What Draws You To GOD?

Troy Singleton

We are back in the book of John, in chapter six, but it’s been a few weeks. It’s been over five weeks since we’ve been in the book of John, and when we left John, we were in chapter five, and Pastor Jeff preached on the man by the pool of Bethesda. He was wanting to get in, but every time he asks to be healed, Jesus asked him if he wanted to be healed. And he said, “Sure, every time I try to get in the pool, someone jumps in ahead of me.” 

Jesus heals him at this well, and it just so happened to be on the Sabbath. In verses 31-47, Pastor Jeff covered a sermon series on three sources to fact check Jesus. He used John the Baptist, God the Father, and Moses the law giver.

If you remember that sermon, he wanted to go into the courthouse in Columbus and do a little snippet of it from the courthouse. Of course they said no, but it’s more like Jesus being on a trial. And during this trial, of course with God being the Father, he would be the judge. 

So, in verses 31-47, Jesus gives an example. He brings Moses, and he shows testimony of how Moses pointed to him from the wilderness. He used God the Father to come down from the judgment seat and sit in the witness chair to testify, and also pointing toward Jesus.

Third, he used John the Baptist to present himself, as well, for all the current people who weren’t up on the history to show him that, “Look, I’m the one that they’ve been talking about. I’m the one that everyone through the Old Testament and parts of the New Testament at this point, are pointing toward.” But at the same time, the Jews did not want to hear anything Jesus had to say, and they wanted to kill him instead of obeying what he had to say.

To me, if I was Jesus, just to make fun of the matter, I would’ve pulled some words from this song that was written in 1972 by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes who featured Teddy Pendergrass (some of you might know the song I’m talking about), and it simply say, “If you don’t know me by now, you will never, never, never know me.” 

Just listen to of lyrics, and you’ll understand. It says, “If you don’t know me by now, you will never, never, never know me. All the things that we’ve been through, you should understand me like I understand you. I know the difference between right and wrong. I ain’t going to do nothing to mess up our happy home.”

And then he goes back into the chorus, “If you don’t know me by now, you will never, never, never know me.” And that’s the same thing Jesus is trying to say to these Jews. Like, “I’ve given you Moses, shown you God the Father, and I’m showing you John the Baptist. All these people that you are familiar with, and all of them are pointing toward me. So, if you don’t know me by now, you just flat out, you’re just never going to know me.

And these Jews, they wanted the miracles, but they didn’t want the miracle bearer. This is the stubbornness of the human heart. The beginning of this chapter is one of the most familiar stories, in chapter six, that we’ve ever heard in the Bible. It’s one that talks about the feeding of the 5,000 with two fish and five loaves of bread. There are not too many people that have never heard this miracle. It’s so profound that it’s covered in all four of the gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John covers this miracle. 

The only other miracle that’s covered in all four gospel is the resurrection. So, other than the resurrection, the feeding of the 5,000 by far is the other one that stands next to it.

It’s a miracle that Jesus performs, and it’s a miracle just in sheer number that is phenomenal. So if you’re looking for something to be a headline for this morning, I would suggest, What draws you to God?

What draws you to GOD?

-because there are so many things that you’re going to see that these people were drawn to him for, but were not enough to make them stay. The first point that I want to make with the first part of it is to talk about the fickle crowd. We have to address the fickle crowd.

The fickle crowd

So, let’s look at verses 1-5. It reads: 

1 After this, Jesus crossed the Sea of Galilee (or Tiberias). 2 A huge crowd was following him because they saw the signs that he was performing by healing the sick. 3 Jesus went up a mountain and sat down there with his disciples. 4 Now the Passover, a Jewish festival, was near. 5 So when Jesus looked up and noticed a huge crowd coming toward him, he asked Philip, “Where will we buy bread so that these people can eat? ”  

Between the events of chapters five and six, there was a gap of six months to a year. And during that six months to a year, when Jesus had this trial and was found guilty by them although he was innocent, the disciples dispersed, and they went out and started preaching the gospel around the area. 

When we get to chapter six, they’re returning to Jesus, and they’re going to do an after-action review, what we call in the army AAR. And Jesus picks the location. He picks this mountain to discuss the past events that they encountered during this time period.

But as Jesus was getting ready to set up this meeting to talk with his disciples, the crowd started coming to him, to the point that he had to stop his meeting with his disciples and go down to address this crowd of 5,000 plus people. So, during that time, Jesus sat there, and he is talking with them. And despite this crowd, there is no question that Jesus could draw a crowd by now because of his ability to heal the sick, raise a dead, and do all these supernatural things. But they were there for superficial reasons. They were there because of what he could do for them, not so much for who he was, being the Son of God.

Looking over this text for the past couple of weeks, I can’t say I blame them because you think about the time period that they’re in. There are no doctors. There is no one that can heal the sick. There’s no one other than a priest that they can go to for healing. And then they would tell them to do something like Elisha told Naaman. “Go jump the Jordan River and dip yourself in it seven times,” stuff like that. But Jesus was healing people quickly and moving on to the next person. At the same time, he was sharing the gospel.

So they got used to him doing those things. If they were healed, they would go get another family member and bring that family member and so on and so forth. The crowds just got larger and larger, not because they wanted to hear what Jesus had to say, but because of the healing that he was performing. So they were there for the healing of their body and not really the healing of their souls.

At this juncture in John, John is the only gospel that talks about the Passover. And if you remember the Passover, when the Jews were coming out of Egypt, when they had to do a festival, eat this meal, sacrifice the animals, and put the blood over the doors and along the sides, covered in Exodus 12. This crowd is a mixture of Jews coming for Passover, and Jews and Gentiles coming in for healing.

You have a mixture of people: Jews, Gentiles, rich, poor, saved and unsaved, who are there. And crowds can be intimidating, because we know everyone in a crowd does not feel the same way or have the same beliefs. Crowds have a tendency to start out violent and can turn peaceful, or they can be peaceful and turn violent, like this crowd is going to do.

To get a better understanding, I looked up crowd psychology and found this on thegreenroom.net. It says, “Social identity theorists argue that when in a crowd we experience a shift from individual selves to a collective self, and our behavior in response to this shift is regulated by the social norms shared by our fellow group members.” In short, we move, operate and make decisions collectively when we’re in the crowd. We lay aside our personal individual beliefs with the crowd just to join in. But Tony Evans said this about the popularity of the crowd. He said:

 “If popularity drives the decision, you would choose the crowd. If faith drives the decision, you would choose the Lord.”- Dr. Tony Evans

So, you can come to the right conclusion by viewing the decisions of the world through the lens of the word of God. And to illustrate that, if my glasses were the Word, if my glasses were the Bible, and I were to put my glasses on and they reflect Scripture from Genesis and Revelation, as I’m walking through life and I’m making decisions about jobs and career, or where I want to go to eat or different things, I’m looking at them through the lens of the Bible. 

But the things that are in the Bible that are not direct as far as where to eat and certain things; I have to pray and ask for insight. So, I’m looking through the lens of the Bible, through what I have on, to make those decisions.

But if these glasses represent the world, and I had these glasses on, now the Word of God is going to shift, because I’m going to misuse Scripture to fit the part of the world, what I’m doing at that particular moment to fit what I’m in. And I’m going to be using God’s Word out of context. That’s basically what Jesus is trying to do, is to get them to look at life through Scripture, look at life through his experience and make that preparation. 

 Be prepared for the test

And once we get that understanding, or get to a place that we’ve got a little bit of knowledge of God, then comes the test. We have to be prepared for the test, because at the end, you heard him ask Philip the question, “Where can we go to feed these people?” in verse 5. Let’s look at what Jesus, through John, says in verses 6-10.

6 He asked this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. 7 Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread wouldn’t be enough for each of them to have a little.” 8One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 9 “There’s a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish  — but what are they for so many? ” 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place; so they sat down. The men numbered about five thousand.  

From research, I found that possibly the reason why Jesus chose to ask Philip the question out of the 12, is because Philip was from the area that Jesus was about to perform this miracle in, and he figured Philip, from this area, can give some insight into what was going on. 

But Philip, being an analyst of things, he used his understanding of basic math to try to figure out how to provide, because that’s the rational way to do things, right? You want to come up with finances, you want to count the crowd, see how much it is to get how much money you need in order to make this purchase, to feed this many people.

At the same time Philip was doing this, Andrew was out looking for whoever was in the crowd that had food. And he came back with this little boy. In the midst of asking Philip the question and Phillip saying 200 denarii wouldn’t be enough, and Andrew coming back with this little boy, Jesus said, “Hey, just have the people sit down.” 

To me, Phillip could have cheated on the test and went to Ezekiel 3:37 and said, “Oh Lord God, you know,” or “All sovereign Lord you alone know,” because that’s kind of what Ezekiel said when God asked him in the valley of dry bones, “Can these dry bones live?” And he just said, “Lord only you know. I have no idea.”

He could have used that line and quickly gained some credit with Jesus, just cheating on the test and repeating what Ezekiel said in 3:37, but he didn’t. So, when you think about it, in order to pass, to prepare yourself for a test, you have to go over the material. And when you go over the material, you’re going over the material to a point that you can remember 90-100% of the material in order to prepare yourself for the test. But at the same time, from the test and taking the test, you’re going to either feel a sense of accomplishment or a sense of failure because you didn’t prepare properly for the test.

To me, Philip had to feel a little bad about his answer to Jesus’ question and what Jesus actually does for it, because really it wasn’t any amount of money that he could have had that could have donated to the cost to feed this many people. And the fact that Jesus was already performing miracles, Philip knew this, that it was easier for Jesus to just create it than for him to give him the money to go purchase it. But Philip, for some reason, didn’t think along those lines. And so Jesus just simply tells them to sit down.

But let’s go to the crowd again. When you look at the crowd of 5,000, John just says 5,000, but anyone knows where there are men, there are women. And where there are men and women, there are children. So, when you look at the number of 5,000, you’re really looking at 20,000 to 25,000 people that Jesus is telling his disciples to have sit down to feed. So, it is not just a small 5,000 group of people when you’re really considering what Jesus is about to do. 

There’s not really spectators of this miracle. The people are not spectators of this miracle, because they partake of the miracle; they get to eat the meal. There’s no other miracle that Jesus did that involves so many people. There’s nothing he did that conquers this event. The only requirement Jesus asked of the people was for them to sit down. That’s the only requirement he required for them in order to receive this meal. 

To me, if we are here and we’ve been praying for something and asking God for something and we feel that he hasn’t responded, you can ask yourself, what is the one thing that God is asking me to do that I haven’t done in order to get my miracle or to get my blessing? Because it could be something as simple as, like this crowd, sit down or have faith, or be still, something that Jesus is going to require from us in order to receive. And that’s simply all he asks from these people, was for them to sit down.

Are you drawn by Jesus’ miracles and sent away by His words?

And this final point is simply, are you drawn by Jesus’ miracles and sent away by his words? Let’s look at the next five verses:

11 Then Jesus took the loaves, and after giving thanks he distributed them to those who were seated  — so also with the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 When they were full, he told his disciples, “Collect the leftovers so that nothing is wasted.” 13 So they collected them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces from the five barley loaves that were left over by those who had eaten. 14 When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, “This truly is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 Therefore, when Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself. 

I want to go back to verse 11 and look at verse 11 closer. “Jesus took the loaves.” You see a transfer of the meal. “Jesus took the loaves, and after giving thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated.” In the boy’s hand, there were two fish and five barley loaves. Jesus takes the loaves, prays, thanks God for the little, God multiplies it to a number that’s not counted in the text, and look who he gave them to. He told the disciples, “Give them to the people who are seated,” (not the ones who were standing up). 

So, in order to receive the miracle, you had to have done what Jesus asked you to do in the first place in order to get the meal. If someone happened to be standing up as the disciples were passing out the bread and and the fish, they wouldn’t have gotten fed. Somebody catch that on the way home.

What I’m saying is, we’re in a place where if God says, “Go to this place,” and we over here because we feel he said go over here, you’re not where he wants you to be. So, you can’t receive what he wants you to have, because you’re not where you should be. But these people obeyed what Jesus said to the disciples for them to do, and they received this meal.

The only thing I can give you an example of that’s greater than that is if you would pick your favorite sport (basketball, baseball, golf, or whatever sport that you love), and I would say, “Hey, let’s go out and play a pickup game of football, baseball, basketball.” Nobody here is going to be interested in seeing a bunch of old guys play football or basketball. You want to watch the games that came on yesterday. It’s more exciting, more to remember.

So, you take all of those games from all those sports, golf, basketball, football, college, pro, whatever, and you would’ve put them all together. It still doesn’t match what Jesus is getting ready to do. It still doesn’t compare. We can think of an Alabama game, Auburn game, a Georgia game that we can remember that happened 20, 30 years ago. And, “Oh man, that happened.” 

But it still doesn’t match this feeding of the 5,000, which we know now is 20 to 25,000. It doesn’t compare because of what happened. Jesus took two fish and five barley loaves, and he just thanked God for the little, and God increased it with much, which also teaches us if we are faithful with the little things, if we are faithful on the things that we have, God will bless us with greater because we appreciate it more when we get it. But if you just tinker around with what you have, and you feel it’s small or insignificant, how is God going to bless you with more when you’re not appreciating what what you have?

So, this miracle that we just read about is the most extensive and highest participation level of any miracle he ever did. They were eating bread that had never been baked in an oven, ingredients that never were in the ground. They were eating fish that never had the opportunity to swim, never saw the ocean, never saw a pond, never saw a lake, that Jesus just gave to them. No flash, bang. No lights, anything. Jesus thanked God, and just started passing out baskets. And he didn’t just pass them out. Each one got a happy meal. He passed out enough that everyone ate until they couldn’t eat any more.

And to top it off, he said to his disciples, “Go and get the leftovers,” because the custom was that nothing gets wasted. So, even the stuff that’s dropped, you have to pick it up. He sent each disciple out to their group to pick up the leftovers. And guess who the leftovers were for? It was 12 baskets. So he fed the disciples what was left after everyone ate their fill. So, it was an all-you-can-eat, then everything left, the disciples went out and got and brought back.

This is a unique miracle because it was a created miracle. When Jesus healed someone that was blind, they had eyes; they just couldn’t see. When he healed someone that was lame, they had legs; they just couldn’t walk. But this he did from just two fish and five loaves. He had to create everything else on top of that to stretch their faith. This miracle can’t be debated. It can’t be argued saying it didn’t happen because they ate the evidence. They were there. They were a part of it. 

So, from this crowd, these people decided after this great miracle that, “Look, let’s make him king. We can eat like this every day. We wouldn’t have to listen to our government. We can just listen to him. We can just crown him king, and we’ve got it made after that.” 

They missed the point.

House of Heroes has a website that will provide you the name of every medal of honor, distinguished service cross, Navy service cross, Air Force recipient and other badges. And also they have a statement on there about stolen valor. And the term applies to people who falsely claim to be in the military, embellish their rank in wars and stuff of that nature. And some people claim to be followers of Jesus without following his will for their lives.

Stolen valor. We claim to do the things. We claim to do this, but once we leave service, we go back to doing things as normal. That wasn’t what Jesus was about. And as we go through this series in John, pay attention when Jeff gets to verses 60-70, because in those 10 verses, you’re going to see these same people that we’re talking about this morning. They’re going to walk away from Jesus because they don’t want to hear his words. 

Just like the point says, they are there for the miracles, but they were chased away by his words, because his words were too harsh. He was demanding too much from them, and they didn’t want to follow him anymore.

They loved what he could provide, yet were sent away by his words. If they did, they wouldn’t want to make him king. Making him their earthly king answered their physical needs, but Jesus wanted to solve their spiritual and their physical needs. But they didn’t want to hear that part. To me, Jesus sums it up in Matthew 6:33. He says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things would be added unto you.” 

And you ask yourself, what are these things? But when you look at verses 1-32, then get to 33, Jesus talks about the birds of the air. He talks about things in life, how the birds wake up and they sing. They go and they fly around. They don’t worry about the meal they’re going to have today. They just know they’re going to eat. They don’t have worry in things of that nature. They just sing. 

He’s saying that if we seek God first, everything else would just be added to you. It would be like a spiritual magnet. That stuff would just be drawn to you. Everything you need would just be pulled in, spiritually, just by seeking him first and his righteousness, and these things will be added to you.

A few weeks ago, we were doing our work at the Riverview Apartments. We still do some things with the kids in the afternoon, and on this particular day, we were going through the seven first days of creation. We were getting ready to give the instructions to the kids, and two girls came up and they wanted the snacks that were on the table. I explained to them we had three tables set up, Kevin was at one table. I was at one table, and Pastor Jeff was at another table. 

I explained to the girls, I said, “Look, in order to get to that table with those snacks, you’ve got to go through the seven days of creation.”And I explained, I had tables. I had day one and two. I said, look, day one, we blindfold you. We give you batteries and some flashlights. You put the batteries in the flashlight and you turn them on, blindfolded. And then you take the blindfold off and you see a light. Day two, we had a cup, empty cup. You pour water in the cup. You pour some blue dye in and some shaving cream representing second day of creation of the water from land, sky and the birds.

And then Pastor Jeff, had three and four. And Kevin had five, six, and seven. I said, “You can get those snacks, but you have to participate in what we have going on.” I said, “Y’all think about it. Y’all are welcome to be a part of it.” And I walked away. And when I got to Kevin, he was giving instructions, and I looked back and they walked off because they wanted what we provided. They wanted the snacks we brought, but they didn’t want to hear about Jesus.

And I tell the kids, “Look, if y’all participate, y’all listen, we’re going to give y’all something, some physical food to eat. But, we’re also going to give you something spiritual so you aren’t leaving here the same way you came.” And some people in your life that you talk to about Christ don’t want to hear what you’re saying.

I would tell you, don’t stop being who you are. Keep spreading the Gospel. Somebody’s going to hear it. Somebody’s going to thank you for it, but don’t not tell someone about Jesus. If you’re undercover, you’re not living how God would have for you to be on your job. 

I’m infantry, 23 years, and being a Christian is not the proper thing in the infantry field with everything going on. There were many days I ate by myself, but I was like, “Oh well.” I wasn’t going to conform to the things that were going on around me. I was going to stay true to who Christ would have me to be. And then over time, some people started coming in, onesies and two-sies. It was a situation where I just wasn’t liked because I wasn’t going to do what everyone else was doing. 

But that’s a decision all of us make on a day-to-day basis. Because this is not a once-a-week, Sunday thing that we do, and then we go and we go back into life and go into darkness. And then we show up Sunday and we’re in light. This is a seven-day-a-week, 24 hours, 365-day event. You get no time off. And you just trust God through the whole process that everything will work out amazingly. In some cases you won’t even be able to explain it.