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Matthew 28
posted August 9, 2012

Revelation 13
posted August 16, 2012

SOUL FOOD - MARCH 11, 2012

SOUL FOOD

John Chapter Six

All the writers of the four gospels tell the great story of the feeding of the 5,000 and in this event the Lord Jesus teaches us many things. Here is a short list of the things we can learn from Jesus AS He fed the 5,000 with five loaves and two fishes.

The first is having faith in Jesus to follow His leading. Jesus saw a great crowd and had compassion on them, and asked Philip whence shall we buy bread that these may eat? This is the only time I know of where Jesus asked anyone for advice. He did not need Philip's advice any more than He needs our advice on any matter, but He did ask him the question to prove him, for He knew what He would do.

Jesus always knew what He would do. He knew before the world began that He would be born of the virgin. He knew before the world began, that He would die on the cross, He knew He would rise from the dead, and He also knew He would ascend into heaven forty days later and He also knew the Church would begin ten days later. And He knew that He would return again, and the redeemed would rise to meet Him in the air. Jesus had always known what He would do.

So He asked Philip's advice regarding how many loaves it would take to feed this crowd. Philip looked over the crowd, made a few quick mental calculations, and said, "Two hundred shilling worth is not enough that everyone might have a little."

That may have been the amount they had left in the treasury providing Judas has not stolen it all. Philip had it figured out down to the penny, but there was one item he left out in his calculations. Philips faith was the same as a great many Christians I know, They have faith enough to do anything-If they have the money.

I know of one Church where the elders had a meeting to decide whether spend a rather large sum for something they thought was greatly needed. One elder said they could not afford it because HOGS are down. The kingdom of God has never depended on the condition of the hog market, the fish market, the steel market, or the cotton market. While we can understand how this might affect the cash flow, I donít recall that Jesus said: I have 5,000 hungry people before Me, and only two fish; so I wonít be able to feed this crowd today, the fish market is down. 

Andrew informed the Lord at this point that there was a lad in the crowd who has five barley loaves and two fishes. But said he, "What are these among so many?" When Jesus heard that He had five loaves and two fishes at His disposal, he said, Bring them to Me. That is the best advice anyone can get. Bring them to Jesus. When Jesus said, bring them to Me, all human calculations could be forgotten. Forget the five and two of bread and fish, forget the two hundred in shillings, forget the number of 5,000, bring them to Me, and in the hands of Jesus the sky is the limit. Whatever you have and whatever you are bring it to Jesus, and He can work a miracle with it Bring them to Me.

When Jesus works through us He always uses what He has on hand. A good definition of a modern say miracle in four words is, Mans best, God bless. Take what you have, or what you are, and tell the Lord He can use it. Is it not strange that princes and kings-And clowns that caper in sawdust rings-And common folk like you and me-Are builders for eternity-To each is given a bag of tools-A shapeless and a book of rules-And each must fashion Ďere time has flown-A stumbling block or a stepping stone.

Next is a lesson from Jesus showing us how He works with us. Jesus did not ask him where he or they could buy bread, He said, whence shall WE buy bread. Jesus was not asking them to do it all by themselves, He included Himself in this deal. He brought Himself into partnership with them.

It is good for us to remember as well. We do not do the Lords work alone. When He gave the Great Commission to take the gospel everywhere, He said I am with you always even unto the end of the world.

The third lesson is on the responsibility of the Church regarding the lost. According to Matthew before Jesus asked Philip; the disciples had first come to Him and asked Him to send the multitude away and buy their own bread. It seems that the hunger of the crowd was no concern of theirs, but Jesus said, Give ye them to eat. Was the Lord serious? How could they do it? Jesus knew they could do it with the power that He would supply. If the Lord wants us to do something, we can do it. Feeding the multitude was their responsibility whether they knew it at the time or not.

The Church today may not be too concerned about  lost souls in foreign lands, but God will hold us responsible. Did He not say, Go and preach the gospel to every creature. We must go, or encourage others to go, or pray for the Lord to send others, or support those who do go.  

And now comes a great lesson of Jesus in trusting in God. This event is one of most dramatic events that ever happened in the word of God. Jesus told the Apostles, Make the people sit down. And they sat down. John says there was much grass in the place. Mark says they were separated in sections of fifties and hundreds. Now just think about that. Five thousand people are sitting on the grass in groups of fifties and hundreds.

Jesus stands up before them holding five small loaves, and two fishes in His hands. He looks up to heaven, and gives thanks for what they are about to eat. What would you be thinking at time if you had been there?

Jesus proceeded to feed them all until they were filled, and just in case there were gluttons present who wanted seconds there were twelve basket full left over for them.   

If the Apostle Paul had been there at the time he would have said what he said to the Ephesians later on: He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power, that worketh in us, unto Him be the glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus unto all generations forever and ever.

When we ever have any doubts about the power of the Lord Jesus, do what the multitudes did that day, just sit down and wait. Jesus can deliver.

Next is an important lesson on what is really important when we assemble for worship. When Jesus fed the multitude it was a staple meal. No entertainment, just plain fish and bread. If they were looking for an epicurean dinner that day, with entertainment they would have to go someplace else. All the Lord was serving that day was plain fish and barley bread, and there was no tartar sauce, but they all ate and were filled.

Sometimes we think everything depends on entertainment. While we may enjoy the floorshow with the theatrical performance, and dancing praise team; if the world is ever to be won to the Lord, it will be because of the SOUL FOOD, the bread of life that Jesus provides.

When they ate the loaves and fishes John reminds us they all ate and were filled. All classes of people found the nourishment they needed. No one said, I just canít eat this stuff, I eat it every day, and I am tired of it. All the men ate it. The few women and children ate it. They all ate and were filled. The bread of life, the word of God is the only thing that gives the lasting satisfaction that will satisfy the hunger of every race in every century. They all ate and were filled.  

And now Jesus gives an important lesson on using the gifts of God. Then after they were filled Jesus said gather up the broken pieces that nothing be lost. And they gathered them up and found twelve baskets full that remained over of them that had eaten. He had given the multitude a great gift, and He did not want to see it wasted.

God has also given gifts unto us, and many of these gifts have been wasted. Whenever I see the great gifts that God has given to some as actors, singers, promoters, and organizers, and see that in many cases is used for the glory of self; I cannot help but think, what a horrible waste of a God given talent. Take the gift you have and lay it at the foot of the cross. I often think after over half century of preaching the gospel what a tragedy it would have been for me, if I had never preached a sermon.     

Jesus has given us a great gift in His word the bread of life. After all Jesus did say I am the living bread that came down out of heaven he that eatheth this bread shall live forever. So, donít waste it. Many prefer to eat the husks the swine did eat by many hours a week at television rather than the Bible they have at their home, and rob themselves of a great familiarity with the word of God, if they would only read it. Gather up the fragment that nothing be lost.

They gathered up the fragments and put them in baskets. God supplies the food, and we must provide the baskets for the fragments. We as Christians can eat the fragments in our basket all week long daily by reading the word of God. The reason most Church members are ignorant of the basic contents of the Bible is because they have nothing in their basket. Gather up the fragments that nothing be lost.

In Revelation an angel that gave John a little book and told him to eat it. John ate the little book, and it was sweet in his mouth, and bitter in his belly.

When we eat the word of God it has a sweet taste, and sometimes a bitter taste. There are sweet words of grace and hope, and words of rebuke and chastisement that we must eat for our own good. We have to eat the living bread of the word of God on a regular basis to stay spiritually alive. In the Sermon on the Mount the Lord said, Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. So gather up the broken pieces that nothing be lost.

And now we take note of the importance of giving thanks to God for feeding us. Jesus gave thanks before He broke the bread. That reminds us that He told us in the Lordís Prayer to give thanks for our daily bread. However our prayer for daily bread includes more than thanks for body food. Giving thanks for body food is dead bread. We eat it to live and finally die. The bread that came down out of heaven is living bread, and needs to be included as daily bread. Remember again Jesus said, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

However eating the bread that came down out of heaven is not only true in the eating of the word of God, it is also has overtones of what the Lord did a year later when He instituted the Lordís Supper; as we read how He took the loaf and broke it and said, This is My body which is broken for you, this do in remembrance of Me. 1st Cor. 11:24 Jesus broke the loaves when He fed the multitude, and He broke the loaves when He instituted the Lordís Supper.

We eat the living bread when we devour His word, and Jesus becomes a part of our life. Without this; the ceremony of the Lordís Supper is an empty form.

There was a famous gangster back in the thirties and forties of the twentieth century who kept a priest on the pay roll, and the duty of the priest was to accompany the gangster whenever he was in danger of being wiped out; in which case he could be given last rites. Some people look at the Lords Supper that way. If they observe the feast every Sunday, no matter what the life style during the week they think theyíre going to heaven is automatic if they should happen to drop dead before the next Sunday.

And now the last lesson from Jesus regards making the right choices in life. When the multitudes saw what Jesus could do, A murmuring arose, JESUS FOR KING, JESUS FOR KING! Jesus had faced this temptation before on the mount of temptation when the Devil told Him to make stones become bread. Here it was again. Feed the world! Be King! This was the way to do it; bypass the cross. Jesus did not come to give us the social gospel. Jesus did not come merely to reform the world; He came to redeem the world. Jesus did want to be king their way. They were more concerned about Body food than Soul food. They could not understand how He could say, I AM come down out of heaven and how can He give us His flesh to eat. He asked them what they would think if they saw Him ascend up where He was before. He not only said He came down out of heaven, but that he was going back into heaven.

Then we wonder what they would have thought if He had told them at that time when He told the Apostles later, if I go I come again.

That would really confound their minds. He came down from heaven, He was going back up into heaven, and then coming back down again out of heaven.

But that is not all. He not only came down out of heaven the first time, and went back into heaven, and is coming again out of heaven, He will then go back into heaven a second time and take the redeemed back with Him into heaven.

Paul tells us the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout and the trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first, then we who are left unto His coming shall be caught up with Him into heaven and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

CONCLUSION

The conclusion of these lessons finds the multitudes then and now preferring Body food to Soul food because many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Jesus was at the height of His popularity at this time. Never during His ministry did as many follow Him as at the time of the feeding of the 5,000.

Jesus turned to the twelve and said: ďWill you also go away?Ē He asked this question because so many were leaving and we know people will usually follow the crowd.

Another reason the crowd will leave is because of the doctrine. They could not understand how they could eat His flesh and drink His blood. Apply the doctrine to the gospel message, and it will thin out the crowd. An elder of one Church that was looking for a preacher told me they had to be careful whom they got. He said, the wrong man will drive half of the crowd away. He was right. The doctrine will always separate the chaff from the wheat.

I do not know of any New Testament doctrine today that will do a better job separating the chaff from the wheat than the second chapter of the book of Acts. On the Day of Pentecost the church was born. The gospel was proclaimed in regards to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Those who believed it realized they had crucified the risen Lord and wanted to know what they should do. Tell them what the Bible says, Repent ye and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. I heard one preacher on the radio read those words and then said, but Peter didnít mean that.

Apply the doctrine and the crowd will leave. When they leave; the Lord did not lose them. He never had them in the first place.

Will you also go away? Peter answered for all the rest of the Apostles and for us, when He said, Lord to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life and we believe and know that Thou are the Holy One of God.