02 June 2007

"I AM" the Bread of life (John 6:35)

Unless you’ve been living in a basement, or under a rock, you have heard the tragic tale of Anna Nicole Smith. You've got one guy that says he is her baby’s father. Another one says he is the baby's father. One wants her buried in this place, one in that place. Meanwhile, her mother—who hadn’t seen her in years—wanted her to be buried in Texas, instead of next to her son. And as I watched this whole thing unfold, I realized something. These people were fighting over crumbs. Think about it—what is the motivation behind these people’s actions? A few minutes of fame, their name in the headlines—a book, TV or movie deal. Then when the dust settles, and all is said and done…**POOF**…it’s all gone. You see, so many people these days are grasping for something that means something. And they look at fame, and they think, “Yeah, that will make me important! If people know who I am, then that would just make me so happy!” And it does…for a while. After that…**POOF**…it’s gone.

If these people want something that will fill the need they have, all they have to do is look to the cross. Then they would find out just how important they really are. Because when their fame is gone, when they're nothing more than the answer to a trivia question to most people, they need to see the cross for what it stands for. That even before he formed them in the womb, GOD loved these people enough that He sent His Son in the form of sinful flesh. So that when they stand before Him to be judged, He wouldn’t see their sins. He would instead see the righteousness of His beloved Son. If that doesn’t nourish your soul I don’t know what will.

And all these people are arguing and bickering and slinging dirt at each other, trying to peck at a few crumbs that they think will satisfy them, but will only leave them hungry for more. If they only knew there is something so much better that will feed their hunger so well that they will never be hungry again. You know, the same thing happens with people like you and me every day. How many times do we see people trying to make themselves look better by making someone else look worse? Just to get the approval of someone. We’re looking for crumbs. But as we’ll see today, Jesus came to give us a whole bakery.

We’re looking at the book of John, where Jesus mentioned 9 times, “I AM.” Last time we saw how He used that phrase to name Himself, and to identify Himself as GOD in the flesh. That it’s not a case of “He was”, or “He will be.” But that, as He says in the book of the Revelation 1:17-18, Jesus said, “I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen…” These are the “I AM” statements Jesus made: I AM the Bread of Life; I AM the Light of the World; I AM the Door of the sheep; I AM the True Vine; I AM the Good Shepherd; I AM the Resurrection and Life; I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Today, we’re going to look at the first of these. Jesus said, “I AM the Bread of life.”

John chapter 6 takes place the day after He had fed the 20,000 with a couple of fish and five loaves of bread. Last time we saw how the Pharisees didn’t get it when Jesus told them about spiritual things. Well, a lot of times we’re no better. Through the bread and the fish, He was showing these people who He really is. But to a lot of them, it was just a free meal. They were bringing their families along, probably telling their neighbors, “Hey, bring the kids, we’re gonna eat good tonight!!” and they missed it. The people He fed came to Him the next day to be fed again. Listen to what He says in John 6:26—“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.” So many people today are missing it. The people fighting over a dead model are missing it. When a person’s soul is looking for someone or something to sustain it, a lot of times instead of looking to the Bread of Life, we grab onto the bread of the world. There are three ingredients that go into making THE BREAD OF THE WORLD.


The first one is THE WORLD'S IDEA OF FINANCES.
Look at all these videos on MTV. Young kids see all the fancy cars and the rings and the gold chains, and they think, “Yeah, that’s what I want.” And they’ll do anything to get it, legal or otherwise. Many times they wind up dead.

Matthew 6:19—“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal…”
Mark 10:24—“Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!”
Ecclesiastes 5:10-12—He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity. When goods increase, they increase who eat them; so what profit have the owners except to see them with their eyes? The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he eats little or much; but the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep.

We live in a world that says, “Get, get, get, get. That’s what’s important!” Look at all these infomercials, “Make millions with no money down!!” I read a story about John Rockefeller, the world’s first billionaire, early 1900’s. You know what he ate all the time? Caviar, champagne, right? No. crackers and milk. Because he was so worried about his money. Listen to what Jesus says in John 6:27—“Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” He’s saying, “Don’t go around pecking at the crumbs this world is going to feed you. Cause you know what, it’s just gonna sit in your gut for a while, then it’s gonna go right on out.” As the words of the old hymn tell us.
I'd rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I'd rather be His than have riches untold:
I'd rather have Jesus than houses or lands.
I'd rather be led by His nail-pierced hand.

Than to be the king of a vast domain;
Or be held in sin's dread sway.
I'd rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.

The second ingredient in the bread of the world is THE WORLD'S IDEA OF FUN.
Take a look at all the big amusement parks. Seems like every year they put in some new ride that’s supposed to be an even bigger thrill than the last “biggest thrill ever!!” And look at kids these days. When I was in college the big thing was muscle cars. If you had a ’69 Chevelle, or a ’78 Cutlass, or a Buick Regal with a Landau roof, and T-tops, big old tires on the back, and AM/FM cassette…with auto reverse. Buddy, you were something!! Now what it is it? These wind up cars with the mufflers that make it sound like they ate too many beans at dinner.Boy those things get on my nerves. And you see how these kids drive those cars. As fast as they can, not a care in the world. Looking at fun as something that’s gonna fill them. They're pecking at crumbs, when GOD is willing to feed them and fill them so they’ll never be hungry.
John 6:35—“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.” People today are so hungry for something that they’ll grasp at the first thing that comes along. Instead of the bread of life, they’re eating the bread of the world.
John 10:10—“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
Revelation 7:16—They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore.
In John 4, Jesus is talking to the woman at the well. This woman had been married 5 times. And she was living with a man she wasn’t married to. She was looking to fun to nourish her soul. But Jesus said, “After I give you this water, you will never thirst for the world’s water again.”
And when we partake of the Bread of Life, and drink from this fountain of living water, nothing this world offers will ever be good enough to satisfy us.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus.
Look full in His wonderful face.
Then the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.

The third ingredient in the bread of the world is THE WORLD'S IDEA OF FRIENDS.
We’re looking for approval from people. We don’t want anyone to not like us. Last summer I worked with a church day care program. You know, kids will hit each other, push each other. But you know what makes them turn on the water works more than anything? “Johnny said he’s not my friend anymore!!” We all want to have friends. We want people to like us. That woman at the well craved it. All these celebrity magazines, with all these glamorous people on the cover. What makes someone want to be a celebrity? It’s that “LOOK AT ME!!” factor. Why are all these people hovering over Anna Nicole Smith’s dead body? “LOOK AT ME!!” they think that if people notice them, and know who they are that will fill their need for nourishment.
It won't. It will only leave them hungry for more. They would rather have the bread of the world than the Bread of Life.
James 4:4—…to be the world's friend means to be God's enemy…If you want to be the world's friend, you make yourself God's enemy.
Proverbs 22:24-25—Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.

It says in that old hymn I quoted a little while ago,

I'd rather have Jesus than men's applause;
I rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I'd rather have Jesus than worldwide fame;
I'd rather be true to His holy name.


That’s the bread of the world. Let’s look at the BREAD OF LIFE.
John 6:47-51—“Truly, truly I tell you; the one who believes in me has eternal life. I am the bread of life…This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that a person may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats this bread, he will live forever. And the bread I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
The world puts so much emphasis on being comforted and filled right now. But the comfort and the filling, they're just temporary. That comfortable recliner is gonna sag. The food is gonna run out. And you're gonna need to get more. Just like the manna in the desert.

Let's look at GOD'S IDEA OF FINANCES.
Matthew 6:20—“…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
Isaiah 55:2—Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance.
When we take our eyes off this world, and set them on Christ, how could we ever be satisfied with the bread of the world? You know, Job had the right perspective on things. “The LORD hath given, and the LORD hath taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.” Unfortunately, some preachers don’t share that same view. Listen to what one says on his website—

“Because I am God's "favorite," I prosper in every area of my life-spiritually, physically, financially, socially and mentally.

Because the favor of God shields me, no sickness or disease has a right to live in my body.

Wealth and riches are in my house because I am empowered with His anointing
and favor to draw wealth.”

Now, I don’t want to mention this fella by name, but I think Creflo Dollar’s got the wrong idea.
Acts 2:44-45—Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
Luke 6:35
—“…do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High.”
Following Christ won't guarantee you a life of health, wealth and prosperity. But, it will guarantee you life everlasting.

GOD'S IDEA OF FUN.
Psalm 37:3-4—Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.
You know, so many people think of Christians as a bunch of fuddy-duddies that “don’t know how to have fun.” Yeah we do. We just have a different kind of fun. We don’t find our delight in temporary things. Yeah we like music. We like movies. Just not the kind of music or movies the world likes. People that want to remain slaves to sin like to go around saying, “GOD doesn’t want anybody to have any fun!” Did you know the word “rejoice” is found 192 times in the Bible? "Joy"165 times.
Joel 2:21—Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things.
Habakkuk 3:18—Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

Even GOD gets happy!!
Zephaniah 3:17—The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.
Luke 15:4-5
—“What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.”
Don’t think the angels get happy?
Luke 15:10—“Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”
I love this song by the Newsboys:

Entertaining angels by the light of my TV screen
24/7 You wait for me
Entertaining angels by the time I fall to my knees
Host of heaven, sing over me.
Finally let’s look at GOD’S IDEA OF FRIENDS.
So many times we seek approval from the world. It’s good to have friends, don’t get me wrong. But if we’re looking to people to nourish our soul, we may find ourselves in the middle of a famine someday. Think about it. On Sunday, all the people were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David!! Hosanna in the Highest!!” On Friday, they were shouting, “Crucify HIM!!”
Proverbs 18:14—A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
Proverbs 27:9—Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart; so does the sweetness of one's friend by advice from the heart.
There’s an old song that says, “What a friend we have in Jesus…” What a friend indeed!!
GOD spoke to Moses face to face, as to a friend. Paul referred to Abraham as a friend of GOD. And the writer of Hebrews said in Hebrews 2:6, What is man that You are mindful of him? Jesus said, “I AM the Bread of Life.” He was in the OT, He is today, and He will be forever.

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