A Disciple’s Confession

October 7, 2018 ()

Bible Text: John 6:60-71 |


A Disciple’s Confession | John 6:60-71
Brian Hedges | October 7, 2018

Well, turn in your Bibles this morning to John chapter 6. While you’re turning there, let me remind you of something that I believe it was the missionary Jim Elliot, that every time someone encounters Jesus they encounter a fork in the road. Jesus is constantly presenting us with a choice, and you see this in the gospels, that when people encounter Jesus, they’re never left unchanged. They either are offended by what he says, or they fall down and worship him. They are either increasingly devoted to Jesus and his cause and his kingdom, or they spit on him, they call him a demon, they call him a madman, they call him a fool, and they turn their backs on him. But nobody is left indifferent after an encounter with Jesus.

One of the ways that you and I can know whether we’ve encountered the real Jesus or not is whether it’s pressed us into a decision about Jesus. Whether we have really encountered Jesus will be seen in how we respond after that encounter. Do we fall down on our faces and call him Lord, or do we harden our hearts and turn away from him?

The passage this morning presents us with exactly that kind of choice in regards to Jesus Christ. We’ve been looking at the gospel of John, chapter 6, which begins with this wonderful pair of signs, as Jesus feeds thousands of people in the wilderness, miraculously multiplying the loaves and the fishes to feed them, and then Jesus walks on the water, on the sea of Galilee, before his disciples. These are signs that remind us of the events of the exodus in the book of Exodus, when God provided manna in the wilderness after delivering his people through the Red Sea; but they are signs that point us, also, to the reality of who Jesus is, to Jesus who is the true Bread from heaven, the one on whom we must feed our souls if we are to have life. So these signs are followed by Jesus’s bread of life discourse; we focused on that last week. And now we look at the response of the people to the words of Jesus.

Now, this takes place just prior to the second Passover during the three-year earthly ministry of Jesus, so this is right about the midpoint in Jesus’s earthly ministry; this is roughly a year before he will be crucified. What we see beginning to happen in this passage is a division among Jesus’s hearers. There are many people who have been following him, the crowds have been coming, but this passage shows us that some people begin to walk away.

So, John 6:60-71, and as we read it, let’s read prayerfully, that God will speak to our hearts, that he will examine us, so that we will see whether we have the true heart of a disciple of Jesus Christ. Let’s look at God’s word, John 6, beginning in verse 60.

“When many of his disciples heard it, they said, ‘This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?’ But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, ‘Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.’ (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, ‘This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.’ After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Do you want to go away as well?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.’ Jesus answered them, 'Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.’ He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray him.”

This is God’s word.

This is one of those stark passages in Scripture that force us, if we listen to it, to check ourselves up, to examine our own hearts, and to see whether we are in the faith. The passage presents for us a contrast between the false disciple and the true, and I want you to notice three things as we look through the passage:

I. The Character of an Unbelieving Disciple
II. The Confession of a True Disciple
III. The Reason for the Difference between Them

I. The Character of an Unbelieving Disciple

So, first of all, the character of an unbelieving disciple, and you might think that putting it that way, “unbelieving disciple,” is something like an oxymoron, like “heavy feathers.” Is there really such a thing? Can there be such a thing as an unbelieving disciple of Jesus? I just want to show you right here in the text that that’s exactly what you have.

They are called disciples in verse 60. “When many of his disciples heard it…” Now what they heard, of course, was Jesus saying that “you must feed on me in order to have life.” “You must eat my flesh and drink my blood.” When they heard this, they were offended. They said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”

Then verse 61, “Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, ‘Do you take offense at this?’” So here you have it. These are disciples. The group is called disciples, Jesus calls them disciples; but then you look in verse 64 and Jesus says to them, “But there are some of you who do not believe.” So, there you have it, right out of the words of Jesus, unbelieving disciples.

Now, what this means, of course, is that there were people who were following him, they were externally attached to him, they had been attending to his word, they’d been listening to him, but they weren’t really believers. In fact, the aftermath shows that they were not believers, as they begin to turn away from Jesus.

I want you to notice three characteristics of these unbelieving disciples, and let’s use this as something of a test for us, an examination for us. Three things that show us the characteristic of these false disciples.

(1) First of all, they grumbled. They grumbled. Again, you see it right here in the text in verse 61, “But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, ‘Do you take offense at this?’” Their grumbling has already been referenced two other times, in verses 41 and in verse 43.

Now, my reason for bringing this up is not because there are lots of complainers in our church. I remember years ago I preached a sermon, in my first pastorate, on grumbling and complaining, and someone within a few days had come to me and said, “Were you preaching to me?” They thought that I actually was singling them out. I’m not doing that. There’s nobody that I have in mind this morning as a grumbler that I’m talking about.

The reason I bring it up is because I think there is an echo here of Exodus chapter 16. We’ve already seen this, that in Exodus chapter 16 God miraculously fed his people, the children of Israel, with manna in the wilderness; but eight times in Exodus 16 the people grumble against God. Here you have something very similar. Jesus has fed the crowd with miraculous provision of bread, and he has said to them, “I am the true bread from heaven,” but even as he speaks they are grumbling, and they are showing that they have the same heart as that wilderness generation, that first generation of Israelites, who, even though they saw the miraculous displays of God’s power - I mean, my goodness, they had seen the Red Sea split! They’ve seen this, and yet they are grumbling in unbelief against God.

Here you have a generation of people who have seen Jesus, they’ve seen the living Christ, they’ve seen his miracles, and they are grumbling against him. It is a characteristic of the false disciple, of the hypocrite, that regardless of what they hear or know or learn about Jesus, they never get out of criticism mode into submission mode. They never fully bend the knee to Jesus Christ. They grumbled because of what he said.

(2) And then secondly, they stumbled over what he said. Look at verse 61b. Jesus knows in himself that his disciples are grumbling about this, and notice what he says to them, “Do you take offense at this?” The key phrase is “take offense.” It is the Greek word skandalizo (σκανδαλιζω), which is the verbal form of the noun skandalon (σκανδαλον), from which we get our word scandal, and it means a stumbling block. They are stumbling over the words of Jesus, they are stumbling over the teaching of Jesus.

Now, what is it that offended them so much? Why are they stumbling? We could summarize it in this way: here were people who were concerned with external blessings. They wanted the bread (that’s why they kept following him) and they wanted political salvation. They wanted to be delivered from Roman rule, those that were from Judea, or from Herod’s rule if they were in Galilee, and of course, Herod was just a puppet of Rome. They wanted to kick the Roman boot off of the Jewish neck. They were ready to seize Jesus and make him king. They were misunderstanding the very nature of the kingdom of God. They were so concerned with the external and with the material that they were missing the spiritual.

Not only that, but when Jesus came and started teaching them about who he was and started making these amazing claims that he was the true bread from heaven, he’s exalting himself even above Moses, and he’s saying, “You must eat my flesh and drink my blood in order to have eternal life,” they find that hard to accept, and they’re missing the real spiritual meaning of Jesus’s words, and so they stumble over it.

No one, perhaps, has put this better than the New Testament scholar F.F. Bruce, and in a very crisp sentence he says simply this: “What they wanted, he would not give; what he offered, they would not receive.” That’s the problem with the false disciples. They’re wanting something that Jesus is not offering, and they refuse to receive the very thing that Jesus does offer, which is himself. He says, “I give my flesh for the life of the world.”

Jesus knows that they’re stumbling over him, and he tells them in verses 62 and 63 that they will stumble even more when they see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before. Look at verses 62 and 63. I think these verses require a little more explanation.

He says, “Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”

I think the clue to understanding what Jesus means by the ascension is looking more broadly in the gospel of John at the theology of exaltation in the gospel of John. There are several times in the gospel of John where Jesus speaks of being lifted up, or of ascending. Perhaps the key verse is in John 3:13-15, where Jesus says, “No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”

But the way in which the Son of Man will be lifted up is precisely the way that serpent in the wilderness was. That serpent was placed on a pole, and so Jesus, the Son of Man, will be crucified on a cross. That will be his lifting up, that will be the first step in his exaltation, in his path back to the Father, in his ascension; and people will stumble over it. They will be offended. If they’re offended at his teaching that “you must eat my flesh and drink my blood” to be saved, how much more will they be offended in the shedding of his blood, the giving of his flesh for their salvation?

Indeed, that’s exactly what the apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:22-24: “For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”

“What they wanted, he would not give; what he offered, they would not receive.” They stumbled over his teaching; they would stumble over his cross.

(3) So, they grumbled against him, they stumbled over him, and then thirdly, they quit following him. You see it in verse 66, “After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.”

They retreat. They defect. They quit. That’s what the false disciple does. The unbelieving disciple may have a temporary attachment to Jesus, but eventually he turns back, he turns away, and he doesn’t continue following Jesus.

I think some of the most vivid illustrations of this are found in John Bunyan’s classic allegory The Pilgrim’s Progress. Many of you have perhaps read this story, and it is a story of Christ, with this heavy burden on his back, and he flees from the city of Destruction on his journey to the Celestial City, and it’s when he comes to the cross, Calvary, that’s where the burden is loosed from his shoulders and falls into this empty tomb.

So the whole story is about his dangerous journey from here to there, from earth to heaven and about all of the obstacles and trials that he faces along the way. But it’s a very instructive story because of the many characters that Christian encounters. He meets so many people who are on the road, but they don’t stay on the road. They are temporary in their discipleship. Here are just some of the names of the characters, and the names are pretty transparent; there’s nothing subtle about John Bunyan. This is allegory, and it’s fairly on-the-nose.

Some of the characters are Obstinate, so here’s a stubborn person; and then his opposite, Pliable. He’s the person who pretty much goes with anything, and neither one of them make it to the Celestial City. There is Talkative, who believes that religion is found “much in talk,” but not much in action, and he can talk up a storm, loves to discuss theology; but there’s no real obedience. There’s Ignorance, who just doesn’t think it matters too much what he believes; and then there are actually characters called Temporary and Turnback.

The things that characterize all of these individuals in the story is that their interest in Jesus was temporary, their commitment to him was shallow, and they didn’t finish the journey. That is the characteristic of the unbelieving disciple, of the hypocrite, of the false disciple: a shallow interest, a temporary interest, a shallow commitment, and a failure to finish the journey.

So, again, it does invite our introspection, doesn’t it, for us to examine ourselves. Are we more than just externally attached to Jesus? It’s one thing to call ourselves by the name of Christian, it’s one thing to have been baptized in his name and even to come to church, but are we devoted to Jesus in true faith and in true discipleship?

You say, “Well, what does that look like?” I’m glad you ask, because that’s the next part of the passage.

II. The Confession of a True Disciple

The confession of a true disciple, and this confession is seen in answer to a question that Jesus asks. These disciples forsake him, they quit following him. The crowds are dispersing, they’re leaving, they’re not with him anymore; and Jesus turns to his disciples, the 12 of them, and he says, “Do you want to go away as well?”

Now, the way this is worded, in the Greek especially, it supposes that they will say, “No.” It’s as if he’s saying, “You don’t also want to go away, do you?” He’s expecting them to say, “No,” and one of the disciples, the one who was most likely to talk, Peter, speaks up. And Peter answers in a way that I think every true disciple will want to answer.

He says, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God.” I want to just analyze Peter’s confession of Jesus, and again, show you three characteristics, this time three characteristics of the true disciple, three aspects of this confession.

(1) So here’s number one: true disciples don’t have a Plan B. Look at what Peter says, “Lord, to whom shall we go?” It’s either Jesus or bust! There’s no Plan B. There’s nowhere else to turn. That’s how the true Christian feels. The true Christian doesn’t feel that Jesus is one out of many good possible options; the true Christian feels that it’s either Jesus or I’m lost, it’s either Jesus or there’s no hope; it’s Jesus or nothing else.

I mean, where else could you turn? Could you turn back to the law, having seen your sin and having seen your inability to keep the law? There’s no salvation there. Are you going to turn back to the world once you’ve seen its hollowness, its shallowness, its emptiness, to know that there’s no lasting satisfaction in the world? You’re not going to find life there. The only place to go is to Jesus, and there’s no Plan B for the Christian; it’s either Jesus or, as Paul says it in 1 Corinthians 15, “If Christ has not been raised from the dead, we are of all people most to be pitied,” we’re the most miserable of all. If Jesus is who he said he is, if Jesus really died for our sins, if he really rose from the dead, then we can say with confidence, “Lord, to whom shall we go?” To whom shall we go?

I love the rather quaint words of that old hymn (this one’s not sung very often anymore):

“I have decided to follow Jesus,
I have decided to follow Jesus,
I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back,
No turning back.”

Can you say that this morning, that you are committed to Jesus and that there’s no Plan B? There’s nowhere else to turn, there’s nowhere to go. “Lord, to whom shall we go?”

(2) And then notice the second thing Peter says. He says, “You have the words of eternal life.” So for the true disciple, he has no Plan B, and true disciples cling to the words of Jesus. Notice what he says: “You have the words of eternal life.” He’s hanging onto Jesus’s words.

This marks the disciple. Peter has heard what Jesus has said in verse 63. Jesus says, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” Clinging to the words of Jesus. They are spirit because here is the one who has given the Spirit without measure, here is the one on whom the Father has set his seal, the seal of the Spirit, here is the one who will give the Spirit to the Church; and every word Jesus says are words that have origins in the Spirit. These are words from the Spirit, and they are words that are also characterized by life.

“The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” Why? Because Jesus’s word, when it is believed, gives life. John 5:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” The true disciple recognizes that, and he clings to Jesus’s words.

I would say that this is the hallmark of discipleship, because Jesus himself, in John chapter 8, will make this the distinction between the true disciples and the false. Listen to what Jesus says, John 8:31-32. “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” “If you abide in my word,” and that word “abide” means “to dwell,” it means “to continue,” it means “to remain.” “If you remain in my word, you are truly my disciples.” So this is what characterizes the true disciple: to remain in Jesus’s word.

Let me ask you this morning: is that reflected in your personal life? Is that reflected in your devotional life? It’s not enough that we just confess, that we believe Jesus’s word; are we clinging to his word? Are we feeding on his word? Are we listening to his word? Are you reading your Bible, Christian? What confidence do you have that you will persevere in faith if you don’t do what Jesus says and remain in his word?

Here’s the great danger: when we don’t remain in his word, we become susceptible to every other word. We will be tossed to and fro by every wind of teaching, and I want to tell you, there’s a lot of false teaching, both in the world and in the church today; and our only safeguard is the ballast of Jesus’s word. Are you abiding in Jesus’s word, continuing in his word?

(3) The true disciple has no Plan B, the true disciple clings to Jesus’s word, and then number three, the true disciple trusts in Jesus himself. It’s an attachment to Jesus himself! Look at what Peter says, verse 69: “We have believed,” there’s the trust, “and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

Peter knows that Jesus is the Messiah, and he’s clinging to Jesus. These words are a confession of faith in Christ, they are a declaration of dependence on Christ, they are a pledge of allegiance to Christ. Christ is supreme. “We believe and we are sure that you are the Holy One of God, and there’s nowhere else to turn, so we’re clinging to you,” we’re hanging onto Jesus, we’re trusting in Jesus.

I think one of the great examples of a genuine disciple, someone who was utterly sold-out to Jesus, was a young man named William Borden. William Borden was born into the Borden family of Borden Dairy and Farms, and by the time he graduated high school in 1904 he was already a millionaire. For his high school graduation present his parents gave him a round trip around the world, and as he traveled Asia, the Middle East, and Europe he felt a growing burden for the lost and hurting people of the world.

He wrote home to his family and said, “I’m going to give my life to prepare for the mission field,” and around the same time he wrote these two words in the back of his Bible: “No reserves.”

He completed his education at Yale, and as he was doing so he was sharing Jesus, he was starting prayer meetings, he was starting Bible studies, so that, by the time he graduated, what began with 150 freshman meeting for a weekly Bible study ended up being over a thousand of Yale’s 1300 students that were meeting regularly. This kid was spreading Jesus everywhere he went, but his passion was the mission field, and eventually he narrowed his focus in the mission field to the Kansu people in China, and that’s where he headed. When he graduated from Yale he wrote two more words in the back of his Bible, “No retreats.” “No reserves, no retreats.”

He left for Egypt after graduating to learn Arabic, because he was intent on working with Muslims in China, and while he was there he contracted spinal meningitis, and within a month, at 25 years old, he died.

Some people probably thought it was a waste, but before he died William Borden had written two more words in the back of his Bible, “No regrets.”

Those three phrases I think are the perfect epitome of discipleship. “No reserves, no retreats, no regrets.”

“I have decided to follow Jesus,
No turning back,
No turning back.”

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we believe and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God.” That’s the confession of a true disciple. Is it your confession?

III. The Difference between Them

Then, finally, I want us to consider for a few moments the reason for the difference between these two. We’ve looked at characteristics of the false disciple, we’ve looked at characteristics of the true disciple, but what distinguishes the true from the counterfeit? What distinguishes the true from the false? I want to show you two things from the passage.

(1) First of all, Christ’s choice, in verses 70 and 71. So, Peter makes this confession, and Jesus immediately responds, not just to Peter but to the disciples, “Did not I choose you, the Twelve?”

Peter says, “Lord, to whom shall we go? We believe and are sure that you have the words of eternal life, that you are the Holy One of God,” and Jesus says, “And I chose you. I chose you.” He chose them before they chose him. Jesus says, “‘Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.’ He spoke of Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him.”

It’s the first mention of Judas in the gospel of John, and, as is true with the other three gospels, every time Judas is mentioned first he is also identified as the one who will betray Jesus. So, even here, we see that within the fold, within Jesus’s flock, there’s still a traitor, there’s still a hypocrite lurking. But what I want to emphasize here is that Jesus had chosen the 12, and Peter’s true confession was dependent on Christ’s prior choice.

(2) You see the same thing in verses 64 and 65, in Jesus’s response to the unbelieving disciples. Verse 64, Jesus speaking, “‘But there are some of you who do not believe.’ (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe and who it was who would betray him.)” So, here’s an identification of Jesus’s foreknowledge, his omniscience, that Jesus, as a divine person, knows from the beginning who will follow him and who will betray him.

And then in verse 65 he says, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” So Christ’s choice and the Father’s gift lie behind the true disciples’ faith. This is clearly a reference back to verses 37 and 44, that we looked at last week. Verse 37, “All that the Father gives to me shall come to me”; verse 44, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.”

So it shows us that grace alone makes the difference between the true and the false disciples. As the apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 4:7, “For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?” Grace is what makes one to differ from another.

You know what that means? It means two things (these would be the two applications to derive from that). It means there’s no boasting. There’s no boasting. Anything that looks like pride is ruled out in the heart of a disciples because the disciple recognizes that “if I believe in Jesus, if I’m clinging to Jesus in desperation, hanging onto Jesus’s word, clinging to Jesus for eternal life - if that’s true, it’s only because of the grace of God.” Right?

"Grace taught my heart to pray
And made my eyes o’erflow"

Right? It’s only by grace that you’ve come to know that Jesus is the Christ and that you cling to him, so the glory goes to God; you don’t get to claim any of the glory for your own salvation. Do not boast.

And then here’s the second thing: it means that we can place no confidence in ourselves. No confidence in myself, that I will continue as a Christian to the end. All my confidence has to be in Jesus.

Do you remember the words of that great old hymn?

“Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wand’ring heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it;
Seal it for Thy courts above.”

If you, like me this morning, recognize that in yourself: "I have a heart prone to wander. I can see how my affections wander from Jesus so easily, so easily seduced by other things." If you feel that way, if you know that to be true of you, then you can say what that hymn writer said, you can say what Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we believe and are sure that you are the Holy One of God.” No confidence in yourself, but rather confidence in Jesus Christ and in his faithfulness to you; his faithfulness to save you, his faithfulness to keep you, his faithfulness to help you continue to the end.

So as we close this morning, let me invite some serious, if not...not the wrong kind of introspection; I know there’s a kind of introspection that’s unhelpful. But there is a kind of introspection, there is a kind of self-examination, that is commanded in Scripture, and let me encourage you to do that, to examine yourself, whether you are in the faith, and as you do to recognize your weakness and your absolute dependence on Jesus; and then let the response of your heart be, “Lord, I’m clinging to you and I’m clinging to your word.”

Maybe that will look like a fresh commitment in your devotional life to seeking Jesus. It’s not that reading our Bibles merits anything, they don’t; but the word is what preserves us, the word is what keeps us, the word is what sanctifies us, and we need the word, we need a fresh recognition of that in our lives.

Maybe it will mean a renewed commitment to following Jesus whatever the cost, so that, like William Borden, you can say, “No reserves, no retreats, no regrets.” Whatever it is, let me invite you to search your heart, ask God to search it for you, and recommit yourself this morning to Jesus Christ.

If you’re not a Christian, then this morning the call is clear, isn’t it? To follow Jesus without reserve. It’s not an easy call, and many who heard it, even in Jesus’s lifetime, turned away. But those who heard and those who responded, those who believed, were kept by his grace, they endured to the end; they were saved. And so it can be for you as well.

Let’s pray.

“Search us, O God, and know our hearts; try us and know our thoughts. See if there be any wicked way in us, and lead us in the way everlasting.” Lord, we confess this morning the great need of our hearts for your grace, for your mercy. If it wasn’t for the grace of God we could not stand, we would not continue in the faith, but by your grace we believe that we will be kept and that you will keep us following and believing and serving and walking with Jesus, and we ask for that this morning.

Lord, for every true believer this morning, would you give that fresh desperation, sense of dependence on Jesus, and a fresh devotion to Jesus’s word? For everyone who is not a believer, who does not know Christ this morning, I pray for conviction of sin, conviction of the state of their hearts, and genuine repentance and faith to turn from the ways of sin and self and the world and to turn to Jesus Christ in saving faith.

Lord, as we come to the table this morning we pray that we would use the table to seal our faith, our commitment to Christ, that as we take the bread and the juice that we would by faith feed on Christ, the Son of Man, who gave his flesh for the life of the world; that we would recognize and that in the very act of eating we would be declaring once again that “I have no life, I have no hope, I have no salvation except in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen.” As we take those elements, may we be nourished by the Spirit of Christ and drawn into deeper fellowship with you.

So, Lord, search us this morning, help us, help us to apply this word to our hearts and lives, and may the result be a deeper commitment to you and genuine fruit as we abide in Jesus’s word. We pray this in Jesus’s name and for his sake, Amen.