About a week ago, week and a half ago, we were there in San Francisco, and we wanted to do something for the community and we didn't have anything else scheduled for Sunday so we joined a local church, and we joined a group who were going to distribute food to homeless people down in downtown San Francisco. And so we gathered at the church and made up all kinds of sandwiches out of good wholesome bread and good ingredients. Fresh tomatoes and different things and got them all ready and packed up all these bags and then we went out and we drove clear down into the portions of San Francisco where there were lots of homeless people.
And we found hundreds of these people. A lot of them live in cardboard boxes or little shelters or alcoves of a store but a lot of them live in cars and all their possessions are right there in that car. And that's all they own. Now some of them were executives. They lost their job. Their company was moved to India or China, and so then because they couldn't make the house payments they lost their house and here they were living in the car. No money, no job, and so we would knock on the window of the car and they'd roll down the window. “Are you hungry?” “I'm starved.” So we gave them food and we saw lots of homeless people and we distributed two truckloads of food, and that was just an awesome experience, and I stood there thinking after the food was gone. “Had we really made a difference?” I don't think so. I got this strange feeling that all I had done is feed them for one meal, and they would be hungry again at supper time, and what had we really accomplished? Maybe we should have trained them on how to get food or, I don't know. Our literature was all gone. The food was all gone and I stood there and I thought, “You know, I really didn't help anybody.” All that I had done was temporary. Their hunger would soon be back.
And I wonder if Jesus felt that way. Remember Jesus fed the 5 thousand, and they were probably hungry again in a few hours. It was just temporary, what He had done. The Jews ate His bread, but they didn't really fully believe in Him. They were hungry the next day, and manna sustained the children of Israel for how many years? 40 years, they ate manna. They had baked manna, boiled manna, fried manna, pickled manna, dried manna, manna soup, manna casserole, manna cookies and pineapple upside down manna. But what good did all that do? They all, eventually, died. God's manna did help, but it was just temporary.
And today in our Communion service we have three symbols of Jesus. Three ingredients here. On our table here today there are how many ingredients? There are two. The bread and the cup. The wine. The grape juice. And then we have a third ingredient that is going to contact you today, and impact you, and that is water. All three of these are symbols of Jesus and they are the water, the wheat and the wine, and we are going to make contact with these three ingredients in two areas of our body. One would be your feet, and the other would be your mouth. In other words, you will be impacted from head to toe, and that's the way Jesus wants to impact every one of us is from head to toe. Totally. That's what baptism is. Total immersion. That's what this Communion service is. Head to toe.
Now let's examine the middle of the sandwich of water, wheat and wine. Let's examine the bread. So come over here in the book of John in the New Testament. John, chapter 6, and I would look for us to look at verse 35. Now if you were dying and somebody said, “You know, in two hours you're going to be dead.” And you think, “I want to spend the last two hours reading the Bible, I guess.” What would you read? If I had a red letter Bible I would read the words of Jesus. I think that's what I would do. If I didn't I think I would read the Gospel of John. But look here, these letters, probably are red in your Bible. Verse 35, Jesus said, “I am the” what? “The Bread of” what? “The Bread of Life, and he who comes to Me will never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”
He said, “I am the Bread of Life.” Now we don't really believe that we are going to partake of His body today, do we? That's called trans-substantiation. The Roman Catholics believe in that. They believe that when they're partaking in the Communion service they are actually eating a chunk of the body, the actual body, of Jesus Christ. The Lutherans don't believe in that. The Lutherans believe in trans-substantiation that as soon as you swallow it and it hits your stomach, then[snap] it becomes a part of the body of Christ. Seventh-day Adventists believe it's a symbol of the body of Christ.
Now, I think we misinterpret verse 35 where Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life and whoever comes to Me will never hunger.” I think we misinterpret that. We say that once you eat of the Bread of Life you will never again be hungry, and that's not true, because I hunger for more of Jesus everyday, don't you? I think what it means is that once you taste Jesus, you will never hunger for anything else. That Jesus will be the primary hunger of your life. The primary thirst of your life. The old appetites will be quelled and you will crave more and more of Jesus.
Now let me illustrate what I mean by this. Let's suppose that I was raised eating boiled okra. Praise God I wasn't! My! But let's suppose that I was raised eating that wretched stuff. And then one day, one wonderful day, I see for the very first time in my life, a moist, freshly baked chocolate cake, and somebody has a knife in their hand and they're cutting that cake and they take a clean plate and they put on there a nice sized slab of that cake, onto my plate. And they hand me a pretty clean fork, and that thing is just out of the oven and I take that fork and I cut through that moist, warm slice of chocolate cake, and I put it up to my mouth and I eat it. Let me tell you right there, at that moment[snap], my tastes have forever been altered.
Once you really taste Jesus Christ the desires for the old slimy stuff of the former life die away. And every day you're going to want more of the new taste, the new Jesus into your life. Those old things aren't as tasty anymore. You have discovered something great. You have discovered Jesus.
Jesus tells us how often we should eat of this Bread. He says, “I am the Bread of Life.” How often should you do this? Once a quarter, here at church? What do you think? The Communion service, once a quarter. “I am the Bread of Life.” Well He tells us here in Matthew, chapter 6, in verse 11, you can read this, you are very familiar with these words. It's actually in the Lord's prayer. He says, “Give us this day our” what kind of bread? “Our daily bread.” Every day you're supposed to eat chocolate ca-- well, you're supposed to eat of Jesus, the Bread of Life. The Bread of Life. He’s fresh out of the oven. He's fresh every day. As often as you can you're going to desire to taste Jesus.
I read a quotation from Patriarchs and Prophets, page 596. Sister White says, “It is a law of the mind.” Now listen to this. “It is a law of the mind that it gradually adapts itself to the subjects upon which it is trained to dwell.” Did you know that? You train yourself to watch these midday afternoon TV soap operas and you will be hungry for that type of stuff. You train yourself to feed on the word of God and you will develop a hunger for spiritual things. That's what it's all about. “Give us this day our daily bread.” Look forward to that bread. Look forward to the Communion service. Look forward to Jesus. Keep feeding on the Bread of Life. Do it every day. Jesus is the wholesome, fresh, Bread of Life. He is the staff of life.
Look at verse 51 in John 6. He says here, “I am the Living Bread.” Imagine having a loaf of bread that's alive. “I am the living bread that came down from heaven, and if a man eats of this bread, he will” do what? “He will live,” how long? He’ll live forever. Don't you wish you had some of that bread? You can, because the bread is Jesus, and you can partake of Jesus Christ and you can live forever. You will live forever, if you do that.
The tree of life. How far is the tree of life from Collegedale? It's probably 5 thousand trillion zillion light-years away. It's a long way from here, so you say, “Well, I can’t even get a taste of the tree of life,” but you can eat of Jesus, the Bread of Life. You can do that, and you can do it every day. He says He is the daily Bread. So I urge you every day to take one of these leaves of the tree of life, to eat of this Bread of Life, to immerse yourself in the Bread of Life, to make sure that Jesus Christ is the Lord of your life and develop a taste for Him.
I would like for you to consider these two symbols of Jesus Christ, and I would like for you to consider first of all the bread. Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life.” Now you don't need the Bread of Life to pay for your sins. You are fully capable of paying for your own sins, if you give your body to be broken. And you could pay for your sins, but there would be nothing left, because the wages of sin is death and you could give that, but then you wouldn't have anything left. But there's no need to pay for your own sins, because Jesus has paid for them free. I would rather be covered with His robe than covered with my robe. My robe won't give me eternal life. His will. So considering the bread Jesus said, “Take eat, this is my body.”
Then considering the cup. The Bible says without the shedding of blood there is no what? No remission of sins. Could you pay for your own sins with your blood? I suppose you could. Some people choose to do that. But they don't have eternal life. How much better to choose Jesus’ blood. Only Jesus’ blood can give us eternal life. Ours never can. So I want Him to pay for my sins and give me eternal life, which only He can do, and this cup is a symbol of the blood of Jesus Christ and Jesus said, "Drink ye all of it."
The Bible says they sung a hymn, and they went out to the Mount of Olives. A mountaintop experience. After you know Jesus has paid for your sins with His body and His blood, anything from here is a mountaintop experience.
There have been a number of people in our church that have lost their jobs. They can't sell their house, and they’re in a bad condition, so the deacons will be at the doors as you go out and if you can and if you want to, you can drop something in the offering plate to help those people.
Let’s sing our closing hymn now.
Hymn of Praise: #230 All Glory, Laud, and Honor Scripture: Luke 22:19,20 Hymn of Response: #407 Sent Forth by God's Blessing
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McDonald Road Sermon transcribed by Steve Foster 10/10/08