And, you know, I'll fit that in when I can. When it works for me. We live in a nation of hardened hearts.
[00:22:41] And it's easy for us to get discouraged when people are not listening, but we must remember that people don't have the ears to hear.
[00:22:48] They don't have the eyes to see. And we need to pray for them.
[00:22:53] Good acts 28. And you'll see how this works out. You might think, well, this doesn't sound right. I don't know how I appreciate a God who's hardening people's hearts. Well, it turned to Acts 28 and you'll see that this was a necessary thing for it to take place.
[00:23:09] If people did not heart in their hearts, if they did not reject Jesus Christ, if everyone had believed in him and repented of their sins, then he would have established the kingdom right there. And he never would have died for our sins. He never would have rose from the dead. There would be no salvation offered to people like you and me. If these Jews at this time. Excuse me. Did not reject Jesus Christ. Look at the end of the chapter. Start with me in verse 23. We come to an ending here of the Book of Acts at the end of the Apostle Paul's ministry, and he appealed to Caesar and Caesar. He went, and he's here in Rome and he's under arrest. And it says here that he had a chance to speak to some Jews who came to hear him in greater numbers. And it says halfway through the verse there in verse twenty three, from morning till evening, he expounded to them testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus bolt from the law of Moses and from the prophets.
[00:24:07] And some, it says, were convinced by what he said, but others disbelieved they did not believe in disagreeing among themselves. They departed after Paul had made one statement.
[00:24:18] And here's what Paul said that skewering Paul made one statement the Holy Spirit was right and saying to your fathers, to Isaiah the Prophet, go to this people and say, what is this? Starting to sound familiar? Now you will indeed here, but never understand and you will indeed see but never perceive. For this, people's heart is grown dull and with their ears they can barely hear in their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn. And I would heal them. Therefore, let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the who, to us, to the non Jews.
[00:24:58] In fact, you could write down next to this cross reference Romans chapters nine to 11, where Paul in great detail explains that it is because of the hardness of heart among the Jews who rejected Jesus Christ now and that now the offer of salvation is for all people because they check rejected him and he died and he rose again. Now anyone can be saved. And so God even uses hardening of heart to spread the message of salvation in his glorious purpose. And so here is Paul at the end of acts showing some Jews who believed, some who disbelieved. And the thing that kind of divided them was his statement that your hearts are going to be hard and so it can spread to the Gentiles. Isaiah, Chapter six. We see that that prophecy has has been fulfilled. It is through the rejection of the Jews that you can sit here today and believe in Jesus Christ, that unbelief is somehow even used for God's glorious purpose.
[00:25:59] And if you've never read Romans nine to 11, I would encourage you to consider that and the opportunity that has been offered to us to be saved because of the rejection that we see really in our passage even today. So turn back to John Chapter twelve now that we've got that that doctrine.
[00:26:16] What we see in our text zeroing in now on that that idea of these people's hearts are being hardened and they're choosing not to believe. Well, we see three consequences of unbelief here in our texts this morning. Three, consequences of unbelief if you choose not to believe in Jesus Christ. If your heart is hardened against him upon hearing the good news of Jesus, you know the truth. But yet you would rather continue in your sin than turn and be healed and live in Jesus Christ. Well, there are consequences that are given out here. We are. First consequence we see is that these people cannot see God's glory. Let's get that down. Point number one here, unbelievers cannot see God's glory. We see that. And we. This has been a theme you're going to notice. A lot of these things are really themes that we've studied many times. Now, as we've worked our way through the gospel of John, John has made his case over and over again through repetition throughout these first twelve chapters of his gospel. And we see that you cannot see the glory of God. And specifically in this gospel, the glory of God is revealed to us in that the glory of the father took on flesh and we held his glory, the glory that is Jesus Christ. And seeing that Jesus is God is seeing God in his glory. And it says that people can't see that you can't believe your eyes can't be opened, your ears can't hear unless God gives you that ability. Go back to John, Chapter one and you'll see here in John, Chapter one. At the very beginning, John didn't pull any punches. He basically gave you his whole book in the first 18 verses here. And you'll see in John chapter one, verse eleven here. It talks about the rejection that we're now reading about in John Twelve. It says he came to his own to the Jewish people and his own people did not receive him. They don't believe in him. They rejected him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. Well, how do you do that? How do you become a child of God? How do you believe in Jesus? We'll look at verse 13. This is very important. Children of God who were born not have blood nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of who does it say there say Jesus says very clearly, truly, truly. I say to you and less one is born one again or from above. He cannot see the Kingdom of God.
[00:28:50] So you can't even be believe in Jesus just because you want to believe in Jesus. God has to will you to believe in Jesus Christ. So it says very clearly. God has to give you that faith. Faith is a gift. There's no way that you can get it for yourself. You have to come to the end of yourself and you have to beg God to give you that faith, to open your eyes by admitting your blindness. That's when you get to see. And so it says that, God, he is the one who gives this kind of belief, turn over to John three and let's just see it there. Maybe it's even on the same page on three, verse three. Truly, truly. I say to you.
[00:29:29] And this one is born again. He cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus said to him, well, how can a man be born when he is old? How can I start my life over when I'm so set in my ways? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born Jesus answer truly, truly. I say to you, unless one is born of water. And I think that's talking about the cleansing of sin and the spirit, the new heart, the new life, regeneration. He cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the spirit of spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, you must be born again. Well, the wind blows where it wishes and you hear it sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the spirit. The truth is that we have as much to do with being born again as we did with being born the first time. It is a gift that happens to us. Only God can open our eyes and cause us to believe. To see the glory that he's given us in his son, Jesus Christ, who is God to die for us, to end a God is the one who must give us that faith. And so our hearts should break for unbelievers. Maybe you remember us talking about being kind to the blind. Anybody remember that? Our hearts go out to those who don't believe. And we should not judge them. We should not give them our time. We should pray for them. Let's get that as a as an idea under this first point here, as we should be praying for God to open their eyes. That's what we can do about it. I mean, there's actually really good news here. If God is the one who causes people to believe and the reason people don't believe is God has hasn't cause them to believe yet. Well, here's really good news. We can go straight to God and talk to that God about that person. Sometimes it seems like, well, that person I don't really see them believe in and Jesus well. Yeah. They won't believe in Jesus unless God makes them born again and opens their eyes to see the glory of Jesus.
[00:31:21] Sometimes we are too busy talking to people about Jesus and maybe we should be busy talking to Jesus about them. Hey, have you seen so-and-so down here, Lord?
[00:31:29] They really need you to open their eyes.
[00:31:31] Lord, will you do it, please?
[00:31:34] Please. And you start begging the Lord on behalf of the souls of people. I was highly convicted the other day when I was talking to a guy who visits our church sometimes who's not a believer. And I said, here's God's holy. Here's you and your sin. Here's Jesus coming to save you. Went through the whole gospel with him. What do you think about that, sir? I don't really know what to think about that.
[00:31:56] Is that what you're saying to me is spiritual and I can't understand spiritual things? And as soon as he said that I was convicted because I realized I had spent more time talking to this guy than I had praying for this guy.
[00:32:11] And I'm talking to the wrong person.
[00:32:15] I'm expecting him to all of a sudden get it when God is the one who's going to reveal it, too.
[00:32:20] There's actually great hope if God is in control. If God is in control of the hardness of heart, then God is the one who can give people new life and regenerate their heart.
[00:32:32] And so that's something that's actually very encouraging because I know who God is. This is something we've learned at this church even before we started going through the gospel of John.
[00:32:41] Would God rather save someone or what? He'd rather judge someone. You guys tell me, what would you rather do every single time?
[00:32:48] He'd rather save.
[00:32:50] Scripture is clear about this first, Timothy two, for that God wants all men to be saved like a Peter three night. Would God prefer for people to perish? Or would he prefer for them to repent?
[00:33:01] That's why he's being patient with them, giving them time to turn to understand so that they might live.
[00:33:10] So we can appeal to who God is that God likes. His glory to be seen and we can ask him to open the eyes of souls. You know what we can also do? Even a more bold step. We can invite people right under pray. But this now, we can invite people to come and see Jesus. We can loot. We can talk to blind people and give. They come and they start reading the word and they start hearing the sermons and they start talking through the gospel with us that God might open their eyes to see. And so we say to everyone who will listen to us and only to Beach and Garden Grove, SEAL Beach, all the cities around here, we say to them, come and see who Jesus is. Perhaps God might open your eyes, perhaps you might believe in him. You know, this belief, though, we've learned in the Gospel of John can be fake. Look back at Chapter two with me, John, Chapter two. And here we see after a miracle and after some beginning of his work, people start to believe in him.
[00:34:12] But it says in John to twenty three, maybe you remember this now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. That seems happy. That's the ending we're looking for. We want people to believe when they see the signs. But verse 24 Jesus on his part did not interest himself to them because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man. These people, it says, are trusting in Jesus, but Jesus is not trusting in them because he knows that there is a kind of belief that is a fake kind of belief, that there is a kind of belief where people can start to see the glory of God and they could start to believe in Jesus Christ. But yet something else will hold them back from really following Jesus and living that new life.
[00:35:06] And if you go back to John 12, you'll see here a very clear example of what is holding these people back here in John, Chapter twelve. Look with me at verse 42 and 43. It's amazing how John gives us this insight and what we realize as we study the gospel of John is that the apostle? He must have had a source inside with the Pharisees. In fact, because Nicodemus gets such a personal recognition throughout this book, perhaps Nicodemus ended up telling John a lot of how the story went from the other side. John clearly brought the disciples perspective with him.
[00:35:46] But he also seems to have the Pharisees perspective and look at that in verse 42. Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him.
[00:35:55] But for fear of the Pharisees, they did not confess it so that they would not be put out of the synagogue.
[00:36:02] Look at this ultimate irony here. This ultimate missing the point for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God. Point number two, unbelievers only have approval from men.
[00:36:18] Unbelievers only have approval. Four men.
[00:36:29] You see this here in verse 42 and 43 that they loved. A glory that came from other people more than the glory that comes from the Lord. And if you've been studying with us, you will see that this has been one of the themes throughout our sermons that the costs that some of us are going to have to count. The thing that's going to hold us back is fear of what other people might think, say or do about us if we believe in Jesus Christ.
[00:36:57] And so here's some guys who realized that this man is the son of God. And they could see perhaps their own sin. They could see perhaps the holiness of God and they could see Jesus coming to save them, coming to give them eternal life, coming to enter them into relationship with God. But they didn't want to get kicked out of the system of their day. They don't want to get kicked out by the Jewish leaders. The synagogue was the entire social structure. Have you noticed that's really how all the false religions work? Yeah. Even if you stop believing what they believe, even if you eventually see how their doctrine breaks down and all false religions, eventually their doctrine falls apart. Even if you get past that. Well, you have to get past being excommunicated perhaps by your own family.
[00:37:42] By your social structure. See, they don't want to get kicked out of the synagogue, and what's amazing is because they don't want to get kicked out of the synagogue. They're going to get kicked out of heaven. I mean, what a trade.
[00:37:54] How crazy, how crazy when you can see it from the right perspective, how foolish that is to worry about what other people think of you. What are people going to do for you when you die? How are they going to help you then?
[00:38:07] What does it matter what they think about you when you die? They're no help to you that their approval. What is it going to gain for you?
[00:38:16] No, that's when it's going to really matter whether you have eternal life, whether you know the glory of God, whether you've entered into a relationship with him, it all comes down to you, you know, and there's one that you need to know. And his name is Jesus Christ. And if you don't know him well, who cares if the world thinks you're great?
[00:38:32] Let's see you people care. People care a whole lot.
[00:38:36] They really do, in fact, write this verse down, Galatians, chapter one, verse 10, we've hit this so many times. We don't need to reteach this principle that when we choose Christ, we have to choose him in first place over everyone else in our life. And Galatians, 110, read it up here with me on the screen. It says four. Am I now seeking the approval of man or of God like their or their exclusive? You have to choose one or the other. Am I now seeking the approval of man or of God, or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
[00:39:15] Jesus cannot be my master and my spouse be my master Jesus cannot be my master and me making it about idolizing my children or pleasing my parents, I can only have one master and it better be. Jesus Christ. People pleasing.
[00:39:33] Sometimes people they'll smile. They'll kind of and they'll kind of give you this little shirt smirk. You know, they'll kind of act all kind of like, you know, hey, don't don't look at me. I'm just a people pleaser. You ever seen people do that before? Yeah, I'm a people pleaser.
[00:39:46] We don't take it seriously enough.
[00:39:49] People pleasing is a reason that some people will exist apart from God for all of eternity because they chose people rather than their God. And clearly, if you've come to our church at all through this series, is this something I get a little worked up about? Have I been at church long enough to see many people fall away? And why do they fall away? Do they walk in here one day and say, I don't think Jesus is God? That's not usually how it works. Do they walk in here and say, hey, I've been reading through the Psalms and I'm just not that into it? It's not that inspiring. I don't really like the God that I meet there. I'm out. That's usually not how it happens. The reason people walk out the doors of our church is they walk out those doors straight to somebody else.
[00:40:31] That's where they go. They seek a relationship. They seek some kind of approval.
[00:40:36] And rather than seeking that approval in pleasing God and in being right with him and in knowing you have a perfect, established, secure relationship with him, they seek it somewhere else in other people.
[00:40:52] And so you can still be in the synagogue, but you don't know God. What's the point of that? And that's unfortunately what these men did.
[00:40:59] And John gives us this keen insight that, hey, behind behind not only the prophecy of hearts being hardened, not only was that part of the reason why they didn't believe, here's another reason why they didn't believe is they wanted what people thought about them to matter more than what God thought about them. And we have to all make it clear in our own hearts whether we are pleasing God or men. And I care about you. I don't want to see your heart get hardened. And I guarantee you, if your heart does get hardened, other people will be involved. And I just encourage you to guard your heart from those relationships.
[00:41:36] Now, here, John quotes one last cry out from Jesus for people to believe, and he gives them reasons to believe.
[00:41:43] The first being that it's not just that you're believing in him. Believing in him is what gets you to the father, which is what the Jews would have wanted to know God, the father, the father of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and they would have wanted to get to know him well. Hey, when you believe in me, that's what you get, because I come to represent the father. And then he kind of says the logical conclusion that not a lot of us like to think about because we're so used to the happy ending. Well, let's just take the tragic turn. What happens if you don't believe in Jesus?
[00:42:11] And he says it again. I didn't come to judge the world. I came to save the world. The whole point of this is I'm doing science so that everyone would believe so that they can have eternal life. That's John 316. We don't want you to perish. We want you to have eternal life. But have you considered what happens if you don't believe you don't end up with the eternal life? So what therefore ends up happening? So I didn't come to judge, Jesus says. But the words that I spoke, the command that I gave to believe and to receive eternal life. If you don't obey the command to believe, if you don't obey the command to live, what's going to end up happening to you?
[00:42:48] There's no neutral ground.
[00:42:50] There's no like you've got more time to figure it out now when you reject faith in Jesus Christ. You are choosing not to believe in him.
[00:42:58] Your heart is getting hardened towards him. And his command and he says here, look with me down at the end of our chapter and verse 50. And I know that his commandments. Here's what God commands of every person here. His commandment is, what does it say?
[00:43:12] That man.
[00:43:15] Here's what God wants for every single person in this room.
[00:43:17] He wants you to dwell with him in a perfect relationship for all of eternity. That's what he desires from you. That's what he's commanding of you.
[00:43:28] I mean, the whole law, everything that the Bible teaches us, everything that we're called to obey, it's all because that is the way to live in relationship with God. It's all for your good. It's all for your benefit so that you could live.
[00:43:43] Here's what God wants for you above everything else, your eternal life.
[00:43:47] And you say, no, thanks. I'd rather have this one right now.
[00:43:51] And you don't think anything's going to happen to you?
[00:43:53] You think he could choose not to believe in Jesus and there's no alternative.
[00:44:00] See, so many of us, the mercy of God and the grace of God are all that we have ever known. So we think that that's all that there is.
[00:44:08] And we don't realize that patience, God's patience. Yes, he has proven to have a very long Fuze. A much longer Fuze than you or I would have. That's the good Lord. Right. He's had a long fuze with humanity for us to even get to this year of 2016. And he's had a long fuze with some of us in our lives with all the sin we've done in our own years on this planet.
[00:44:30] What patients he's had. Don't mistake his patients for weakness.
[00:44:34] Don't think that just because he has been so patient, people are going to get away with it. No. What do you think is going to happen if you disobey his command to live? Point number three, let's put it down like this.
[00:44:48] Unbelievers don't obey the command to live. And if you don't obey the command to live what is then left for you. You fill in the blank. You can't have no beliefs and no judgment.
[00:45:05] It's one or the other. You either believe in Jesus or you get judged by the words of Jesus that you don't believe. Those are the options that are on the table.
[00:45:15] And that's why it's got to feel like something is wrong. And I am concerned that us as Christians are not concerned. Because I think that we have somehow gotten used to the massive amount of unbelief and hardness of heart that is all around us.
[00:45:32] Maybe even that is among us in the church today. And I think we think we. I hear people say things, I hear myself say things like, well, that person doesn't believe as if that's an acceptable place to be. As if that's somehow safe or normal or going to work out for the.
[00:45:50] It needs to continue to break our heart. There needs to be tears shed. It needs to bother us that the world around us is going to hell right now. Because if you don't believe in Jesus, that's where you end up. And ultimately, the reason you end up there is you don't believe in Jesus.
[00:46:08] So most critical thing in the in anyone's life.
[00:46:12] Is to put their faith in Jesus Christ. And so if you don't obey the command of eternal life, then what is there left for you? Well, there is that command judging you when you stand before God. And so and people who are blind, who have their hearts hardened, they cannot see God's glory. They only are right with one group of people. People, not God. They only have approval from men and not from God. And then they cannot obey the command to live. And they don't end up with eternal life.
[00:46:47] And the good news is, if you can hear my voice this morning and clearly I'm having some trouble speaking here, sorry for the coughing, but if you can hear you could believe here today and Jesus Christ, you could obey the command to live and you could put your faith in Jesus Christ right now. And I just need to tell you very honestly, if you know, you need to do that and you don't do it here this morning, there is a hardening that could take place in your heart that I am. You should be afraid of. If I could say it like that.
[00:47:17] Like, if you're afraid of that hardening, I would encourage you to believe in Jesus Christ here this morning while you can while you can get a glimpse of the light, while you can see it. And who cares what people in your life are going to think? I know there's probably somebody here this morning that is being held back in their heart right now, because I would have to tell so-and-so and I wonder what so-and-so would think about me if I told them I became a Christian. You need to be much more concerned with what God thinks about you and then with that, what that person thinks about you.
[00:47:49] When the father is up there in heaven so that even the prophet Isaiah says, woe is me, I am on done.
[00:47:57] Then what are you going to be like when you stand before God?
[00:48:00] And yet he has said there is a way for your sin to be forgiven. There's a way for it to be a tone for and he has put now an offer. Here's Jesus. Will you please believe in Jesus? Here's the command. Eternal life, which is given to all who believe in Jesus. If you reject God's offer, do not be surprised when you are then rejected.
[00:48:22] And so I say that in love. I say that because I care, I say that because that is what we see happen to these people here. And we see Jesus crying out. I have a command for you in the command for you is to live. And not only is believing in Jesus better than being judged. I want to suggest to you that believing in Jesus is better than living life in this world. Anybody want to say amen to that here this morning? Just a better way to live? It really is.
[00:48:49] Not only is it better than the alternative of hell, it's better than the alternative of being a people pleaser and living this life. And that's what I'm excited about. We're not just stopping the gospel of John here because it's summertime and people are starting to take their vacations. Now, we're starting the gospel of John here because this is a place really where I think there's a real break in the book. I think really the first 12 chapters form a unit where we have a lot of evangelism going on. A lot of like here's the signs you need to believe you need to have eternal life like the next. When we come back to John next year, it's going to feel really different.
[00:49:27] It's going to feel like I'm talking to people who are already are disciples of Jesus Christ and he's instructing us how to love one another, how the Holy Spirit helps us, how to interact, to be in, but not of the world. And then ultimately, he's going to pray a prayer for us that I think might be the most beautiful chapter in all of the Bible. Turned to John 17. And this is his command for you. This is eternal life right here in John, Chapter 17. And it's a prayer that Jesus prays. And I cannot wait till we study this. This is going to take us into the depths of what it really means to be a Christian and what it really means to know God. And it says here, just to get the beginning, go going, father, the hour has come glorify your son, that the sun may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life that they may know you. The only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent so eternal life is not just salvation and going to heaven when we die. It is knowing God in the present tense. It is you knowing God right now. And it changes everything about the way that you live. And that's what we're gonna get to. I mean, Hozier, it's gonna be a lot about who God is and it's gonna be a lot about how we respond to God in our hearts when we get to this next section of the Gospel of John. It's gonna be a lot about how Christian people are called to live and how we walk with God in a real relationship. And if you haven't believed in Jesus and you don't have a relationship with him from this point on in our church, you're gonna feel like you got left behind. I'm just being honest. Churches for God's people, it's not for all people, and if you're not one of God's people, you're going to start feeling a growing disconnect and your heart is going to get hardened and you might end up leaving. And so we're coming to an end of a season in the life of our church, where we have said time and time again to believe in Jesus, and if you have heard that and you do not respond by believing, what are you waiting for? I got nothing left. I got we got no more tricks to pull out of our sleeves here at this church. This is it. We're wrapping it up here today. I mean, what what what more could we say? Hey, the longer you sit there and don't believe, the harder your heart is getting.
[00:52:00] I mean, what more do I need to say? Like, now is the time. I really don't know what some people who sit here every Sunday are waiting for.
[00:52:11] You're never going to please those people, and even if you do, it's not going to be worth it. I'm telling you right now, but you can please God by doing nothing, by just asking him to open your blind eyes. It's all he wants is for you to confess, to agree with him about your sin and to beg him for mercy. That's what gonna start talking about. We get to Hozier by the love that God shows for his people who don't even care about him yet, how he loves us, his mercy, the fact that he calls us his people, the steadfast love of the Lord that never ceases. These are the things we're gonna be talking about. And if you don't know those things, what a tragedy. What a catastrophe it would be for you to hear this sermon and to leave here without believing in Jesus Christ. That's a sad ending. And I don't know if you're coming back from that. And so I just strongly encourage you, if you can hear my voice, to believe in Jesus Christ while you can, while you can see him in his glory, while you can hear the command to have eternal life. Today is the day of your salvation in Hebrews. Chapter three, verse seven says today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your heart said.
[00:53:27] Listen to him.
[00:53:28] Don't be like the people of all the Israelites are an example to us. We should learn from the people in the nation of Israel who ended up getting judge. We should learn from the Jews at the time of Jesus who ended up killing their God. And we should realize we don't want to make the same mistake. We are totally capable of making that same mistake. We don't want to make it. So it says, hey, learn the lesson from the people that wandered in the wilderness. Learn the lesson from those in the past who saw the signs. They were right there in front of them and they did not believe. In fact, go to Hebrews Chapter three with me and let's just read what it says there.
[00:54:11] Hebrews Chapter three, Verse seven is a call out. It's a quote from a song. And it says, please don't heart in your heart.
[00:54:25] And it says it like this today.
[00:54:29] If you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts is in the rebellion and it begins to talk about what the Israelites did in the wilderness.
[00:54:37] Same thing would apply to our passages. What the Jewish religious leaders did in the time of Jesus. And then it says this in verse twelve. Take care, brothers. Hey, this is talking to people who are here at the church. Not just that those out there in the world that don't believe, but even the people among the church.
[00:54:53] Take care, brothers. Less there being any of you and an evil, unbelieving heart leading you to fall away from the living God. Watch yourself. That's why we have these fellowship groups. That's why you will unite together and get each other's back lit, incur, exhort one another, encourage one another every day. As long as it is called today, so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin, by thinking that you're safe as you reject the one thing that can save you.
[00:55:21] Don't be foolish enough to think that. Don't be deceived by the sin.
[00:55:27] For if we have come to sharing Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end, as it is said. Just in case you didn't get it the first time today, if you hear his voice, do not heart in your hearts is in the rebellion.
[00:55:41] For those who heard and yet rebelled, was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses?
[00:55:48] I mean, hey, are you are you just not thinking that God is a god of judgment? Because let's just review the facts.
[00:55:54] The people that got delivered out of Egypt, they didn't get to go into the promised land because they did not believe.
[00:56:01] I mean, the people that Isaiah's prophet to the Jews later in the kingdom, in the promised land, they got invaded by other nations because they did not believe. The Jews who did not believe in Jesus Christ, who rejected him in 70 A.D., the Romans came in and they wiped out Jerusalem because they did not believe. And you think somehow you're going to get away with it?
[00:56:25] No, God has proven himself over and over again that people were not able to enter his rest. They were not able to have a relationship with him because they do not believe. Look at verse 19. Look at how tragic it is.
[00:56:37] Right, catastrophe, if you want to, next to this verse. So we see that they were unable to enter. This is talking about the promised land rest really a metaphor here for God's presence. Heaven, as we would think of it. So we see that they were unable to enter because of what what was the ultimate reason they couldn't.
[00:56:57] So I appeal one last time to those of you who do not believe you're our church, because I'm just telling you, we're not going to keep making these kind of appeals. And I know some of you by name. I've prayed for you by name because I knew you'd be sitting here in that seat that you usually sit in during these sermons.
[00:57:15] And I'm saying, what are we waiting for? Hear his voice today. Do not harden your heart again.
[00:57:21] And believe in Jesus Christ. Anybody want to say amen to that? I mean, that's what we're here to do. And for those of us who do believe in Jesus Christ, who have eternal life, man, I think we're gonna enjoy the second half of the gospel of John way more than we enjoyed the first half. Not that the first half was bad. Don't get me wrong. But when Jesus now gets with his disciples and he starts to let them kind of get some glimpse behind the curtain and particularly the things he says about the Holy Spirit, where he goes so far as to say it is to your advantage that I am not here.
[00:57:52] So the Holy Spirit can be here. What the Holy Spirit having him is better than being in the presence of Jesus. That's hard to believe. What's that all about? That's what we're going to learn all next year.
[00:58:03] And it's going to get very exciting and some of us are going to get closer to God than we have ever been.
[00:58:09] And I'm just looking forward to it. And I just would wish that all of us would be on that team moving forward. And so one last time we say, hey, don't harden your heart, but believe in Jesus Christ, please pray with me. God, we thank you so much for your word. Got and I just feel like there's there's someone right now who who knows that this sermon was for them. They are the the person whose heart is hard.
[00:58:36] They see the life around them, they maybe even see other people around here at the church getting saved and living for Jesus, and they can see that they have the commandment eternal life. And yet, for some reason, they are still feeling disconnected. And it's because of their unbelief. God.
[00:58:53] As a guy, I appeal to you right now that you would give them belief that you would open eyes to see that you would give ears to hear and that people would be saved here in this service this morning, Lord, and that you would get the glory for doing it because you're the only one who can make us born from above.
[00:59:11] When you watch us from our sit. God give him that understanding so they can turn and they can be healed and they can live and God. For those of us who have. Been granted salvation by you? God, I pray that we would never take it for granted. We would never think that we had anything to do with it. God. Let none of this going to church and learning more about the Bible. Puff us up. Let that knowledge not deceive us into thinking that we've done something. God, let us give you the glory right now that you are the one who who gave us a new heart and gave us life and your son who caused us to believe.
[00:59:48] And we do believe we do trust that Jesus is the way of salvation. We do trust that the Jesus is the way that we have a relationship with you. And we love knowing you. God and our hearts love for you. We thirst for you. We hunger for you. We want to know more about you. Teach us more about you through the book of Isaiah. Teach us more about you through the Gospel of John. Let us grow and our knowledge of you and God.
[01:00:12] I pray for the people that are all around us that we would never become numb.
[01:00:18] To those who are, hearts are hard. That our hearts would never grow hard towards those who have hard hearts.
[01:00:25] God, but that we would be soft and compassionate towards those around us. That it would never be okay with us for people to not believe in Jesus. They would never get used to that, that it would always be tragic, catastrophic in our minds.
[01:00:39] For someone to see the signs and not believe. So God use us to pray.
[01:00:44] Use us to invite people to come and see. Use us to go and tell people the good news of what Jesus has done. Some more people might see and might believe and might have eternal life. Make us an evangelistic church.
[01:00:59] God who is always going out to make disciples of Jesus. Please make us those people. And I pray that there will be no one at this church who could will drive down the streets of our cities and not care about the people that they see when they drive by God that our hearts would go out to. So now we come to you and we're asking for you to do a saving work among us. We're asking for you to sanctify us and set us apart. We're asking for you to show us the glories that you have for the eternal life that we have with you and to draw us into a closer relationship with you than we ever have before. God, we're asking these things in Jesus name. A man.
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