[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Saturday, May 05, 2007

How should we preach this passage?

by Matthew

John 6
32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.

33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.

35 ΒΆ And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.



In the preaching class run by my pastor, we were talking about how to preach this passage. The men in the class favoured making this passage relevant to believers by talking about the need to 'daily feed on Christ' and 'feeding on the Word.'

I appreciate that a sermon is not pure exegesis. One can apply a text in a sermon in ways that are not directly addressed in a text. This can be helpful. However, I think making the application my friends favoured would be counter-productive because it would detract from the meaning of this text.

Our Lord teaches in this passsage that the one who comes to Him will never hunger. If one never hungers again, one does not need to feed daily! What our Lord teaches here is actually the opposite of the application my friends were making.

It is true that we need to daily feed on the Word of God, but as this has nothing to do with what this passage teaches and rather detracts from it, I think it would be confusing. Better to make the Gospel of Grace the focus of any sermon on this text.

19 Comments:

  • :) And with this post you just "earned" a link from my little blog.

    I am constantly amazed when God gives me a little taste of the difference between His wisdom and the wisdom of men. Oh that I could just shake my head and everything that man has put in there would fall out.

    Kev

    By Blogger Kevl, at Saturday, May 05, 2007 11:24:00 AM  

  • Thanks, Kevl.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Saturday, May 05, 2007 1:03:00 PM  

  • Amen bros. Kevl & Matthew!

    Great insight bro. Matthew. Actually, I had never even thought of the application the men in your class favored for this passage. But you are right on target I believe. God Bless.

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at Saturday, May 05, 2007 7:21:00 PM  

  • I think when talking about this passage, it would rob it of its message to talk about a "need to continue" this or that. Christ satisfies our need! That is the message. I know that the manna is a type of Christ, which means it has comparative parts. However, isn't Christ contrasting himself with the manna here? He is the true bread from heaven that fills every man, not the little manna that (as miraculous it was) got rotten very quickly and had to be gathered daily.

    He is the satisfaction of our need!

    By Blogger Rose~, at Sunday, May 06, 2007 5:38:00 AM  

  • Good post. I absolutely agree!

    By Blogger Rose~, at Sunday, May 06, 2007 5:39:00 AM  

  • Thanks a lot, David and Rose~.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Sunday, May 06, 2007 1:22:00 PM  

  • I also think of the John 4 account of the woman at the well. I've been taught that passage as being a promise to satisfy us.

    When we long for something, normally sinful, we can go to Christ for the Living Water that satisfies.

    But now that I'm thinking about it.. shouldn't the person who believes in Him not be "thirsty" in the first place?

    What IS the suggestion for application of these verses?

    I don't know about you guys but I know that many Christians still get "thirsty" for the world... myself included. I do see that going to Him to have my wants met does satisfy, and making a habit of doing this does change a person's overall lifestyle.

    Thoughts?

    Kev

    By Blogger Kevl, at Sunday, May 06, 2007 5:31:00 PM  

  • Hi Kev,

    This passage and the John 4 passage are addressing the unbeliever's thirst for eternal life, NOT the Christian's thirst for other things, whether carnal or spiritual. A believer can go to Christ continually for many things, but eternal life is NOT one of them. These passages are only concerned with unbelievers and eternal life, so any other application is ripping it out of context.

    Jesus is talking to unbelievers, telling them that He freely gives eternal life to those who believe His promise to freely give them irrevocable eternal life. Once the thirst for eternal life is quenched, you are eternally secure and have no need to drink the water again. That was Jesus' point. You need to continually drink earthly water to stay alive, but once you believe in Jesus for the free gift of eternal life, you never have to go to Him for it again. You already have it and will always have it. Once saved, always saved.

    Also, I read one of your posts on James 2:14-26. The "salvation" in James 2 has nothing to do with eternal life. The answer for the kind of salvation in view is in verses 12 and 13. Christians who have faith without works, showing no mercy toward other believers, will not be saved from a merciless judgment and loss of rewards under the Law of liberty. They are saved from hell, but if they don't respond to the needs of other believers, they will not be shown mercy at the Judgment Seat. As a result, they will lose rewards.

    By Anonymous danny, at Sunday, May 06, 2007 6:18:00 PM  

  • Hi Danny,

    I must have been communicating poorly, or at least I didn't keep your interest. The post on Faith and Works you are referencing was about how this isn't about eternal salvation, but temporal. I'd be interested in seeing how you tie this to the Judgment Seat of Christ though.

    Kev

    By Blogger Kevl, at Monday, May 07, 2007 3:23:00 AM  

  • Yes, I agree with Danny. Once one has drunk of the water of eternal life, one never thirsts again and one never needs to drink it again.

    That message has to be communicated with 100% clarity when dealing with that text, as well as the Bread of Life discourse. Bringing in other themes only detracts from that purpose.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Monday, May 07, 2007 5:30:00 AM  

  • I'm seeing Verse 33 as the key here. Seeing as the manna that came down was to keep them alive in the wilderness so God gave Jesus as the bread that gives life - and with this bread you won't need again.

    This is how I have understood this before, but I had also thought applying it to circumstance was ok as well.

    Now I see the problem with doing that is one could transfer that "refilling" idea back to Salvation which of course we (here anyway) all agree is a one time, forever event.

    Now that I look at the text in that light, I see that it doesn't fulfill the limited replenishing idea anyway... so it was misapplication all along.

    Kev

    By Blogger Kevl, at Monday, May 07, 2007 8:25:00 AM  

  • I'd still like to see how Danny connects James 2 to the Judgment Seat of Christ.

    I personally believe it is an other explanation of what the Holy Spirit works in the believer's life as per Heb 12.

    And the being saved is temporal, to do with the situation a person is in.

    Kev

    By Blogger Kevl, at Monday, May 07, 2007 3:00:00 PM  

  • Hi Kev!

    I'm glad that you see the problem with trying to give John 6 a secondary application.

    Thank you for clarifying that you take the temporal deliverance view of James 2. I see both temporal deliverance and a merciless judgment at the Judgment Seat in James 2:14. After condemning his audience's favoritism toward the wealthy, James tells them to speak and act those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. They are to be judged by the law of liberty both here and at the Judgment Seat. If they do not show mercy to other believers, they can expect no mercy when they stand at the Judgment Seat.

    By Anonymous danny, at Monday, May 07, 2007 3:55:00 PM  

  • Hey Danny, I see where you're going. I'm going to try to check it out tonight, and I have a full schedule tomorrow so if I don't get back to you by tomorrow night don't think I've ignored your thoughts.

    Kev

    By Blogger Kevl, at Monday, May 07, 2007 4:06:00 PM  

  • Kev, no problem.

    Matthew, did you get to defend the simplicity of the passage in the preaching class? If you did, what was the response?

    By Anonymous danny, at Monday, May 07, 2007 4:41:00 PM  

  • Hi Danny, I couldn't let it sit.

    I'm going to go through it here.. sorry Matthew :) Let's see if I have it right. I'm going to ignore the temporal issues that I dealt with at my blog and see if I have the aspect of the Judgment Seat of Christ set correctly now.

    James 1-7 shows the behavior being dealt with.

    James 2:8-11 talks about what it's like to be under the Royal Law (mosaic) and then James 12-14 is about the Law of Liberty - by which we will be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ. James uses how judgment works under the Royal Law to explain how judgment will work under the Law of Liberty (Law of Christ - Love God, Love Eachother & Law of the Spirit - promptings of the Spirit).

    Then James 15-26 shows us how this plays out - it's the application message.. or the demonstrations of it.

    Of course God's will is that we be conformed to the image of Christ so we are worked by the Holy Spirit (Heb 12) to "perfect" our faith. Ok I couldn't resist the temporal idea of things being worked in our lives to build us.

    Kev

    By Blogger Kevl, at Monday, May 07, 2007 6:02:00 PM  

  • err those would all be James 2 verses I'm listing.. James just doesn't have that many chapters! :)

    By Blogger Kevl, at Monday, May 07, 2007 6:04:00 PM  

  • Hey Kev,

    I like the way you worked it out. The law of liberty is also mentioned earlier in 1:25. The one who looks into the law of liberty and continues in it, thus being a doer of the word, is temporally blessed in what he does. So obviously I agree with you that temporal blessing in what you do is present in 2:14, just as it is present in 1:21-25.

    Judgment under the law of liberty begins now, and ultimately leads to the Judgment Seat. Under the law of liberty, the person who shows mercy to other believers, and is thus a doer of the word, will have mercy/blessing bestowed upon him in the here-and-now, and will also be shown mercy at the Judgment Seat. So based on James 1:21-25 and 2:12-26, both temporal deliverance and the Judgment Seat are in view in 2:12. Plus, in James 3:1, James mentions that teachers will be judged more strictly than non-teachers at the Judgment Seat. So judgment is a common theme in James.

    By Anonymous danny, at Monday, May 07, 2007 6:50:00 PM  

  • Danny, it was towards the end of the session that we talked about it and there was not an awful lot of time.

    It took me a little while to realise the other men were talking rubbish.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, May 08, 2007 12:56:00 AM  

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