Sermon: Offensive words of spirit and life


Jesus spoke words that are still spirit and life today, but they also offend people today as they did then. 


I want us to understand the power that munching on Jesus has to help us have staying power. 

Sermon Plan 

We will discuss munching on Jesus and how his words which are spirit and life also cause offense. 

Munching on Jesus 

In John 6:56-69 the word for eating Jesus can also be translated as munching, crunching or gnawing on Jesus. Perhaps now we understand why it was so offensive to many of the early disciples and they left. Yet Jesus said that those who do gnaw on him remain in him, and twelve disciples did. Do we remain stuck in a doctrine of men and when it proves wrong we lose faith? Do we remain stuck in a fellowship of people who when they move on or die so does our faithfulness to God? Do we remain stuck in a particular style of worship music and if it changes then we decide to quit the church? Theories, camaraderie and music are not a complete meal. They are good for a while, but the real food is in munching on Jesus. 

Words that offend 

Does Jesus offend us? The same words that are spirit and are life (John 6:56-69) offended many of his own disciples 2,000 years ago. Do they offend us today? Those followers of Jesus were offended because he downplayed their own religious traditions regarding manna. What offense would cause us to leave the church? When people leave they often point a finger at other people, but that also points at Jesus. We are really saying, “How could Jesus show grace to those people in that church?” Jesus’ mercy offends us because he allows fools to preach and sinners to lead. Church life is a constant winnowing process. The chaff is driven away and the wheat stays. What about us? Will we leave because the words of life offend, which demand grace and mercy towards others, or will we stay? 

Words that are spirit 

In John 6:56-69 Jesus said, “the words that I speak to you, they are spirit”. What does it mean that words are spirit? It means that his words were spiritual. His words were not just to be received in heavenly terms, as opposed to worldly, but they were spirit. The natural mind cannot understand the things of God, so words that are spirit can only be received in spirit. We who did not live at that time and never met him in the flesh can nevertheless receive his words today, because they are still spirit and therefore not limited to time and place. Without the words of Jesus, baptism, communion, Bible study and prayer become empty rituals. It is not the physical trappings of our tradition that bless us today, but the words of Jesus Christ which are spirit. 

Words that are life 

In John 6:56-69 Jesus said, “the words that I speak to you, they are spirit and they are life.” How can words be life? We may remember a childhood myth: sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me. The truth is that words can hurt or heal. Words can kill or give life. Words are powerful. The words that Jesus spoke to his disciples then, he speaks to us today. If we listen to the words of Jesus, they give us life eternal. The words of the Old Testament are profitable, but that was a ministry of death (2 Corinthians 3:6-8), preparing for the ministry of the spirit. The spirit gives life. A preacher’s words do not give life either, unless they incorporate the words that do give life, the words of Jesus. 

Words of eternal life 

What is a real good reason to keep attending church? Could it be that there we find the words of eternal life (John 6:56-69)? It doesn’t matter what denomination we attend, if we see past all the customs, politics and other human activities, most churches do teach the words of Jesus, the words of eternal life. Are we proud to be the stewards of such words? The word pride in today’s English can be either the good trait of pleasure and joy, such as a parent who is proud of a child. It can also be the wrong kind of pride, arrogance and vainglory. Denominational pride can be both good and evil too. The most important thing that we possess, of which we can be rightly proud, is that in Jesus Christ we have the words of eternal life. 


Murmuring and grumbling are common to our experience. We have all done it and are all just as guilty as the disciples who left Jesus in John 6:56-69. We murmur about positions in the church, the kitchen, the music, the preacher, the upkeep, local organization, the conference and the bishop. Yet, despite our continual complaining, some few are remarkably silent. Could it be that they have a secret? What could be the secret to not grumbling? How can we be a part of those who do not murmur and seem to be absent when gossip is on the menu? Perhaps these verses give a clue. Perhaps we should learn the lesson my grandmother and mother taught me, we can’t talk with our mouths full. Perhaps those who continually feast on Jesus are satisfied and have no desire to complain. 

To whom shall we go 

In John 6:56-69 when Jesus asked the disciples if they would leave him, they replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Yet, so often we want people to come to our church, rather than Jesus Christ. I believe with all my heart that the more we promote ourselves, our denominational "distinctives" and our man-made system, the less blessed we will become. The more we promote Jesus Christ as the answer, the more he will bless us and our denomination. Did not Jesus say, "I will build my church"? Why do we try everything but Jesus? I would love to be able to say that our denominational distinctive is that we promote Jesus Christ more than anyone else does. Then, I believe that the blessings from heaven would be poured out in abundance. 


Jesus words are the lifeblood of Christianity. They are still spirit and life today, but they also offend people today as they did then. There is power in munching on Jesus, staying power. 

Sermon: Daily Communion with Jesus


Have we ever asked ourselves how does Jesus apply in daily life? If Jesus is the bread of life, how can we eat him every day? 


I want us to understand the importance of Jesus in daily Bible study and meditation. 

Sermon Plan 

We will discuss bread, Bible study and how the whole Bible centers around Jesus. 

How often do we eat bread 

How often do we eat bread? We can have it plain or toasted for breakfast, as a wrap or sandwich for lunch, as crisp bread for an afternoon snack and as croutons on a salad in the evening. There are dozens of ways we can enjoy bread all day long. How often do we partake of the bread of life, Jesus (John 6:35, 41-51)? Jesus often spoke of common everyday elements to associate with spiritual principles, because we ought to be thinking spiritually all day long. Some people are annoyed if we seem to talk about Jesus too much. We don’t talk about bread all day long, but it is everywhere. Perhaps that’s how Jesus ought to be in our lives. As we go about our daily tasks, do we think about what Jesus has done and taught us? 

The bread of life in Bible study 

In our spiritual studies do we partake of the bread of life, Jesus (John 6:35, 41-51)? The entire Bible is important to the Christian faith. The teachings of great leaders like Chrysostom, Thomas Aquinas, Augustine, Luther, Calvin and Wesley are important. However, we can study these things at home, in seminary or Bible college and neglect the bread of life. In my Methodist tradition it is sometimes said that we need to get off Wesley’s horse and back onto the rock of Christ. Jesus explained clearly what the central teachings of the church ought to be in Matthew 28:20, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” As institutions and individual Christians study the Holy Scriptures, full study ought to include the whole text in historical context, but the bread of life is still Jesus. 

Anything but Jesus 

We can easily focus on health and wealth, but neglect the example of suffering and self-sacrifice that Jesus left us. We can focus on mere human beings and their authority more than the authority of Christ. We can overemphasize the importance of our heritage and traditions while neglecting the heritage that Jesus left us. We can chase miracles coming from Jesus but never the purpose of miracles in bringing us to Jesus. We can spend our lives researching theology and never come to Jesus. There are so many distractions which can cause us to focus on anything but Jesus. Let us drink of the living water so that we never thirst again (John 4:10-14) and partake of the bread of life (John 6:35, 41-51) and let us not allow distractions to take away what Jesus has to offer. 

Communion without Jesus 

Do we partake of communion without partaking of Jesus? Can we partake of the bread after thanksgiving (the meaning of Eucharist) and still not partake of the bread of life (John 6:35, 41-51)? Is it the Lord’s Supper that we share or a counterfeit and hollow supper of our own self-worship? Can we so worship our own traditions surrounding the communion, stoles, garments, crossing everything in sight, theories about the presence of Christ in the bread and wine, wine versus juice, unleavened versus leavened bread, and who has what authority to perform what ceremonies, that we miss the whole point? Have we created a communion either without Jesus or where Jesus is shoved into a corner and our ideas and traditions come to the forefront? Jesus said that he is the bread from heaven. Do we commune with Jesus? 

Jesus outside of the box 

The biggest problem with our denominations is the narrow doctrines which restrict thinking about Jesus to within denominational walls. If I study a Lutheran commentator he is not likely to challenge the idea of consubstantiation when discussing Jesus as the bread of life (John 6:35, 41-51). If I read a Catholic commentator he is not likely to go outside the box of transubstantiation, just as an Eastern Orthodox commentator is unlikely to contradict his own tradition. If I read a United Church of Christ commentator she is not likely to go outside of the box of interpretations associated with that denomination. Even among so-called inclusive United Methodist Church commentators few are truly inclusive of other opinions outside of the Wesleyan box. Yet, all these churches are Christian and all contribute wonderfully to discussion of Jesus outside of the box. 

Christ-centered Bible study 

If Jesus is the bread of life (John 6:35, 41-51), what do we do with the rest of the Bible? Jesus referred often to lessons from the Old Testament, the Hebrew scriptures. Paul and the other apostles pointed to Jesus, not themselves or the church as the way to salvation. So there is a clue as to how we would study the rest of the Bible. Every part of the Bible points to Jesus in some way and so we study it from that point of view. This is called Christ-centered Bible study. We do not study Genesis without noticing the seed of the woman, Jesus’ descent from Abraham, his high priesthood like that of Melchizedek, his being a sacrificed son like Isaac, or a rejected brother like Joseph. Throughout the Bible we feed on the bread of life. 

Jesus in Exodus 

Jesus is the bread of eternal life (John 6:35, 41-51) and can be found in type throughout the Bible. For instance, in the second book of Moses, commonly called Exodus, Jesus is pictured in Moses’ life itself. Though he was a great deliverer, active in freeing a whole nation from slavery, Jesus is a greater deliverer. He came to free the whole world. Jesus is also called the lamb of God, pictured by the Passover lamb, an innocent sent to the slaughter. As we partake of communion, we eat his flesh as the ancient Israelites ate the Passover lamb. Jesus is also pictured in the Manna from heaven. He said that he was the bread sent from heaven, providing eternal sustenance. His eternal salvation is pictured in the temporal salvation of the water coming from the rock at Horeb. 

Jesus in Leviticus 

Jesus as the source of eternal life (John 6:35, 41-51) can be found in type in the third book of Moses, called Leviticus. In the burnt offering, Jesus is seen offering himself completely. In the meal offering our fellowship is pictured with a perfect sweet Savior. In the peace offering we see Jesus as creating peace between God and humanity. The sin offering pictures Christ who died for our human corruption and similarly the trespass offering pictures Christ’s sacrifice for our trespasses against God’s law. The festivals also pictured Christ. Passover pictured the lamb; firstfruits pictured Jesus as God’s first fruit, Jesus atonement for our sins, and God’s incarnation in Jesus and tabernacling with humanity as one of us. Jesus is also the scapegoat upon whom all our sins rest and he is the high priest of our salvation. 

Jesus in Numbers & Deuteronomy 

Jesus is the bread of life (John 6:35, 41-51), the center of our faith. He can also be found pictured in Numbers and Deuteronomy. He is pictured in the cloud and the fire, the light of the world will come again in the clouds. He is the royal scepter to rise out of Israel. As the bronze serpent was raised up, so was Jesus on the cross. He quenches our thirst like the water from the rock. He was a prophet like Moses. The cities of refuge typify refuge in him though our sins are as scarlet. His return will be announced by a trumpet. As Aaron ran with the censor of incense to intervene for Israel, so too does Jesus intervene on our behalf with the Father. Jesus is pictured in the Urim and Thummim, truth and judgment. 


If Jesus is the bread of life, why would we not want to eat him every day? We can as we read or study God’s Word and meditate upon it.

Sermon: Bread that does not mold


Bread is the staff of life, yet it only lasts a short while before it molds. Why? Why didn’t God create a more permanent variety of bread? He did. It is something that is very important for us to understand. 


I want us to understand the power of the bread that lasts. 

Sermon Plan 

We will discuss how God provides bread that molds so that we will seek the bread that lasts. 


Forget the junky white stuff that some people call bread, there are so many wonderful varieties of whole-grain bread that there is no reason to eat unhealthy rubbish, even if it is deceptively labeled wholesome. In countries drowning in false advertising, we miss out on the wonderful varieties that other countries enjoy every day. Flour can be so much more interesting than nutrient-depleted white flour. There are acorn, almond, amaranth, bean, barley, buckwheat, cassava, chestnut, chickpea, coconut, corn, emmer, fonio, hemp, kamut, mesquite, millet, oats, pea, potato, rice, rye, sorghum, soy, spelt, tapioca, teff, triticale and quinoa flours. Where have we been? We have been in a fog of advertising deception which lies to us every day that overpriced, nutrient-poor garbage is healthy. We need real bread. There is also a bread that lasts forever, Jesus Christ (John 6:24-35). 


Today’s bread may be tomorrow’s mold. Some things just don’t last. The air is filled with thousands of species of fungi. When food is left out, it molds turning organic matter into nutrient rich soil. Some varieties of mold can double in size every hour. Molds create what science calls biotic decomposition or biodegradation of almost every substance known, except some metals. Food is degraded by mold and more quickly at warmer temperatures. Most things in life are only temporary such as health, wealth, applause and gold medals. Why are we so enamored with things that do not last? All our bodies could eventually just mold and turn to dust. I love conversations with the elderly. They more than anyone else realize the temporary nature of things. Let’s eat the bread that will not spoil, Jesus Christ (John 6:24-35). 

Why politicians don’t answer questions 

News reporters criticise politicians for not answering questions, yet that is one thing that politicians often do right. A reporter may be setting a trap, or asking irrelevant trivia, not the real issue. Like Jesus a wise politician may not answer the question, but the real issue (John 6:24-35). People in the crowd asked Jesus, “When did you get here?” In similar circumstances we may be tempted to answer something like, “Oh a few hours ago.” But, that is not the answer Jesus gave. Instead of answering the question, he answered the issue. Paraphrasing, "You came looking for another free meal. Don’t waste more time on physical food. Work for permanent food that the Son of Man provides, guaranteed by God the Father to last forever." The real issue was that they were materialistic, trivializing the things of God. 

Doing the work 

What is doing the work of God? Does it involve our hands or our hearts? Jesus said that it is belief in the one that God has sent (John 6:24-35). When we pursue outward works alone as a measure of our faith, we forget that seemingly good works can come from a heart of unbelief. Jesus emphasized what was of primary importance, belief in him. Repentance comes from two Greek words meaning literally a change of mind.[1] Jesus confronted various religious leaders of his day with the challenge that a genuine change of heart involves good fruits (Matthew 3:8). Their hearts were still filled with unbelief and so their work was hypocritical, hollow and pointless. Christians are called to a life of good works. For works to be genuinely good, they must begin in a repentant heart. 

Misinterpreting miracles 

How many people are guilty of misinterpreting miracles? When people chase miracles as an end in themselves they miss the point? That was precisely the problem with the crowd who followed Jesus after the miracle of the fish and loaves (John 6:24-35). Miracles are a common theme among some Christians today. They chase miracles of healing, financial providence and other kinds of divine intervention. Of course God can and does intervene in people’s lives and heal today. Despite the fakers and scoffers there are documented cases of genuine miracles today. That is not the problem. The problem is when we miss the purpose behind any divine miracle. It pays to be very cautious when people claim to be spirit-filled but over-emphasize physical issues like health and wealth. Miracles ought to lead us to a deeper spiritual life in Christ. 

Materialistic Christianity 

It is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms, yet materialistic Christianity has always been popular. Jesus admonished a crowd that followed him after a miraculous pot luck not to pursue material things but the things of God (John 6:24-35). Does that mean that God is not interested in our health or financial well-being? Of course he is, otherwise Jesus would not have provided food for the large crowd. However, his physical provision was in a spiritual context, his teaching. He did not teach them how to manage food resources, gain more food and certainly not that such provision was the entire purpose of God. The food was a provision along the way to a much higher purpose, the things of God. When we pursue the physical and forget the most important things, then we have a false, materialistic Christianity. 


Bread is the staff of life, yet it only lasts a short while before it molds. God did create a more permanent variety of bread, Jesus Christ. He is the bread that lasts. Let us eat.