Word of God – its functions, part 2 – Sermon
Scripture reading – John 6:54–57: “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed (true food) and My blood is drink indeed (true drink). He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so He who feeds on Me will live because of Me.”
Comment: Before Jesus clinches His illustration He prepares His hearers by relating a historical event from the Exodus: God giving manna 6 times a week for 40 years.
John 6:22.214.171.124: “Most assuredly, I say to you. Moses did not give 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. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness and are dead. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread he will live forever and the bread I shall give is My flesh which I shall give for the life of the world.”
This is biblical typology – type and its antitype. (Example: Whole book of Revelation is built on types largely from the Old Testament. Local and historical events are used as types for global and universal events, involving spiritual issues.)
Back to our story: How much food do we need just to stay alive? How much food do we need to be strong and healthy?
What is the most important “food” based on Jesus’ OT type of manna? Spiritual food!
Exodus 16:12b: “At twilight you shall eat meat and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am the Lord your God.”
1st lesson: You shall be filled (nourished, satisfied) with bread when? In the morning!
Exodus 16:16: “This is the thing which the Lord commanded: ‘Let every man gather it according to each one’s need, one omer (2,1 quarts) for each person.”
Verses 17.18: “And the children of
2nd lesson: Does everyone in the household have the same need? Men, women, children?
3rd lesson: Does it take some effort to gather it? Yes it surely does and it is done when? In the morning, before the sun comes out and melts it! (Verse 21: “So they gathered it every morning, every man according to his need. And when the sun became hot, it melted.”)
Another spiritual and practical lesson: “Our health gets affected by skipping breakfast. Our spiritual strength is weakened when we starve or inadequately nourish our new spiritual nature. Our old nature starts coming back and starts taking over our life!
4th lesson: Everyone (who was able of course) had to go out and gather.
None of us can depend on another for spiritual health, strength and life. It’s impossible!
5th lesson: Average ration was little over ½ of a gallon for each person.
It is sufficient, but is it a lot? Could one overeat on manna? (Give few illustrations)
Theoretically, could some Israelites gather less or more than told by God?
Can we today in our land of plenty become undernourished?
Or on the other hand could we overeat even on a healthy diet? Even on spiritual food?
What happens to people who don’t eat enough or eat well and do not have corresponding physical activity?
Look at the contrast between
2 main problems:
1) On one hand people are dying of starvation or a lack of nutritious food.
2) On the other hand people eat too much, especially of the processed foods.
Can we be falling into one of these 2 opposite problems in a spiritual sphere?
- Neglecting to gather for ourselves each morning the spiritual manna, the Bread from heaven – getting to know Jesus through His word, surrendering to Him and connecting with Him, letting Him fill our lives with His Presence by His word?
- Is it possible we may be feeding primarily on a “processed spiritual food”, predigested for us by others? Is it wrong to read spiritual publications or watch and listen to religious programs?
No, they can be very good as through them the Lord can teach and instruct us.
However these cannot and will not make up for our individual daily personal meeting with our Lord Jesus Christ through His word!
This is precisely what Jesus was telling His listeners.
In Revelation 3:20 (New Century Version) Jesus pleads with His last day people: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear My voice and open the door, I will come in and eat with you, and you will eat with Me.”
What an invitation, privilege into a blessed fellowship with our Creator and Redeemer! And what a preparation for each day’s responsibilities, duties, trials and challenges!
We need daily dependence on Jesus, on His sacrifice for us, living by His teachings, by whole of Scriptures which is His word, by every word that comes from Him!
Jesus clarified what He meant in John 6:63: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit and they are life.”
Holy Spirit works through the word of God. It fills the mind, giving spiritual strength and vitality, freshness of experience and healthy Christian experience. It keeps the old nature under check – (read and comment on Psalms 119:9–11)
(Some may say, but I am not a reader! Start somewhere, remember some gathered more, some less, but start somewhere. You can purchase Bible tapes and listen to God’s word!)
You may say, I do all you said, but my spiritual experience is lacking. What may be the problem?
Let me suggest 3 possibilities:
1) Are you the doer of God’s word, immediately surrendering to what it says and then putting it into action, into practical life? (See James 1:22; 2:17)
2) Do you spend too much time in spiritual exercises?
3) Do you share what you learned with others? Are you an active, sharing, witnessing Christian, or are you primarily one who consumes?
Illustration: In physical life, eating even of the best food without adequate “burning of acquired calories” will lead to the atrophy and shrinkage of our muscles and growth of undesirable fatty cells.
In spiritual life – good intake without active output is not sufficient. Ungrudging, joyful and love propelled ministry to others will bring a healthy tone to our spiritual life and ensure development of healthy Christian experience and balanced Christ-like character.