Fairmont First Baptist Church
At the Table: Begining and Ending at the Table (Week 1)
- Walking in Sunlight, All of My Journey
- Blessed Assurance
- IntroWe don’t always have a super great relationship with food these days.9% of americans will suffer from some sort of eating disorder in their life10,200 deaths each year are the direct result of an eating disorder—that’s one death every 52 minutes.We also are more and more cut off from where our food comes fromStory about HaitiHave to ask a question: What does feasting look like for the modern believer?This four-week series examines how the table becomes a setting for joy, unity, and vulnerability.When Christians have a healthy biblical theology of food, they are able to recognize God’s provision through the table as a way to meet our need for physical and relational sustenance.This week we are starting at the begining…and at the end!God also said, “Look, I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the surface of the entire earth and every tree whose fruit contains seed. This will be food for you, for all the wildlife of the earth, for every bird of the sky, and for every creature that crawls on the earth—everything having the breath of life in it—I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good indeed. Evening came and then morning: the sixth day.Then I heard something like the voice of a vast multitude, like the sound of cascading waters, and like the rumbling of loud thunder, saying, Hallelujah, because our Lord God, the Almighty, reigns! Let us be glad, rejoice, and give him glory, because the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his bride has prepared herself. She was given fine linen to wear, bright and pure. For the fine linen represents the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, “Write: Blessed are those invited to the marriage feast of the Lamb!” He also said to me, “These words of God are true.”What does the broad stroke of scripture say about food?Sometimes we forget that this this is one story.While Scripture is made up of separate books, it is also one story about God and us, his people.Food shows up in the very first pages of Scripture and the very last.It impacts every aspect of our lives, and it plays a large part in the overall arc of God’s story.The human body and the food to nourish that body were created by God and declared good (Genesis 1:29–31).After the fall of humankind and the great flood, God repeats his mandate, this time adding meat in Genesis 9:3.From the feasts (Leviticus 23) to Jesus’s tendency to dine with sinners, the table has been a place that reveals the heart of God.All of this culminates with the grandest feast of all, the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:6–9), when all is made right and the kingdom of God is experienced in its totality.The food we eat is a reminder of God’s faithfulness and provision.Man is the climax of creation,Instead of man providing the gods with food, God provided the plants as food for manFood can become its own idol.We look to it for comfort, eat when we are bored, or see it as means to the perfect physique and acceptance.We eat too much or not enough.We purchase our food as neatly packaged parcels from the local supermarket, removing us from the reality that the very things our body needs to survive are dependent on God, who is the sustainer of all life.The believer can easily succumb to a theology of food that is far from what the Bible teaches.Food is neither savior nor enemy.Instead, it is a good gift God has provided for his people and we can receive it with thanksgiving.The Psalmist invites us to ‘taste and see that the Lord is good’ (Psalm 34:8).Taste and see that the Lord is good. How happy is the person who takes refuge in him!The goodness of creation, its delectability, but also God’s delight in its beauty, cannot really dawn on us so long as we reduce food to a product of our own hands or turn it into a commodity for purposes of power and profit. Food is a gift of God given to all creatures for the purposes of life’s nurture, sharing, and celebration. When it is done in the name of God, eating is the earthly realization of God’s eternal communion-building loveWhen we look at food as a duty to fasting or feasting—as something we have to do—we miss the divine beauty built into our lives, according to God’s design.Food and the process of growing and harvesting that food is a process that reveals our dependence on the land, each other, and God for sustenance.Feasting and fasting are rhythms of life.While food is indeed a gift that we are to receive with joy, there will also be times of fasting to remind us that food is not all we need.Look no further than the Israelites wandering in the wilderness: (Deuteronomy 8:3).He humbled you by letting you go hungry; then he gave you manna to eat, which you and your ancestors had not known, so that you might learn that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.Food’s role in the larger gospel story is varied.We see it as a bone of contention between two brothers, Jacob and Esau, in Genesis 25:29–34.The Jewish feasts lined out in Exodus 23 help us see the way food serves as a reminder to rest, give thanks, and celebrate.Psalm 104:10–15 celebrates God’s glorious provision, through the land, to “gladden” and “strengthen man’s heart.”In Matthew 11:18–19, we learn that John and Jesus are reviled for the ways they have abstained or partaken.Jesus foretells his death through a meal in Luke 22:14–20.The early church meets together often, “breaking bread” (Acts 2:42, 20:7).Finally, we come to the last pages of the book of Revelation, when a new and glorious feast is upon us, the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:6–9). This feast is the moment when the believer will truly “taste and see that the LORD is good” (Psalm 34:8) in all his fullness.In Revelation 19, the time has come to celebrate.Think of the most opulent wedding reception you’ve ever experienced, multiply it by the glory of God, and you will get what is about to go down.In a culminating celebration of God and his bride, the church, now ready and pure (vv. 7–8), will be united with her Bridegroom.They will feast. Believer and Savior will eat together and live in fellowship.The final battle has been won (Revelation 19:2), and peace will reign.Charles Spurgeon writes, “There will come a day when all who have died shall have been raised, again, from the tomb, and those who remain alive shall have been changed, so that their corruption shall have put on incorruption, and mortality shall have put on immortality. Then will the Church be perfect and complete. No one member will be missing. There will be no spot or wrinkle remaining in her. Then it shall come to pass that Christ will celebrate this marriage supper, which will be the bringing of the people of God into the closest and happiest union with Christ their Lord in Glory” (C. H. Spurgeon, “The Marriage Supper of the Lamb” [sermon, Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington, London, August 21, 1887], Spurgeon’s Sermons, vol. 41 , Christian Classics Ethereal Library website, https://www.ccel.org/ccel/spurgeon/sermons41.xxxv.html).Many of us harbor baggage or confusion about food, its sources, and its purposes.When we look beyond the ideas that food is only fuel or that food only relates to the size of our jeans, we can see God’s good and divine purpose for a God-created dependence on food.Exploring how we grow in gratitude, understanding, communion, and unity around the table helps the believer to trust in God and revel in the nourishment of mind, body, and spirit that comes from feasting at the table.Food does not have to be the enemy, but a daily reminder of God’s provision now and to come
- I Surrender All
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