Sermon – The Bread of Life: Stale or Fresh? (John 6:53 – 6:71) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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John 2021

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The Book of John was authored by one of Jesus’ twelve disciples, John, who features in the gospel. John makes his mission for writing the book plain in 20:31; “that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” He details the many words and claims of Jesus, as well as the various responses from those listening; in either faith, amazement, caution or rejection. Listen as Cornerstone preachers unpack the narrative and invite us to reflect on our own response to Jesus.

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Sermon 22 of 58

The Bread of Life: Stale or Fresh?

Ben Read, John 6:53 - 6:71, 15 May 2022

Ben continues our series in John’s gospel, preaching to us from John 6: 53-71. In this passage we see the disciples’ responses to Jesus’ teaching about himself, and what it means for those who hear his words today.

John 6:53 - 6:71

53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.

60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” 61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” 70 Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” 71 He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray him.


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

John chapter 6, we've been working our way through. John is is an it's just an amazing book. There's layer upon layer upon layer. And chapter 6 is extraordinarily long and just so full of stuff.

I think this is our fourth or fifth go at John chapter 6 and we're gonna start reading at verse 53. John chapter 6 verse 53. Jesus said to them, very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood, You have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life. And I will raise them up at the last day.

For my flesh is real food and my blood real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I am in them. Just as the living father sent me, and I live because of the father, So the 1 who feeds on me would live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manor and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.

He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernium. On hearing it, many of his disciples said This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it? Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this. Jesus said to them, Does this offend you?

Then what if you see the son of man ascend to where he was before? The spirit gives life. The flesh counts for nothing. The words of ice I have spoken to you, they are full of spirit. The spirit and life.

Yet, there are some of you who do not believe. For Jesus, had known from the beginning, which of them did not believe, and who would betray him. He went on to say, this is why I told you that no 1 can come to me unless the father has enabled them. From this time, many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. You do not want to leave 2, do you?

Jesus asked the 12. Simon Peter answered him. Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the holy 1 of god.

Then Jesus replied, have I not chosen you the 12? Yet 1 of you is a devil. He meant Judith, the son of Simon, the Scariot, who, though 1 of the 12, was later to betray him. K. Good evening.

Welcome from me. My name is Ben. I'm 1 of the pastors here. You've heard a lot about me already tonight. Really good to be carrying on in this series, particularly in this chapter.

As as Pete said, we've been in this quite a while. Can you remember Tom Smith when he stood up here? Feels like months ago now. He's he kicked us off in this chapter, and he told us about Jesus feeding the 5000 up on the mountain, miraculous miracle. And then the week after, Ger Ryan Davis got up and preached to us.

Feels like a long time ago. And we looked at the miracle of Jesus walking on the water, the Lord. We're still sort of in that time frame. The next day happens, And the disciples well, this massive crowd, who who were up on the mountain, who who were fed by him, and now looking for him, and they found him in in the synagogue in Compernium. And then there's been this massive discourse from Jesus that we've looked at over the last few weeks.

And then today, we get to see what what happens. What is the result of them hearing this word. So let let me pray, ask for the lord's help. And then we're gonna then we're gonna dive in. So Father, we thank you.

That you do reveal your glory through the preaching of your word. That is how you have ordained Christ to be revealed through the scriptures, through the preaching of them, especially. And we ask that you would do that now. Show us Christ. We pray.

Help us to see him. Help us to hear his word. Help us not to be offended by it. Give us ears to favorably hear it and receive it. Give us hearts that are soft to him and to his word, we pray in Jesus' name, amen.

Oh, man. Okay. People and their words are connected, aren't they? I wasn't in the service this morning. But if I had stood up and talked about bums or gummy eyes, I think you might be like, oh, but Pete can say it because he's Pete.

Amen? People in their words are connected. You can't you can't really take that out of context and put it out there. Just proved that. But when Pete says it, everyone loves it.

Carrie and I are gonna see Ed Cheer in this summer, actually, during the revive weekend. So enjoy revive. We'll be at wembley. Really excited about it. Looking forward to it, you know, tickets aren't cheap there.

The quite expensive. We've been I booked them like last year. So it's been a long time coming. We're really looking forward to it. But if we got there and someone else walked on stage, Even if if it looked like Ed Cheering.

Yeah? Even if it was the best tribute act you've ever seen in your life. It looked like Ed Sheerin. It sounded like Ed Sheerin. He'd actually borrowed Ed Sheerin's clothes.

He was playing Ed Sheerin's guitar. He had Ed Sheerin's stage. And light program, and backing singers, and band. And he sang the set that Ed Shearing was gonna sing, even if he did All of those things, yet it wasn't Ed Sheeran, I think we'd be quite annoyed. Yeah.

I'd be annoyed. We paid to see Ed Sheeran not something that from a distance looks like him. And in the same way, if Ed Sheeran walked on, but wearing some weird clothes and didn't have this stage that he was planning and played an instrument he's not very good at and sang a song that he didn't know very well. I think we'd also be quite disappointed. We'd gone to see Ed Sheerin play Ed Sheerin's songs.

And hopefully, he'll do that. So that's what I'm looking forward to. Enjoy revival. People in their words are connected. They're connected.

I mean, whole careers can be derailed by some people because of a single sentence. I was thinking of Glen Hoddle when I was a kid, and I liked England, 19 98 World Cup. And then Glen Hoddle said something about people being reincarnated people who have disabilities weren't as good in a previous life. And he was fired for that because his words and and him are connected. More recently, JK Rowling, who was adored all over the world, wasn't she?

She was an icon, a global superstar. People loved her and her stories. She was untouchable in lots of ways. And then she wades into the kind of gender discussion, doesn't she? And she she tweeted something like, well, she'd read an article that had the expression in people who menstruate.

And she she tweeted saying there used to be a word for that. What was it? Wiban, Wubi someone helped me out is what she tweeted. She was saying, woman. And people, especially, sort of trans activists, just went to town.

And canceled her and hated her because of this thing that she'd said. I I read 1 tweet Someone tweeted in response to it, and they said all she had to do was to shut up, stay quiet, and she could have been the most uncritically loved person for a century. All she had to do was shut up. She'd done it. She'd done all the work.

We loved her, and then she just opened her mouth. And suddenly, we hate her, and we don't like her. If only she had not spoken, not said anything, she'd be loved. Will Smith, Every time I get up, I talk about Will Smith. But what a great recent example?

He everyone loves him. And then at the Oscars, He slaps. Yes. But if you watch him, I think his his words are more venomous than the slap. It's his words that he speaks and suddenly he's hated.

Because you can't disconnect people's words from who they are. Now that was absolutely the experience of Profits in the Old Testament of the Bible, wasn't it? Profits spoke the Word of God, and this was the experience they had. They were mouthpieces of God. In fact, the word profit is a Latin word, comes from pro, meaning before, we're in front of.

And fete, which is from the words to speak. So they speak before God. A prophet speaks in front of God as a king would have a spokesperson in front of them speaking their words. And these prophets, they didn't just say what they thought God was saying. You know, we hear this quite a lot in Christian subculture.

I think God's saying this. I really, you know, I really feel that God is leading us in this direction. We that's sort of on our lips, but prophets didn't speak like that. They had an ordained spirit filled role, and they spoke the words of God. The spirit was on them.

I mean, in 2 kings, it talks about how the spirit of Elijah rested on Elijah. The spirit of God that was in Elijah that enabled him to be a prophet rested on Elijah, and now Elijah is the prophet because God is resting on him. To Peter says the prophets were carried along by the Holy Spirit. They didn't just speak words. They thought God wanted to say.

The Holy Spirit carried them. Opened their lips, instructed their tongue, and their minds, and their hearts. And god literally said to the prophet Jeremiah, I will put my words in your mouth. That's what God says to Jeremiah. So the bible often says, the word of the lord came to Jonah, or the word of the lord came to profit.

And then the prophet stands up and says, This is what the Lord the God of Israel says. The word comes. This is what the Lord the God of Israel says, and then they proclaim the word. Now, the experience of the prophets. Nobody ever despised the word without also despising the prophet who spoke it.

Because their words are connected. No 1 ever said Moses. You know what, mate. You're a great man. I love you, Moses.

Love you, heart of gold, beautiful man, but hate what you're saying. They grumbled against Moses, is what withhold, because he spoke the word of the Lord to them. And he led them out of he gypped. Likewise with Elijah, no 1 ever said of him, our top local Elijah, love the guy, heart of gold, salt of the earth, beautiful man, despise what he says, though. Can't stand what he says.

Hate him for what he says. No 1 ever said that about Elijah. When King Ahab saw Elijah, he said is that you, you troubleer of Israel, because he connected the words he was saying to the man. Now that is exactly what we get to in today's passage with the Lord Jesus Christ. Because this crowd that went up the mountain and were fed by Jesus, came to him because of the signs and the healings.

You see that in verse 2 of chapter 6. They came to Jesus because of signs and healings, and they followed him across the lake. Jesus says, because they want food. But now, they've just had for the first time a full on, unfiltered, uncensored word from Jesus for the first time. And having heard his word, what are they gonna think of him?

How are they gonna make up their minds about him? Is this real Jesus? The speaking Jesus? Anything like they thought he was? Or is he gonna be different?

So that's what we're looking at. And my first point this evening is a stale word. A stale word. So We we heard in verses 53 to whatever it was, 59. Pete read out the sort of back end of Jesus' teaching.

This word that he's given. And I'll just read from verse 57 again as to give a sort of a rough summary. So verse 57, just as the living father sent me, and I live because of the father, so the 1 who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manor and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.

He said this while teaching in the synagogue Perium. So Jesus is the bread of life. That's the teaching. That's the that's the main teaching. If you wanna live, if you want eternal life, eat me.

Come to me. Work for food that doesn't spoil. Me. I am the 1 who will give you eternal life who will nourish you and sustain you forever. That's the teaching of Jesus now.

Verse 60. What are they gonna make of this teaching? On hearing it, many of his disciples said, this is a hard teaching Who can accept it? This is hard. This isn't why I thought at all.

It's hard. And there's 2 interesting things about that phrase, hard teaching. The first 1 is that the word hard there It it actually means, like, dried up, like, a shriveled sun dried, arid, Stale. That's what it means. It's not actually a comment on the difficulty of the of the teaching.

I've always read that and gone, oh, yeah, they thought, oh, this is hard. This is difficult to understand Jesus. Don't get it. It's quite tricky. Don't understand it.

But that's not really the the weight of what they mean by that. They mean this is hard. It's stony. It's uncomfortable. It's it's unpalatable.

And so for them, if Jesus is the bread of life, And he's the kind of bread that you accidentally left out for a few days. Now you come back to it and it's stale and rock hard. Good for nothing. You try and revive it by putting water in it and putting it in the microwave. Doesn't work.

It's disgusting. That's the kind of That's the kind of bread of life that Jesus is to them. They say, this is stale. This is old. They spit it out.

It's not nice at all. That's the first thing. That's what hard means. The second thing is that the word teaching here is actually the word logos. In the original language, which is if you know the beginning of John is the word for word.

So in the beginning was the logos we told in John chapter 1. Who's Jesus. Jesus is the word. So do you see what John's doing here? This is a hard logos.

This is a hard word. This is a stale word. And the word there is is is very close to saying Jesus, isn't it? Jesus is the word. This is a stale word.

This is a stale Jesus is what they're saying. This this Jesus is stale. Actually, the silent Jesus we had yesterday, the 1 on the mountain. Yeah. That 1, I much preferred him.

Yeah. He gave us beautiful bread. He gave soft bread. He gave us bread that we could chew, that we could eat, filled our stomachs. I I enjoyed that Jesus much better.

I had a full stomach. And I came to him, and I thought he was gonna give me another meal. I mean, they even they even say on the mountain after they're eating the bread, probably with mouthfuls of bread. They probably go, This guy this guy this guy could be the prophet. Yeah.

Let's make him king. Yeah. And and they they they call him the Although interestingly, he doesn't say anything to them on the mountain. It just gives him food. And they say, we want him to be our king.

He's the prophet. He's the speaker of God, and yet we haven't heard him speak yet. But we want him to be the king and the prophet. Now the ironic thing is that they're absolutely right, aren't they? On the mountain?

Because look at what Jesus says in verse 63. The spirit gives life The flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you, they are full of the spirit and life. Now whose words are full of spirit in the old testament? The prophets.

This is the prophet. At Jesus, actually, he he employs the kind of prophetic turn of phrase to begin his his speaking. In the old testament, you would have a prophet say, the word of he would say, thus says the Lord, and you would listen. Because the prophet isn't just saying, can I have a sandwich? He's about to tell you what God has to say.

Or a prophet would say, this is what the Lord, the God of Israel says, and you would go, okay. Now, that was a prophetic turn of phrase. Jesus does something very similar to that, but with a very amazing difference. He says, truly, truly, I say to you. Wow.

Here is not god speaking through a messenger anymore, in sort of third person. Here is god the word of the lord coming to the people, and speaking himself. Truly, truly, I say to you. Such a stark difference when you go from old testament to new testament. God speaks in first person.

It gives the expression the word of the lord came. A completely amazing new meaning, doesn't it? The word of the Lord came to these people because Jesus came. Now, on hearing the word of the lord, from the mouth of the lord, when they finally hear this prophet speak, The bread of life becomes stale and hard to them. These dried up.

There's no life in it. You know, they start thinking things like, well, unless we drink his blood, we have no life in us. Did he really say that? Unless we drink his blood, we have no life in us. That's ridiculous.

He came down from heaven. Hang on a minute. Isn't he Mary and Joseph's boy from down the road? That's not heaven. That isn't heaven.

Heaven's up there, but he came from down there. He's the only 1 who's seen the father. Well, what about our church fathers? What about Moses? Hey?

Yeah? What about Abraham? What about all of those those people in history? No 1 can come to me unless the father has enabled If only he had shut up. If only he had not spoken a word, he could have been king.

He could have been the most uncritically loved person for a century. If only he'd not said a word. Now Jesus knows that they're offended by his his logos. He knows because we're told. And, again, it's not that they're finding it difficult to understand.

If if only they had come to him and said, Jesus, this is This is strange. This is unusual. It's actually quite tricky. I can't understand what you're saying. That that would have been a different issue.

Jesus would have dealt with that differently. But here, they come and they say, this is stale. This is horrible. And if they're offended simply by his word, Jesus says, what on earth are you gonna think of me when you see me in all my glory? Look at verses 61 to 62.

Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, does this offend you? This My words. Then what if you see the son of man ascends to where he was before? Yeah? If my words offend you, then how much more offended are you gonna be when you see me on my throne?

When you see me speak with voice like thunder, When you see the rainbow surround me, when you see the elders bow down before me, when you see me sovereign over every element of every particle of everything in all of creation when you see me sovereign over you. How much more offended are you gonna be when you see me there? It's true, isn't it? If a politician says something you disagree with before they're elected. You'd sort of despise it.

I don't like that idea. But when the reality comes, when Trump builds his wall, how much more do people hate the reality of it then? Jesus and his words are connected. Also, put it another way, the logos and his logos, are connected. And to this crowd, it's a stale word.

It's lifeless. They spit it out. So what happens next? After they hear his word and find it stale. It's repentance.

Funny enough? In Isaiah 55, we read these words. This is what the Lord says. My word that goes out from my mouth, it will not return to me empty. But will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

God's word is gonna achieve its goal. Whenever God speaks, something happens. Genesis chapter 1 doesn't say in the beginning, God said, let there be light. And there was a tumbleweed. And then god shouted a bit louder, and then the little spark, and then god bellowed.

And suddenly, the universe came into being. It says, God said let there be light, and there was light. When God speaks, things happen, And when God's word is preached or spoken, it either saves or it exposes an unwillingness to be saved. It does, 1 of those 2 things, always. And because of that, the word of God always results in some kind of repentance.

You see what I mean? There's the first kind of repentance, which we all know. In verse 69. The disciples well, Simon Peter answers the Lord Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

We have come to believe and to know that you are the holy 1 of God. We've come to know that is true about you. We've we've turned away from our sin. We've turned away from our our deadness, and we've left our old life behind, and we've turned to you, and we know and trust that you're the holy 1 of God. There's that repentance.

Or there's the repentance we see here in verse 66. From this time, Many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. It's interesting that it uses the words, the disciples there. Because it could have said the apostates or the crowd. It's amazing.

It says, the disciples who had been with him on the mountain, who'd been fed by him. In their stomachs, right at that very moment, they have food that's being digested. That he miraculously provided for them. They probably can still taste the the the food in their mouth. And these are the ones who repent from following Jesus.

They go, no. We were wrong about him. And so they turn away from him, and they go back to their old ways. They literally turn back and go home. I wonder whether you you've experienced this.

Maybe you've known people who, on a surface level, at least, have just been on fire for God. They profess faith talk passionately, they say all the right things, they talk about what God has done for them in their lives. But then they sort of turn away from God's work. Oh, I preferred it before I read that bit in the bible. You know, I don't I only I only read the words of Jesus because the old testament God seems a bit angry me.

Now, it's interesting. Who do they turn back to following? I don't think they know But the disciples know, because when Jesus says to his disciples, are you gonna go away too? They say to him, Lord, To whom shall we go? If we're not following you, we've got to be following someone.

I think there's a Bob Dylan song that says you've got to follow someone. Gonna be Jesus, by the devil. You gotta follow someone. So the disciples have got absolutely right. If you turn your back on Jesus, actually, You turn towards the devil.

Now this is this is a this is an absolute coincidence. So don't think I take this too seriously. But it's also quite helpful. This verse is chapter 6 verse 66. K?

Don't take that too seriously, but it's helpful. There's only 1 chapter 6 verse 66 in the whole bible. And it's this 1. And they turn away from Christ, and whom are they turning to? A little later on, Jesus is very explicit and he says to them, you are of your father, the devil.

Is what Jesus says to them. If you turn away from Christ, you're not turning away to no 1. You're turning actually to the devil. So that makes what's happening right now kind of awkward for all of us, isn't it? Because what's happening right now is the word of the lord is being spoken.

And so we've heard. And the lord's word is effective. Something is gonna happen. You are gonna repent tonight. Every single 1 of you.

Which way is it gonna be? And most of the crowd are going here. Let me just imagine yourself in this crowd. Yeah. We had 5000 men going up the mountain plus women and children.

That's a huge crowd. That's like a massive bumbling, talking, excitable crowd. Some people are like running. Some people are are are dragging whole families up this mountain. It's exciting.

It's huge. And then suddenly, they've crossed the lake, and they found Jesus, and they're excited. And they go, Jesus, we want more food. And he gives them this word, and they hear it, and they go, and then slowly, this huge crowd. Massive crowd group by group, family by family, person by person slowly turn on the spot and walk away.

And something interesting happens to you when you're in a crowd, doesn't it? You sort of you feel such an intense pull to do what the crowd wants to do. I mean, have you ever been in a in a theater at the end of a musical or something and you thought it was average? The first few people at the front stand up and start clapping a standing ovation. And then the people next to them go, flipping neck.

Right. Fine. And then they have to stand up And then soon everyone starts standing up, there's a Mexican wave of reluctant people standing up, and you're all standing up, cheering I believe in this. But here we are, we're all standing up cheering. It's an amazing you don't wanna be the only person sat there, not standing up.

It's an amazing pull that the crowd has on you, isn't there? So are you gonna go with the crowd? Now it's interesting because Jesus knew We're told Jesus knew which ones of these would believe and which wouldn't. He knew. Somehow, he knew.

Whole crowd, thousands of people. He knew exactly who would and who wouldn't believe. But even though he knew that this crowd was gonna turn away from him, the moment he heard, they heard his voice. I don't think the reality of this moment is any less devastating for Jesus. In John chapter 1 verses 10 and 11, do I have it?

Yeah. It says this, he was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. It's amazing. Jesus made every single person in that crowd.

He delighted in in the idea of them, and in the creation of them, and the the watching of them as they grew older and were nurtured and became the person that he he made them to be. He made them, and they didn't recognize him. And they were his own, we're told. Everything belongs to God. The crowd came up towards Jesus, They belonged to him and yet they didn't receive him.

I think there must be few things harder in this life when someone you love no longer recognizes you. Or someone you love casts you out of their life and they no longer receive you. This is what's happening for Jesus. And it would have taken a while for this crowd to disperse. I mean, if you ever come out of the o 2 or Wimlin, there's the crowd control.

It takes a long time to get people away, isn't it? So this crowd is not just sort of turning around and gone. This is an extended elongated, painful moment for Jesus. You know, the the yes just yesterday, the sound of those 5000 feet of of the of the excitement in the voices, the the stones crunching under the weight of that many people. We're coming up the mountain.

That is a picture of heaven, isn't it? People come into God on the mountain. And then now he hears the same crowd crunching the stones as they turn around and take steps away from him. Not an excitement murmur on their lips now, but a grumbling. Well, that was rubbish, isn't it?

That wasn't what we thought it was going to be as they leave him. I mean, soon Jesus is gonna hear the crowd say, Jose. And then a few days later, say crucify it. Soon, 1 of his own disciples, who here he calls a devil, is gonna kiss him on the cheek and betray him. So Jesus eventually turns to his disciples and he asks them a really sobering question.

And I I think maybe with tears, faintly in his eyes. I think he asks with a heavy heart. He says in verse 67, You do not want to leave 2. Do you? Just amazingly vulnerable question.

Jesus knew which ones would believe, and yet still, this really vulnerable question. And I think this is a question that he turns and asks through the pages of scripture to you today. You do not wanna leave 2. The? The whole world has turned on the spot.

And left him. The sound of 5000 men and women are leaving. And you've heard his word, and he asks you, You do not want to leave 2. De? So what are you going to do?

Third point, the words of eternal life. Simon Peter answers in verse 68, Lord, To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We've come to believe and know that you are the holy 1 of God. I think that's a really tender response from Peter You know, he's a bit of a loud mouth, isn't he normally, but I think here he's got it bang on.

I think it's really lovely. The reason the crowd has just left Jesus is because the word was stale. And here, Peter says, your words not stay, Jesus. It's eternal life. It's eternal life.

I think that's a balm. To the ears of Jesus. The the crunching of stones as people walk away from him, and then the words of Peter, the confession. No, Jesus. Your words aren't stale.

You have the words of eternal life. And it shows that he's really heard the message. He's got it. Because just these are just 4 verses from from Jesus' sermon that he's just given. Yeah?

Don't work for food that spoils, work for food that endures to eternal life. For my father's will, is that everyone who looks to the son and believes in him shall have eternal life. Very truly, I tell you the 1 who believes has eternal life. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life. Yeah.

They've heard the sermon, haven't they? They've got it. It's a joy for a preacher when someone comes up and repeats something to you. Gammie eyes, brother. Magitty bottom.

We've heard the sermon. It's amazing. The words eternal life appear 8 times in all the synoptic gospels combined, but in John's gospel, they appear 18 times. 4 in this 1 sermon. Yeah?

Jesus is big on eternal life, and John records it, especially for us here. An eternal life, some people have a strange idea about It's not just what we have now, but ongoing forever, kind of just getting older and older and more decrepit and more decrepit. In fact, This universe we're in is just slowly decaying. It's slowly fizzling out. There's actually not a wellspring of life in this universe.

It's slowly dying. We're on borrowed time here. Eternal Life says Jesus is this. Now, this is eternal life. That they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you've sent.

Eternal life is to know God. And that word no is amazing. It's not just I I know God. It's like in perfect intimate relationship with him. To know God, to be known by him, And who who who are the father and the son and the Holy Spirit?

Never let a life give us. Jesus says, whoever comes to me will have living waters that well up in them to eternal life. That's the kind of life that that Jesus is talking about when he says, eternal life. You're gonna connect yourself to the bread of life that will sustain you, to the water of life, to the 1 who's the resurrection and the life. This this life, it wells up forever.

There's an amazing picture in CS Lewis' final battle when the characters get into the new creation. And they say, further up, further in. And as they go further up and further into the new creation, it gets bigger. And they go further up, further in. And normally, in this life, further up and further in, you do this.

If we were all to go up there, we'd be squashed in the ceiling. But in in heaven, in the new creation, it's a bit obvious. In the new creation, you go up, and it's greater. Life wells up when you know the life giver. You have the words of eternal life, says Peter.

Where else can we go? Who else has got this stuff? To whom are we gonna go? Now I don't know if you've been following the journey of Deborah James. Now Dame Deborah James.

She's she was 1 of the hosts of the BBC's podcast, you me, in the big sea. Which is a cancer podcast. This week, she received a Damehood, actually, for her services to I guess awareness and creating a space for people to listen and talk about cancer. And she's quite close to death now. She's very close to death if you you see pictures of her.

And she said this this last week, she said all I want is more life. That's what she said. She's very skinny. You'd look at her and you think you haven't got long left. She knows that as well.

And the thing that's on her mind is all I want, all I want. A Damehood could live without it. Successful podcast, don't need it. The thing that I want most of all is more life. Now where can we go for more life?

Internal life. Jesus has the words of eternal life. So where can you go? Dame Debra James, pray someone tells her this. To Jesus.

Who can raise her up on the last day, free of cancer. Put her in that further up, further in, eternal wellspring of life. To know the father and to know the son. I really do pray that someone tells her that. So I've got a couple of applications for us just to finish.

My first 1 is, do you know the speaking Jesus? Yeah? Not just the miracle signs Jesus, the 1 who can do things for you in this life, the 1 who can give you your next meal. Whatever it is. Have you heard his words?

I was at a baptism service once. And it was absolute tragedy because which is we sat it's a tragedy that I am even saying this. But 6 people standing up about to be baptized And the guy with the mic says, it's brilliant. What's your name? Bye bye.

Hello, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And and while you're getting baptized, Since I began with Christian, I've just had less anxiety, and really just enjoy life a lot more. Brilliant praise god. Isn't that great? Amen?

You're a gospel church. Goes to the next person. Hello. What's your name? Blah.

Hello. Blah. Blah. And, bubah. Why are you becoming a Christian?

You know, I really just just struggle with certain things, and I really love the church, family, just love knowing people. Brilliant. Isn't that good? Praise God, amen? Yeah.

6 people. Every single 1 of them. Nothing about eternal life. Nothing about sin. Nothing about Jesus being Savior.

Nothing even about Jesus' words. Just I had a meal last night. It was really good. So when people ask you, what's your name? Why are you a Christian?

What are you gonna say to them? I love church. I love the songs that we sing. Brilliant songs. Or are you gonna say Jesus has the words of eternal life?

That's why I'm a Christian. Would it Kerry say when she was up here, beautiful British Christian woman? I was a sinner, and Jesus saved me. That's your testimony. Yeah.

Next time someone asks you why are you Christian? Why do you go to church? Because Jesus has the words of eternal life. Yeah. Amen?

Gospel church. Beautiful. Right. Next point. Are any of his words stale to you?

Now this is not Jesus this is a hard teaching. I don't understand it. There are lots of things that are hard to understand in Christianity. Load of things. Loads of things I'm wrestling with, don't fully understand, I'm confused by some things.

But the question is, are you actively rejecting or just spising any parts of God's word. Are any of the words stale when you open up the word of God? And you go, that doesn't taste right? Don't like don't like the taste of that. Because if if there is, then I wanna say, share that with someone.

Just like you know, go to Sister's Act. Talk about same sex attraction. Talk about these things. Ask for better help to understand these things. Wrestle with these things.

Come to an elder. Very rarely did someone come to me saying, Ben, I really I really don't understand this in the bible. Can you help me? That would be an absolute joy. If someone knocked on that door on a Tuesday afternoon, said, Ben, can you just give me half an hour?

We would love that as a staff team. So do that. If anything is stale to you. Don't let it become a bitter root, and you sort of ignore that part of the Bible. Ignore that teaching.

Don't walk away from the bible if something seems stale to you, wrestle with God. Job wrestled with God all night and said, I will not let you go until you bless me. We wanna be like that. Let's not have stale parts of of God's word. Thirdly, if you've come to know that Jesus has the words of eternal life, Jesus has chosen you Jesus has chosen you because that's what he tells us here in verse 70.

Jesus says, have I not chosen you? The 12. The gospel is the aroma of life. It's the sweet smell of freshly baked bread to those who are being saved. So if you're a Christian, if you think, yes, Jesus, you have the words of eternal life.

Jesus has chosen you. Otherwise, it would smell like death to you. Is what we're told. So the father has drawn you. If this is good news to you, if you say our men which you have, the father has drawn you.

This is not wonderful. The father has drawn you. Christ has chosen you, and he said he will lose none of those the father has given him. And then my last application is this. So as the Holy Spirit says, today, if you hear his voice, do not hide in your hearts.

That's in Hebrews. So when you walk out of this building, you're going to turn either left or right to go to your car or walk home. But more importantly, which way are you going to turn because you've heard the word of the Lord. You're gonna repent every single 1 of you as you leave this building. Are you gonna turn towards Christ?

Or are you gonna turn away from him? Let's pray. Father, we thank you so much that you sent your son into this world to die for our sins. We thank you that he didn't just come and sort of cook for us and feed our bellies, but he spoke life giving eternal words. We thank you that his words were full of spirit and full of life.

And we pray that you'd give us ears to hear them. Help us to be like Simon Peter. Jesus, we confess you have the words of eternal life. Your words are what we need to hear, and we pray that you would continue speaking to us. Thank you for the joy it is to to see you in the pages of script.

And to hear your voice. Pray, please that we would repent and we would turn to you. We would confess you are the holy 1 of God We would leave our old life of sin behind, and we would turn to you the life giver. Help us this week when people ask us Why are you Christian to not just talk about food, but to say, because Christ has the words of eternal life. I pray that in Jesus name, amen.

Preached by Ben Read
Ben Read photo

Ben is a Trainee Pastor at Cornerstone and lives with his wife Ceri who is a youth leader and helps run the women’s ministry in the church.

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