EVANGELISM AND THE GOSPEL – 5 Aug 2005

Jn 6:47-71   The Bread of Life; Living Bread; Eat My Flesh – Drink My Blood; Many Jews, including Yeshua’s disciples, offended; Not all who are chosen believe in Jesus

Tonight we take the Lord’s Supper together and remember His death until He comes.  The New Covenant is founded upon the death on the cross of the Son of God/ the Son of Man – His blood poured out mixed with water after He died for my sins and yours – and His resurrection from the dead to live forevermore.

Nine times in this chapter (v. 27,39,40,44,47,50,51,54,58) Jesus refers to us having life in Him (live forever; everlasting life; not die; raised up on the last day).  Messiah plainly states that the resurrection of believers will be on the last day (in other words, not on some day years earlier).

There are several other points which this portion teaches us about the gospel and the Kingdom of Heaven: 
–Jesus makes claims which only God can.  He Himself alone is sufficient for sacrificing His body in order to give life, not only now in this life, but life eternal to those who believe in Him truly.  This is ourtestimony.  Yeshua compares and contrasts Himself to the manna which our fathers received from Heaven, and ate and died.  He is the Bread of Life, the Living Bread, who Himself came down from Heaven to feed the world, that whosoever eats of this bread will not die but live forever.  The fathers called the bread of the desert manna because they did not know what it was.  Jesus is identifying Himself as the Bread from the Father who gives us life; He is known; He is the Word of God, which was His food, and is to be our food.  Man does not live by bread alone, but by every thing (or word) which proceeds from the mouth of God.

–Jesus is not reticent to say things which shake – even offend – the sensibilities of other people, especially to those who profess to be religious or God’s people.  This was true of the Jews in His day, and still applies to them today, but also to professing Christians, whether Jewish or Gentile.  To be close to Jesus requires more, and distinguishes us more from the world.  Even His own disciples, and the 12 apostles – those closest to Him – were sometimes offended by His hard sayings.  To be close is to commit ourselves to Him personally and to His teachings; to be faithful to the Lord firstly.

–Jesus tells those who would come to Him that they must eat His flesh and drink His blood in order tohave eternal life and part in the resurrection of the righteous.  It is evident that He is not speaking about literally eating His flesh and drinking His blood (which totally comes against all natural Jewish thinking as taught us all through the Bible), since He was still alive when He spoke this, and also when He spoke similar things to His apostles at the last Passover supper.  But as we have already said, His sacrifice on the cross for our sin, and His resurrection for our justification by faith, is the foundation of God’s covenant of Life.  As redeemed sinners and a kingdom of priests, we must identify and participate in His suffering and death in order to have part in the power of His resurrection.  At baptism we recognize this, and Jesus teaches that this must be the reality of our life as believers:  Messiah and Him crucified, and it is not I that lives, but Messiah in me.

–The Word of God, when spoken to people, including believers and disciples, is a sword:  the flesh resists it, the soul and spirit – even the thoughts and intentions of the heart – are searched out.  For those who do receive the Word, it brings hope, healing, peaceable fruit of righteousness; for those who refuse it and remain offended, the consequences bring pain, conflict, distance (separation) from the Lord and from other disciples and believers.  Many of the Lord’s own disciples stopped walking with Him after being offended by His hard sayings. 

–One can be chosen by God, even to be an apostle, yet not truly believe, and even betray Him.  Our hope and security are not in being chosen only – even Jewish people are all chosen – but in our relationship and fellowship with God the Father, with His Son Jesus Christ, with the apostles, (who by inspiration of the Holy Spirit have written what we need to know about all things that pertain to truth and godliness), and with other believers.  In the death of Messiah – and our eating and drinking of that – is His and our victory and hope and security.

Our Lord Jesus Christ sometimes says hard things which are difficult to hear and to accept.  But the Spirit says that obedience is better than sacrifice, and to love Him and the brethren is to obey Him and to keep His commandments.  It is not our will, but God’s that is to govern us, to be our food.

In another week or so we will be actively expressing our faith – through sport, music, sharing the hope that is in us.  The Holy Spirit brings conviction of sin in people and of righteousness towards God.  We have seen too many examples (and read about others in the Bible, like Simon Magus) of those who claim to be believers – or to have God or Jesus in their heart, or they prayed the “sinner’s prayer” – but do not demonstrate the truth of Jesus being Lord of their life.  There is no change, no repentance from their former life with its thoughts and ways.  If He is my Savior from sin and the one who gives me eternal life through believing in Him, then I owe Him everything:  He has, by His love for me, captured my heart and mind to submit to His rule, to His ways.

 We want to speak truth to people, not promise them what is not in our power or authority to do.  We need to learn to stay with Jesus through good and bad, and to help others come to Him in the reality of His being Lord of all – firstly in our own soul.  As He died for us, we must feed on what that really means, and learn to deny ourselves, pick up our cross daily, and follow the Lamb wherever He goes.  Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  Blessed is the one who is not offended in Him.

Jesus in His death on the cross is our way to God.
The church is people who know God in the glory of the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus is sufficient for all our needs.

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