Regardless of Outside Pressure

Stefan Nitzschke April 25, 2021 John 7:1-53
Outline

John 20:30-31 - Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

John 1:11-13 - He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

4 ways to resist unhelpful pressure

I. Seek to Do God’s Will in God’s Time (7:1-13)

A. Sometimes unhelpful voices offer advice

John 7:3 - Therefore His brothers said to Him, “Leave here and go into Judea, so that Your disciples also may see Your works which You are doing. For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” For not even His brothers were believing in Him.

B. Happily obey when the time is right (7:6-13)

II. Trust Christ’s Words (7:14-36)

A. His words are from the Father (vv. 16-17)

B. His words are for the Father’s glory and not His own (vv. 18)

C. His words are convicting (vv. 19-20)

John 7:19-20 - “Did not Moses give you the Law, and yet none of you carries out the Law? Why do you seek to kill Me?” The crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who seeks to kill You?”

D. His words are authenticated by works (vv. 21-24)

E. His words are controversial as predicted (vv. 25-36)

John 7:30-31 - So they were seeking to seize Him; and no man laid his hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come. But many of the crowd believed in Him; and they were saying, “When the Christ comes, He will not perform more signs than those which this man has, will He?”

III. Appreciate the Ministry of the Holy Spirit (vv. 37-44)

John 7:37-39 - Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

A. Every believer has the privilege of being indwelt by the Spirit

B. Every believer enjoys the benefits of the indwelling work of the Spirit

C. The presence of the Spirit is a reminder of who Christ is and the work He completed

IV. Refuse to Be Intimidated by Threats and Arguments (vv. 45-52)

A. Lame Argument #1: No one important believes

John 7:48 - No one of the rulers or Pharisees has believed in Him, has he?

B. Lame Argument #2: No prophet arises from Galilee

Luke 2:4-6 - Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.

The main thrust of our study is based out of the purpose clause that John outlines in ch 20:

John 20:30-31 Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

There are two facets to this purpose—one for those who have not believed that Jesus is the Christ, and another for those who have believed Jesus is the Christ

For the non-Christian, the application is the same, week-over-week: Believe that Jesus is who He says He is: the perfect Son of God who proved to be the sacrifice for our sins on the cross

We have urged our skeptical friends towards the same end—repent and believe

The second facet of this purpose is for those who have believed: that we may have LIFE in His name

What are the implications of this statement?

The beauty of it is—they are limitless

Having life in His name affects my purpose

Having life in His name affects my relationships

Having life in His name affects my actions

Having life in His name has implications for every single facet of the life that I now live

While our application for the non-Christian is the same today as it has been through this study—see that Jesus is who He says He is and place your faith in Him TODAY that you too may receive life—the bulk of our focus is going to be looking at the implications for the believer

Today, we are going to study John 7:1-52. Since the passage is so long, I am not going to read the whole thing at the beginning. Instead, I am going to read it and explain it as we go. Please open your Bible to John 7. That is on page 77 of the back section in the Bible under the chairs.

Coming into ch 7, we have seen the building of Jesus’ public ministry

Here is a quick recap:

*ch 2 (1) first miracle, (2) cleansed the temple

*ch 3 born again

*ch 4 living water

*ch 5 resurrections (physical & spriritual)

*ch 6 bread of life

So far, there has been a crescendo where everything seems to be building

At the end of 6, we hit a bit of a snag—people no longer saw Jesus for who they wanted Him to be (vending machine & Roman conqueror)—but rather who He truly IS: the giver of life

While it caused His true followers to see this as beautiful, the majority abandoned him, as was outlined in 6:66

But this sort of rejection was not surprising—John alluded to it early in the book:

John 1:11-13 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Chapter 7 shows a ramping up of the former group: those who would not receive Him

Our series is called Enjoying life in His Name, and today we are going to be walking through John 7 together and discuss Enjoying Life in His name Regardless of Outside Pressure.

Let’s consider 4 ways to resist unhelpful pressure.

As we are about to surmise from our text, the first way to resist unhelpful pressure is to…

I. Seek to do God’s will in God’s time (7:1-13)

**Read vv. 1-13

By the time ch 6 concludes and 7 begins, 6 months has passed.

Jesus has been ministering in Galilee during that time presumably with his twelve disciples.

We have gone from the Passover celebration in ch 6 to the Feast of Booths (or Tabernacles) in ch 7

This festival is intended to remember the wilderness wanderings after God called His people out of enslavement in Egypt as recorded in the Book of Exodus

During the time of their wandering, what did the people live in? (tents/booths/tabernacles)—hence the name

The faithful would come from all over and descend on Jerusalem for this festival—by Josephus’ account, this was the greatest of the “Big 3” Jewish holidays

In commemoration of that time, what do suppose everyone lived in during the week that the Feast was celebrated? Tents! (even the natives)

Additionally, this Feast was centered around the most crucial element for anyone who is wandering about in the desert for 40 years—can anyone guess what that may be? (WATER)

So picture the scene: you have a week-long camping event during the most popular holiday in a city packed with men and women, celebrating the Lord’s provision and deliverance

It’s within this context that Jesus’ brothers begin to try to coerce Jesus—not out of a humble heart of belief, but rather a mocking tone of disbelief

This is a good reminder that…

A. Sometimes unhelpful voices offer advice

John 7:3 Therefore His brothers said to Him, “Leave here and go into Judea, so that Your disciples also may see Your works which You are doing. 4 “For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” 5 For not even His brothers were believing in Him.

His brothers probably either heard or heard of Jesus’ talk in ch 6, when He compelled ppl to eat His flesh and drink His blood, because though everyone wanted a free lunch and a spot of wine, they did it to the neglect of what Jesus TRULY came to offer—Himself, to satisfy a hunger and thirst that puts their physical need for sustenance to shame

But His brothers missed the mark, but that didn’t stop them from giving their advice…

Can you hear them?

“bro, that stuff about being bread and having folks drink you was pretty weird—you may want to back down from that”

“Here’s what you gotta do: go up to the feast and start doing the cool things again. Remember the wine? Remember the fish and loaves? Remember the healings? Let’s stick with that for a while…”

Jesus’ brothers had their own plan for Him—but who’s plan was Christ going to follow?

He was immovably fixated on what the Father desired from Him

Do we face similar pressures in our day-and-age?

Opinions that do not derive from biblical wisdom but worldly folly?

Advice that appeals to our flesh and not the will of God?

Turn on the TV at 4pm and you’ll get plenty of the same talk that Jesus’ brother’s displayed here

If you want to feel better, do this

If you want ppl to like you, say this

If you want to succeed, think this

…sometimes unhelpful voices offer advice

Who do you choose to listen to?

Jesus’ brothers had their own plan and were on their own timeline

Jesus wasn’t buying it

Likewise, we are to…

B. Happily obey when the time is right (7:6-13)

Let’s take care of the elephant in the room: Jesus was not being deceptive or outright lying to his brothers between vv 8-10

We presume that Jesus got the go-ahead prior to v. 10 when He chose to go up

Jesus was not saying to his brothers that he was NOT going to the feast—He was saying that he brother’s were not the ones setting the terms of His coming and going—the Father alone has that role

And looking at the big-picture, Jesus was facing from pretty aggressive opposition

In chapter 5, folks starting pushing back against His teaching

7:1 says they were seeking to kill him

7:11 says they were actively seeking him.

Was Jesus avoiding the feast out of fear?

Absolutely not

And how do we know this?—because He went, and we will see in our next section the He was not cowering in fear

It’s dangerous to live outside of the will of the Father—even if it leads to life

It’s safest to live within the will of the Father—even if it leads to death

Jesus is the highest example of what it looks like to obey the leading of the Father—whatever He wants, whenever He wants

This actually explains all of Jesus’ behavior

Additionally, it reminds me of the way I am supposed to live.

My job is not to figure out how to make life easiest for me.

It is not to avoid conflict or controversy.

It is not to allow my personal temptations toward idolatry to take over.

It is to simply walk in happy and humble obedience to what He calls me to

Notice v. 7 “I testify that its (the world’s) deeds are evil.”—That is why the world hated Jesus.

His mission was not simply to heal the sick and to give them bread to eat.

He commanded them to repent and believe because they were deserving of a resurrection to eternal judgment (5:29).

I do not know all the things that God wants you to do for the cause of Christ.

But it will often require the courage to face the opposition of people who want you to do something else.

I hope that you regularly pray for the Lord’s will in your life and that you are ready to do it.

For those who have not yet believed in Jesus: v. 6 says “your time is always opportune.”

Jesus is saying that since you’re not on board with what God is doing, it honestly doesn’t matter whether you go here or there or when you go.

You are in no danger from the world, because the world shrouded in darkness loves you as their own

But it is not the world you must one day give an account to…

*gospel + invitation (forsake the World and get right with God)

The second way to resist unhelpful pressure is to …

II. Trust Christ’s Words (7:14-36)

Knowing the will of God involves a couple of very clear objective realities.

First, there are times when God tells us his will. “This is the will of God …”

Second, we know that when we are faithfully following his Word and actively engaged in our relationship with Jesus that he directs our steps.

This section focuses on the trustworthy character of Jesus’ Words—please follow along with me starting in v 14…

**Read vv. 14-36

Basically, Jesus goes up to the festival, begins to teach in the temple, and we see the emergence of mixed responses from the listeners

But this section is not just about how ppl received His words—its also about what He said OF His words:

A. His words are from the Father (vv. 16-17)

Jesus only speaks the words and does the works that the father has given him to do.

The test He gives them is found in v 17: those seeking to do the will of the Father will see that Jesus is speaking His words

And the outcome of that obedience will show the purpose as well:

B. His words are for the Father’s glory and not his own (vv. 18)

Even Jesus—the second member of the Trinity—made it clear that He was seeking glory for the Father in His teaching

And being the very words of God…

C. His words are convicting (vv. 19-20)

John 7:19-20 “Did not Moses give you the Law, and yet none of you carries out the Law? Why do you seek to kill Me?” 20 The crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who seeks to kill You?”

The question is rhetorical... Of course, Moses gave them the law. They would say that they cherish the law and adhere to it

Jesus explains that they don’t live out the law—and none of us in this room can either

But regarding them, His evidence is powerful: They are trying to violate commandment #6—7:1 says they are seeking to kill him, yet he is innocent of capital crimes.

And this will not be the first commandment they break

They go on to say that Jesus is a madman and possessed by a demon

6 short months from now, during the next Passover, these same folks will be screaming “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”

But while convicting, Jesus further argues the authenticity of His words by showing that…

D. His words are authenticated by works (vv. 21-24)

Jesus brings up a curious example where His actions came into conflict with their false understanding of the law—when He healed someone on the Sabbath

He does two things here: He highlights their own hypocrisy, where they break the very standard they hold Christ to in order to adhere to their faulty understanding of the law

Secondly, He shows His ability to heal by the power of His very words

Do you know what this beautifully does? Simultaneously shows their dire need for someone who has perfectly obeyed the Law of God, while at the same time showing the Jesus alone has the power to do so

No one can do what Jesus does—speak and it comes to be—from nothing

His works authenticate His Words, but also…

E. His words are controversial as predicted (vv. 25-36)

Thus far, those who have rejected Him have done so based out of a false understanding of who He is

Some rejected Him because they thought He was a bread making machine—when He said He was the bread of life, they walked away

Some thought He coming to save them from the Romans—when He said He came to save them from their sins, they walked away

His brothers think He should rise to stardom—when He says He works for His Father’s glory, their rejection of Him is obvious

Here, some have a false notion of who the Messiah is to be (thinking no-one will know where He comes from)—Scripture makes it very clear where the Christ will come from

Regardless, their false understanding leads to their rejection of Jesus

Let me say it as plainly as I can: Where Jesus’ words are controversial to us is where our understanding is wrong

Do you know who isn’t offended to hear Christ died for the sins of the world?

Those who understand #1, that they are a sinner, and #2 that Jesus is able to pay our penalty through His death

Anyone who doesn’t believe Him will be offended—but they will be offended with the TRUTH

Yet even among those who would reject Jesus, He is still utterly unavoidable

John 7:30-31 So they were seeking to seize Him; and no man laid his hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come. 31 But many of the crowd believed in Him; and they were saying, “When the Christ comes, He will not perform more signs than those which this man has, will He?”

Do you believe Jesus’ words?

Are you offended by the truths that He states—and not just in our text today, but throughout the Word?

Every single person that has been mentioned in our text has something in common—they were each trusting in something as their source of truth

Some looked only at the physical and refused to acknowledge any spiritual matter—their source of truth was their own perception of things

As soon as Jesus appealed to the spiritual, they pridefully perceived His words as untrue

Some looked only at what they could understand—as soon as Jesus’ words were difficult to comprehend, they pridefully trusted in their own understanding and not His

Some looked only at their plan—as soon as Jesus had other plans, they pridefully stuck with their own rather than trusting in His

Does any of this sound like any of us?

Do we not fall into the trap of trusting in our own perception, or understanding, or plan, and whenever the Lord’s word’s contradict it, we default to us?

Everyone must decide who they are going to listen to.

Who will have influence in your life? Will it be your own knowledge, the understanding of others, Jesus’ words?

The text has compelled us so far to (1) Seek to do God’s will in God’s time and (2) Trust Jesus’ Words.

For the Christian, a third way to resist unhelpful pressure is to…

III. Appreciate the Ministry of the Holy Spirit (vv. 37-44)

**Read 7:37-44

It’s worth reading those first 3 verses again

John 7:37-39 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ ” 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

I mentioned earlier that the festival of booths was, in large part, centered around water:

During the feast, each day, the people would bring branches and lay them at the alter while the priest would retrieve a golden pitcher full of water.

When he poured the water over the alter and the branches the people would recite Isaiah 12:3 “With joy, shall we draw water out of the wells of salvation.”

This water ceremony was not just to recall God’s provision of water during their wilderness experience: it also pointed forward to the day of salvation.

Since the OT often links water and the Holy Spirit, the fact that Jesus did this on the last day—the height of the feast—is very significant.

In essence, Jesus says, for a whole week you have been looking forward to the day of your salvation – the day of the Spirit’s arrival.

Jesus effectively stands up and yells “I am that day of salvation and I am the one who provides the Holy Spirit!

“And if you see that you are thirsty—like the people of God in the wilderness—come to Me and drink!!”

Praise the Lord for an answer to our desperately parched souls—AMEN?

Here are some implications of this passage for you and me.

A. Every believer has the privilege of being indwelt by the Spirit

Ephesians 1 calls Him the down payment of our inheritance

Romans 8 says that all who are children of God have the Spirit

Verse 39 reminds us that while it did not happen at the feast, it did at Jesus’ ascension. That leads to implication #2…

B. Every believer enjoys the benefits of the indwelling work of the Spirit

In one word, who is the Holy Spirit? (God)

And by way of reminder, who has access to Him? (Christians)

What’s further: where has He chosen to dwell concerning those Christians? (Within!)

So let me get this straight: those who have trusted in Jesus and now have life in His name have the very Spirit of God dwelling INSIDE of them—do I have it about right?

Let me ask you: should this have any impact on your life?

In the very least, we should be a SATISFIED people—not hungry or thirsty for whatever the world could have to offer: WE HAVE GOD!

But we should be more than satisfied… people should be able to TELL that the God of the universe has chosen to dwell within us

Jesus said it this way in John 4 when speaking to the woman at the well:

“the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life”

The Spirit’s ministry in the life of the believer is multi-faceted—He isn’t just our seal of salvation, but He also:

1. illuminates Scripture and spiritual matters, allowing us to understand and see

2. Convicts us of sin

3. Guides us according to the truth of Scripture

4. Prays as we ought to pray

5. Blesses us with fruit, like love, joy, peace patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (anyone want this fruit?)

6. Equips us to faithfully serve

And so much more!

Believer: Is the ministry of the Spirit obvious in your life?

If not, let me ask you the same question Jesus asked those in the festival: ARE YOU THIRSTY?

Run to Jesus—the well of salvation who satisfies the parched soul

And start living like a person who is SATISFIED

Love sacrificially, as Jesus loved

Serve like someone who has wells of water springing up to eternal life busting out of them

Produce fruit like a well-watered tree ought to

Here at Faith, we have an abundance of opportunities to grow in your relationship with Christ, to serve in sacrificial ways, and to produce fruit that lasts (*talk to one of us)

Lastly, to this point…

C. The presence of the Spirit is a reminder of who Christ is and the work he completed

A lot of people had a lot of opinions on who Jesus was

If Jesus’ words were not enough to convince, do you know who ends the debate?

The presence of the promised Spirit—a presence that believers can even point to in our lives today

With the goal of resisting unhelpful pressure, we have seen from our passage that we are to (1) Seek to do God’s will in God’s time; (2) Trust Jesus’ Words; and (3) Appreciate the Ministry of the Holy Spirit.

That brings us to point 4…

IV. Refuse to be intimidated by threats and arguments (vv. 45-52)

**Read 7:45-52

The Pharisees dispatched the temple guard to arrest Jesus in v. 32. They return in v. 45 empty handed.

Why?

Primarily, because Jesus is untouchable until the hour the Father has decided

But curiously enough, it looks as though the guards were also enamored by Jesus’ teaching

Does this make the religious leaders happy?

Those without a biblical worldview cannot explain the world.

The problem of evil in the world is much more troubling for an atheist than for a Christian.

The problem of origins of the earth are much larger for the humanist than they are for the Christian theist.

Only a biblical worldview is large enough to explain the world.

What happens when you can’t win an argument based on careful, logical, and scientific reason?

You have no choice but to attack.

You have no choice but to throw logic out the door and settle for arguments that are LAME

Maybe you’ve faced this kind of reaction before.

Lame Argument #1: No one important believes

John 7:48 “No one of the rulers or Pharisees has believed in Him, has he?

Is this because the religious believers have critically analyzed Jesus’ arguments and have scoured the Scriptures to see if these things are so?

No…

Their argument is: none of the cool kids think he is cool, so how could he be cool?

Do we hear that today?

Your faith is wrong because the Hollywood stars don’t believe it. Lame!

The politicians don’t believe it. Lame!

The star athletes don’t believe it. Lame!

But guess what—it’s not even true!!

Who is mentioned in v 50??

You can see Nicodemus sheepishly raising his hand and saying, “I kinda think He’s cool…”

Arguments that are based on the approval of the cool crowd are nothing short of lame—whether in Jr High or High Academia

But wait, there’s more!

Lame Argument #2: No prophet arises from Galilee

This second argument is lame because (1) there were OT prophets like Jonah and Nahum who came from Galilee.

So, if they want to say that no prophet comes from Galilee then they are just plain wrong.

But secondly, what else makes their argument lame?

Luke 2:4-6 Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, 5 in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. 6 While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.

Jesus was born in… Bethlehem! Their argument is lame, and wrong, and lame…

But that’s how it is... When you don’t have a worldview large enough for the world, then you need to create lame arguments to justify your ignorance.

We don’t need to be intimidated by lame arguments—we have the Truth, and that Truth is found in the person of Jesus

And He is still working today… (*a # of ppl saved through Sunday & counseling)

*reminder of invitation

*encouragement for believers

Christian friend, this message was directed primarily at us.

We must seek God’s will in God’s time.

We must trust Jesus’ words because they do all he said they would do. He offers the words of life – salvation and sanctification.

We must enjoy the ministry of the Spirit in all its aspects today, so let’s respond to his guiding.

And of course, let’s not be intimidated by those who create lame arguments in the hopes of convincing us that we are foolish. Their arguments are lame because their worldview will never be able to explain the world.

When we live like this, we are not conformed into the world’s mold.

Instead, we courageously face the opposition and the pressure—much like Jesus did

Since that pressure means so little to us, it frees us up to focus on doing all that God has instructed us to do.

It frees us to serve, to give, to love, to worship Christ with our whole heart.

It frees us to study his words which are the very words of life – for salvation and for Christian growth.

Authors

Stefan Nitzschke

Roles

Pastor of College Ministries - Faith Church

Director of Faith West Ministry Housing - Faith West

Bio

B.S. - Management Information Systems, Iowa State University
M.Div. - Faith Bible Seminary

Stefan has been serving on the pastoral team at Faith Church since 2016. He and his wife have a passion for discipleship and evangelism. They are the blessed parents of four carefree boys and one sweet girl. Stefan is certified as a biblical counselor through the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) and is a board member of Faith’s Community Development Corporation.