The Jewish leaders had charged Jesus with breaking the

law of the sabbath.  A guilty verdict to this charge would

bring the death penalty by stoning.

     In our previous message, He called several witnesses to

His defense.  He did not call upon anyone to appear before

the court, but He called attention to several matters of

public knowledge which had the same effect as calling them

to the witness stand.

    First He called attention to the fact that John the

Baptist had announced publicly that Jesus is the Christ, the

Son of God.

    If the people had believed John the Baptist, they would

have known that Jesus is the Christ and had not broken the

law of the sabbath or any of God's laws.  However, Jesus

said, in effect, "Since John the Baptist is a man, I will

not ask you to take his testimony."

    Jesus then called to His defense the works that He had

done.  He had healed the sick, given sight to the blind,

caused the lame to walk, the dumb to speak and called the

dead to life again.

    Furthermore, He called to His defense the testimony of

God the Father Himself.  He reminded them that God the

Father, Himself had spoken from heaven saying, "This is my

beloved Son in whom I am well pleased."

    Finally, Jesus called to His defense the writings of the

Old Testament Scripture.  He said in verse 39 that the Old

Testament Scriptures testify of Him.  In our previous

message I read verse 39, but I want to take up with that

verse in this message today.  The thing that I want you to

take notice of is that Jesus points out to those religious

leaders that even though they are very religious, their

religion is in vain.  This is a lesson that a lot of people

in our world today need to learn.  A lot of people need to

learn that merely being religious is not going to keep them

out of hell and get them into heaven.  It takes a personal

faith and trust in the Savior whom God the Father has sent

into the world.


I.  The charges which Jesus leveled against the Pharisees


    Jesus charged them with not believing the Scriptures.

V.  39, "Search the scriptures..." This was not to imply

that they did not already read the Scriptures.  They did.

They spent many hours reading and studying the Scriptures.

They had all memorized long passages of Scripture.  They

took great pride in the long hours they spent studying the


    (V. 39), "...for in them ye think ye have eternal

life..."  The problem is that these men thought that their

zeal in the study of the Scriptures helped to ensure them a

place in heaven.  They were quite confident that they had

eternal life, but they didn't.  They thought that the more

they would study and the more they would learn, the better

their life would be in the great beyond.  They simply did

not have any idea that they were still lost and hell-bound.

They thought surely that they were on their way to heaven.

    (V. 39), "...and they are they which testify of me."

Jesus stated that the very Scriptures which they thought

they knew so well all testify of Him.  How in the world

could they know the Scriptures so well and yet not know that

Jesus is the Christ!

    I think Jesus was saying to them, in effect, "You

fellows need to go back to square one.  You need to start

all over again and search the Scriptures.  Ye need to search

them with a view toward seeing what they say about me and

how they identify me as the Christ.  I call the Old

Testament Scriptures to my defense."

    He charged them of not being willing to come to Him for

everlasting life.  V.  40, "And ye will not come to me, that

ye might have life."  Note that Jesus did not say, "Ye

cannot come to me," but "Ye will not come to me..."  There

is a big difference.  They could come to Him if they would.

They could believe in Him if they would.  But they

deliberately chose not to believe in Him.  They deliberately

chose to ignore all the evidence that He is the Christ and

to reject Him as the Christ.

    These men were religious leaders.  They were

knowledgeable of the testimony of John the Baptist.  They

were knowledgeable of the works that Jesus had been doing.

They were knowledgeable that a voice from heaven had

proclaimed Jesus to be His Son.  They were knowledgeable

that the family lineage, the place of birth, the message and

miracles of Jesus were identical to what Old Testament

Scriptures had predicted for the Christ.  They simply would

not come to Him that they might have life.


II.  Jesus not seeking their endorsement


    V. 41, "I receive not honour from men."  Jesus had not

said these things to these men in an effort to gain their

favor and their endorsement.  He was not depending on them

to recommend Him to the people.  He did not need their help.

He counted on the God the Father and not upon men to make

His ministry successful.  In due time, He would be exalted

and placed upon the throne to rule the world, but it will

not be men who exalt Him.  God the Father will exalt Him.

    V. 42, "But I know you, that ye have not the love of

God in you."  Jesus again levels charges against them.  He

said that they did have the love of God in them.  They made

a great show of religion, but Jesus said, "I know you.  I am

not fooled by your hypocrisy.  I know that you do not have

the love of God in you.  What you love is the praises of



III.  What Jesus predicted about these men


    V. 43, "I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive

me not..."  Jesus told the Jews that He had come in the name

of God the heavenly Father.  Note that He was again claiming

to be the Son of God.  He was claiming that He had come by

the authority of God the Father.  He had come because He was

sent by God the Father.  He had come doing the work of God

the Father.  He had come to bring honor and glory to God the

Father.  He had come with the full endorsement of God the


    Yet the Jewish religious leaders had rejected Him.

They rejected all the evidence that God had sent Him and

that God was blessing Him and that God was pleased Him.

    (V. 43), "...if another shall come in his own name, him

ye will receive."  Jesus was speaking here of false prophets

and false Christs."  These men were looking for the coming

of the Christ.  Since they rejected the real Christ, they

will be easy prey for those who are false Christs.  They had

rejected the real Christ who came to bring honor and glory

to God, but they will gladly accept one who seeks only his

own glory and his own material wealth.  Many false prophets

and false Christs would come following the ministry of

Jesus.  Many more would come down through the years.  Some

have come in our own lifetime.  The Anti-Christ is yet to

come and the same kind men like those Jewish leaders will

accept the Anti-Christ as the though he were the real

Christ.  The New Age leaders today boldly tell us that Jesus

was not the Christ and that the real Christ is yet to come.

They will gladly accept the Anti-Christ.


IV.  The real reason those Jewish leaders would not accept



    V. 44,  "How can ye believe, which receive honour one

of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God

only?" Jesus here tells those men why they have rejected

Him.  They reject Him because they wanted the people to

follow them and to honor them.  They did not want the people

to follow Jesus, they wanted that honor for themselves.

They were fearful that the popularity of Jesus would take

away their own following among the people.  Jesus did not

agree with of their thinking and their teaching and He did

not hesitate to say so publicly.  They feared that He would

turn the people away from them.  Therefore, they became His

bitter enemies.


V.  Moses as a witness against them


       V. 45, "Do not think that I will accuse you to the

Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom

ye trust."  Jesus said that He would not bring accusation

against them in the time of Judgment for rejecting Him as

the Christ.  Jesus will not be the prosecuting attorney in

the time of judgment.  Neither will He be a witness.

Rather, He will be the Judge and Moses will be the witness

who will testify against the Jewish leaders.

    I can imagine Moses on the witness stand.  I can hear

an angel ask Moses, "Are you an expert in the field of Old

Testament prophecies concerning the Christ?" His answer

would be, "Yes."

    "Would you state for the court how you qualify?"  I can

imagine Moses saying, "I wrote the first five books of the

Bible.  I wrote Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and


    "Would you point out for the court some of the

prophecies concerning the Christ which were written in the

books which you wrote?"  "Well, first, there was the

prophecy in Genesis stating that the Seed of Woman would

come forth and that He would bruise the head of that old

Serpent, the Devil.  Then there was also in Genesis the

prophecy that the Seed of Abraham would be a source of

blessing to all of the Gentile nations.  Through Jacob there

was the prophecy that the Christ would be the Shiloh unto

whom the gathering of the people would be.  I wrote also

about the Christ being the Star of Jacob and that He would

rise out of Israel.  I personally said that the Christ would

be a prophet like unto myself.  I penned the regulations

concerning the blood sacrifices which all pictured the

shed-blood of the Christ.  Those leaders should have

understood exactly what John the Baptist meant when he

called Jesus the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the

world.  Furthermore, I was the one who wrote about the

Serpent in the wilderness being lifted up and placed on a

pole in the camp of Israel so that if anyone was bitten by a

serpent he could lift up his eyes and look at the serpent of

brass and live.  These were some of the chief prophecies of

the Christ which I wrote by inspiration of God."


VI.  The necessity of believing the Scriptures


    V. 46, "For had ye believed Moses, ye would have

believed me: for he wrote of me."  If you had asked any of

those men what they think of Moses, they would answer, "We

have great respect for Moses."  They spoke about Moses with

great admiration.  But the problem was that in spite of

their great respect for Moses, they did not believe what

Moses said about the Christ.  They did not believe in the

Christ about whom Moses wrote.

    V. 47, "But if ye believe not his writings, how shall

ye believe my words?"  The truth of this statement applies

not only to the writings of Moses, but to all of the Holy

Scriptures.  It applies also to all of the Old Testament and

it applies also to all of the New Testament.  All of the Old

and New Testaments speak of Jesus.

    No one who understands the Bible can deny that Jesus is

the chief character of the whole Bible.  The salvation that

Jesus has provided by His sacrificial death on the cross of

Calvary is the theme of the whole Bible.  the Bible portrays

Jesus as a risen Savior.  He arose and ascended to the

throne of God in heaven, where He now sits at the right hand

of God the Father.  The Bible declares that in order for a

man to be saved, he must repent of his sin and trust in

Jesus Christ as his Savior.  The Bible promises that if one

trusts in Jesus Christ he will be saved, and will never come

into condemnation.

    It all boils down to whether or not men, women, boys

and girls will believe the Bible.  If they really believe

the Bible they will trust in Jesus as Savior and have

eternal life.  If they will not trust in Jesus it is because

they do not really believe the Bible.


VII.  The necessity of having more than just religion


    Yet there are many today who have never trusted in

Jesus who feel that their religion will get them into

heaven.  Some believe that just because they have their

names on some particular church role that this will get them

into heaven.  Others believe that certain religious

ceremonies will get them in, such as baptism and the Lord's

Supper.  Others count on their faithful church attendance.

Heaven knows, I certainly do not want to discourage faithful

church attendance in any way, but, listen, brethren, even

the most faithful attendance at church will not get one into

heaven.  No matter what brand of religion it is and no

matter how zealous one may be in his religion, it is going

to take more than that to get him into heaven.  Nor will

    Bible study get one into heaven.  Even Bible preaching

and teaching will not get one into heaven.  Jesus said,

"Many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not

prophesied in thy name?  and in thy name have cast out

devils?  and in thy name have done many wonderful works?

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart

from me, ye that work iniquity."  It is going to take a

personal repentance of sin and a personal trust in Jesus

Christ to get one into heaven.  Otherwise, like the

Pharisees, all their religion will be in vain.




    Won't you come today and place your faith and trust

completely in Jesus Christ to save your soul?  Won't you who

have trusted Him as Savior give yourself in service to Him

who has saved your soul?