Christian Fellowship Church's Sermons

Our Response to Impossible Situations

November 18, 2018
Phil Schaefer
John 6: 1-13

Description

This week, Pastor Phil Schaefer has been in multiple meetings and conversations where the realities of the needs seemed impossible. Where it appears like there is no way we can go forward, there is no way we can meet financial obligations, no way we can make this ministry or that ministry flourish, no way we can bring this person along, no way we can succeed.

It was fascinatingly dire. He found himself asking: "When do we start reading Bible stories and placing ourselves into them? Why do we so often read them as good bedtime fairy tales situated back in history but having nothing to do with me today in my situation? What does it take to put ourselves into those Bible stories like it is today like we are living in those same challenges? Are the Bible stories there just to be good reading or are they there to show us just how profoundly Jesus means to change the way we live?"

At the beginning of John 6, Jesus is gathering the masses. By the end of his discourse in Ch.7, Jesus says: "Eat my flesh and drink my blood." His numbers go down to just a few.

QUESTIONS:

Do we read these Bible stories and think they are about others but not us, or do we read them and ask: How are we living out this story today, in our lives, up close and personal?

Do we have an eyes-wide-open understanding that –if we are going to follow Jesus it is – 100% guaranteed – He is going to bring us into impossible situations. If we are going to follow Jesus, it is 100% certain that He is going to wrestle control out of your hands and into his. If we are following Jesus, He will lead you not into greater comfort; He will lead you into greater acts of trusting Him.

Do you really want to follow Jesus or are you one of those in the crowd that got fed by Him and then, when he starts to assert his place in your life you back away from him?


Q. How can I know if I am still following Jesus?
A. What has he placed you in that is an impossible situation?

John 6: 1-6

All 4 gospels record the feeding of the multitude. Jesus asks his question to the disciples early in the day and then proceeds to speak to the crowd all day until dusk. By then everyone is hungry - approaching getting ‘hangry’. Jesus purposefully made it impossible for the disciples to have a workable solution. – other Gospels say it this way: ‘You feed them.’

There is no way any village nearby had enough to feed 5000+ people at once. Jesus specifically directs his question to Philip – to a person. ‘You can’t hear God speak to someone else, you can hear him only if you are being addressed.’ You have to put your name in there where Jesus turns to Philip and you have to come up with your answer. Where shall we get the resources to meet all these needs?

John 6: 6 – Jesus is testing us. He is looking to see if after all the miracles, healings, water into wine – to see if Philip was going to give an answer that had faith in it, or if he was going to give an answer that could only see the natural.

John 6: 7-9 – our response to impossible situations is most often like Philip’s or Andrew’s. We see the need, see if we have adequate resources, see that we don’t have adequate resources, then state the reality -'8 months wages couldn’t meet the need’ ‘Here are 2 fish and 5 loaves, but what are they among so many?

It is all beyond us. The need cannot be met. We begin to despair. We resign into hopelessness. We want to give up.


- "There are giants in the land. Oh, no!"
- "Pharaoah is coming after us and our backs are against the Red Sea. We’re doomed!"
- "We have no food in this wilderness. Moses, why did you lead us out here to die? We want to go back to Egypt."

Where shall we buy bread that these may eat? Answer: ‘All we can see is we don’t have enough to feed them.’

Our situation is impossible, hopeless. Where is faith in Jesus? It isn’t there yet.

So what do we do? Watch the rest of the sermon on how to respond to impossible situations.

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