Sunnyside Church of the Nazarene
Sunday July 28
  • 28 Jul 19
    You’ve heard the saying, “You are what you eat.” There’s a lot of truth to that. What we ingest into our bodies effects how we feel and function. Truthfully, a lot of our physical ailments are due to poor food choices – cardiovascular issues, weight, diabetes, allergies, lack of energy …. We know this – but one of the biggest problems we have is a word called tolerance. We tolerate poor health. Rather than changing what we eat and improving our health – physically and mentally - we tolerate feeling not so good. We tolerate the risk of disease.
    For years, I tolerated feeling like I just ate a buffet – everyday. Until I got sick and tired of being sick and tired and changed. But the bigger motivation was ‘the now,’ but my future. But many people settle for and tolerate sick and tired.
    I’m not here to spoil lunch – don’t worry. Physical food is not really the issue here this morning. Just as people tolerate poor physical health, people tolerate poor spiritual health. They either don’t think about it, care about it or simply tolerate a ‘less than’ spiritual life. And truly, spiritually speaking, “we are what we eat – what we consume, what we pursue.” And just as the right food can change and improve our physical and mental life, so can the right spiritual food.
    In , Jesus fed over 5,000 people with only five loaves of bread and two fish. Truly, a miracle – especially if there were teenagers in the crowd. The next day, Jesus left and went to a town called Capernaum – and many from the crowd went there looking for Him. When they found Him, Jesus said this.
    26 “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.
    They partook of the miracle Jesus did – and they said this guy must be a prophet. Keep in mind that the miracles of Jesus were to draw people into recognizing who He was - to prove He was the Messiah and He had come to rescue and to save. Yet, when they found Jesus, Jesus knew what was going on. He’s like – “You don’t want me. You just want what I can do. You just want more stuff for your own satisfaction.” Not to be sacrilegious – but this is saying, “You just want me for my body.”
    So here’s the question – Do we truly want Jesus – to have a genuine relationship with God, our Creator and Savior? Or, do we only want what God can do or what we think God should do?
    A.W. Tozer wondered how may people would show up to an event if Jesus was the only attraction.
    So, Jesus continued - 27 “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.”
    Jesus is not talking about food food. He’s talking about our spiritual condition (health). He says there are things in this world that you will pursue to satisfy your deepest longings, and they may taste good, seem good – might even say all natural and organic – but it’s still rotten because Jesus isn’t a part of it.
    Everyone has a stomach, and we’re our stomachs are empty we shove food down our throats to satisfy our hunger. Some food satisfies; some makes us wonder why we ate that. Even so, we get hungry again and we eat again.
    Spiritually, everyone has a void inside. We shove all kinds of things into our lives to try to satisfy our desires. We want joy, peace, contentment, feel loved, feel valued … and we search for all kinds of things to feed these desires. Some things satisfy temporarily – but ultimately, they’re not of God. They’re just things …. Our deepest desires are never met in this world with the things of the world. So Jesus said, quit striving for the temporary; for the worldly, for the thing that are not of God – even though they appear healthy and spiritual.
    28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
    Our human default response: just give me the answer; give me the formula; give me the checklist and the 5 steps to this and 10 steps to that and I’ll be on my merry way.
    Jesus said, “Look, if you really want to be filled up in this life, if you really want to be healthy and satisfied - 29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
    This is what God requires of all of us - to believe, trust and to have faith in - not in ourselves or a system, or in anything other than His Son, Jesus, who is the Christ. We are to believe and rely upon and enjoy relationship with Jesus, the one who died upon a cross to take away our sins, to forgive our wrongdoings and reconcile us to the Almighty Living God.
    Everyone knows that eating healthy is best, but knowing doesn’t change anything. That knowledge must be put into action. Everyone knows there is a God, but just knowing doesn’t do anything. That knowledge must be put into action. That action means to confess Jesus as Lord, and to believe He rose from the grave. To believe He died to forgive us and free us and to give us new life now and for eternity.
    In verse 35, Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life.
    His audience would have understood this. When Israel was in the desert for 40 years, God provided manna for them to eat and sustain them. That was physical – they survived on bread – manna - from heaven, but they still died. Physical.
    Jesus said, “I am the true Bread of Life from Heaven. You eat of this bread, you’ll never die!” This is the first of several “I Am” statements. Jesus also said, “I am the Light of the World. I am the Living Water. I am the Good Shepherd. I am the Gate for the sheep. I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. I am the Resurrection. I am the True Vine.” And He also said, “Before Abraham was, I AM.”
    All of that to say, “Whoever believes, trusts in Me will never perish but have everlasting life!” He said, “Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
    In other words, “I will satisfy that void inside – spiritually and emotionally – in this life, but even more so in the next life, in eternity.” Jesus said, 47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
    At this point He’s talking about His death upon a cross. Why did Jesus have to die? It was the only way to cure the human condition of sin. We are naturally rebellious toward God – wanting to be autonomous, living life by our own rules. And the consequences of such living is death – spiritually in this life and eternally in Hell. But God, who so loved the world, who wants no one to perish sent His son into the world, not to condemn, but to save. Christianity is the only religion that offers a cure and a solution to our condition. His name is Jesus.
    We are what we eat. We can consume all kinds of spiritual stuff – and it can appear good, but if it’s not truly healthy, if it’s not truly from the God of the Bible – it’s destructive.
    Don’t tolerate an unhealthy spiritual life. Don’t tolerate an empty spiritual life.
    In just a few moments, we’re going to celebrate communion. Communion is a sacrament of the church – it is done in remembrance that Jesus gave His body and His blood to cleanse us of sin, to purchase our pardon, to declare the guilty innocent.
    If you have never trusted in Christ …
    If you need to recommit to Christ …
    (NIV): As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
    Distribute the bread and juice:
    53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood (consumes, believes) has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 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. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”
    Pray and consume communion
    The People of God have observed baptism for thousands and thousands of years. We have a long and sacred tradition regarding baptism.
    Moses led Israel through the Red Sea. They were saved from their old life of slavery in Egypt - entered the parted sea and emerged on the other side to new life and freedom. Gentile converts to Judaism were baptized as a ritual cleansing, signifying their decision to worship Yahweh.
    Jesus was baptized by John as an act of obedience to fulfill righteousness () and to inaugurate His ministry on earth. And after Peter proclaimed the crucified and risen Christ on the day of Pentecost, the crowd responded in this manner - Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” ().
    Baptism is an important part of the Christian journey. Though we do not believe baptism is a means of salvation, nor does baptism cleanse of sin, we do believe that those who are saved and cleansed in the blood of Christ should celebrate their salvation through baptism.
    Baptism is an outward symbol of an inner grace. Baptism is a public proclamation that one has received Christ Jesus as Savior. The individual has asked for forgiveness of sins, professed Jesus Christ as their Lord and believes that He rose from the dead. As Israel left the old life of slavery and enjoyed a new freedom, baptism is symbolic of new life. The individual is no longer alone, but has been adopted into the Body of Christ, the Church, and is now among brothers and sisters in Christ.
    The symbology of Baptism is simple. Entering the water symbolizes one has died to self, just as Christ died on the cross. Coming out of the water symbolizes newness of life, that Christ has indeed risen. The Apostle Paul wrote in What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
    Baptism is a public proclamation that one has been “… crucified with Christ. And they no longer live, but Christ lives in them. And the life they now live in the flesh they live by faith in the Son of God, who loved us and gave himself for us” ().
    For centuries, the Church has celebrated baptism a sacrament. The word sacrament comes from the Latin word sacramentum. Has a few meanings –
    1) to pledge
    2) an obligation
    3) an oath of allegiance. It was commonly used in the world, especially in the marketplace. A sacramentum was a token or pledge guaranteeing payment in full. In other words, if you made a sacramentum, you made a promise to keep your end of the deal.
    For example, if this cost $100 – I’ll pay you $50 now. I make a sacramentum, a pledge, a promise that I will pay you the other $50 Tuesday. (I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.) I’ll make good on my obligation.
    Baptism - yes is a symbol of God washing away our sin; yes, it’s a symbol of our association with Christ’s death and resurrection, but it’s also a visible pledge, a public proclamation of our promise to Jesus Christ that we will keep our end of the bargain. That we will do our best to carry out our responsibilities of the Christian faith. Baptism is a physical oath of allegiance if you will. It’s a pledge to God that we will fulfill our obligation to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
    Even though one person is baptized at a time, baptism really is a community event – it’s a “family” affair among Brothers and Sisters in Christ. And so I’m going to ask tonight, that we as a community, as a family of believers reaffirm our pledge and our obligation to our Savior. Jesus was baptized and made a pledge or a new covenant with us. His, however, was not a sacramentum, because He paid our debt in full. Ours, is a continuing sacramentum, a continuing debt to love Him and to love our neighbor.
    · Will you be baptized into this faith? If so, answer I will
    · Do you acknowledge Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? If so, answer I do.
    · Will you obey God’s holy will and keep His commandments, walking in them all the days of your life? If so, answer I will.
    · Do you have anything you would like to share?
    For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
    Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
    Take comfort my friends, for the Believer in Christ, death is not final. Death is a type of new birth ….
    Share thoughts.

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