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Satisfied [3-24-19]

John 7

We ended last week with two observations.

  1. People thirst for popularity and position. In other words, to be large and in charge.

  2. In the search for answers to life's deepest questions, people practice the art of speculation. In other words, people make things up as they go along. Rather than turning to God's Word to form their thoughts and ideas, they impose their thoughts and ideas on God's Word.

Read God's Word and do what it says

We're going to pick things up today with how Jesus had a very simple answer to the problem of speculation. John 7:16-17 says, "My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone's will is to do God's will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority." I love how simple this is. You walk away from speculation by doing God's will. Simply put. Choose to do what God calls us to do through His Word. If you are thirsty, don't just sit around speculating about what can satisfy your thirst. Come and drink…drink in what Jesus is doing and saying. You do that, and you'll know what living water is.

Make no mistake. We can philosophize all day long…all year long…for the rest of our lives. But Jesus is saying, drink from my Word and you'll know. You'll know. It will quench your thirst like nothing else can. If you really want to find him, you'll take a drink. As Jesus says in verse 18, "The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood."

How we respond to the words of Jesus Christ reveals whether it is really our heart's desire to live out of God's truth. What that means is, how do you deal with your worry? With your fear? Jesus has very clear words on those things. Are you loving your enemies? Are you forgiving those who wrong you? Jesus has very clear words on those things. Are you generous with your time and money? Do you encourage others? Jesus has very clear words on those things. Are you gentle and peaceful and patience and kind? Jesus has very clear words on those things. Are you joyful? Do you appreciate what God has given you? Jesus has very clear words on those things. Are you content? Are you slow to anger? Jesus has very clear words on those things. We could go on. If your life is a reflection of those words of Jesus, it shows you are looking to Jesus to quench your thirst. You're not making stuff up on the fly. If a person hears the words of Christ and is not living out of them, that person is rejecting them. And that reveals what's going on in a person's heart.

Everybody's thirsty. Some have their own ideas, some listen to Jesus. If you are a devoted follower of Jesus Christ, you can't go your own way. You've got to stick with Jesus' way. It is Jesus' way, and only Jesus' way. Here's a formula to remember:


That is how you satisfy your thirst.

The big question today is:

Why not go to Jesus immediately?

That should be our first, last, and best option. The first place we go to satisfy our thirst is Jesus.

In verses 21-24, Jesus said:

I did one work, and you all marvel at it. Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man's whole body well? Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.

Do you remember the miracle Jesus is talking about? This is a direct reference to the healing of the man beside the Pool of Bethesda. Jesus healed him. The Pharisees were upset about it. So Jesus says, "Let's think this thing through. You're mad at me because I healed somebody on a day you've decided I shouldn't heal somebody?" None of that makes sense.

Here's something confounding the situation. In Jewish law, when a baby boy is born, he has to be circumcised eight days later. It has to be eight days. So if the eighth day falls on the Sabbath, then it's okay to break the law and circumcise him on the Sabbath. Jesus is saying, "You break the law to circumcise a baby boy. But you won't let me break the law to make a man whole?" The thing about legalism is, none of it makes sense.

Jesus wasn't saying the law was wrong. He was showing them their faulty logic.

So far, we've seen how we try to quench our spiritual thirst by seeking popularity and position, and by speculating about the truth.

A group of people agreeing together does not change in which direction North lies

The third way we try to quench our spiritual thirst is by agreement. Everybody has to be happy. If we can just make everyone around us happy, then we'll be happy. And when we're happy, we're satisfied.

You know why this is dangerous. When we base our satisfaction on everybody around us being happy, what happens? We begin to look to the opinions of others to make us happy. In our passage, they're taking opinion polls. What are people saying? How are they reacting? When you live your life that way, one of two things happen. Either you're going to do what others want you to do because you want them to be happy. Or you're not going to trust your own judgment.

As wise person once said, "You can't please all the people all the time."

Here's Jesus' answer to trying to make people happy all the time:

You know me, and you know where I come from. But I have not come on my own accord. He who sent me is true, and him you do not know. I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me. - John 7:28-29

People-pleasing is a form of idolatry. Trying to make everybody around you happy is a form of idolatry. Letting the opinions of others drive your decisions and attitude is a form of idolatry. What is God's opinion? Are you pleasing God? That's what matters most. God's opinion isn't another percentage point to add to your poll. God's opinion is your direction. It's like a compass. You don't vote on which direction is north. North is north; God's opinion is the truth. You can depend on it. God's Word directs our life.

The fourth way people try to quench spiritual thirst is by religious control. But religion won't satisfy our spiritual thirst.

Let's pick things up at verse 32:

The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering these things about him, and the chief priests and Pharisees sent officers to arrest him. Jesus then said, “I will be with you a little longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come.” The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? What does he mean by saying, ‘You will seek me and you will not find me,’ and, ‘Where I am you cannot come’?”
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This really is the Prophet.” Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” So there was a division among the people over him. Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him. The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!” The Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed." - John 7:32-49

What are they doing? They're trying to exert religious control. There's no greater form of religious control than to arrest or intimidate someone. They appealed to authority. They were spiritually elite. They used personal attack. You know someone is desperate for spiritual control when they resort to ad hominem {directed at the person rather than the point they are making} attacks. "Well, you're wrong because you're ugly." Or, "You graduated from a second rate college." That kind of thing.

They were so desperate for spiritual control, they misquoted the Bible. False teaching is the hallmark of religious control. Here, the religious leaders said no prophet came out of Galilee. That is wrong. Amos did. Elijah did. Hosea did. They twisted God's Word in order to maintain religious control.

How do we break the hold religion can have on our lives? We listen carefully to what Jesus is saying. That's why Bible study and devotional time and Small Group Ministry and Sunday worship are so important. That is where we listen to Jesus, not religion. What does the Bible say? What does Jesus say? We don't follow religion, we follow Jesus. Listen carefully to what Jesus is saying.

Years ago, I was having a conversation with someone about abortion. She said, "I know what the Bible says about abortion, but…" Anytime someone says something like that, I know they're not listening to Jesus. Here's one that might hit closer to home. On more than one occasion, I have heard from someone who was really hurt by someone else, "I know what Jesus says about forgiveness, but…" That person has stopped listening to Jesus.

And we all know it's never good when someone stops listening to Jesus.

Everybody has a spiritual thirst. Everybody searches for meaning and purpose in life. There's a lot in this world posing as the ultimate thirst quencher. But there's only one thing that will do it. Only Jesus. That's it. Only Jesus Christ. Remember our formula:


Here's the simple answer Jesus gives to the question, "Are you thirsty?" Believe. Simple. One word. Believe. And here's what happens. Not only does living water flow into you, but living water also flows out of you. In Matthew 5:6, Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be satisfied." How beautiful is that? When you come to Jesus and believe in Jesus, everything in your life becomes significant. And significance flows out of your life. You have significance. You make a difference. God is refreshing you and you are refreshing life around you.

Jesus Christ said, "Are you thirsty? Believe." Simply believe Jesus is who he says he is. And you will never thirst again.

Let's pray:

Jesus Christ, we believe in you. We ask you to pour your living water into our souls. Quench the thirst within for significance and life and wholeness and peace. We ask you, Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit, to make us aware that we are saved. It is your grace which quenches our thirst. Thank you, Lord Jesus, that we don't have to stay thirsty. In your name we pray. Amen.

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