The Difficult, Offensive Truth

Gospel of John #19: An exposition of John 6:60-71. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, March 27, 2011.

When I was a student at OBU I used to love to watch the Sunday afternoon program sponsored by All Souls Unitarian Church here in Tulsa.  I always found the show interesting as I listened to Dr. Wolf discuss various theological topics.  One show in particular stands out.  I watched and listened as the learned doctor systematically picked apart every orthodox doctrine related to salvation.  He scoffed at the notion of penal, substitutionary atonement.  He found the notion of Jesus dying as a bloody sacrifice on the cross for our sin a repulsive idea.  Of course the doctrine of Hell was nothing more than scare tactics dreamed up by medieval theologians to keep the ignorant masses in line.  The notion of a bodily resurrection was pure fiction.  The fascinating thing was this.  After “destroying” the orthodox teaching of the church related to salvation the host asked, “But I’ve heard you speak of salvation.  How do you preach salvation?”  “Why, I preach it right out of the book!”  The good doctor was postmodern before it was cool!

Just this past week a new book has hit the market written by a man who is considered one of the leading voices in the Evangelical church.  In his book Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived pastor Rob Bell raises some good and necessary questions.  I’ve not read the book so I cannot draw any conclusions other than to say it is clear pastor Bell is calling into question the orthodox view of salvation.  From all indications if he has not embraced a “universalist” view he is at least suggesting that there will be opportunities after death for the unbeliever to come to faith in Christ.

Add to this, the fact that the vast number of folks in our country believe there is a heaven and they are confident they are going there.  Which seems to contradict the Words of Jesus who said the gate to life is narrow with few who find it while the gate to destruction is wide and many travel that path.  With such divergent views, widespread confusion, and with a multitude voices it is imperative that we, as the church, speak with a clear voice the true Gospel entrusted to the church, kept safe by the power of the Spirit, anointed to bring life to those dead in trespass and sin.

After facing hostility in Judea Jesus and His followers left Judea for Galilee.
In Galilee Jesus again experienced success.
Due to His miracles great crowds once again followed, hanging on His every word.
Everywhere He went huge crowds followed.
He was the “toast of the town.”
However – as His message came clearer into focus the mood shifted.
When the crowd understood what Jesus was saying, and understood the implications…
The crowd turned ugly.
The pattern in Judea was repeated in Galilee.

In short order that crowd of 5000-15000 was down to 12!
There went the conference deals.
There would be no book contract.

Our text this morning is found in John’s Gospel, chapter 6 beginning with verse 60.

Text: John 6:60-71

As we seek to make sense of what happened in Galilee and how it relates to us today here is what I want us to remember…

Thesis: The lateness of the hour and the gravity of the subject demands that we preach the biblical doctrine of salvation.

There are things about the biblical doctrine of salvation that are not comfortable.  There are things you may not like.  But that does not change the truth.  There are three truths related to salvation that we need to recognize in this text.

  1. We must recognize that the biblical doctrine of salvation is offensive.  (6:60-1, 66)
  2. We must recognize the is no alternative.  (6:62, 67-69)
  3. We must recognize salvation is the sovereign work of the Spirit of God.  (6:63-65, 70-71)

Time is of the essence.  The stakes are too high.  We must clearly, boldly, and passionately declare the biblical doctrine of salvation.  Understanding that it will give offense; yet knowing there is no alternative; and trusting if the power of the Spirit of God to convince, convict and to convert.

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