Eleventh Sun. aft. Pentecost
Our Savior Lutheran Church
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
August 3, 1997
(Bread has always been a staple of life-sustaining food throughout the history of the world. Virtually every culture has some form of bread that serves as the basis of maintaining life. Diet determines many characteristics of a society. Americans are normally much larger than their Asian counterparts, but even in Japan, those given a special diet can become Sumo Wrestlers in a society of comparatively small people. The same is true when we speak of spirituality. We become what we eat spiritually.
I. WHAT KIND OF BREAD ARE YOU EATING SPIRITUALLY?
A. Some have eaten very little spiritual food.
1. As a result, they are impacted very little by things spiritual.
a. Their life does not reflect the importance of the things that are eternal at all or very little.
b. The things of this world have taken the pre-eminent position in life.
2. Now they are suffering from a severe case of spiritual malnourishment.
a. They are starving to death spiritually, but feel full because they have gorged themselves on the things the world sees as important.
b. ILLUS: Like a person who loves Twinkies and eats nothing but Twinkies ...They may feel full, but cannot possibly be healthy.
B. Some have eaten a diet of the wrong thing...they too have become what they eat.
1. ILLUS: family members who have gotten into spiritual material that has taken them away from Christ and involved in religious groups or movements that harm them spiritually.
a. ILLUS: My own brother has been entrapped by material that has led him into New Age thought, Shamministic rituals and other ways of thinking that are the equivalent of a spiritual "Twinkie" diet.
b. How many people have you known who have become intrigued by the religions of eastern mysticism, or other religious cults because they began to study the wrong thing in a sincere effort to become spiritual?
2. In the text today, Jesus is speaking to Jews who had been feeding on a spiritual diet of works righteousness.
a. What they had been eating was reflected in their question to Jesus. (v. 28)
b. "Just tell us how high we need to jump, and we'll start jumping."
c. Moreover, they were concerned about the nature of what they were trying to achieve...They wanted bread for their bellies, not nourishment for their souls.
II. JESUS IS THE BREAD FOR THE WORLD.
A. Through His life, death and resurrection, He brings the Bread of life itself.
1. It is not merely the bread that sustains life...It gives life!
a. This is the life that is ours through the forgiveness of all our sins.
1.) Not merely some, but ALL!
2.) That which has kept us from fellowship with God has been completely removed from us to that we are completely acceptable for God's company, forever!
b. How often, in our own minds, have be cataloged the reasons why God couldn't possibly love us?
1.) "My sins are too great!"...But the cross is greater!
2.) "My sins have been going on too long!"...But the payment was completely sufficient!
3.) "I just know I'm going to end up in hell forever!"...But He rose from the dead!
2. There is no other bread that can give this life.
a. Jesus points to Himself as the only source of this salvation. (v. 35)
1.) This is one of Jesus' seven great "I am" statements:
a.) "I am the bread of life." (v. 35)
b.) "I am the light of the world" (Jn. 8:12)(Jn. 9:5)
c.) "I am the gate for the sheep" (Jn. 10:7)
d.) "I am the good shepherd" (Jn. 10:11)(Jn. 10:14)
e.) "I am the resurrection and the life" (Jn. 11:25)
f.) "I am the vine and you are the branches. (Jn. 15:1, 5)
2.) God has sent his only Son and He will not be dismissed by anyone.
b. The central question for any life revolves around one's relationship with Jesus Christ...eternity hangs in the balance.
B. What bread have you been eating?
1. Have you settled for the "Twinkies" of the world's non-satisfying bread?
a. Has your spirituality been placed on starvation rations?
b. have you been satisfied with something less than the real nourishment of Jesus Christ...the true bread and water of life?
2. Have you decided to eat bread that isn't truly the bread of life and immersed yourself in a religion or movement at the center of which is NOT Christ?
a. Then today is the day to be truly fed on the Great "I am".
b. Today is the day to find the forgiveness, the peace and the life you've been seeking from the true source.
At the very end of this text Jesus says, "He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty". Life, once given, lives on and on, even natural life, although this has a terminus, spiritual life has none. In the Greek, it is stronger still. Jesus uses the strongest possible negative in describing what will no longer be possible: In absolutely no way will we ever hunger again! In absolutely no way shall we ever thirst again. In Christ we have all that we need. He is our water of life. He is our bread of life! In Jesus' name. Amen.
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