The Bread of Life (John 6:25-40)May 14, 2023 | Brandon Cooper
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Good morning, and go ahead, grab your Bibles open up the John chapter six, John six, we will be in verses 25 to 40. This morning, as you’re turning there, I’m just gotta be, you know, up front this morning, we’re talking about the problem of empty calories. Empty calories, you know what this is like, of course. This is when you get really, really hungry. And you see the donut sitting there, and you have to, and it feels good. Like it is a quick fix. You get the sugar high going and stuff and then it kind of crash, you realize you get hungry again very quickly afterwards, which is probably why you’ve got a third or fourth donut then as well. So there’s a problem, of course, because it’s not just that the doughnuts are not really giving you much in the way of a health benefit. They’re actually kind of harming your health. There’s this net loss there. Plus, you’re still hungry at the end of it all. Why am I talking about this? It’s because spiritually, we’ve got an empty calorie problem. We’ve got an empty calorie problem. There’s this deep hunger within us. And we keep stuffing stuffing our faces. And all that’s happening is we’re still hungry, and we’ve gained weight. In particular, the weight of sin weighs us down ready to Hebrews says hungrier than when we began still. So that’s the issue that Jesus is going to address in our passage this morning. Now we are in a new series called I Am subtitle. There’s Jesus in his own words. You know, there’s this moment in the gospels, really the turning point of Jesus’s life and ministry, where he turns to his disciples, they’ve been talking about what everybody thinks about Jesus. And Jesus looks at them and says, Yeah, but who do you say that I am? Who do you say that Jesus is? It’s not overstatement? To say that that’s the most important question we will ever answer in our lives. What we’re going to get in this series is Jesus’s answer to that question, who is Jesus? So this is Jesus, in his own words, by the way, he gives us the right answer. So it’s gonna be really helpful for us to listen to this. So what we’re looking at in this series of the seven, I am statements of Jesus in John’s gospel, and they are doubly significant, not just because of what he says afterwards, I am, for example, the bread of life, like we’ll talk about this morning, but because even that phrase I am is loaded with meaning. When Moses asked God, when I go and talk to the Israelites and say, Hey, God told me to tell you guys this, they’re gonna say, yeah, what’s his name? What name did God give most of the point? He said, My name is I am, tell them I am sent you. So it’s this loaded term. In other words, Jesus is both claiming and explaining divinity. In these statements, both claiming to be God, and then revealing to us who God is, what does he really like? And why does it matter that we know this? That’s what the series is going to strive to answer starting today. What happens today, Jesus is having a conversation with a crowd, who don’t always really like what he’s saying here. And so it’s going to move in three stages. We’re going to follow them as we go. So starting with discussion, number one, what we seek let me read John, chapter six, verses 25 to 27. For us. When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, Rabbi, when did you get here? Jesus answered, very, truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, for on him, God, the Father has placed His seal of approval. Alright, we need some context here, because we are picking up really mid story, nevermind, mid gospel, or what has happened at the start of chapter six, Jesus feeds the 5000, this very famous miracles, the only miracle other than the resurrection that is recorded in all four Gospels. So it’s a big deal because it shows that Jesus really is the Promised Messiah, that He will be able to provide for his people. He’s better than Elijah, who fed just 120 people. He’s better than Moses, who called down bread from heaven. The people see this, they understand this and they want to make Jesus king. They want to make Him their military King. They want Israel the nation restored to its former glory. This is not what Jesus came to do. And so he withdraws from them presumably to enter into a time of prayer. He sends His disciples across the lake in advance of him. These are fishermen some of them they know how to work a boat, but it is a bad day on the sea and so they are struggling, which means that when Jesus happens to walk by they’re still there in the middle of the lake. Which means Jesus is walking on water in the middle of the lake is actually interesting. If you were to look at John six, verse 20, they’re all freaking out. They think he’s a ghost because people don’t walk on water. And he says it is I don’t be afraid. They don’t say it is I in Aramaic, you say I am. So already we got this little clue about where we’re going. He says, I am, it’s me. I am Don’t be afraid. Well, so what happens next, as the crowd wakes up the next morning, they know the disciples left in a boat. They know that Jesus did not leave in a boat, and yet Jesus isn’t there anymore. And so they got questions. They got all sorts of questions. And so they are seeking Him. They go to him, and they say, When did you get here? How did you get here? So they’re seeking Him because they know there’s something about him. But what exactly, and Jesus says, I know why you’re seeking me. It’s not because you’re paying attention to the signs. But because you ate and you felt full afterwards. That’s key. At the end of the day, we are looking for fullness, what will satisfy me, because there’s this gnawing hunger in our souls that could misquote Augustine here. It says, If God has made us for himself, and our souls are hungry, until we find satisfaction in him, the problem we have is that we don’t know what will actually satisfy us. This group, for example, these these people who are looking for Jesus, they were content with food. So they weren’t paying attention to the signs that they just saw. They notice signed as a sign points to something else. I’ve said this before. But when you’re on vacation, or something and you see a sign that says scenic view, with an arrow pointing that way you don’t get out and take your picture with the sign. You follow the arrow down the path, you get to the scenic view. And that’s where you take your picture. Because if you don’t take a picture, of course, you didn’t actually see the view. This is the question Jesus asked, Are you are you looking at the something greater? Are you seeing Jesus? Truly Are you caught up in the sign? Are you just content with taking care of your immediate felt needs? Like I’m coming to God because I need a cosmic vending machine. That’s all I’m looking for a B three, I need a little financial security Lord h eight. I’d love a relationship if that would be okay. This is how Leon Morris said it in his commentary on John, this people. And it describes us as well. They were moved not by full hearts, but by full bellies. That’s how we work. Now why would we do that? Why would we be so concerned about the immediate needs instead of the deep hunger? I think it’s because we don’t believe that Jesus will really satisfy. We don’t think Jesus is enough. We sang it this morning. Christ is enough. And we go, yeah, but actually, what I need is what Jesus could give me. That’s the stuff that satisfies. And that’s the point that Jesus makes don’t work for food that spoils. Don’t settle for that little bit, don’t keep gorging yourself on empty calories, because it won’t last one of my favorite CS Lewis quotes, one of my daughters made it into a bookmark for me even says, you can’t get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.
sums up my life right there. Okay. But there’s a point. And I mean, it’s a silly quote, of course, but there’s a serious point, which is at the end of the day, the cup of tea is empty, and you finish the book. And there’s always the the next thing that you need, because it never fully satisfies you what will last, what will satisfy you to the very end even into eternity, only Jesus can. Only Jesus can because Jesus endures into eternity. The cup of tea never runs dry. Jesus keeps sustaining us so that we are always full, and in possession of life on ending. And we can trust what he says, By the way, because God placed his seal of approval on him. What does that mean exactly? Have you ever driven behind a work van and it’s got the seal on the back and it says, you know, authorized vendor, like we’re able to repair this particular HVAC system or something like that. That’s the seal of approval that we’re talking about here. God has said of Jesus, he’s my authorized agent. He can speak for me show the way to me. In fact, it’s even a little bit more than that. And it’s a really subtle clue. But as Jesus is speaking there in verse 27, he says, it’s the Son of man who will give this to you. This is how Jesus often refers to himself. He calls himself the Son of of man. Why, because some of the other terms that he could use for himself would confuse people we’ve already seen they want a Messiah, the Jewish people want a Messiah, they just want a military king. And so Jesus knows if he says Messiah, that’s what’s going to happen. So he says, Son of man, because nobody knows what to do with that. It sounds like Jesus is emphasizing his humanity here, like he’s Son of God and His Son of Man and Son of God is his divinity and Son of man has his humanity. It’s actually completely backwards. By the way, I won’t do Son of God today, we have to come back and hear that one another time. But Son of man, here’s how this points to his divinity. It’s a quote from Daniel seven verses 13 and 14, be up on the screen for you. In my vision, at night I looked, and there before me was one like a Son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power, all nations and peoples of every language worshipped Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. So you see this Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, this, by the way, does not refer to His coming again. That is true, too. Yes, we’ll talk about that. Even in this passage when he returns to establish his forever kingdom. When Jesus is coming on the clouds of heaven. He’s coming to God. He’s approaching God’s throne, he is acceding to the throne. In that one, we just saw coronation. Right. This is like Jesus’s coronation in the Heavens, He is Almighty God. That’s why Jesus alone can satisfy. He is Himself the everlasting God, and He reigns over an invincible kingdom, so that he can fill his subjects full for all eternity. If that’s the case, then we need to be careful what we seek, like, are we We’re going for empty calories, or the real deal. We’re looking just for full bellies or for full hearts. You know how this works. We’ve all done this, what are the empty calories will gorge ourselves on it’s things like money, and stuff, or you ever bought something new, and you like you get a little buds for a bit right? And you’re feeling good with this, this might be the thing that really finally brings meaning to my life, or its power, or, or control, maybe it’s Lux, or achievement. The problem is all of these things, they function like drugs, like yeah, they give you a high, and then that goes away. And so you need another high. And of course, if you know how this works, you got to keep upping the dosage, because the high doesn’t get quite as high. Otherwise. This describes our lives. The proof by the way, I’ve said this before, but it’s still true. The proof is in celebrities, was when we got to look at celebrities, because they have everything we think will satisfy. They got all the money, they got all the fame, they got all the you know the status, they’re beautiful, of course, all that kind of stuff, and yet they’re still hungry. Because nothing in this world will satisfy. Jesus has in these few verses exposed our deepest struggle, frantically seeking what can’t satisfy. We need food that lasts. That leads the discussion to though what we see let me keep reading verses 28 to 33. Then they asked him, What must we do to do the works God requires? Jesus answered the work of God is this to believe in the one he has sent? So they asked them what sign then will you give that we may see it? And believe you what will you do? Our ancestors ate the man on the wilderness as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. And Jesus said to them, Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven. But it’s my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. The bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. Well, as often happens in John’s gospel, we’ve got a serious misunderstanding in the conversation like usually, in John’s gospel, people are talking like this with Jesus. So what is Jesus talking about when he says don’t work for food that spoils work for food that lasts he’s talking about the goal, what is works goal, but the crowd latches on to that word, work. Jesus is saying, what are you working for? And the crowd says, Just tell us the work we’re supposed to do. There’s this tremendous naivete in their question, because they are absolutely convinced that they can measure up. If you give me the steps. If you give me the boxes to check, I will take care of it. I can check all the boxes and Jesus’s answer suggests otherwise, which may be an important reminder for us today. You cannot earn this. The only work you can do according to Jesus is to stop pretending you can do the work. That’s the work we’re supposed to do. Our work is to believe to trust in Jesus God’s sent one sent by God by the way To do what we could not do, to check the boxes that we could not check. Now I know the word work makes us nervous as Protestants, especially, it’s phrased differently. But really, Jesus’s point here is completely indistinguishable from Paul, who says in Romans three, for example, God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement through the shedding of his blood to be received, received by faith. That’s the work we do, we believe, says a few verses later, we maintain that a person is justified by faith, apart from the works of the law, how do we get right with God, trusting in Jesus not trying to earn God’s approval, which we can’t do, anyway, says the fundamental difference between Christianity and every other religion is that it is all of grace, grace and grace alone. It is not I obey, therefore, I’m accepted. But I’m accepted first, on the basis of what Christ did, therefore, I obey. But this is a bold claim that Jesus makes, here’s the work God wants you to do to believe in me, the crowd recognizes that this is a bold claim. And so they got questions. Okay. You’re the sent one of God, Jesus, you’re the new Moses. All right. So how about you, you know, prove it, prove it, but give us some signs. Now Moses, he was called this time the first Redeemer. So Moses, the first Redeemer provided bread from heaven. When the people of Israel were wandering in the desert for 40 years, God fed them daily with manna bread from heaven. So if that’s what Moses did, the Messiah, they called him the latter Redeemer right, the second Redeemer, the second Moses, the, the second, Moses should, should be better, you should do even more. So the crowds here feel entirely within their rights to demand a sign, you should prove yourself. Now, if you’ve read John’s Gospel up to this point, you know, Jesus is already pretty suspicious of signs. For example, John, chapter two, it says the people they saw the signs Jesus was performing, and they believed in Him. But Jesus didn’t believe in them. He wouldn’t entrust himself to them because he knew what was in their hearts. Or in John chapter four, he looks at someone who’s asking for help. And he says, Unless his generation sees signs you’ll never believe. And it’s not meant as a compliment at that point. But they still feel like yeah, I should get to have a sign here. So what’s the issue with demanding signs? The issue is insisting that God meet you on your terms. Like imagine you meet your your hero, your celebrity, some sports figure or something like that you’re there and you’re like, you know, you’re freaking out and stuff. And you go, Hey, can you sign an autograph for me? condescendingly graciously, the person says, yes, absolutely would love to you okay, just so you know, I’d like you to use blue pen. not black. I hate black ink. And if you could give me a photo with you in this unit, I like your away Jersey better than I like your home jersey. So why don’t we need one of those and make sure it’s a glossy eight by 10. Like,
this is not how it works, right? You don’t get to make demands, it kind of goes the other way. We’ll multiply that by infinity, which is a very big number. This is backwards when we demand God Meet us on our terms. Why would we do that? Because we’re trying to keep our autonomy. Like we like being in control. We like it when God serves us. And so there’s this almost contractual approach that we can take with God. And that’s what’s happening here. I need to see to believe. So if you meet the terms of agreement, then I will believe in you. God provides for them he heels, he’s revealing Himself to them even now. But what if he doesn’t next time? Well, then you cancel the contract. Right? You ask a T and T to provide internet for you. They don’t provide internet, you stop paying them. That’s often how we approach God. I mean, think of what’s happened. Jesus just fed the 5005 loaves to fish, pretty big deal. He then walked on water. He’s healed a bunch of people already. Oh, and by the way, this story, of course, ends with him rising from the dead. And yet people still didn’t believe refuse to believe it’s almost like a lack of signs is not the issue. What is the issue? Well, yeah, but he didn’t do what I wanted this time. That’s the issue. That might be an important word for you today. If you’re coming to God going God, what will you do? So that I believe God has already done enough? He has done more than enough you have everything you need to believe. In fact, you manna, this bread from heaven that God provides, while the Israelites are wandering in the wilderness is a great picture of this. Because in those years in the wilderness, God provided what the Israelites needed. Not necessarily what they wanted, which is why they keep complaining about a lack of cucumbers. God did not want them to confuse the wilderness for the Promised Land, like this was the journey. This was not the destination, guess what, Friends, this is the wilderness. The Promised Land is coming in the next life glory, and you will have everything you want, then let’s not confuse the destination with the journey. So waiting for God to prove himself is that same mindset, the grumbling in the desert, because even though bread is miraculously falling from heaven. It’s not spiced the way I like it. Here’s my list of demands. Today, God, could you please meet them? We need to be careful with what we think we need to see. Like, here’s what I expect a savior to do. Let’s see it God. No, no, no. And Jesus responds, interestingly, to this point. He’s reading the the subtext of this conversation, because they didn’t actually mention the word Moses. But he knows that’s what they’re thinking about this whole time. They’re expecting this, the second Moses. And so he knows the crowds are looking for a prophet like Moses that says Deuteronomy 18. And that they’re basically saying to him, show us that you’re better than Moses, but Jesus thinks far too much attention is being paid to Moses, and not nearly enough attention to God. I mean, who provided bread from heaven? Not Moses. God did so like, let’s keep our eyes fixed, where they should be fixed. We have similar issues today, of course, man, how many times did we especially in the American evangelical church get caught up with celebrity pastors like that is confusion, okay, what’s not confused the messenger, which is just a jar of clay for the message, which is the priceless treasure of the gospel. It’s not Moses, but God who gives the true bread from heaven, that gives life to the world. That is a significant movement in this conversation, though. I mean, think about it, first of all, is transit. Jesus here transitions from saying that he’s going to provide bread to actually being the bread that is provided. And this bread is now not just for the people of Israel, but he says for the whole world. So there has got a much wider mission, which means, by the way, that whole military King thing where we make Israel great again, is not a good enough picture of what Jesus came to do with it’s narrow. And then third, here, he mentioned that this bread gives life, life to the whole world. What does it mean that the bread gives life spiritual life now, and that as soon as we believe in Jesus, the Spirit lives in us and makes us alive with Christ. And then eternal life, we will live forever with God will be raised on the last day is what Jesus is going to say, in our next section. Even. So this bread seems pretty important. How do we get it? How do we feast on it? That’s the next question. Discussion. Number three, what we savor? Let me read the rest of our passage, verses 34 to 40. Sir, they said, always give us this bread. Then Jesus declared, I am the bread of life, Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe all those the Father gives Me will come to me, and whoever comes me, I will never drive away, For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, what to do the will of Him who sent Me. And this is the will of Him who sent me that I shall lose none of all those He has given me, but raise them up at the last day. My father’s will, is that everyone who looks to the sun and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. So we got another misunderstanding here, they ask the question, you know, or don’t ask question, but then they make the demand, we need you to keep giving us this bread. We want to keep living. So you gotta you gotta keep giving us the bread. It’s like, man, it has to come daily. But this is a very different sort of bread. When Jesus says, I am the bread of life, Jesus Himself is the bread on which we feast. But once you eat this bread, you never go hungry. Never go hungry again. Reminds me a lot of the story of just a few chapters earlier with Jesus with a woman at the well. He talked about somebody who was trying to find satisfaction and other ways through relationships in particular, and still she was thirsty. And Jesus said, If you knew who I was, you’d ask for me Want to give you water after which you would never thirst? Again? That’s the same point here. Now how can that be? Because once we feast on Jesus once we trust in Jesus, the nine hunger in our souls is satisfied once for all time, the deepest ache is healed if you’re here last week, I quoted Pascal who talks about the infinite abyss within us well, that infinite abyss is at last filled with an infinite and immutable object God himself. That doesn’t mean we don’t need to keep coming back to him. Of course, of course, we read we pray. But it eliminates that core emptiness within us. No more empty calories, no more sex and stuff and status like this is what really fills us up, nourishes us, sustains us. That’s why we feast on him, savor him delight in him, and not in these empty spiritual calories anymore. Now, it is helpful here that Jesus is not totally metaphorical. Especially because in a little bit, and we’re not going to cover this part of the passage this morning, but in a little bit, Jesus gets even more intense with a metaphor, you need to eat my flesh and drink my blood, or else you can’t live. And that’s confusing. So I’m glad that here he gave us clues as to what he really meant here. Because notice that it says, Whoever comes to me will never go hungry. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. He’s using an illustration, just so we’re not confused. But effectively, Jesus is describing what it means to see and believe the work that we are supposed to do. trusting in Jesus, and Jesus alone for our life. And bread is what would give you life in an agrarian society. This is confusing for us today. We’re in a different context. Okay. So you hear Bread of Life, you think yourself, okay, I know how to get bread, I go to the grocery store. It is prepackaged, pre sliced, it comes in a wide variety of flavors, doesn’t that speak to us spiritually? Like choose what you I want the cinnamon raisin Jesus. And it also like we have no sense of the process involved in this. But in an agrarian society, people would have understood this, they knew that there was sacrifice involved in feeding us. So you know, the Sea Grant that it doesn’t technically die, the seed becomes something else, but the seed is not there anymore at the end of it. And then of course, once you harvest, what are you doing? You’re taking a sickle to the grain and sickle, which is a symbol of death, of course,
even in our culture today. So there’s sacrifice and then it is this staple of existence without which you can’t survive. You can survive without bread today. How many of you are on a low carb diet right now? Right? Like, this is a thing. Okay? But not back then. Not back then. That’s the point. So we need Jesus and His sacrifice, coming to Jesus, trusting in his life and death and resurrection, as the only way for us to live eternally. And that should be our response. That should be our response. Okay, of course, I’ve seen this and now I trust you. But that’s not what Jesus sees in the crowds. What does he say to them? You guys have seen lots already. And you still don’t believe you’re still seeking elsewhere for the satisfaction. And that could be a disheartening admission from Jesus. Like, what more could I do? You still don’t believe. But it isn’t disheartening. It isn’t discouraging because Jesus trusts his father. And in this, he models trust for us as well. Because Jesus’s confidence is in God in God’s sovereignty, and not if I could put it this way in his ministry. I hope you know what I mean by that. What an encouragement to us today. I’m thinking of things like our evangelism, especially, like how discouraging it can be to share the gospel time and time again, with no response, and you start to go, well, maybe I shouldn’t even share anymore. No, where’s our confidence? Is it in our ability to convince somebody to change their mind? Is a bad place to put your confidence? Or is it in God Almighty? Peter Cameron, Scott was a missionary to Africa, he and his brother went to Africa, in you know, a little more than a century ago. And it did not go well. His brother got sick and died on the field was, you know, buried just kind of in the middle of nowhere effectively. So he’s left all alone and then he himself falls ill and actually has to return to it. England having not seen fruit having not seen a harvest, and he was discouraged when he was there at Westminster Abbey, and he saw the inscription on David Livingston’s tomb, David Livingstone, missionary to Africa himself, with a quote from John 1016 on it, other sheep I have that are not of this fold. And that was it. That was all he needed to go back to Africa, because he remembered. This is God’s thing that God has. God has said, I have other sheep or other people who belong to me, whom I will call whom I will save all across the world. And that’s what keeps us persevering in ministry. But the end of verse 37 can be a little bit confusing. Okay, all those the Father gives Me will come to me, there’s that confidence that we have. And whoever comes to me, I will never drive away. This doesn’t sound like the sweetest promise in all of Scripture. If you come to Me in repentance and faith, I promise not to chase you away with a baseball bat. I mean, that’s something I guess, but again, maybe not the top promise, what is Jesus saying Arias using a rhetorical device known as lie toe tease, which is a specific form of understatement, where you deny the opposite of what you want to affirm? Everyone got that? No, let me give you an illustration. Okay. Exactly. English teacher coming out. So when you’re talking about the local billionaire, and you say he’s not poor, you don’t mean he’s not poor. You mean he’s filthy, stinking rich, or you’re astrophysicist friend, and you say he’s not an idiot. You don’t mean he’s not an idiot. You mean he is breathtakingly brilliant. So when Jesus says, I will not drive them away what Jesus is saying, Not I won’t drag them away, but I will surely keep them. So that they persevere. Why? Because Jesus is going to do his father’s will, and his Father’s Will is that he lose none of all those that God gives him. What an encouragement to us, especially in the fight against sin. If God has saved you, you will persevere to the end. Because if you don’t, then Jesus has not accomplished his father’s will. And if I could use my toe tease for a moment, that’s not likely. So we need to clarify this doctrine, though. The Doctrine known as the perseverance of the saints, that God’s people will persevere to the end, it is not a once saved, always saved, easy believe ism. As if what we’re being said here is we just need to get our kids across some imaginary finish line, where at age five, they pray to receive Jesus in Awana. And we breathed this giant sigh of relief and go, Okay, it’s done. Whatever else happens, I took care of it. Not at all. There is not a shred of support for that view anywhere in Scripture. The proof of our salvation is in our perseverance. That’s how we know we are saved because we are persevering. Are you putting sin to death? Is their fight in you Christian? Like, of course, you’re struggling with sin. We all are. But are you struggling against sin? Or have you made peace with it? That’s the question to ask those whom God chooses to save, he will save to the uttermost all the way to the end. We have the promise here. In fact, verse 40, he will raise us up at the last day, we will experience eternal life in His forever kingdom when He comes again. By the way, the conversation continues, I’m stopping here at Verse Four to the conversation keeps going, Jesus, as I said, he presses the metaphor, he got to eat my flesh and drink my blood. He’s really leaning into the fact of the bodily sacrifice that is coming. And the people begin to grumble. And the and many walk away, because it’s a hard teaching. Even some of his disciples walk away. It says, because Jesus won’t compromise the message. He will not have people coming to God on their terms, but on God’s terms, and then actually climaxes and verses 67 and 68. When Jesus turns and looks at the 12 disciples and says, you don’t want to leave to do you, and Peter answers, where else would we go? You have the words of eternal life, as we seen, in fact, you are eternal, that you are the bread of life. Where else would we go? Look, this is a hard message. You cannot earn salvation, you must receive it humbly. You must seek and see and savor Jesus and Jesus alone. That’s a hard message. But what’s the alternative? What’s the alternative? Where else are you going to go? To satisfy the deep hunger in your souls, there’s the main idea. If you want your takeaway for today, it’s this if you want to live, you got one choice, okay? If you want to live, eat the bread of life, if you want to live, eat the bread of life, there is a hunger that only the bread of life can satisfy. That’s what we have to remember. It’s actually interesting in these titles for Jesus, not just the seven I Am statements, but for all of them. And if you’ve been joining group in the last couple of years, by the way, hopefully, this will sound a little bit familiar to you. But I want you to keep this idea with you throughout the series in every title of for Jesus, we really have the gospel in miniature. Because there is an implicit explanation of the brokenness within us. And then a very explicit declaration of how Jesus meets us in that brokenness and provides hope for us. And then there is an implicit response required of us. What is the brokenness we see here? It’s our hunger, that we have this deep spiritual hunger and we keep eating empty spiritual calories. What is the salvation that Jesus is the bread of life? He is the one who satisfies Okay, so then what is the response? Well, it’s pretty easy, right? Feast ON HIM, feast on Jesus. All right, how, let’s close with this, first and foremost, and don’t try anything else until you do this, believe in the one he sent. That is the work that God has you believe in the one that he sent believe trust in Jesus. And what would hold us back from doing that? We can acknowledge this, frankly, it’s that it is sometimes tough to believe that Jesus will satisfy more than fill in your blank. It’s tough to believe that Jesus will satisfy more than that. So what is your fill in the blank and really work it out? If that fill in the blank is going to satisfy you? Is it money, the security and comfort that it provides? Well, again, we already talked about the fact that new toys you buy, they don’t keep you happy for long. And money can go away like that. When we all know people who were wealthy and lost everything. If you’re trusting in that you’re going to be hungry. Why not rather instead, put your hope in the inheritance that can never perish or spoil or fade? Store up your treasure in heaven where moth and thief and rust cannot destroy it. By trusting in Jesus? Is your fill in the blank pleasure?
Well, I mean, we know that’s a drug. We know how quickly that high fades. So why not? Bryce read it for us earlier trust that at His right hand are pleasures forevermore. Is it love? Love is always tenuous. Because the person you love could stop loving you. It’s in somebody else’s hands. What happens if they abandon you reject you just grow cold and distant towards you? Or if nothing else, die, which will happen in the end? Why not rather trust in love that will not end? The love that is freely lavished on us in Christ were adopted as God’s very children even as its status. Well, you are one mistake away from losing that status, and your eyes in the eyes of everyone else too. But if we trust in Christ, we are given his righteousness. Righteousness is just a fancy theological term for status. Everything right that he ever did is ours in him. Anything else you consume will leave you hungrier for more desperate, even so choose wisely. Choose life. Believe in Jesus once you believe. How do you respond that? Well, let’s start by watching our snacking habits. Right that’s what we need to do here. You ever gone on a diet and you realize you’re not losing weight? And what’s happening there? It’s because you do so well. Most of the time. You know you’re done well all day long. So when there’s the office birthday party where you’ve earned a piece of cake, it would be rude not to have the piece of cake frankly. And you know how this goes again? We’re not talking dieting here. It’s no different spiritually. Like how many of us here are all about Jesus? Except for the midnight snack when all of us others just a little bit? Yeah, but also Jesus plus, this. Here’s the truth every time you sin. You’re seeking fullness in something other than Gee He says in seeking it foolishly, by the way. Jesus says, Give self sacrificially, and we say, Yeah, but you know how much fun it is to live self indulgently. Jesus says, Don’t even look at a young woman. lustfully. And you go, yeah, but have you seen her? And you know how frigid My wife has been lately, where Jesus says, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. And you say, but you know what he did to me? And you know, what would happen if I were to gossip about him? And the difference in power levels in the office dynamics? Do you see how we’re seeking satisfaction in those moments, so fight sin there? What will actually fill me instead of leaving me hungrier, at the end, the best way to stop snacking on sin is to feast on Jesus, right? If you don’t want to snack on the bad stuff, just fill yourself up with the good stuff, fill your soul full every day I quoted George Miller last week, the first most important business of our day is to get our heart happy in the Lord. That’s it read the word can’t live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God, pray, preach the gospel to yourself. And here’s another thought, to feast. Maybe fast. This would be a great response to recognition that Jesus is the Bread of Life fast, abstain from food, why fast, we fast in order to experience that hunger for God, think how quickly your body tells you, you should have some food. And at the same time, how slowly it can feel your soul tells you any Jesus. That’s what we’re trying to do. When you get that ache in your stomach. When you’re fasting, you’re going, that’s what I should feel for God all the time. You might also fast not just from food, but from other things fast from Gateway snacks. Those things that you know, are kind of the Yeah, but there’s a lot of satisfaction over here like Okay, so I’m gonna just, I’m going to prove that there’s no satisfaction there and give it up for a time. There’s some ideas there just want to speak to a couple of groups then as well, because this is not just for individuals. This is for us as a group parents remember this. And this is a hard word, but your your kids are watching your eating habits, literally and figuratively. They will not eat vegetables if you don’t eat vegetables. So here’s this. And again, hard word Happy Mother’s Day. They will believe not what your lips but what your life says about satisfaction. So what are you teaching them by your life like if you complain about the manner, I got news for you, your kids will too. Okay. And then lastly, as we change our eating habits, we need to remember that we do this in community. You are not meant to eat alone. I mean, how many times when we come to Lord’s Table have we said this is a family meal. Exactly. That’s what it is. And this, by the way ties into verses 38 to 40. This is how God keeps us persevering in the face. I have seen this I was a chaplain at a Christian school for many years down in South America. And as kids graduated, I could watch I could tell you which kids were gonna leave the faith with almost 100% accuracy. And you know, the one indicator that mattered what church they went to, if they were in a good gospel, healthy church, and if they weren’t, they left the faith. Guaranteed. All the research confirms this, by the way, because we need that spur. Like that’s what journey groups and community groups are for us, like an act of love is for us to say to each other spiritually. Are you sure you want that bag of chips? Like maybe try Jesus in stead, why? Because there’s a hunger that nothing in this world can satisfy. But only Jesus the bread of life if you want life, feast on Him, seek Him, not the desires of your heart which are distorted see him and not the signs that you’re insisting he perform for you and savor him, not empty calories. Jesus is the bread of life. Whoever comes to him will never hunger, whoever believes in Him, will never first let’s pray to him now. Lord, we recognize that you are the bread of life, that you and you alone will satisfy that deep hunger in our souls. In fact, Lord, we pause and acknowledge how grateful we are that you made us to hunger for you. That we would feel that restlessness that that that lack of satisfaction, so that we seek what will ultimately satisfy help us to feel that hunger now and to feast on you. And as we come unto you in repentance in trust would you fill us fall with your goodness and love and grace we pray in Christ’s name, amen.