Feeding On Jesus
Jesus oftentimes would teach after healing, after miraculous things, and at other times he’d have the people just sit down. Sit down on the grass, and contemplate what He was trying to say. And so, I don’t want to detract today from what we are going to look at by having a PowerPoint or anything else.
The title today is “Feeding on Jesus.” We are looking today at the very heartbeat of Christianity, at what it means to call oneself a Christian. I hope to awaken within all of us a hunger and a thirst. You know in America, as I was preparing this sermon, I was thinking about very few of us really know true hunger and thirst. If we do know hunger or thirst, it’s usually because we’ve arranged a fast or something like that or we can’t find our favorite drink. In terms of really having hunger and not knowing where your food is going to come from or being thirsty and not knowing where you’re going to find water, we don’t know that. So we’re almost describing something that we cannot understand but yet, we can have Holy Spirit enlighten our souls so that we are hungry and thirsty for what we should be hungry and thirsty for.
John 12:26 – Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
What does it mean to follow Jesus Christ? Does it mean that we line up like an army and follow a general or a colonel into battle? Is that what it means to follow Jesus Christ? Again we’re going to look at the heartbeat of what it means to be a Christian, to say that we are a follower of Jesus Christ. If we miss what we are looking at today, then we wind up making ourselves a slave and not a son of Jesus Christ. A slave that will one day not be allowed into the kingdom of God. We’ll make ourselves a Pharisee and not a lover of God. We’ll make ourselves a moral man but not a disciple. We’ll make ourselves really something unspiritual earthly and as the scripture puts it, of the devil.
What we’re looking at we must live. It is salvation itself, it is what Jesus Christ came to bring, it is what it means to be a Christian.
Let’s go to John 6:41 and we begin where most people begin with this whole issue. When you strike at, when you preach the very heart of what it means to be a Christian, the response of the world, the response of most people that claim to be Christians, the response of religious leaders and Pharisees and Sadducees of today, is to grumble.
John 6:41 – At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said…
They don’t like something that Jesus Christ is preaching and declaring to them so they begin to grumble and we’ll see here in a moment that they grumble among themselves. They don’t come to Jesus Christ and grumble, they grumble in front of Him, but they’re talking among their little group.
John 6:41 – At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”
There’s nothing outrageous about what Jesus Christ has said at this point, but they don’t like it. Inside they know by their conscience, they know by the Holy Spirit, they know that Jesus Christ is going to say something that they do not want and so they begin to grumble among themselves.
John 6:42 – They said…
If there’s one thing about grumblers, they have their arguments down. They have their arguments in a position where they can say, “This is what we don’t like about Jesus Christ” and it’s outlined extremely well.
John 6:42 – They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?”
These are the facts, this is the evidence, this is who Jesus Christ really is. And when we share about that we must feed on Jesus and that we must drink His blood and people begin to understand what you mean, they’ll have a good sounding argument.”
John 6:42 – How can he now say, “I came down from heaven”?
They’re already grumbling about His nature when Jesus Christ begins to present the words of life. I don’t want us to look at the Pharisees or the Jews or the Sadducees or other people out there. I want us to look at our own hearts. That when Jesus Christ comes to each of us on a daily basis, if not an hourly basis, and He says to us in the most loving of terms, “I am the bread of life,” what is our response? Do we have our arguments to outdo what He’s about to say? Do we have our rebellion that we won’t do what He has to say? Do we ignore what He is saying? Are we grumbling without verbalizing it?
In verse 43, Jesus Christ doesn’t attempt to out-maneuver all of their arguments because it’s a heart matter.
John 6:43 – “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered.
Again, who are they grumbling among? Amongst themselves. Their nice little grumbling group over here. Their message boards or their gossip or the e-mails or the telephone or even in their prayer groups, they would be praying against Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ steps into the middle and He says, “Just stop your grumbling.” If you’re going to get to a place where you understand what Jesus Christ is about to say, you must shut up in your heart or with your mouth and listen to what Jesus Christ has to say. All of our excuses need to be set aside, all of our grumblings need to be put over there. Any reasons, anything that we have except listening ears, we need to put aside.
In John 6:44, Jesus Christ lays down the ultimatum. He says, “No one…” There is no exception to what we’re going to look at, to what Jesus Christ is going to say. No other way, no other scheme, no other method, no other set of prayers or works or understanding of scripture.
John 6:44 – No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him…
I know that we don’t really believe this, because I see you trying to get to Jesus Christ. I see you reading the Bible and getting it all down and reading the books and saying, “Okay, I need to do this concept here,” and you’re trying to throw yourself into the face of God. You’re trying to make yourself a Christian and “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” Nobody can come to Jesus Christ, nobody can come to God, unless the Father enables him to do it.
What does that mean on a practical basis? It means that I wait for God’s grace to come to me at a certain moment, to draw me closer to Him and the all-determining thing comes down to that moment. Will I respond? Will I surrender? Will I say, “Yes Lord” at that moment, or will I put Jesus Christ off? Will I grumble against what Jesus Christ is saying to me at that moment in time and miss the moment of grace? Then when I realize I have missed the moment of grace and there’s that gnawing inside and there’s that guilt in there, then I decide to go seek the living God, but grace is not there to draw me in, grace is not permitting me to come in. I’m trying to get in, but it is not the Father enabling me, it is not the Father calling me, it is a Pharisee, it is a Sadducee, it is a man trying to beat His way into the kingdom.
John 6:44 – No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him…
It is an act of humility that when I sense the grace is right there and grace is saying, “Tim, you must step in now,” I must respond now.
When God called Father Abraham, you will always read that Abraham immediately set into motion that which God called him to do. When God said that his children and his whole household needed to be circumcised, the next morning, the next instant, he does that very thing. When it was time to sacrifice Isaac on the altar, it says, “early in the morning” he got up to do that thing. Abraham three weeks before, didn’t say, “Hey, how about I sacrifice Isaac to you?” He was in a waiting position before the Lord, but when the Lord called, he was up and he was going. Most of us fail because when Jesus Christ calls, when God is enabling, when He is drawing us toward Him, we will not give up. Then we waste our time and our struggles and our prayers and our weeping and our crying and all of our confession of sin because we are not responding when He is calling. We are not feeding on Jesus Christ, nor drinking of Jesus Christ, we are Pharisees trying to be more noble.
John 6:44 – No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.
If you want to be resurrected, if you want to be with Jesus Christ, then when God calls you, when He enables you, you must be obedient at that time. You cannot put it off for a week or a year or a day or fifteen seconds. It is at that moment when you feed off Jesus Christ and He says, “Do this,” or “This is some wisdom here,” or “This is what I’m speaking to you.” You say, “Yes, Lord” and you act upon it at that moment. Whenever we fail to do that, we’re not feeding on Jesus Christ. We’re scheming and we’re planning and we’re grumbling.
John 6:45 is a grand promise. It is written in the prophets. Go back to all of the Old Testament.
John 6:45 – It is written in the Prophets:
Look at this:
John 6:45 – They will all be taught by God…
It is the living God who seeks upon an hourly basis to come before you and to say, “This is my will for you at this moment.” It might involve sitting, or walking, or running, or doing any number of things or just resting before the Lord. I don’t know what that will is, but God seeks to teach you. He seeks to reveal Himself to you and you have a choice that when Jesus Christ comes to you to speak, you can listen or you can do what you want to do. You can go off and find all the books that you want about following Jesus Christ. You can go read, Hating for Jesus or Whisper of Revival but if Jesus Christ is not calling you to do that, you seek Him in vain.
John 6:45 – It is written in the Prophets: “They will all be taught by God.”
I don’t want it to sound like a negative thing, I want it to sound like it is. It is a grand privilege that the living God would stoop down to teach Timothy Williams. That He would come to me and guide me in every single aspect of my life, not just in terms of wisdom, not just in terms of rest, of play and work and all the things that it means to be in a relationship with the living God, but it would be God Himself; Him and I, fellowshipping on an intimate basis. So many people come to me and they’ll sit down and they’ll talk and they’ll mouth off some insight or something they see in their heart or some confession of sin and I just sit there going, “You don’t have wisdom from Him, you’re not taught by God on this. You went back and read scripture, you read a book, you decided this was wisdom for yourself. You confess it and you regurgitate it back out, but there is no life in it because you are not being taught by God.” “It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all…’” Every single one of us who desires it. No matter how weak you are or how strong you are in Jesus Christ, whether you’ve been baptized yesterday or whether you’ve been in Jesus Christ for thirty years, every single person will be taught by God, if we listen, if we come with humble heart, if we come with surrender, if we come with a desire to obey. He will teach, He will show, He will speak.
Again, verse 45, let’s read it one more time.
John 6:45 – It is written in the Prophets: “They will all be taught by God.”
You know a Bible College should only teach two things, the word of God and teach people to go back into the prayer closet to get self enough out of the way that they can hear the voice of God. That’s all. What does it mean for God to teach us? Jesus Christ said we had to become as children. Children have to be taught everything. Children have to be taught not to argue back. Children have to be taught humility and meekness, when to eat, when to get up, what to wear, how to dress, where to go, when to play, when to take a nap, when to sleep. Everything that a child is taught, we are to be taught by the living God. It’s not a classroom, God doesn’t invite us into a classroom with sermons and Power Points and say, “Know Me.” He says, “Take My hand and walk with Me.” Jesus Christ came to this earth and He didn’t do a PowerPoint, He walked. They followed and He taught. They discoursed and they talked and they made mistakes and they confessed their sins and all those things were there and Jesus Christ showed them by walking with them.
You can read the books. You can read all the books I’ve written and all the tracts, you can listen to all the sermons and not be taught by God.
John 6:45 – It is written in the Prophets: “They will all be taught by God.”
Now look at the part, look at the condition. The Pharisees are being taught by God, Jesus Christ is teaching them. “Everyone who listens…” That’s the first thing that has to begin to take place. Most of us are talking way too much and indeed most of us are listening to too much Christian music for God to talk to us. Most of us are thinking about our plans and what we want to do and what we’re going to do in the next twenty minutes for Jesus Christ to come to us and to even begin to speak. Whoever listens, that’s the first beginning thing. You just won’t shut up long enough to listen. To sit at home one day to do nothing but listen. Who of us long for that? Who of us is eager for that?
No, we’re busy with ministry works and we’re busy doing all the things that we do, we’re trying to get all these things down or trying to fit in the will of the cross with our will.
John 6:45 – “They will all be taught by God.” Everyone who listens to the Father…
Not listen to Tim Williams. Not listen to ink on paper. Not listen to sermons. He who listens to the Father. Don’t talk to me about why your Christian walk is so weak, you’re not listening to the Father. Don’t talk to me because you don’t know what to do or what to say, or don’t come confessing to me all the time all the sins that you have. You’re not being taught by God. Is it little wonder you don’t overcome? How often do I have to walk you through a scenario and then you finally say at the end of it, “Oh, I see my error.” Is God not able to show you those errors? Is He not able to lead you where you need to be? Is He not qualified?
John 6:45 – Everyone who listens to the Father…
And here’s the second part
John 6:45 – …and learns…
And learns, learns his lessons. A lesson that says, “My father taught me something here and I will not do it again. I listened to the Father teach me and I know what He wants me to do.” What have you learned? Or do you have to be told the same elementary things about Jesus Christ over and over again? Do you have to be told the same elementary things about yourself over and over again? I know my sins, I know what I am prone to, not by analyzing myself; not by seeing a therapist and writing down all my weak points, but by being taught by the Father who I am, what I need to repent of and learning the lesson. I know the right thing to do so that I don’t do the wrong thing because I have been taught by the Father the correct thing to do.
At first you have to teach children every little thing that they have to do and that’s the way it is in Jesus Christ. But eventually you should become so mature that the Father doesn’t have to come in and say, “Don’t do this. Wipe your nose.” You know, all the things that you have to tell little children to do. You should have those down. So God doesn’t talk to me all the time because I’ve learned those things. I have that down. Some of us go through all the situations and all the discipline and we confess our sins and we weep and we wail, only to repeat the same thing over and over again because we never learned. And He can’t take us to anything higher, He can’t show Himself any more to us, because we have not learned the lessons. If you want the resurrected life, you must listen and you must learn.
John 6:46 – No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father.
It is Jesus Christ; it is this message or no message. It is feeding upon Jesus Christ, it is eating His flesh, it is eating His blood that we’ll look at here in a moment, or it is nothing. There is no other gimmick in the church you can have that will give you Christianity. There is no other book you can read, nothing more fancy. If you do not get to a place where you feed upon Jesus Christ, you will not see eternal life.
John 6:46 – No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father.
You know, for all the bravado out there, the people who say they don’t want to seek men, then why do they keep seeking men? They just find men that they like to seek.
Only Jesus Christ has seen the Father. Go and learn from Jesus Christ how to listen to the Father and how to be taught. Jesus Christ doesn’t want to waste a day of you not learning something or gaining some ground in righteousness or coming into a closer relationship with Him.
John 6:47 – I tell you the truth…
Let’s listen with attentive ears and a whole heart.
John 6:47 – I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.
But what does it mean to believe? What does it mean to have faith in Jesus Christ? Is it a one-time moment when you ask Jesus Christ in your heart? Verse 48 tells us what it means to believe in Jesus Christ. He brings it down to a short sentence. To believe in Jesus Christ, verse 48 says, Jesus Christ says, “I am the bread of life.” Bread gives strength. One of the reasons we fast is to show how frail we are and how much we need food for the body to function. It is to remind us of our need for Jesus Christ and how we run and how fast we act and all the things that we do. Jesus Christ is saying, “I am the bread of life.” You think it’s your religious works or you think it’s this person over here or you think it’s this gimmick over here. Jesus Christ is saying, “I am the bread of life.” And there is nothing else that has life. It is not enough to pray. You must pray with the strength that Jesus Christ gives you. It is not enough to have sound doctrine. You have to have the very words of Christ, scripture says. It is not enough to evangelize. It has to be Jesus Christ leading us in our evangelism. It is not enough to get a quiet time. It must be Jesus Christ praying and willing and working through us. He is the bread of life. It is what gives us strength to live the Christian life. So often we’re so weak and miserable and frail and we have no faith in that frailty because we’re not eating the bread of life. We’re eating the bread of self-effort or our sin or our stubbornness or our own hearts.
John 6:49 – Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died.
Ate manna in the desert and they died. But Jesus Christ is saying, “I’m beyond manna.” Hold your finger there and look at Exodus 16:15. Let’s remind ourselves of what manna is and how it came, how they responded.
Exodus 16:15 – When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?”…
When you first came to the message of the cross, you go, “What is this?” It was strange, it was unusual, it didn’t come from this world. It was different than the average thing that you’ve heard. It was a little frightening. What is this food?
Exodus 16:15 – …For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread the LORD has given you to eat.”
It comes from God, there is no other bread. It is Jesus Christ. This is the message, there is no other message. There is nothing else to eat. This is what the Lord has commanded.
Exodus 16:16 – This is what the LORD has commanded: “Each one is to gather as much as he needs. Take an omer for each person you have in your tent.”
It is the same message for everybody. It is of equal portion for every person. Everybody is entitled to the same grace. Everybody can lay hold of it if they want to or choose to do so. It’s all manna. Not one jar contains something else and something else over here. They all have the same message. It is one gospel. One baptism. One Lord.
Exodus 16:17 – The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little.
Some had the ability to gather more and some had the ability to gather just a little bit. But you know what happens? It all shakes down, it all comes out together in the body. There’s no one super spiritual person that gets more than an omer.
Exodus 16:18 – And when they measured it by the omer, he who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little. Each one gathered as much as he needed.
It is the same Jesus Christ. As much as you need.
Exodus 16:19 – Then Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning.”
This is important. This is crucial. Many of us are still accustomed to Jesus Christ as if He were a principle or a guideline or something for you to remember for three or four days down the road. And Jesus Christ teaches you something or He shows you something here and then you get up in the morning to do it again the same way and it doesn’t work and you wonder why. Jesus Christ is not a psychologist who’s written us a book on how to conduct ourselves during daily life. He is the bread that you eat. It is a daily bread and it is a bread that says to a people that are in need, “You may eat.” Verse 20
Exodus 16:20 – However, some of them some of them paid no attention…
Some will ignore this completely. You will really think that you can somehow get past all of this. You don’t think grumbling will be a big deal or your excuses or your whines or your attention to yourself. Whatever it might be, you’ll think it’s, “Forget it, it’s no problem, I’ve got the basics down.”
Exodus 16:20 – However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell…
That’s why you’ll come to me the next day with something you’re doing and you say, “You told me to do it.” I told you to do it yesterday and I told you to do it at this time and I told you how God’s will needed to be done then, and you should have heard that from the Holy Spirit. You put it off, you delayed, you added your opinion. You held it over for the next day, or you took the principle that you learned and tried to apply it and it stinks and it’s full of maggots. You can’t carry it over until the next day. This is a living relationship with Jesus Christ, or it is no relationship.
Exodus 16:20 – They kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell…
Do not complain to me and do not grumble to me that your work and your labor and your prayers begin to stink. You have said, “There, Jesus Christ stand in the corner and I will do the religious work.” And you wonder why it smells.
The prayers that I prayed at 9:00 this morning don’t apply at 5:00 this evening. I need to know what to pray. I need insight at every single situation. He is the bread that I must eat and consume all day. It says, “…So Moses was angry with them.” It’s probably no big deal to them. It’s a big deal to God. But Moses finally gets anger when it wells up within him. There’s something seriously wrong. And those who ignored Moses in the first place, I doubt seriously were too concerned about his anger at this point. But God takes note of it. And every true pastor, every true preacher of Jesus Christ, will get mad over this. If they’re not true preachers, if they don’t really belong to Jesus Christ, if they’re just preaching a worldly Jesus, they’ll never get angry at what you do religiously. It smells the same. They don’t care about maggots, there’s nothing to go bad. It’s a bread of man that he puts together.
But the thing that causes anger is when you do something and you tack on the name of Jesus Christ, and you say you prayed about it and you go out and do what you want to do and it has maggots in it and it stinks. That’s what creates the anger because you have taken Jesus Christ; you have set Him aside and have done what you wanted to do. So Moses was angry at them.
Exodus 16:21 – Each morning everyone gathered as much as he needed, and when the sun grew hot, it melted away.
You can’t go out at 2:00 in the afternoon and say, “Okay, now I need Jesus Christ.” When God supplies the grace, you have to eat of the grace then. And I’ve seen some of you put yourself in miserable situations because you will acknowledge in the heat of the afternoon, “You’re right, I missed it, I didn’t gather, I didn’t eat, I didn’t take the grace that God was giving me. Okay, now I need it.” And you run out to get it and there is nothing to get. Those were some of my first lessons of following Jesus Christ. And I didn’t make up manna, I didn’t go cook up my own bread, I sat in my misery. And I sat in my misery time and time again until I finally learned, “I don’t want to sit in my misery. I want a relationship with the living God and I don’t want to be out here by myself.” I’m in a relationship with God because I love God. If He supplies the manna at 2:00 in the afternoon, that’s where I have need to be. If He supplies the manna at 5:00 in the morning, that’s where I have need to be. And I only hurt myself because there’s nothing to carry over from the day before except on the Sabbath day. It is no wonder you walk in weakness. It’s little wonder that you’re not able to overcome. You’re not eating when He provides, and you’re storing up, thinking you can just carry it on over. We have to repent of sin when He shows you the sin. You have to rejoice when He gives you the oil to rejoice. You have to open your mouth when He gives you the words. You have to shut your mouth when He does not give you the words. You have to embrace the insight and the wisdom when He gives it to you, not later. He’s not asking you to analyze it, to put it together, to get it all comfortable where you want it to be. It is a question of surrender before the living God.
John 6:50 – But here is the bread that comes down from heaven…
Here again, there is no other message. Jesus Christ is repeating to us again and again. But, here is the bread that comes down from heaven. It’s right there in front of your eyes. All these Jews, all these Pharisees, all these disciples and Jesus Christ says, “Here is the bread of life,” and they can’t see it. But they don’t want it, they grumble against it. It is not that difficult. It is a simple concept. It is, in your prayer closet, you bend your knees and you say to the Lord, “Thy will be done.” And you get up from your knees, “Thy will be done.” And you begin to march throughout the day asking the Lord, “What is your will at the current moment?” There are a lot of times I sit in my office, and I don’t know what to do, and so I go, “Lord, what is it you want me to do?” The more that we can do that and the more that we can surrender, the more that we eat the bread of life. A lot of you are still trying to get all the rules down. There are so many rules you’ll never make it. You will be miserable.
John 6:50 – But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die.
This is overcoming Christianity. He’ll eat of this and he won’t die. He’ll be alive in Jesus Christ. He’ll be full of the love of heaven. He’ll have all the grace that he needs, if he will eat. If we will feed upon Jesus Christ.
John 6:51 – I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever…
This is the Good News of Jesus Christ. You want to be alive in Jesus Christ? Then eat of Jesus Christ. If it’s conviction of sin that He wants to bring you for the next twenty minutes, eat of it and eat all of it. If He wants to give you joy and forgiveness, then you eat all of that also. If He wants to give you wisdom, you eat of that also. But don’t think you’re going to hold it or contain it or it’ll be in your belly forever. You expend it, you use it, and it’ll be there in the morning, new and fresh.
John 6:51 – I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
That’s why 1 John says we must walk as Jesus Christ walked. His flesh. What He did. How He conducted Himself. Yes we eat but a small portion of who He is, but we are entitled to eat. It’s a daily eating of the love of Jesus Christ. It’s praying with Jesus Christ. It’s being sane in Jesus Christ. It’s having the wisdom and the mind of Christ. It is eating all that you need.
Let me give you just one example. Look at 2 Thessalonians 3:5. The demands of Jesus Christ are so high that you’ll never persevere in your own strength. No man will make it in his own strength. He can’t do it. There’s a lot of times when Jesus Christ lets us get down on our knees and we’re so weary we want to give up. But we might get hungry enough to eat. We might get thirsty enough to drink. Not that we wallow in self-pity and say, “Oh, I’m thinking about turning back. I don’t like it.” But instead knowing that Jesus Christ is alive and He is real and that bread has given me life before and it will give me life again.
2 Thessalonians 3:5 – May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.
Not your perseverance, not your strength, not the bread that you consumed, but the bread of Jesus Christ. The perseverance of Jesus Christ is the only kind of perseverance that will carry me through as I follow Jesus Christ. So don’t even try to suck it all up and try to keep going and work up the bravado and say, “Okay, I’m going to stick with this and I don’t want to fall away,” and outline all the reasons why you should stay. Because it’s miserable. Rather than trying to brainwash yourself, saying, “I don’t want to go to hell. There’s nowhere else to go” just ask for the perseverance of Jesus Christ. You know a couple of things: You know that God is love, and you know that Jesus Christ has forgiven you. I don’t care whether there are blessings on the other side or 15 years down the road, I just want the perseverance of Jesus Christ.
Of course, what does this lead to? It leads to an argument.
John 6:52 – Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves…
Look, “among themselves” always this little rabble group over here. Each one reinforcing his bad attitude. Each one saying his argument here and the other one going, “Oh yeah, I see what you mean” and he adds to it.
You do that in your own hearts. I don’t know who you gather in your hearts to do your grumbling with, but it’s bad company. I don’t even know why you tolerate it, I don’t know why you don’t evict them and get them out of there. Instead, you tolerate them.
John 6:52 – Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
They don’t even shut up long enough to find out what He is trying to say. You think you’re going to understand everything Jesus Christ brings to you? You think you’re going to understand every discipline, every circumstance? If I tell you what to do in a certain situation and then you go and do it and it doesn’t quite go as we planned, is that strange? It’s a miracle if what I tell you and what we determine in the Lord actually works out how we think it’s going to.
John 6:52 – Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
They’re whining about the way He said it, or the tone with which He said it, or how He was going to do it. They’re not asking Him, “Well, how are you going to do this and what do you mean by that?”
We go home and we sit in our prayer closets and we grumble and we whine and we complain. We don’t know why things don’t change or why this isn’t different over here. We don’t shut up long enough to listen and to be taught.
Verse 53, Jesus of course, handles it with the same good tact He always has.
John 6:53 – Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.”
He doesn’t answer their question because it’s the heart that has to change. I don’t know why you think you should deserve to have everything explained to you. Everything’s so outlined and you got it all together. You got a question about scriptures and you have a question about circumstances in your life, and you have a question about what to do. Do you know what to do? It’s called the Living God. I don’t want all of your justifications and your reasons and your excuses unless God has taught you, “This is what’s going on, this is the wisdom that comes from heaven.” Feed off of Him. Eat from Him.
Look we all have our omer, we all share the manna, but you have to go to God to get it.
John 6:53 – Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.
You can pray, you can serve, you can evangelize, you can talk about the message of the cross. You can bring people to church, you can do all kinds of things, but unless you’re eating from Jesus Christ and drinking from Jesus Christ, you have no life whatsoever in you. Anything that is done, apart from eating and drinking from Jesus Christ, is death itself. It wasn’t even good in the beginning. It wasn’t even good manna, it was death before it started. Sometimes we see the fruit of it and sometimes we don’t. Unless you eat, unless you drink, you have no life. If you want the life, start eating.
Start getting hungry, start getting thirsty, start praying day and night, praying continually, “Lord, give me Yourself. Where I’m cold, where I’m dark, give me Yourself.” Hunger and thirst.
John 6:54 – Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
Jesus Christ is laying it out over and over and over again. Do you want eternal life, then you must eat of Jesus Christ. Not this sermon. This sermon at best, is a describing of what I have done a little bit. You have to go eat and you have to go drink. In your heart right now you have to be saying, “Oh Lord, give me insight, give me food, give me your blood, give me the blood that pumps through my body that gives me spiritual life.”
John 6:56 – Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.
It is the most intimate of relationships. Fail to do this and you’re not in Jesus Christ. Do this and Jesus Christ will live in you and you in Him. How much closer in communion can you get? This isn’t a picking and choosing where you come home one day, and you go, “Man, I did God’s will three times. I feel really good. I heard God’s voice and I did this over here. Last week I did that.” That’s not what we’re talking about. Rather it’s a continual closeness of the presence of God. A feeding off of Him and a drinking of Him, of recognizing Him in all kinds of things that come your way, whether it’s a sermon or whether it’s just driving down the road. It’s seeing and feeling and sensing and knowing that you’re eating and drinking from Him and there is a relationship there. A relationship that is not a lie, a relationship that is not a delusion of the mind, a relationship that doesn’t come from a bad heart, but a relationship that you sense there is God and there is me.
John 6:57 – Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.
You want to be alive in Jesus Christ, then you have to eat Jesus Christ. You want to be alive in Him, then drink of Him. You want to be mature, then eat the food. He lays it before you. In every second of every day, have Ephesians 5:17 in your heart.
Ephesians 5:17- Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
You must be able to say, “What I am doing right now is the Lord’s will. This is what God wants me to do.” Yes it’s a high goal, and it’s fraught with much failure, but it is a growing process. He is the only one we can give ourselves to and it’s not impossible, He calls us to do it. Understand what the Lord’s will is. God wants me to feel this emotion at this moment. That’s what you should be able to say. God wants me to say these words, God wants me to clean the kitchen. God wants me to do this, God wants me to sit down. God wants me to sleep or to get up. Understand the Lord’s will. It doesn’t mean understand what the Lord’s will is in terms of planning an agenda. It means a flowing and a working of Jesus Christ through us. Do you want to be dead enough to self that you feel what Jesus Christ feels? That’s what it means to have the heart of God.
John 6:58 – This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.
There’s the bread of works, there’s the bread of theology school, there’s the bread of prayer, there’s the bread of church, salvation experiences, there’s the bread of fasting. There’s all kinds of breads we can eat, but it is this bread. It is Jesus Christ, it is His will for us, it is the light He works and weaves within us, that is eternal life. Everything else is a complete failure. Everything.
John 6:59 – He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
I love this line. John isn’t giving us the location of where he’s teaching, that’s not what he’s saying. He’s saying, this is the teaching. This is what it means to have sound doctrine. This is what it means to have the teaching of Jesus Christ, to eat His flesh and to drink His blood. It means to have His life flowing through you as the blood flows through. It means to be eating bread that is holy and what comes out is the fruit of that kind of relationship. This is the teaching of Jesus Christ. It isn’t all the gimmicks, it isn’t all the things that you do. It is being dead to self so that Jesus Christ lives in you. But you have to eat and you have to drink.
Now verse 60 shows the usual reaction from most people. It dawns on these people what He’s saying.
John 6:60 – On hearing it, many of his disciples…
Now we go from Jews to disciples. The Jews who wouldn’t listen, who didn’t care, who grumbled among themselves. Now we’re talking about the disciples who have listened, who are getting to a place where they are understanding what He is saying, and their response is what? To grumble.
John 6:60 – On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
These are disciples saying this. They are whining. This is hard, this is too difficult. Can anybody accept it? Is anybody going to want this? It’s hard to live this way. It is a hard teaching. And every time you whine and every time you groan a little and every time you get a bitter root toward somebody else and you don’t like anything God is bringing to you, you do not harm everybody else who honestly seek God, you harm yourself. You turn to Jesus Christ who died for your sins and you say, “That is a bitter experience. I would rather not You had not died for my sins.” That’s what you tell Jesus Christ.
In all the trials and all the things that I went through, I never turned and grumbled or said, “This is a hard teaching.” I was perplexed. I didn’t understand. I was confused, I was angry, I was frustrated. I didn’t know why God didn’t act or make things clearer. I wanted to die to myself more. Well there is no other Word of Life and it is the Word of Life. They may find it hard, they may find it impossible, I glory that it is impossible but it throws me on the mercy seat. It causes me to plead for His life. I eat of Him, I eat of His bread, I must have Him.
John 6:61 – Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you?”
Oh, you don’t like the tone, you don’t like the manner, you don’t like the cross, you don’t like the demands? You have to give up everything and you whine that all this has to be surrendered to the Lord. You don’t like it.
My flesh doesn’t like it. But I ignore my flesh. When I eat the bread it gives life and when I drink the blood it gives me strength.
In Numbers 11:6, this is how the people responded to manna. They’re tired of hearing about it and they’re tired about the message of the cross. They’re tired of this same old manna over and over again. What is life to some people, what is joy to them, becomes something nauseating to everybody else. Why do you think all the gimmicks survive in the churches today? They want something more entertaining and more exciting. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know we have to feed off of Jesus Christ. We know we have to eat of His bread, and we know we have to deny self. We know we have to hate our own life, yeah, we know all of those things. Is there not something else we can eat?” Where’s the joy, where’s the life, where, where, where?
Numbers 11:6 – But now we have lost our appetite…
Moses you have pushed us all the way to the point now that we have lost our appetite. We don’t even feel like eating. Oh, you big babies. Selfish brats. God provides us the bread of life and you’re getting a little tired of it and it’s not all about you and whether you feel hungry or not. It’s not about whether you feel thirsty for God or not. It’s not about those kinds of things. God isn’t here to entertain you. He isn’t here to bless you like the world is blessed.
Numbers 11:6 – But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!
Everywhere we look it’s the same crop. It’s the same message, it’s everywhere Moses and we’re sick and tired of it. He gives them the bread of life, what angels eat and this is the attitude of man. This is the attitude of disciples who are out in the desert. This is an attitude of people that have been saved by Jesus Christ. They have lost their appetite for God. As you begin to carry your cross, as you begin to follow Jesus Christ, a lot of you are going to be tempted to lose your appetite for God. A lot of people will turn back having lost their appetite a long time ago and you’ll be tempted to lose your appetite also. The cross is not going to get any easier and it’s not going to be defined in some other way. The message is not going to change. And what God wants to seek and will and work in your life, He’s not going to alter to suit your opinion.
Numbers 11:7-8 – The manna was like coriander seed and looked like resin. The people went around gathering it, and then ground it in a handmill or crushed it in a mortar. They cooked it in a pot or made it into cakes. And it tasted like something made with olive oil.
They didn’t even know what it tasted like, it’s not even familiar. And you have to work at it, don’t you? The manna just doesn’t come down with a nice little honey chocolate flavor or whatever you want it to be. You gotta do something! You gotta grind it. You gotta bake it, you gotta cook it. It’s still the same thing, no matter how it comes out. Why do you think people often say to me, “Don’t you ever preach anything else?” Yeah, I preach manna baked one time, then I preach manna crushed over here, but it’s all manna. I know a lot of you want a vacation and you want something different to eat and somewhere else to go. It’s not going to change. You have to eat His flesh and drink His blood if you want life. If you want eternal life. Its taste is not overpowering. This is not entertaining, this is not just a fun thing to do.
Numbers 11:9 – When the dew settled on the camp at night…
How quietly does Jesus Christ speak? Now a lot of you have been rebuked sharply and loudly, but not continually day in and day out. And if you’ll notice something, it gets quieter and quieter the longer you’re in Jesus Christ, until eventually nobody talks. Because the bread of life comes like dew. It doesn’t come in all your plans and all your programs and all your fastings and all your weeping. It’s there in the morning. It comes during the night, and it comes quietly. You don’t even hear it rain and fall. It’s a quiet experience. It’s not something that you throw to pigs, it’s a pearl you hold inside. It’s a quietness of spirit, a quietness of trust like scripture says. It’s like dew. A lot of you are too noisy, too restless, too opinionated, too searching after your own sins in your own heart to gather up the dew that’s quietly there. You ignore it.
Numbers 11:9 – When the dew settled on the camp at night, the manna also came down.
It comes in the darkness. We don’t know how it comes, but it comes quietly while we sleep, not by our effort or our striving.
Numbers 11:10 – Moses heard the people of every family wailing, each at the entrance to his tent…
You walk among this congregation, among that church over there. They’re standing in the front of their houses wailing about how miserable it is. They are sick and tired of this manna and they’re tired of the cross and they’re tired of feeding on Jesus Christ. I had a church like that and every house that you went to before you got in it was wailing.
Numbers 11:10 – The LORD became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled.
This is the most troubling aspect about Jesus Christ, that when you begin to reject the blood of Jesus Christ and you begin to reject the bread of Jesus Christ, there is nothing left to reject. It is the rejection of all rejection. Every work will be defiled. Everything will have maggots in it, nothing will come out right. I don’t care what we do, or what He’s even called us to do. God called them to go to the desert, didn’t He? He called them to march out there, they engaged in battle, but their daily food ended in weeping and wailing at the entrance of their tent. Their food was full of maggots and it stunk. And if we want our labors to smell like that, if we want everything to deteriorate, if you want to lose what you have worked for, then stop feeding on the Son of Man. Stop surrendering.
In John 6:62, Jesus turns to His disciples and says,
John 6:62 – What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before!
You know, what if you see heaven’s doors open? What if God passes you through all the heavens and you see Jesus Christ sitting on His throne? Will it change you? Will it make you any more righteous?
Suppose God has tongues of fire dance upon our heads again like He did at Pentecost. Will it make us any different? Suppose God gives you the insights, suppose God comes to you and says, “I will answer every single prayer exactly how you want it answered right now.” Would it transform you? Would it make you any different? Would you fall more in love with Him? You must eat His flesh, you must drink His blood.
John 6:62-63 – What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing…
Our praying means nothing, our evangelism means nothing, our memorization of scripture means nothing. All of the things that we think that we do for Jesus Christ, if we do them in the flesh mean nothing. It must be Jesus Christ doing them.
John 6:63 – The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.
This does away with the whole thing that the Catholics believe that the grape juice becomes a little blood of Jesus Christ and the bread actually becomes His flesh. Oh that it were that simple, my sinful nature would say. That it were that simple, that it would be just a matter of, “Okay, I believe grape juice becomes blood and I believe bread becomes flesh.” Jesus Christ is saying, “My words are spirit and the spirit is life.” You have to eat of the Son of Man. It’s the spiritual food, it’s in your heart. It falls at night, it comes whenever He brings it, it’s when that grace is there.
John 6:64 – Yet there are some of you who do not believe…
And what have we come to understand about belief? We have come to understand that they will not eat and they will not drink. Not that they just believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Demons know that. It is a belief that they will not put into action to eat and to drink. They’re unbelieving believers. They’re rebellious believers. They are selfish believers.
John 6:64 – For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him.
This isn’t all that complicated. I don’t want to remove anything from the majesty of God. But if I take rice seed and I go to Saudi Arabia and I put it in the sand, is it going to grow? I’d be considered a fool. You don’t grow rice in Saudi Arabia. In the same way, God knows those hearts that will eat of Him. It’s not hard to look out and to see. What should we do with this passage? Throw up our hands and say, “Well maybe I’m one of those, so I will not even try.” How about falling down before God and saying, “Though I be one of those, change my heart.”
John 6:65 – He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”
I pleaded with you that when Jesus Christ calls you into relationship with God, take the grace at that time. Don’t fit it into your schedule. I don’t care if you’re on your way to work, I don’t care if it’s lunch hour. I don’t care if you’re in bed. Get out of bed, do whatever grace is calling you to do at that moment. And if Jesus Christ is calling you to open your mouth, open your mouth. If He’s calling you to shut your mouth, shut your mouth. Whatever grace is working. Be obedient. Eat of the Son of Man, drink of His blood and you will be alive in Him. He will enable, He will strengthen, but you have to be obedient. It’s called surrender.
John 6:66 – From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
They would not eat. They would not drink. God found fault with their hearts and would not enable them. I’ve seen people like that. Many come and go. Lots of reasons I couldn’t even tell you why. But you just know grace is not there. God found they would not respond and so why try? I don’t pretend to know the wisdom of God or to understand all of this. I just know that He knows. I know the disciples can get close to Jesus Christ. Disciples can hear these words. Disciples can understand these words, and so it should be with fear and trembling we plead with God to enable us to do it. This is not some bravado thing, “Okay, now I’m going to eat the flesh of the Son of Man. Okay, now I’m going to drink.” Many disciples turned back and no longer followed. You should approach it with fear and trembling.
Turn to Acts 7:39. I want to dispel for a moment that sitting in the pews means something. You may be sitting here, but where’s your heart?
Acts 7:39 – But our fathers refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him . . .
And in rejecting Him, did they all just turn and leave and go back to Egypt? Did they physically move and get a change of address card and go there? It says:
Acts 7:39 – …in their hearts they turned back to Egypt.
You can be sitting in the pews here and your heart is in Egypt. Your heart is for yourself or the comfort of this world or whatever you want—your reasons, your justifications, you can just sit there.
“In their hearts they turned back to Egypt.” Do not pride yourself on the fact that, “Oh, I didn’t turn my back on Jesus Christ.” What’s in your heart? It’s not hard to tell really? Are there maggots in the manna? Is there a stench in the afternoon? Is there bad fruit at the end of the day? Or does it smell of life? Does it speak of the Son of Man? Does it have His blood and His life in it? I don’t mean, is it perfect? But does it smell of His life? What does your life speak of? What is the fruit? The works, the projects, the prayers, the labors, the speaking, the study of scripture. Listening to sermons, the reading of books, the things that you go through, the people that you know. Who do you fellowship with? Does it speak of maggots or manna? It shows what’s in your heart. He reveals what is in your heart, where it really sits.
In John 6:67, Jesus turns to His disciples and says,
John 6:67 – “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
You know, if Jesus knew who would follow Him, why did He ask? It’s like a husband who would turn to His wife and say, “I don’t need to tell you or show you that I love you, you just know that I do.” We don’t have anything in Jesus Christ until we act on it. It is in the labor of going out and getting the manna, grinding it, baking it, doing all that we are called to do that we have the manna, that we have the bread of life. It’s not enough to turn to the living God and say, “Oh God, you know that I want you.” Then ask. Then move forward on scripture. Do what God commands. Listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit.
John 6:68 – Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go?”
And this isn’t a whine, this isn’t a complaint and I’ve heard people quote this passage with that attitude. Well, where can I go? Where should I go? He has the words of life. There’s nowhere else I can go. But in their heart and in their voice, what I picked up on in their inflection is there’s just nowhere else to go. But if there was a place to go and if there was an option, if there was someplace somewhere else I could go, I would be there. That’s not what they are saying here, that’s not what they are declaring. You have the words of eternal life. Jesus Christ is drawing the love out of their heart. He’s drawing the conviction out of their heart. Do you realize that every situation that God brings you into in this body, with other people that you meet, in our fellowship with one another, what God is trying to draw out of you is to say, “I know that this is eternal life.” And to say it with joy, to say it with excitement and to say it with faith and to press on with a joyful kind of obedience.
John 6:68 – …You have the words of eternal life.
He’s not saying this in a calloused way. He’s not saying this because there’s no other options. He is saying this because he knows that this is where the joy is and this is where the resurrection is and I would go no other place if there were any other option. That is what he is saying.
John 6:69 – We believe…
And not only do we believe, what does it say? We know, we know this is eternal life and there is nowhere else. You have the words of life. You are the words of life and they are saying with the conviction that resides deep within their heart and nothing will move them. But how easy we’re moved by some other doctrine or other wind of teaching or a book that comes our way or somebody’s little opinion over here or somebody’s complaint over here. We’re not saying we know. We’re saying, “I’m not sure.” We’re saying, “I’m not so completely convinced that this is joyful. I’m not sure Jesus Christ is this, I’m not sure the message of the cross is really what it is.” These people are leaving. Multitudes have grumbled and complained. This is what the disciples have seen. Disciples have left and Jesus Christ turns to them and what’s their response? A hung head? Self-pity that everybody left thinking, “Oh, maybe they got something.” This is a hard teaching. They’ve got every logical reason to say, “I shouldn’t be here. This isn’t the truth. This isn’t what I want. Maybe this isn’t right.” They’ve heard the arguments of the Jews. They’ve heard the grumbling of disciples. They know that it’s hard and what is their response? That this is life.
John 6:69 – We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.
That’s what burns in their heart and that’s why Jesus Christ uses all of these other situations to draw out what is in our hearts. This isn’t bravado, this isn’t self-effort, this isn’t something they conjure up at the moment. All the pressure, all the external things that are there. Everything that is around them would induce them to say, “I’m not sure.”
It’s the old “come to me when the situation is convenient” and don’t come to me bragging about something when there’s no pressure. Come to me when you are under conviction. Come to me when you are under a lot of pain. Come to me when everybody is leaving you. Come to me when you can’t out-argue the person. Come to me when Satan is attacking you and you still are full of joy and you still are full of love for Jesus Christ and nothing will move you. Come to me then. Come to me when Jesus Christ has set the situation up in your life and you stoop up and you declared, “I believe and I know.” That is faith; that is love for Jesus Christ. That is feeding on Jesus Christ. Anything else is a lie and a sham and whitewash.
John 6:70 – Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you…”
It gets more fearful than this,
John 6:70 – …the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!
How many devils sit in the church? How many devils are close to Jesus Christ? Woe unto those that are this close to Jesus Christ and hear these words and agree with these words but don’t eat of the Son of Man and don’t drink of His blood. Let us look for the maggots now. Let’s pay attention to the stench that is there that we not be a devil. Because He has the words of life. Let no man turn his back on Him.
Let’s go ahead and pray.
Father, You have the words of life and You are the author of life. And though our flesh might complain and though our spirits become troubled, let our hearts beat Father. Enable us with Your grace to know when to believe that You’re the author of life and with You is eternal life. Remove from us Father, the lies in our hearts and the coldness that would be there and the selfishness that lingers. Enable us oh Lord, to love You. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
This transcription has been edited to a reader friendly format. Every effort has been made to be true to the speaker’s original message. Any mistranslations are unintentional.