United Presbyterian Church  2360 Longwood Ave., Reedsport, OR 97467  (541) 271-3214
Sunday Service: 10:30: Choir Warm-up 10:15 • Thursday Study Group: 5:30 - 6:30 (Starts in fall)
Office and Pastor's Hours: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 8:30-4:00 Saturdays: 9:00-12:00.
 
Making a Difference and Changing Lives Since 1919    


Last updated: 08/09/2018
Pastor Buck during Joys and Concerns

Sermon based on the Gospel of   

John 6:24-35

24. So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus. 25. When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26. Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.” 28. Then they said to him, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” 29. Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” 30. So they said to him, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? 31. Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ “ 32. Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33. For the bread of God is that he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34. They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” 35. Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

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Sermon for Sunday, Augus 5, 2018       

 

Some scholars have tried to diminish the miracle feeding of 5,000+ by saying that when the people saw the young boy share, they, too, began sharing and there was enough.  Let’s not take away from what the Bible says.  Because of the fact that they wanted to make Him king is the proof he did something mighty spectacular on that day. 

The fact is that many people suffered from hunger in the days of Jesus.  Those people knew and understood hunger. Then suddenly there was a man who miraculously fed them.  No wonder they wanted to make Him a king.  But, they’ve missed the metaphysical and spiritual reality behind what Jesus said and did because their minds were earth-locked.

People like Jesus, John, Elisha, Elijah always drew large crowds. In those days, like today, people sought diversion, but there was no entertainment, no TVs, no radios, not even any books.  Jewish life consisted of: Work, gossip and synagogue. So, when someone like the prophets came along, they attracted large crowds if for no other reason than for the diversion; the entertainment.  They gave a break to the routine of everyday life.  So, mobs followed them everywhere they went—even if they didn’t like what they heard.

In those days there were many itinerant preachers promising a better life. John the Baptist wasn’t the first, nor was Jesus the last. But, in the case of Jesus, they got more than just entertainment, for He caused genuine excitement.  Excitement that they did not want to end.

They managed to understand the physical reality of Jesus, that He was a…

Great physician (healer), (2), a great caterer, (3) a great walker—on water even.

…but they missed that He could do this because He represented the reality behind everything that is...just as we would have.

Even today we often miss that everything that exists, exists because of God.  God is part and parcel of everything. He is in the seed, the tree, the rock, the sand, the dirt, everything.  If He’s not in it, it doesn’t exist. If God withdrew from planet earth right now, we would cease to be.

But here’s the thing.  Everything that exists, is what it is. It cannot, by itself, change.  As Gertrude Stein said, A rose is a rose is a rose. God as its creator—it can’t help it, it has no choice. It cannot aspire to become a dandelion.  A wolf is a wolf. It does wolf things; it cannot help itself. It is what it is because that is the way it was created and fulfills its purpose.

Like the wolf, like the rose, you and I were created for a purpose. The difference is that you and I have the option of changing our destinies.  Of all the things and animals on the planet, we are the only ones with the totally awesome gift of free will.

We alone have the option of changing our destinies. We do that by desiring the higher existence; an existence that can only be attained by those who care.  Only those with caring, loving dispositions can exist beyond their earth-bound life.

God is in us, but we have to bring Him to the forefront of our lives. We must actualize Him in our lives…and that is done by desiring Him to be active in us.

The Dead Sea scrolls were discover at Nag Hammadi in Egypt during the 1940s.  Part of that discovery was a parchment known as the Book of Thomas. It is primarily a compilation of the sayings of Jesus.  In it is the following, supposedly spoken by Jesus: “If you bring forth what is within you, it will save you.  If you do not bring forth what is within you, it will destroy you.”

The same thing is in us that is in the Rose.  A month or so back we read where Jesus said, 4Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 5I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.

What we’re supposed to being forth is the God aspect within us—God’s love, God’s caring, God’s compassion. Jesus, second person in the Trinity, abides in those who abide in him.  Unlike trees, unlike roses, unlike wolves, we have a choice.  As the scripture said this morning, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

Jesus is the metaphysical & spiritual reality behind all that exists. He is the ...the bread of Life.  Whosoever believes in (Him) shall never hunger nor thirst.

Like so many of us today, that group following Jesus didn’t understand the spiritual reality behind the material world.  Today we still don’t grasp that Jesus is the reality behind all that is.

Oh, if the world could only grasp the significance of Jesus and how simple it is:  “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent,” for He is the bread of life and all who believe in Him shall never hunger nor thirst again.”

This morning we read where the crowds went looking for Jesus because of all the deeds He had done. Then on finding Him, they asked, What sign are you going to give us so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing?”

Makes you want to slap them; wake them out of their daze.  They just ate, how short are their memories? Here’s the thing...food nourishes; food sustains life. But no matter how healthy the food and how well you eat, in time you will grow old and slip into that coma from which there is no return. But that doesn’t need to be the end!

God’s gift to those who are willing to work for the Food that Jesus brings is that life goes on, unabated, but in a different form  and on a much larger scale.

Lately I’ve become morbidly fascinated by YouTube car-cam videos of car crashes. When you watch something like that over and over it makes you paranoid...you can see just how quickly it can all end. One thing’s for sure, when we get up in the morning we never know whether we’ll see the sun go down that night, or not. That’s why Jesus warned, 27. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.”

But you must believe to receive.

And the Good News?

God will meet us wherever we are and on whatever level that will help us to believe.