To BElieve or Not to BElieve...
|John 10 (NKJV™)|
|22||Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter.|
|23||And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon's porch.|
|24||Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, "How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly."|
|25||Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father's name, they bear witness of Me.|
|26||"But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.|
|27||"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.|
|28||"And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.|
|29||"My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand.|
|30||"I and My Father are one."|
|31||Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him.|
|32||Jesus answered them, "Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?"|
|33||The Jews answered Him, saying, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God."|
|34||Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law, 'I said, "You are gods"'?|
|35||"If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken),|
|36||"do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'?|
|37||"If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me;|
|38||"but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him."|
|39||Therefore they sought again to seize Him, but He escaped out of their hand.|
|40||And He went away again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was baptizing at first, and there He stayed.|
|41||Then many came to Him and said, "John performed no sign, but all the things that John spoke about this Man were true."|
|42||And many believed in Him there.|
New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.
"In all unbelief there are two things: a good opinion of one's self and a bad opinion about God."— Horatius Bonar. It's true, isn't it? Humanism is man-centered and rejects God's existence or His relevance. But Jesus appealed to two things: the plain evidence of His supernatural works and the testimony of those who witnessed them. Jesus here asserts His deity, and the reaction is predictable—some believed while others did not believe. Which camp do you fall into?
"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name" John 20:31.
Believe:879 is an epic journey through the book of John led by Pastor Skip Heitzig of Calvary of Albuquerque. As we explore each of the 879 verses of this gospel, we'll grow in grace and in our knowledge of Jesus Christ. From His pre-incarnate existence, to His public ministry, through His death and His resurrection we'll traverse familiar territory and embark on new adventures of faith.
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The Gospel of John could be marked with the warning label: "Unbelief is hazardous to your eternal health." To believe or not to believe is the central, vital question. Belief transports a person to ever-increasing realms of joy and glory; unbelief destroys all of that.
This passage closes off the public ministry of Jesus Christ. After this chapter ends, there will be no more public speeches or public miracles, but Jesus spends His time before he leaves nurturing His disciples and preparing them. It is a fitting close to chapter 10; it sums up the book to this point. The theme is unbelief versus belief.
There are two groups in this passage: the group at the Temple in Jerusalem, who come to Jesus but don't believe. They disregard Jesus' miracles and the testimony about Him; and the group in the wilderness where Jesus began His ministry, who believe Him and regard His miracles and the personal testimony. It is a contrast between unbelief and belief. Unbelief is mentioned eighteen times, belief only three times. It is a ratio of reality: the majority of people do not believe.
There is a two-month gap between vv. 21-22. The setting in v. 21 is the Feast of Tabernacles in the fall. Now the setting is the Feast of Dedication in the winter. John mentions this because it is winter meteorologically and it is winter spiritually. The people have an icy, hardened attitude toward Christ. The Feast of Tabernacles is known to us as Hanukkah. It is a non-biblical feast established between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Antiochus Epiphanes (I-the great one) sought to impose Greek language and culture on the world. He tried to force Israel to abandon Jewish beliefs and culture, but they resisted. In 170 BC he conquered Jerusalem, slaughtered a pig on the Altar of Sacrifice and spread its juices throughout the temple. He set up an idol to Zeus and demanded the people worship it, and he put an end to circumcision and the festivals. After three years, the Jewish priests under Mattathias, (the Maccabees), threw out the Syrians, regained their independence, and reestablished the correct worship in the temple. The legend is that the flagon of oil that held one-day worth of oil for the menorah lasted for eight days. This was the last great deliverance for the Jews; it was the kind of messiah they were looking for: a political messiah who would overthrow their enemies.
Christianity is a universal experience. For two thousand years Jesus Christ has been changing lives. Christianity is narrow. It is a personal relationship with a personal God.
Greek terms: καλà- kala - noble, wonderful, beautiful
Figures Referenced: Matthias Maccabeus; Antiochus Epiphanes; Judas Maccabeus; Os Guinness; Matthew Henry; Soren Kierkegaard; Frank Morrison
Cross References: Psalm 82:6; John 1:29; John 6:35; John 7:37; John 8:12; John 8:24; John 8:58; John 14:6; Hebrews 11:1
Keywords: belief, unbelief, narrow gate, doubt
How many of you remember 1994, the famous lawsuit with McDonald's over their hot coffee, remember that? Yeah. It happened here in town. By the way, a friend of mine owned one of those McDonald's, so I kind of got a first hand view of it. But what was interesting is after that lawsuit, warning labels became very prominent, not only in cups of coffee, I think if you get a McDonalds coffee theirs is like flashing neon lights that say, "Hot coffee." And it's pretty big and bold and a lot of items are like that, there are warning labels that tells us what to do and what not to do.
Well, I decided to go around the house and look at a few items that I had and read the warning labels. So this is from a chainsaw that I had in my garage. Is that okay? But it does say this warning, "Do not operate chainsaw while upset." This guy saw one too many movies I think. And then I went into my refrigerator and my favorite hot sauce is called, "Marie Sharps Hot Sauce it from down in Belize it says, "Warning, must be strong to handle this sauce. Keep out of the reach of children." That's a good one. Then it says, "Do not play tricks on the weak or elderly with this sauce."
So then I went on the internet and found a website called, "101 dumb warnings." Literal warnings on real products but you get the idea. One brand of hair color said, "Do not use as an ice cream topping." Yeah, there are a lot of people doing that. On a car sunshade, you know the kind that you unfold and put in your windshield in the summer says, "Remove shade before operating vehicle."
Did they think we're idiots? One blow drier had a warning, "Do not use while sleeping." And I'm tired to get my blow drier and go to bet on a Rowenta iron, a warning label said, "Warning, never iron clothes while on the body." And then finally from a mattress company came this warning, "Warning, do not attempt to swallow." What a mattress? Maybe kids in the youth camp might do that, but I don't know how many people would try that.
These are warning labels, there's an even more important warning label that could be affixed to the Gospel of John, especially, this last portion of the 10th Chapter, it would read as, "Warning unbelief is hazardous to your eternal health." Unbelief is hazardous to your eternal health. The title of today's message is, "To believe or not to believe." You can tell that I stole the title from a very famous line in literature.
Act three, scene one of Shakespeare's play, Hamlet, he says, "To be or not to be, that is the question." In that scene, Hamlet was actually contemplating suicide. Should he suffer through his life or should he end his life. To be or not to be, that is the question. Well, Jesus wouldn't agree with Shakespeare or Hamlet. The real question, the vital question is to believe or not to believe, that really is the central vital question, because belief transports a person to ever increasing realms of joy and glory and unbelief destroys all of that.
We begin today in verse 22 of John chapter 10. We'll read all the way down to the end of verse 42. The final section closes of the public ministry of Jesus Christ. After this chapter ends, Jesus for the next several months until his crucifixion will not give public speeches will not do public miracles, but he will spend the time now nurturing his disciples and preparing them before he leaves.
And this is really a fitting close to Chapter 10 because it sort of sums up the entire book up to this point. The theme of this section is, "Unbelief versus belief." Unbelief versus belief, and really the theme of John is, "Believe." And that's the word he uses almost 100 times and you'll see here seven times in just this section that word comes up. Its verse 22, we start, let's read all the way through it.
Now, it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon's porch, not our coffee shop, but the Solomon's porch. And then the Jews surrounded him and said to him, "How long do you keep us in doubt? If you are the Christ tell us plainly?" Jesus answered them, "I told you and you do not believe, the works that I do in my father's name, they bare witness of me, but you do not believe because you are not of my sheep. As I said to you my sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me and I give them eternal life and they shall never perish. Neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand.
My father who has given them to me is greater than all and no one is able to snatch them out of my father's hand. I and my father are one."
Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, "Many good works I have shown you from my father for which are these works do you stone me?" The Jews answered him saying, "For a good work, we do not stone, but for blasphemy because you, being a man make your self God."
Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law, I said you are gods. If he called them gods to whom the word of God came and those scriptures cannot be broken. Do you say of him whom the father sanctified and send into the world? You are blaspheming because I said, "I am the son of God?" If I do not do the works of my father, don't believe me, but if I do, though, you do not believe, believe the works that you may know and believe that the father is in me and I am him."
Therefore they start again to cease him, but he escaped out of there hand. And he went again beyond to Jordan, to the place where John was baptizing at first, and there he stayed. Then many came to him and said, "John performed no sign, but all the things that John spoke about this man were true." And many believed in him there.
We have 21 verses, we have two groups; one group is in Jerusalem, at the temple. The second group is out in the wilderness where Jesus began his ministry. The first group comes to Jesus, they don't believe him, the second group comes to Jesus they believe him. The first group disregards all of the miraculous signs that Jesus had done and the personal testimony about him.
The second group regards both the miraculous signs and the personal testimony. There is thus a contrast, the comparison between unbelief and belief that is set up. Something else to note, unbelief occupies the greatest portion of textual real state in our passage. There's 21 verses, 18 of those verses described those who are in unbelief while only three describe those who believe.
And though John is simply making the contrast, I think we have here a ratio, if you will of reality. In reality, even in our world, a majority of people do not believe in Christ. A minority, Christians believe in Jesus Christ. Something else to know before we jump right in, there's a two month gap between where we left off in the last message and where we begin in verse 22.
Two months exist at least between verse 21 and 22 because in verse 21 all the way back through chapter 8 that setting takes place during the feast of--do you remember what it was the feast of tabernacles, do you remember that? Okay. Feast of Tabernacles, that's it. I know there's many message ago. Feast of Tabernacles that takes place during the fall time of the year. This takes place a couple of months after that during the winter months the Feast of Dedication.
But let's begin, let's start looking at the difference between belief and unbelief, first of all, the sinister nature of unbelief and the simple nature belief and there's some hallmarks, characteristic if you will that form the nature of what unbelief is.
First of all, unbelief protects its true nature. What I mean is, unbelief often ones to disguise itself as something else. And not just say "I'm unbeliever," they want to call it, well, I have doubts. Now look at this, verse 22, it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem and it was winter.
Now, why does John say that? Why does John say it was the Feast of Dedication and it was winter? He says it first of all because it was winter physically. Meteorologically, that was the weather pattern, it was the winter time. But, all he would have to say is it's the Feast of Dedication everyone reading it who is Jewish would know. It always happens in the winter time, 25th of Kislav every year. But I can't help but seeing--John I think does this a couple of times where he takes a physical reality into spiritual reality, because by this time the attitude the people toward Jesus Christ was very I see cold, hardened, aloft. They were on the where path. They wanted to end his life. We have seen that mounting attitude grow.
So, it was the Feast of Dedication and it was winter, physical climate as well as spiritual climate. He mentions that it's the Feast of Dedication. The Feast of Dedication also known as the Festival of Lights occurs every year, close to what we called today Christmas but it's a different festival. We know it is Hanukkah. Jesus is in the temple during the Feast of Hanukkah. It was an 8-day feast. A little background will help you understand I think the impact of what John is writing. Hanukkah, Festival of Lights, Feast of Dedication was a non-biblical Feast. It wasn't like Passover or Pentecost or Tabernacles.
It was something that was not part of the Old Testament but it was a festival that begun between the Old Testament and the New Testament. There's a 400-year gap between the end of the Old Testament beginning of the new that 400-year intertestamental period was very significant. This is what happen, during that period there was a Syrian ruler named Antiochus, who gave himself a name Epiphanes which means the great one, literally as "I the Great One". He had a problem with humility. He love all things Greek and such to impose Greek culture, Greek language, Greek everything on the people of the Middle East. He thought he would go in to Israel and force them all to abandon their Jewish beliefs and become Greek in culture. Well, they resist it.
So in 170 BC, he conquers Jerusalem. He slaughters a pig on the altar of sacrifice spreading swine juices throughout the temple the most uncultured thing anybody could do in Judaism, right? He sets up an idle in the temple area to Zeus demands that everybody worship the false image of Zeus. Puts an end to circumcision, puts an end to all the festivals. And this goes on for a few years until a group of Jewish Priests to south of Jerusalem known as Hasmonean Priests under the leadership of Mattathias they were Maccabeans, decide they're going to rebel and revolt.
After three years of gorilla warfare, Mattathias and he's sons, one of the son's named Judas Maccabeus is successful. Throws out the Syrians, gains independence, reestablishes correct worship in the temple and they set up a festival called the Festival of Lights. It' was an 8-day feast.
And here's the legend, the legend says that there was only one of oil that was to last one day to light that seven branch candle stick or manora that in the temple remember that? Only one day's worth of oil. Miraculously, the story says it lasted for eight days, so it became an 8-day festival still celebrated that way today called "Hanukkahm," and Jesus is walking in the temple during that time.
Now, why does John give us that information? Because what happened with Judas Maccabeus is that was the last great deliverance the Jews knew in their history. A guy came and over through their enemies and became their temporary military-political messiah. And it's as if John wants us to know that that's the kind of messiah they were looking when Jesus was walking to the temple. They were sick of the Roman bandage, the Roman oppression. We want a messiah like that one. We want a political-military ruler like that one.
And so, they came Jesus and in verse 24, notice the question and say "How long do you keep us in doubt if you are the Christ tell us plainly." It sounds like it's an honest question. I submit to you it is not an honest question. They simply want Jesus to say what he has always said to them. He has claimed he was the son of God. He claimed to be God in human flesh. He claimed to be their messiah loudly, repetitively, clearly and they want to hear it again because they want to kill Him.
I think I know that because twice in the story we read, they either pick up stones to kill Him or they try to cease Him. They're simply looking for a way to arrest Him because they don't think He's the one who's going to pull it off for them. But they asked Him the question, how long will you keep us in doubt? They call their condition doubt.
Jesus calls their condition what it really is unbelief. He says twice, once in verse 25, I love this, Jesus answer them "I told you", aren't you love that? "How long will you keep us in doubt, tell as I told and you do not believe. The work that I do in my father's name they bare witness with me, but you do not believe because you are not of my sheep as I said to you.
Here's what I want you to see. There's a big difference between doubt and unbelief. You see doubt is looking for answers. Unbelief didn't care about the answers. Now, I think that everybody struggles with spiritual reality. Everybody I think as spiritual doubts even the greatest biblical heroes and non-biblical heroes have. How many of you on a show of hands have ever struggled with doubts about your spiritual faith at all? You struggle with it, great put your hands down, I'm glad. How many of you never in your life ever wants struggle?
Okay. So am glad you said that because it shows you're; human. You're not some robot that you've actually thought through struggle with and that's okay. As Guinness great thinkers said find out how seriously a believer takes his doubts and you will have the index of how seriously he takes his faith.
See, doubt is not the enemy of faith. Doubt is not the opposite of the faith. Doubt implies faith. Doubt presupposes faith. In fact, doubt works its way to the difficulties and finds at the end a faith that is reasonable and satisfying. Doubt does that. Unbelief is different.
Unbelief decides against faith and at all cost keeps anything that would in gender or produce faith completely away. Matthew Henry put it perfectly. There are none so blind as those who will not see, that's unbelief. These people in Jerusalem didn't believe in Jesus twice as you don't believe that's the problem.
So, first of all it protects its true nature, disguises itself as doubt. Second, it rejects the narrowness of Christ. Look at the verse 31, the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, "Many good works I have shown you from my Father for which of these works do you stone me?" When he uses the term good, it's the Greek word "Kalo," it means noble, wonderful, beautiful. Think of all the compassionate things Christ did, healing people. Opening blind eyes, unstopping deaf ears, raising people from the dead, curing them of Leprosy and diseases, so many noble, wonderful, good works.
They replied "For a good work we do not stone you but for the blasphemy because you being a man make yourself God."
Oh, they got it. Oh, they understood exactly what Jesus was saying here and have been saying about Himself in the past. Jesus could've been any more plain. He told them clearly and repeatedly who He was.
Here's sampling, back in John Chapter 6, Jesus said I am the bread of life, whoever eats of this bread will live forever. In John Chapter 7:37, if anyone thirst let them come to me and drink. Out of this inner most spin will flow rivers of living water. John 8:12, I am the light of the world he who follows me will not walk in darkness. Again in John Chapter 8, He said before Abraham was I am. And then He said "If you do not believe that I am, you will die in your sins." He told them very plainly that he was it, he was the one, the guy they had been looking for. The Messiah, the son of God and they repeatedly rejected the narrowness of his claim. That's a characteristic of unbelief. Have you ever heard something like this?
Well, I just can't believe that Jesus Christ could be the only way to God. Ever heard that? I hear it a lot. I know you hear it a lot. If you live in the real world, you hear it. It is true 67% of the world's population, over 4 billion people do not subscribe to what we believe. So, they look at us and go, "So what's up with you guys? Why are you so arrogant? What makes you think you have a corner on the market of truth?"
And so, what unbelieving people love to do is drop the analogy of the God of the mountain top. See, it's like this they say God is on top of a steep mountain. He's up there and down below are all these people in the world. All wanting to get to God and they take various paths but all lead the same place up in the mountain to God.
So, on one side of the mountain, you might have somebody curving up a windy path and the other side a more direct route, and everybody down below is so hang up on their path not knowing that all paths leaded them the same place.
What's wrong with analogy? What's wrong with that analogy is it's convenient for unbelievers to have it but none of the founders of the religion they're talking about would ever agree with that. For instance, if you were to go to Muhammad and say "Muhammad I believe that all paths leads to God, do you agree?" What do you think he say? He'd say "Absolutely not. He taught his follow us to fight against anyone who believe that." If you went to Moses--let's just take the three. He said "Moses do you think--I know there's a lot of pagans that hang around out there. Do you think all paths leads to God?" He'd say "I said before you this day, life and death, therefore, choose life."
If you were go to Jesus say "Jesus you know you're really great and you say some cool stuff but I think all paths leads to God." Would Jesus agree with that? Let's say He said that "I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life and no one comes to the Father except through me." What I want you to see is that these religious systems and the founders of these systems all fundamentally disagree with each other and the systems themselves contradict each other. So they can't all be right at the same time. They can't all lead at the same place.
A better analogy wouldn't be the mountain top analogy. Let me give you another one, a maze analogy. And if you've ever been to a maze, maybe even a corn maze, right? Do you have little paths cut out or if you've ever been to some of the old huge mansion in the East Coast or in Europe where they have these huge hedges and mazes and they're quite fascinating.
Well in a maze, you have different paths that lead in different directions. You might have one with dead-ends. You might have two paths that parallel with each other, for a long time, one eventually dead ends keeps going. You might have one path that goes all the way toward and almost into the very center of the maze before it stops. But there isn't a maze only one correct right path.
Jesus said, "Enter through the narrow gate for wide as the gate and broad as the road that leads to destruction and many enter through it, but small as the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life and few find it." Few? Why few? "Hey, Jesus, how come few find it? Is it because there is not enough room in heaven? I'm sorry we're all booked up."
So many people can't fit them all in or I like you but I don't like you. No, the reason that few find is because the path is too narrow for most. I read a story about a teenage boy who just got his driver's license, a very dangerous combination and I know this from personal experience. This teenage boy took a wrong turn and went down a one way street, the opposite direction, the wrong way down a one way street.
So all these on coming traffic is coming his way and he's dodging and finally a policeman sees him and pulls him over, and says, "Where are you going?" He says, "I don't know officer but I must be late because everybody else is already coming back. Do you ever feel that way? You feel that way that you as a Christian holding the set of beliefs that you and I do that we're going down through on coming traffic. Everybody is going the opposite direction we're just sort of like go in this direction. Jesus said it's a narrow way.
Look at verse 34, Jesus answered them, now notice what he does, he goes right to the bible. He answers them, "Is it not written in your law, I said you are god.s" That's a direct quote. If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came and the scripture cannot be broken. Do you say of him, whom the father has sanctified and send into the world, you were blaspheming because I said, "I am the son of God?"
We have a third characteristic of unbelief. Unbelief neglects the testimony of the scripture. Jesus goes right to their Old Testament and he quotes a text scripture that would validate his ability to make the kind of claims that he makes. It's Psalm 82, where the lord speaking to the writer Asaph, the Lord says, "I have said, you are gods, the Hebrew word Elohim, Gods."
Now God is speaking to people that are other than God, they are human beings. Probably, he's referring to the judges of Israel, remember the judges, there's a whole book about them in the Old Testament. These were God's representatives. Have I not said you are gods? And so, he quotes that to them. He is speaking to people God is speaking to people less than God in a human level giving them the terms as representative gods.
So here's what Christ does, it's a typical, rabbinical argument arguing from the lesser to the greater and here's this argument. If men in some sense can be called gods then how much more appropriate would it be to give the designation to someone who is authentically sent from God and who is the son of God. That's his argument.
Now, some of you might be mystified at the term, "Son of God." I've heard this argument, Jesus never said he was God, he said he was the son of God. Well, the son of God is one who has the same nature as God. He is not the -- I mean, you and I are sons and daughters we're children of the living God by faith. But when the bible calls the term, "Son of God", it applies uniquely to Jesus because he has the same nature as the father. That's why he says, "I and my father are one." They understood and they picked up stones to kill him because they said, "You being a man are making yourself God." The son of God is a term of deity.
Then look at verse 35, I love this, look what's in parenthesis and the scripture cannot be broken. Hey, question, do you think Jesus had a high view of scripture or a low view of scripture? High view of scripture, well, he did. The way Jesus speaks of scripture, he says, "Oh and by the way it can't be broken, it can't be set aside, it can't be nullified, and it can't be broken. What I want you to notice is that Jesus regards the unity of scripture and the inerrancy of scripture by saying, "The scripture cannot be broken." Did you know that Jesus repeatedly in Mathew, Mark, Luke and John refers to the Old Testament as the authoritative word of God.
Now here's a question for you, if Jesus is wrong about that, how could you trust him with anything else? How could a person ever say, "I trust in Jesus my Savior but I don't believe the bible is the word of God. Well then you're not following the same Jesus I'm talking about.
Show me your view on the bible and I'll show you your view on Christ. He says "And the scripture cannot be broken". But one of the hallmarks of unbelief is to neglect the testimony of scripture. It goes something like this, "Well, the bible is man-made, a bunch of books written by a bunch of guys who were well-intentioned but they contradict each other and it's a long time ago and it's very inspiring and it's probably good to own a bible because you can press flowers and write names of your family in it but you don't live by it. That's how the unbelieving regards the bible.
In the state of Indiana, there are six state parks that have hotels in the state park. And because the hotels are in the state parks and the Gideon Society wants to put a bible in every hotel room, the Department of Natural Resources, pressured by the ACLU, have decided to affix a warning pamphlet to the Gideon bible, so that when you pull up the drawer in the hotel to get a Gideon bible if you left yours at home, there's a warning pamphlet that says and I quote, "Warning: Literal belief in this book may endanger your lie and health." And the pamphlet advises that the bible is a violent, racist, sexist, fable. Classic unbelief not doubt but unbelief.
That is then the sister nature of unbelief as seen here in these verses. Let's look at the second. Let's look at faith. Let's look at belief. Verse 40, "And he went away again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was baptizing at first and there he stayed." This is where Jesus began his ministry when John the Baptist baptized him. Then many came to him and said John performed no sign. Now, they're comparing John the Baptist to Jesus. John didn't do any miracles, this guy did. But all the things that John spoke about this man were true and many believed in him there.
There are two reasons why they believed and it's quite simple – belief is simple. They believe in Jesus first of all because of the things he did -- the science and the miracles that he did. They saw blind people seeing and they thought, "We've never seen that before. No other guy we've ever seen could do that." That was a tip-off. The second was the testimony of somebody of somebody they respected and that was John the Baptist.
So, there are two issues I want you to see about belief. Belief evaluates objective evidence. See skip what he mean by objective evidence. Something that is objective isn't tainted by my prejudice or bias. It's observable, it's universal. Something subjective is what I experience and what I believe. But there's objective evidence. Jesus performed signs. Nobody else has performed those kinds of signs. That's evidence to them. And belief will evaluate objective evidence. What I want you to see is this – faith is not some blind leap in the dark. That's what used to say. You just take this jump, this blind leap into faith. Note, it's not presumption, it's based on evidence.
Hebrews 11:1, "Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen. By the way, everybody has faith. Everybody has faith. Do you know it takes faith to drive a car? You may not know how electrical systems and automobiles work or air and fuel mixture or fuel injection, you might not understand that, but you believe that when you sit in the car and you put the key in that little hole and turn it to the right, it's going to go -- start.
It takes faith to eat at a restaurant. And some restaurants require more faith that others. Yeah, you believe that they're going to give you a good meal they're not going to poison it. There's nobody back there trying to kill you. It's going to nourish you. You're going to get a good deal. You believe that. It takes faith. It takes faith to go to the bank and cash a check. You've got a paycheck. There's no intrinsic value in that piece of paper but you're believing that the company who wrote that to you will keep their promise and the bank will respect that promise and give you cash for it. It takes faith to do that.
Even the atheist has some modicum of faith. It's faith that is reasonable faith. To go to a doctor takes faith. You never saw him go to school. She uses big words so she must know what she is talking about. So? You can go the internet and get big words. But it says "MD". Well, you hope it doesn't mean mentally deficient than it means Medical Doctor. But you are entrusting your life to somebody that you don't intimately personally know. There's nothing objective to it but it is reasoned because you did ask people and their testimony and his or her qualifications as seen in other procedures. It's enough for you. You believe it.
Well, there's some objective things about Christianity that if you evaluate it makes sense. It's reasonable. And I know what time to go into. It's been months on that. But just the uniqueness of the bible, the bible has 66 books written by over 40 authors, written over 1,500 years about controversial subjects like the problem of man, the origin of the universe, the eternal nature of things, all of these controversial subjects by all of these authors, and yet, they all agree with each other.
Then there's prophecy. No other holy book has prophetic literature like the bible. The bible speaks about events, predicts events before they happen, names people's names before they were born, talks about kingdoms rising and falling before they existed, and then there are things like the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I've read the testimony of many unbelievers who wanted to overthrow Christianity, who took a hard look at the resurrection of Christ, Frank Morrison being one of them, an unbelieving British lawyer, and he gave his life to Christ as he examined the objective evidence.
The second thing about belief, it appreciates subjective testimony. These people down by the Jordan River knew John the Baptist and John the Baptist said some things a bout Jesus and they said, "You know what? What he said is right. It's true." What things did John the Baptist say about Jesus? Well, he said this, "Behold, the Lamb Of God, who takes away the sin of the world". John the Baptist called Jesus the "Son of God". John the Baptist said of Jesus, "His sandal strap I am not worthy unloose" and the he said, "He was preferred before me because he was or existed before me".
John was older that Jesus and John the Baptist says, "He was before me". Just a reminder, you know that John the Baptist and Jesus were cousins, right? That means they hang out together. They went to the feast together. Every family reunion they were together. To me, that adds a little bit of weight to John saying who Jesus was. How many of you would ever say if your cousin, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" Here's John the Baptist who knew Jesus as a relative and made a testimony about him and these people said, "Yes, that subjective testimony turns out to be right".
Here's how I want to end this. Christianity is a universal experience. 2,000 years ago, it's a long time ago, Jesus walked this earth and changed people's lives, and if Christianity was valid, you expect people to have their lives changed. But since 2,000 years ago up until the present moment, Jesus Christ is still changing lives. I see the evidence all around the people who were one way and they're lives get changed. But it is narrow. And Jesus said, "Enter the narrow gate. Not ponder the gate, not contemplate the gate, not argue about the gate, not have a class discussion on the gate. Once you're all passed that, now it's time to enter the gate" because at the end of the day, it's a personal relationship with a personal God with the persons that he made. That's what he wants.
So, will you heed the warning label? Unbelief is hazardous to you eternal health. Well, if you believe in Jesus Christ and he is your savior, I want you to stand to your feet just now. And as you stand into your feet, we're going to pray together. We're standing up more that just stretching and get ready to go after a long message, some might think, but we're getting ready and standing before the Lord as his army, people who love him, who will go out against oncoming traffic, not trying to hit all the cars, not being obnoxious, but graciously shining the light knowing that because we're facing an onslaught of people going in the other direction.
And so it requires strength. It's going to require grace. But light shines in the darkest places and during the Christmas season when people are playing these Christmas songs and even humming some of the words that glorify the Lord is maybe the only time in the year when the window is open in their heart that allows us to meet up with them and share the truth with them.
Let's pray for that. Father, we stand as your ambassadors. We stand as ones being sent out into darkness. Because Jesus said if we follow him, we wound never be in darkness but have the light of life. I pray that we'd shine that light this season, that we would be good ambassadors, that we would be generous and gracious representatives. Help us to do that. Help us to keep you front and center this Christmas season. And we stand up saying we believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the redeemer of mankind, in Jesus name, Amen.