Saturday, August 15, 2015

Pentecost 12 - Proper 15

Proper 15
August 16, 2015
John 6:51-59

Almighty God, whom to know is everlasting life. Grant us to know Your Son Jesus to be the way, the truth and the life, that trusting in Him we might receive forgiveness of our sins and the inheritance He has won for us.

Words mean something. Jesus uses the word “life” six times. He uses the word “eat” eight times. “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man you cannot have eternal life.”

Jesus says, “Believe in Me…come to Me.” The believer eats Christ to live spiritually just as one eats physical food to live. Either that or starve to death. Christ is your spiritual food, which is necessary to live. Can you have spiritual hunger pains? Can a person die spiritually from lack of food? It is eternal. Because Christ is eternal.

Christ is to be taken into one’s life, so that Christ permeates the whole of life. As food is taken into the body, and brings strength to the body so Christ is to be a part of you. It is a way of becoming one with Christ. 

But you can’t earn favor with God on your own terms. No one can do this. We have, for the last several weeks, been reading through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Paul leaves no room for doubt when he tells us, and all people, “you were dead in your trespasses and sins.” Dead men do not make decisions for Christ. Dead men do not co-operate with God in their own salvation. Nor contribute to it in any way. The Holy Spirit, working through Word and Sacrament, accomplishes this. Not through any of our own efforts.

Many today are searching for a deeper personal experience with Christ. If so, what does Christ desire of you?

1.            To be personalized. He desires a personal experience.  Christ gave His flesh and blood for the sins of the world. ".. And the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world” The gifts seem too simple - The people said, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, "I have come down from heaven?" and then later on in our text the Jews argue among themselves saying, "How can this man give us His flesh (to eat)?" They simply could not believe that the gifts of God could come in the form of a man - in the form of this man Jesus Christ. (Vv. 42, 52)

2.            To be individualized. A one to one experience.  The gifts are thought to be worthless. The bread in the desert did not last forever. As Jesus explains, "your fathers ate manna in the wilderness and they are dead". (Vv. 49, 58)  That manna could not last. It wore out over time.

People today value too highly their own good works thinking that somehow God will reward them for their effort. For there is something, they will tells you that man has to do.

3.            To be internalized. Christ comes into a person’s life. God calls us by His Spirit. "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and will raise him up at the last day". (v.44) Believing seems too simple to have any value. And yet we recall with the words to the explanation to the third article "I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to Him. It is the Holy Spirit which has called me by the Gospel..."

4.            To be homogenized. Christ and the believer are fused into one. He sustains us through this life "I am the living bread from heaven.  If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world "(v.51) In these Words we have recorded the 10th time Christ reminds us that He has come down to us. We live in Christ who refused to be absent or indifferent. His intention is to remain with us.

Here is His promise – “The one who feeds on Me will live because of Me.” We find purpose and meaning by what we do.

As our students will soon be returning back to school a question that keeps being asked is “what shall I do?” It’s an important question to be sure. Yet we also remember today, not only who you are and what you shall be but always remember WHOSE you are.

You are a child of the lamb who was slain who now lives and reigns throughout all eternity. He has determined to come to you in this special way – in His Word and in His meal. His intention has always been to abide and dwell with you.

Words –825
Passive Sentences –9%
Readability – 81%
Reading Level -4.4 

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