A Sober Warning

Gospel of John #33. This is an exposition of John 12:37-50. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, August 7, 2011.

It is interesting if you do a study of preaching and teaching of the church over the last 100 years.  you will discover that as we have advanced in knowledge and sophistication we have shed our crude exterior and have taken on a more refined appearance.  certain words and concepts have been removed from our vocabulary.  We talk of love, acceptance and tolerance.  we no longer speak of hell, judgment and righteousness.  We are big on “brotherly love” but downplay the thunder of Sinai.  The prophetic voice of the church has been all but silenced.  Gone is the bold declaration of “Thus says the Lord” and in its place is the weak, anemic declaration of popular psychology – “I’m okay, your okay.”  We have sought to replace the thundering voice of God with the soothing voice of a “kinder, gentler Savior.”  While this tickling of the ears may draw greater crowds we are in danger of losing the Gospel.

We need a return to bold, unapologetic preaching of the whole gospel.  The Gospel is good news but the good news can only be understood and appreciated in light of the bad news.  Grace must be seen in light of God’s wrath.  The extent and the wonder of God’s grace must be seen in the light of His sure and certain judgment.  Our text this morning is found in the 12th chapter of John’s Gospel.

Text: John 12:37-50

We are in the last week of Jesus’ earthly life and ministry.
This week takes up 47% of John’s account of Jesus’ life.

In the face of trouble and threat of death – Jesus made a bold, public statement with His entrance into the city.  He then entered the temple and performed another cleansing.  Over turning the tables of the money changes He declared that His Father’s House was to be a House of Prayer for all nations.  He then spoke to the crowd declaring that the hour had come for the Son of Man to be glorified.  This no doubt caused great excitement.  “Messiah is about to overthrow our oppressor,” was the reaction of the crowd.  Then Jesus spoke of death, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies it abides alone.”

How is it glory and dying go together?
And what about this keeping life and losing it, letting go of life and finding it?

In verses 35-36 – Jesus warns that the offer of life is not open ended.
The light is among you for a little while longer.
Walk in the light while you have the light.
While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.

37-43 is a summary of the results of Jesus’ words.
44-50 are Jesus words to His disciples.
This passage serves to remind us that…

Thesis: The faithful preaching of the Gospel sounds an urgent warning to those who would reject the Gospel of the Lord Jesus.

In other words, faithful preaching warns of wrath as well as promises grace.

Occasionally people will ask, “What about the innocent native in Africa?  What happens to that innocent native who has never heard the gospel?  They’ve not rejected Jesus because they’ve never heard of Jesus.”  Well, I have to say, the innocent native in Africa has nothing to worry about.  In fact innocent people have nothing to worry about regardless of where they are from!  Of course I have to add there are no innocent natives in Africa or anywhere else.  The real question before us is what about the guilty who have heard and yet rejected the Gospel?

there are three things I want us to see.

  1. Those who reject the Gospel have only their own blindness to blame.  (12:37-41)
  2. A surface level commitment that refuses to pay the price, is no better than outright rejection.  (12:42-43)
  3. Those who reject the Gospel stand under the judgment of God.  (12:44-50)
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