JOHN 6:25-58 Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
The sixth chapter of the Gospel of John explains the root of the Gospel; about being born again; about the resurrection to eternal life. To eat the flesh of Christ and drink the blood of Christ is to become one with Him who is the Resurrection and the Life. These are real food and real drink.
Table of Contents
When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, "Rabbi, when did you get here?" Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill." (John 6:25,26)
On the previous day, the Lord Jesus had fed five thousand men with five barley loaves. It is a sad commentary on us, isnt it, that the miracle probably had been noticed; but the important thing was that people had received food.
So it is written that people were marrying and giving in marriage, building and planting, eating and drinking, until the flood came and carried them away. We do not hear the voice of Christ, not because we are committing great sins but because we are occupied with eating, sleeping, working, playing, and reproducing. Our problem is that of being burdened with the anxieties of life. Merely living the American way of materialism can prevent the Seed of Christ from bearing His image in us.
God said the sin of Sodom was arrogance, too much food, and indifference. We think of Sodom in terms of sexual perversion. But God emphasized material abundance. There is an important lesson here for American people who want eternal life.
The sixth chapter of the Gospel of John explains the root of the Gospel; about being born again; about the resurrection to eternal life. To eat the flesh of Christ and drink the blood of Christ is to become one with Him who is the Resurrection and the Life. These are real food and real drink.
We are married to the Lamb by eating His flesh and drinking His blood, just as Eve was formed from the substance of Adam.
The Lord is standing before the believers of our day. He wants to enter our personalities and feed us with His body and blood. But so few are able to tear themselves away from the pursuit of material riches and listen for the gentle voice of Jesus.
We seek material wealth first, and then seek the Kingdom of God with whatever time and strength may be left. Thus in our day, when the Divine revelation is coming with unprecedented clarity, we are missing our visitation. We are trading our birthright for a bowl of lentil soup.
Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval. (John 6:27)
The Lord Jesus understands that we have to work. He was not telling the thousands of men who came looking for Him in Capernaum that they were not to work any longer. The Apostle Paul wrote, "If anyone will not work, neither let him eat."
Sometimes Christians get the idea that living by faith means not working and expecting other people to support you. That is not what living by faith means. Living by faith means looking to God for our decisions rather than trusting in our own abilities.
In America we place our physical survival and comforts above most other considerations. The Lord Jesus is telling us food is available that will give us eternal life. He is saying we must work for this food.
If I am not mistaken, we ordinarily think of eternal life as eternal existence. If we believe in Christ we will exist forever. If we dont believe in Christ we will not exist forever. On the other hand, we believe people will exist forever in the Lake of Fire for eternity. Perhaps we have not thought enough about this.
In actuality, eternal life is not eternal existence. It is not related to time. As nearly as I can tell, time as we know it is not a part of the spirit realm.
Eternal life is produced by Divine food. Eternal life comes from something we eat, not from a doctrine we believe. Isnt this what the Lord is telling us? Ordinary physical life comes from food. The body takes the nutrients and makes cells. Then the cells are burned in the presence of oxygen, and this is our life. Kind of frail, isnt it? No more oxygen no more lifeat least no more physical life. Then our spiritual nature goes somewhere.
We usually dont think of eating and drinking eternal life. But this is how we receive eternal life. We eat the flesh of Christ and drink His blood. There is no other eternal life. Jesus Christ is the Tree of Life, just as He was in the Garden of Eden.
But we have to labor to eat this food because the forces of darkness desire that we remain spiritually dead. We have to conquer these dark forces through the Lord Jesus Christ if we are to gain access to the Tree of Life.
Every day of our Christian life we fight this battle. Every day we are pressed by the demands of the world and our flesh. Every day we have to pray and strive to walk the problem-filled path that leads to eternal life. We have to lay hold on eternal life, as the Apostle Paul told Timothy.
Eternal life is the Life of God. It is in the Lord Jesus Christ because the Father has placed His seal of approval on Christ.
Eternal life is a form of life, just as physical life is a form of life. Physical life enables us to stay warm, to act, to breathe, to work, to reproduce. It actually is a weak form of life in that it can be ended in a moment. Also it is corruptible, always aging and moving toward total corruption. This is not life, it is little more than conscious existence.
Eternal life is the Life of God. It is full of joy, peace, love, and every other desirable state of being. It lives in the Presence of God. It always exists because God always exists. It is not a case of duration of time but of the Presence of God. I would not doubt that from our position in the spirit world we will be able to view any event on earth of the past, present, or future, just as God can.
I think fortune tellers can tell the future because the demons can view future events and are not themselves bound by time.
Perhaps the most foolish decision a human being can make is to focus his attention on the weak, corruptible elements of the physical world. Of course we have to behave responsibly and fulfill all our earthly duties. If we do not, we cannot possibly enter the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is for the diligent and conscientiousfor those who prove themselves worthy of the Kingdom.
After having taken care of our obligations, there should be enough time left to walk with Jesus and dine with Him on His body and blood. If there is not enough time and strength left to nourish our eternal personality, then we need to ask the Lord to rearrange our circumstances so we do have time for that which is most needful.
To go through life and never learn to live by the body and blood of Christ is to miss all that is of true value. We have wasted our time on the earth.
Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." (John 6:28,29)
If I am not mistaken, right here is a basis for the current emphasis on "faith alone." All a person has to do is believe in Christ, and nothing else is necessary. We choose a verse, and then deduce from it. This is how the current set of errors came into being.
Yet, we have the remainder of the New Testament to tell us this is not trueat least in the sense it is employed it is not true. I guess the problem lies in what we mean by believing in Christ.
If by believing in Christ we mean believing He is the Son of God, that He died for our sins, that He rose from the dead, that He is coming again, then it is not true that believing in Christ is sufficient to please God or to inherit eternal life in the Kingdom of God.
The demons know these things. You see, what we refer to today as belief is actually knowledge. The traditional Statement of Faith of a denomination is a statement of knowledge, not a statement of faith.
If by believing in Christ we mean denying ourselves, taking up our cross, and following the Lord Jesus every day in every detail of life, then yesbelieving in Christ is sufficient to please God and to inherit the Kingdom of God.
The demons do not deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Jesus every day in every detail of life. Therefore they do not please God or have eternal life.
An individual can understand and believe every theological fact concerning the Lord Jesus, and possess no eternal life. The Pharisees had memorized the Law of Moses, it is said; but they possessed no eternal life.
I think we who preach the Gospel today need to make clear to Gods people that it is not sufficient to understand and assent to the facts concerning Christ. There is no eternal life in this. We absolutely must leave room in our busy life to seek the Lord with our whole heart. We must do this each day. Also, in every decision we make through the day and night we must acknowledge the Lord, asking for His guidance. We must live uprightly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. If we do not, we can master all the points of Christian theology and not possess any eternal life.
The Lord was asking the Jews to place their faith in Him instead of in the Law of Moses. However, it was the Apostle Paul who explained how and why the Jew was to turn from Moses to Christ.
So they asked him, "What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat." (John 6:30,31)
"What miraculous sign will you give that we may see it?" The day before they had seen miracles of healing!
If anyone was to appear today who could multiply food he or she would be in great demand. Several countries of the world are experiencing famine. The miracle of the five small barley loaves, two small fish, and the five thousand men was no insignificant event. So it is perfectly understandable that the men crossed the Sea of Galilee and came looking for the Lord in Capernaum.
They said they would believe Christ if He performed a sign. But what kind of belief is this? It is belief in a magician. They had followed Him in the first place because they saw the miraculous healing of sick people. They were not following Him because of His teaching or the miracles but because of the food.
It would have been acceptable if they had followed Christ because they had witnessed the miraculous. But these men were just hungry. They wanted something to eat!
In recent times there have been preachers claiming that belief in Christ will enable them to become prosperous and get whatever else they want. Such preachers do not lack for followers. Anyone with a gift of healing will draw crowds. People will come to those who promise to give them things they desire.
But how many will follow Christ because of His teaching, and will keep following Him even though it cost them all they hold dear? These are the true Christians, the heirs of the Kingdom of God.
Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." (John 6:32,33)
Because of our frailty, I suppose, we have made Christianity a religion in which those who do good go to Heaven and those who do not go to Hell. Of late, the emphasis has changed from doing good to taking the "four steps of salvation." If we want to escape Hell and go to Heaven to live forever we must take the "four steps of salvation."
But this is not the Christian salvation. The Christian salvation is the path that leads from spiritual death to spiritual life. The emphasis is not on where we are but what we are.
Dont misunderstand me. There is a Hell. The rich man was in Hell.
There is a Heaven. God, Christ, the saints, and the holy angels are there. However, Heaven is not our eternal home. If we are saved we eventually will find ourselves on the new earth.
But Hell and Heaven are not the focus of the New Testament or of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. The Apostle Paul, who wrote most of the New Testament, did not mention Hell even one time.
Hell is a place of punishment and torment. Heaven is the Throne of God. These are facts of the spirit realm.
But salvation is not involved with Heaven and Hell, except secondarily. Salvation is Gods means of bringing us to eternal life. Salvation changes us from a flesh and blood human being into the offspring of God. We still are human, but it is a transcendent humanity. We move from the life of the soul to a life-giving spirit, and finally will be clothed with a body that does not use blood in its life processes.
The Lord Jesus is the Word of God made flesh. We are flesh being made the Word of God. We are being transformed. Our substance is changing from the dead adamic nature to the Nature of Jesus Christ. We have been predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ and to be His brothers.
Adam died on the cross in Christ. The entire first creation died on the cross in Jesus Christ. When Christ rose from the dead, the new creation began. When Christ is born in us, this is an enlargement of the new Divine Kingdom, the Kingdom of God. We enter the Kingdom by being born again.
The people of the world are dead. Jesus Christ is the Tree of Life, the same tree that was in the middle of the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve could have eaten of that tree, but they chose to eat of the Law of God, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Thus they experienced guilt. Consequently they were removed from access to the Tree of Life.
Christ came to bring us eternal life. That life is in His flesh and blood. We have to eat of His flesh and drink of His blood constantly. Every time we choose to turn away from our sinful nature, we are given His flesh and blood in the spirit realm. Every time we conquer, through Christ, the lusts and passions of our sinful nature we gain access to the Tree of Life. This is how we lay hold on eternal life. This is how we work for the food that endure to eternal life. This is how we labor to enter the rest of God. The rest of God is that state in which we live by the body and blood of Christ rather than by the natural, adamic life.
"Sir," they said, "from now on give us this bread." (John 6:34)
The Lord Jesus promised them the true bread from Heaven. Naturally they wanted this. But they had no idea what was involved.
The Christian life is a simple idea. "Abide in Christ." This is the sum and substance of it.
We may enter the plan of salvation with great joy, something like the Jews leaving Egypt. But then there is no land of milk and honey. Endless miles through a hot desert. God is with us through numerous tribulations and tests. If we endure to the end we shall be saved.
Thousands of students enter the university each year. Most of them do not graduate. Some proceed to graduate school. As the years go by, all sorts of problems arise that make it difficult or impossible for the student to continue.
It is this way with the Christian life. It is a grand parade at the beginning. But as the years roll by, people become discouraged. They settle into a church routine, waiting to die and go to Heaven.
Of these faithful people a few arise who lay hold on the promises of God. Each day, like the Apostle Paul, they press forward into eternal life. They grow into spiritual giants, ready to govern the nations with their great elder Brother, the Lord Jesus Christ.
We can have as much eternal life, as much "bread," as we want. But there is a price to pay. We cannot retain our adamic life and gain eternal life. One or the other life must prevail. Make no mistake, it is a vicious struggle every day when one is determined to attain to the resurrection which is unto eternal life.
I realize most Christian churches do not preach that we are in a struggle to attain to the resurrection unto life, but that is what the Apostle Paul preached.
We really need to return to the Bible these days.
The Lord Jesus is more than willing to give us as much bread as we desire. But in order to gain such life we have to lose our own life. There is no other way. We cant hold onto Adam and receive what Jesus Christ has for us.
Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35)
Can you imagine how this sounded to those Jewish men? How much of our life revolves around making certain we have enough food to eat and something to drink.
How could they know the Lord was speaking of true hunger and true thirst, the hunger and thirst of the human personality.
Every healthy human being has a need for the fulfillment that only Jesus Christ brings. We have a need for survival and security. We have a need for pleasure. We have a need to make our mark in some manner, to achieve something worthwhile so our life has meaning.
We often look to the world, particularly to the amassing of money, for survival and security.
Children want to have fun. Adults seek pleasure through the stimulation of their physical senses. Adults often strive to prove they are someone of importance.
Survival; pleasure; achievement. These probably are the major sources of our motivation, and they are normal. It is normal to want to be secure. It is normal to want to have pleasure. It is normal to want to achieve something of significance during ones lifetime. These are the hungers and thirsts to which the Lord was referring.
The Lord is telling us that whoever comes to Him and believes in Him will survive and be secure.
Whoever comes to Him and believes in Him will find pleasure.
Whoever comes to Him and believes in Him will find the purpose in life he is seeking.
After having served the Lord for well over fifty years, I can see how true it is that only in Jesus are these three hungers and thirsts fully satisfied.
We may believe there is survival and security in the world, especially in money. But one moment we are safe, and the next moment we are dangling over a precipice. We are sued and lose all the money we had saved. We had to have several expensive operations. Our son is in an automobile accident and now is a quadriplegic. Our daughter has run away and is living with a woman we dont know. The list goes on and on.
We can spare ourselves much sorrow by forfeiting our integrity. We often can flee from unpleasant situations, not caring what happens to our loved ones. But once we are not true to ourselves we lose our soul and become nothing but an appetite, an empty shell of a person.
But the Lord Jesus Christ gives us perfect security. He is with us in every trouble and delivers us. Best of all, He frees us from the fear of death. No other power can protect us like Jesus can. So we never hunger and thirst for security again.
The Lord Jesus Christ gives us love, joy, and peace. Indulgence in bodily appetites yields a momentary frantic pleasure, and then years of remorse and sometimes sickness. It is true that following Christ requires that we disciplines ourselves. Then we find through discipline we are set free, whereas to live without discipline brings chainslike the person dying with venereal disease.
Any disciple of the Lord will tell you that following Christ brings love, joy, and peace that the world knows little about. Also, the Lord promised us eternal joy in the future.
The Lord Jesus satisfies our hunger and thirst for pleasure, and He is the only One who can.
As far as achievement is concerned, it is a fact that whoever does the will of God lives forever. Everyone who serves God gives an eternal witness. Noah, Abraham, Daniel, and the Apostle Paul are testifying to us to the present hour. The woman who poured the perfume on the feet of Christ gained immortality by that one act. Wherever the Gospel of the Kingdom has been preached, her story has been told. How is that for achievement?
Whoever touches the Lord Jesus becomes immortal. He totally satisfies our hunger and thirst for living a meaningful life.
But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. (John 6:36,37)
Right here is a concept that, as far as I know, is ignored in current evangelistic work. It is evident that no one can believe in Christ unless it has been given to him or her by the Father. Also, when the Father gives someone to the Lord, the Lord does not drive that person away.
There is a great deal to think about here, isnt there?
Now we know Jesus said, "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.? The Lord said this, and so it is totally, absolutely, irrevocably true. Whoever believes and is baptized shall be saved!
We know in spite of all our preaching, only the people whom the Father gives to Jesus Christ will believe in Him and come to Him. Since we cannot tell by looking at people whether or not they have been chosen by the Father to come to Christ, we have to preach whenever we have the opportunity.
Yet, since it is true that only those chosen by the Father can believe in Christ and come to Him, we need to watch the Holy Spirit carefully to make certain we are directing our attention to the people God is emphasizing at the time. Our tendency as Americans is to put on some spectacular program, using movie stars, or famous sports figures, or weight lifters. If we fill the building and have an exciting meeting we go away believing something significant has been accomplished.
It may be true that nothing at all was accomplished. We acted blindly, not trusting in the Holy Spirit to do His work.
I have come to the conclusion that no one receives anything unless it has been given to him or her by the Lord. Repentance is a gift. The desire to be righteous is a gift. The urge to pray is a gift. The ability to believe in Christ is a gift. The desire to seek more of God is a gift. The desire to do Gods will is a gift.
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled." The hunger and thirst themselves are the blessing, the gift of God.
Every element of salvation is directed by the Lord. Sometimes we act as though we are in some kind of a freewheeling enterprise in which a certain number of people will respond. It is kind of a numbers game. Then, when the church is full, we are afraid to preach stern discipleship because we know the people will leave. They were not brought by the Holy Spirit but by our skill in attracting people.
What a waste of energy, time, and money!
All that the Father gives Jesus Christ will come to Jesus Christ. This is the Word of God.
But dont we have to do something? Yes. We have to listen to God and obey Him when He speaks to us. When we read the Book of Acts we notice how the Spirit guided the Apostles.
I was taught in Bible School that the Apostles decided on geographic centers for their operation to insure maximum coverage. This is mans thinking, not Gods thinking.
Evidently the Father told the Lord Jesus that the Father would draw certain people to Him, and that Jesus was not to turn them away. Always obeying the Fatherthis is what Jesus did and still does.
If we will read the Gospel accounts carefully we will notice that Jesus never attempted to sell the Gospel. In fact, we find in the chapter we are studying that when the Lord got to the heart of the matter, everyone except twelve people left. Jesus did not attempt to retain these twelve; He just asked them if they also had decided to leave.
We dont realize this as we rush about to make proselytes, but the Gospel is a sellers market.
I remember one time a young man wanted to be baptized in water. He was frantic. God had warned him that he must be baptized. There was a swimming pool nearby so I baptized him immediately.
What is it that motivates us to want to go out and assemble large numbers of people? Is it the Spirit of God, or it is personal ambition?
I think the Lord has given me a bit of insight into the next step of salvation after the Pentecostal experience. I have noticed that it is a waste of time to try to interest peopleeven pastorsin what I believe God has shown me. The Lord has made the spiritual fulfillments of the seven feasts of the Lord especially real to me, particularly the final three feasts.
Do you think I am able to explain these fulfillments to believers?
But every once in a while someone who reads our writings on the Internet will let us know this is what God has been telling them for years. They are anxious to know more. It is a sellers market, and the Holy Spirit is in control.
All I have to do is write and preach what the Lord is showing me. The Holy Spirit does the rest. The Lord gives the Word. Great is the company who publishes it.
The rest is Babylonman directed religion. I dont want any part of it, do you?
If God doesnt know what He is doing, or doesnt care, those of us who look to Him for the accomplishment of the work of the Kingdom are in deep trouble!
For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. (John 6:38)
You know, if each one of us would pray and wait before the Lord to find out what he or she is supposed to do at every moment, the Kingdom of God would be at hand.
There are only two ways in which an individual can live, move, and have his or her being. One way is that of using our brains, experience, and talents to accomplish our objectives. The other way is that of looking constantly to the Lord for guidance. There is no third way.
"Not my will but Yours be done."
It is impossible to move past the Pentecostal experience of the baptism with the Holy Spirit until we are ready to lay down our own life and endeavor to follow the Lord in every aspect of life.
"But dont people who have accepted Christ and been baptized with the Holy Spirit do the Lords will in everything? Not really!
It is possible to repent, be baptized in water, receive the benefits of the blood atonement, be born again, speak in tongues and prophesy, and still live according to our own will. We have millions of believers in the Evangelical-Charismatic churches who are in this condition.
We have to take a positive step of faith to be saved. We have to take a positive step of faith to yield to the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues. Then we have to take a positive step of faith to decide to lay down our own life and do the will of Christ. And we have to do this every day until it becomes an integral part of us.
I get the feeling (and I may be as wrong as anyone ever was) that most church work proceeds without a clear understanding of the Lords will. We all want to help God out. But you know what? I think God knows exactly what He wants and has the ability to do what He wants. But He likes to use people to work with Him. Can He find anyone who is willing to set aside his own ideas and just obey God?
But what if God doesnt do anything? What if the Ark of the Covenant fell in the mud? I guess it boils down to trust in the Lord, that He knows exactly what He is doing at all times; that the world in His control no matter how chaotic it seems to be.
Jesus did not come down from Heaven to do His own will but the will of the Father. The Lord sometimes said He only did what He saw the Father do. He went further than this. He said the words He spoke and the things He did were not proceeding from Himself but from the Father who sent Him.
Since this is true, we never really heard or saw Jesus. What we read about came from the Father through the totally obedient Christ.
This is the desire of my heartto say and do only that which is of Christ. This is the rest of God, of which the Book of Hebrews speaks. I realize I am not there yet, but I am pressing on the upward way. How about you?
The Altar of Incense of the Tabernacle of the Congregation speaks of death to self, and the willingness to set aside our own will that the will of Christ might be done. When we kneel at this altar of death to our own will, we pass through the massive Veil and come before the Ark of the Covenant and the Lid of Atonement. Here is the fullness of God that we seek.
Total obedience to Jesus Christ. Not more programs; not more manmade efforts to help God out; but a total effort to find the will of Christ and to do it perfectly and completely. "Lets forget about ourselves and concentrate on Him."
And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. (John 6:39)
There is a great deal about the resurrection, in the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John.
Somehow the Christian churches have lost sight of the resurrection from the dead. Yet, the Apostle Paul set as his goal attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Now here is a marvel! We seldom hear a preacher emphasize that we have to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Why is this?
The closest thing we have today to the doctrine of the resurrection is the unscriptural emphasis on a "rapture." The reference is to the fourth chapter of I Thessalonians where the Apostle Paul comforted the grieving saints by informing them that their dead relatives and friends would return with Him and stand once again on the earth.
What is almost never (or never!) mentioned is that the dead have to be raised, and the living have to be changed into immortality, before being caught up to meet the Lord in the air.
The catching up is not an act of redemption, merely our first experience of living as resurrected people who no longer are bound by the laws of nature.
It is the preceding resurrection (or transformation) that is of supreme importance. It is the destruction of the last enemy. It is the crowning act of redemption.
One cannot be caught up to meet the Lord in the air until he is raised from the dead, or, if alive at the time, changed from mortality to immortality.
My point is, the resurrection (or transformation) has to be attained to.
The Apostle Paul was seeking Christ with all his might that he might attain to the resurrection from the dead. Today the "rapture" is preached as though whoever makes a profession of Christ is suddenly going to be caught up to Heaven. This is a myth, and the sooner Gods people discard it the quicker they will begin to prepare themselves for the age of physical and moral horrors we are approaching.
Have you noticed the gains being made by homosexual activists and by abortionists in our courts? You havent seen anything yet. The same approval will be given to incest, man-boy relationships, and animalism. I see no difference in kind between homosexual behavior and incest, that is, as far as the principles of American law are concerned. Do you? All that is holding back these abominations are public sentiment. And public sentiment is changing fairly rapidly.
No, we are not going to be caught up to Heaven so we wont be exposed to evil. The history of the Christian Church reveals that believers are not caught up to Heaven to prevent their being exposed to sin, torture, or martyrdom. The pre-tribulation rapture is an unscriptural, destructive error.
"I shall lose none he has given me but raise them up at the last day."
We will discover, as we proceed with our examination of the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John, that the resurrection from the dead is formed in us as we eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ: that is, as we eat from the Tree of Life.
In order to eat from the Tree of Life every day we have to be gaining the victory over sin; because access to the Tree of Life is given only to the victorious saints.
What I am saying is, only the victorious saints will be raised from the dead when the Lord returns.
What about the majority of believers, those who live according to the sinful nature? They are in Gods hands. The second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation enumerate certain rewards given to those who live in victory over sin. As I see it, these rewards are steps toward attaining to the resurrection from the dead. The first reward is to eat from the Tree of Life.
Eating from the Tree of Life each day is required if we are to attain to the remainder of the rewards outlined in the second and third chapters of Revelation.
We cannot be resurrected on the outside until we first have been resurrected on the inside. Does this make sense to you? God is not going to clothe a sinful, disobedient nature with a body like that of Jesus Christ. Today we would say that God will clothe a sinful nature because the person is saved by grace. Salvation by grace has to do with freedom from the requirements of the Law of Moses. It has nothing to do with attaining to the resurrection from the dead. If grace were the only requirement for attaining to the resurrection from the dead, then why was the Apostle Paul toward the end of his life still endeavoring to attain to the resurrection from the dead?
Today we are attempting to use grace to excuse the believer who is living according to his or her sinful nature. This assuredly is not the purpose of the grace of God!
In order to be raised from the dead when the Lord appears, we have to have been living by His body and blood. Our belief in doctrine serves only to lead us to the body and blood of the Lamb of God. Faith in theology will not raise anyone from the dead.
For my Fathers will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:40)
I think one of the problems in Christian thinking is we seize on a verse like the above and use it as sort of a ticket. We give an altar call. Someone raises his hand and comes to the altar. We ask the person if he wants to accept Christ as his personal savior. He says yes. From our point of view he has fulfilled John 6:40)
This does not agree with the rest of the chapter, or with the four Gospel accounts, or with the remainder of the New Testament.
What is the problem? The problem is in order to lay hold on eternal life one has to look to the Son at all times of the day and night. As he looks he is he gains life. He has to believe in the Son at all times of the day and night. As he believes he is transformed.
The new covenant operates as we look to the Son constantly and believe in Him constantly. We behold the Glory of the Lord continually; and as we look we are changed into the image we are beholding, just as the face of Moses was transfigured as he spoke with God.
John 6:40 is not a formula by which we are saved. John 6:40 is a way of life, which if pursued will result in our attaining to the resurrection that is unto eternal life in the inward man and immortality in the body.
Who has saved us and called us to a holy lifenot because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, But it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. (II Timothy 1:9,10)
One could use the above to support the idea that we do nothing. It is all by grace.
This is an understandable interpretation, but it does not fit the entire New Testament.
It is absolutely true that God has saved us and called us to a holy lifenot by anything we have done. We did not earn our salvation and our calling. These were given to us by grace, apart from our obeying the Law of Moses. In fact, our salvation and calling were given to us "before the beginning of time."
But our calling is to a holy life. If we do not cleanse ourselves each day from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, and walk in the fear of God, then we have broken our part of the contract.
We have been called to a holy life, meaning a life set apart to the Lord. When we do not live a life set apart to the Lord, we have turned the grace of God into an excuse for immorality.
We have not been called to go to Heaven. We have been called to live a holy life. We did not earn this calling, it was given to us by grace. By "grace" Paul means apart from the Law of Moses. But it is up to us to lay hold on what God has given us by grace. If we do not, choosing instead to be the slave of sin, then our wages are spiritual death. This is what the Bible teaches.
Christ has destroyed death and has brought spiritual life and bodily immortality to light through the Gospel. Our inward nature is born of God. The redemption of our body is its adoption by the Lord. Eternal life in the inward nature and in the body are the direct result of a holy life.
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. (Romans 6:22)
We do not have to earn our salvation. It is a gift. But we certainly have to set aside our old life in order to work it out!
At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven." They said, "Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, I came down from heaven?" (John 6:41,42)
This is always the way, isnt it? We miss God because we simply cannot believe God would do anything unusual in our ordinary circumstances.
We have to be on guard all the time we do not miss the day of our visitation. God may do something special in our midst. But we look at the people around us and we think, "God cant do anything in this place! We know everyone here, we know where they came from and all about them. Therefore God could not raise up a world-changing apostle from this group!
Not sound reasoning, is it?
Wasnt this the case when Mary and Joseph brought the Baby into the Temple? How could there be anything significant about a baby? But Anna and Simeon knew. May God give us all the insight of Anna and Simeon.
The Jews were not interested in Bread from Heaven. They wanted fish and barley loaves. This marked the beginning of the end of this revival.
Notice that the Lord did not attempt to explain Himself to them. He knew what they were asking and why they were asking it. Jesus knew they would leave if He didnt say or do something they could understand. He let them leave. Are we willing to let people leave, or are we going to build the Kingdom of God by our own efforts.
If God gives you something to say, and you know it will drive your listeners away, are you willing to say it?
"Stop grumbling among yourselves," Jesus answered. "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:43,44)
Again the emphasis on the fact that no person can come to Christ unless the Father draws that person. Again the emphasis on the resurrection from the dead.
When we are preaching the Gospel today, are we aware no one can come to Christ unless God draws that person.
Why is there an emphasis on the resurrection from the dead? We do not understand the emphasis because we have been incorrectly taught that the Lord Jesus came to bring us to Heaven. The Lord did not come to bring us to Heaven; He came to bring us immortality in the body. This is the reversal of what took place in the Garden of Eden. It was there that immortality was lost.
God put cherubim and "a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life." Why did God prevent Adam and Eve from partaking of immortality? Because they had sinned against God.
The Tree of Life is still in the Paradise of God. You can get a taste of it and be born again by placing your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. After that you have to resist sin each day so you can keep on eating of the Tree of Life and thus be prepared to receive immortality in your body when the Lord returns.
If you do not resist sin each day, if you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the taste of eternal life you received in the beginning will be removed from you. In this case you will not be raised to life when the Lord returns.
I understand Satan and numerous preachers will maintain that your eternal life will not be removed from you if you continue in sin. But they are going against the New Testament when they respond in this manner.
God does His part and we must do our part. God will never break that contract. But when we break the contract by not following the Lord, then the contract is made null and void just as in any other contract. There are numerous New Testament passages to this effect.
The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:8,9)
We simply must start seeking the Lord and reading the Bible. It is time for a reformation of Christian thinking. We are leading a generation of believers astray with our traditions about grace-Heaven-rapture.
It is written in the Prophets: "They will all be taught by God." Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. (John 6:45)
When we first are saved we learn about the Lord Jesus Christ. When we receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit we become more familiar with the Spirit of God.
As the Spirit of God begins to prompt us to move forward to the next level of redemption we become aware of the Father. We always have known there is a Father, I guess, but the doctrine of the Trinity leaves many of us confused.
In our understandable desire to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ we have made Him the same Person as the Father. Christ is not the same Person as the Father. Christ is a Person, and the Father is a Person. Christ worships the Father and does the Fathers will. That is plain enough in the Scriptures, and theologians should not be pressing beyond this.
The Lord Jesus Christ came from Heaven to reconcile us to the Father. Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life who brings us to the Father. No person knows the Father except the Son, and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.
The blood of the cross is our basis of authority for entering the Kingdom of God. The Holy Spirit provides the wisdom and power necessary if we are to enter the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God itself is the doing of the Fathers will throughout His universe. Now that we have been forgiven through the blood atonement and have been empowered by the Spirit we are to focus on doing Gods will completely and perfectly. No act of disobedience of any kind is permitted in the Kingdom of God. If we stumble and fall we are to repent, get back on our feet, and press forward in the Kingdom.
However, if we do not repent, if we do not get back on our feet and press forward in the Kingdom of God, we then are viewed as sinning willfully. Willful sin is not permitted in the Kingdom. We will experience fiery judgment designed to lead us to repentance. If we still are not willing to do the Fathers will, we are in danger of eternal fire.
Today there is talk of many roads that lead to God. This is an error. The individual who seeks God will always be brought to the cross of Calvary. God meets man only at the cross.
No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. (John 6:46)
The Lord Jesus has seen the Father and knows the Father. He always does the Fathers will.
Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God." John 20:17)
The above verse is very meaningful to me. It seems to put everything in perspective as far as our relationship to Christ and the Father is concerned.
First, Jesus refers to us as His brothers. I dont believe He was speaking here of his physical brothers but of His disciples.
"I am returning to My Father." How can theologians maintain that Christ and the Father are one Person; that Christ is the Father in another form? Can the Father return to the Father? This is ridiculous, as I see it.
"I am returning to your Father." God is the Father of Jesus and the Father of us. Therefore Jesus and we are true brothers.
"I am returning to My God." The Father is God. Jesus is the Son of God. The Father has made Jesus God in His own right, but obviously Jesus is not the same Person as the Father. The Father is the God of Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ worships the Father and obeys the Father. Let us once and for all have done with this foolishness about Jesus being the Father.
"I am returning to your God." Jesus and we worship the same God. In the midst of the Church, Jesus sings praises to God. One time I saw in vision the Lord Jesus turning to worship the Father.
No human being has ever seen the Father. Jesus Christ has seen Him. Our hope is that one day we too will be able to see the Father. I believe we shall. And why not? He is our Father. Why shouldnt we see our Father?
I am not certain many of us have grasped the fact that God is so pleased with the Lord Jesus He is raising up brothers for His Firstborn Son. Oh I suppose we know this in a way, but I mean really grasp this fact. God has predestined us to be changed into the image of Jesus Christ that Christ might be the Firstborn among many brothers.
What an awesome fact this is! Brothers are brothers. They have the same Father. It is true that Jesus Christ came from eternity and has created all of us. But from the time He rose from the dead, a whole new world came into existence. Christ is the Firstborn of the new world of righteousness. He has paid for it with His blood.
And now we come along. We may be tiny now and of little consequence in the spirit world. But we are growing. The Divine plan is that one day we will be mature sons. Then the Lord will be able to be with us and have genuine fellowship with us. Just think of that!
It reminds us of Joseph and his brothers, doesnt it? Joseph was lord of Egypt. But Joseph truly cared for his brothers and took care of them. Although Joseph was greatly exalted, I imagine there were times when he sat down with his family and was one of them, playing with the grandchildren and so forth.
It is difficult for us to imagine ourselves being a genuine brother of Jesus Christ and being able to have fellowship with our Father. But I truly believe this is where it is all going.
I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. (John 6:47)
Notice again the emphasis on everlasting life. From the context I would say that the Lord was referring again to the resurrection of the body.
We often say John 3:16 means if we believe in Christ we will not go to Hell but will go to Heaven. Yet this is not what the verse says. It states if we believe in Christ we shall not perish but have everlasting life. Personally I believe this means we shall have everlasting life in our body.
Because of the unscriptural emphasis on making Heaven our eternal home, we have not assigned much importance to the making alive of our mortal body. It is true that if the spirit Heaven were to be our eternal home the making alive of our mortal body would not be of central importance.
But if we are going to rule with Christ on the earth, then we are going to have to have a physical body. It will not be enough merely to have a righteous inward nature. We shall have to be clothed in a body that can appear on the earth.
If you will notice, Paul groaned for the redemption of his mortal body. The redeeming of our mortal body is not a minor issue in the program of redemption, rather it is central.
We have eternal life now in our inward nature. But that same eternal life is destined to include our mortal body.
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. (Romans 8:11)
Let us, like the Apostle Paul, lay all else aside, counting it garbage, that we might attain to the resurrection from the dead.
I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." (John 6:48-51)
Here is a great mystery, perhaps the greatest of all mysteries. It is the mystery of the Gospel.
We very well can say with the Jews: "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"
Of course, eating the flesh of Christ and drinking His blood was not possible while He was speaking to them at that time.
Where are the body and blood today? I expect they are in the Holy Place in Heaven with God. Somewhere there is a place where His flesh resides and a fountain filled with His blood. He multiplies these, as He did the barley loaves and fish, so there is enough for everyone.
Let me emphasize once more the idea that a man may eat and not die: and, "This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
I dont know how the idea began that the Divine salvation is basically a spiritual religion bringing us at least to eternal residence in the spirit realm. My opinion is that this is the influence of the ancient philosophy of Gnosticism, which was prevalent in the first century.
Actually, the Divine salvation is very physical. Man was not created in the spirit realm, as were the angels. Man was created from the dust, and God referred to him as "dust." And so he is.
He had access in the beginning to the Tree of Life, that is, to the Lord Jesus Christ. But he chose instead to eat of the Law of God, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. As a result, man lost bodily immortality.
The world is a mass of dead people, moving about in the suburbs of Hell. Into this charnel house comes the Tree of Life. Whoever eats of Him will regain bodily mortality. This is the meaning of: "This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." Christ is referring to bodily immortality, the dream of man ever since he was subjected to physical death.
Physical death destroys the fondest dream of man. Man comes from the dark, lives for a moment, and returns to the dark. Christ came to end this futility to which the creation was made subject. But it costs Christ an agonizing death on the cross to make immortality possible.
Before God is willing to restore immortality to us, we first must have the Substance of Christ formed inside of us so we will not disobey God once we receive bodily immortality.
The body and blood of Christ make possible our attaining to bodily immortality by:
Serving as our Passover protection.
Forgiving our sins.
Purging from us the compulsions of the sinful nature.
Building up the Substance of Christ in us.
Giving us the Life of God in our inward nature, the love, joy, and peace by which we are to live.
Being our resurrection that will raise us to bodily immortality in the last day.
The philosophy of Christianity, theology, our Statements of Faith, serve as an orientation to salvation. They are not salvation but the door to salvation. The salvation is the body and blood of the Lamb of God.
The burden of the Spirit today is total obedience to Jesus Christ, which is the same as total obedience to the Father. Total obedience means we always, throughout the day and night, are looking to Christ for guidance, always giving thanks to Him for His direction and assistance.
As we are always looking to Him, He always is feeding us with His flesh and blood.
This is the rest of God toward which we are to press at all times.
Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" (John 6:52)
You can imagine the consternation of His Jewish listeners when Christ spoke of eating His flesh and drinking His blood. For one thing, the Law of Moses strictly forbids drinking blood.
One point stands out clearly. Jesus made no attempt to sell His Gospel, to gather people to Himself. Can that be said of us today who are supposed to be representing Him as we preach the Gospel.
The Lord knew the thousands of men who followed Him because He fed them with fish and barley loaves would never accept His teaching that they must eat His flesh and drink His blood. He understood that clearly. So He went ahead and told them the truth, knowing they would be confused and turn away. This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah.
He said, "Go and tell this people: Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving. "Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed." (Isaiah 6:9,10)
You know, we need some more of the above in our Christian preaching. We are altogether too humanistic, too man-pleasing in our approach. The Lord Jesus is our example. He knew no one could come to Him except the Father draw that individual. Therefore Christ preached exactly what God gave Him to preach and teach. He realized that those whom God had not drawn, who came to Christ for some other reason, would never remain when the true salvation was preached.
Is it like this today? Are people brought into the Christian churches for some reason other than that God has drawn them to Christ? Any assembly can be put to the test quite easily. Preach that no person can be a Christian, a disciple, until he denies himself, takes up his cross, and follows Jesus every day of his life. Those whom God has sent will stay as long as you preach the true Gospel of Christ.
But dont preach this unless you are willing to live with the consequences! It may be said of you that you do not have love. Were you actually showing love when you told people they could not be a Christian unless they remained in the prison where God had placed them?
You may end up with a church of five people. But one of them may prove to be an apostle. Have you done the right thing, or should you have appeased the people by preaching only that which is "positive"?
Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you." (John 6:53)
When we first receive Christ we are given a portion of eternal life, that is, of His flesh and blood. Then the battle commences. Each day eternal death and eternal life struggle for mastery over our personality. If we choose to yield to our sinful nature, eternal death will prevail. In that case, we will not receive bodily immortality when the Lord returns.
If we overcome our sinful nature each day, we are given more eternal life that day. Each day we gain more eternal life or remain in spiritual death. This is why it is written that he who overcomes will be given to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the Paradise of God.
Before people eat of the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood their inward nature is spiritually dead and the body is approaching the corruption known as death.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:54)
Again let me emphasize this is not a one-time eating and drinking. If we open the door of our personality the Lord dines with us. We dine on His body and blood. He dines on our obedience and worship.
The word "dine" suggests something that is done several times a day, doesnt it? We would not do very well if we dined only once in our life. Dining is a daily practice.
So it is with the flesh and blood of the Son of Man. We dine with Him frequently each day. I cannot stress this enough. The forces of decay and death are pressing on us continually. Therefore there must be a continual coming to Christ on our part if we are to press toward immortality in our body.
For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. (John 6:55)
Real food and real drink as compared with the food that spoils. "Do not work for the food that spoils," the Lord said. The idea is that we put the will of the Lord in first place, and making a living in second place.
Someone might say, "This is not practical." So God is not practical? God told us to seek the Kingdom first, and everything else would be added to us. Either we believe God or we do not.
American believers, by and large, put making a living in first place. When they do this they miss the day of their visitation. In order to keep abreast of what God is doing at any given time, we have to be putting His will in first place. We have to be listening to Him constantly, like Anna and Simeon.
Today there is a remarkable move of God. It is a giant step forward in the Kingdom of God. The Scriptures are opening as never before. The summit is in view. What we have had before are base camps.
I am not certain whether people who are alive now will be living on the earth when God brings His Church to the fullness of redemption. But I do know that if we are to participate in the fullness, we will have to grasp that which is available now.
This is why our greatest danger as American Christians is not alcohol, drugs, adultery, homosexuality, aborting our fetuses, molesting our children. We probably are prepared to resist these.
Our problem is occupying ourselves with the material demands of our culture. They rob us of the time and strength to keep ourselves in the Presence of the Lord. As it was in the days of Noah...
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. (John 6:56)
We have been invited to abide in Christ. As we do, we bear fruit. The fruit is the image of Christ, in ourselves first, and then in others whom we influence.
When we bear fruit we are pruned. Much of our life is stripped away; in particular, the fruit we had borne previously. After the pruning we bear fruit of higher quality and in greater abundance.
When we do not keep ourselves in Christ we do not bear the image of Christ in ourselves or in others. We are a dead branch. We then are removed from Christ. The Life of the Vine no longer is in us. We have slain our own resurrection.
The American materialistic culture will kill our spiritual life if we are not very careful.
Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. (John 6:57)
To grasp how Jesus Christ lives because of the Father requires a lot of though on our part. Theologians have labored to accurately define the Godhead. Are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit one Person in three different form, or are they three Persons who dwell in perfect harmony.
If They are three Persons, are those three Persons actually co-equal and co-eternal?
I dont believe this to be true. I believe the Father is greater than the Son; that the Son obeys the Father.
"God" is not a name, it is a title. "Father" is not a name, it is a relationship. We do not know the name of the Father. We do know He has made Jesus Christ, God, because the Bible says so. This means Christ has all authority in the heavens and on the earth. It does not mean Jesus Christ is another name for the Father. This simply is not Scriptural.
The Lord Jesus Christ lives by the very Life of the Father. He obeys the Father. He is the perfect image of the Father. He represents the Father throughout the universe of God.
The same is to be true of us.
We are to live by the very Life of Jesus Christ. We are to obey Christ. We are to be the perfect image of Christ. We are to represent Christ throughout the universe of God.
However, this will be true of us only as we feed on Christ. Everything depends on our feeding on Christ. We understand, therefore, that the Christian salvation is not a set of beliefs but a continual feeding on the flesh and blood of the Son of Man.
This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever. (John 6:58)
What will it be like to live forever? How much money would the rich and powerful of the world spend if they could buy a medicine that would enable them to live forever in their power and luxury?
Actually, death comes as a blessing to many people. Some who spend their days in intolerable pain find relief through death. Some are merely tired. They are ready to lay down their aged body.
There are other reasons why people would just as soon take their chances on there being life after death.
Immortality is to be desired only as long as we are in a state of love, joy, and peace. Isnt that a fact? So when the Lord speaks of raising, in the last day, those who feed on His flesh and blood, He means raising them to endless love, endless joy, and endless peace.
And that is much to be desired!
The prospect of eternal life in a state of endless joy rests on the foundation of the atonement made by Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary.
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body." Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Matthew 26:26-28)