JAMES  ADETORO MINISTRY        

"Keeping the Faith, Sharing the Faith and Praying for Harvests"


The Bread of Life

 

A group of Yoruba people wanted to take a secret oath of allegiance with one another. What would they do and how would they do it? They would gather together in the thin hours of the night, when everybody is asleep and the gods as well as the evil spirits are prowling the night. They would go to a place where three roads meet; they would have a calabash bowl placed at this junction and begin to cut their hands and let the blood drip into this calabash bowl. After all their blood have filled the bowl they would chant incantation to their god, dance in circles seven times and begin to drink their mixed blood in turn. This cultic ritual symbolizes their intimacy, oneness, togetherness, closeness, and faithfulness as well as unshaken allegiance to the cause they have chosen to carry out. What would you call this? Cannibalism. You are right.

JOHN 6: 52-58:  52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? 53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. 58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live forever. 

 The Jews, like all of us, have been indoctrinated in certain way that they found it very, very hard to be taught by Jesus Christ to the extent that they described the teaching of our Lord as cannibalistic.
 I am going to share with you why Jesus is telling us, without mincing words, that unless we "eat" his flesh and "drink" his blood we will not have everlasting life. In order words, if we want to have eternal life we must feed on Jesus Christ on a daily basis. Yes, we must be prepared to know him personally and intimately in order to have eternal life.

The Jews, like all "civilized people", are offended with the words of Jesus Christ. A friend of mine, a white American, entered my room as I was studying this passage. He asked: "James, what are you doing?" I said: "I am preparing to eat the flesh of Jesus Christ and drink His blood". He retorted, "You don't want to practice cannibalism here, do you?" and started laughing. I said I don't think so for my Bible says "....unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you (John 6:53)". He was taken aback. I said to him: you have been here, (in the Seminary) for the past two years and you never knew that you have been eating the flesh of Jesus Christ and drinking His blood in order for you to show others how to do the same? He just smiled at me and walked out of the room.

Bestiality, cannibalism, human sacrifice. These are the words that come to the mind of every "so-called" civilized people of the world when these verses are read to them. One can sympathize with the JEWS who took the words of Jesus very literally. To the Jews, drinking blood was very repulsive, distasteful, disgusting, offensive, and barbaric. The law of Moses forbade the drinking of the blood, and even the eating of meat with the blood still in it. In Genesis, they were told "... you shall not eat the flesh with its life, that is, its blood." (Gen.9:4). But if they had been very familiar with their Scripture, that is, if the Jews "eat" and "drink" their TORAH daily as they had been commanded, they would have recognized the symbolic statement of Jesus here.

It is clear, therefore, that when Jesus speaks about eating his flesh and drinking His blood He cannot have any reference to any physical eating or drinking. He must meant: `He who accepts, claims, and assimilates my vicarious (substituted) sacrifice as the only ground of His salvation, remains in Me and I in him'.

What is promised to the person who eats Jesus' flesh and drink His blood is eternal life and resurrection on the last day.

I say this to you in all sincerity, eating the flesh of the Son of Man and drinking His blood are a striking, metaphorical way of saying that the gift of God's real bread of life is appropriated or claimed or seized by faith. We must partake Him into our innermost being.

We are more familiar with this kind of "eating" metaphor than we may realize: we devour books, swallow stories, ruminate on ideas, chew over a matter, and even eat our own word.


These are the results of receiving Christ as our food and drink.
1. Eternal life (v. 54). Note 3 things here. 1. The word for “eat” here means to eat eagerly, to eat with pleasure.  It is the picture of hungering after Christ and eagerly wanting to feed and feast on him. 2. A person must continue to eat and to develop and grow into the habit of feasting upon Christ.  Christian growing day by day is the picture. 3. A genuine believer, a man or a woman who really receives Christ, is a person who partakes of Him continually.  Day by day that person will feast upon Christ. It is this person who has the promise of eternal life.  Eternal life includes three great things: (i.) Abundant and eternal life,  (ii.) The conquest of death, (iii.)  The resurrection Jn. 6:51 “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world”.

This food, Jesus Christ, is given to us for our salvation and eternal life. Jesus tells us in v.54, "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." Compare this verse with v. 40: .... everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."  Augustine understood the symbolic words of Jesus when he wrote: “believe and you have eaten.”   Remember Jesus told the thief on the cross, ".... today you will be with me in Paradise (Luke 23:43)." The thief on the cross "believed" that Jesus is the Lord of heaven and earth, and, as result, received salvation for his soul; thus he received eternal life at the last minutes of his earthly journey. He had no need of anything and even baptism to get to heaven; For believing he has "eaten" the real food and "drank" the real drink. Jesus says: " 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 real food and my blood is real drink." .

Jesus says to me, if I want to have eternal life, everlasting life, I must take Him into my innermost being. I must be completely yoked with Him. Not only that, Jesus is saying that His death is the only way to salvation, and that we accept He died for our sins when we come to Him in faith. That is the only and one way of salvation, for unless we receive Him in this way we "have no life" in us.

2. True satisfaction is the second result of receiving Christ. Jn. 6:55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.

(a.) The things of the world do not feed and fill men with a true satisfaction.  Worldly pleasures and satisfactions are false; and false satisfaction does not last, not permanently, not with full assurance and confidence and security. Worldly pleasures and satisfactions always leave men somewhat empty, dissatisfied, craving, void, unassured and wondering if this world is all there is - - wondering if there is not more to life than what this world and its possessions have to offer.

(b.) True satisfaction comes from receiving Christ into one’s life, and it comes only through Christ.  This is the Lord’s point in this verse, “For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.” Just as real life on the earth comes from eating food and drinking  water, so real and abundant life  comes from eating and drinking Christ. One must receive Christ in the closest and most intimate and nourishing sense in order to have true life, life that’s abundant and full of  assurance, love, patience, faith, strength, security, joy, gentleness, meekness, decisiveness,                                            confidence, peace, goodness, temperance, and courage.

          
3. The third result is supernatural companionship and fellowship, care and being looked after.  V.56 “ He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him." This is seen in the word “dwell.” It means to abide, continue, rest in or upon. It is being fixed and remaining there, continuing on and on.  Such is the state and condition and being of the person who receives Christ.  The person receives Christ into his being, and Christ enters the person’s life and abides within him.  The person is also taken and placed into Christ, that is, placed with all other believers into spiritual body of Christ.  The person abides in Christ even as Christ abides in him.  This, of course, means fellowship and companionship with Christ and the presence of His care and watchful eye in looking after us.

 Jn. 15:4-5   Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.   I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

  Jesus is the living bread. He is the Bread of life. The word became flesh and dwelt amongst us. Without Jesus, we will all die in our sins. I cannot do without Him; you cannot do without Him. I had tried to live my life without Him for upward of thirty years but I've found out the hardest way that without coming to Jesus I would perish. Jesus says: “Come unto me all ye that labour and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. . . Matt.11:28". St Augustine cried out in prayer: Our hearts are restless until they find rest in thee.

In order to have this food in our soul, we must come to Him, that is, we must accept His Great invitation. Jesus said: "whoever comes to me I will never drive away." We must approach Him for who He is. He is a promise-keeper: "He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty (v.37)."

4. The fourth result of receiving Christ is a life that is full of purpose and meaning.  This verse,  (v. 57), As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me, is dealing with purpose, meaning, and significance.

(i.) Jesus said, “I live by the Father.”  This means at least two things.

(a.) He live by the Father, that is, because of, on account of the Father.  His life (in         all its purpose, meaning, and significance) was due to the Father. (b.) He lived for the Father; that is, He lived to do the Father’s will. The Father “sent” Him to live in all on earth for a specific purpose.  His life in all its purpose, meaning, and significance was lived for the Father; to fulfil the Father’s will and task.

(ii.) The man who receives Christ (eaten him) lives by Christ.  He begins to live in all the purpose, meaning, and significance of life, for apart from Christ there is no life.  We must continue to partake, eat, and feast upon Christ to keep our sense of purpose and meaning, to really live and live abundantly.

Gal. 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.


5. The fifth result of receiving Christ is incorruptible food within our hearts, energising our lives forever.

We must have an unshaken faith in Him that He is what He says He is; Jesus reiterated what He has been telling the Jews all along: "This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your fathers ate and died. But one who eats this bread will live forever (v.58)."
This bread does what no other bread, including even the manna from heaven, has ever done or can ever do; it imparts and sustains life, and it banishes death. It imparts and sustains spiritual life; it banishes spiritual death.

 Conclusion

In conclusion I say to you that, to live a life void of emptiness we must receive and partake of the Bread of Life.  When we do that we receive five wonderful things;

(i.)               Eternal life—conquering death and being resurrected

(ii.)             True, not false satisfaction

(iii.)           Supernatural compassion and fellowship

(iv.)           A life full of purpose and meaning

(v.)             Incorruptible food received within the heart—energizing life forever.

The Invitation 

I now present to you that Bread of Life, Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.

As the choir begins to sing the song “Just As I am”, I am going to ask some of you to do something you have never done in your life. And this is going to take courage to do it.  Some of you have never opened your heart’s door to receive the free gift of eternal life, Jesus Christ, as your very own personal Saviour. You have a divine appointment with Him this very moment. You are not here by accident.  For you to have eternal life, the connection between Jesus Christ and you must be the closest possible kind; so close that the assimilation of food you eat is not too strong a metaphor to express it. Perhaps you sense God's Spirit knocking at the door of your heart right now!  But, quite honestly, you just don’t know what you would say if you were to respond and join me here at the front. You don’t have to worry about what to say. By your coming you will be saying, “Just as I am, without one plea, but by Your blood that was shed for me, O Lamb of God, I come” 

The writer of this song, “Just As I am.. .” was born 226 years ago (March 18th, 1789) in London, England to a wealthy family.  She was very beautiful and popular in London in those days with her poems and satirical cartons. At age 30 her carefree life ended. She was afflicted with a very incurable disease and became bedridden and chair-bound for the rest of her life. At age 33 a preacher witnessed to her and she became very angry. She told the minister that she would have nothing to do with religion. The minister apologised and left her. After about 3 weeks the Preacher happened to be where she was again. She told the preacher that she would love to be a Christian but does not know how to become one. The Preacher said to her, “just come as you are, a sinner, to the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”

Charlotte Elliot came to the Saviour at the age of 33. Just as she was. Fourteen years after her conversion she wrote this song, Just as I am. She was never healed from her disease. For 52 years she was bedridden and carried about to wherever she wanted to go. She never married and she never had any children. She devoted her life to writing poems and songs. By the time she died at age 82 she wrote 150 songs.

I urge you in the name of Jesus Christ to come just as you are. Do not reject this divine appointment with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Please listen to this story: I loved my mother more than anybody in life, even more than Jesus Christ. I drew an image of a goddess on my wardrobe in the dormitory in the high school and literally worshipped this image daily. My mother also loved me very dearly. She gave me education up to Master's degree. My father had four wives. It was the plan of my mother that I should have eight wives. You can see how loving my mother was. So she built a house for me to house these women. One day I went to my hometown and my mother was out of town. I came home one night and as I open the door to enter the house I stumbled into something inside the house before I put on the light. I received an excruciating pain from this incident. My mother was not in the house to put on the light. As I was writhing in pain while trying to sit down, the Spirit of my Risen Lord spoke to me that night that one day your mother would be gone forever as she did this night. Focus your life on me; Look up to me for I will always be with you. I will never leave nor forsake you. That night I realised the power of God. My focus shifted from adoring my mother to adoring Jesus Christ. That night I realised that God is the source of my life, and Him alone must I worship. Since that night I have been feeding on Jesus Christ on a daily basis. I don’t know where I would have been without Christ in my life.

Don’t feel ashamed that I am asking you to come and join me here. Please come and make a public pledge of your life to Jesus Christ. There is something about it that will help seal it in your life.  Our Lord never called anyone to follow Him that He did not do so publicly.  At the seaside He called the fishermen to follow Him in front of all their business associates and friends.  In Jericho He called Zacchaeus to follow Him in front of the huge crowd lining the street.  In fact, Jesus Christ said, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in Heaven” (Matt. 10:32).

 

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, I want You to come in and take over my life right now.  I am a sinner.  I have been trusting in myself and my own good works.  But now I place my trust in You.  I accept You as my own personal Saviour.  I believe You died for me.  I receive You as Lord and Master of my life.  Help me to turn from my sins and to follow You.  I accept the free gift of eternal life.  I am not worthy of it, but I thank You for it. In Your Holy Name I pray.  Amen.

O Lord, You have heard the prayer that this people have prayed. I ask that in this quiet moment, the Holy Spirit will grant unto them the assurance of life eternal; grant unto this people the certainty that their sins are forgiven.  In Jesus' name we pray.

 

 

 PREACHED IN NOVEMBER 2008