The Peace of Christ

The Peace of Christ

Life & Light Community Church

Message from 12/3/2022

Life & Light Community Church began in the early months of 2020. What began as an opportunity for me, my wife and step-kids to continue to worship together, has now evolved into a ministry that has expanded to include close friends, family, and those who are simply hungry for the word of God. You can find us on Facebook, so please, feel free to reach out and join us.

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

                                                                                John 14:27 (NASB95)

How many times have you said, or heard someone say, “I just want some peace and quiet!” or “I want to enjoy some peace and quiet.” Peace seems to be a constant, common goal shared by just about everyone. It doesn’t matter if you are in a good mood or bad mood, perfectly healthy or feeling under the weather, out with friends or home alone, sometimes you just want some peace. But what kind of peace are you looking for? Are you looking for peace that comes from being away from people, with no concerns of conflict? Or are you searching for something deeper when it comes to peace?

While it is only my opinion, I believe most people want something more than just a surface level peace. I believe most people are seeking a peace that will bring peace of mind and heart. Peace that goes far beyond what we can find in the world or from other people. This kind of peace comes from an inner sense of peace and this peace comes from one source and one source only. What people are seeking is The Peace of Christ, peace that brings something far deeper than the peace offered by this world.

As Jesus prepares His disciples for the time when He will leave them, He leaves them with His peace, He gives to them but not as the world gives. Because they have The Peace of Christ, their hearts need not be troubled or fearful.

As Christ followers, we have The Peace of Christ, a peace that is far different than the peace the world offers. The peace we have been given leaves our hearts free from worry and anxiety.

In this message we seek to understand why The Peace of Christ is different than the peace offered by the world.

The Peace of Christ is different than the peace offered by the world because the heart of the Christ follower is free from worry and anxiety.

1). The Peace of Christ offers the Christ follower peace in the spiritual realm.

The Peace of Christ brings the Christ follower peace with God the Father.

In Scripture there are two words used for peace. In both the Old and the New Testaments, the word used for peace can and does mean the absence of enemies or war, but both words mean much more than this. Shalom carries the thought of wholeness; being full or filled; finished; and made perfect. This is a state of being, as in contentment or tranquility. There is quietness and trust as results of righteousness, and a friendship as within a covenant, as in a covenant of peace. In the New Testament it conveys the idea of harmonious relationships between people and nations; it is friendship and order. But the one most important for the Christ follower is the harmonized relationship between God and people – it conveys a sense of rest and contentment.

To have peace in the spiritual realm is to mean we have peace with God the Father. Yes, this is, of course, an absence of war between God and people, for Paul reminds us that while we were enemies of God, Christ died for us. But it is much more than just the absence of war, it is reconciliation between a holy God and sinful people. This was accomplished by God through the death of Christ. We are made righteous through Christ, standing before the Father spotless and without blemish. There is nothing we can do to earn this and no work we can perform to deserve this reconciliation, it is fully dependent upon the sacrificial death of Christ and placing our faith and trust in Him.

Through Christ we also experience peace in our spiritual battles. Make no mistake about this, we still face spiritual battles, sometimes daily, but those battles are now fought differently. No longer do we fight our spiritual battles in our own strength or on our own. We now fight in the victory and strength of Christ. He is the God of Heavenly Host, commanding legions of angels to fight for us, to protect us, and to stand around us, even in the midst of our spiritual battles. The enemy will still come at us, still search for the week spot in our defense. On our own, that weakness would be evident immediately, but in the strength of Christ, the weakness is much harder to find, for Christ leads the charge against the enemy, not us.

Finally, we must not forget that the Father has made His armor available to all Christ followers. From the soles of our feet and the gospel of peace to the very top of our heads and the helmet of salvation, God has provided for protection to all areas of the human body and soul. It is no accident that the first place the enemy strikes is the heart and the minds of the Christ follower. More often than not, it is the mind to first come under attack. Win the mind and the heart soon follows. The mind comes under attack with subtle thoughts that sound logical if not scriptural. But they are not and yet they get the desired affect the enemy was looking for…causing doubt to enter your mind. Rest assured, these are not your thoughts, but thoughts planted there by the enemy seeking to distract and cause doubt.

As Christ followers we must use all of the weapons available to us. We can never win a spiritual battle with our own strength, power, or our own weapons. They simply are not strong enough. But we do have the armor of God available. We discussed but two of those pieces above and still have available the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, and the shield of faith. This makes the Christ follower fully covered and protected, but we must take up this armor daily if it is to be of use. But we do not stop there! With the armor of God, we add prayer, taking all of our cares and concerns to the One who has placed them on our heart. We read and study the Scriptures and meditate on them, so we have them fresh in our minds and hearts. In all things we practice obedience. In all things, not just the easy things, not just the fun things or the things that get us noticed, but in all things, we show obedience to God and His commands. Above all this, we wrap ourselves in love and love people, even those who are the most difficult to love and those who show hatred towards us. We love and we love some more!

Questions for discussion/reflection:

What spiritual battle is Christ leading the charge for you during this season of life?

Where do you sense the need for The Peace of Christ today?

What seed of doubt has the enemy planted in your heart and/or mind today?

The Peace of Christ is different than the peace offered by the world because the heart of the Christ follower is free from worry and anxiety.

2). The Peace of Christ offers the Christ follower peace in the physical realm.

The Peace of Christ brings the Christ follower peace of mind and heart.

Now that we have peace within the spiritual realm, we can turn our attention to peace in the physical realm. Once again, we are looking for more than a simple, surface level of peace. We are seeking a deeper peace, a peace that will leave our hearts and minds free from worry and anxiety and this is only found in The Peace of Christ. In the physical realm this will include our finances, our employment, and our relationships. Yes, there are far more things in our physical world, but these are the main areas the enemy will seek to hit and hit hard; these are the areas that bring us the greatest amounts of stress, worry, and anxiety.

Peace in our finances may not always look like an abundance, it is generally just enough and just in time. When Lee Iacocca took over Dodge Motors in the 80’s, he found a car manufacturer completely out of sync. The company was drowning in debt, unnecessary stock, and a lack of needed materials to complete vehicles that were being sold. He instituted the “Just Enough, Just in Time” philosophy in the manufacturing of Dodge vehicles and Iacocca was able to turn Dodge around and payoff a government loan early. The idea was to have the necessary parts delivered just in time and in just enough quantity to complete the needed vehicles for the day or week. This is exactly what our Great God has been doing from the very beginning of time as we know it! We have just enough, just in time, that we might rest in the provisions of our Father.

We also find peace in our employment. Yes, there will still be conflict and we may or may not see them coming, but The Peace of Christ allows the Christ follower to remain in control and not overreact to the conflict when it comes. You will react, but you will not overreact. You will make comments, but you will not make comments that “add fuel to the fire,” or cause further confusion or chaos. In these situations, God will protect you, either putting the right words to speak in your mouth or putting a hand over your mouth! Either way, God will protect you! The one thing that most people miss in these situations is the clarity that God will bring to your situation. Whether it is an opportunity for a promotion or the opportunity to make a change, God will bring clarity to what is happening, and this may bring clarity as to why it is happening.

Finally, we find peace in our relationships. Again, there will be conflicts and concerns but now the Christ follower is able to quickly turn them over to God through prayer. More importantly, the Christ follower leaves them with God and continues to pray over the conflict or concerns. The Christ follower continues to battle in prayer through the strength of Christ. This prevents the Christ follower from making this a one-sided attack but seeking rather, for the best in both themselves, and the other person involved in the conflict or concern. Above all, the Christ follower loves with the end in mind. We love people so they too may see and know the love of Christ that we know, then they too can come to the peace of Christ and have the same reconciliation with the Father we have experienced.

As Christ followers we must remember our battle is NOT with flesh and blood – not with people, but rather the spirit behind the situation we face. Yes, of course, this could lead back to needing peace in the spiritual realm, but that is not always the case. Sometimes the enemy uses people in the physical realm to distract us, to get us to take our eyes off Christ, to disrupt our walk with the Father and then cause more issues in the spiritual realm. We must fight these battles as we do the spiritual battles, through prayer, the armor of God, and reading and studying Scripture. It may sound like a broken record, but this is our best defense against an enemy who will use every weapon at his disposal, including those closest to us. Be prepared, be in the Word, and always love with the end in mind.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

How are you experiencing peace in the physical realm during this season of life?

In what area of the physical realm do you need The Peace of Christ?

How are you keeping prepared for sudden and unexpected attacks by the enemy during this season of life?

The Peace of Christ is different than the peace offered by the world because the heart of the Christ follower is free from worry and anxiety.

It has been said that if life is going smoothly, it is because Satan is not concerned about you. The implication here is that Satan has convinced you to partake in some sin and you are safely out of the way and not living in God’s will. It has also been said that if life is going roughly, it is because Satan is attacking you and he has need to be worried about you. The implication here is that Satan has lost control over you. I guess there is some truth to these statements, but I have one issue with them. They dwell on the negative aspect of being a Christ follower. What if we looked at it from the positive aspect of being a Christ follower? What if we said that if life is going smoothly, it is because you are at peace in all areas of life because you are at peace with God. Meaning, of course, that you are doing and living in God’s will. Or, what if we said, if life is going roughly, it is because you are being prepared to handle more and the enemy knows it. The implication here is that you have proven yourself and God is enlarging your area of influence.

In the above scenarios it matters not the perspective, for The Peace of Christ will bring peace with God in both perspectives. The Christ follower needs to be about seeking peace while the time is still available. We seek The Peace of Christ first and then seek peace of mind and heart, for we cannot have the latter without the former. There is no easy way to find and keep The Peace of Christ. Stay in the word, remain diligent in prayer, read, and study the Scripture, meditate on the word so it is fresh in your heart and mind and above all, love with the end in mind. Time is short, soon there will be no peace to be had on this earth, especially for those who do not first have The Peace of Christ.

We do all things for the glory of God through Christ our Lord,

Amen and amen.

Next Week: Joy – Jeremiah 33:14-16

Hope in Yahweh

Hope in Yahweh

Life & Light Community Church

Message from 11/26/2022

Life & Light Community Church began in the early months of 2020. What began as an opportunity for me, my wife and step-kids to continue to worship together, has now evolved into a ministry that has expanded to include close friends, family, and those who are simply hungry for the word of God. You can find us on Facebook, so please, feel free to reach out and join us.

“The Lord your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.”

                                                                             Zephaniah 3:17 (NASB95)

What is hope? If you do an internet search for the definition of hope, most dictionaries have about the same definition. Hope is defined by online dictionaries as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen; a feeling of trust; to want something to happen or be the case. Hope is the expectation for things to go well in the future.

For the Christ follower, it is this last part of the definition that, particularly, fits the theme we are examining this week – hope, an expectation for things to go well in the future. We have placed our trust in Yeshua, the Son of God, with the hope that our futures as secure in His hands, and that, upon His return, we will be claimed by Him and delivered from our enemies before we join Yeshua in His eternal kingdom. We have Hope in Yahweh because He will take delight in us, His children, forever and ever.

Even as he sounds the alarm, warning of coming judgment, Zephaniah offers encouragement to the people, reminding them the Lord is in their midst as a victorious warrior; He will exult over them in joy and be quiet in His love. The people can Hope in Yahweh, for He will rejoice over them with shouts of joys.

As Christ followers, we have Hope in Yahweh, for He is God with us, a mighty soldier who has won the battle, delighting in us as He rests in His love for us. With a ringing cry, Yahweh will delight over us forever and ever.

In this message we seek to answer the question, “Why must Christ followers have Hope in Yahweh?”

As Christ followers, we have Hope in Yahweh because He is the Alpha and the Omega, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

1). As Christ followers, we have Hope in Yahweh because He is in our midst as a victorious warrior.

He is Immanuel – God with us, Mighty God, Eternal Prince.

Our passage today comes from Zephaniah, a prophet during the reign of King Josiah in approximately 640 B.C. He is a contemporary of Jeremiah, beginning his prophetic ministry in approximately 627 B.C. The theme of the entire book of Zephaniah concerns the Day of the Lord, or the Lord’s Day – the day Yeshua, the Son of God, makes His return to the earth. In this short book, Zephaniah covers the judgment to befall Judah, a call to repentance and the judgments of the Gentile nations. Our passage is a passage of Hope in Yahweh for future blessings upon the people of Yahweh.

Scripture is filled with passages concerning the return of Yeshua and the final battle with His enemies. Perhaps the most recognized passage is found in Revelation 19 and what we know as the Battle of Armageddon. Here, Yeshua is pictured on a white horse, with a white robe, the ends of which have been dipped in blood. From His mouth comes His only weapon, a sharp sword. We are told, in verse 21, that everyone was killed by this sharp sword coming from the mouth of Yeshua. On His return on the Day of the Lord, Yeshua will be the victorious warrior, He will stand alone after this battle and rescue His people from certain destruction. This is our great hope that Yeshua will return to take us as His own, fight the remaining battle on our behalf, forever defeating evil, sin, and death.   

In chapter 11 of Hebrews, the author of that letter links our faith with hope, stating “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Faith is described as the assurance, or reality of things hoped for by the Christ follower, things not seen. The author of Hebrews is saying our faith gives reality and proof of those things unseen, treating them as if they were already objects of sight, rather than just objects of hope. In his letter to the Romans, Paul reminds us we walk by faith, not by sight. It is our faith that makes the unseen things we hope for a reality in our faith walk. In other words, we walk today, as Christ followers, in the victory of Yeshua.

As Christ followers, we walk as children of God, in the reality of His coming Kingdom. We walk in a faith that gives reality and proof of our hope in Yeshua. We walk in faith as a redeemed people, living as reality and proof of the power of God in the human life, the power to soften and change hardened hearts to fertile soil. We walk in faith because we have Hope in Yahweh, He alone provides the assurance of the things unseen. We can walk in faith because our God is Immanuel – God with us. We walk in faith because our God is a Mighty God, a victorious warrior. We can walk in faith because our God is the Eternal Prince.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

What battle is Yeshua fighting for you today?

How does your faith walk give reality and proof of things hoped for in Yeshua?

How is Yahweh acting as Immanuel, Mighty God, or the Eternal Prince during this season of life?

As Christ followers, we have Hope in Yahweh because His is the Alpha and the Omega, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

2). As Christ followers we have Hope in Yahweh because He will delight in us forever and ever.

He is the Alpha and the Omega and comes quickly as the Lord of lords and the King of kings.

The second half of this passage confirms our Hope in Yahweh, for we find that He will exult over us with joy, He will be quiet in His love, and finally, He will rejoice over us in shouts of joy. So, let’s unpack this a bit to better understand this hope we have in Yahweh. In his description of the Risen Lord in Revelation 1, John describes Yeshua in all His radiance. We learn that Yeshua is the Alpha, the first and the Omega, the last, for the Christ follower Yeshua is our all-in-all. In the passage we looked at in Revelation 19 we learn that He is the Lord of lords and the King of kings. And in the final verses of Revelation, we learn He is coming quickly.

Why would Yeshua say He is coming quickly? Because of His deep love for those who belong to Him. As we break down this passage, the words chosen by God Almighty in His message to the prophet Zephaniah make this clear, His deep love for us drives Him to return and rescue us from the evil of the final days. Zephaniah says Yahweh will exult over us. The word translated as exult means to delight. Think here of the wedding ceremony and the delight seen in the bride and the groom when they first see each other as the bride begins her walk down the aisle. This is the delight Yahweh has when He finally has us in His kingdom.

Next, we learn that Yahweh will exult or delight over us with joy. Joy here is gladness or mirth. This is cheerfulness, happiness, and enjoyment – our Great God, the Mighty Warrior, will be cheerful, happy and find enjoyment over us! Can you imagine this for a moment? We Hope in Yahweh for our future salvation and security, and He will find cheerfulness, happiness, and enjoyment in our presence! I must admit, I had difficulty getting past this point. Who is our salvation for? Is it for us, to provide safety and security? To give us a good life spent in ease. Or is it for the One who created us? Does God really need us to be cheerful, to find happiness, or enjoyment? Of course not! But this is, in fact, what brings Him cheerfulness, happiness, enjoyment, His prized creation living in His presence.

We also learn that Yahweh will be quiet in His love. This is perhaps our greatest hope – the final removal of our sins. The word translated as quiet can also be translates as silent. The meaning here is that Yahweh will not hold our sins against us – He will not even mention them! Yahweh is silent over our sins. The forgiveness is complete, full, and final! And finally, we find Yahweh will rejoice over us in shouts of joy. We can think of rejoice the same way as joy, gladness, and mirth. He will find cheerfulness, happiness, and enjoyment in us, but this time, Zephaniah says He will do so with shouts of joy! It is to these shouts we must pay particular attention. The word translated shouts can mean a ringing cry or…get this…singing! Yahweh will be singing over us – He will find cheerfulness, happiness, and enjoyment and He will sing about it!

As Christ followers, we are traditionally taught that our praise for Yahweh will never end and of course, this is true. I won’t speak for anyone but myself when I say that I have never had anyone point to this passage, a passage where Yahweh will delight over me, finding cheerfulness, happiness, and enjoyment! Now, there will be plenty who say this is meant for the Jews alone, but they would be wrong. This is an end of days prophecy, and it is meant for God’s PEOPLE…all of them! Yes, Judah and Israel come first, but this is for all of God’s people, and this is one of the reasons we Hope in Yahweh! As we praise and worship our Great God, He will be singing over us in His cheerfulness, happiness, and enjoyment of us.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

How are you feeling the deep love of Yahweh today?

How is Yahweh delighting in you today?

How are you sensing Yahweh singing over you during this season of life?

As Christ followers, we have Hope in Yahweh because His is the Alpha and the Omega, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

There is no doubt we will face dark and difficult days sometime in the future. But we can cling to this great Hope in Yahweh, knowing we are headed to a future far beyond any description humankind can dream of. Perseverance will be the key. We must keep our eyes fixed on Yeshua, no matter the circumstances that surround us. As Christ followers, we must stick together, keeping our relationships rooted in Messiah. We must remember that we are identified with Christ in His suffering and death, but we are also identified with Him in His resurrection and eternal life! We must also remember that this world is not our final home or resting place. We are headed to a home in the new Jerusalem, where we will live with and see our Heavenly Father face to face. Above all, we must remember that we have Hope in Yahweh alone, for He alone will find cheerfulness, happiness, and enjoyment in us, forever and ever.

We do all things for the glory of God, through Christ our Lord,

Amen and amen.

Next Week: Peace John14:27

Practicing Joyous Thanksgiving

Practicing Joyous Thanksgiving

Life & Light Community Church

Message from 11/19/2022

Life & Light Community Church began in the early months of 2020. What began as an opportunity for me, my wife and step-kids to continue to worship together, has now evolved into a ministry that has expanded to include close friends, family, and those who are simply hungry for the word of God. You can find us on Facebook, so please, feel free to reach out and join us.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, 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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

                                                                            Philippians 4:4–7 (NASB95)

From an early age our parents taught us to say thank you. If someone gives you a piece of candy, you say thank you. If someone holds a door open, you say thank you. If someone gives you a drink, you say thank you. If someone smiles and says, “Have a nice day.” You say thank you and return the sentiment. So, we learn to be thankful FOR things. We are thankful for food, clothing and shelter. We are thankful for a beautiful day. We are thankful for friends and family. Yes, we have indeed learned to be thankful for things.

But what happens when everything is not peaches and cream? When our rosy future turns a darker shade than we prefer to see? How do we react when our finances are stretched to the breaking point? What do we do when health issues, a sudden illness, or even death interrupt our blissful existence? When Paul wrote to the church at Philippi, his life was anything but peaches and cream. Paul wrote this letter, like most of his letters, from jail. Bound in chains and guarded by a Roman soldier. Paul, however, does not exhort this small church to give thanks FOR everything but rather IN everything. For Paul, and the church at Philippi, Practicing Joyous Thanksgiving is the only way to have a peace that goes beyond human understanding.

Paul exhorts the church at Philippi to rejoice in the Lord. Their gentle spirit should be known to all men, for the Lord is near. They are to be anxious about nothing, yet, in everything, they are to make their requests known to God. By Practicing Joyous Thanksgiving, the peace of Gid will guard their hearts and minds.

As Christ followers, we find our joy in the Lord. We love all people as if the end is near, being worried about nothing but praying about whatever we are facing. We are Practicing Joyous Thanksgiving by taking our concerns to God and allowing His peace to cover our lives.

In this message, we seek to answer the question, “What is the importance of Practicing Joyous Thanksgiving?”

As Christ followers, Practicing Joyous Thanksgiving is the means by which we obtain the peace of God.

1). As Christ followers, we are Practicing Joyous Thanksgiving when our joy spills over in love for others.

As Christ followers, we must love others like the end is near.

The church in this country has been blessed in that it has not faced open persecution like many other Christ followers around the world. Though we do not know when, that day is in fact, coming to the church in this country. With just a cursory reading of this passage one does not get the “feel” that this small church in Philippi is facing any persecution either. But as we read and study the words within the text, we begin to understand that they are indeed facing persecution, of some form, from their pagan neighbors. Paul first exhorts the church to rejoice in the Lord. This is not just joy but a joy so full and complete that nothing and no one can replace it or take it from them. This is a fullness of joy that can only be found in the Lord Himself.

Next, we see Paul exhorting the church to let their gentle spirit be known to all people. This word is generally used as an attitude of kindness when the normal or expected response is one of retaliation. This is love that goes beyond the norm, one that walks the extra mile and turns the other cheek. Paul adds that the Lord is near, so love these people as if He were standing beside you. The word used here is also translated as forbearance. Paul uses it in referring to the meekness and gentleness of Christ. During His trial, the Roman soldiers mocked Christ, tempting Him to react to their treatment of Him. They fashioned a crown of thorns and a mock cloak of purple fabric and taunted Him as the King of Israel. But Yeshua did not take the bait. In His great love for them, for the entire world, He did not react.

Paul then tells the church to “be anxious for nothing.” To be anxious is to have a distracting care about something. This is having your mind preoccupied with something. In the case of the church, it is the persecution coming from their pagan neighbors. Some of this persecution was coming from false teachers attempting to refute the teachings of Paul and convince the church that their form of the gospel based on knowledge and the Spirit was superior to that of Paul’s. However, Paul is in good standing with this church. He prays for them and gives thanks for them; they have twice sent money to support him in his efforts to spread the gospel message. His teaching is consistent and full proof.

While what we have learned is certainly most useful in facing persecution, there are still valuable lessons for the Christ follower, even though we do not face open persecution in the present. Living in the days just prior to the return of Christ, people are going to try and convince us that what we have learned and what we believe to be true about the Bible and the teachings of Messiah are not only false, but they are also filled with hate speech, do not include all people, and are just one way to reach God and heaven. It is imperative that Christ followers know what they believe and believe what the know and why. Scripture tells us to be prepared in season and out, to give an account for the hope that lives within us.

Secondly, we must be gentle in all things. We must love like the end is near, because, quite honestly, it is! People are going to try and tempt us to react or overreact, distracting us from what Yeshua is calling us to do, to say, and to show to others. By allowing gentleness, love for people and for Yeshua, to be at the forefront of all we do, we can make the love of Christ known to all. Thirdly, do not allow anyone or anything, to steal your joy found in the Lord. This is not going to be easy, it may in fact, be the hardest thing we face in the days ahead. Our joy should spill over to others, in the form of love, tolerance, and forgiveness, but it will not be easy to hold on and allow that joy to grow. Finally, be anxious for nothing. Do not allow anything to so fill your mind with worry that you lose sight of Yeshua, the One who has the answers, fills your needs, and shines the light on the path He has called you to walk.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

What do you find trying to steal your joy during this season of life?

How are you showing your “gentle spirit” to those around you?

What are you carrying a “distracting concern” for during this season of life?

As Christ followers, Practicing Joyous Thanksgiving is the means by which we obtain the peace of God.

2). As Christ followers, we are Practicing Joyous Thanksgiving when we are worried about nothing but praying about whatever we are facing.

There is no other way to find peace that goes beyond our understanding.

What we discussed in the first point of this message is not going to be easy, it will be very difficult, at best. But Paul gives us the roadmap to finding success. I began this message by talking about how we have learned to be thank FOR things. Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with that at all. We should be thankful for all that God has done, is doing, and will do for us. Giving thanks for those things is the proper response for the great blessings God the Father has given us. But this passage is not about how we react FOR things, it is about how we react IN things.  How do you react while you are in the middle of persecution? What is your response to sudden illness, health issues, or even the death of a loved one?

Paul tells us how we should react while we are IN something. We react by prayer, and supplication, with thanksgiving; we make our requests known to God. We all know what prayer is, in fact, I would venture to say that the one time we can all be found praying is when things begin to go bad. However, the type of prayer we are most likely to launch is a request for help, or asking “Why me, Lord?” Paul, however, is talking about a different type of prayer, he says supplication with thanksgiving. Have you ever tried to be thankful in the middle of a financial crisis? How do we give thanks for a sudden illness or disease? The first clue is found in the word supplication.

Supplication is a form of prayer, but it is a prayer borne out of desperation, out of dire need. But there is more to it than just desperation, than just the dire need. The key to this kind of prayer is found in the attitude of the person doing the praying. This calls for earnest prayer, that is, with sincerity and intense conviction, done humbly by the person making their request known to God. Think of Yeshua in the Garden of Eden. “Father, if it is possible, take this cup from Me. But not My will but Your will be done.” Here is the God of Creation, knowing what is coming in just a few hours, probably feeling the pain as He thinks about what is about to happen. Begging His Father to remove what is about to happen, if it is at all possible, but…if it is not, Your will be done.

Finally, there is thanksgiving. This simply means to give thanks, but the root word tells a different story. The root word means to give freely, so we give thanks freely while in the middle of whatever we might be facing. We give thanks freely while we are on our knees or flat on our face, making our requests known to the God of all Resources, the only One who can both hear and answer our prayers. In this type of prayer, we are asking or begging for something. When we are in such a place of desperation, we are exactly where God wants us…at the end of our human resources! We have finally come to the place where we must turn to the One we should have turned to in the first place!

For the Christ follower, we must be willing to humble ourselves and seek the One who hears our prayers and can answer those prayers, before we speak a word! Our first reaction must be one of seeking after God first, not when we have expended all of our pitiful human resources. Our Father in heaven is not caught off guard by anything we face. He is prepared to help if we but seek Him first, in sincerity and humbly. When we finally come to that place of desperation, we must fix our eyes on Him, not the issue we face. In all we face, we must be willing to freely give thanks to the Father who has called us into fellowship with His Son, for the One who offered His Son in our place, is prepared for anything – any crisis, any disease, any illness, any sin, or even any death – that might strike against us.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

How do you find yourself reacting IN the middle of an unexpected hardship?

Are you freely giving thanks during this season of life?

Have you reached the point of desperation that has led you to cry out to God?

As Christ followers, Practicing Joyous Thanksgiving is the means by which we obtain the peace of God.

The result of all that we have learned from this passage is that the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds. Guard is another term used for situations of conflict. It is used to refer to the actions of a military garrison stationed inside of a city. The military garrison is charged to watch over in order to protect or control; to protect against damage or harm. The peace of God will protect our hearts and minds against outside attacks. The first two places our enemy attacks are the heart and the mind. Spiritual warfare begins with the mind and works to twist and pervert the teachings of Yeshua that our hearts are turned away from God and to the things of the world.

More damage is done to the mind of the Christ follower by the subtle twisting of God’s word, than any all-out verbal attack or physical confrontation done by another person or group of people. Verbal and physical attacks involve other people, people we can confront, talk to, and reason with; the spiritual attack on the mind involves only our faulty thinking and untrustworthy hearts. We must guard these two areas first and foremost against enemy attack. We do this in Christ the Lord. We do this in His strength, in His victory, for He has already won both the battle and the war. Doing any of this in our own strength will only lead to failure, frustration, and defeat. We must remember, we face a defeated enemy who knows his time is short. Freely give thanks IN all things, praying earnestly, begging humbly, making your request known to God, for this is how we obtain the peace of God, peace that goes beyond our human understanding.

We do all things for the glory of God, through Christ our Lord.

Amen and amen.

Next Week: Advent Week 1: Zephaniah 3:17 – Hope  

Representing God

Representing God

Life & Light Community Church

Message from 11/12/2022

Life & Light Community Church began in the early months of 2020. What began as an opportunity for me, my wife and step-kids to continue to worship together, has now evolved into a ministry that has expanded to include close friends, family, and those who are simply hungry for the word of God. You can find us on Facebook, so please, feel free to reach out and join us.

“So the Jews were seeking Him at the feast and were saying, “Where is He?” There was much grumbling among the crowds concerning Him; some were saying, “He is a good man”; others were saying, “No, on the contrary, He leads the people astray.” Yet no one was speaking openly of Him for fear of the Jews. But when it was now the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and began to teach. The Jews then were astonished, saying, “How has this man become learned, having never been educated?” So Jesus answered them and said, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself. He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. Did not Moses give you the Law, and yet none of you carries out the Law? Why do you seek to kill Me?”                                                                                    John 7:11–19 (NASB95)

The Feast of Booths has arrived, and the brothers of Jesus feel it is the perfect opportunity for Jesus to show Himself to the world, a world we learned that hates Him because He exposes its evil deeds. After a lengthy discussion with them, Jesus tells His brothers He will not be attending the feast because His time has not yet arrived. However, after His brothers depart for the feast in Jerusalem, Jesus Himself goes to Jerusalem but He goes “as if in secret.” What His brothers want Him to do in public, boldly and loudly, Jesus does in private.

Our passage picks up with the Jews seeking Jesus while those in the crowd grumble amongst themselves about Him. Some are saying Jesus is a good man while others disagree, saying He leads people astray. The one thing they have in common is that no one is speaking openly about Him for fear of the Jews. But when Jesus begins to teach at the Temple, the Jews are astonished at His teaching. Jesus explains that He is Representing God, and His teaching is not His own, nor does He seek His own glory. Everything Jesus does is within the Father’s will, for He is true and there is no unrighteousness within Him.

Those seeking Jesus at the feast are divided, some in favor and some against, but none fully understanding Him. When He teaches at the Temple, the people are astonished. But Jesus is Representing God, His teachings are from the One who sent Him, and He does not seek His own glory but the glory of God because He is true and there is no unrighteousness found in Him.

As Christ followers, we too will find division among those we meet – some believing in Him, others not believing, but few will fully follow Him. Because we are Representing God, we teach from His teachings, seeking to bring glory to His name, while always seeking to be true, proving there is no unrighteousness found within us.

In this message we seek to answer the question, “How are Christ followers Representing God to the world around us?

As Christ followers, we are Representing God among those who believe, those who do not believe, and those who do not fully follow Him.

1). As Christ followers, we are Representing God to the world around us because our teaching is not our own but comes from the One who has sent us.

We seek to do the will of God so others will know our teaching comes from God.

Our passage opens with the observation that the Jews are seeking Jesus, asking the question, “Where is He?” The second observation is just as important as the first, “there was much grumbling among the crowds concerning Him.” Why this distinction between the Jews and the crowds? If we have been paying close attention to John’s writing, he makes the distinction between the religious authorities, “the Jews,” and those who have traveled to the Feast and the citizens of Judea, “among the crowds.” However, it is clear that both groups are looking for Jesus at the Feast. One other helpful clue here is the fact that both negative and positive conversation concerning Jesus is done in secret, for Jesus is a taboo subject and everyone knows it!

What we see next is, indeed, a bit unusual. The Feast of Booths is a weeklong celebration, and we find Jesus coming to the Temple in midweek. We are not given any information as to why but perhaps it was just enough of a delay for those seeking Jesus to “let their guard down.” It must have worked for when Jesus begins teaching at the Temple, the Jews are astonished at His teaching and asking how this man became learned without an education? For the Jews to be seeking someone to kill Him it seems a bit strange to not even recognize the man you are seeking, doesn’t it? Then again, Isaiah 53 tells us that there was nothing about Jesus that would make us take notice of Him, nothing special to set Him apart. In fact, He was despised and forsaken among men, familiar with sorrow and acquainted with grief. Even Judas had to kiss the cheek of Jesus so He could be recognized at His arrest.

Yet, His teaching is so powerful it causes everyone, the religious elite included, to take notice. He is speaking with power and authority that they are not used to, that is not seen in others. The real question from the religious authorities is this, “How can He teach like this without approved schooling?” The answer is straight forth and comes quickly from Jesus. His teaching is not His own teaching but comes from the One who sent Him. It is the one who is willing to do the will of God who will know whether or not the teaching of Jesus comes from God or if Jesus is simply spouting off His own made-up tales.

The implication is clear! You, the Jews religious authorities, do not know Me, thus, you do not know the One who sent Me, because you are not doing the will of God. Because they are not doing the will of God, they cannot understand the teachings of Jesus and thus, they are astonished at what He teaches. These are the teachers of Israel and they do not understand the teachings of the Father. They study the Law and yet they do not understand what Jesus teaches. Jesus stands apart because His teaching comes from God. Jesus is challenging those who hear Him to stop seeing Him as the next great sage of Israel, and to begin seeing Him as a prophet sent by God, after all, a prophet does not need a “formal education,” for a prophet has a higher calling and is taught by God.

As Christ followers, we too will come across grumbling within the crowds in which we live, work and play. Some will be counted among those who believe, more will be counted among those who do not believe. The common denominator will be you, the Christ follower. It will be the teaching you share, whether with your lifestyle and beliefs, or in using words to explain what you believe and why you live as you do, that will make the impact, making some uncomfortable and other curious. Everything we do, everything we say, is meant to point to God the Father; we belong to Him, and our words and action must indicate we are seeking His will, not our own. We can bring clarity or add to the confusion. What are your words and actions saying to others?

Questions for discussion/reflection:

What kind of “grumbling among the crowds” are you encountering in your word?

What teaching of Jesus currently has you “astonished?”

How is your life and your words showing others that your “teaching” come from God?

As Christ followers, we are Representing God among those who believe, those who do not believe, and those who do not fully follow Him.

2). As Christ followers, we are Representing God to the world around us because we do not seek our own glory but only the glory of the One who has sent us.

We do not speak for ourselves; we only speak for the glory of the Father.

Jesus has challenged the Jews and those in the crowd to stop seeing Him as the next great sage and to begin seeing Him as a young prophet of God. To help drive this point home, Jesus tells those in the Temple He is not seeking His own glory, but rather the glory of the One who sent Him. Jesus has said that His teaching is not His own and those who do the will of God will know His teaching is from God. Now He says those who speak for themselves seek only their own glory. Jesus is saying that because His teaching comes from God and He seeks the glory of God, this makes Him an authorized representative of Israel’s God, true and without any unrighteousness found in Him.

We know that Jesus is doing God’s will, going where the Father tells Him to go and, just as importantly, going when the Father tells Him to go. This feast is an example of Jesus following the Father’s will. He did not come to the feast immediately, as His brothers did, because His time has not yet come. Jesus waited until the Jewish religious leaders had let their guard down and were not expecting Him before He arrived at the feast and began to teach. Because He is doing God’s will, His teachings astonish the Jewish leaders who do not recognize Him. We also know that Jesus speaks only what the Father has given Him to speak. Thus, the reason the religious leaders do not recognize Jesus as the One they have been seeking to kill.

What, exactly, does this mean? It means the religious leaders of Israel, the ones who teach the people about God do not know the God they have been teaching and claim as their own! If they were doing the will of God, they would recognize Jesus as a prophet sent from God, they would be able to understand the teachings of Jesus and there would be no need to question whether or not He has received an authorized education. These leaders seek only their own glory and speak only for themselves. This is the very reason they are at odds with Jesus, He refuses to withhold His criticism of their religious system. He calls them out because they cannot see the power of God working within Him. The Judean people have seen the works of Jesus and still they do not believe.

Finally, Jesus drives His point home by hitting them where they live, so to speak. They have been listening to Him teach and interpret the Torah and yet they have not made the connection between the one teaching and the One they have been seeking, the infamous Jesus of Nazareth. Suddenly, Jesus begins to make things clear with the question “Why do you seek to kill Me?” But John, the author of this gospel, does what he has been trying to do from the beginning…include the Samaritan Israelites in the conversation. Prior to the question asked, Jesus returns to Moses and the Law. “Has not Moses given you the Law?” Both Judean and Samaritan Israelites claimed to follow the Law and yet Jesus calls them out for not following the Law they claim! The Samaritan Israelites have long held that the Judean Israelites did not keep the Torah of Moses. By this critique of the Judean misinterpretation of the Torah Jesus is able, at the same time, to include the Samaritan Israelites in the conversation.

Make no mistake here, the words of Jesus seek only to bring glory to God, not to Himself. In pointing out the misinterpretation of the Torah, He is clearly saying to the Judean religious leaders they simply do not know the God they teach, the very One who has sent Jesus among them as Messiah. As Christ followers, we must be aware that what we say is just as powerful, if not more so, than what we do. If our words and actions do not line up, we have already lost the battle. Our words should speak to the glory of God and our actions should line up with those words. Then, those we walk among will be able to tell that our teaching comes from God and seeks only to being glory to the One who has sent us.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

How are you challenging people to see you as someone sent by God?

Do your words and actions say that you are doing the will of God?

How are your words and actions bringing glory to God?

As Christ followers, we are Representing God among those who believe, those who do not believe, and those who do not fully follow Him.

The bottom line for the Christ follower is this, it is not going to be easy living a life that clearly speaks to others as a life within God’s will, that seeks to bring glory to God the Father. It just won’t be easy, but that doesn’t mean that it cannot be done. Jesus is sought by many but understood by few. This is why we will encounter grumbling among those we walk among on a daily basis. This will include other Christ followers who will not be as willing to accept what they will consider “new teaching” about the gospel message, the disciples, Jesus Himself, and how we are to live our lives as Christ followers. This is the reason it is so important to be in your Bible every day. Read and study God’s word so those you meet can tell your teaching comes from God and are not your teachings at all. This is how we bring glory to God; we live lives that speak to His power and presence in our lives; we seek His glory and not our own; we do the will of God and speak only those things He has given us to speak, again bringing glory to His name. By this, we will be true, and others will be unable to find any unrighteousness within us.

We do all things for the glory of God, through Christ our Lord,

Amen and amen.

Next Week: Thanksgiving Message from Philippians 4:6-7

A Quiet Arrival

A Quiet Arrival
Life & Light Community Church
Message from 11/5/2022

Life & Light Community Church began in the early months of 2020. What began as an opportunity for me, my wife and step-kids to continue to worship together, has now evolved into a ministry that has expanded to include close friends, family, and those who are simply hungry for the word of God. You can find us on Facebook, so please, feel free to reach out and join us.

“After these things Jesus was walking in Galilee, for He was unwilling to walk in Judea because the Jews were seeking to kill Him. Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was near. Therefore His brothers said to Him, “Leave here and go into Judea, so that Your disciples also may see Your works which You are doing. For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” For not even His brothers were believing in Him. So Jesus said to them, “My time is not yet here, but your time is always opportune. The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil. Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast because My time has not yet fully come.” Having said these things to them, He stayed in Galilee. But when His brothers had gone up to the feast, then He Himself also went up, not publicly, but as if, in secret.”
John 7:1–10 (NASB95)

Throughout the gospel account of John, we find Jesus interacting with people. Such is the ministry of our Lord. In this interaction with people there have been miracles of turning water to wine, and feeding 5,000 men, plus women and children, with a few loaves of bread and fish; we have seen Jesus deal with individuals as well as large groups. And of course, there is always the ever-present tension with the Pharisees.

Today we find another realm in the life of Jesus added to the mix – His family. The brothers of Jesus try to convince Him to show Himself to the world – a world who just happens to hate Him! The brothers want Jesus to go to Jerusalem and to do so boldly, but Jesus makes A Quiet Arrival, allowing Him to walk wisely among those who seek to take His life.

Jesus walks in Galilee because the Jews seek to kill Him. His brothers try to force Him to show Himself to a world that hates Him because He testifies to its evil deeds. So, A Quiet Arrival allows Jesus to attend the Feast of Booths after the arrival of His brothers.

As He attends the Feast of Booths, A Quiet Arrival allows Jesus to walk wisely among those who seek to kill Him; He remains private as His brothers seek to expose Him; and He continues to testify against the evil deeds of a world that hates Him.

In this message we seek to answer the question, “What can the Christ follower learn from A Quiet Arrival?”

As Christ followers, we learn from A Quiet Arrival to continue in the work of ministry – regardless of our circumstances.

1). As Christ followers, we learn from A Quiet Arrival to walk wisely.
Because of our faith and trust in Jesus, there will be times when we are openly mocked.

As chapter seven opens, we find Jesus is still walking in Galilee. John tells us that Jesus was unwilling to walk in Judea because the Jews, the Judean Jews, were seeking to kill Him. To add to the tension, we find in this passage, John tells us the Feast of Booths is set to take place. To complete this tension filled scene, John tells us the brothers of Jesus are present and trying to convince Him to show Himself to the world. Why are the brothers of Jesus pressing Him in this manner? Because, John says, they are not yet believing in Jesus.

That the Judean Jews are seeking to kill Jesus is no big surprise, for John has stated in several other places, thus far in his gospel account, that the Jews seek to kill Jesus. What is surprising, however, is that Jesus was unwilling to walk in Judea. That Jesus is unwilling to walk in Judea is not because He is avoiding confrontation, but rather, because He is remaining faithful to the Father’s will. It is not yet time for Jesus to die, so He remains in Galilee where the Judean Jews cannot reach Him. Jesus is fully aware of the fact that it is not time for Him to go to Jerusalem to die, for twice He says His time has not yet come.

Jesus came to Galilee after the feeding of the 5,000. Part of those following Jesus came from the crowd who were fed by Jesus. We also know they were unwilling to believe the signs they saw Jesus perform while among them. So, Jesus continues in the work the Father has given Him to complete, even though He is fully aware the Jews seek to kill Him. Regardless of His circumstances, Jesus continues in the work of His ministry. Even though the enemy is hard at work in those who should recognize and accept Him, Jesus is focused on the work at hand. The brothers of Jesus openly mock Him as they try to convince Him to show Himself to the world. They do this by using the Feast of Booths, also known as the Fest of Tabernacles, as the venue to show Himself as the Messiah to the world.

This Feast is one of three all Jewish males are required to travel to Jerusalem to attend. It is the third of the Fall feasts and the final of the seven Feasts to the Lord. There are several things concerning the Feast we should be aware of. This feast is to be a reminder to future generations of Jewish people of God’s sustaining and protecting power throughout an uncertain journey. It is a time when temporary shelters were built to remind the Jewish people of the shelters their ancestors lived in throughout the wilderness journey. It is also a time of great rejoicing following the gathering of the harvest. Finally, we must understand the phrase, “Feast of the Jews.” Why does John add this comment? John provides this bit of information because there were several calendars at use during this time. John is making it plainly clear that Jesus is a Judean Jew, and this is the calendar He is following.

For the Christ follower, there is much for us to learn and remember in this passage. Frist, if we are truly following the examples of Jesus, we can learn to keep our eyes fixed on the ministry to which we have been called. The enemy will come against us in the most unexpected ways, even through our own friends and family. Our circumstances must not dictate when, where, or how we minister to others. Our eyes must be fixed on Jesus and the examples He has provided. This means we must learn to walk wisely among those who seek our “death.” Jesus was not avoiding a confrontation; He simply knew it was not the proper time for confrontation. We too must learn the proper time for confrontation and the time to walk away until the time has been prepared for confrontation.

Finally, the Feast of Booths is important for our faith even today. Many will not agree with this, saying that Jesus did away with the need to observe the feasts. Obviously, this is not true because Jesus and the disciples were faithful to attend the feasts, and for the Christ follower, all seven of the Feasts find their fulfillment in Jesus. This feast is a reminder that Jesus, the Word made flesh, came to dwell among us. Dwell comes from the same root word as tabernacle. Tabernacle means tent, or booth, it carries the idea of pitching a tent. For the Christ follower it is a reminder that Jesus pitched His tent to dwell among us. Further, we are now the dwelling place of Christ through the Holy Spirit. Finally, this Feast represents our eternal future spent with Christ in His eternal kingdom.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

How is the enemy trying to distract you from the work of ministry to which you have been called?
How is the enemy openly mocking your faith and trust in Christ during this season of life?
How is Jesus “dwelling” with you during this season of life?

As Christ followers. We learn from A Quiet Arrival to continue in the work of ministry – regardless of our circumstances.

2). As Christ followers, we learn from A Quiet Arrival to continue exposing evil.
Because of our faith and trust in Jesus, there will be times when we are openly hated.

We have seen that the brothers of Jesus are trying to convince Him to show Himself to the world. What we have not discussed yet is that this world hated Jesus. Why does the world hate Jesus? Because He exposes its evil deeds. Knowing the history of Israel this should not be a surprise for us. The evil kings of Israel hated the prophets for not withholding their criticism. One of the reasons King David is presented in a positive light is because when confronted with his sin by Nathan, the prophet, David responded in repentance and faith, rather than trying to kill the prophet. Like the prophets before Him, Jesus is hated because He will not withhold His criticism of the Judean religious system.

Scripture has ample illustrations of Jesus in a confrontation with the Judean Jewish religious leaders because he will not withhold His criticism of their system. In John chapter 5 we find an example of this when Jesus healed the man at the Pool of Bethesda. The issue with the healing, according to the Judean Jewish religious leaders is because Jesus “worked” this miracle on the Sabbath. They first address the man for carrying his pallet on the Sabbath and then turn their attack to Jesus, once they discover He is the one who performed the miracle. Jesus continued to expose their evil deeds because, at the heart of the matter, was the fact that the religious leaders turned a blind eye to the people of God seeking a miracle at a place of pagan worship.

We must, next, understand the context of “world.” In his writing, John presents Jesus and the Judean Jews as one community, one family, and one people group within the wider Israel. Traditional teaching has said the “world” is the entire nation of Israel, or the wider known world. But, having dug deeper into the gospel account of John, we have already learned that John presents Jesus as a Judean Jew. So, in this context, “world” is the system of the Judean Jews that sought to take His life and end His ministry. John 1:11 helps put this in context of “His own.”

We must also understand the contrasts that are presented between Jesus and His brothers. The first contrast is the way in which the brothers want Jesus to show Himself to the world and the way Jesus arrives at the Feast. The brothers press Jesus to do things publicly, not in secret. Here, publicly means “in boldness.” We might say something like “toot your own horn.” In others, words, make yourself known and do it loudly! Jesus., however, arrives at the feast and does what He does in secret. Here, secret means “as if hidden.” We would say He is doing things privately or “on the downlow.” The other contrast has to do with time. Jesus says the time for His brothers is “always opportune.” Here, “opportune” means prepared. The world will always accept the brothers at any time because the world does not hate them…they are welcome! Time for the brothers is quantity of time. But Jesus says His time has not yet come. For Jesus, time could also be translated as “hour.” For Jesus, His time will be marked by certain characteristics. It is quality of time, not quantity of time.

For the Christ follower, we must be aware of the fact that we are exposing evil as well. Sometimes we may, in fact, need to use words and have a confrontation with people. But more likely it will be as simple as your lifestyle making people uncomfortable because you are different. When a Christ follower lives out their beliefs before others, it makes an impression that is hard to forget. Some will ask and accept, while others will fight against you at every turn. Some will even hate you, most, for what your lifestyle and beliefs stand for against their lifestyle and beliefs.

We must also be aware of our world. This is not the world at large but the world of our family and close friends. It may also spill over into work relationships and our neighborhoods. Your circle of influence is your world, and your life speaks to everyone you come into contact with. Finally, we must be aware of our time. As Christ followers, ours is a quality of time. We are to be making the most of our time because time is short. The time and effort we put into making relationships is important and take quality, not necessarily a quantity, of time. Yes, both would be ideal, but we must use our time wisely, just as we must walk wisely among those we meet.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

What ministry is Jesus calling you to in your “world” today?
How do you sense Jesus calling you to expose evil during this season of life?
How are you being hated, by the enemy himself or though others, during this season of life.

As Christ followers. We learn from A Quiet Arrival to continue in the work of ministry – regardless of our circumstances.

The life of the Christ follower is never easy, nor have we been promised that it would be. In fact, Jesus tells us that we will find trouble in this world. The work of ministry is hard work, and make no mistake about it, we have all been called to some sort of ministry. Doing the work of ministry that has been prepared for us, we will find times when we are openly mocked. People will try to convince us to do things we wouldn’t normally do. They will taunt us, tease us, and at times, even hate us. Our lives as Christ followers will make some people very uncomfortable, and most of them will know only one way to react – to lash out at what is making them uncomfortable. It truly is not personal, but you represent something counter to what they believe and the way they live.

But we can take great comfort in knowing that the One who calls us to this ministry, dwells within us, giving us the strength, courage, and power, we need to complete the work prepared for us. Jesus has come to give us life and life abundantly, not to lead us to our destruction by an enemy that hates us. He has promised to be with us always, even in the darkest and hardest of times. No, the life we have been called to is not an easy life. But it is a life well worth living as long as we walk wisely among those with which we live and work.

We do all things through Christ our Lord,
Amen and amen.
Next Week” John 7:11-19

Words of Life

Words of Life

Life & Light Community Church

Message from 10/22/2022

Life & Light Community Church began in the early months of 2020. What began as an opportunity for me, my wife and step-kids to continue to worship together, has now evolved into a ministry that has expanded to include close friends, family, and those who are simply hungry for the word of God. You can find us on Facebook, so please, feel free to reach out and join us.

“For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.” As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.”

                                                                  John 6:55–58 & 66-69 (NASB95)

Chapter 6 of the gospel account of John has been an extended discussion, during the Passover season, on bread versus manna. The crowd that is following Jesus in Galilee is likely from Nazareth, or somewhere nearby, as they seem to know the parents of Jesus. This makes for some interesting conversation, especially when Jesus says, “I am the bread of life, that came down out of heaven.” This crowd is insistent that they get manna, the same food Moses gave their fathers in the desert. However, while their fathers did indeed eat manna, they all died in the desert. Jesus plainly states that the bread He offers is better because it is bread from heaven that gives eternal life for those who eat the bread He offers.  

Things seem to take a darker twist as Jesus says His flesh is true food and His blood is true drink. Of course, the crowd again finds the teachings of Jesus not what they expected. Many in the crowd following Jesus will find this statement to difficult to listen to and withdraw from Jesus, never to walk with Him again. When Jesus turns to the twelve, He chose, they confess they have no one else to turn to, for the twelve believes that Jesus is the Holy One of God who has Words of Life – eternal life.

Jesus speaks Words of Life to those who follow Him, proclaiming His flesh to be true food and His blood true drink. This is the bread come down out of heaven that gives eternal life. However, many withdraw from Jesus, never to walk with Him again. But the twelve have come to believe Jesus is the Hoy One of God.

Jesus makes a bold claim to be the food and drink of eternal life. By eating His flesh and drinking His blood, those who follow Him have eternal live in Him, and He, in turn, lives in them. While some walk away, the twelve know that Jesus speaks Words of Life as the Messiah sent by the Father.

In this message, we seek to answer the question, “How do these Words of Life impact the faith of the Christ follower?”

These Words of Life are true food, true drink, and lead to eternal life in Jesus – the Christ of God.

1). The Words of Life spoken by Jesus, lead to eternal life.

By eating the true food and drinking the true drink, we abide in Christ, and He lives in us.

As we come to this final portion of chapter 6, we find that the crowd has finally had their fill of the teachings of Jesus. It is not that the crowd doesn’t understand what Jesus is saying, they simply cannot listen to it any longer. What is it that the crowd simply cannot listen to any longer? The statement Jesus makes claiming His flesh is true food and His blood is true drink. Did Jesus mean this as a metaphor, or did He mean the disciples had to literally eat his flesh and drink His blood? What exactly does Jesus mean? Jesus said what He said here because nothing else could possibly describe what He was trying to make clear. There was a time when Christians were accused of literally serving human flesh and blood during their meals. But that is not what is going on here.

So, let me ask you, do you think Jesus expected His disciples to understand this statement, and more importantly to accept it? Could it be that Jesus chose this metaphor to make sure that only those who perceived its true meaning and were not afraid of being misunderstood could have the privilege of being His disciples? Was this statement so culturally and religiously unacceptable that only those who could “close their eyes to it” would be expected to remain? As I researched this passage more and more, I became convinced that Jesus expected His disciples to fully understand this statement.

The Jewish Middle Eastern society was much different than our own. They were a much more physical society. What I mean is they fully associated the human body to the person to whom the body belonged. For example, in Psalm 30:9, we read of the psalmist’s thoughts concerning his own death and burial. His thoughts were of his whole self, not just the physical body, going down into the grave. This is because there was no separation of the body and soul in the Middle Eastern society like we have in our own Western society today. We are very much at home with the separation of body and soul, but this was not true during biblical times.

In addition to this, the Bible specifically declared that the life of the flesh is found in the blood. This is why we find that the drinking or eating of blood is strictly forbidden when animal flesh is consumed. This is found in Leviticus 17:10-12. Animal blood was to be symbolically poured over the altar of the Jerusalem Temple to make atonement for the Israelites. Here is the part that sounds especially strange to us in the Western church, the blood was meant for God. It was meant to be consumed by God and God alone. Israel was not alone in this understanding of sacrifice. They offered God food for holy consumption. In the ancient mind, the slaughtered sacrifice was meant to symbolize a life fully dedicated to the deity worshiped, in the case of Israel it is Yahweh.

So, here is what I understand to be happening, Jesus is saying that the tables have been turned. It is now God’s turn to offer to Israel all that He is. Just as Israel offered the sacrifice to symbolize the whole life, so God is offering Israel Himself in the person of the Son. Therefore, when Jesus referred to His body and His blood, He meant the bread and wine should become, in the mind and hearts of His followers, fully associated with the entirety of His life – His person, His teachings, His works, and His commands. Jesus expects to be fully understood and received through ACTIVE PARTICIPATION by faith. It is by faith in Him that His followers partake of salvation, found in Him alone and freely offered to all.

The statement about the body and blood of Jesus is true and nothing else, no other picture, could make it any clearer. His flesh and His blood, meaning Jesus Himself – the whole Jesus – is the only thing that can sustain us, all people, to life everlasting. Jesus clearly says that no one can come to the Father but through Him. This makes it clear that the Pharisees and Sadducees are NOT the gatekeepers to the Father. This is the hard saying that the crowd and the religious leaders have such a hard time with the disciples understood Jesus – they know He is the Holy One of God.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

How has your understanding of the body and blood of Jesus changed? How does this impact your faith?

Our bodies are meant to be a holy and living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1). How are you using your body as food for God to consume?

How is Jesus acting as gatekeeper to the Father in your life?

These Words of Life are true food, true drink, and lead to eternal life in Jesus – the Christ of God.

2). The Words of Life spoken by Jesus, lead to the Messiah of God.

As we walk with Jesus, we come to believe He is the Messiah – the One with words of eternal life.

As the crowd begins to thin with those who simply cannot continue to listen to the teachings of Jesus, He turns to the twelve and asks them if it causes them to stumble as well. He then gives them an important line of reasoning for those who understood the implications of His teaching concerning His body and His blood. This line of reasoning comes in the form of a question, “What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before?” The point that Jesus is making to the disciples is this: “What I am saying about myself only makes sense if I am the Son of Man in Daniel’s vision. If you believe that vision, then what I am saying should also be believable.” Jesus is talking about the vision of Daniel 7:13-14 where Jesus is presented before God and given the eternal kingdom at the end of the ages.

The teachings of Jesus are beginning to crystalize, His message is becoming clearer. Jesus is confronting the Jerusalem Temple leadership, its power structure and following, but it is also clear that Jesus will not win a popularity contest in Judea. Many are said to withdraw from Jesus, but there are also those who remain with Him. This is reflected in the statement by the disciple, “Lord, to whom shall we go. You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.”  I think it is clear here that coming to Jesus and staying with Jesus are connected. You cannot truly come to Jesus and then leave. Our faith is not a revolving door; thus, the opposite must also be true. If people come to Jesus and then leave Him, they had not truly come to Him in the first place, they have not come to Him as the Giver of Life, they have not come to Him as the Sustainer of Life, they have not tasted Him and have not fed on Him.  

How can we understand this? How can people who have seen the goodness and glory of God turn away from Him? The prophets of the Bible divided the world into three categories: 1) those outside the covenant; 2) those inside the covenant and keeping it; 3) those inside the covenant and not keeping it. Has this really changed all that much today. Are there not those outside of the church? Are there not those inside the church and keeping the true faith? Are there not those inside the church and not keeping the true faith? Those who remain with Jesus in the true faith are those the prophets call the faithful remnant of Israel. However even those who remain with Jesus will soon fail. Peter is our example from the disciples, the one who says to Jesus to whom shall we go, will also be the one to say I am not, when asked if he is with Jesus at His crucifixion.

At the cross the faithful remnant of Israel was reduced to one – Jesus Himself would remain faithful to the covenant of God. He alone, the Messiah sent by God, would be the One on which the foundation of the new covenant would be built – the New Covenant and the New Jerusalem – the eternal dwelling place of the redeemed. It is upon Jesus alone that God would begin the rebuilding and restoration of His people Israel, drawing them and all the nations of the world to Himself.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

What Words of Life are you hearing from Jesus during this season of life?

Now that you have come to Jesus, what is keeping you with Jesus?

How is God rebuilding and restoring you in Christ?

These Words of Life are true food, true drink, and lead to eternal life in Jesus – the Christ of God.

We must be ACTIVE PARTICIPANTS in faith – faith in Jesus as the Messiah sent by God. The blood of Christ has been poured out over the altar as the sacrifice for your sin – past, present, and future. Unlike the animal blood that was sacrificed regularly in the temple, the blood of Christ has been poured out once for all, you are cleansed and redeemed with this pouring out. The body of Christ was broken and given for you as food for God to consume – it is the life fully devoted to God and the covenant He has made with His people. In the present, this sacrifice must become, in your heart and in your mind, the true food and true drink of salvation.

You must also understand that you WILL STUMBLE – it happens, but nothing that causes you to stumble should cause you to leave Jesus. Coming to and staying with Jesus is what we do in this faith of ours. If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the Son of Man, then you must believe He has the power and the willingness to forgive the sins of those who truly repent and turn to Him. You must believe He is the Holy One – the Messiah sent by God. Through faith in Christ, we have access to the Father, for Christ Jesus is the ONLY way to the Father; He is the ONLY means for salvation, freely offered to all.

We are to be ACTIVE PARTICIPANTS as the remnant of Israel – keeping the true faith in Christ. We must be willing to be misunderstood, dislikes, persecuted and even hated for keeping the true faith as outlined in the examples and teachings of Jesus and the twelve – not according to traditional teachings or church doctrine and tradition – especially when they are at odds with the teachings of Christ Jesus – the Messiah sent by God.

We do all things for the glory of God, through Christ our Lord,

Amen and amen.

Next Week: John 7:1-10

The Living Bread

I apologize for the lateness of this post. We have been experiencing internet issues the past few days.

The Living Bread

Life & Light Community Church

Message from 10/15/2022

Life & Light Community Church began in the early months of 2020. What began as an opportunity for me, my wife and step-kids to continue to worship together, has now evolved into a ministry that has expanded to include close friends, family, and those who are simply hungry for the word of God. You can find us on Facebook, so please, feel free to reach out and join us.

“Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, “I am the bread that came down out of heaven.” They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, ‘I have come down out of heaven’?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me. Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”

                                                                                   John 6:41–51 (NASB95)

Many of us have seen, or at least heard, of the cartoon of the man stranded on a housetop asking God for help. Another man in a boat comes along and the man on the housetop replies, “God will provide.” As the water rises another boat, bigger this time, comes along and, again the man replies, “God will provide.” Finally, the water reaches the top of the house, and a helicopter comes by and the man, again, replies, “God will provide.” As the water reaches the man’s waist, he cries to the heavens, “God why haven’t you helped me?” A voice from heaven replies, “How much more help do you need?!”

I think it is safe to say that we have all missed God’s help from time to time. The crowd in our passage today has certainly missed The Living Bread as Jesus stands before them as the bread from heaven. The crowd, however, insists that their fathers ate manna from heaven, and they want what their fathers had. Sadly, the people miss the point that, while their fathers ate manna in the wilderness, they all died, and Jesus offers them living bread from heaven that leads to eternal life.

The Jews grumble about Jesus saying He is the bread come down from heaven, claiming they know His father and mother. But no one can come to Jesus unless drawn by the Father, for the bread out of heaven The Living Bread for those who believe. These receive true bread from heaven and live forever.

Many today continue to challenge that Jesus came from heaven, claiming He was simply a man – a good teacher who lived a good life. But only those drawn by God can truly know Jesus as bread out of heaven – The Living Bread for eternal life to those who place their faith and trust in Christ.

In this message we seek to answer the question, “How is Jesus The Living Bread come down from heaven?”

Jesus is The Living Bread come down from heaven that the world might have life.

1). The Father sent The Living Bread from heaven to draw people to Jesus as the Christ.

Only those who have heard and learned from the Father can come to Jesus.

Throughout the gospel account of John, we have been taking care to see the connection to the Torah in John’s writing. The crowd begins to grumble among themselves because Jesus has said, “I am the bread that came down out of heaven.” Why is this an issue? The crowd that has followed Jesus to Capernaum is likely from Nazareth, the village where the family of Jesus resides after returning from Egypt. Thus, the crowd states Jesus is the son of Joseph, whose father and mother they know. They mistakenly believe they know the truth of where Jesus has come from and thus, they grumble about this statement. What is the connection to the Torah? The grumbling of the crowd.

In the Torah, Exodus and Deuteronomy to be exact, the people complain about their hunger and God provides meat and manna, in Exodus 16, and then they complain about their thirst in Exodus 17. Finally, we see the people called out for their grumbling in Deuteronomy 1:27. Sadly, the Israelites complained even when God provided manna! Earlier this crowd had been bragging about how Moses gave them manna from heaven. Now, standing before them is the One who will give them bread, something better than manna, because their fathers ate the manna and died. The bread that Jesus will provide is living bread, because He Himself has come down from heaven.

Remember these are Israelites, they have been taught they are God’s own people. Jesus tells this crowd that no one can come to Him unless they have been drawn by the Father. While we must understand that there is an individual application here for each one of us, we must also understand that there are great national implications here for these Israelites. No person, Jews, Gentile, Greek or any other nationality, can come to Jesus on their own volition and power. Each must be drawn by God the Father. Which helps clarify the following statement that they will all be taught of God.

Most modern-day commentators believe Jesus is quoting the prophet Isaiah, but what Jesus has in mind here is the prophet Jeremiah chapter 31:31-33 – the New Covenant text. This text helps us understand that Jesus has, indeed, come to restore ALL of Israel – the House of Israel and the House of Judah. As we learned earlier, the Samaritan Israelites represent the House of Israel and the Judean Israelite represent the House of Judah. The Samaritan Israelites, who believed because of the word they heard, represent the Ten Northern tribes which have assimilated into other cultures. They too, are part of the end times plan of restoration for Israel by God the Father.

For the Christ follower, we too have been given the opportunity to partake of the living bread that came down from heaven. Jesus is the living bread we need every day. He alone can provide for our physical needs as well as our spiritual needs. The bread He offers is far better than any bread – or manna- because the bread He offers is living bread which leads to eternal life. Each of us, in our own way and in our own experience, has heard and learned from the Father, who has then drawn us to His Son, Yeshua, Jesus the Christ.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

What do you find yourself grumbling about during this season of life?

Think of a recent desert experience in your own life; how did The Father’s Provision sustain you during your desert wanderings?

How is God the Father drawing you closer to Jesus during this season of life?

Jesus is The Living Bread come down from that the world might have life.

2). The Father sent The Living Bread from heaven to provide eternal life to those who believe.

Only those who believe – place their faith and trust in Jesus – will live forever.

As the people press Jesus on the issue of manna in the wilderness, Jesus acknowledges the fact that their fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, but then He adds another fact to the discussion – their fathers ate the manna and died. Jesus is making a point here about the entire generation that came out of Egypt – the entire generation are the fathers of the crowd who have been following Him; these are the one who ate the manna and did not enter the Promised Land – they all died. Jesus is exposing the hypocrisy of this crowd, those who dare to compare the manna provided by Moses against The Living Bread – the true bread from heaven.

The next statement from Jesus is one that, again, sounds very familiar, “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever;” Where have we heard something similar to this? This goes back to the Samaritan woman at the well again. “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” Again, we see a contrast of the Samaritan Israelites who believed because of what they heard and the Judean Israelites who do not believe even when they see the miracles of Jesus. This group of followers is just like the generation of unbelieving Israelites in the wilderness.

Jesus tells these followers that the one who believes will have eternal life. What, exactly, are they to believe? First, they are to believe in Christ as the Son of God. The Son is the only One from God and the only One who has seen the Father. Secondly, they must believe Jesus is the One who has come out of heaven. He alone can grant eternal life to those who believe. He is the Giver of Life and the Source of Life. Thirdly, they must believe Jesus is the Bread of Life. As the Bread of Life, Jesus is the One who provide nourishment both physically and spiritually. Fourth, they must believe Jesus is the Living Bread who gives eternal life. He alone is living bread that gives life. He alone came down out of heaven to give life to the world. He alone provides nourishment – spiritual food – for humanity for spiritual and eternal life. Finally, they must believe that Jesus gave His flesh for the life of the world.

For the Christ follower, in a very real sense, Jesus has given His flesh that we might have life. Of course, this is a foreshadowing of His work on the cross as our Passover Lamb. Each week we celebrate the body that has been broken and given for us. But do we stop for even a moment and examine what that means for us in our busy schedules from day to day? Do we understand the full impact of His being lashed at His scourging and how the torn and battered flesh has given us life? To believe and fully understand this is more than a simple mental acceptance. To believe is to receive Jesus as Lord AND Savior. His sacrifice for those who call Him Lord demands obedience, faithfulness, and loyalty.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

When was the last time you questioned the superiority of The Living Bread, thinking you have found something better?

What has convinced you that Jesus is the Bread of Life? If you are not convinced, why?

How has Jesus given His flesh that you might have life?

Jesus is The Father’s Provision of living bread from that the world might have life.

Jesus the Christ has come down out of heaven that we might have life and life abundantly. That does not necessarily mean we have lots of stuff, but rather, in Him our life is full and rich in ways we could never imagine. If you are struggling to believe, ask yourself what is holding you back. Pinpoint those issues you still have keeping you from freely and fully giving yourself to Jesus as Lord and Savior. Once you have identified those issue, turn to the Scriptures. Find those Scriptures that speak directly to your issues. Trust the Holy Spirit to lead you to the truth. Stand firm on the promises you find in those Scriptures that speak to your doubt. But above all, listen. Listen for God will speak to your issues and help you overcome your doubts, for it is those who have heard and learned from the Father that are granted eternal life.

We do all things for the glory of God, through Christ our Lord,

Amen and amen.

Next Week: John 6:52-71

The Names of God Pt. V

The Names of God Pt. V
Life & Light Community Church
Message from 10/8/2022

Life & Light Community Church began in the early months of 2020. What began as an opportunity for me, my wife and step-kids to continue to worship together, has now evolved into a ministry that has expanded to include close friends, family, and those who are simply hungry for the word of God. You can find us on Facebook, so please, feel free to reach out and join us.

“For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”
Romans 10:12–13 (NASB95)

Scripture tells us that “whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13).” But which name are you calling upon? Yes, that’s right, our Lord God has more than one name. The Names of God, which we are looking at today, are found in the Old Testament. Each name shows a different characteristic or attribute of God. These names are revealed to those who needed God, and a specific part of God, at that moment in time. There are some amazing things revealed about God in His names and those things will help the Christ follower develop a deeper faith.

This message will seek to help the Christ follower understand why The Names of God are important to develop a deeper faith.

The Names of God help the Christ follower know the One who has called them into fellowship on a deeper, more personal level.

1). The importance of the name El Olam to the Christ follower.

The first name we will examine is El Olam, meaning the Eternal God or the Everlasting God. El Olam is the Beginning and the End; He is the One who works His purposes throughout time; He strengthens the weary. This name pictures the eternal attributes of Jesus. There are three Scripture references we will look at to help us understand the name El Olam. Our first Scripture comes from Genesis 21:33.

“Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the LORD, the Everlasting God.”
Genesis 21:33 (NASB95)

Prior to this verse, Abraham and Abimelech have made a covenant to deal rightly with one another. Abraham then complained about a well the servants of Abimelech seized from Abraham. As a sign he is dealing honestly with Abimelech, Abraham offers seven ewes as a witness he is speaking the truth – that Abraham dug the well. Once again Abraham and Abimelech make a covenant, Abraham plants a tamarisk tree and calls upon El Olam – the Everlasting God. God is with us at all times; He sees what we do, He knows what we think, He hears what we say, for it is He who is working His purposes throughout time.

Our second Scripture comes from Psalm 90:1-2:

“Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were born Or You gave birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.”
Psalm 90:1–2 (NASB95)

El Olam existed before the mountains, the earth, or the world. He has been our dwelling place forever – before time began.

Our final Scripture comes from Isaiah 40:27-31 and is likely very familiar for most of us.

“Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD, And the justice due me escapes the notice of my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.”
Isaiah 40:27–31 (NASB95)

This very familiar passage comes in the first book of the second half of Isaiah and considers the greatness of God. The Everlasting God does not grow weary or tired. God is not too great to care, for He gives power to those who wait on or hope in Him, and they exchange their strength for His.

For the Christ follower today, there are several New Testament passages that complete the picture of El Olam. In Romans 10:12-13, Paul reminds us that those who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved, however, Paul also asks a few very good questions regarding how people will know how to call on the Lord when they have not believed in or heard of the Lord from someone tell them of the Lord. In the prologue to John’s gospel account, John opens his account by telling us about the Word that existed in the beginning, this word was with God, and in fact, was God Himself. In verse 3 John tells us that ALL THINGS were made through the Word. Finally, in Revelation 1, John has a vision of the Risen, Glorified Lord who speaks to John saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, who is and who was and is to come, the Almighty.” And in verse 17 Jesus says, “I am the first and the last…” As Christ followers it is our responsibility to tell others about this Risen and Glorified Lord who is with us always, from the beginning, the first and the Last, El Olam, the Everlasting God.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

How is El Olam with you during this season of life?
How is El Olam providing strength for you today?
How is El Olam first and last in your life?

The Names of God help the Christ follower know the One who has called them into fellowship on a deeper, more personal level.

2). The importance of the name Jehovah-Sabaoth to the Christ follower.

The second name we will examine today is Jehovah-Sabaoth, meaning the Lord of Hosts or the Lord of Armies. The Lord of Hosts always fulfills His promises. This name is often translated as the Lord Almighty. In 1 Samuel 17 we find the account of David and Goliath. In verse 45 David calls out the Philistine giant and bluntly tells the giant he is coming in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of armies this Philistine has been taunting. It is the Lord of Hosts who fights with and for David this day, defeating the Philistine giant through the shepherd boy and his slingshot.

In Psalm 46:7 the psalmist tells us the Lord of Hosts is always with us. This is a Psalm of trust and thanksgiving. Thanksgiving for the Lord of Hosts being the stronghold during trouble and trust that He is always with us. Finally, in Malachi 1:10-14, the Lord of Hosts is not pleased with the Israelites or their worship of Him. They have offered profaned grain offerings and defiled the table of the Lord by bringing animals that are blemished and offering things taken in robbery of others.

For the Christ follower we see pictures in the New Testament to complete this picture as well. In Ephesians 6 we find a description by Paul of the armor of God. This armor is given to us to protect us against the schemes of the enemy, we are covered from the soles of our feet to the very top of our head and all points in between! We take up the armor of the Lord of Armies. Throughout the New Testament we are called to trust in the Lord, to cast our cares upon Him, to come to Him when we are carrying a heavy burden. He is there in times of trouble, storms with raging winds and seas, and sorrow at the loss of a loved one, and during times of illness and depression. Finally, in John 4 Jesus tells us that a time has come that the true worshiper of God will worship in spirit and truth, for these are the kinds of worshipers God seeks. Our worship must be with a pure heart and a focused mind.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

How is Jehovah-Sabaoth fighting and protecting you during this season of life?
How is Jehovah-Sabaoth a stronghold for you today?
Is Jehovah-Sabaoth pleased with your worship? If not, what steps must you take to correct this?

The Names of God help the Christ follower know the One who has called them into fellowship on a deeper, more personal level.

3). The importance of the name Jehovah-Mekaddishkem to the Christ follower.

The third and final name we will examine is Jehovah-Mekaddishkem, meaning the Lord Who Sanctifies. God cleanses us from our sin, helps and matures and sets us apart as His chosen ones. We are set apart, holy, and redeemed by the blood of Christ. To help us better understand this we will examine Exodus 31:12-13.

“The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.”
Exodus 31:12–13 (NASB95)

This is one of those passages that should cause all of those who claim to be Christ followers to pause, reread, and consider how this impacts their faith, their practice of that faith, and how what the church is teaching lines up with God’s word. Notice that the observation of God’s Sabbaths is included in how God has set us apart. Also notice that it is stated as Sabbaths, plural, meaning there is more than one Sabbath to be observed. We have covered this in other messages in the past, so I will not spend much time on this today, but we, as Christ followers, must follow the examples of the One who we claim to know and love, the early church, and God’s word.

Sanctification is the act of making something or someone clean or holy. We are sanctified, that is, set apart, by the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away our sin. This is what cleanses us and sets us apart, making us holy for God’s purposes. So then, why would we do as the world does? Why does the church insist on pagan rituals and worship when we have been made clean, holy, and set apart? We are to be IN the world but not OF the world. Those who call themselves “Christian” must learn to read their Scriptures, and yes this includes the Old Testament, for you simply cannot understand the New Testament without understanding the Old Testament first.

As Christ followers we are set apart by His blood, but there are other “benefits” we cannot forget, for they complete us in Christ. In Romans 5:9 Paul reminds us we are justified by this same blood of Christ. To be justified is to be proven innocent, before God, through the blood of the One who gave Himself for us. In Ephesians we are said to have redemption (1:7) and brought near to the Father (2:13). The price of our redemption has been paid through the shed blood of Christ on the cross of Calvary. Once we were strangers and enemies of God but now, through this same shed blood, we are brought near to God and have, in fact, become heirs to the Kingdom of God with Christ, the very One who shed His blood for us! Finally, in Colossians we read that we have peace through the blood of Christ (1:20). Understand the most important peace we have through the blood of Christ is with the Father who has called us into fellowship with His Son.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

What area of your life is God calling you to set apart for Him during this season of life?
How is God sanctifying you, that is, setting you apart today?
Where do you need peace with God today?

The Names of God help the Christ follower know the One who has called them into fellowship on a deeper, more personal level.

No matter your current circumstances, there is nothing bigger than the God you love and serve. There is nothing that can, will, or does take Him by surprise. In any and every situation you face, God has a name that reveals a new characteristic or attribute that will sustain, encourage, and empower you. By calling on the name of the Lord you will be saved. And now that you have three new names to add to your prayer time, daily study and reading of the Scriptures, and the storms of life that come up on you, you are better prepared to call on the name that will bring you peace, bring you near to God once again, and reveal a new attribute of our Great and Mighty God. May He bless you as you learn and grow in His presence, strength, and love.

We do all things for the glory of God, through Christ our Lord,
Amen and amen.
Next week: John 6:41-51

The Names of God Pt. IV

The Names of God Pt. IV
Life & Light Community Church
Message from 10/2/2022

Life & Light Community Church began in the early months of 2020. What began as an opportunity for me, my wife and step-kids to continue to worship together, has now evolved into a ministry that has expanded to include close friends, family, and those who are simply hungry for the word of God. You can find us on Facebook, so please, feel free to reach out and join us.

I apologize for this hastily put together message. It was prepared with notes from a previous study and used in place of the message originally planned for this week. However, due to conditions beyond our control, that message has been reserved for when we return to our John study in the coming weeks. Just the same, the Lord was present during our worship together and we had some great discussion around The Names of God!

“For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”

Romans 10:12–13 (NASB95)

Scripture tells us that “whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13).” But which name are you calling upon? Yes, that’s right, our Lord God has more than one name. The Names of God, which we are looking at today, are found in the Old Testament. Each name shows a different characteristic or attribute of God. These names are revealed to those who needed God, and a specific part of God, at that moment in time. There are some amazing things revealed about God in His names and those things will help the Christ follower develop a deeper faith.

This message will seek to help the Christ follower understand why The Names of God are important to develop a deeper faith.

The Names of God help the Christ follower know the One who has called them into fellowship on a deeper, more personal level.

1). The importance of the name El Elohe Yisrael to the Christ follower.

The first name of God we will explore is El Elohe Yisrael which means, God, or the God of Israel. God is distinct and separate from any false god the world has to offer. This is the name that Jacob used when he built the altar to God after he wrestled with the Lord. We have four Scripture references to examine concerning this name of God. The first is Genesis 33:18-20, after Jacob has wrestled with the Lord and the Lord changed his name from Jacob to Israel:

“Now Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Paddan-aram, and camped before the city. He bought the piece of land where he had pitched his tent from the hand of the sons of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for one hundred pieces of money. Then he erected there an altar and called it El-Elohe-Israel.” Genesis 33:18–20 (NASB95)

In Genesis 32:24-32, Jacob wrestled with the Lord until daybreak. The Lord touched the thigh socket of Jacob, thus causing his thigh to be dislocated. However, Jacob would not concede until he had received a blessing. After asking his name, the Lord changes his name from Jacob to Israel, “for you have striven with God and with man and have prevailed.” After meeting his brother, Esau, Jacob journeyed to Shechem, where he bought the plot of land to build his altar to the Lord God.

The second Scripture comes from Numbers 23:22, which we have seen before:

“God brings them out of Egypt, He is for them like the horns of the wild ox.” Numbers 23:22 (NASB95)

This passage comes after Balaam has been sent by Balak, the son of the king of Moab, to curse the nation of Israel, but Balaam is unable to curse Israel and instead, blesses the people. It is Balak, the one who wanted Israel cursed, who takes up the discourse of praising the God of Israel. The wild ox is a symbol of great strength, El uses His great strength to bring His people from Egypt.

Our next Scripture comes from Psalm 68:8:

“The earth quaked; The heavens also dropped rain at the presence of God; Sinai itself quaked at the presence of God, the God of Israel.”

Psalm 68:8 (NASB95)

Talk about climate change! This is the true cause of climate change, the very presence of the God of Israel! His creation groans out before Him and acknowledges His great power. There is nothing counterfeit about the God of Israel, no false god offered by this world can stand before God.

Our final Scripture also comes from the Psalms, 106:48:

“Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, From everlasting even to everlasting. And let all the people say, “Amen.” Praise the LORD!”

Psalm 106:48 (NASB95)

Psalm 106 is a Psalm of confession and lament over the sins of the nation of Israel. The sins confessed include the murmuring at the Red Sea, the complaining meat to eat, their worship of the calf, the disbelief of the reports from the spies, and their continued complaining as the entered Canaan, among others. Only the Lord, the God of Israel is worthy of praise and blessing, from everlasting to everlasting.

There is no God like the God of Israel. He is separate and distinct from every false god offered by this world, and none of them can fulfill the promises they make like the God of Israel.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

What are you wrestling with the God of Israel about in this season of life?

How is the God of Israel using His power to bring you out of your “Egypt?”

2). The importance of the name El Elyon to the Christ follower.

The second name we will examine is El Elyon, meaning the God Most High. El Elyon is the Sovereign God in whom we can trust: He is supreme over all false gods. This is the name Melchizedek referred to when blessing Abraham. There are three Scripture references we will examine for El Elyon. The first comes from Genesis 14:17-23:

“Then after his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. He blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” He gave him a tenth of all. The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give the people to me and take the goods for yourself.” Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have sworn to the LORD God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take a thread or a sandal thong or anything that is yours, for fear you would say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’”

Genesis 14:17–23 (NASB95)

The second Scripture comes from Psalm 78:35. This Psalm is a Psalm of warning to future generations against unfaithfulness to the God Most High. This passage recounts a time when Israel remembers that God is their rock.

“And they remembered that God was their rock, And the Most High God their Redeemer.” Psalm 78:35 (NASB95)

Our final Scripture comes from Daniel 4:34, when Nebuchadnezzar has lost favor in the sight of the God Most High:

“But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever; For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom endures from generation to generation.” Daniel 4:34 (NASB95)

The God Most High has dominion over all things, man, animal, and indeed, the universe. He can raise us up to wonderous heights or cause our downfall, there is no one like the God most High. His kingdom alone will stand forever.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

How is El Elyon acting as your rock today?
How is El Elyon delivering your enemies into your hands during this season of life?

3). The importance of the name Yah or Jah to the Christ follower.

The final name of God we will examine is Yah or Jah, meaning “I AM,” the One Who is, and the Self-Existent One. Yah is the God who never changes, and His promises never fail; He is always with us. Yah is the short form of Yahweh, it is often used in combination with other names or phrases, such as – Hallelujah, praise the Lord, or Elijah, God is Yah – God is Lord.

There are two Scriptures from Exodus we will examine, the first from Exodus 3:14

“God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ”

Exodus 3:14 (NASB95)

This is the name God used when He sent Moses to free His people from slavery in Egypt. Yah is the God who is who we need Him to be – The Great “I AM.”

The second Scripture in Exodus comes from chapter 15:

“The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; This is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will extol Him.” Exodus 15:2 (NASB95)

This verse is found in the song of Moses following the crossing of the Red Sea when God made a way for the Israelites to escape the armies of Pharoah and then destroyed those armies by closing the waters over them. No matter the circumstances, Yah will always make a way for His people.

Our next two Scriptures come from the Psalms, the first from Psalm 46, a psalm of trust and thanksgiving to Yah, the God of Israel, as their refuge, their security, and their peace.

“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.”

Psalm 46:1 (NASB95)

A refuge provides shelter from danger and strength gives us courage in danger, while in the midst of trouble, Yah is a very present help. Yah’s help is both present and proven, it is ready and reliable.

Our second Scripture from the Psalms comes from 68:4, a psalm of victory as David took possession of the Ark.

“Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Lift up a song for Him who rides through the deserts, Whose name is the LORD, and exult before Him.” Psalm 68:4 (NASB95)

Yah is the One responsible for our victories over the enemy who seeks to destroy us, He alone is worthy of our praise.

Our final Scripture comes from Isaiah26:4:

“Trust in the LORD forever, For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.” Isaiah 26:4 (NASB95)

Yah is the One in which we can place our trust, an everlasting Rock.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

How is Yah making a way for you during this season of life?
How is Yah acting as a refuge for you during this season of life?

Once again, for the Christ follower, we find that Yahweh, the Great “I AM” is who we need Him to be during every season of our lives. If he separated and distinct from every false god this world has to offer. What false god allows you to wrestle with Him and bless you for it? He continues to display His power for His people in every circumstance of our lives. As El Elyon He is the rock on which we build our faith, He alone can and does deliver our enemies into our hands. No matter the situation, we have a God who is faithful, present, reliable, and ready.

Finally, Yah is the God who makes a way for us through every circumstance we face. Whether in spiritual battles, physical health battles, mental fatigue, or emotional exhaustion, Yah has a way for His people through every storm. No matter the foe we face, Yah is the refuge where we find security from danger, strength for courage, all while in the midst of our struggles. As we face yet another week of battles, be ready to turn to God as the God of Israel, El Elyon, or Yah to meet your needs, make a way through the storm or to provide shelter during danger. He is the God Who we Need Him to Be.

We do all things for the glory of God, through Christ our Lord,
Amen and amen.

Bread for Life

Bread for Life

Life & Light Community Church

Message from 9/24/2022

Life & Light Community Church began in the early months of 2020. What began as an opportunity for me, my wife and step-kids to continue to worship together, has now evolved into a ministry that has expanded to include close friends, family, and those who are simply hungry for the word of God. You can find us on Facebook, so please, feel free to reach out and join us.

“So they said to Him, “What then do You do for a sign, so that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform? “Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.’ ” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. “For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” Then they said to Him, “Lord, always give us this bread.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. “But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe. “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

“This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

                                                                                  John 6:30–40 (NASB95)

How many times have we been confronted with a situation where someone is presenting themselves as an authority, telling us to do something that is supposed to be for our benefit, and responded, “Who do you think you are?” or “What makes you better than everyone else?” or my personal favorite, “Who died and made you God?” What about those times when we are approached by someone as a representative of a company, or an authoritative figure and we ask for identification. Prove to me you are who you say you are and that you are trustworthy. In other words, show me why I should believe you are who you say you are.

In our passage today, the people who were the recipients of the miracle feeding of 5,000 seem to be asking these very same questions, though they are wrapped in a pious attitude, these questions simply boil down to a matter of identity and trust. The people want to know if Jesus is the Messiah and if so, they want proof positive. The issue is the people are clueless and insensitive to the truth standing before them. Jesus is exactly what they are seeking, Bread for Life, the gift of manna, sent to give life to the world.

The people press Jesus for a sign, specifically, manna their fathers ate in the desert as bread from heaven. Jesus declares His Father gives true bread from heaven which gives life to the world. The people want this bread always, as Jesus declares I am the Bread of Life – the true Bread for Life that give eternal life, given to those who behold and believe in the Son.

While the people seek yet another miracle, specifically bread out of heaven, Jesus reminds the people it is His Father who give the true bread out of heaven. Jesus, as the Bread of Life, has come to do the will of the Father – to give eternal life to those who believe He is the Bread for Life – eternal life.

In this message we seek to answer the question, “What does it mean to believe Jesus is Bread for Life?”

When we believe Jesus is Bread for Life, we are believing in the One who satisfies our hunger and quenches our thirst.

1). To believe that Jesus is Bread for Life means we believe that Jesus has come down out of heaven.

Jesus is the true Bread out of heaven, come down to give life to the world.

Once again, we find the same crowd who were the recipients of the miracle at the feeding of the 5,000 men, plus women and children, asking for a sign that they might believe in Jesus. What began as a seemingly pious question, has suddenly turned into the same question the Judean Jews are asking of Jesus. It is not like Jesus was unwilling to substantiate His claims and teachings with miracles and signs. He has clearly shown them to the Galilean people, but not to the Temple authorities in Jerusalem. What is the real motivation for this question? At the core of this portion of Scripture, is the fact that Jesus refuses to submit His “candidacy” for Messiahship to the Jerusalem authorities.

Once again, the people in the crowd bring up an incident involving Moses – thus pitting Moses against Jesus. John’s gospel account portrays many of the representatives of the Judean system as clueless and insensitive to the truth, and once again, we see Jesus setting the record straight. It is not Moses who gives the people bread from heaven, but rather, it is God the Father who provides for the people. This argues that the Judean’s do not know the facts of the Torah they claim as their own. Jesus makes it clear that the true bread from heaven comes from His Father. But there is another point here we must understand as well.

The people specifically mention manna: “Our fathers ate manna in the wilderness:” Here is the point at which the people are truly insensitive to the truth. The manna given in the desert by God was a picture of the true sustenance for the human soul: Jesus, the incarnate, crucified, and resurrected Word of God. The manna is a picture of life in Christ – God has given His Son, just as He gave manna, to give life to the world, to His people. Now, there is an ancient Rabbinic teaching that fits with the theme of Messiah being manna from heaven, which may be applicable here.

Ancient Rabbinic teachings said that when Messiah came the age would be marked with the restoration of the gift of manna. There is some evidence that this teaching was still around while Jesus was walking through Jerusalem. While a longshot, it is just possible the people were citing this teaching as a sign of the Messiah. The people very well may have been asking Jesus if He were the gift of manna. A longshot to be sure, and whether or not this is true of the people, it is absolutely true that Jesus is the gift of manna, a gift that is meant to give life to God’s people.

As Christ followers, we are past the time of the Messiah and His first coming, we now anxiously await His return. For us the gift of manna is a spiritual gift, given freely to all who seek Christ. The gift of this spiritual sustenance can be seen in several ways throughout the Scriptures. We have the Holy Spirit to act as a guide and lead us into all truth. Truth is one gift of manna that feeds and sustains our faith. In addition, we have the full armor of God to support us in our spiritual battles. This armor covers us from the soles of our feet to the top of our heads and combats the enemy from all angles. There are others but the point is, these are spiritual gifts found in Christ. Jesus is our gift of manna – bread out of heaven, come to give us life.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

How have you submitted to the Messiahship of Jesus? If you have not, what is holding you back?

How has God fed you in your wilderness experience?

How is Jesus acting as your gift of manna today?

When we believe Jesus is Bread for Life, we are believing in the One who satisfies our hunger and quenches our thirst.

2). To believe Jesus is Bread for Life means we believe Jesus came to do the will of His Father.

The will of the Father is for those who behold and believe in the Son to be raised up on the last day.

The people respond with an answer that sounds very familiar, “Lord, always give us this bread.” Where have we heard something similar to this? Back in chapter 4 and the woman at the well. In the story of the woman at the well and here in chapter 6, the two most common human needs are in display, thirst and hunger. Jesus asks for a drink of water and the response is He has nothing to draw with. Jesus then says to the woman, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water I give him shall never thirst;” What was the woman’s response? “Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.” At this point, we can honestly say that the Samaritan woman’s faith, having only heard the words of Jesus, is compared, and contrasted with the unbelief of these people who have seen the miracles performed by Jesus and failed to see them as signs.

Here we find the first of the seven “I AM” statements made by Jesus throughout the gospel account of John. Jesus responds with “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.” In Deuteronomy, the book most often quoted by Jesus, we read Moses’ reason for God’s provision of manna to the Israelites:

“He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.”

                                                                            Deuteronomy 8:3 (NASB95)

Once again, like it or not, just like Moses, Jesus too must prove Himself before He could be trusted. The Judean Jews who saw the miracles, were not able to see them as signs, and therefore they did not believe. Miracles were not enough for these Judean Israelites, and yet, God’s words were enough for the Samaritan Israelites. Perhaps this is why, in Matthew, Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 8 when He says, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” The implication here is clear, especially in John’s gospel account, Jesus is the word of God and as the word of God, Jesus has come to do His Father’s will. The will of the Father is that those who behold and believe in the Son have eternal life – that they be raised up on the last day. This is the resurrection at the return of Christ, the blessed hope of our faith.   

As Christ followers, though we have never seen Jesus face-to-face, He is our hope for today, tomorrow, and the future. He provides, not only physical bread, but bread for our spiritual wellbeing. It may come through the armor of God as He helps us fight our battles or it may come through the Holy Spirit as He leads us into truth as we combat the lies and deception of the enemy. In doing His Father’s will, Jesus will also guide us into the Fathers will, if we are paying close attention to the work of the Spirit in our lives. We cannot survive the spiritual battles we face on a daily basis. We need someone who is bigger than us, knows more than we do, and can see more than we can see. We need the gift of manna found in Christ more and more each day.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

How is Jesus satisfying your hunger and quenching your thirst during this season of life?

How is Jesus proving Himself trustworthy for you today?

How is the Spirit leading you into the Fathers will during this season of your life?

When we believe Jesus is Bread for Life, we are believing in the One who satisfies our hunger and quenches our thirst.

As Christ followers, each of us has been given to Jesus by the Father. What this means is that each of us, individually, was drawn by God to the Son. We are now part of His family. Jesus is the King of our lives, but perhaps more importantly, Jesus is the King of All Israel. He has come to unite Israel and return them to God the Father. Those who behold and believe in the Son will have eternal life in Christ. Behold is used of spectators, it means to gaze. It implies one who looks at a person or a thing with interest and for a purpose – usually indicating the careful observation of details. To believe is to be persuaded – to place confidence in, to trust, usually indicating a reliance upon.

Those who behold and believe are to be raised up – that is, resurrected – on the last day, the day of His return to this earth when Jesus claims His own. This passage, for the Christ follower and all who are willing to read and understand, makes it clear that Jesus is the Bread for Life, come to give life to the world. This means as the Bread of Life, Jesus is the Giver of Life. As the Bread of Life, He is also the Source of Life, for in Him we find our eternal destiny – eternal life.

We do all things for the glory of God, through Christ our Lord,

Amen and amen.

Next Week: John 6:41-50