Sunday Morning | August 27 2023 | John C. Majors | Louisville, KY
The sermon titled "5 Belief Killers," based on John 12:37-50, August 27th, 2023, highlights the progression from praise to unbelief and identifies five factors that hinder belief. The setting shifts from public ministry to a more exclusive audience, paralleling the transition from praise to doubt. The first belief killer is cynicism, as even after witnessing miracles, some persistently refuse to believe. The second is the hardness of heart, shifting from 'did not believe' to 'could not believe,' emphasizing the blame placed on God for blinding and hardening hearts. This notion is clarified using Isaiah 6:10, showing God's greater perspective. The third killer is idolatry, choosing human glory over God's. The fourth, darkness, urges a movement towards light and truth. The fifth, "itchy ears," denotes passive hearing without transformation, leading to accountability. The sermon encourages repentance and recognizing these belief killers – cynicism, hard heart, idolatry, darkness, and itchy ears – to foster genuine faith.
At Valley View Church we are currently studying through the entire gospel of John, verse by verse. You can join us on Sunday mornings at 11 AM for worship. We are located at 8911 3rd Street Road, Louisville KY 40272.
Well, good morning to all of you. How's everybody today? How many of you really enjoyed meeting in that new fellowship hall this morning for life groups? Yeah, it was awesome. I'll walk through there. Oh, man, it just felt so fresh and new and nice. I'm expecting you all to be way more spiritual now as a result. Okay. I saw you in there. Listen, is great together. We had such a great time last week celebrating 85 years of our church's history. What an awesome day to remember what God had done. I've had so many just encouraging comments. I didn't know that about our history. I didn't know. And I've also heard you left this person out by the way you forgot about them. I'm sorry for the oversight. It's now because I didn't like them, but we couldn't cover everybody just hitting some highlights a long way. In fact, if you haven't had a chance to check it out afterwards in the lobby, we've got our time lines that were down there in the fellowship hall that Isaac put together that goes through the history of the church. It's fun to just read through that and learn even more about what God has done in the 85 years of valid use history. Today, we're back in the Book of John, continuing in the Book of John. In fact, we're wrapping up chapter 12, and in the end of Chapter 12, we're going to see a big transition in the book of John. And that made me think about my own transitions in life. We've all much of life is defined by our transitions. I remember one in particular when I went into the fifth grade, so that was a long time ago. But also it was when I went from attending a Christian school to going public school for the first time. Plus I went kind of out in the West in the Carter Elementary for fifth grade. That was a whole new experience, new people, new school system, a lot of changes, a lot of different things. One thing I remember about that year, though, was one person that everybody was talking about all the time. Michael Jackson, Right. Do you remember him? Of course. Michael Jackson, He was all the rage in fifth grade. And you can date yourself depending on which year that was for you and date me accordingly. But like his music was huge. He had blown up at every level. That's all everyone was talking about. In fact, I remember one of my classmates, Natalie Mitchell, still remember her name, and she had this button on it. I love Michael Jackson had the heart and a picture of Michael Jackson right there on it, like people were enamored with would go away for the summer. We'd go into a new school the next year, middle school. A lot of those same students were there, but everything had changed. Michael Jackson was no more. He was still around, but now he was not cool. It was no longer cool to love Michael Jackson. Now he was so fifth grade. He was so last year, like, how could you be such a child? You want to like his stuff anymore? That's old news. And it's really interesting how there's this tendency in our hearts right to go. We go from praise just like that. We go from praise to unbelief. Right? He's all the best. He's the greatest. Yeah. No, no. We don't care about him any more. And of course, we have seen that pattern not with Michael Jackson, but with Jesus in Scripture up in the book of John, all the way up through to now unbelief, unbelief, unbelief in different forms. In fact, the main word that defines the book of John is believe 92 times that word shows up, believe, believe, believe. Why? Because there's so much unbelief, unbelief, unbelief. And it's building and building. And today it's going to hit a bit of a pinnacle before we hit this big transition in the book. In fact, what we're going to see in the book today are five belief killers, five things that will destroy your belief as we go through this passage. We're going to start by looking at the context, reminding ourselves of what we studied last week. Transitioning into today's passage last week ended with verse 36, and we're going to start with verse 36 because verse 36 in most Bibles is split in half with a paragraph break. So look at John chapter 12, verse 36. And if you don't have a Bible, we have church Bibles out in the connection corner. You can slip out any time and get one. Those are free for you. You can keep that and the page numbers on the screen are tied with that specific version of the Bible to help you find your place. We want you to find the passage to make it easy. We want you reading God's Word, studying God's Word. But John, Chapter 12, verse 36 B When Jesus had said these things, He departed and hid himself from them. So having said these things, these things very obviously everything he said before them. And last week we looked at the situation where a couple of Gentiles came to him and said, Well, they didn't come to him, came to some of the disciples and said, Can we get some time with Jesus? And Jesus completely ignores them, never talks to him, doesn't even mention them, but he makes a statement in what he says. He says, Now it is my hour when those foreigners showed up seeking time with him before them. Not my hour, not my time. My time has not come over and over again. But now, now, now it's my hour. There is something about the Gentiles showing up that Jesus says It's time now, Not ever. Everybody didn't know what that means yet. But the weird thing about this verse is what happens in response to that? It says, When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them. So why would he do that? I mean, the people he came to John chapter one, verse 11, the very start of the book, the Prolog, that sets the whole context of the book. It says he came to his own meaning to the Jewish people, he came to them and they did not receive him. He knew this was going to happen, so his own people are rejecting him. Finally, someone from outside foreigners are coming to show up. You would think that Jesus would go, okay, you don't want me, I'm going to turn to you. I'm going to build a big ministry with these people who do want to hear from me. But that's not what he does in this moment. He goes, The Gentiles are here. My hour has come and I'm drawing away from everyone. It's like he's been at the front of the concert performing to the gigantic audience. The concert ends and here is a moment of transition. Now he goes to the back to meet those who are backstage, the select few, the ones who are the rabid fans he's drawn away. And we're going to see in this next group of of chapters his intense focus on investing deeply in the disciples in his remaining few days with them. So in this setting, he's drawing away, He's pulling them back. He's starting to focus on the disciples. Now, why is that? Why is that His response to the critics, to the unbelief? John, if you have a Bible, has the Jesus of words in red, you'll see it's black here for the next few verses. John's going to give us some commentary on that. He's going to explain before Jesus talks again. He's going to explain why. And this sets up the first belief killer we see in the passage. Just look at these next couple of verses here, verse 37, verse 38, though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, so that the words spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled. Lord, who has believed what he heard from us and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed. So verse 37, verse 38, John starts to explain why Jesus is pulling away. And the first belief killer we see here, the word isn't here in here, but I think it sums up the sentiment that is here is the word cynicism, cynicism that cynical heart, that doubting heart, that questioning heart that's that wants to just not believe in anything. The question everyone's motives. You know, if you look back at verse 37, it says, they say he had done many signs before them. Even though he had done that, they still did not believe in him. One commentator said they persisted in their unbelief. They were committed to their unbelief. They were determined to stay, not believing there is something about their heart that said, I cannot be persuaded to move off my unbelief. Nothing you can do, nothing Jesus can do can open my heart to him. They continued to disbelieve. That is the first belief killer to be mindful of, to be aware of. It's a pattern we've seen in the Book of John, and we've seen it all throughout the Bible. This was the pattern in the Old Testament with the Israelites in the wilderness and in Egypt, the very thing they're crying out for. Freedom from slavery. Please, Lord, deliver us. Save us now. Okay? He delivers them too many years of complaining about being delivered. Why did you take us out of a place where we had food just to die in the wilderness? What are you doing? Complaining, doubt upset even though they saw miracle after miracle. After miracle after miracle it's the same pattern. And by the way, we need to take pause here in ourselves. Remember, we're no better than the people in the Bible. It's not like because we're newer, we're more enlightened. Now. Those same tendencies are in my heart as well. I mean, just last week we celebrated 85 years of ministry. We celebrated the renovation of the fellowship hall, and I got to tell you, it's so easy within a week to forget all that. And if we're not constantly fighting for gratitude, for not constantly fighting for belief or it's just natural to move towards unbelief, towards cynicism, towards doubt, towards complaining, that's where we naturally go. We've got to fight for belief. So that's the first belief killer we see in here. Now, what's interesting is what he does to support this. John just doesn't say, Yeah, people don't believe he cites an Old Testament verse to support it. In fact, what he quotes is Isaiah 53 one. This is a pretty close quote from 53 one Lord who has believed what he heard from us and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed. I want to turn to that passage. Turn with me to the Book of Isaiah. We've got the page numbers on the screen in the Old Testament. Isaiah 53 is a pretty well-known passage in terms of painting a proper picture of who the Messiah will be because there were many improper perceptions or ideas about what the Messiah would be like. And Isaiah 53 points forward gives a hint, gives a glimpse of who the Messiah would be. And of course, verse one is a quote from what we just read Who has believed what he has heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? The important part of that is when it says Who has believed This isn't a questioning terms of the I wonder who has believed. It's more of a has anyone believed? Is there anyone who has believed? It's pretty clear that no one has believed in the strong arm of the Lord, meaning his ability, his might, his miracles. Has anyone believed in these? But notice what he says in verse three. So move forward. Just a couple of verses. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows acquainted with grief and as one from whom men hide their faces. He was despised. And we esteemed him. Not two words that really stood out to me here. That sum up this section. He was despised and rejected the point of why he is quoting this here when he says they didn't believe in him and he quotes Isaiah. The point in the midst of this is just reminding us this didn't somehow trip up Jesus. God wasn't surprised by their unbelief. It's not like this is ruining his plan and messing everything up. What am I going to do? I did all these miracles. I tried to reach these people and they don't believe in me. Oh, no. What did I do wrong? No, he's not surprised by this. In fact, John cites Isaiah to say he knew this would happen. He saw it coming. Now, there's a reason why he cites this toward that end. In fact, he's going to unpack this in the next couple of verses. Notice what he says next verse 39 and 40. Go back to John now mature. You're back in John. Chapter 12 again. By the way, we're going to go back to Isaiah again. So keep it handy. We'll back there in just a second. But verse 39, verse 40, notice what he says therefore they could not believe for again, as Isaiah said, he has blinded their eyes, hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, understand with their heart and turn. And I would heal them. The second belief killer in this passage of five belief killers is right here. Hardness of heart. A hard heart makes it really hard to be open to the Gospel. Hard, hard work at one level makes it impossible to believe. In fact, what's interesting here, we're going to compare verse 37 to verse 39, because you see a fascinating progression. If you look back at verse 37, it says They did not believe, but in verse 39 it says They could not believe. It seems that they went from a place of I refuse to believe, to a place where I'm no longer even able to believe. That's hard to think about. I'll tell you what's even harder to hear. What's even more shocking in this passage is who gets the blame for that or the credit? However you want to look at verse 40, Look back there. He has blinded their eyes. He has heart in their heart so that they won't repent. Anybody else find this difficult to understand? Am I the only one that goes, What's going on here? Are you saying that God went around hardening some people's hearts specifically so that they wouldn't believe in him and wouldn't repent? Is that what you're saying? Is that what the Bible is saying? That's so confusing? I agree. It is very confusing. And it's been a great service. I appreciate you all coming now. We're going to deal with it. We'll press into it because it is confusing what is going on here. What could he be driving it? First, let's look at this reference in context. Isaiah's chapter six is what he was quoting. He's blinded their eyes, heart in their heart, lest they see with their eyes and understand with heart turn. I would heal them if you go back to Isaiah chapter six. So that's actually he's quoting chapter six, verse ten. But if you're in chapter six, you'll see the context. And it's a familiar passage for a lot of people. Or Isaiah receives a vision of the Lord. He's there in the throne room and he sees the Seraphim. And what is it that they say over and over and over again? What is it? Holy, holy, holy! Which, by the way, side note, I love it whenever we sing a song that repeats Holy, holy, holy, holy, holy, holy. Sometimes I can find myself thinking, okay, I got that. We said that right? Yeah, he's holy. Great. What's next? The picture is for all of eternity. Holy, holy, holy, holy, holy, holy. So he's in there seeing that, experiencing that. And his response is to say in verse eight, the Lord says, Who shall I send? Who will go for us? Isaiah says, Here I am, send me, I'm your guy. I want to go tell people about this. I want everybody to have this experience. I want everybody to know what this throne room is like. And so God says, Great, by the way, it's going to go terrible for you. Good luck. No one's going to want to hear it. You're going to come away saying they keep on hearing, but they don't understand. Has anyone heard the strong arm of the Lord? Does anyone believe no one's going to want to hear what you have to say, which often seems to be the role of the prophet. If you read through the Old Testament, people weren't usually excited that the prophet was coming around here. He comes to judge us again, Here he comes to tell us about our sin. Here he comes to talk about repentance. Great. Can't wait. No. Usually we're like, Who is this guy? What's he doing here? Let's get rid of him. In our culture today, you can talk about Jesus. That's great. Yeah. He's got plenty of great things to say. He's a good guy. But when you start talking about sin, repentance, judgment, you start going there. No, no, no. We don't want to hear about that. Oh, to be honest, there's often times we don't want to hear about that. Right? That's not that's not what we came for was the light cheery message, the encouragement. We want that to. But God says, look, people aren't going to want to hear this message. This is one of the challenges. Now, if you go back to John, that's setting the context for Isaiah, he's saying you won't have success, people will reject you. By the way, he knew this would happen. It's not surprised by that. But it's all part of a bigger plan. I had a friend who served in missions. He served in Africa. He served for ten years in the same village, and it was a place where very remote and the soil there was literally hard and spiritually hard. I mean, he had to build his own house. He oftentimes it was so hot there, it was cooler to just sleep outside and sleep outside and in their yard and not a yard in the courtyard. The culture was very interesting. And he came back and I'll share this more of the story at some other time. The reasons he came back were so good, so interesting. When we came back, we sat down to meet and he said, You know, John, I'm not supposed to come back. Not really sure what I accomplished. They're not really sure if there was much fruit left behind. And from a human level, you can hear that and go, well, that was a failure. I mean, why did you even spend ten years of your life there? But coming back to what we see here, God's always at work behind the scenes. You don't know exactly what he's doing. He may be working in ways you could know he is working in, ways you could never imagine. He's doing things you can't fathom. As I was walking in there, Walker told me a story. I wasn't planning to share this, but he shared it with me and I thought it was so powerful. I mentioned from here a couple of weeks ago that I had prayed with a guy that on Friday and that week he passed away. His name was Steve Price. He was a guy who was involved in the church here on the margins for quite a while, and he had a lot of challenges. And we had a memorial service for him, for him in here. I got to tell you that for me, I just showed up for part of the before the service, but to connect with people. It was so cool to watch our church love on the people who were in there. That was a powerful part for me. Just watching our committed, faithful church members, loving on people who don't go to church, you're just loving on them. That's I mean, that's a picture of what the church is supposed to be about. But I know Steve had some challenges. We didn't ignore that Dave shared with me as I was walking in. You know, he said, I met a guy there at that service, Dave, did the priest, the service who came up to me and he said, I know Christ because of Steve. You never know who God is going to use to reach people. You never know what he's doing in the background. And here part of what's going on is that God's plans are often different than ours because he's got a lot bigger picture in mind than us. He sees things, see things that we can't ever possibly see. And so when literally across the street had the Sunday school and her class Sunday school meeting in her bed, in her house, and there were five adults and 12 children, did she fully see that we would be gathering like this 85 years later? Well, she said she did actually, which is hilarious. That's great. I love that. But there are plenty of times where you don't know. I don't know what God's going to do. I'm just taking a step of faith. He sees a lot more than I see. And who knows? With my friend in Africa for ten years was seemingly now for who knows what God is doing, Do that in the background. I know I haven't answered your question yet. So let's get back to the question of is God hardening hearts? Okay. I know he says he wants people to come to know him. He's been calling people to believe in him all throughout the book. What does that mean? I'm just going to share with you for quick points on this. I read in a commentary by Don Carson, I thought these were really helpful, so I'm just going to read from them, quote them. I thought it gave a really good perspective. And these are going to be on the screen to help you. Number one, God's sovereign T is never pitted against human responsibility in scripture, especially in these kind of matters. God's sovereignty is not pitted against human responsibility. Both are true. God is sovereign and we are accountable. We are responsible for our decisions. Both are true. Those are held in tension together somehow. Second number two, God's hardening is a holy condemnation of the guilty people who are condemned to do. And b, what they themselves have already chosen. And this is complex. We could spend a lot of time unpacking this from many places in Scripture, but you see often times Romans Chapter one is a good place. He gave them over three times. He gave them over because of their unbelief. He gave them over. He gave them over. He gave them over. You see, with Pharaoh, God hardened his heart. Pharaoh's heart was hardened. You see this progression in interplay of hardening, and often times people end up where they already wanted to be, the path they had already chosen. They did not believe so they could not believe. In fact, one commentator said it this way. He says, I will lead to. I cannot. I'm sorry, I will not leads to I cannot. Number three, in the midst of this reality, God's sovereignty brings hope. Part of this, as difficult as this is to read, it also brings hope. He is, even when people are rejecting him, even though he knows people won't believe in him, he's still in control. The world didn't fall apart because people reject him. His plans will still come about. In fact. Number four, what is most surprising through the hardness of the hearts of the Jews? Go ahead. Put that up on the screen through the hardness of the hearts of the Jews, meaning through the rejection of people. His plans come about through the hardness of the hearts of the Jews, specifically the Jewish leaders. God brings about his ultimate purposes, even when things seem to be completely derailed. He's still at work, he's still bringing about his purposes. And we see that here in John Chapter 12, that everything is building towards his ultimate purpose. Need to make a statement about this dynamic, though, in terms of starting with they will not believe in it, leading to they could not believe that should also serve as a warning to us. Don't stay in a state of unbelief. Deal with your heart and the condition of your heart. Now, don't another day go by where you continue in a state of unbelief. You're not guaranteed another moment. Steve Price Everything was going along great. 48 years old. Life was good. Things were picking up. They were pointing the right direction. And then it was over. Just this day, I called with a friend of mine whose dad passed away a couple of weeks ago. I said, What happened? He grew up here in the church. We knew each other here in the church. What happened? He went to bed and didn't wake up. Don't know. Everything was fine. Our church in Little Rock, a family, they all go to bed Saturday night and I wake up Sunday night and their seven year old daughter didn't wake up. They don't know why everything was fine. What happened? Don't know. You never know what tomorrow holds. It's not meant to be some kind of scare tactic. It's just reality. Don't let another day go by Where? Haven't said, Lord, where do I stand with you and make things right with him? Don't be like these. And Isaiah and then John, who said, Yeah, I see the miracles. He's all right now. He's Lord, make sure you know that he is Lord. So that's the second belief killer I will not lose to. I cannot. Now, what's interesting here is right here in this section, we get just a glimmer of hope right in the midst of this depressing part of people not believing. Look at verse 41. Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. He saw the glory of Christ in that moment. Nevertheless, many, even of the authorities, believed in him. Here's a glimmer of hope in the midst of this, in the midst of us saying Jewish leaders and authorities have rejected him. In fact, they want to see him killed. But there are a few who believed in him and many believe that's probably speaking of Nicodemus, who we saw in chapter three, who came to him at night and wanted to hear from him. Maybe Joseph, their Matthew, who's the one who provided the tomb to bury Jesus. A few of the Pharisees, a few of the leaders said, You know, there's something with him, something about him. However, the challenge is how they responded to that, because it immediately says, but back to verse 42. But for the fear of the Pharisees, they did not confess it so that they would not be put out of the synagogue for fear of the Pharisees. They did not confess it. We would describe this as a weak faith, as a as a tentative faith, as a partial faith. And really, at the end of the day, an incomplete faith, because our faith isn't just private. Christianity is inherently a public faith. It's not something you just keep to yourself. The call is to tell others. In fact, in the history of the early church, you know, someone would come to know Christ, they would claim to follow him, but then they wouldn't baptized. In fact, sometimes one year they'd wait, sometimes two years, sometimes three years, because in that culture, you know, the Romans were fine with you believing in Jesus. That's fine. Put him in the mix with all the other gods. That's great. Another superhero, another guy who does amazing things. That's fine. The problem was when you said you only believe in him and not the others. That was the problem. And the preeminent son of that was baptism. Once you were baptized, you can believe in Jesus. That's fine. But when you're baptized, you're saying, I reject Roman gods, I reject Roman authority. And that's when persecution comes. And so they wanted to make sure, Are you really all in before we baptize you? Because there's a good chance after baptism, persecution will come because our faith is public. Our confession is public. It's not just private. And so part of the challenge here is to have a sense of urgency and part of what we see. In fact, the third belief killer is here in verse 43, right after that. Part of the reason why they wouldn't publicly confess, they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God. And so belief killer number three is here, and I'm simply calling this idolatry anything that I love more than God, that I love more than Christ is an idol. I am putting it above him. I'm worshiping it, worshiping it rather than him. And they love the glory of man more than the glory of God. They were more concerned about receiving praise from people than receiving praise from God. And I remember I was taking a class in seminary. There was a three class series on systematic theology, and it was taught by Wayne Graham, who wrote the book Systematic Theology, which by the way, is super accessible, even though it's 1000 pages. I know a lot of people who've read it for their morning devotion and found it worshipful, very easy to read a lot of difficult concepts and they're very accessible. But he's teaching the class. We get to the section on the theology of salvation. But how? What does the Bible say about how people are saved? And we impacted a great lengths at the same time we're teaching through that. Joel Osteen had been on the Larry King Show, so this was almost 20 years ago now. Joel Osteen, you may know who he is. He's a well known pastor in Houston. Big, big church, lots of books, well known. He's on Larry King Live. And Larry King asks him this question. Basically, you mean to tell me you think only Christians are going to heaven? You mean to tell me Larry King's just you mean to tell me Jews and Muslims are going to heaven? And Joel Osteen dances around that one man like an Appalachian clogher. He was all over the stage just here and here and here and never really clearly answered it. Now, he did some clarification follow up afterwards, and I get some of what he was saying. I get it in terms of, look, Joel Osteen or John Majors doesn't decide who goes to heaven and or not. I mean, that's God's the one who decides. I get. Yes, that is true. Wayne Groome in that class commented and he said, guys, if you are ever in that situation, you're on the Larry King Live show and he asks you that question or wherever, let me tell you how to respond. I'm gonna tell you exactly how to respond. I have got the answer for you. Do you mean to say you believe the Bible says only those who follow Christ go to heaven. Here's what you say. Yes, You say yes, right? That's not how the audience will respond when you say it that way. And he said, look, it's okay to then follow up with clarification. It's okay to say, here's why. And I don't delight in those who don't know Christ, not going to heaven, but I believe the Bible and I believe the Bible says Jesus says, I am the way, the truth and the life. And then you lay out the plan of salvation. You never know when in that moment, when you're on the edge of true hope. I don't back away from that. Don't shy away from that public confession. Don't worry about if you get disinvited from Oprah or not. Okay? Publicly confess. Don't worry about the glory of man. Be more concerned about the glory of God. So belief killer number three, idolatry. And then believe killer number four. Let's look at verse 44 through 46. Jesus finally does speak up. John's giving us the context. Here's why this is happening. There's more going on behind the scenes. We know people are going to reject Jesus. Jesus speaks up. Here's what he says. Verse 44 Jesus cried out and said, Whoever believes in me, believes not in me, but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him, who sent me. I have come in to the world as light so that whoever believes me may not remain in darkness. The fourth believe killer we see here is that last word in verse 46 darkness remaining in darkness, staying in a place where you're not exposed to truth, to light will kill your resolve to follow Christ. I did a road trip with my son recently. I mentioned taking him out to college in Phenix, and we ended up camping on the edge of this incredible canyon. And here it is, the middle of the night. It's pitch black. I mean, you can see the stars. It's pitch black late at night. And someone and I measured it on on Google Maps a mile and a half away across the canyon, turns on a light, just a little bitty light. And I could see it a mile and a half away. It is amazing how just a glimmer of light travels. The smallest hint of light can pierce through the darkness. And so don't stay in a place of darkness. Move towards that hint of light. Find just a glimmer of light in the midst of the darkness. This is why I say to folks all the time, If you're stuck in a dark place and just get in one verse of the Bible, find one verse that will give you hope. Find one person that can speak truth into your life. Just find a glimmer of light and watch it work. Don't stay stuck in the darkness. That's the fourth belief killer. And then lastly, number five, look at verse 47 through 50, if anyone. Here's my words and does not keep them. I do not judge him for I do not come to judge the world, but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge. The word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day, for I have not spoken on my own authority. But the father who sent me, he has himself given me a commandment. What to say, what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say, as the father has told me, the fifth belief killer that we see, and I'm taking a phrase from another passage of Scripture to describe what he's explaining is this phrase itchy ears. You know what I mean by that? Itchy ears. I just want in fact, some translations say tickled ears. I just want my ears not literally tickled. Okay, that's weird, but I want to hear entertaining words. I just want to hear things that pleased my ears. But don't bring the sin, the judgment, the repentance. Yeah. Jesus has some great things to say. He's a good dude. Yeah, that's interesting. Oh, wait. Sin, judgment, repentance. But he makes it clear here there will be a day of judgment. He said it's not right now, but the same words I'm speaking now will bring judgment. In fact, I'm just going to quote Dan Carson again, because he said it so well. The same message that proclaims life and forgiveness to believers proclaims condemnation and wrath to the unbeliever. Same message. One message to one person brings hope to the other. Condemnation, wrath don't be driven by itchy ears. In fact, here's what I want to do Now. You've heard five different belief killers, and any one of us in here at any time has struggled with any one of those sometimes. All right. And certain seasons of life, we're going to move into a time of communion. In fact, if you're a deacon and you're helping to distribute communion, go ahead and prepare for that. But while we take communion together and I'll give some instruction on communion, first communion here is for anyone who knows Christ and claims to follow him. You don't have to particularly be a member of this church, but we'd love for you to partake in communion with us. It is for those who claim to know him and follow him. And what will happen is they will pass these trays out down the aisle. And in there are two cups stacked together. One has juice, one has bread one on top of the other. Just take those two together, hold on to them till everyone gets theirs. And then I'll lead us through taking those together. But what I want you to do while those are being distributed, while you're taking those, think of those belief killers and pray over those five different belief killers cynicism, darkness, itchy ears, idolatry, hardness of heart. Just pray for God to expose whatever one of those is in your heart now, and pray for repentance. Pray for change. And maybe, maybe there's someone in your life who you know is also struggling. Guys, go ahead and start distributing those. Once you're ready, you can go ahead, start passing those out. Pray for someone else in your life who you know is struggling with unbelief. We're going to use this time now for self-reflection, prayer for others. And then once it's all distributed, I'll bring us back together and lead us in taking those together.