CHRIST PROVES OUR FAITH, #535
"And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do." (JOH 6:6)
There was a mixed multitude following Jesus: there were many who believed upon Him because of His miracles, but not with a saving faith. There is a difference between faith and saving faith.
JOH 6:14 says, "Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world."
Did they have faith? They believed that indeed this was the Messiah. When the Lord unfolded the truth to them, when He gave them to understand the meaning of how He fed the five thousand with those five loaves, "From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?" (JOH 6:66-67)
The multitude melted down. There were only twelve left of that whole multitude and He asked them, "Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?" (JOH 6:67-70)
There were eleven and they were all believers. They were all following Jesus, but they were following Him for the miracles and the bread. They did not have saving faith.
We see in our text, "And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do." If you and I are true disciples of Christ, and if you and I have saving faith, it is going to be proven; it is going to be put to the test. We might hear Jesus say unto us, "Will ye also go away?" when He tries our faith.
JOH 2:23 reads, "Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did."
There is a fallacy when you teach Scripture out of context. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and ye shall be saved." That is the gospel. But here it says that there were many that believed "when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man." (JOH 2:23-25)
They believed but not with a saving faith. If you and I have a saving faith, its going to be tested, and its going to come to the point that Jesus will ask you and me, "Will ye also go away?"
Philips answer revealed that he was preoccupied with circumstances: he was looking at the size of the multitude, which is so often a barrier to faith. Jesus asked, "Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?" and what did Philip do? He resorted to human reasoning and logic. This multitude was following Jesus because they had seen the miracles. Why was it that Philip couldnt have turned back to the Lord and said, "Thou knowest." Why couldnt Philip have built on what he had seen?
The Lord Jesus said in JOH 5:36, "But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me."
Why didnt Philip didnt understand that? Why wasnt Philips faith founded upon what he had seen the Lord Jesus do? He reasoned with human reasoning. "Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little." (JOH 6:7)
He was saying that even if they were each going to have just one little bit just a bite "Two hundred pennyworth" wouldnt do it. He is reasoning with his human logic. When you and I come into a trial of our faith, we are going to find that the biggest obstacle to our faith is our human logic, our human rationale, limiting God according to what you and I see with our human eyes.
Our Saviour had performed many miracles in healing the sick and in raising the dead. These miracles amended or restored something that already existed. See the distinction between the miracles that Jesus had already performed and the one He was about to perform. When somebody was ill and He made them well, He corrected something that already had been there. When He raised one from the dead, He restored that which was lost. With the five loaves He performed a miracle of creation. He brought forth what was never there before. There was not enough food there to feed five thousand, so He performed a miracle of creation. The only other miracle that resembled it was when He made the water into wine. He made what was not there before. He made wine where there was no wine.
Look at JOH 2:11. "This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him." His disciples believed on Him. There were many more than His disciples that saw those miracles, but He did this to manifest His glory unto His disciples. They saw it. The wine, which points to the precious blood of Christ "manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him," but the unbelieving Jews did not.
The breaking of the five loaves unto the multitude pointed to His body, which is broken for us. Those were acts of creation. He created wine and He created bread, and here we see the wine and the bread as the symbols of His blood and His broken body. This is the lesson that the Lord is teaching in connection with and in context with our text.
We see that they start following Him for bread. "And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." (JOH 6:35) He is teaching them the lesson that leads to the broken body of Christ. He is saying, "and he that believeth on me shall never thirst."
Christ is spiritualizing what He did here. The spirituality of the five loaves is that as The Word of God (which is Christ) goes forth and you read a single verse, it seems like it has a small meaning. Then the Lord sends His servants to unfold it and He puts it in our hands and multiplies it. As it comes to you, you might receive but a crumb; it might be only a few words that are unfolded. As the Lord spills it into your soul, that crumb multiplies and becomes a complete feast in your soul.
The miracle of the five loaves speaks directly of the person of Christ and the life that we have in Him. JOH 1:4 reads, "In him was life; and the life was the light of men."
When the Lord Jesus tells us, in JOH 6:35, "I am the bread," Hes showing that this is the symbol of the Bread of Life. "In him was life; and the life was the light of men." The Lord is showing us that the feeding of the five thousand is a spiritual lesson: it is pointing to the Bread of Life, which is the broken body of Christ.
In the Gospel of Mark we find that the miracle of the five loaves points to the chief duty of Gods servants. The commentators say (I havent gone in to check it out to prove it) that the one and only miracle that is recorded in all four gospels is the miracle of the five loaves feeding the five thousand. Thats significant. Its recorded in MAR 6:37. We see how it points to the chief duty of Gods servants, which is to break the bread of life to Christs hungry flock.
The disciples asked Jesus to send the people away. The multitudes were coming to the Lord Jesus Christ and the disciples said, "Send them away!" They realized that they would starve to death in that wilderness if they didnt have something to eat. But Jesus " answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat." (MAR 6:37)
This is the commission that God gives to His sent servants, which is that we must give the flock to eat. We must feed them with the gospel of Jesus Christ. This was the message that we learn from the five loaves.
The Lord Jesus is asking Philip because He wanted to prove him; He wanted to test Philip to see if he understood.
As we hold our text in its context we will see how Jesus left Judea because of the unbelief and the hatred of the Jews who desired to kill Him because of His miracles. The Jews desired to kill Him because He had cured the impotent man and because He had said that He was equal with the Father.
After they had sought to slay Him, after He had given them the testimony of the oneness between Him and His Father, after He had told them to "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me," after He had given His witness and His testimony that He indeed was the Messiah, "After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias." (JOH 6:1)
In JOH 4:3 we have the same problem. They had come against the Lord Jesus and against His teaching, so He departed and went to Galilee. When the flock rejected Him ("his own received him not"), He returned back into Galilee.
We read in the book of Revelation how the candlestick will be removed. This is what is happening here to Judea. The candlestick was being removed. They rejected Him and had turned their backs on Him.
In JOH 4:3 we see that Jesus returned into Galilee, then verse 4 says, "And he must needs go through Samaria." When He went that time, He went into Samaria and preached the Gospel to the Samaritans, but this time we read, " Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias." He went across the water. He did not visit anybody in the interim. (When we get into the chapter a little further, well see how He used it again to try the faith of His disciples and to record a lesson for you and I.) He went over the sea and in the crossing of this sea, which is the symbol of the rough waters that you and I go through in the trials of our faith, He was preparing His disciples for their ministry.
This teaches the same principle that Jesus taught in MAT 7:6. "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you." Thats a very solemn reality. How long do you contend with those who love not the truth?
The Lord Jesus left Judea. "After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee," and He returned back to Galilee. He would not keep striving with the unbelieving Jews. Those who are filthy, let them be filthy still. They refused the truth and did not love the truth.
"Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you." What does it mean, "cast ye your pearls before swine"? Christ Jesus would not deny Himself when they said He made Himself equal with God, He said, "Amen, amen!" He told them in undeniable terms that He indeed was the Messiah, and they still sought to kill Him.
When you and I come with the gospel and it is being trampled upon, scorned, and mocked, then we are casting our pearls before the swine " lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you." This is what the Jews were doing to Christ.
JOH 6:2 says, "And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased." They were not seeking eternal life; they were seeking physical relief. They were seeking physical health.
How many multitudes today follow faith healers? They are seeking physical relief but have no desire to enter Christs kingdom. These people who are going to go and get healed of some physical disorder, come to hear these faith healings messages, but they are not seeking for their soul to be healed. They are not seeking to have the corruption of their heart revealed that they might repent of it. They are seeking temporal relief. They have no desire to enter into Christs kingdom, nor do they do what He says.
This was prophesied and taught in Ezekiel. There is a multitude of religious people and all they want is a religion. They dont want cleansing and have their sins revealed. They dont want to repent. They dont want to come into the kingdom of Christ and serve Christ.
"And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people [They make a profession of being the church. Theyre Christians; theyre believers,], and they hear thy words, but they will not do them [they love to come and hear, but they wont do it]: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not." (EZE 33:31-32)
This is what the multitudes problem was when they were following Jesus. They saw the miracles, but they had no desire to come to the light and have their sins revealed, nor to come to the fountain that is open for all sin and uncleanness.
These miracles drew many after Christ. Theres a big difference between coming after Christ and coming to Christ. These miracles drew many after Christ, but only a few to Him that came to hear His words, that came to Christ. His place is among His own.
The Lord Jesus left these defiant Jews. "And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples." (JOH 6:3) The Lord Jesus becomes weary of those who reject Him and His kingdom, those who love to hear but refuse to do what He says.
He "went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples." He found a place of repose. His disciples also became very weary of this mixed multitude that was so hateful against the truth. They were coming to a place to have seclusion so they could have a little time with their Master.
MAR 6:31 says, "And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat."
The Lord took them apart to where they could have some rest. They were becoming weary. You have to understand these circumstances to understand the question that Christ posed to Philip. He is weary and has seen all this bitterness, hatred and desire to kill the Lord Jesus Christ. They are now up on a mountain by themselves, alone with their Saviour.
As Jesus was with His disciples in a place of repose, weary of the unbelieving multitude, and the Jews that hated Him, then we read, "When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him [They are in the place of seclusion where they can have some privacy and get some rest, where theyd have time to eat. They see this multitude coming and], he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?" (JOH 6:5)
The disciples were hungry and weary; they had been with a multitude for so long they needed some rest and time to eat. That is what we see in MAR 6:31. " For there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat." I want you to understand what circumstances prevailed when the Lord Jesus asked the question.
"And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do." (JOH 6:6) The Lord Jesus is testing and proving the hearts of His disciples. Now we understand why (as we read in Mark) the disciples said to send them away. They were to the point that they needed some rest.
Even though the vast multitude did not know Jesus was the Christ, His heart was filled with compassion for them in their need. See the distinction: they hated; they had no love; they had no desire for any coming unto His kingdom. Now the Lord Jesus is revealing what is in their hearts. Are they going to reveal love? The heart of Jesus was still filled with compassion for them in their need. The Lord Jesus was looking at their need far beyond what the multitude realized. He saw their need for their souls; He understood that they had never-dying souls.
MAT 9:36 says, "But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd."
They had no shepherd, nobody to feed them or teach them. There was no shepherd or bishop for their souls. They were as sheep scattered because "they fainted, and were scattered abroad."
In EZE 34, it speaks of the shepherds that fed themselves from the flock, didnt feed the flock, and scattered the flock. Then what does the Lord tell us as the consolation? He says that He will send a Shepherd. We see the fulfilling of this taking place.
EZE 34:20-24 reads, "Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD unto them [Hes talking to the pastors of Israel]; Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle. Because ye have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad; Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle. And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. [Thats a prophecy of the coming of Christ.] And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it."
He saw a flock that had been pushed, had been scattered, and had been deceived. He saw them striving for food, their souls fainting within them. Thats what it says here in MAT 9:36, " he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd."
The Greek word from which this word compassion was taken has a very special meaning. It expresses the deepest emotions of the soul; it is "to have the bowels yearn with inward affection," it is "a yearning of the inmost nature with pity, or sympathy."
The Lord Jesus Christ understood and His soul was filled with compassion for this mixed multitude. Even as He cried unto Jerusalem, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" (MAT 23:37) He wept and wailed and mourned. His heart was stricken with compassion for this mixed multitude.
Jesus asked Philip, "Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him." Did Philip understand his Saviours compassion for his fellow man? Thats the question for you and I. Do we become judgmental when we see those who love not the truth, when we see those who are departing from the ways of life? Do we become judgmental and write bitter things against them? Or does our heart of compassion go out to them? Does it cause us to come before the Lord and cry unto God on their behalf?
The Lord is asking this question to prove you and me. What should we do about this multitude? How do we look at them? Do we look at them in a judgmental spirit or with a heart of compassion? Do we see them as being scattered and faint, as sheep having no shepherd? Do they have shepherds who feed themselves on the flock? Do they pervert and twist the Word of God anything as men please - but theyre not faithful to their souls? Are their souls starving and dying? Does this fill our heart with compassion?
Did Philip understand the Saviours heart and the compassion for his fellow man? Or was Philip one of those who said, "Send them away"? (MAR 6:36)
The disciples said, "Send them away." What is our response? The Lord Jesus is asking this to prove you and me. Where is our heart of compassion for our fellow man?
When the woman of Canaan was crying "Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil," we read their response in MAT 15:23, "And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us."
The Lord is preparing His disciples to become His apostles. He is putting the question to Philip, "What must we do?" All Philip was looking at was the rational, human reasoning. "Well, they are too many and we dont have enough money," but could Philip turn and look to the wonder of Gods grace? Could he turn and see the wonder of the miracles that Christ had just performed? Could he turn to Christ and beseech Him, "Lord, have mercy on them. Feed them. We dont have the money, we dont have the food, but thou art the ruler and the King of kings, and the gold and the silver and the cattle upon a thousand hills all belong unto Thee"? This He said to prove him.
When that woman of Canaan came, the Lord Jesus said, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Immediately the disciples response was, "Send her away; for she crieth after us."
The true flock of God is not able to feed at the hand of those self-willed Pharisees. They are not able to feed at the hand of the self-righteous hypocrites or the legalistic, un-loving, uncompassionate pastors who lead the Lords flock. Is it just to please the fancy, or is it to feed the soul? There are so many who have been following these men-pleasers that are crying out with a hungry soul. They are waiting and looking for the truth.
"Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them." (EZE 34:2-4)
Quite a distinction between that and what the Lord is going to do on the Day of Judgment, in MAT 25. Hes going to say, "Come, ye blessed of my Father For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink I was in prison, and ye came unto me."
He is saying this to you and me. He was using it to prove Philip. Did he have a heart of compassion? Did he show love for his fellow man? Was his heart going out, as the heart of his Saviour, seeing that they were as sheep that had no shepherd?
Jesus was in retreat with His disciples to give them a little repose. They needed a little rest. "When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do." (JOH 6:5-6)
He knew what Philip was going to do, but He said this to prove Philip. He said this to bring Philip to know what was in his own heart.
Did you know that the Lord will bring you into circumstances just to help you know what is in your own heart? He does this quite frequently and in many ways that you and I dont recognize. As we get into these circumstances, do we immediately break forth with a compassion for our fellow man? When we see his blindness and how wrong he is, does that give us compassion for him, and bring us before the Lord to pray for him? Or are we like the disciples that didnt understand and said, "Lord, send them away."
Would Philips first concern be to feed the flock? " This he said to prove him." Would that be his first concern? When we see the story in Mark, we find that the Lord told him to give them something to eat. Would that be his first concern: How are we going to get them fed? Or would his first response be, "We dont have it. Send them away."
See what we read about Hezekiah, in the way of proving. The Lord does with His people, and He does this with you and me. The Lord provided a set of circumstances to prove Hezekiah. 2CH 32:31. "Howbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to inquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart."
Does this mean that the Lord had to know what was in Hezekiahs heart? No, the Lord knew. He sent this trial, these circumstances, for Hezekiah to know what was in his heart of pride. He showed the ambassadors everything he had. Then the Lord came with His prophet to ask Hezekiah what they had seen because everything that they saw was going to go to Babylon. The Lord used this to humble Hezekiah. He used this trial to prove him.
The Lord proves you and me by bringing us into circumstances. Is our first response the love of our fellow man in spite of who he is, or is it our first response to "Send them away. How can I get rid of this guy?" Our God places us into circumstances, which will reveal the corruption of our hearts.
DEU 8:2 says, "And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no."
When the Lord laid that passage of Scripture on my heart, I said before that I never was proud; I never had any bother of pride until the Lord humbled me. God had brought all this to them, those forty years, to humble them. The Lord humbles you "to prove thee." He proves us by the circumstances that He brings us into. He brings us into trying circumstances. What is in our hearts? "To prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no." He brings us into a set of circumstances with some person, with some brother, in Providence and the immediate reaction that He is looking for is how you respond. You dont have to worry on the Judgment Day about how that man acted or what he said or what he did; the Lord is teaching you and me what is in our hearts by the circumstances, trials, and tests that He brings us. Do you respond with compassion, with love? If you see a man in a wrong attitude, in a wrong frame of mind, do you heap coals of love upon his head to win him? Or do you exchange railing for railing?
God's ways and principles do not change. The Lord is dealing with you today exactly as He dealt with the Israelites in the wilderness. The Lord does not change in His ways or in His principles, nor has human nature changed. Thats amazing: fallen men are still fallen men. Today, in this highly educated century that we live in, the heart of man is no better than it was in the days of the children of Israel in the wilderness. We will still see people murmur unless we have grace. We will murmur against God and against Moses, but the Lord does bring us into this wilderness journey to humble us, to prove us, that we might know what is in our heart, whether we will keep His commandment of love or not.
Our human nature is the same, and therefore the Lord still tries our faith in the same way to accomplish the same purpose. The trial of your faith is to help you understand what is in your heart, to see the depravity of your heart and learn to understand true compassion for your fellow man, that you will have your heart changed and your attitude changed toward your fellow man.
Philip was confronted with circumstances, which would reveal what was in his heart. The Lords design was to "prove" him, or to test him. Whats in his heart?
What we read of the Lords ways with Israel of old is exactly how the Lord deals with you and I today.
After He said that He led them these forty years to humble them, He says, "And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know [This is what He did with the five thousand: He fed them with bread that was of His creating. What for?]; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live." (DEU 8:3)
That is what its for! When you see these circumstances that bring you to your wits end, remember, the Lord has a purpose in it. Do you know what that is? That you might learn that you dont live by temporal things, "but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD." In other words, that the Word of God becomes the foundation upon which you rest, that the Lord Jesus Christ becomes exalted, that you see that self-sacrifice is the will of God, and that you learn to love your neighbor and have compassion.
Are we going to seek our answers from Gods Holy Word? We are brought into a set of circumstances and the very first thing we have to look at is where we stand in relationship to the Word of God.
I had a gentleman come to visit me a few years ago, and he had been in television ministry. As a result of this ministry, he and his brothers had quarreled about the assets of the farm that he had a share in. They had gone to court and in the court battle they each had their lawyers and they were getting ready for a hearing. This man began to wonder if he had a good case. He came to me to ask if I would give him some legal advice.
I told him, "Sir, according to the law, if youre going to come before a court of equity, the first thing thats required is that you must come with clean hands; either that or you have no standing in a court of equity. So if were going to come before the courts of heaven and were going to examine your entire case (because youre dealing with your ministry and the support of your ministry and so on), the first thing I want to know is would you bring me your entire file so I can go through it, so I can see what their charges are and what your charges are, so we can do what is necessary to clean your hands so that when we come before the court we come with clean hands."
What was amazing was I never saw him again. He promised he was going to bring the file, but I never saw him again. The next time I saw him at a Gideons meeting, he avoided me and acted like he didnt recognize me. Isnt that amazing?
This is the Lords purpose in the trials that He brings to you and me. Are we able to come to the Word of God, as we read in DEU 8:3, "that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live"? Are we able to take all circumstances and wash them with the washing of the water of the Word so that you and I can lift up holy hands before God and say, "Lord, help me"? You cant come before the court of equity with dirty hands. You have got to go into the Word and wash them with the washing of the water of the Word. You must live "by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord."
You know something thats amazing? I have been through many a trial in my life, and found that when we come before the Word and have the Lord help us to clean our hands so that we can correct where we are wrong, the trial is over. Do you know why? That was the reason He brought us the test. He brought us there to humble us and to prove us and to know what was in our heart. When it becomes our hearts desire to know the will of God, and we wash it with the washing of the water of the Word, most of the time the problem is over.
JOH 6:7 says, "Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little." He revealed what was in his heart: he was reasoning with human rationale.
When the Lord sends us a trial are we going to go back to our resources? Philip reverted to his resources: he didnt have enough money, he didnt have enough food, he didnt know what else to do, so "Send them away." Are we going to resort to that? Or do we resort to every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God? Do we rack our minds to find some solution or do we turn to the Lord Jesus who has helped us so often in the past?
When we come into circumstances, why is it that the Lord is the last resort? Why do we first have to use all our own earthly logic? Why is it that we cant immediately run to the Word: "What would the Lord have me to do in this case?" Why cant we immediately turn to the Lord Jesus Christ by faith and lay it before Him: "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" instead of always first using up all of our own resources?
PHI 4:19-20 says, "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen."
The Lord wants you and I to come and eat out of His hand because thereby is He glorified. When you and I see the Lord providing every day, we dont have to go back and recount all of our resources and calculate and have it so well figured out that we can put it on a computer and make sure that everything balances up. Then sometimes on the end theres only one little thing missing: "Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it." That is where we have to begin: we must ask and wait.
"Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God." (PSA 43:5)
When he says, "I shall yet praise him," he is speaking in faith. Why are you cast down? Im going to praise Him again because He is going to provide.
Look once more at Philip to see a true picture of ourselves in JOH 6:7. "Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little." He was limiting the abundance and the bounty of Christ "that every one may take a little," and he said that they dont have enough to even do that in feeding the five thousand.
Aren't we initially occupied with circumstances, looking on the things that are seen? This is our nature. The Lord Jesus asked him this question to try him. Philip made a quick calculation of the multitude and how much it would cost, but he calculated without Christ. That is where he was wrong. You and I so often make calculations and when we get done, if we dont have Christ in our calculation, we can be off by miles even though our computer may say were right on.
Philip never took into account the very reason these people were following Jesus! Look at JOH 6:2. "And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased."
If Philip had seen these miracles and understood the power of God, he wouldnt have been so concerned. If he had turned his eye of faith to the author of those miracles he would have understood what we read in PSA 50:10-12. "For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof."
If Philip had calculated that, he wouldnt have been counting his dollars and the amount of the food. After all the miracles Jesus disciples had seen, one would think that their minds would have been set upon their Master. How often you and I know, when we look in our past, that the Lord has helped us here and He has helped us there. How often we can speak of the wonders of how God has delivered us in so many wonderful ways, but He will send a set of circumstances to prove us. Do you know whats amazing? We get in the middle of those circumstances, and we have to learn again.
JOH 1:30-34 says, "This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God."
John the Baptist saw the Holy Spirit descend upon Christ. He saw "and bare record that this is the Son of God." But I want you to see something that would be a comfort to us when sometimes we see our own folly. Here we see John the Baptists unmovable faith: "I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God," but when circumstances had changed, see what we read in MAT 11:2-3 about this same John the Baptist when he was sitting in prison.
"Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?"
Circumstances changed and now his ministry was finished. John the Baptist was in the prison where he would be beheaded. His job was done, but now his faith was being tried. Its this same John the Baptist, now sitting in prison, who heard about the miracles of Jesus and said, "Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?"
Sometimes faith can ebb and flow. John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, the Elijah who was on the Mount of Transfiguration where the Lord revealed John the Baptist and Moses unto the disciples, the one who baptized Christ, the one who said, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world," when he was in prison asked, "Art thou he or do we look for another?"
What was the answer that Jesus gave MAT 11:4-6? "Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see [in other words, look back on what I have already done for you]: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me."
When your trials come to their climax, the Lord says to look back and remember how He has delivered you here and there. Will He not now deliver you again? Jesus disciples often forgot those very miracles that caused unbelievers to follow Jesus. His miracles drew many after Him, but only a very few to Him.
JOH 6:1-2 says, "After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased."
Christs true disciples were the only ones who were not offended with Jesus after He had fully explained the miracle of feeding the five thousand. When He explained that miracle, He had to say to his own twelve, "Will ye also go away?" (JOH 6:47) Amen.
These on-line sermons are a ministry of Gospel Chapel located in Conrad, Montana. We also have a daily devotion and sermon notes.
We pray this sermon has been a blessing to those who read it. If you share this sermon with a friend, please let us know. Thank you.