Sermon:  Soul Food

Summary:  The bread of this world, which represents that which is physical and temporal, 
is temporary and will perish.  Therefore we need to work not for that bread, but for the 
bread of life which beings eternal life, which is Jesus himself, not Jesus as we want him 
to be, which is idolatry.  When this happens, God allows us to come to Jesus.

Know:  All that the world has to offer, whether it is worldly pleasure, worldly success, 
accumulation, etc. will not give life and will not ultimately satisfy, only Jesus can.

Feel:  The positive desire to center and build life on Jesus

Do:  Reflect on what your actions demonstrate you truly desire in life and evaluate on 
where it will lead.  Consider ways that "religion" distorts Jesus into something of our own 
liking and how this affects us.  Identify ways weekly communion and other reflective 
activities can assist in a regular refocus on what is truly important and what will truly bring 
satisfaction and peace, which is Jesus himself.

Scripture Reading:  Isaiah 55:1-3

Text:  John 6

1.  Soul Food - Had no idea what soul food was
	a.  Chicken gizzards and livers, chicken fried steak, gravy, cracklins, etc.
	b.  Also black eyed peas, cabbage, greens sweet potatoes, etc.
	c.  Food that stick to your ribs, and satisfies (even when you don't have 
2.  Satisfaction is what many want
3.  There were people following Jesus because they wanted satisfaction

I.  (v.1-14) First, they receive bread for the body
	A.  Imagine what that must have been like to feed all those people
		1.  I remember what it was like planning summer camp
			a.  Fed about 50 campers plus the staff
			b.  I wasn't directly involved, but saw what they had to do
			c.  Had to make a list, and make sure they purchase enough 
			     for everyone so they didn't come up short
		2.  But this was not 50 campers, but 5,000 hungry people!
			a.  That is about the population of the town I grew up in!
			b.  Have you ever been in a crowd of 5,000 people before?
		3.  Jesus does it very simply
			- Jesus begins to hand out the food, and there is enough!
		4.  In fact, there are leftovers - What does this indicate?
			a.  These folks had more than enough food
			b.  They were "full"   
	B.  This was a "sign" - What does it "mean?"
		1.  Was during the Passover season - What was on their minds?
			a.  God delivered his people from bondage
			b.  Leads them into the wilderness, feeds them miraculously
			c.  Now here they are in the wilderness again being fed 
			     miraculously again -- by Jesus!
		2.  God is raising up another Moses!
			a.  Dt 18:15 - God would raise up a prophet like Moses
			b.  They recognize that God is going to perform another 
			      mighty act of deliverance!
			c.  There is going to be another "Exodus" with this prophet
			d.  This will be a "new" passover
		3.  They are "excited" and are ready to follow him, probably to the 
	C.  But Jesus sneaks away.  Why?
		1.  (v.15) - Were going to take him by force and make him King
		2.  What is wrong with that?
			a.  They wanted to be in control
				- They had their own agenda
				- Not interested in submission to God's agenda
				- This Messiah will do it for them
			b.  Isn't the first time God's people wanted a king for self-
			     centered purposes
				- Israelite monarchy originated in this way
				- Israelite monarchy was basically a disaster
				- Filled with kings that were a reflection of the self-
				  centered and wicked people
			c.  Jesus will be king on his own terms
		3.  What they are doing is basically idolatry - How?
			a.  What is an idol?  What do all idols have in common?
				- It is a created god of your own liking
				- You set the rules for what your idol is like or wants
				- You are basically the one in control
			b.  People try to do the same thing with Jesus
				- To some, he is a sage or philosopher, nothing more
				- To others, he is a radical social revolutionary
				- To others, he is a mysterious figure we can know 
				   little about historically
				- The list goes on with each new version of Jesus that 				   is 				   popularized in the media
		4.  Jesus is NOT going to be someone's "idol" -- He is GOD
			a.  We are created in his image, not other way around
			b.  Afterwards, he walks on the water
				- Demonstrates he is God once again
				- Ps 89:9 - "You rule the swelling of the sea, when its 
			    	   waves rise, you still them…" - Jesus is ruler of sea
			c.  (v.19-20) - Literally, "I AM, do not fear." - He is God
			d.  Jesus is not going to be their idol, so he left the crowd.
	D.  (v.24-25) - They all get into boats and go looking for him

II.  Jesus offers them bread for the soul
	A.  The image of "bread" becomes central
		1.  Jesus fed their body with bread
		2.  Jesus moves to their need for a different kind of bread
	B.  Characteristic of this bread 
		1.  (v.51) - It is "living bread"
			a.  (v.26-27) - It endures to eternal life
				- (v.33) - It gives life to the world
				- (v.35) - It is Jesus, he who comes to him will never
				  hunger, he who believes never thirst
			b. Similar thought to the "living" water with the Samaritans
				-  Drink living water, never thirst again, spring of life
				-  This bread will bring true life for eternity
			c.  There is a deeper hunger beyond physical hunger
				- True hunger, if not satisfied, can lead to death
				- This is a hunger of the soul, will also lead to death
				- It can only be satisfied with true, living bread
		2.  (v.32) It is "true" bread
			a.  This insinuates that there is also "false" bread
			b.  There are many, many kinds of bread
	C.  ILL:  I am reminded of this when I go to the store
		1.  What I am sent to the store for bread, have to ask, "what kind?"
		1.  Go to the store, how many kinds of bread are there?
			a.  White, wheat, rye, whole grain, potato, buns, muffins, 
			     rolls, croissant, banana nut, donuts, etc.
			b.  Then there are twinkies 
				- This is pseudo bread, psuedo food
				- Doesn't go bad, because it is not food 
				- Can't live off of this
		2.  So many kinds of bread to choose from
	D.  There are many kinds of bread, but only one is true bread for the soul 
		1.  This is true soul food, only it will satisfy
		2.  **Don't fall for cheap imitations or false bread, there are many

III.  The types of bread
	A.  Worldly bread 
		1.  That is things of this world, not the bread from Heaven
		2.  It is whatever we use to try and find satisfaction in life
			a.  Popularity, worldly success, accumulation, acceptance of 
			     your friends, money, power, etc.
			b. Things that say, "look at me, I am somebody, important"
			c.  So subtle - "I have to do this, it is important"
				- But don't have time for God, prayer, Bible, service
				- Too busy taking care of important things
				- Likes people to say, "Wow, look how dedicated, 
				   hardworking, and successful he is"
			d. God usually becomes an afterthought
		3.  What will happen to this bread?
			a.  v.27 - Do not work for the food which perishes…
			b.  It will go stale, it will go bad, it will mold
		4.  What will happen if you live on this bread?
			a. v.49 - Your fathers ate manna in the wilderness and died
			b. This bread is a dead end
			c.  Lk 12:23 - Life more than food, body more than clothing
				- More than accumulation, popularity, acceptance…
				- It is a dead end
			d.  Judas found out it was a dead end - (v.71)
				- He sold Jesus out for a price
				- He regretted it so much he took his own life
	B.  Religious Bread - Seems better doesn't it?
		1.  These Pharisaic Jews, scribes, doctors of the law, etc. ate it
			a.  Prayed long, beautiful prayers in public
			b.  Some gave large sums of money
			c.  Observed fasts, festivals, attended synagogue, obeyed 
			     the law down to tithing even bits of spices
			d.  Studied the law and knew all the loopholes 
		2.  Interesting…many also said, "hey look at me, I'm somebody 
		3.  Looked much better, didn't grow mold…
			a.  But neither does a twinkie
			b.  What happens if you try to live on nothing but twinkies?
			c.  It is empty, not real food
		4.  The religious bread of these Jews did not bring life either
	C.  The "true" bread"
		1.  (v.48, 51) The true bread of life is Jesus, the word become flesh
			a.  Reminded of this every week at communion
			b.  Bread of life is not talking about the bread and juice
				- Consider the events:  Jesus just fed 5,000
				- Now he tells them they need "true" bread for life
				- The true bread is not communion bread, (you can 
				   eat of it and still die, like manna) - it is Jesus
				- Life comes from Jesus, not from communion bread 
				  or manna, or anything like that
			c.  v.53, 63-64 - True life is not from the literal bread
				- The Spirit/breath gives life
				- The word of God is the breath of God, 2 Tim 3:16
				- Jesus is the word of God. Jn 1:14
			d.  We are "reminded" of this at communion
		2.  How do you take this bread?????
			a.  Some thought to "seize" Jesus and make him king
			b.  This is not how he works, he is not a commodity
			c.  Other examples of those who tried to use Jesus:
				- Acts 19:13 - 7 sons of Sceva tried to cast out 
				   demons in the name of Christ, backfired
				- Acts 8:18 - Simon wanted to buy the Spirit
				- This was idolatry
			d.  Cannot "take" this bread
		3.  (v.44, 65) It is "given" bread (not "taken" bread)
			a.  You cannot seize it, but you can receive it - in his terms
			b.  v.35-36 - 
				- He who believes in me will never thirst (or hunger)
				- Not he who seizes me, or uses me for an agenda
				- God grants it to those who believe
			c.  If I believe, I will accept Jesus, believe and follow him
				- (v.56) - Jesus lives in us, we live in Christ
				- We think his thoughts, we do what he wants, etc.
			d. ILL: Like eating bread, bread becomes a part of me
				- No longer has its one separate identity
				- It does my bidding
				- That is what happen when we are in Christ
		4.  (v.66-69) - Disciples found Jesus was the true bread of life
			a.  They continued to believe and follow him, obey him
			b.  They placed themselves in the hands of Jesus
			c.   That is the only place you need to be
	D. Heard this Poem on Radio:  It All Depends on Whose Hands It's In
A basketball in my hands is worth about $19. A basketball in Michael Jordan's hands is worth about $33 million. It depends on whose hands it's in... A baseball in my hands is worth about $6. A baseball in Mark McGuire's hands is worth $19 million. It depends on whose hands it's in... A golf club is useless in my hands. A golf club in Tiger Wood's hands is a 4 Major Golf Championships It depends on whose hands it's in... A rod in my hands will keep away a wild animal. A rod in Moses' hands will part the mighty sea. It depends on whose hands it's in... A sling shot in my hands is a toy. A slingshot in David's hands is a mighty weapon. It depends on whose hands it's in... Two fish and five loaves in my hands is a couple of fish sandwiches. Two fish and five loaves in Jesus' hands will feed thousands. It depends on whose hands they're in... Nails in my hands might produce a bird house. Nails in Christ Jesus' hands will produce salvation for the entire world. It depends on whose hands they're in... As you see now it depends on whose hands it's in. So put your concerns, worries, fears, hopes, dreams, families and relationships in God's Hands. Because, It depends on whose hands they're in.
Concl: 1. Whose hands are you in? (inv) a. Only in his hands can you receive the bread of life b. Only in his hands can you be truly satsified 2. Jesus is first, he is what you truly need, he is true bread ======================== Small Group Notes: Soul Food Summary: The bread of this world, which represents that which is physical and temporal, is temporary and will perish. Therefore we need to work not for that bread, but for the bread of life which beings eternal life, which is Jesus himself, not Jesus as we want him to be, which is idolatry. When this happens, God allows us to come to Jesus. Open - What type of bread are you today? All natural? Rye? Moldy? Crusty? Easy to butter up? Explore (John 6) 1. Why did Jesus feed 5000 people who had been following him? In what ways did this become a "teachable moment" for the people, and for his disciples? 2. What does it appear the people were looking for, what were their expectations? What was the problem with this? 3. What did the people really need and why? 4. What did Jesus want them to learn and do? Apply 5. Take a look at your daily activities, attitudes and thoughts. What do they demonstrate is important in your life? 6. What is the main reason you follow Jesus? 7. If someone were to ask, "How do you hunger and thirst after the Lord," what would you tell them? 8. What possible ways might your religious familiarity with Jesus (from Sunday school stories, parochial school, etc.) obscure you from seeing who he really is? 9. What can help assist you in really seeing Jesus as he is, and following him and not some caricature of him? (What role can weekly communion and other reflective activities play in this? Prayer (Note: This is the final Life Group for this cycle. Sunday evening summer series begins next week at 6 p.m. at the building.)