Try walking into our worship service/building with the eyes of a first time person. What do you see? What is confusing? What makes sense? How easy/difficult is it to figure out about the nursery if you have children?.... a thousand questions. Over the years I have brought people into this building on a Saturday or week-day encouraging them to return on a Sunday. I want them to see it ahead of time so they can visualize where they might sit, what they might see, the fellowship hall. Perspective. If you desire to share the gospel with another person it is incredibly important to understand who they are, /background. The words I say to one of the wonderful Summer blueberry pickers from Texas is different from the depressed woman in the foothills or from the seven year old child. The need for salvation is the same, the message of the cross is constant, but the questions being asked, the needs that need to be met are different.
Perspective. Here is how you change your world: Ask the Lord Jesus Christ to enlarge your heavenly perspective so that you can see the world through the eyes of God.
The coming of Jesus allows us to gain a heavenly perspective. God has made it easy for even those of us with the thickest heads to penetrate. God sent his one and only Son into the world that we might see the One that has lived forever with God. We grow by leaps in our faith as we begin to see the world from God’s perspective.
John 6:30-36 describes what it is like to only see the world from an earthly perspective. The crowds that are surrounding Jesus don’t seem to be able to see beyond their own stomachs! I’m hungry. Feed me! Like Esau that gave up his birthright for a bowl of stew, the crowds seem to only care about satisfying their hunger.
If you look at the beginning of John 6, you will discover the crowd that gathered to hear Jesus were fed by Jesus in the miracle we call the Feeding of the 5000. Jesus blessed a few loaves of bread and a few fish and the baskets never ran out. Every man, woman and child had enough. They may not have understood the miracle, but they knew they forgot to bring food and Jesus provided for all. They had full stomachs. They saw the abundance of food that was provided at no cost to themselves. In our scripture today it is exactly one day later. The same crowd is gathered around Jesus, and now their stomachs are empty. They only see from their perspective: I’m hungry. Feed me. The feeding of the 5000 is the backdrop for today’s scripture. In fact, Jesus even points out to them that the only reason they followed him was for food: READ John 6:26. If the only reason you are a Christian is so that you can be blessed then you are missing the entire point of faith. God will take care of you, but in his way, not yours, your highest calling is to do the will of God. Your calling is to serve Him. You need a heavenly perspective to do that! Jesus knows the only reason the crowd gathers is because he fed them.
Sometimes in one of my more silly jokes I quip that maybe we should pay people to come to church! Crazy evangelistic strategy. The Christian life is not primarily about getting. It’s about serving, giving yourself to Christ. When you commit your life to Christ you will be blessed, but the substance is committing your life to Christ. I will follow you.
Following Jesus so he will give the people food is missing the point. He directs their attention away from the food that perishes to the “bread that endures to eternal life” (READ John 6:27). The dreams we have for ourselves are too small. I read a story of a man that decided to bless the churches in the community, so he went to the pastor of the first church and asked what it was that he really wanted to see happen in the church. The pastor expressed how much the church was in need of updated restrooms. So the man wrote out a check for a $1000 to cover the cost of the paint, new sink and other details. Then he went to the next Pastor and asked the same question. The Pastor spoke of the need to reach the young people in the community, the desire for more leadership to work with the people in effective outreach. So the man wrote a check out for $50,000 to hire another pastor and pay for the program…When our perspective is all we can see, the things that would make my life easier, more comfortable, improved, then our dreams are way too small. John 6:29 emphasizes the need to enlarge our perspective: READ. Make Jesus Christ the boss of your life. To believe in Jesus is to believe in the will of Jesus, the passions.
Believing is more than believing he exists. That’s easy. Obviously there is a God. Most of the world and through-out history people believe in a spiritual reality. Only our modern world argues for atheism/secularism that puts humankind center stage. Believing God exists is easy. At Christmas time in our society, even the most secular among us yearn for something heavenly. But to believe in Jesus Christ is more than to to believe he exists. Believing in Him, meaning that His will, His purpose, His passions are to be the primary direction of our lives. Believe in the One that came as a baby.
How to get along at your work: Find out what the boss wants, not what you want. For several years I sat at the front desk of the registrar’s office at Fuller Seminary. I was the contact with students when it came to grades, classes, financial questions. Everytime a question was asked of me, my thoughts were, “What would David Kiefer, the registrar say or do.” I tried to see through his eyes…. Just as a faithful employee finds out what the boss wants, how much more a faithful Christian lives to do the will of God. Jesus gives us a heavenly perspective. In order to do the will of God, we must seek to understand what God wants, what he is passionate about, how he would respond. In a few moments, we are going to see that three times Jesus says he came to do the will of God. Even though Jesus is God himself, the perfect man, he was sent to earth to show us that even He submitted to God. A miracle of the Christ Child: Jesus came to do the Father’s will. He asks us to do no more than what he was willing to do himself. Our calling, as Jesus Himself showed us, is to submit to the will of God.
The crowd demonstrates they cannot see beyond the end of their nose: READ John 6:30–31. Even though the people had seen Jesus feed five thousand, this was another day, and their stomachs were not full any more. They remembered that in the wilderness thousands of years earlier, Moses gave God’s manna every day. They didn’t just have miracle bread one day. But every day, for forty years. So Jesus, if you want us to see and believe, keep on working. Keep on doing your signs. Feed us and we’ll follow you. I got news for you folks. If anyone comes to this church depending on consistent awesome preaching, terrific life changing teaching, world changing counseling, perfect music…. It won’t be long before you will be disappointed. To grow in your faith, you must seek to be a servant of the most high. You must believe in Jesus Christ. You must submit to his perfect will. This is the only thing I can do: (point finger up). A heavenly perspective! Seek the things of God, his priorities, his passions.
Jesus give the people an amazing offer: READ John 6:32. Moses was not the key player in giving the manna; God was. The bread God gave through Moses was not the main point of the miracle. It pointed to something bigger. The point was that there is a “true bread from heaven,” namely, Jesus (as we will see in just three verses). Diane Bos is hurting. She has a tumor in her brain. Was it only Monday she went to the hospital after being unresponsive in the night. Boom. The world is changed. This week I talked to her a number of times. I am the most honored person on earth. I swear she is seeing with greater clarity the things of God…she has an amazing spirit about her. I pray for success in the upcoming surgery, but I also pray for a transformation of not only her spirit, but also for the Lord to touch the lives of the hundreds and hundreds of people that are praying for her and love her and care about her. This is about God… READ John 6:33. I love this verse…A heavenly perspective of Christ Himself is what changes the world. It is not food on the table, it is not even a perfectly healthy body, it is Christ, it is Him who was sent by God.
“I am the bread of life,” Jesus declares in John 6:35. Receive Him. He offers Himself. First as a baby. That is Christmas. But right around the corner is Easter: That is the cross and the resurrection. Perhaps most of the world drives right by our cradle and cross near the Clothesline and doesn’t even notice, but I know one person that is reminded of why Jesus came everytime he sees it: me. The cross and the cradle…
Jesus came to do the will of God. Three times he says it. READ John 6:38-40. To know God’s will is to see through the eyes of God. God’s good and perfect will. Jesus came to do the will of God. To know God’s will is to know what he wants, what he is passionate about, what he cares about. To know God’s will is see the heavenly perspective. Just as Jesus came to do God’s will, so that is our calling, to see the world through the eyes of God, the desire to redeem those that are lost, to set right the wrongs of this world, to show people the way to Jesus Chist.
This is faith. Living for Christ. Living to do the will of God, this is our purpose. Seeing a heavenly perspective. God’s heavenly desire is acceptance, “I will never reject them” Jesus says. , salvation, “I will not lose even one he has gave me” , and a future, “I will raise them to eternal life.”
Seek to see the world through the eyes of God. His purpose and pleasure. This is what gives most satisfaction. It is not maximizing our pleasure, Jesus said, READ John 6:37. The irony is that I will never find satisfaction in life by making it a goal to fill my own desires. I will grow in my faith as I shed the earthly perspective and adopt a heavenly perspective. The earthly is a dead end that doesn’t work. Just as Jesus was sent to earth to do the will of God, so we too find great meaning and purpose as we learn to live with the same attitude. Jesus came to do the will of God. He gave us a heavenly perspective. May we learn to gain a heavenly perspective so the things of earth fade and the will of God magnifies. Amen.