'Good Living' for a Living? John 6:22-27

Text:  Jesus answered them (the Tiberian crowd) and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek Me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of he loaves, and were filled. 
John 6:26.

 Good morning, Spiritually motivated Christian!  You have NOT come to Christ in order to look good in your community.  You have NOT come to Christ in order to make material gain.  You have NOT come to Christ in order to have a paid career in church activities; or to further yourself in any other manner.  You have come to Christ Jesus solely because He loved you, and drew you to Himself with everlasting cords of Divine love.  Hallelujah! 

For the Son of man (Christ Jesus) is come to seek and to save that which was LOST.  (Luke 19:10)

The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.  (Jeremiah 31:3)

There is a derogatory accusation made here in Ulster, (Northern Ireland, UK) that some folk only become Christians in order to make a material gain; or gain a daily living by earning a paid wage.  Worldly people can often be heard saying, Yeah, he or she is only good-living for a living! 

By good-living they mean Christian.  Such folk are sadly still caught up in notions of religious legalism: defined as doing good works to achieve favour from God and a place in Heaven which is, of course, totally at variance with the true teachings of Holy Scriptures. (Isaiah 8:20)

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which He (God the Father) shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of Eternal life.  (Titus 3:5-7)

Furthermore, even AFTER we sinners are saved by Gods free grace, we do not always do, say, think, good things.  For we have an old carnal nature within us that only desires at all times to do sinful and disobedient things. 

That is why the Spirit of God inspired the apostle Paul to reveal the following fact: For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing; for to will is present with me (the intention to do good); but how to perform that which is good I find not.  For the good that I would (do) I do not; but the evil that I would not (do), that I do.  (Romans 7:18-19) (Romans 3:10;22-23)

Therefore, we can clearly understand, both from Holy Scriptures and from our day to day experience as sincere Christians - that, being in a constant state of good-living is an utter impossibility in the first place!

Natural born sinners will always sin naturally!  Thats a fact, live with it, Spiritually motivated Christian!  Gods grace is all-sufficient!

The crowd that sailed after Christ from Tiberias to Capernaum in boats, had no doubt heard about the miracle Jesus did in feeding over five thousand people with the contents of a boys lunch. They also knew that Jesus did not enter the boat with His disciples, but had, in some Supernatural manner, walked across the Sea of Galilee to get to the disciples boat after they had set sail from Tiberias without Him! (Vs. 22-24)

But, the Lord Jesus knew their hearts.  We cannot hide anything from God! 

Listen to what the Lord Jesus said to these people:  Verily (truly), verily, I say unto you, Ye seek Me, not because ye saw the miracles (mentioned above), but because ye did eat of the loaves and were filled.  (V. 26)

This crowd of people had come to Jesus for the wrong motives entirely!  They wanted the material food they could taste, touch, and see - but they did not possess true faith to believe and receive the Supernatural fact that Christ Jesus was their long awaited Messiah, come to redeem their precious souls.

This is the vital and Eternal difference between being a saved, Spiritually regenerated, Christian follower of Jesus, and merely seeking to be good-living for a living.  It is the difference between being Eternally secure in Christ, and being Eternally lost in ‘…the lake of fire and brimstonetormented day and night forever and ever.  (Revelation 20:10-15)

Christs penetrating words to the multitude is a stark warning to you and to me: Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man (Christ Himself) shall give unto you; for Him hath God the Father sealed.   (John 6:27)

Thought:  Are our motivations Spiritual or carnal in the church today?  Let us 'examine ourselves...whether we be in the faith...'! (2 Corinthians 13:5)

'With Christ in the Vessel...' John 6:16-21

Text:  Then (in spite of all fear) they willingly received Him (Christ) into the ship; and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.
                                                                                                             John 6:21.

Good morning, fearful Christian!  Sunday school children here in Northern Ireland, UK, are taught a simple little chorus, but one which has profound implications for every Christians life.  If we can sing it, and mean it - it will turn our darkest daily fears into utter fearlessness.  They sing the following:

With Christ in the vessel, we can smile at the stormsmile at the stormsmile at the storm.  With Christ in the vessel we can smile at the stormas we go sailing Home…”

In todays Bible reading we find Christs disciples, some of them very experienced fishermen, crossing the Sea of Tiberius (or Sea of Galilee, or Sea of Chinnereth) in a ship.  (John 6:1)

The Holy Spirit speaking through the Apostle John informs us that, as the disciples sailed up the coast towards Capernaum in the ship - ’…it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them.  And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew. (Vs. 17-18)

Are you, even as you read this weekly Bible Lesson, seemingly left in the dark concerning some grave situation that seems impossible to overcome?  Are you, like Christs original disciples in our reading, beginning to feel abandoned, left without hope, and sore afraid? 

Well, take heart if this describes your circumstances, dear brother.  Lift up your spirits and be encouraged if this be your situation, beloved sister.  The Lord Jesus says unto you personally, It is I, be not afraid.  (V.20)

Let me encourage you to use your sanctified imagination, dear believer.  Make this passage of Holy Scripture really come alive for your personal needs.  Pray to God, and think this Scriptural scene through for yourself.

Here we have a group of Christs closest followers, tired from serving the Living Lord Jesus, having just been engaged in miraculously feeding five thousand plus hungry people.  They are now cramped into a small ship sailing across a very large lake - the Sea of Galilee. Christ Jesus is not with them in the ship - they are left feeling  very much in the dark.

With the wind raising, and the waves splashing into the small ship, these tired disciples are also probably wet, and getting cold.  They are becoming somewhat disorientated - the small ship beginning to plunge down into the trough of each wave, then, thrust up and over the crest of the next one - the less sea-worthy of them could also have been feeling somewhat sea-sick!

Despair thrives and heightens when one is mentally and physically weary; when illness, or disease, or anxieties, or burdens of all aspects of life suddenly threaten to pull us down into a vortex of Spiritual depression and discouragement.  This then, was some of what the disciples were experiencing at this given time, and it could well be your present experience - ‘…and they were afraid.  (V.19)

However, look what happened when once they heard the Masters Heavenly voice!  Look at the change that came over them in such a short time!  This same Living Lord Jesus speaks to YOUR heart and soul right now: It is I; be not afraid.

“…I will NEVER leave thee, nor forsake theethe Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.  (Hebrews 13:5-6)

Then they willingly received Him into the ship; and IMMEDIATELY the ship was at the land whither they went.  (V.21)

Let me hear it, beloved Christian:  With Christ in the vessel we can smile at the stormsmile at the stormsmile at the storm.  With Christ in the vessel we can smile at the stormas we go sailing Home…”  Hallelujah!

No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgement thou shalt condemn.  This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of Me, saith the Lord.  (Isaiah 54:17)

Do YOU really believe Gods Word, my friend?  Do you actually have the faith to fully trust King Jesus and take Him at His Word?  If so, then you and I will go through all the promised persecutions, illnesses, enemies, and fearful situations.  But THROUGH them we shall surely go!  Praise the Lord!

Ultimate Victory over all things was fully achieved for us at that place called Calvary.  Listen for the still small Voice of your Lordsmile at that storm.

Thought:  I will not leave you comfortless; I (Jesus) will come to you.

Earthly King, or Heavenly Saviour? 1 Samuel 8:1-22

Text:  When Jesus therefore perceived (understood) that they would come and take Him by force, to make Him a king, He departed again into a mountain Himself alone.
John 6:15.

Good morning, Christian subject!  Not for you the mere physical bowing to an earthly king.  Not for you, nor I, the giving of worship and reverence  to persons of high office, rank, or reputation.  We give all due respect to such mortals, but we worship and seek to serve King Jesus, the Son of the Living Lord God, alone. 

We have a Heavenly Saviour - Christ the Crucified - as our true Sovereign, Saviour, Redeemer and Lord.  Christ, for us, is the King of all kings, and the Lord of all lords.  Hallelujah, King Jesus!  We love you!

Our text from Johns Gospel today, if looked at with our Bible reading from the 1st Book of Samuel, chapter 8 reveals, in all its true reality, the difference between being subjects of an earthly king, or servants of a Heavenly Saviour.

In our given reading, Gods chosen prophet Samuel had grown old; he had made his sons judges over Israel; and his sons had proven themselves totally unworthy of their positions - ’…his sons walked not in his (Samuels) ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgement.  (V.3)

So often we see a similar pattern throughout Holy Scriptures, Elis sons committed exactly the same type of sins.  (1 Samuel 2:12-17)

Christians are not naturally born of Christian parents - Christians are ’…born again…’ of the Spirit of God.  The natural cannot inherit the Supernatural!  We must lead our children to Christ for His Salvation!

But as many as received Him (Christ Jesus), to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name; which were born, NOT of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  (John 1:12-13)

Being born again, NOT of corruptible seed (natural birth), but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.  (1 Peter 1:23)

When the five thousand men and countless other women and children whom Christ had just fed with the loaves and fishes lunch of a boy saw this Divine act of miraculous creation - they desired to take Christ by force and make Him their king.  Therefore, the Lord Jesus ‘…departed again into a mountain Himself alone. (John 6:15)

The Christ did not come to be made a mere earthly king among men - Christ came specifically to live a sinless life; to reveal the works of Almighty God; to suffer for our sins upon a cruel Cross; to make a full Atonement for sin; to die an infinite death; and to rise victorious over death in order to justify all those whom the Father had given Him to save, yeah, from before the foundation of the world.  Gods Eternal Son would be no mere earthly king!

Sacrifice and offering Thou (God the Father) didst not desire; mine ears hast Thou opened; burnt offering and sin offering (meat sacrifices) hast Thou not required.  Then (in Eternity) said I (Christ Jesus, God the Son) Lo, I come; in the volume of the book (our Bible) it is written of Me, I delight to do Thy will, O My God; yea, Thy law is within My heart.  (Psalm 40:6-8)

God came to us in bodily form, He was incarnated for us in the form of Christ Jesus.  He came to fulfil the Eternal Purpose of God the Father - to suffer and die to pay the ransom price for multitudes of vile Hell-deserving sinners like you and like me.  No earthly king could have finished this work.

Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of youHim, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have Crucified and slain; Whom God hath raised upbecause it was not possible that He should be holden of it (Death).  (Acts 2:22-24) 

Hallelujah!  We do not serve an earthly king - we serve a risen Saviour!

Our Bible reading in 1st Samuel today informs us how earthly kings treat their subjects.  (1 Samuel 8:11-18)  Is this what you desire from your king?

King Jesus, the King of all kings, and Lord of all lords, the Prince of Heavens glory; the fairest among ten thousand; the glory of all the Heavens and earth - came to GIVE you and I life, love, joy - and that more abundant!

Thought:  Choose ye this day whom ye will serve - Caesar or the Saviour, Jesus Christ?  As for me and my house, we shall serve the risen Lord!

'...That Prophet...' Isaiah 52:1-15

Text:  Then those men (the five thousand just fed), when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth THAT PROPHET that should come into the world.
John 6:14.
   “Therefore My people (the Jewish Nation) shall know My Name; therefore they shall know in that day that I AM He that doth speak; behold, it is I.
Isaiah 52:6.

Good morning, waiting Christian!  Since the day that the Lord God enlightened you to know the truth; since the day that God the Spirit quickened your dead spirit to receive faith to know and to trust in the Christ of God - you have been waiting for the Second Coming of your Saviour Lord.  Praise God it is so!  You will not be disappointed, nor taken by surprise on that great day of Christs Second Coming.  Glory to the Lamb, Christ Jesus!

But as the days of Noe (Noah) were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  (Matthew 24:37)

Therefore be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.  (Matthew 24:44)

At the time of Christs miraculous feeding of the five thousand plus hungry souls, the entire Jewish Nation had been waiting for the coming of their well-prophesied Messiah - the One who would come to bring them Salvation, with signs and wonders accompanying His words.  (John 14:11)

Thousands of years had passed since the first established promise of Israels true Redeemer King.

The Seed of the Woman: The Genesis promise of Redemption from the Curse of sin was well written and established and extensively taught in the synagogues throughout all Israel.  The Lord had promised that there would be ‘…enmity between thee (Satan) and the woman (Israel in the form of the virgin Mary), and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head (Satan), and thou shall bruise His heel (Calvary).  (Genesis 3:15)

The miraculous birth of Christ Jesus to a young Jewish woman who had never ever had sexual relations with a man, should have spurred the entire Jewish Nation into instant praise to God for the fulfillment of His promise to them - but that was not the case!  (Isaiah 53:1-3) (John 12:38-43)

The unbelief of the Jewish Nation sent the long awaited Messiah Jesus to a cruel Cross, and a majority of their own souls into a Christ-rejecters Hell. 

Their actions proved their total unbelief.  The Lord had promised the Jews a sign, and He always fulfills His promise.  But they would not, could not, believe.

Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His Name Immanuel (God with us)  (Isaiah 7:14)

Scripture Prophecies Fulfilled:   The Messiah that was to come to the Jewish Nation would be clearly able to preach the Gospel (Good News of Salvation) to the poor; heal the broken hearted; preach deliverance to the captives (of sin); recover the sight of the blind; to free those that were bruised by the Curse of God against all Adamic sin and transgressions of the Law of Moses. (Isaiah 61:1-2)

The Lord Jesus Christ showed time and time again His Divine ability to do all of these things and more - yet, the Jews still refused to believe and receive His offered deliverance.  They had no true faith to do so.  (Hebrews 4:2)

For by grace and ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves;  it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.  (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Christs Public Revelation:  If the Lord Jesus working of Divine miracles was not enough, He then went on to actually declare His coming, publicly, among the religious leaders, during the Sabbath Day service.  (Luke 4:13-21)

The result?  ‘…All they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up, and thrust Him out of the city, and led Him unto the brow of a hillthat they might cast Him down headlong.  (Luke 4:28-29)

Christ Jesus was clearly ‘…that prophet that should come into the world.; He was more - He was the Son of God, and He was God the Son Himself!  Yet, denying the evidence of their very own eyes - they caused Him to be scourged then taken as a Lamb to Calvary and nailed to a cruel Cross. 

Thought:  Are YOU and I seriously expecting Christs 2nd Coming?  If so, therefore, be ye ready!  He comes as the Lion of the tribe of Judah.  Hallelujah!

Give it to Jesus - NOW! John 6:7-13

Text:  Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom.  For with the same measure that ye mete (weigh out to give ) withal it shall be measured to you again.
                                                                                                             Luke 6:38.
          And the Lord said unto Moses, Is the Lords hand waxed short?  Thou shalt see now whether My Word shall come to pass unto thee or not.
Numbers 11:23.

Good morning, giving Christian!  The Lord has blessed you with a generous spirit of continual cheerful giving.  You have sought faithfully to give what you have towards His Kingdom constantly and - as a direct consequence - you are never found wanting in any good thing.  Praise God for giving Christians!  The Lord God bless you and reward you abundantly!

But this I (Paul the apostle) say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.  Every man/woman according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make all grace abound toward you…”  (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)

Todays Journey in Johns Gospel finds Jesus and His disciples faced with the humanly impossible task of physically feeding ‘…a great company…’ of hungry people, who had no doubt travelled far in order to hear Christ Jesus speak.  How did the disciples handle such a mammoth task?

The Lord tested Philips faith first, and Philip responded as many of us today would naturally respond - he crunched the numbers and, humanly speaking, came to a logical conclusion:  Two hundred pennyworth of bread in not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.  (V.7)

Isnt this just like you and me? We try to handle day to day situations and problems in a similar manner - we immediately apply logical thinking.

The apostle Andrews faith was also being tested in this situation, and he responded in a different manner, with a little more Christian faith and a little less human logic:  There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes; but what are they among so many?  (V.9)

Andrew was trying to practice more faith, but in the end his logical human mind found it difficult to imagine what the Lord could do with so little provision.  Mans impossibility is Gods opportunity to do the miraculous.

How could the contents of a boys lunch meet the great needs of over five thousand tired and hungry people?

Note also at this point that, nothing could have been done to solve the problem of this hungry multitude IF, first, the boy had not been willing to give up his own personal provisions!  The boy was willing to share his resources, otherwise no great miracle could begin to be achieved!

Let us therefore ask ourselves the questions:  Are we as willing to give of our personal resources that the cause of Christ might be furthered?  Is our personal reluctance to share our God-given resources - with worthwhile Christian causes - a very real hindrance to the Lord God Who has given us these resources in the first instance?  Sobering thoughts, what?

When the resources - ’…five barley loaves, and two small fishes…’ - were identified by the disciples, and willingly given by the young boy, the Lords Divine direction came immediately.  And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. (V.10)

Without Divine direction and Godly organization we cannot commence any project of charitable giving - we are to be wise stewards of the Lords resources.  The world is full of money-grabbing con-men, my friends.  Be wise!

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try (test, discern) the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the worldHereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.  (1 John 4:1-6)

Five thousand ‘…men sat down…’ in direct obedience to the Lord Jesus command. (V.10)  Without obedience to the Lord God, no miracle is possible.

Jesus, the Creator Lord God, took materials and recreated them in multiples by His Almighty power.  ‘…Five barley loaves, and two small fishes…’ fed five thousand men - AND all the women and children in addition to this number!  Hallelujah!  Try counterfeiting that one, Mr T.V. Evangelist!

Thought:  Gather up these fragments of Spiritual wisdom and GIVE as unto the Lord God.  You are in partnership with Him, dear friend.