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Plain Truths About the Bread of Life - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
April 9, 2023 6:00 am

Plain Truths About the Bread of Life - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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April 9, 2023 6:00 am

Mark Twain once remarked that "A lie can travel halfway around the world while truth is still lacing up its boots!" This section of John's Gospel has generated much confusion and misunderstanding. Even Jesus' original audience had trouble understanding His meaning, and when they did, they found the truth was difficult to bear. These "hard truths," however, are "the words of eternal life" (v. 68). Let's look at these four realities today.


Now here's Jesus in an almost shocking manner, very raw, is describing His death on the cross in this section. The sacrificial death as He would give His own body, His flesh, as it says in verse 51, for the life of the world.

That's what this paragraph is talking about. Jesus is giving in months to come His own flesh, his body, and his flesh. He's not alone. He's in our family on the cross.

Welcome to Connect with Skip Weekend Edition. Bread is pretty essential stuff. I mean, think about it. What would it be like without bread? No sandwiches, no toast, no bagels, no cinnamon rolls, no pizza. There's just all kinds of things that rely on bread. So as I said at the beginning, bread is pretty essential stuff. Well today in The Connection, Skip Heizik talks about another kind of bread that's also very essential, but more so for our spiritual health than for our physical health.

And we'll get into We'll find out what that is here in just a moment, but first, let's see what's going on in the Connect with Skip Resource Center this month. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the most attested two facts in history. It is a fact that sets Christianity apart from every other world religion, and it's the reason for our hope. Of all of the religions in the world, only four of them are based upon actual personalities. Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism.

Those four are based upon the personality of the founder. But of all of those four religions, only one claims a resurrection for its founder. That's why we have hope. That's why we gather here today, because of that good news. For this Easter season, we've put together a special set of resurrection resources by Skip that include five of his finest Easter messages for audio download or on CD, and a full video titled On the Road. We want to send you a copy of this package of messages, as thanks for your gift to support Connect with Skip Heitzig and help grow this teaching ministry to reach more people in major cities in the U.S. this year. So request your package when you give your gift of $50 or more today, and take a walk with the risen Lord on the road to Emmaus. Just call 800-922-1888, or visit slash offer.

That's slash offer. If you'll open your Bibles to John chapter 6, we're going to examine verses 51 through 71 today. So as you find that spot, Skip Heitzig begins by sharing a few things that should be common knowledge. There are some truths that are what we call them common knowledge, things that everybody knows. Those truths that are most obvious, very plain. Two plus two equals four, common knowledge.

Sun rises in the east and sets in the west, or at least appears in the eastern horizon to be more accurate. That's common knowledge. Four seasons are in the year, common knowledge.

It's pretty common knowledge that the United States entered World War II after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Most Americans know that. That's common knowledge.

The state bird of New Mexico is the? It's common knowledge, the roadrunner. But other truths aren't so plain, not so obvious, unless you have a knowledge that is special and apart from what others know. An example, there was an artist who had his work, Original Paintings, in an art gallery, and he decided that he would go one day down to see if any of them sold because they hadn't been selling. Art can be expensive. Well, when he went down to the art gallery and he talked to the owner, he noticed that there was none of his paintings hanging up in the gallery. Well, he was puzzled and he said, well, what's up, where are my paintings? The owner said, well, I've got some good news and some bad news. Yesterday, a man came in with an interesting question, he said, is it true that works of art go up in value once the artist is dead? I thought that was an odd question.

I said, well, yeah, that's common knowledge. When somebody dies, their artwork, if they're an artist, goes up significantly. And then the man proceeded to buy all of your paintings. Well, the artist was puzzled. The owner of the gallery said, now that was the good news.

The bad news is that that man was your personal doctor. So you see, the doctor had some knowledge that the artist did not have, was not common to him. The things that Jesus shares in John chapter 6 were common, plain knowledge to him and to his disciples who loved him, these were truths that were understandable and loved and known. But not for the crowd that had gathered by and large. The crowd that Jesus had fed the day before. They really didn't get it and they weren't interested in some of the truths that Jesus gives in this very chapter. They were all about physical food, not spiritual truth. And they made that known in this conversation. But Jesus, the master teacher, brings out four truths beginning in verse 51 down to verse 71. That's what we want to look at today in our time together. Four important truths that to him and to his true followers would be plain truths about the bread of life.

Here in your outline, here they are in order. Number one, true life will come by death. True life will come by death. That's the first plain truth. Second, true words are hard to hear. Number three, true motives will be discovered and number four, true disciples will not leave. Those four truths are plainly brought up in this section.

I just can't resist this little thought that I was thinking about this week. I don't think it's insignificant that what Jesus said about himself and where he was born are very similar. Jesus said, I am the bread of life. Where he was born is the town of Bethlehem, of course. The word Bethlehem comes from two Hebrew words, beit lechem, house of bread or place of bread because Bethlehem was the bread basket of the ancient world. It's where the grains were grown.

It's where the wheat fields were. And so isn't it significant that the bread of life came from a place called the place of bread, the house of bread as he comes to offer himself for the life of the world. Well, let's begin in verse 51 and see the first plain truth of the bread of life and that is the true life will come by death. Verse 51, Jesus is continuing, I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, which I give for the life of the world.

The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves. How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said to them, most assuredly, I say to 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 him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him. As the living father has sent me and I live because of the father. So he who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven. Not as your fathers ate the manna and are dead.

He who eats this bread will live forever. These things he said in the synagogue as he taught in Capernaum. Now here is Jesus in an almost shocking manner, very raw, is describing his death on the cross in this section. The sacrificial death as he would give his own body, his flesh, as it says in verse 51, for the life of the world. That's what this paragraph is talking about. Jesus is giving in months to come his own flesh sacrificially on the cross. And that is what he means by it. He's talking about the fact that he's going to die and life will come through his death.

Now I need to say this because it's going to be asked afterwards so I thought I'd cover it. The Roman Catholic Church, and I was brought up in that tradition, used these verses to teach a doctrine of theirs called transubstantiation, which is a word that means to change substance. It is their belief, and I was taught it over and over again, that at communion the bread and the wine are literally transformed from one substance into another, from being bread and wine into the literal body and literal blood of Christ at the Eucharist.

I was taught by Gregory of Nyssa, Cyril of Jerusalem, Pascasius Radbert, and a number of other writers on the subject for the Roman Catholic Church. Now I need to say that Jesus did not mean that here. In fact, that whole way of thinking is totally foreign to this text.

And I'll give you a few reasons why. Number one, the Lord's Supper had not yet been instituted when Jesus said what we just read. It wasn't even on the radar screen. Nobody would have understood if that's what he was referring to, that he was referring to that. I mean, why would Jesus discuss communion with a group of antagonistic unbelievers?

That's number one. Number two, Jesus said, and we read it, that anyone who partakes of his body and his blood has everlasting life. If that meant communion, then that would mean that anybody who receives communion can gain salvation. I want to go to heaven, what do I got to do? Just go take communion and you'll have everlasting life.

And that would defy the biblical doctrine of salvation that comes through grace by faith. That would be salvation by works. Number three, the verb that Jesus uses to eat and the verb Jesus uses to drink is in the Greek, the aorist tense, which means a once for all completed action. It's done, never to be repeated. However, communion is something that is to be observed over and over again.

It is repeated. Jesus said, do this often in remembrance of me when he referred to communion. And number four, the text clearly shows that Jesus is not speaking in literal terms, but in spiritual terms. In verse 63, Jesus said, it is the spirit who gives life, the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit and they are life, or as the Phillips translation puts it, the things I have told you are spiritual things. So then exactly what does Jesus mean when he says, you must eat my flesh and you must drink my blood? Well all you got to do is compare two verses that almost are the same except for one variance and you'll get the understanding. Compare verse 54 with verse 40. Verse 54 says, whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day. Now go back to verse 40. And this is the will of him who sent me, that everyone who sees the son and believes in him may have everlasting life and I will raise him up at the last day. You see that?

See how similar they are? So now we have the understanding, what does it mean to eat and to drink his flesh and his blood? It means to behold Christ and to believe in him. To see him for who he is and to place our faith unquestionably and totally in him for our salvation. You say, well why does Jesus speak of his body and blood?

Simple because that's the price of redemption. Verse 51, I give my flesh for the life of the world. In other words, true life will come through death and that will be my death on the cross. So that is the plain truth about the bread of life. True life comes through death. Now this truth is so plain and so precious to the Christian church that for generations, generation after generation, the songs that we sing are by and large filled with the truth of the blood of Christ and the cross upon which our salvation was procured.

It seems that Christians so know this truth and so want to sing about it that it's inescapable. Here's the sampling of just some hymns. Lift high the cross of Christ. Alas, and did my Savior bleed. Beneath the cross of Jesus, the old rugged cross. Down at the cross where my Savior died. When I surveyed the wondrous cross, nailed to the cross for me. Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Over and over again, the Christian church throughout history says we get it that this is the plain truth and we celebrate it in our songs.

The true life comes through death. But it seems that this central and precious truth isn't so plain and so obvious to some, to some churches who are wanting to drain Christianity of its very life source by draining Christianity of the blood of Christ. What I mean is there are churches who will say, well, we better not preach too much about the blood of Jesus. We better not sing too many songs about the cross because that's gory and bloody and it will offend people.

Charles Spurgeon, whom you know I love to quote, said this about that. There are some preachers who cannot or do not preach about the blood of Jesus Christ and I have one thing to say to you concerning them. Never go to hear them.

Never go and listen to them. A ministry that does not have the blood in it is lifeless. It is a dead ministry.

It is no good to anyone. And Paul the apostle would have said, amen, Charles Spurgeon. In fact, Paul wrote that first, didn't he? 1 Corinthians 1. He said the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those of us who are being saved, it is the power of God. So the plain truth is without the cross, there is no Christianity. That's the plain truth about the bread of life, is that life comes, true life comes through death. Here's the second one. True words are hard to hear.

Now watch this. Verse 60. Therefore, many of his disciples, when they heard this, said, this is a hard saying. Who can understand it? A better translation would be, who can tolerate it, and I'll show you why in a moment. When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples complained about this, he said to them, does this offend you?

What then, if you should see the Son of Man ascend where he was before? All right, you see the word hard, this is a hard saying. It's the word scleros in Greek.

If you have a medical background, you're familiar with the word scleros, hard. It means rough, stiff, harsh. It does not mean it's hard to understand. It means it's hard to tolerate, hard to take. If I may paraphrase, they said, this is a hard sermon to take.

I don't like what I'm hearing. This is offensive. Now Jesus knew that. And look at verse 61 and 62. Does this offend you, he said?

What then, if you should see the Son of Man ascend where he was before? Now what does that mean? What does that mean? Well what Jesus just said offended them. And a number of things offended them. One thing he said that offended them is, I came down from heaven. That offended them. I came down from heaven. Because they said, wait a minute, we know your mom and dad in Nazareth.

What do you mean you came down from heaven? Now he says, my flesh you must eat, my blood you must drink. And that offended them.

That's hard. It's intolerable. So he goes, hey, does that offend you? What if you saw the Son of Man ascend to where he was before the very place I said I came from? Now here's what's going to happen. In the next several months, Jesus will go to the cross and he will die on a cross. That will really offend them.

He will die, he will rise, and he will ascend into heaven. That's not what they wanted. Back in verse 15 it says this crowd wanted to make him a king by force. They wanted to make him a politician by force. And so Jesus escaped their crowd. Jesus didn't want to be a politician. He came to go to the cross, to die on the cross. That's not what they wanted. That's why the Bible says that Jesus Christ is a stumbling block to the Jews.

He did not fit their description. So in essence what he's saying is, hey, if what I just said bothers you, wait till you see what I do next. I'm going to go to the cross and die and rise from the dead and ascend to where I was. I'm not going to be here for political purposes. Now I'm bringing this up to make the greater point. There are some truths that are hard to hear. There's some truths that are easy to hear. There's some truths that are wonderful to hear. There's some truths that I love to preach. Whenever you preach about heaven, you know that people are going to really find it easy to hear.

Yeah, tell me more about heaven. If you preach about forgiveness, that's easy to hear. It's wonderful to hear, and I love to speak about forgiveness. If you preach about grace, I love to preach about grace.

I love to do it every week. If you preach about comfort and sorrow, easy to hear, wonderful to hear. But then there are some truths that are hard to bear that would even be deemed offensive if your life isn't aligned biblically. Example, to preach on hell will offend people. Some people. It doesn't offend me.

I don't plan on going there. But it can be very offensive to some people. That there is a holy God who has a standard of righteousness. If you preach on false doctrine, false prophets, false believers, if you admonish people toward holiness, to some that can be offensive.

But you've got to understand something. Though there were some who were offended in what Jesus said in the text that we just read, this sermon is mild compared to other sermons Jesus Himself preached. Like the one He preached to the religious leaders, the Pharisees, in Matthew chapter 23, I won't give it all to you, but here's a snippet. Jesus said to them, woe unto you scribes, Pharisees, you hypocrites.

You travel over land and sea to win a single convert. And when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are. Ouch. That would be hard to hear if you're a religious leader. Or go back just a few weeks to the woman at the well of Samaria, when our Lord said to her, you've had five husbands and you aren't even married to the man you're living with now. But gee, that would be hard for her to hear, don't you think? I mean, she knows that.

Maybe she's trying to work her way through that and forget that past, and here's a guy who knows it and brings it up again, that'd be hard to hear. Here's another example, when Paul rebukes Peter at Antioch, now watch this, this is in Galatians chapter two, Paul says, when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him publicly, speaking strongly against what he was doing, for it was very wrong. That'd be hard, don't you think, for Peter to hear Paul, this young upstart, rebuke him publicly. I had a guy come up to me a few weeks ago, he said, you know, when I first came to hear you, I did not like you, because I didn't like what you said, because every message I heard from you, you're talking about being committed to Christ and totally surrendered and absolutely sold out, and I didn't like that, and I said, well good, at least you got the message. Now, to his own admission, he was not a committed believer at that point.

He sensed things differently. You know, plain truths aren't always easy to hear, but they're often the ones we need to hear, or at least be reminded of, and we'll continue to examine some of the plain truths Jesus shared about himself and what it meant for him to be the bread of life next time. For now, we're just about out of time, and if you'd like a copy of today's message, you can find it at

Each copy is just $4 plus shipping. Well, next time we'll continue to explore some plain truths about the bread of life, so I hope you can join us, right here in Connect with Skip Weekend Edition, a presentation of Connection Communications. Make a connection. Make a connection at the foot of the cross, and cast all burdens on his word. Make a connection at the foot of the cross. Make a connection, a connection, a connection. Connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-09 04:31:00 / 2023-04-09 04:41:55 / 11

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