How We Are Taught By God
10 This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 11 And they shall not teach every one his fellow or every one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know me, from the least of them to the greatest. Hebrews 8:10-11
1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son that the Son may glorify thee, 2 since thou hast given him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom thou hast given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. John 17:1-3
We Learn From God When:
Ú We [LABOR] for the Food That Endures To Eternal Life!
27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father 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. Verses 27-29
2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Hearken diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in fatness. 3 Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. Isaiah 55:2-3
Ú We Come to Jesus For Life’s Greatest [SATISFACTION]!
35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me; 39 and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. Verses 35-40
Ú We Stop [MURMURING] At The Hard Stuff And Start Believing!
41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 43 Jesus answered them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. 46 Not that any one has seen the Father except him who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. Verses 41-46
Ú We Eat The [LIVING BREAD] From Heaven!
48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh Verses 48-51
62 Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. John 6:62-63
THE ROCK SOLID FOUNDATION
67 Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God. John 6:67-69
Good morning. Most of us, even if we have only a cursory knowledge of the Bible, know that it contains two covenants. Broadly speaking there is an O.T. and a N.T. within its pages. There are 39 literary works of law, history, poetry, and prophecy in the O.T. The New contains 27 literary works of biography, history, letters, and prophecy. What we often are not aware of is how these 66 literary pieces fit together. How can a collection of law books, Gospel, history, and poetry written over a space of 1500 years by 40 different authors contain a unifying theme and purpose? The answer is that there is a common source for its inspiration. God inspired it. God caused it to come into being. God’s gift to us of it is one of our greatest spiritual blessings.
I love the Bible more than any book on the face of this earth. It is the most beneficial collection of literary works to grace my mind and heart; I’ve ever had the privilege of studying. I cannot begin to tell you all the blessings it brings into my life. But one is really the topic of our lesson this morning. It is the way God directly inspires, encourages, and trains me for his work. When I make that comment I don’t mean just as a preacher. What I mean is how I live my life in relation to his presence and purpose. Preachers are just Christians with many flaws and weaknesses. God with the Bible blesses us all so that he can teach us and have a covenant with our hearts. This is his purpose in giving the Bible.
God says in Hebrews, “10 This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 11 And they shall not teach every one his fellow or every one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know me, from the least of them to the greatest.” He promises a N.C. unlike the old one. God intends for us to draw a contrast between these two. I’m sure this is in too simplistic terms, but the contrast is between the flesh and the spirit. The O.C. deals with regulations imposed on the human body. The N.C. is for the heart and mind’s relationship to the Spirit of God. The O.C. was external, but the N.C. is internal to our hearts, minds, and spirits.
The N.C. must be put into the mind and heart for it to do what it was inspired to do. God uses your mind/heart as is his writing tablet and the Holy Spirit as his pen to put his laws or covenant into your life. And in our life long process of coming to know God through the Bible God becomes our God and we his people. The end result according to verse 11 is that we know him. This then, my friends, is the N.C. The real Covenant is the one written in your heart, known by your mind, and expressed in your attitudes. The one that says I love God with all my heart and mind and I know he loves me. The N.C. is God unveiling himself to you, and you opening your life to that revelation. The N.C. exists on pages in a written form in our Bibles, but that is only a template of what should live in our hearts and minds, which is the knowledge of God.
That is why Jesus prays, “1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son that the Son may glorify thee, 2 since thou hast given him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom thou hast given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” The N.C. living in your heart is eternal life. When Jesus was glorified in the cross he was given power to bring life to you. This life has the quality of eternity. It is forever because the N.C. is living and abiding. That is why you know God and will never perish. In verse three Jesus defines what is yours by accepting the cross in your faith pledge of baptism and it is to know God.
The knowledge of God is intimate and personal, but it comes from the common source of His written Revelation the Bible. This is why the next day after Jesus feeds 5000 by the sea he will explain how we are taught by God, and how we come to the knowledge of God. He uses a metaphor of bread to help us grasp it true meaning. In John 6:25-51 we are going to explore what God wants you to do so he can teach you and fill you with the knowledge of himself. This is the eternal life he’s promised from Genesis to Revelation. It is real and is now and forever. If you merely look at the Bible as law or a book of patterns then you’ll miss eternal life. But if you look at it as God written revelation of himself then you can consume bread that will make you live forever.
When the people followed Jesus from the other side of the Sea of Galilee he confronts them with the true reason they were seeking him. The motivation it seems was to make their material lives better. He tells them that they came not because of the signs, but for the food that would fill their bellies temporarily. The first principle is that we learn from God, when we labor for food that endures to eternal life! Jesus says, “27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father 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.”
This is really a very astounding declaration by Jesus under the circumstances of his audience. Galilee is the bread basket of Judea. It is a beautiful well watered and fertile land. To this day it produces much of Israel’s food and substance. During the 1st Century the Romans and their client kings the Herod’s used Galilee to build large estates for themselves and their friends. They grew much of the produce to feed the cities of Judea and the world at enormous profits. To gain more land they would loan money to poor peasants with their farms as collateral, and when they couldn’t pay they lost their land. During this time the peasants were being squeezed into smaller and smaller plots, often losing their freedom and becoming serfs to the rich and powerful. This social phenom, and taxes, and temple tithes created conditions that spontaneously sparked the Jewish rebellion of 70 AD.
The day before Jesus had confronted them they had tried to rebel against Rome by making Jesus their king. He avoided this by slipping away into the mountains near the sea, and then walking on the water that night to aid his 12 disciples. Jesus knew that they labored hard and long to better their lives. So I don’t think he was being insensitive to their needs. The reality is that until we know God not much good can come into the world. It really is a matter of putting first things first. That is why the work priority must be to work for the food that endures and not for the food that perishes.
Jesus makes us a great promise that if we will labor for this food he will give it to us because God has given him his seal of approval. This is a spiritual guarantee that you will be paid in supernatural food by Jesus. God has placed his seal on Jesus as the only approved way of receiving the life that is offered in the living bread. Labor for it and you will get it. So it is natural to ask then what is the work God want you to do to receive it. What should you put your labor into? Jesus says in verse 29 that the work of God is belief in Him. What we should do is to toil on our trust and confidence in Jesus. Faith is assurance that Jesus will give us all he promised and the confidence of his unseen hand in providing the food that endures to eternal life.
God asks us, “2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Hearken diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in fatness. 3 Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.” His question is a great one. Why put all your efforts in the wrong kind of fruitless activity. So then how do you labor for the food from heaven? You do so by diligently opening your mind and heart to what is good. You delight in God’s fatness which is his grace and mercy. You lean your ear towards God’s words as you apply them in your daily life. Prayer, personal Bible study, one on one discussion, small group talks, Bible class, and the Sunday morning praise and worship service are all Banquets of the most delightful spiritual food. And if you do then according to God we are back to the covenant aren’t we? Just as David was a man after God’s own heart so you will be too. This is the function of the everlasting covenant.
Next we learn from God: when we come to Jesus for life’s greatest satisfaction. If you could take a moment and ask yourself what would make you the happiest and give you constant joy what would that be? Maybe a better marriage, better job, better church, better school what would it be? God can answer the question for you if you’re willing to listen. Jesus says, “35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me; 39 and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Being satisfied is very tricky for us. Most of us never really have the marriage we want, nor the job satisfaction we desire, nor the church, or the school we want to attend. What we end up with in this life are the tears and pains of laboring for things that we see and consume. Jesus says he is the bread of life and promises that we will not be hungry or thirsty if we believe in him. And if you question that Jesus can give you life’s greatest satisfaction the problem is not Jesus but your faith. Note verse 36 the people who saw Jesus do the miracle did not believe. And it was not that Jesus lacked the power to give the bread that endures for eternal life. They went unsatisfied because of their lack of faith. There are four reasons why you can be assured that if you believe in Jesus, which is the work God wants you to do, that you will have life’s greatest satisfaction.
First V. 37-It is God will to draw you to Jesus. Everything that God does in this world is meant to draw you to his son. You can allow him to lead you by the hand to Jesus or balk at his guidance but He trying to lead you to his Son. He prepared the plan of salvation. He blesses you with the sun and rain. He providently acts in the affairs of men to draw you to Jesus. He wrote a plan for your life from the moment of your conception, and at it heart is Jesus Christ the Son of the living God. You don’t have go to Jesus, but if you do then you will learn life’s greatest satisfaction.
Second V. 37 again and V. 38- It is God’s will that you be fed and accepted. Jesus says every one who is drawn by God to him, and who comes he promises not to cast out. Jesus did not travel from heaven to the womb of Mary for any other purpose than to do the will of God. We have a difficult time believing it, but Jesus really wants to save you because that is God’s will. He does not even consider if your worthy, because you are not. He considers His Fathers desire and will not cast you out. You can leave him but he will not abandon you anymore than he fled the cross. He drank that awful cup to do God’s will. So never doubt that Jesus will accept you and fed you to eternal life. If you trust Jesus you will learn life’s greatest satisfaction is the security of Jesus’ will to do God’s will.
Third V.39-God‘s will is that you not be lost, but raised up in the last day. God’s will for Jesus is to transform you into his image. Paul speaks of this in Romans 8 when says we are predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son. And in 1 Cor 15 where he declares if we have borne the image of Adam we will bear the image of the Man of Heaven. The purpose of Jesus feeding you is so that you really do become what you eat. The bread of heaven will change you mind, heart, and attitudes to resemble His son. Resurrection comes from being planted in baptism into his death, and Paul says with certainty we will be united with Jesus in his resurrection. You learn life’s greatest satisfaction as you change through the power of Jesus.
And fourth V. 40-it is Gods will that you have eternal life by faith in Jesus. Eternal life is to know God and Jesus forever. Our knowledge of him begins in this life and is perfected in our resurrection. We are not what we can be by God’s Heavenly bread yet, but its nourishment of eternal life leads to immortality. Immortality speaks of an existence that is different than our flesh and blood state. It is the same kind of imperishable life that God leads. We are privileged to share it now while the seed of our body wastes away in the death of Jesus. You know your mortal body is going to waste in death. It can be in the death of Adam if you remain in him and in your sins, or it can be in the death of Jesus if you pledge you life to him in baptism. You can learn life’s greatest satisfaction when God’s work is done and you enter heaven’s wide open gates.
Do you want the greatest satisfaction of all then you must come to Jesus. God granted him the power to provide it for you. To never hunger in your spirit or be thirsty is the promise, and you learn from God how to be filled and satisfied. Neither God nor Jesus says the way to satisfaction is easy. It is a narrow gate and the way hard, but it is the most rewarding experience of this life. Come to Jesus as the way, truth, and life, and you will be satisfied and filled for eternity.
Next, we learn from God when: we stop murmuring at the hard stuff and start believing! You know, and this includes me, I have yet to meet a person who didn’t like to complain. You may have heard of Mr. Jones, a wealthy financier, who had on many occasion in the good old days -- when trains were flourishing and coaches were the last word in technological luxury -- crossed the continent by Pullman. He was well known and well served and was accustomed to every convenience, particularly when dining. Imagine his exasperation, then, when it turned out that the chef did not have tutti-frutti ice cream.
"No tutti-frutti?" he shouted. "I always have tutti-frutti." "I'm sorry, sir," said the waiter, soothingly. "We have chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, black walnut, cherry, mocha almond --" "I want tutti-frutti," cried Jones, banging the table and turning red. "I have always had tutti-frutti and I won't have anything else." For miles he muttered, scowled, growled, and snarled at everyone, so that every train employee on board had visions of angry reprisals. Finally, the train stopped at a station; a word to the conductor kept it there while the crew scoured the town for tutti-frutti ice cream. A whole pint of the dessert was found and all of it was presented to Jones, with huge gobs of cherry sauce on it, together with a sliced banana and a swirl of whipped cream. "Here is your tutti-frutti ice cream, Mr. Jones," said the quaking waiter. Jones looked at it with a scowl, and then with a sudden swipe of his arm hurled it to the floor, shouting, "I'd rather have my grievance!"
As embarrassing as it is to admit it, I have been in that same situation. There are times when I have been most content to be discontent and have received great enjoyment from being unhappy. And pity the person who tried to appease me and deprive me of the "pity party" I was throwing myself! Have you been there as well?
Murmuring or complaining seems natural to us. It was no different that day Jesus explained about eternal life. John records, “41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 43 Jesus answered them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. 46 Not that any one has seen the Father except him who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.”
It was hard for them to see beyond what they knew. Those Jews grew up with Jesus and they thought they knew where he came from. To them this was Jesus the son of Joseph and Mary. How could he claim to be the bread from heaven? That was the hard stuff for them. And little latter in this conversation, most of them, would rather have their grievance than the true manna from God. Unfortunately many of us are like that when it comes to our faith. It is a lot easier to complain about the Bible classes or the teachers than to dig in a start believing the word of God. It is easier to complain than to open your heart to God’s instructions and experience the growing pains that are caused by the bread of heaven.
Jesus calmly tells them to stop murmuring. And here’s why: You can’t come to Jesus without the Father drawing you. He wants you to eat the hard stuff. It is his will that you mature in the faith. The prophets in a variety of places proclaimed that when the Messiah comes God would teach the Jews and Gentiles the way of righteousness. In other words Jesus says stop murmuring because God is the teacher and he is leading you to more than a surface faith. And the proof that you have heard and learned from God is that you come to the Jesus. You can be confident of God’s path of instruction, because Jesus will raise you up in the last day. No one has seen the Father except Jesus the bread from Heaven, and one of the truest realities is that when you believe in him you have eternal life.
So what would you rather have your grievances about how hard it is to be a Christian, or faith that leads you deeper into the knowledge of God? Your grievances will probably lead you into a lot of anger, but deeper faith will change your whole outlook. As Jesus reveals the hard stuff, which is a lot harder to learn than to teach, you grow in your life with God. God has all kinds levels of instruction. Some of us are in kindergarten, some are elementary, some are Jr. high school, or high school, and some are in college or graduate school. But you know when you get your PHD or Passed into His Divinity degree it is when you are raised into His immortal image. It is a matter of God’s will that no matter what level of spiritual school you are in you receive the PHD at your resurrection. You can learn from God the hard stuff if you will only begin to believe.
It is time for us to labor for the food that endures to eternal life. It is time for us to come to Jesus for the greatest satisfaction in life. And it is time for us to stop murmuring and start believing for eternal life. And the way we do those entire things is eat the bread of Heaven. We learn from God when: we eat the living bread from heaven. Jesus says, “48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven that a man may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.” Jesus sounds a little grisly when he speaks of eating his flesh. I don’t know if Jesus pointed to himself when he said these words, but I do know everybody in that group who heard understood him to mean himself. This is hard stuff.
Paul in 1 Cor. 10 calls the manna in the wilderness supernatural food. And it was because it was given by a miracle of God. But it was just food that perished. And because of its nature the Israelites in the wilderness died. Only two of them made it to the Promised Land when they were old men. So if miracle food, that is just food, still allows you to die, you really need a new kind of miracle food don’t you. That’s why Jesus says he is the bread of life come from heaven. Eat him and you will never die. The bread that is given for the life of the world then is his flesh.
Jesus allows this to stand to see who would believe the hard stuff. John tells us that many of his disciples were offended at this concept, so Jesus asks those disciples, “62 Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” He says okay your offended by the idea of eating my flesh, so what would happen if you saw me ascend to heaven. According to Paul when he ascended he became a life giving spirit. So He asking rhetorically “How does that affect the idea of eating my flesh?” Pretty simple folks, he is saying it is the spirit of me in this fleshy body that gives life, not any nourishment you might get from literally eating my flesh. So we eat His spirit and life in the words He has spoken to us. Jesus is saying My words are the miracle food that gives life to the world. When those words are accepted by faith then they endure to eternal life.
You remember that Jesus changed Simon Bar Jonah’s name to Peter which means rock. Here is one of the reasons that Jesus did that. Imagine the crowd walking away in frustration, and only Peter and the eleven remain. Peter in particular is rock solid in his faith. “67 Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” A rock solid faith is comprised of four things. First, all other options other than Jesus are rejected. Who else can any of us go to for eternal life? Second, you trust Jesus words for eternal life. What other place can you find the food that endures to eternal life except the Bible? Third, you believe what it says. What other book can create faith in the living God. It is through your faith that the miraculous nourishment occurs. And fourth, your faith leads you to know Jesus as God’s Holy One. You enter into a real and intimate relationship with Jesus living in your heart by faith. His spirit becomes your spirit, and you experience his resurrection in your faith. That is a rock solid faith that will endure for all time.
This morning if you believe Jesus is the bread of heaven. Then come and feast on his flesh by believing his words. He says believe and be immersed to be saved. Trust him by obeying this simple command and your will be saved. He says believe and walk with him and you will go to heaven. Trust him and live your life by faith and your will be raised up from his death you experience in baptism to the immortal glory of his image.
Will you pray with me? Dear Jesus, I want to thank you for being the bread from heaven. You provide all I need to know to know God. You are my greatest satisfaction in life, and though I’ve murmured I ask you to forgive me. Today I declare my faith in you and you alone. And I promise to eat your flesh made real and tangible in the Bible. Help me to study and apply it to my life. I will obey you this morning. If I need to be immersed I will trust your words and not my own. If I need to repent of laziness in laboring for the food that endures to eternal life I do so now. I ask you to accept me, and I know that you will because it is your Father’s will. Take me Jesus because who else can I go to. Your words are the words of life. In Jesus Name: amen.