How We Are Taught By God II
1Ho, every one who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 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. 4 Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. Isaiah 55:1-4
We Learn From God When:
Ú We Labor for the Food That Endures To Eternal Life!
Ú We Come to Jesus For Life’s Greatest Satisfaction!
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
Allow me to take a moment to express what an honor and privilege it is to share God’s Word with you each week. I am delighted to be completing my eighth year with you this very Sunday. And as I begin my ninth I am eternally grateful to my God, to my family, to my elders, and to my spiritual family here at Vaughn Hill; for the opportunities you graciously afford me to minister and preach from this pulpit. Thank you so much.
The month of March will be over in the next three weeks and we are leading up to Celebration Sunday. Our purpose is to reach into our community during March with effective evangelism. To be effective we begin and end in prayerful mediation for the lost. During the next three weeks God is giving us a tremendous opportunity to reach our community with the gospel. Would you pray for the sunrise service at 6:30 and the morning worship at 9 that God will bring many lost souls that day to both of these events. Will you also invite everyone you meet and know to share a true celebration of the resurrection of Jesus March 27th? Your faith in Jesus is the key to our completing his will in the River Bend Area. And it will produce a harvest for the kingdom.
Now I would like, with your permission, to finish the lesson I began last week. Thank you for your patience and kindness. Let’s review first. We are studying how we learn from God. God makes this awesome promise In Isaiah 55:1-4. He says, “1 “Ho, every one who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come; buy wine and milk without money and without price. 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. 4 Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples.”
The invitation is to the thirsty, the hungry, and the poor to purchase the everlasting covenant without money. God’s invitation to buy His eternal covenant is one of grace and mercy, and it cannot be purchased with gold, or silver, or human works. It is paid for solely by the gift of Christ’s blood that you receive through faith in Jesus. That is why Jesus tells us that the labor or work of God is faith in him. When we toil to develop faith in the Son of Man we come to Jesus to receive the purchase price of his labor on the cross. From him we have entered into the knowledge of God through faith which is the definition of eternal life.
Therefore the first point we made last week was that we learn from God when; we labor for the food that endures to eternal life. When Jesus confronts the disciples in the synagogue at Capernaum the next day, after feeding the 5000, He says the work of God is to believe in the one whom God sent. Isaiah helps us to understand what that work is with the metaphor of eating. First God says to harken diligently; you’ve got to take a big bite of the gospel. This means you sink your teeth into the Bible with deep faith. Next God says, eat what is good or chew the story of salvation. Thirdly, God says delight in the fatness or flavor of the gospel, which is the grace and mercy of God. You need to take the time to savor the taste and flavor of God’s goodness. Then fourthly, you need to digest it by inclining your ear so you can come to God through Jesus and continue to grow and learn. You swallow it by taking it into your mind and heart. It is in the digestion that food is turned into nourishment. And it is in meditation that life flows into your spirit and soul.
God says in Isaiah 55 he will make an everlasting covenant with you from the nourishment you receive from his words. This everlasting covenant is exemplified in King David’s relationship God. In verse four God made David a witness and commander of his people. David was chosen to be a witness to testify to us of the relationship God has with those who feed on his living bread. In other words David, an O.T. man, has a N.T. relationship with God, because God cared for David with his sure steadfast love.
God is the only eternal Being who has always existed. For him steadfast is of vast implication, and it means eternal, never ending, imperishable, and always. So the covenant God makes with us is to love us forever with the love he has for David. David has many good and bad qualities. For all of his talent and success he had as many failures and blunders in his life. Yet God loved him and he loves you equally through your success and failure.
Because he loves us in this way he gives us the blessing of never being spiritually hungry or thirsty. This is the second point we discussed last week. We learn from God when; we come to Jesus for life’s greatest satisfaction. There are four things that Jesus declares to us about God’s eternal love in John 6:35-40. First in John 6:37 it is God’s will to give us to Jesus. He does so because he loves you, and Jesus bears God’s seal that this is the truth. We become satisfied by knowing how truly loved we are by God.
Second in verses 37 & 38, it is God’s loving will that whoever comes to Jesus through the everlasting covenant will not be cast out. You may reject Him because you are free to decide, but Jesus will reject none who come, any more than he rejected God’s will to die on the cross. He drank the bitter cup of death to do God’s will. And we are satisfied when we know the security of Jesus’ obedience to God.
Third in verse 39, it is God’s will that none of us are lost, but that we are raised up in the last day. God’s loving will is for Jesus to transform us into his likeness. Paul says in the resurrection if we bear Adam’s image we will bear the image of the man of heaven. And he will lose none of you to any other predetermined end. We learn satisfaction through out our life of transformation as we become more like God through Jesus.
And lastly, in verse 40, it is God’s loving will that we have eternal life through our faith in Jesus. Eternal life is the everlasting covenant living in our hearts and minds. It is the knowledge of God that never comes to an end. It is in this way that like David we become men and women after God’s own heart. Eternal life leads to resurrection from the death we experience in baptism. Baptism is death to our sins in His burial, and it is a pledge to live by the power of his resurrection. We learn eternal satisfaction by living by faith in God’s power.
Next, we learn from God when: we stop murmuring at the hard stuff and start believing!
Let’s go back to Jesus explaining about eternal life in the synagogue at Capernaum. 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.”
You know, and this includes me, I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t like to complain about the hard and difficult stuff Jesus demands. It doesn’t matter if you live in the 21st Century in the Metropolitan St. Louis area, or you are a poor peasant farmer in Galilee 2000 years ago you have gripped and murmured at the demands of the cross. Discontent is not bad in and of itself. It can be good or destructive depending on how you use your dissatisfaction. Godly sorrow is a good thing and it can be positive if you use it to motivate yourself to have a deeper relationship with God. However most of us don’t usually do that very well. What we do is to find fault and complain that life and God are not fair.
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. It was very hard for them to imagine Jesus as the bread come down from heaven.
What made this so hard for them is our natural human instinct not to see beyond what we assume to be true. 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 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 about a Bible version than to open your heart to God’s instructions and experience the growing pains that are caused by the bread of heaven. Bible study and prayerful mediation is the works that God wants you to do. So stop being frustrated and get to work.
The Bible is not a book that you will ever truly master. Rather it is a book that will master you. And there is a profound difference between those two thoughts. You can become proficient in knowledge from the Bible. It is a large library of many and varied kinds of literature. But that is not the hard stuff. Anyone of average intelligence can comprehend the words and concepts of the Bible with enough study time. The hard stuff is when those words and concepts begin to master your heart. What happens is that there is an unfolding of truth through faith. It is not hard to understand intellectually that Jesus claimed to be bread from heaven. What is hard is to accept it through faith. Because when you do then the implications for your life are revolutionary. Many of us would rather have our grievances about the hard stuff in its pages, than to allow the Bible to master our lives.
So Jesus calmly tells us to stop murmuring and get over the grievance you feel. And here’s why: You can’t come to Jesus without the Father drawing you. And God the Father 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 that 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 by putting away your grievances through trust in Him. 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 which is the everlasting knowledge of God.
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 and true spiritual darkness, 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’ of levels of instruction. Some of us are in kindergarten, some are in elementary, some are in Jr. high-school, or high school; and some are in college or graduate school. But do 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 in Jesus.
It is time for us to labor for the food that endures to eternal life. And 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 the hard stuff. And the way we do all of those things is to eat the bread of Heaven. So our last point is; 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 him, understood him to mean himself. This is the hard stuff to hear and even harder to miss his meaning. His words bring images of cannibalism. And historically in the first century many Jews and Gentiles misunderstood this concept by a very large mile. They accused Christians of literally eating human flesh and drinking human blood in the Lord’s Supper. Jesus will help us to understand that there can be no spiritual eternal benefit from food that is merely food even if it comes to us through a miracle. Jesus pointed out that the fathers died when God gave them the manna in the wilderness.
Paul in 1 Cor. 10 calls the manna supernatural food. And it was supernatural because it was given by a miracle of God. But it was just food that perished with use or time, and because of its earthly and fleshly nature; the Israelites in the wilderness died even when they ate the manna. 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 he says is his flesh. In the context of John 6 Jesus is not speaking of the Lord’s Supper, though I pray you ate living bread this morning and not just a pierce of hard cracker when you feed on the cross. And I pray you are eating it right now by listening with faith. In either of these cases no food that is food nourishes you spiritually. His flesh is his life lived out 2000 years ago in Judea. The living bread is the flesh of Jesus nailed on Calvary’s tree, and that is what he gave for the life of the world. You feed on his flesh when you consume the cross in your heart and mind.
Jesus, however, allows his image to stand in their minds to see who would believe the hard stuff. John tells us that many of his disciples were offended at this teaching, so Jesus asks those disciples a very penetrating question, he says, “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 happens to this idea if you see me ascend to heaven. According to Paul when he ascended he became a life giving spirit. So He is asking rhetorically “How does my ascension to heaven’s glory affect the idea of eating my flesh?” He is simply asking would you believe I’m bread from heaven if you saw me go back to heaven.
It is pretty simple folks Jesus’ spirit was contained in his fleshy body, and it is what gives life to the world, not the nourishment you might get from literally eating His flesh. Whether Jesus gives you his spirit to consume through his actual physical presence or he inspires the Scripture with his spirit the effect is all the same. We eat His spirit and life in the words He speaks to us. Jesus is saying, “My words are the miracle food that gives life to the world.” When those words are accepted by faith we have chewed them and their nourishment is released to endure to eternal life. They nourish the inner man into the image and likeness of Jesus. These words whose nourishment value is the spirit of Jesus have the power of his resurrection to change our very nature.
As we close this morning you remember that Jesus rename Simon Bar Jonah’s to Peter the rock. And in this situation Peter is rock solid in his faith. This is one of the reasons that Jesus calls him the rock. Imagine the crowd walking out of the synagogue in frustration. They are fading away like water drying up in the sand, and only Peter and the eleven remain with Jesus. I have had a few walk out on me in my time of preaching, and it honestly didn’t bother me nor change any thing. It just made me feel more determined. But if a whole congregation walked out and only twelve of you remained I would probably go weak in my knees. And if you were one of the twelve you might question my effectiveness as a preacher. But Peter in particular is rock solid in his faith in Jesus. “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.”
Peter’s confession is a faith that is rock solid, and it 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 through 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 his 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. And 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 promise I will obey you this morning. If I need to be immersed I will trust your words and not my own. I will obey the words you miraculous give me. If I need to repent of laziness in laboring for the food that endures to eternal life I do so now. I promise to do the work of believing in Jesus. 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.