Satisfy Your Righteous Hunger with the Bread of Life

Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Message for Sunday:

‘Satisfy Your Righteous Hunger with the Bread of Life’

© May 27, 2018, by Steve Mickelson

BLCF Bulletin May 27, 2018

Based on a Message Shared at BLCF on September 13, 2015

BLCF Bulletin September 13, 2015

Announcements & Call to Worship; Prayer

Opening Hymn #14: Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart

Offering & Prayer: Hymn #572 Praise God from Whom All Blessings

Responsive Reading #632: God’s Redeeming Love (John 3 & 1John 4)

Message by Steve Mickelson:                                                                                                  ‘Satisfy Your Righteous Hunger with The Bread of Life

 

Let us pray…

Good morning and welcome to BLCF Church Praise and Worship Service.  Remember this Wednesday is our “All For One Fundraiser,” featuring the music of Cold Water Roots, takes place during the BLCF Café Community Dinner. All proceeds from the concert go to feeding the homeless and marginalized at the café. The dinner does not benefit from any government or corporate help or support.

Speaking of feeding the hungry, our lesson today will give us a chance to examine how to ‘Satisfy Your Righteous Hunger with the Bread of Life.’

When we look at today’s two key Scripture verses, which are Exodus 17:1-7 and John 6:22-59, we see two accounts of the People of Israel not only dissatisfied with their lot, actually grumbling about it. I suppose the message could have been given the title: “A Tale of Two Grumblers.” Still, grumbling and quarreling happen amongst members of His Church, though it is not reflective of the Spirit of God.

The first account, from Exodus 17, concerns Moses as prophet and leader of the People of Israel, as he  has to deal with not just their complaints of thirst, but also their demands to be provided with water, Exodus 17:1-7 (ESV):

Water from the Rock

17 All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” So Moses cried to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” And the Lord said to Moses, “Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel, and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the name of the place Massah[a] and Meribah,[b] because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

Footnotes: a. Exodus 17:7 Massah means testing b. Exodus 17:7 Meribah means quarreling

The People of Israel not only grumbled against Moses (Exodus 17:3), they questioned Moses about the presence of God (Exodus 17:7).

It seems that the People of Israel had lost their faith, in spite of all the miracles of God that they had witnessed, including the 10 Plagues of Egypt, the Pillar of Fire, the parting of the Red Sea, and the manna God sent from heaven to feed them.

Rather than honouring God by prayer and trusting Him in faith, the people began to quarrel with Moses and questioned the presence of God in their midst.

We see that God provided for the needs of His people (Israel), by providing manna to eat and water from the rock at (Mount) Horeb. In honour of the bickering Moses received from his people, he named the place “Massah and Meribah”, the respective meaning of Massah being testing and Meribah being quarreling, as the people had quarreled with Moses and they tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

Our second Scripture verse, John 6:22-59, gives us of another account of grumbling and testing by God’s Chosen People, found in John 6:22-59 (ESV):

I Am the Bread of Life

22 On the next day the crowd that remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. 23 Other boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.

25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” 30 So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

41 So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 43 Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— 46 not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread[a] the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 Jesus[b] said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.

Footnotes: a. John 6:58 Greek lacks the bread b. John 6:59 Greek He

 

 

Following the miracle that Jesus had performed, where he multiplied the bread and fish to feed the gathered multitude, a crowd had followed the Lord to Capernaum. Like their forefathers, these Jews sought not because of the miracles performed by God’s supernatural power, but because they hungered for more bread, as we see in John 6:26-27 (ESV):

26 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”

Jesus uses his understanding that the crowds have followed him to Capernaum because of hunger for food, rather than to satisfy their spiritual hunger, which is more important.

Jesus speaks of God’s desire to fill his children’s need for the Spiritual sustenance  through Jesus, who is described as being “the Bread of Life.”

And like their forefathers, the Jews grumbled. They grumbled about Jesus (John 6:41), refusing to believe or to have faith in the Lord being the true manifestation of the “Bread of Life.” Jesus continues to explain that the only path to God’s salvation and grace is by faith in Jesus as the Son of God, (John 6:55-57).

The anxiety that People of Israel exhibited in Exodus 17 and by their descendants, the Jews, in John 6, were hunger of a worldly and physical nature, for water and bread, respectively. Along with their hunger and thirst, came an anxiety that demonstrated a lack of faith in God. Even after being fed, they would eventually die when their physical lives reached their end, (John 6:58-59).

Those who believed and ate from the eternal bread and water that Christ offered would not die, but live forever, (John 6:53-57).

At times, we often see a similar reaction among guests and some volunteers at the BLCF Café Community Dinner. Over the last ten years of its existence, the BLCF Café has hosted a minimum of 100 guests a night, served by 15 to 20 volunteers. Multiply that number by 52 weeks per year and 10 years, we see that we have a conservative estimate of over 62,000 people attending the dinner.

But, it is not the free dinner or bags of bread being the point of the exercise, any more than the feeding fish and bread to the multitude gathered to hear Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Unfortunately, some of our guests and volunteers see the BLCF Café strictly as serving food to hungry people. The prime reason for the dinner is to serve the good news message found in the Gospel of Christ, Jesus.

The importance of nourishing the Spirit should be a greater priority than the feeding the body. Regardless of how much food we serve, unless the Lord returns, we should expect to eventually die. When our guests consume the Spiritual nourishment that comes from Christ’s sacrifice, we may expect the reward of our own forgiveness from the judgment of our sins; our own resurrection from the grave; and our ascension to join the Lord in heaven.

If we grumble and complain amongst ourselves, we are not demonstrating to the world a love and joy that comes from faith in the Lord to believers in the Resurrected Christ. Rather than complaining and grumbling, we should always rejoice in the Lord as seen in Philippians 4:4-8, which is printed on the back of today’s bulletin:

Rejoice in the Lord always

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

This expression of prayer, supplication, thanksgiving, and joy leads to a peace which surpasses all understanding. Our focus should be on the positive aspects of a faith which is pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise. Seeking these is characteristic of the pursuit of righteousness, which we should be the focus of our attention and which leads us no room for us to grumble. By seeking them, we follow a righteous path and are promised to receive the Lord’s blessing:

Matthew 5:6 and 11 (ESV)

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

Let our hunger and thirst be of a righteous in nature, for in this pursuit we cannot find fault in others, as such grumbling is not an expression of Christ-like love and an acknowledgement of the joy that comes from grace of God, by allowing Jesus to be our Lord, Saviour, an example in how we treat others.

Let us pray…

Closing Hymn #177: Rejoice, the Lord is King

Benediction – (Romans 15:5): May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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Mother’s Day Message: Divine Miracles to Satisfy: A Wedding, a Widow, and a Multitude

BLCF: faith_thanking-God_in_advance

Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Message for Sunday:

Divine Miracles to Satisfy: A Wedding, a Widow, and a Multitude

© May 10, 2015 2015 by Steve Mickelson

BLCF Bulletin May 10, 2015

BLCF: God_I_need_a_miracle

 

Announcements & Call to Worship:

Responsive Reading #603 (Divine Providence – Psalm 34);Prayer

Opening Hymn #417: What a Fellowship, What a Joy Divine; Choruses

Tithing and Prayer Requests: Hymn #572: Praise God; Prayers

Today’s Scriptures: John 2:1-12, 2 Kings 4:1-7, Matthew 14:13-21    

 

BLCF: bread-of-life 

 Let us pray…

Good morning and welcome to BLCF Church’s Praise and Worship Service  on this Mother’s Day, Sunday May 10, 2015. I pray the Lord will bring a special blessing to our mom’s attending the service, today.

For our lesson this morning, I would like to examine how the Lord supplies for the needs of those who serve Him faithfully. Today’s lesson, ‘Divine Miracles to Satisfy: A Wedding, a Widow, and a Multitude, began with the reading of three accounts in the Bible, where the Lord responded to needs of His faithful servants by way of a Divine miracle.

The first Scripture, John 2:1-12, describes the miracle at the wedding at Cana:

John 2:1-12 (ESV) The Wedding at Cana

BLCF: thefirstmiracle

2 On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.[a] Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

12 After this he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers[b] and his disciples, and they stayed there for a few days.

Footnotes: a. John 2:6 Greek two or three measures (metrētas); a metrētēs was about 10 gallons or 35 liters b. John 2:12 Or brothers and sisters. The plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) refers to siblings in a family. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, adelphoi may refer either to brothers or to brothers and sisters

In this passage, Jesus was asked by his mother, Mary, to help provide more wine for wedding. The wine had run out and, though Jesus told his mother that his hour had not yet come. Jesus obeyed his mother’s wishes by changing six stone jars of water into wine.

This was the first of the miracles Jesus was to perform as a sign to his disciples of his manifested glory.

The second Scripture, 2 Kings 4:1-7, tells of how widow of one of the sons of the prophets has died, and that a creditor has come to make the widow’s two children his slaves, as payment for the dead man’s debts. The widow asks Elisha to help save her sons:

2 Kings 4:1-7 (ESV) Elisha and the Widow’s Oil

BLCF: widow-oil

4 Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.” And Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?” And she said, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.” Then he said, “Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few. Then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons and pour into all these vessels. And when one is full, set it aside.” So she went from him and shut the door behind herself and her sons. And as she poured they brought the vessels to her. When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not another.” Then the oil stopped flowing. She came and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on the rest.”

In our second Scripture, Elisha asks the widow, what does she have in the house? Her reply is a single jar of oil. The widow is instructed to acquire as many empty vessels as possible, from her neighbors, close the doors and to fill the empty vessels from her single vessel of oil. When all of the empty vessels were filled, the oil stopped flowing. Elisha instructed the widow to sell the oil from the vessels in order to pay off her debts, and that she and her sons live off the rest.

These two accounts, show how the Lord takes care of the needs of the faithful, providing wine for a wedding and oil for an indebted widow.

The third Scripture account, Matthew 14:13-21, describes how Jesus multiplies five loaves of bread and six fish to feed some five thousand men, plus their women and children:

Matthew 14:13-21(ESV)

BLCF: feeding-the-multitude

13 Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. 15 Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 17 They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” 18 And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 19 Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20 And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. 21 And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

In these three miracle accounts, we see that the Lord provided an abundance of wine, oil and food to take care of his faithful servants. Not only do these miracles demonstrate the ‘Glory of God’, they provide food from the earth and wine to gladden the believers’ hearts; oil to make his face shine and to gladden their hearts, as well.

It is appropriate that on Mother’s Day, we see that the first two miracles are in response to requests from His faithful servants, who are mothers seeking the Lord’s help for the needs of others. It is just like a mother, who is faithful to the Lord, to put the needs of others ahead of her own!

In the three Scripture accounts that we studied, we have miracles of the Lord providing an abundance of wine, oil and food, all staples and necessities of life. These miracles demonstrate how God provides for the needs of His own, which the Psalmist acknowledges in, Psalm 104:13-16 (ESV):

13 From your lofty abode you water the mountains;     t

he earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.

14 You cause the grass to grow for the livestock     

and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth 15     

and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine     

and bread to strengthen man’s heart.

16 The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly,     

the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.

BLCF: God_blesses_those

Our righteousness, as demonstrated by our obedience to God, gives us His reward of wine, oil and food, to gladden our hearts. In the same manner, when we honor and obey our parents, we provide joy to our parents. For when we honor our parents, we honor His commandment, Proverbs 23:22-25 (ESV):

22 Listen to your father who gave you life,     

and do not despise your mother when she is old.

23 Buy truth, and do not sell it;     

buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.

24 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice;     

he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him.

25 Let your father and mother be glad;     

let her who bore you rejoice.

BLCF: God Listens

When we are not obedient to the Lord, by not serving God and following His commandments; worshipping other gods, we face His wrath and judgment, Deuteronomy 11:13-17 (ESV):

13 “And if you will indeed obey my commandments that I command you today, to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, 14 he[a] will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the later rain, that you may gather in your grain and your wine and your oil. 15 And he will give grass in your fields for your livestock, and you shall eat and be full. 16 Take care lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them; 17 then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and he will shut up the heavens, so that there will be no rain, and the land will yield no fruit, and you will perish quickly off the good land that the Lord is giving you.

Footnotes: a. Deuteronomy 11:14 Samaritan, Septuagint, Vulgate; Hebrew I; also verse 15

And just as a servant of the Lord may look to Him to provide for the physical needs, Jesus promises to provide for our spiritual needs, John 6:35 (ESV): 

BLCF: I_Am_The_Bread

                                                 

35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

The Divine Miracles shared in today’s lesson are: wine, oil and bread, all multiplied by the power of the Lord. The three  are not just staples of our physical life, providing for the physical needs, when blessed, they are also used as elements of spiritual worship; wine and bread when we remember the Lord as elements of communion and oil to anoint those who seek His healing.

Just as the ordinary elements of these staples of life are transformed to elements of spiritual worship, when blessed through faith, by faith, ordinary people are elevated to a place of sanctification when they accept, by faith, the gifts of the bread of life and living water, given by our Lord and Saviour, Jesus.

The provision of the Devine, both physically and spiritually, is faith’s reward, which gladdens our hearts and glorifies His name. Let us praise His name and share the Gospel of the Lord Jesus unto the ends of the earth and until the end of our days.

Let us pray…

Closing Hymn #408: I Will Sing of My Redeemer

Benediction – (Philippians 4:19-20):  And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen

BLCF: believe

Signs, Faith, and the Bread of Life

BLCF: cross vs doubt sign

Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Message for Sunday:

‘Signs, Faith, and the Bread of Life‘

©January 12, 2014 by Steve Mickelson

BLCF Bulletin January 12, 2014

 

Announcements and Call to Worship:  Responsive Reading #648 (A Challenge to Faith – Hebrews 11 and 12); Prayer

Prayer                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Opening Hymn #248: And Can It Be That I should Gain                                                                                              

Choruses                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Scriptures: Matthew 16:1-12; John 6:35-40; Matthew 27:50-54   

                                                                                  

 BLCF: Polar Vortex

Let us pray…

Just after 12:00 noon, yesterday, my son Jeff had a dental appointment in Maple. After more than a week of snow, ice and Polar Vortex frigid weather, I thought it would be nice that Sophie and I go for a drive, without concern of ice covered roads or heavy snowfall. I did not anticipate that the relatively warm +5⁰ Celsius temperature would allow the formation of thick fog which became progressively thicker as we left Toronto.  Between the veil of low level clouds obscuring exit signs and the yahoos on the highway who insisted upon driving over the posted speed limit  with a lemming-like desire to bring themselves and all those around them into a catastrophic pile up on the highway, the drive was more of a tedious white knuckle trip than expected. A couple of times, we either missed either a road sign or a turn, and ended up taking longer than we expected to reach our destination.

Fortunately, we left early enough so  that we arrived at our destination only  a couple of minutes late, rather than the expected 10-15 minutes early for Jeff’s appointment. It seems that even the Orthodontist had made a wrong turn or two on his way to the clinic, because of the fog obscuring road signs and the landscape.

Ice Fog (680news.com)

Ice Fog (680news.com)

Our message today is a different type of signs. These were signs that God provided to a lost and wayward people, whose faith had become lost or obscured. God provided these signs in order to provide proof of HIS presence, power and authority as the only true God.

BLCF: Salvation_Road

Our first example of a sign from God comes from Exodus 16:4-8 (ESV), where the people of Israel had complained to Moses about their hunger and how God provided manna or bread from Heaven to sustain them:

BLCF: manna_from_God

                                               Bread from Heaven

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily.” So Moses and Aaron said to all the people of Israel, “At evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your grumbling against the Lord. For what are we, that you grumble against us?” And Moses said, “When the Lord gives you in the evening meat to eat and in the morning bread to the full, because the Lord has heard your grumbling that you grumble against him—what are we? Your grumbling is not against us but against the Lord.”

In spite of the fact that the people of Israel had been delivered from bondage in Egypt, they complained. And by complaining to Moses instead of praying to God for a solution, they did not acknowledge HIS presence or authority. And Moses bluntly told them that their grumbling given towards their deliverer was the same as grumbling at God. In spite of this, God provided manna to feed His people.

BLCF: manna

Our second sign from God was the thunder and rain He sent to rebuke the people for not worshiping Him as their king, 1 Samuel 12:16-18 (ESV):

16 Now therefore stand still and see this great thing that the Lord will do before your eyes. 17 Is it not wheat harvest today? I will call upon the Lord, that he may send thunder and rain. And you shall know and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the Lord, in asking for yourselves a king.” 18 So Samuel called upon the Lord, and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day, and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel.

BLCF: AltarLitByGod

Our third example of God’s sign was discussed in a sermon that I shared a few months ago, where Elijah asked God to light an altar so that they would turn away from the false god Baal and restore their faith in the one true God, 1 Kings 18:36-39 (ESV):

36 And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. 37 Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.”

BLCF: Isaiah38

And again in the Book of Isaiah, we see the love and compassion of God, where He extends the life of Hezekiah by fifteen years and even causes the sun to go backwards in the heaven in response to Hezekiah’s prayer,  Isaiah 38:4-8 (ESV):                                                                  

Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: “Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will add fifteen years to your life.[a] I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and will defend this city. “This shall be the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do this thing that he has promised: Behold, I will make the shadow cast by the declining sun on the dial of Ahaz turn back ten steps.” So the sun turned back on the dial the ten steps by which it had declined.[b]                                                                                                                                                                                          

Footnotes: a. Isaiah 38:5 Hebrew to your days  b. Isaiah 38:8 The meaning of the Hebrew verse is uncertain

I think that we a beginning to see a pattern here: that of God’s people drifting away from Him and repeatedly having to be reminded of His presence by way of supernatural signs through succeeding generations, often more than once to a particular generation.

BLCF: SignsOfHIS_Presence

It is not surprising that Jesus finds the Pharisees and Sadducees demanding a sign as proof that Jesus came from Heaven. This request shows how they have a problem of recognizing any authority other than their own, along with an arrogance to assume that they could command God in a manner reminiscent of the priests of Baal in the days of Elijah, Matthew 16:1-12 (ESV):

                           The Pharisees and Sadducees Demand Signs 

16 And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He answered them,[a] “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So he left them and departed.

Demanding signs from Jesus indicates not only a lack of faith and respect on the part of the Pharisees and Sadducees, but a defiance to God’s authority, which brings them the following rebuke, continuing  in Matthew 15, verse 5:

                           The Leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees                                                        

When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” And they began discussing it among themselves, saying, “We brought no bread.” But Jesus, aware of this, said, “O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? 11 How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

The best part of this passage is we learn an understanding that bread is used to describe the teaching of faith. And though the Pharisees and Sadducees had a large following of believers in the time that Jesus walked on earth, their religious teachings were not God’s teachings and therefore constituted false and without faith.

The only important teachings or “bread of life” are those lessons from Jesus, whose word became flesh and whose word is life, John 6:35-40 (ESV):

                                 I Am the Bread of Life

                              BLCF: Manna-bread-of-life

35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

And the promise and prophecy of Jesus was observed upon his death on the cross and resurrection resulted in several supernatural signs as proof of the Lord’s power and authority, Matthew 27:50-54 (ESV):

50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.   

51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, 53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. 54 When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son[a] of God!”                                                                                                                   

Footnotes: a. Matthew 27:54 Or a son

By faith in the sanctification of the cross, the promise of the resurrection, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, we may have a continuous revival of faith and belief that Jesus died for our sins, to pave the way toward a new eternal covenant with our Father in heaven. Let us allow the Holy Spirit into our hearts to continuously renew a revival of a faith that abounds in belief in the restorative power of cross and hope for the promise of the resurrection through our Lord Jesus Christ.

BLCF: Manna Living Bread

And with a better understanding of the meaning of the ‘Bread of Life’, let us pray together the prayer that our Lord Jesus taught us in Matthew 6:9-13 (ESV), as he instructed his disciples to:

Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.[a]
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,[b]
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,[c]
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.[d]                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
                      – Amen

Footnotes: a. Matthew 6:9 Or Let your name be kept holy, or Let your name be treated with reverence b. Matthew 6:10 Or Let your kingdom come, let your will be done c. Matthew 6:11 Or our bread for tomorrow d. Matthew 6:13 Or the evil one; some manuscripts add For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen

Closing Hymn #358: We Praise Thee, O God

Benediction – (Romans 15:13):

 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

BLCF: I_BELIEVE

BLCF; JesusSign

Feeding the Multitude with the Bread of Life

Jesus give his 'Sermon on the Mount'

Jesus gives his ‘Sermon on the Mount’

Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Message for Sunday:

Feeding the Multitude with the Bread of Life’

   © August 4, 2013 by Steve Mickelson

Bulletin August 4, 2013

 

Let us pray…

Last Sunday’s lesson outlined how many people, believers and non-believers alike, tend to confuse the definition of Jesus, the Word made flesh, with that of the Scriptures, being the inspired word of God.

On this Communion Sunday at BLCF, our lesson we focus on how some followers of Jesus, including the Disciples’, misunderstood what Jesus meant by the “Bread of Life”. This confusion may have arisen because prior to his sermon, the Lord has performed a miracle of feeding the multitude gathered on the Mount of Olives. But before we look at this miracle, let us briefly review the importance and impact of the Lord’s message, which is summarized by Wiki bits as:

The Sermon on the Mount (anglicized from the Matthean Vulgate Latin section title: Sermo in monte) is a collection of sayings and teachings of Jesus, which emphasizes his moral teaching found in the Gospel of Matthew (chapters 5, 6 and 7).[1] It is the first of the Five Discourses of Matthew and takes place relatively early in the Ministry of Jesus after he has been baptized by John the Baptist and preached in Galilee.

 

The Sermon is the longest piece of teaching from Jesus in the New Testament, and has been one of the most widely quoted elements of the Canonical Gospels.[2] It includes some of the best known teachings of Jesus, such as the Beatitudes, and the widely recited Lord’s Prayer. To most believers in Jesus, the Sermon on the Mount contains the central tenets of Christian discipleship.[2]

 

The last verse of chapter 5 is considered to be a focal point that summarizes the teaching of the sermon: “be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect”, advising his disciples and followers to seek the path towards perfection and the Kingdom of God.

Footnotes:

  1. ^ a b c “Sermon on the Mount.” Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of The Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  2. ^ a b c d The Sermon on the mount: a theological investigation by Carl G. Vaught 2001 ISBN 978-0-918954-76-3 pages xi-xiv

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sermon_on_the_Mount

This morning, we will not be reexamining the Lord’s message given on the Mount of Olives, also known as the Olivet Discourse, which is the name given to the orderly and extended teaching given by Jesus Christ on the Mount of Olives. The subject of the Olivet Discourse was the end times and is recorded in Matthew 24:1 – 25:46 , with parallel passages found in Mark 13:1-37 and Luke 21:5-36.

Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/Olivet-discourse.html#ixzz2ayKAhYkR

Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes

Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes

Today’s lesson will focus on the account of the Miracle of Feeding the Multitude as recorded in the 6th Chapter of John’s gospel. This miracle was perhaps the most significant performed by Jesus prior to his resurrection from the grave. The significance of the miracle is misunderstood by many.

So let us begin by reading from John 6, found on the last page of today’s bulletin, John 6:1-15 (ESV), entitled:

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

6 After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii[a] worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. 11 Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. 14 When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!”

15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.                                                                                                                                                                      Footnotes: a. John 6:7 A denarius was a day’s wage for a laborer

We find that because of the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes, the people were prepared to make Jesus king. This was not the reason Jesus came on the earth, to provide for our bodies’ physical needs, such as hunger and thirst. And Jesus did not come to feed us one meal at a time. But the Lord sensed that the people were ready to crown him because he had filled their bellies with food. And so Jesus withdrew to the mountain by himself.

We read in the beginning of the passage that the crowd had gathered because of the miracles of healing that Jesus had performed and no doubt had come to see more of the same.

I wonder how many who were feed on that Mount really listened to the sermon, instead choosing to focus on the miracle feast. The answer seems quite clear. For after delivering the sermon, Jesus went up the mount to pray and sent the disciples to sail the stormy sea, where he later joined them by walking upon the sea and calming the stormy waters. And many of the crowd followed, John 6:22-40 (ESV), where Jesus said:

 I Am the Bread of Life

 22 On the next day the crowd that remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. 23 Other boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.

25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” 30 So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

 

35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

Loaves And Fishes

This part of John’s gospel,  Jesus explains his ‘Miracle of Loaves and Fishes’ as being a parable not of the manna provided to people of Israel who followed Moses across the wilderness to the promised land, but a parable for the spiritual manna which is the salvation and resurrection provided by faith in Jesus Christ.

Many Christians view the miracle where Jesus multiplied 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish to literally feed a multitude of thousands who had gathered to hear the Lord deliver his “Sermon on the Mount”, as an example of how the Lord provides for our needs. And we have seen that many of the crowd of followers had the same mistaken idea. We could excuse the peoples misunderstanding at Capernaum, because the Lord had yet to be crucified, resurrected or undergo ascension to heaven. And day of Pentecost was to follow as well.

We may see that miracles of both the Olivet meal and the manna provided for the people of Israel following Moses, served as parables to the eternal spiritual sustenance provided through faith in the son of God.

It should seem clear that understanding what Jesus meant by him being the ‘Bread of Life’, after his death, resurrection and the arrival of the Holy Spirit. However, many who focus on Christ’s physical miracles, failed to understand the greater importance of the spiritual gifts that Jesus brought to those who believe. In the epistle of 1 Corinthians 10:1-6 (ESV), the Apostle Paul echoes the same explanation:

 Warning Against Idolatry              

10 For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers,[a] that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.

Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown[b] in the wilderness.

Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.                                                                                                                           .     Footnotes: a. 1 Corinthians 10:1 Or brothers and sisters  b. 1 Corinthians 10:5 Or were laid low

And even today, we see at our Wednesday outreach community dinner that some guests are impatient to be served dinner to fill their stomachs. And others hunger for the second course, which is the testimony or spiritual meal served at the BLCF Cafe.

To a degree, there is a similar disparity between the reasons why people attend church. Some come because of the desire to satisfy a physical need and others a need that is spiritual.

That does not mean that God does not provide, through the Holy Spirit, healing of afflictions of body and helps us to avoid sin. We still must be aware that such miracles are not as important as the spiritual salvation provided to all believers.

This brings us to the lessons provided by Jesus’ Miracle of Feeding the Multitude, as a parable to the gift of salvation Christ gave us.

Of all the miracles that Jesus performed, this miracle was the most public, with literally thousands of witnesses present. This was a miracle that fed both believers and non-believers alike, just like Jesus miracle of Salvation is available to everyone. Jesus provides the multitude of humanity his Bread of Life, to forever feed our souls. However, only those who truly believe in the resurrected Christ may receive and be filled by the Holy Spirit, as Jesus said in John 6:40,For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

Let us pray…

Hymn #317: Blessed Assurance, Jesus Is Mine

John 6:35

Communion:

To begin the Communion portion of today’s service, I would like to share the final portion of scripture from John’s gospel, from which we may gain insight to what the Elements of Communion, the bread and the grape juice represent. You may find below the Order of Service on the inside of today’s bulletin, John 6:49-58 (ESV):  

49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread[a] the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”                                                                         

          .              Footnotes: a. John 6:58 Greek lacks the bread

I would like to invite all those present, who hold Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, to join us with the partaking of the elements of Communion. Please take a moment to prepare, by prayer and reflection what these elements signify as we observe the sacrifice and gift of Jesus, as an expression of God’s love, until he returns. Please follow as I read   Responsive Reading #626: ‘The Last Supper’ which is taken from Mark 14.

Benediction:  2 Corinthians 13:14 (ESV) The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.