Aiming Too Low, John 6:24-35


Download Audio

Download Text

 

“Aiming too Low”

John 6:24-35

September 29, 2019

Faith Presbyterian Church – Morning Service

Pr. Nicoletti

 

Our Scripture reading this morning is from The Gospel of John, chapter six, verses twenty-four through thirty-five. Jesus has miraculously fed five thousand people. Those he had fed tried to make him an earthly king, in rebellion against the Roman authorities. Jesus withdrew from the crowd in response. That night, in the midst of a storm, Jesus walked on water across the sea and was observed by his disciples. And now, the next day, the crowd that Jesus had miraculously fed sees that he is gone, and follows him across the sea.

 

With that context in mind, please listen carefully, for this is God’s word for us this morning.

 

6:24 So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.

25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” 30 So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

 

This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

 

“All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” [1 Peter 1:24-25]

 

Let’s pray …

 

Lord, our souls long for your salvation,

and so we hope in your word.

We long for your promise,

and we long for your comfort.

Whatever trials and hardships we face,

we do not forget you, but we look for your deliverance.

As we come now to your word,

We ask that in your steadfast love you would give us life.

Strengthen and guide us

so that we can keep the testimonies that have come to us from your lips.

Grant this we ask, for Jesus’s sake. Amen.

[Psalm 119:81-84, 88]

 

Our text this morning has this back-and-forth between Jesus and the crowd, and to get at exactly what the dispute is about – to understand the point Jesus is making, it might be best to begin by going through that exchange.

 

In verse twenty-five the crowd that Jesus had miraculously fed, and which had tried to make him an earthly king follows Jesus across the sea and asks him when he got there. And then, in verses twenty-six and twenty-seven Jesus confronts them. He says to them: “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”

 

Now – what is Jesus’s point here? What is he saying?

 

Jesus is confronting them about why they are seeking him. Jesus is confronting them about their goal – their trajectory – what it is that they’re aiming for.

 

He says that their aim is food. They followed him because he gave them food … and they are hoping for more food. And he tells them that they should not be working for – they should not primarily be seeking earthly food that perishes, but should instead be seeking sustenance that will lead them to eternal life, which is what he wants to give them.

 

Now, right off the bat we should clear up a few things.

 

First, the most important difference between earthly goods and heavenly goods are not that one is physical and the other is non-physical, but that earthly goods are only a benefit in this life while heavenly goods are both a benefit for eternal life, and are also an even greater benefit in this life than earthly goods are. The more important difference is not physical versus non-physical, but good versus better – and part of what that includes is temporal versus eternal.

 

Second, and contained in that, is that the difference between an earthly good and a heavenly good is not that one is bad and the other is good, but that while one can be good, the other is much better. Jesus does not think earthly bread is bad – he just made a whole lot of it when he fed over five thousand people. He doesn’t think that physical bread is bad, but he knows that heavenly bread – heavenly sustenance – is even better. The problem of the crowd is not that they desire something they shouldn’t desire, but that their desires are disordered – they are out of proper order. The crowd should desire the kind of earthly food that will sustain their bodies. That is a good thing. But they should desire the kind of heavenly food that will sustain them to eternal life much, much more than they desire earthly food.

 

But they don’t. Their primary desire is for earthly food. They have Jesus before them – and so they have the one who can provide them with both earthly food and heavenly food, but Jesus knows their hearts well enough to know that what they desire most from him is not heavenly food, but earthly food.

 

So in verses twenty-six and twenty-seven Jesus confronts them about this reality. He confronts them about their primary aim – about the primary goal they are seeking – and then he urges them to work for heavenly food.

 

And then they reply in verse twenty-eight. And they say: “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?”

 

What we should note … is that the crowd is focusing on the wrong part of what Jesus says. Jesus talked to them about their goal – about what they were most seeking: earthly bread that perishes versus heavenly bread leading to eternal life.

 

But the crowd did not reply with a question about their goal or their aim … they responded with a question about the means to their goal. They responded with a question not about what they should most seek, but with a question about how they should seek what they are seeking: “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?”

 

Jesus responds then in verse twenty-nine by telling them how to seek heavenly food – how to seek the thing they should be aiming for. He says: “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

 

Jesus is urging the crowd to pursue heavenly sustenance for eternal life, and he is telling them that the way to pursue that heavenly sustenance is to place their trust in him.

 

Next we read in verses thirty through thirty-three: “So they [that is, the crowd,] said to him, ‘Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform?  Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”’ Jesus then said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’”

 

Here we see the crowd shift back again to earthly goals, and even to earthly means. Their demand for a sign should sound strange, since Jesus just gave one when he fed them all miraculously the day before, but the thing to appreciate is that the crowd is again directing Jesus back to providing them with earthly bread.

 

And as they do, Jesus is also aware that even as they refer back to the miraculous giving of manna to Israel in the wilderness, the crowd is not only thinking of earthly goals, but also of earthly means. They do not think first of God as the one who fed Israel, but of Moses. The crowd’s aim, their goal, has sunk back to earthly goods and earthly goals, received by earthly means. And again, in verses thirty-two and thirty-three, Jesus directs them to heavenly goals, to eternal aims, and to the heavenly means by which they are attained.

 

In response, maybe out of confusion, the crowd in verse thirty-four asks Jesus to give them this bread he speaks of.

 

And Jesus replies: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

 

Jesus stands before them, desiring to give them eternal goods … heavenly goods … goods which will outlast and outshine any earthly goods in this life. He is the bread of life that he offers them. He offers them himself – he offers them the Son of God who brings glorious eternal life. They can receive him by trusting in him.

 

But instead, again and again, the crowd asks for earthly bread, which will sustain them only in this life.

 

And it’s not that earthly bread is bad – remember, these people are not likely motivated by a flair for the gourmet or a penchant for overeating. They lived in a time and a place when your daily bread was not always guaranteed – something it’s hard for most of us to truly appreciate. Desiring bread was not the problem. The problem was that they desired a lesser good more than they desired a greater good. They desired an earthly good more than they desired a heavenly good. They desired a perishable good more than they desire a good that would lead to eternal life. Their aims, their goals, were wildly disordered.

 

And though Jesus kept trying to raise their aim to heaven, again and again, it seemed to drop down to earth. Their goal – their greatest desire – turns from the eternal to the temporal.

 

What we see in the crowd is that left to ourselves, we tend to aim primarily for earthly goods that perish, rather than heavenly goods that endure for eternity.

 

Left to ourselves, we tend to aim above all else for earthly goods that perish, instead of heavenly goods that endure forever.

 

We see that tendency again and again in the crowd.

 

But we can also identify that tendency in ourselves.

 

Most of us here, unlike those in our text, take our next meal for granted. But there are still other earthly goods we seek above all else.

 

Tim Keller, in his book Counterfeit Gods, points out that some of the deepest desires many of us pursue above all else are approval, security, and comfort in this life.

 

And for many of us, it is in one of these three desires that we can find the earthly goods that we aim for as our primary good.

 

We might start with security. And in many ways, it is the desire for earthly security that drives the crowd in our text. When they wanted to make Jesus their earthly king, it was no doubt driven in part by their desire for the worldly security that he could give them. And the same dynamic was at work in their request that he continue to provide them with earthly bread. The crowd wanted earthly security, and they pursued Jesus in order to get it.

 

But Jesus could also give them heavenly security – eternal security. Security that they were right with God now, and would be forever. Security that they would one day join the Lord in his kingdom forever. The striking thing is that that is not what they asked Jesus for. They wanted earthly security more than they wanted heavenly security.

 

And so with us. It is not wrong for us to desire earthly security – whether in the form of financial security, or personal safety, or political stability – those are all good.

 

They are good … but they are not our highest good. The highest good which Jesus offers us is heavenly security. He offers us peace with God – he offers us safety from the Evil One, he offers us deliverance from the condemnation we deserve, he offers us eternal security both now and in heaven, found in the favor of God our Father.

 

Jesus can give us both earthly security and eternal heavenly security. Here’s my question: Which one do you spend more time thinking about? Which one do you spend more time being concerned over? Which one do you spend more time praying for?

 

We are not that different from the crowd … are we? We go to the One who can offer us heavenly security and earthly security … and all we can often think about is earthly security.

 

Another deep desire we often have, besides security, is for approval. We long for the approval of, for the acclaim of others. We want a good reputation. We want to be spoken of well. Jesus is sovereign over how much success we have in this world and how much approval we receive from others. He can give us that.

 

He can also give us the approval of God – the approval of the Maker of the cosmos, the approval of the King of heaven and earth. He can give us earthly approval and he can give us heavenly approval. Again, the question for us is this: Which kind of approval do you spend more time thinking about? Which one do you spend more time being concerned over? Which one do you spend more time praying for?

 

We are not so different from the crowd.

 

A third deep desire Keller mentions is for comfort. We long to be comforted … we are made to desire and to enjoy good things – pleasurable things. And once more, Jesus has the power to grant earthly comfort and pleasures. He can give you the home and the goods that you desire. He is sovereign over whatever form of pleasure you are most drawn to. He can grant all kinds of comfort and pleasure in this life.

 

He also can give you, upon his return to earth, the pleasure and comfort of a resurrected body that experiences no sickness and pain, and a resurrection life that knows only degrees of joy, and no more sadness. He can give you for eternity the comfort and pleasure of an unfallen world all experienced in the loving presence of God himself.

 

He can give you earthly pleasures and he can give you heavenly pleasures. Again, I ask: Which kinds of comforts do you spend more time thinking about? Which ones do you spend more time being concerned over? Which ones do you spend more time praying for?

 

We are not so different from the crowd.

 

Left to ourselves, we tend to aim primarily for earthly goods that perish, rather than heavenly goods that endure for eternity.

 

This is the problem for the crowd. This is the problem for us. And the solution Jesus offers here is its opposite. In our text Jesus reminds both the crowd and us that because heavenly goods are far greater than earthly goods, our primary aim in life must be for the heavenly goods given by Jesus Christ, which endure to eternal life.

 

Let me say that again: Because heavenly goods are far greater than earthly goods, our primary aim in life must be for the heavenly goods given by Jesus Christ, which endure to eternal life.

 

And what we should appreciate in all this is that in asking us to desire heavenly goods more than earthly goods, Jesus is not urging us to want and to seek something less valuable, but something more valuable.

 

  1. S. Lewis gets at this in his essay “The Weight of Glory.” Lewis writes first that it is common for people to hear the call of the gospel and think that it is a call for us to turn away from good and enjoyable things and towards things that are less desirable.

 

Lewis points out that this does not fit with how the Scriptures describe the call of the gospel. While we are called to take up our cross and follow Jesus, Lewis points out that “nearly every description of what we shall ultimately find if we do [take up our cross] contains an appeal to desire.” Lewis goes on to say that the modern idea that spiritual good is opposed to desiring what is best for us is something we have gotten from Immanuel Kant more than from Biblical Christian teaching. “Indeed,” Lewis writes, “if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” [Lewis, 26]

 

Lewis’s point is that the call on us to desire heavenly goods over earthly goods is not a call to desire cold, sterile, abstract goods over warm and pleasurable goods. It is a call to desire something far more enjoyable than the earthly goods we are seeking instead.

 

But again and again we have taken the desires inside us for the greater heavenly goods … and we have aimed them at earthly goods – which are lesser, and which perish, and which can never truly satisfy.

 

Jesus does not want us to give up on our desire for security, he wants us to aim above all else for the security that is truly secure – for the heavenly security which endures for eternity and is not fallible or temporal like the security of this world.

 

In the same way, Jesus does not want us to try to kill our desire for approval – he wants us to direct it above all else to the only kind of approval that can satisfy us, and that will endure forever. C. S. Lewis points out that that is exactly what the glory promised to God’s people in heaven really is. He writes: “I was shocked to find such different Christians as Milton, Johnson, and Thomas Aquinas taking heavenly glory quite frankly in the sense of fame or good report. But not fame conferred by our fellow creatures – fame with God, approval or (I might say) ‘appreciation’ by God. And then, when I had thought it over, I saw that this view was scriptural; nothing can eliminate from the parable the divine accolade, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’” [Lewis, 36]

 

Jesus does not tell us to be indifferent to the approval of all others as much as he calls us to aim above all else for the approval of God, which is available to all who place their trust in him. For those who trust in Christ will receive an approval from their Creator that far outweighs any available in this life, and that will never fade, for all eternity.

 

And far from telling us to give up on our desire for comfort and pleasure, the Scriptures tell us again and again that the pleasures offered in the kingdom of God exceeds the earthly pleasures available to us in this life, beyond our ability to measure it. Jesus calls us not to suppress our desire for comfort or pleasure, but to direct it towards a joy in this life that outweighs temporal happiness, and towards the pleasures in the next life that outweigh anything on offer here.

 

Because heavenly goods are far greater than earthly goods, our primary aim in life must be for the heavenly goods given by Jesus Christ, that endure to eternal life.

 

That reminds us what we should be aiming for … but it leaves us with the question of how we do it. How do we keep our aim primarily on these heavenly goods when we so often gravitate to earthly goods? How do we keep our orientation to the heavenly horizon Christ sets before us?

 

And how you answer that question will depend in some part on where you are spiritually right now.

 

If you are not a Christian, or if you are a Christian who has been wandering for some time from the Lord, then what you need is repentance – what you need is a massive upheaval in your values, in your aims.

 

You need to recognize that the earthly goods you have explicitly been pursuing are of less value than the heavenly goods which you have been neglecting. And you need to ask Jesus to help you overturn your life in order to repent and correct that.

 

And that process is both difficult, and completely free. It is both costly and a gift. Because on the one hand, you need to renounce your current priorities. You need to disown them, and claim as your highest good the very things you have been neglecting. You need to seek first the kingdom of heaven and the righteousness of God, and put everything else below that. And that kind of upheaval in your heart and life will cause disruption – it will cause pain, even.

 

But at the same time, it is completely free. Jesus says in our text that he is the heavenly good – the bread of life – that will bring you to God, that will lead to eternal life. And he tells you that the work you must do to get him … is simply to put your trust in him.

 

The gospel of Christ is both free and will cost you everything, because it calls you to place Jesus Christ as the greatest good in your life.

 

Some here need an upheaval of aims and priorities in their lives in order to make Jesus their greatest good.

 

But for others … for many of you here, you may not need one big shift so much as you need regular, routine shifts. As your primary aim drops, time and time again in the ordinary course of life in this world – as your primary aim strays from heavenly goods to earthly goods, again and again, you need to have your aim reoriented. And God in his grace has given us many ways to do that.

 

He has given us, for example, a calendar that, if we pay attention to it, resets our aim to heavenly goods again and again throughout each season. With Israel, God gave them the great annual feasts, which were to remind them, season by season, of the great saving works of God towards Israel.

 

And the Church, following that same pattern, has pointed God’s people to his major saving works year by year. Every year, from Advent through Pentecost, we are reminded of our Lord’s coming, his incarnation, his self-revelation, his suffering, his resurrection, his ascension, and his pouring out of the Holy Spirit. And in each season of the year we are reminded both of what Christ has done, and what heavenly goods we receive through his works. Every year, through that pattern, our Lord reorients our spiritual horizons – he resets our aim from earthly goods to heavenly goods.

 

But even more importantly, our God gives us such reorientation not only year by year, but week by week.

 

And as we gather together, every Lord’s Day, the Lord walks us through the truths of the gospel – reminding us and urging us in every aspect of worship to reorient our aim, to reset our horizons.

 

In the call to worship God reminds us that he has indeed called us to worship and serve him, not just in that hour, but in all of lives. In the confession of sin and declaration of pardon Christ reminds us first that we are sinners, and then he points us afresh to what he has done in order to save us, urging us to receive his grace and forgiveness again. In what follows that: the confession of faith, the binding of the law to ourselves, the giving of our tithes, the lifting of our petitions – what unites all of those actions is that they are rooted in our acknowledgement, our proclamation, our reliance on the fact that God is indeed our King, and we desire to be his faithful subjects. In the hearing of the Word our Lord gives us his Fatherly instruction for our lives – reminding us of what is true and of how we should live. In the Lord’s Supper, our Lord does many things, not least of them being that he gives us a foretaste of the great feast that is to come at Christ’s return, urging us to live now in light of that future feast. And in the benediction the Lord blesses us and sends us out to live the week that follows as his people and aimed at the heavenly goods he offers us in Christ.

 

Our Lord graciously gives us the Sabbath Day to reorient the primary aim of our lives and hearts from earthly goods to heavenly goods.

 

But it is not only in the church year or Lord’s Day worship that he does this. Because he also gives us his Word outside of these gathered times.

 

As God’s people we are to attend to his Word on our own – as individuals and as families. We are to give it our attention because it reminds us of the story we are living in, and the aim our lives should have as a result. In his Word we read of the great story of what God is doing in the world. And we remember that it is not God who fits into our story – but it is we who fit into his. As we attend to his Word we again and again have our aims lifted up from our petty earthly concerns, to the heavenly concerns our God is working to accomplish in this world.

 

And as we do that on our own, God gives us each not only his Word but also the gift of prayer.

 

Prayer is many things. But it is also a reorientation. It is a way God reminds us what is true. And it should be a time when we are reminded what is most important. It should again reset our aim and reorient our spiritual horizons.

 

Taking even just a few minutes in short periods of prayer, just a few times spread throughout the day, can redirect our aim. And using the psalms, or a trusted prayer book, or a good hymnal, can help us direct our focus in prayer beyond our earthly needs and to our heavenly needs.

 

In annual festivals, in weekly Sabbath worship, in Scripture, in prayer, our gracious God gives us gifts – he gives us instruments, which should reset our spiritual horizons again and again, and lift up our aim from earthly goods to heavenly goods week to week, day to day, and hour to hour.

 

This past week I asked one of the pilots in our congregation about something I had heard can happen to private pilots who are beginners, in certain situations – particularly those who are not sufficiently trained in using their instruments.

 

And apparently, as I understand it, it works like this.

 

If a pilot without proper instrument training finds him or her -self flying without visual reference to the ground – if he is in clouds or if it’s dark, for example – and if, as a result he cannot see the horizon, then he can quickly become disoriented as he relies simply on physical sensations to determine where he is and where he is going.

 

And so sometimes a pilot like this, who has lost visibility of the horizon, might think he is flying straight ahead when he is actually turning. He can’t see the horizon to know that he’s turning, and the force generated by the turn makes him feel as if he’s level.

 

But because the plane tilts when it turns, it loses some of the lift it would normally have, and so it’s normal to lose some altitude when you turn.

 

The result, though, is that a pilot who is turning, and has lost visibility, but who is not paying attention to, or trusting, or able to use his instruments, will feel as if he is level and going straight, but he also will notice he’s losing some altitude.

 

And so to correct that, he will pull the nose of the plane up a bit.

 

The problem is, that if you pull the nose of the plane up while it’s turning, you make the turn tighter, and lose even more altitude. Which leads the pilot to pull up the nose even harder, resulting in a tighter and tighter spiral, as the plane falls faster and faster towards the earth – all while the pilot does not even realize he is spiraling or even turning.

 

Sometimes it is not until the plane gets low enough to come out of the bottom of the cloud, or to see lights on the ground that the pilot realizes he is spiraling towards the earth. And sometimes by then he is unable to pull out before hitting the ground and crashing.

 

This kind of event is called a “graveyard spiral.”

 

The way to avoid this – the way to keep this from happening – is for a pilot to pay attention to all six of his instruments. This will help him see where his plane is really aimed, even if he cannot see the ground or the horizon with his own eyes. And by paying attention to all six instruments, he will be able to keep himself oriented even if one instrument malfunctions – even then he can use the other instruments to orient himself and to make sure he is aimed for the horizon rather than for the ground.

 

The opposite of this – when a pilot tries to fly without visibility and without instruments, but simply by how he feels pressed against the seat – is called “flying by the seat of your pants” and is where we get that phrase.

 

And the same dynamic is often true in our spiritual lives.

 

Because we very rarely have a visual sight of where we are heading, spiritually. We live lives that are often in darkness, often in inclement weather, often clouded by many things around us.

 

And when that happens, the temptation is to fly by the seat of our pants spiritually. The temptation is to trust our senses and our instincts on where we feel like we are aimed – where we feel like we are headed, and what we feel like we most need.

 

But like a pilot in a turn, our senses are often misleading. And without realizing it, we can easily be turned from our spiritual destination, aiming away from it more and more without realizing it, and as a result we begin losing altitude, falling to the ground. Sometimes as this happens, we realize that something is off – even if we’re not sure what. But as we use our instincts again to try to fix our orientation, the result is often that the spiral tightens, and we fall even faster.

 

Without reorientation from the outside, we run the risk of not realizing what has happened until the ground is so close that it’s hard not to crash into it. And all the while we are not sure how we even got into such a situation.

 

As we lose our aim in our spiritual lives, like the crowd in our story this morning, it is possible for us to experience a spiritual version of the appropriately named graveyard spiral.

 

Maybe you have experienced something of this yourself. Maybe you have seen it in the lives of others.

 

Left to ourselves, a spiritual graveyard spiral is almost inevitable in this life.

 

But also, like the successful airplane pilot, the key for us is to routinely rely on the instruments we have been given to make sure we are aimed to where we should be.

 

And our God, like a good airplane manufacturer, has given us not one, but many such instruments.

 

He gives us the cycle of the church year, so that if we are paying attention, every year we are led to focus on the great saving works of God, each year we are reminded who he is, who we are, what God has done to save us, and how we should live in light of that.

 

He gives us the weekly cycle of Lord’s Day worship, so that every week we come together – not alone, but with the gathered people of God – and together we walk through the gospel truth that redirects the aim of our lives, as every step of our worship reorients us to some aspect of the gospel.

 

He gives us his word, to read, to hear, to study, to reflect on, that we might redirect the story of our lives within the greater story of what God is doing in this world.

 

He gives us daily prayer, to reorient our hearts again and again to the highest truths and our primary purpose and goals.

 

You and I – we often cannot see the heavenly goals that we are to be aiming at in this life … but God has not left us without a witness … he has not left us without the instruments we need.

 

With these helps, we can keep our aim from dropping from heavenly security down to earthly security. With these helps, we can keep our aim from dropping from heavenly approval down to earthly approval. With these helps, we can keep our aim from dropping from heavenly comforts down to earthly comforts. With these helps, we can keep our aim from dropping from the heavenly bread of Jesus Christ down to the earthly bread that perishes.

 

Again and again our God, in his grace, calls the aim of our hearts and lives back to him.

 

He’s even doing it right now. Hear him in his Word. Let him point you to where your aim has strayed – to why you are losing altitude. And then, with the help of his Word, and his Spirit, and his people, trust him and not your own instincts, to re-center your aim again on what is eternal – to place your trust and hope afresh in Christ.

 

Do not aim primarily for earthly goods that perish, but for heavenly goods that will endure to eternity – which the Son of Man will give you, if you set your eyes upon him, and place your trust in him.

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This sermon draws on material from:

Carson, D.A. The Gospel According to John. PNTC. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1991.

Keller, Timothy. Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters. New York, NY: Dutton, 2009.

Kvale, John-Michael. Private correspondence.

Lewis, C. S. “The Weight of Glory” In The Weight of Glory. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1949 (2001 Edition)

Wright, N.T. John for Everyone: Part 1. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004.