Bread of Life Sermon

Posted By 
Sun, 06/02/2019 - 12:30pm

“The Bread of Life” SERMON 06-02-19 at Harbor Church

John 6:22-40

(22)  On the next day, the crowd that was on the other side of the sea saw that other boats were not there (except one), and that Jesus had not entered with his disciples into the boat, but his disciples had departed alone.

(23)  Other boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks.

(24)  So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and came to Capernaum seeking Jesus.

(25)  And when they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, "Rabbi, when did you get here?"

(26)  Jesus replied to them and said, "Truly, truly I say to you, you seek me not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were satisfied!

(27)  Do not work for the food that perishes, but the food that remains to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For God the Father has set his seal on this one."

(28)  So they said to him, "What shall we do that we can accomplish the works of God?"

(29)  Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God: that you believe in the one whom that one sent."

(30)  So they said to him, "Then what sign will you perform, so that we can see it and believe you? What will you do?

(31)  Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, just as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'

(32)  Then Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly I say to you, Moses did not give you bread from heaven, but my Father is giving you the true bread from heaven!

(33)  For the bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."

(34)  So they said to him, "Sir, always give us this bread!"

(35)  Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. The one who comes to me will never be hungry, and the one who believes in me will never be thirsty again.

(36)  But I said to you that you have seen me and do not believe.

(37)  Everyone whom the Father gives to me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never throw out,

(38)  because I have come down from heaven not that I should do my will, but the will of the one who sent me.

(39)  Now this is the will of the one who sent me: that everyone whom he has given me, I would not lose any of them, but raise them up on the last day.

(40)  For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks at the Son and believes in him would have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."

What is the secret to happiness? Perhaps the better question is: What is The path to leading a long full and satisfying life?

 

In Japan, the secret to living a longer, happier and more fulfilled life can be summed up in one word: Ikigai.  [EYE-ki-Guy]

In Japanese, iki means "to live" and gai means "reason" — in other words, your reason to live.

In a 2009 TED talk called “How to Live to Be 100+,” award-winning journalist Dan Buettner explores the lifestyle traits of five places in the world where people live the longest. Of all these places, Buettner says  Okinawans have the highest life expectancy.

“In America, we divide our adult life into two categories: Our work life and our retirement life,” he says. “In Okinawa, there isn’t even a word for retirement. Instead there’s simply ‘ikigai,’ which essentially means ‘the reason for which you wake up in the morning.’”

Buettner cites the ikigai of several Okinawans: For a 101-year-old fisherman, it was catching fish for his family three times a week; for a 102-year-old woman, it was holding her tiny great-great-great-granddaughter (which she said was “like leaping into heaven”); for a 102-year-old karate master, it was teaching martial arts.

Each of these people discovered their own way to personal fulfillment and a long and full life. But the Japanese aren’t the only people who have figured this out.

Comedian George Burns, who lived to be 100, was once asked about his secret to a long life: He said I simply start my day with a hearty breakfast, get a little exercise, spend some time with stimulating female companions, and finish my day with a good cigar and a cordial. In response someone said to him: George, my fried did all that and he died at 60- what did he do wrong? Burns replied, “He didn’t do anything wrong, he just didn’t do it long enough”

The French have a term, it is the Raison D’etre. Lit. The Reason for being. You know there are craft beers and bakeries with the name Raison D’etre, but I’m pretty sure that you won’t discover the meaning of life in a new formula for brewing hops or while ingesting some delicious hot-cross buns. But the bakery idea, at least, has some merit, if only in a figurative sense. Our readings today hold the answer to full and meaningful life: For the God-seeker, it is coming to the Lord each day for our daily bread, the manna which comes down from heaven. For the follower of Jesus, it is coming to him as the Bread of Life. Let’s explore this for a moment and see if we can figure out just what this means for each of us.

In an article From CNBC in their HEALTH AND WELLNESS section we read:

Harvard professor says ‘winning a $20 million lottery won’t make you happier in life’—but these 4 things will

Published Fri, May 31 2019  11:26 AM EDTUpdated Fri, May 31 2019  2:15 PM EDT

Kyle Young, Contributor@KAYOUNG

What makes us happy in life? It seems like a straightforward question, but it’s one that we find ourselves asking every day.

There have been several possible answers as to where happiness comes from. One of the most debated concepts is that happiness comes from having more money. But Dr. Sanjiv Chopra, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, disagrees.

“Winning a $20 million lottery ticket won’t make you happier. Research has shown that after one year, lottery winners go back to their baseline. Some are even less happy, ” he said in a talk earlier this year.

In the talk, Chopra explains the four things that have been scientifically linked to happiness:

What I like about his conclusions is that they mirror deep Biblical truths, and can provide us with a framework for understanding concrete values that can move us on a daily basis, .toward the Bread of Life who alone can ultimately satisfy our long for meaning.

First and Foremost  are meaningful relationships with  Friends and family

Developing a close bond with people we trust and confide in is essential to our overall well-being. “Choose your friends wisely and celebrate everything small and good with them,” Chopra says.

Many others have stressed the importance of having deep and meaningful relationships. “The world is suffering from an epidemic of loneliness,” former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy wrote in a 2017 Harvard Business Review article. “If we cannot rebuild strong, authentic social connections, we will continue to splinter apart — in the workplace and in society.”1:25eepak Chopra: This is the best way

This same idea was promoted at recent NAMI conference held at the Island Free library. The Friday night speaker said that two things above all others contribute to health and wellness: They are Connection and Spirituality. the pursuit of deep and meaningful relationships, First with God, and then with others, we were told are the key component in a vitality and wholeness in the individual. When we take this idea beyond the psychological and temporal and into the realm of the metaphysical, we realize that life-giving connections with others cannot only be transcendental, but transformative as well. They bring us life, fulfillment, and meaning.

Second is Forgiveness

“The ability to forgive frees you from the burdens of hate and other unhealthy emotions that can negatively impact your happiness.

Nelson Mandela was a hero who truly mastered the art of forgiveness. In 1990, when the legendary freedom fighter emerged from his 27 years of prison, he was asked whether he had any resentment toward his captors.

“I have no bitterness, I have no resentment. Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies,” Mandela responded.

Anyone who’s ever felt they’ve been mistreated (most likely each and every one of us) knows that the act of forgiving can be challenging. But Karen Swartz, director of the Mood Disorders Clinic at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, says that healthy people “make a conscious decision to let go of negative feelings whether the person deserves it or not.

Isn’t this the essence of the Gospel message embodied in Jesus, the Bread of Life? That we have been forgiven, freely and completely be God for all our transgressions, That we have been set free from the guilt and shame that can poison our souls. AND That , having received this forgiveness as a gift, we must in turn, extend this same quality of forgiveness to others, lest bitterness poison our relationships with others? A commitment to this truth in practice draws us ever-nearer to the heart of God, and to the Bread of Life.

  1. Giving

Next, Chopra says that getting involved with charities and donating money to help others is one of the most fulfilling ways to spend your time and money. Researchers have suggested that people who volunteer experience greater happiness, higher self-esteem and a lower mortality rate.

A study from the University of Chicago and Northwestern University found that giving, rather than receiving, leads to long-term happiness. In one experiment, 96 participants were given $5 every day for five days — with the option to either spend it on themselves or on others.

“Everyone started off with similar levels of self-reported happiness,” the researchers wrote. “Those who spent money on themselves reported a steady decline in happiness over the five-day period. But happiness didn’t seem to fade for those who gave their money to someone else.”

The Bread of Life is a free bakery loaf for anyone who wants it. Jesus freely gave his life on the cross. The Holy Spirit freely gives us everything we need for life and godliness. When we freely give of ourselves for others, the offering of our time and treasures are a deep reflection of what God has done for us. It is a life-giving and a life-fulfilling practice.

  1. Gratitude

Lastly, “There’s a wonderful anonymous quote that goes, ‘If you don’t know the language of gratitude, you’ll never be on speaking terms with happiness,’”

Practicing gratitude can be as simple as saying “I’m grateful” at least once a day. In fact, one study from the American Psychological Association found that doing so can help people savor positive experiences, cope with stressful circumstances and strengthen relationships. “Taking time to think about what you’re grateful for makes you more aware of the positive things in your life. As a result, “it makes you less biased by the fewer negative things in your life.”

The scripture says ‘give thanks in all things, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus,”Before Jesus broke bread with his disciples, he gave thanks to God. The practice of gratitude leads to a positive outlook and approach to all of life. It was modelled for us by Jesus himself, and it is in the very spiritual dna with which we were made.

Movie City Slickers {1991}.  Billy Crystal, Jack Palance Three city slickers, three urban dwellers, who go away to a dude ranch to try to resolve their Mid-life crisis, to find renewal and purpose in their lives . So they go on a cattle drive with Jack Palance who is the old cow poke who takes them out on the range. Billy Crystal is Mitch, the man in mid-life crisis, and Jack Palance , curly the cowboy, are riding one day out alone.

Curly: You know, Cowboys are a dying breed, it still means something to me, though. There’s nothing like bringing in a herd.

Mitch: See now, that’s great, your life makes sense to you.

Curly: (laughs) You city slickers, you worry about a lot of stuff that just don’t matter. You all come up here about the same age, same problems. You spend about 50 weeks a year getting knots in your rope, and then you think two weeks up here will untie ‘em for ya. None of you get it…. (pauses)  Do you know what the secret of life is?

Mitch: No what?

Curly:  This (holds up pointer finger)

Mitch: Your finger?

Curly   Nope… One thing, just one thing… You stick to that any everything else don’t mean horse manure.

Mitch: That’s great, but what’s the one thing?

Curly:  That’s what you’ve gotta figure out.

What is your  ‘one thing’? your secret to a happy life.

What is your raison d’etre? Your reason for being.

What is Your Ikigai?  your  “one reason to wake up in the morning’?

The classic Greek Philosopher Socrates said:

Happiness flows not from physical or external conditions, such as bodily pleasures or wealth and power, but from living a life that’s right for your soul, your deepest good.

Our own Lord Jesus Christ said,

“I came so that they may have life, and have it to the fullest measure.” John 10:10

In a few moments, we will celebrate the Lord’s supper together; when we do, lets pause and reflect on this personal truth; that when we come to Jesus he not only fill our bodies but fulfill our souls. Then, let’s all explore ways to nurture and grow fullness in our lives each day, and may we all find meaning and purpose as we are fed spiritually by Jesus, the Bread of Life.