BREAD BELIEVERS, #545
JOH 6:26-27, "Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed."
Our text was the answer that the Lord Jesus gave to the question asked by the people who came over the sea to Capernaum seeking Jesus. They were seeking Jesus, but what for? The emphasis that our Saviour is teaching us in this text is that we can truly be seekers of the Lord Jesus Christ and yet seek Him to a wrong end, with a wrong motive, with a selfish spirit.
The question in itself "Rabbi, when camest thou hither?" (in verse 25) was not wrong, but a simple answer to such an immaterial question would not have led to any profit. The Lord Jesus could have answered them by merely telling them when He came. There was nothing wrong with their question except that it was immaterial. The Lord Jesus does not speak any idle words, and He wanted to speak what would be for their profit.
Our text reveals that Jesus was not only well acquainted with their motives, but He understood why they were seeking Him. They were not seeking Him to know and do His will, but they were seeking Him out of a selfish motive. He knew what they were hungering for. "Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled."
Why are we serving the Lord? Are we serving the Lord for something we can gain by it or is our motive to serve the Lord for His glory? Is our motive to serve the Lord to know and do His will for His honor and for His glory? "[B]ut because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled," they received something temporal. They were not seeking Him; they were not hungering after Him and His righteousness; they were hungering after the things of this life.
To all practical appearances, the people were ready to not only honor Him but to make Him king. JOH 6:14-15 says, "Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone."
Then you might ask the question, "Were they not seeking to honor and glorify Him?" Yes, but in a sensual way. They were feasting upon the things of this life. They were following Him not to serve Him for His glory; they wanted Him to be king because they saw in Him one who had a supernatural power to provide them with the necessities of this life.
Turn to the beginning of the chapter, JOH 6:2, "And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased." They saw that He could heal sick people, that He could improve the economy, that He could provide for them daily. They wanted to make Him king. They saw in Him an earthly kingdom. They saw in Him an earthly king. They did not understand the kingdom of God within their hearts. They did not understand that He came to be king upon the throne of the heart.
They were driven by human rationale. Jesus was directing the peoples attention to spiritual, rather than temporal blessings. Our text says, "Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you."
Jesus said, "Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles [that is, the signs or the spiritual significance of those signs], but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled," in other words, because you were finding satisfaction in your human endeavors. We can become a slave, we can become bondservants to the things of this life, and we can be so enslaved by our temporal needs that it destroys our spiritual hunger and thirst. "[B]ecause ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled." Our Saviour is the Word made flesh. They were not hungering after the "meat which endureth unto everlasting life." They were hungering for temporal things.
JOH 6:33, "For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world." Our Saviour was pointing out to them that they were hungering for the temporal bread, but not for "the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven." In other words: are you hungering and thirsting after Christ, after the blessed Son of God, after the One who came to do the will of the Father?
Our Saviours rebuke in our text, "Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled," is synonymous with what we read in DEU 8:3. The Lord is teaching us here the purpose of the struggles that He gives us in this life. "And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, [in a natural sense. He suffered them to become hungry] and fed thee with manna." What does the Lord Jesus say in JOH 6:33 and again in verse 35? "I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst."
What does He say in verse 32? "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven." He says that He caused us to hunger. He "suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna." The Lord did the same thing with the Prodigal Son: He suffered him to hunger naturally. The Prodigal Son had to come to the end of everything that he sought as the pleasures of this life.
When the Lord Jesus disciples were going across the sea, the winds were contrary. The Holy Spirit was striving with their flesh, and their flesh was striving with the Spirit. The Lord Jesus saw them "toiling in [their] rowing." (MAR 6:48) He saw them struggling in the things of this life. He saw them "toiling in rowing" in their own strength. However when they saw that it was Jesus walking on those waves, they learned that every trial they experienced in this life was sent by the good hand of God to show them that all their toils and all their struggles in their own strength are vain.
DEU 8:3 says, "He suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; [Why does He do this?] that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live." (DEU 8:3)
This is what the multitude mentioned in our text missed. They were still striving for temporal bread. They saw the miracle that Jesus did; they saw it as an abundant supply of things for this life, but what they never saw, what they never understood, was that Jesus purpose was to bring forth His gracious words to teach them the precious will of God. They were not coming together to know and hear the precious will of God; they were coming together for what they could gain, for the things of this life. "[M]an doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live." We have to learn to live by the Word of God.
This same statement, that "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" MAT 4:4. That statement
was our Saviours artillery, which He used to defeat the Devil when He was tempted of the Devil in the wilderness. Our Saviour was tempted under the identical circumstances that this multitude was being tempted. Jesus was forty days with nothing to eat, and old Satan, the tempter, came to Him and said, "If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread," MAT 4:3.
"But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God," MAT 4:4. He came to do the will of His Father.
Our Saviour was there to do the will of His Father. He wasnt there to satisfy His human needs. He trusted His Father to supply that. Here the tempter came to Him and said, "If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread." Do you see how crafty Satan was? He wanted our Saviour to sin against the Father: to prove that He was the Son of God by gratifying His fleshly desires. That was the temptation Satan set before our Saviour.
Our Lord Jesus Christ made bread by the power of His Word and fed a multitude of five thousand. What was the result? The bread for their body became their central theme. See what our Saviour says about temperal meat, "...not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth." We need to examine our own hearts: are we hungering for that "meat which endureth"? At another time when the Lord Jesus was weary, thirsty, and hungry how did He answer His disciples who had gone to buy bread? JOH 4:31-34 says "In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
Like this multitude, Jesus also knew what it was to be hungry. Think of His condescension: "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God [He was God!]: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men," PHI 2:6-7.
In our human nature He was weary; He became hungry; He became thirsty; He became tired. What was He striving for? What was He feeding upon? What was His meat? In our human nature Jesus not only became weary but He also hungered. He was brought to experience the very dependence upon the Father for food, which you and I experience. In all points He was tempted with the very temptation that this multitude fell into.
HEB 4:15, "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." Satan tempted Him with that same temptation to set His heart on the things of this life, to labor for the meat that perishes, to labor and toil and strive for the things that perish and die.
In His human nature Jesus learned obedience and humble dependence by the things that He suffered. He suffered hunger. He suffered toil. He suffered reproach. He suffered everything that you and I can suffer. HEB 5:8-9 says, "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him."
It was by the things that He suffered that He learned humble dependence and obedience. Satan tempted Jesus to seek His own will rather than His Fathers will, to seek the comforts of this life ahead of the will of the Father. MAT 4:3 says, "And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread."
He was and is God. He could have commanded the stones to be made bread, but He came to do the will of the Father. It was His Fathers will for His Son to endure the temptations of Satan, to be in all things tempted like you and I are, and to suffer those necessities in His body that you and I need to suffer. Thereby He can now so intimately relate to every trial we must endure.
The meat which Jesus craved was that which He spoke of when "his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat," JOH 4:31. He was weary. He came to the well and sat "thus on the well." He was weary. He was hungry. He was thirsty. He asked the woman of Samaria for a drink. JOH 4:31-34 says, "But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work."
Now do you understand what our Saviour is saying? He said, "[B]ut for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you." What is that meat? That meat is to do the will of our heavenly Father. Is that what we labor for? Is that what we hunger and thirst after: to do the will of our heavenly Father?
This multitude spoken of in those verses were seeking Jesus, but they did not understand why God had allowed them to hunger. They hungered because He caused them to hunger; He "suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna," DEU 8:3. Do you know what the problem was? Our blessed Saviour spoke such gracious words but they never fed upon the spiritual manna. Our blessed Saviour came to feed that multitude with His gracious words.
See what it means "to do the will of him that sent me," and what it is to have meat that does not perish. MAT 7:24-26, "Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock...And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand."
JOH 6:29 says, "Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." That is doing the work of God. What does it mean to do the work of God? JOH 6:28 says, "Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?" Believe on Him. What does it mean to believe on Him? It means to stand in holy awe and reverence of His Divine authority, of the gracious words that He has spoken, to hear and do what He has said, and to put what He said into action.
DEU 8:3 says, "And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live." When we are overcharged with the things of this life, then we must understand that our Saviour is telling us that we are hungering after the bread and the meat that perishes.
They clearly revealed that they did not understand the lesson about manna by what they said in JOH 6:31-32, "Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven."
In DEU 8:3 it says He "suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna." This multitude was not eating the manna. They were not feeding upon the gracious words that our Saviour spoke. They did not understand that it was building a house upon a rock if they would hear His gracious sayings and believe Him and do what He commanded them to do. Our text reveals that Jesus rebuked the multitude for not seeking Him for the spiritual nourishment in the gracious words that proceeded out of His mouth, instead of the temporal sustenance He provided for that occasion.
The gathering together was to hear the gracious words that He spoke. They were there for the occasion to hear and became hungry. He provided the necessities for the occasion. They were not now seeking Him for the gracious words that He spoke, but they were coming to get more bread. They were not feeding on the manna.
LUK 4:22, "And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. [But did they accept them? Did they feed upon them?] And they said, Is not this Josephs son?" They immediately began to criticize. They immediately began to ridicule Him. They saw His miracles and they followed Him for the benefits that they could gain. They wanted to be healed of their diseases; they wanted the gifts, but they never understood the manna: feeding upon that meat that does not perish.
Even though the multitudes followed Him to the place where the miracle of the five loaves fed the five thousand, it was not for His gracious words that they followed Him now. JOH 6:2 says, "And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased." They saw the temporal benefits that were gained and that is why they sought Jesus. We need to examine our hearts: Why do we seek Jesus? Why do we follow Jesus? Is it for what we can gain for ourselves or is it to glorify Him by seeking to do His will?
Our Saviour told the people who sought Him for literal bread, "Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you," JOH 6:27. Laboring for that "meat which endureth unto everlasting life," is striving and toiling (as Jesus said) "to do the will of him that sent me," JOH 4:34. Thats what Jesus says is the "meat to eat that ye know not of;" it is "to do the will of him that sent me."
MAT 6:31-33 says, "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
Do you see why the Lord does not want us to have the things of this life uppermost on our mind? Hes telling us here about the birds and how they labor not, yet theyre fed. Verse 32, "(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek)..." This is the uppermost thing on the Gentiles mind. Have you ever noticed after an election, it seems as if the peoples main concern is what theyre going to do about the deficit, and the economy, etc. How much do you read in the paper about what were going to do about our morals? What are we going to do about getting the Word of God to the world? No, the Gentiles seek after the things of this life.
Our first and highest priority must be to enter the kingdom and to walk in His service, that our meat is to do His will. The Lord will provide all these necessities of life, as much as He does for the birds, as much as He does for the animals. "[A]ll these things shall be added unto you."
When our Saviour was walking His exemplary life in this world, He was not preoccupied with whether the Father would keep His Word to Him. We are sometimes so overcharged with whether or not the Lord is going to fulfill His Word, is really going to provide, or whether the Lord is really going to give us this and this. Christ was not preoccupied with concern for what the Father would provide or whether the Father would keep His Word. He was preoccupied with what the will of the Father was for Him. You enter His kingdom and Hell provide everything else.
HEB 10:7 says of our Lord, "Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God." That was our Saviours meat which is what He came for. He came to do the Fathers will.
Have you thought of how Satan was tempting Christ at every turn with, "If thou be the Son of God..." then do this or that? Do something to prove that He is God. How much do we tempt God? How much are we tempting God by asking Him to prove with some sign or with some token or with something to prove that in fact He will do what He said Hes going to do?
That word work in verse JOH 6:28 comes from the same word in the Greek as the word Labour in JOH 6:26-27, "Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life. Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?" It is also the same Greek word, which was used in 1CO 16:10, "Now if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do."
He is serving the Lord, doing the will of God. That is what that word labour means in the original. This word labour in our text is an exhortation to examine our hearts to determine whom it is that we serve. This same Greek word is translated as work in MAT 7:23, "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." That word labour or that word work is talking about our walk of life: whom are we serving.
He says, "depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Do you know who they were that He was talking to? He was talking to the multitude that will say, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?" He was talking to the professing church.
It is important that we examine our heart: do we feed upon "that meat which endureth unto everlasting life"? What is that meat? See what our Saviour admonished the professing church! "[D]epart from me, ye that work iniquity." The meat that endures is to do the works of God. What are the works of God? Verse 29 says, "This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent": that you surrender unto the Kingship and authority that the Father gave unto His Son, that you believe the truthfulness of what He says. It is to trust Him and walk under His banner. You must serve Him.
Jesus exhortation is to examine our hearts for what it is that satisfies. We may find in our walk of life that the winds are contrary. We may find that things are not moving as we wish they would go. The Spirit is striving against the flesh and the flesh against the Spirit. Our blessed Redeemer sees when we are "toiling in rowing," and it is He thats walking upon the waves. It is He that brought this trial to prove the genuineness of our faith.
Suppose those winds ceased. Suppose that all of a sudden we gained the success that were looking for in this life. Where would we be? Would we understand what it says in JOH 6:21, "Then they willingly received him into the ship"? Would He then be at the helm of our ship, steering us into havens of rest? No, because we would be gratified by the things of this life.
JOH 6:27a says, "Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life." The Lord could give us our way; He could remove these winds that are so contrary, then He would not have to come into our ship, because we would be able to steer it so well ourselves. The Lord wants an unconditional surrender from our heart. He wants us to be able to give it all into His hands; He wants us to serve Him. He wants us to do the work of God, which is to believe on the Son of God. ROM 6:16 says, "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?"
If we are serving the things of this life, laboring and toiling and rowing and struggling, and we can see that the winds of the Spirit are contrary, and we keep serving the things of this life, then we are laboring for the meat that perishes. "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness," ROM 6:16-18.
When the Lord delivers us from the power and service of sin, we are no longer serving the things of this life. We become the servants of righteousness. That is what the Lord Jesus is talking about. He is saying that you are laboring for things that perish. Labor instead for the meat that endures for everlasting life.
How do we live by every gracious word that proceeds out of our blessed Saviours mouth? Do we make a note of every command and then discipline ourselves to obey under the letter of the law in a legal sense? No, the Lord wants our heart. The Lord wants our heart to hunger and thirst after Him. ROM 12:1-2 says, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
The Lord wants our heart and our mind to be transformed into His service so that it is our chief delight to know and do His will, "that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." When our hearts and our minds are transformed by the renewing of our mind, it is that we might know "what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." PRO 23:26 says, "My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways."
That blessed name, "Jesus," is every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God, by which you and I are to live. It would be wonderful if we had all eternity to explain that, but stop and analyze how the Lord Jesus Christ is the center of everything. If the Lord sends you and me a trial and we find ourselves in reproach, we can struggle with this (and reproach is very painful it grieves, it cuts the soul reproach can be very grievous). Then you know what it is then to feed upon that heavenly manna if we learn to fellowship in His suffering.
I know this by experience. It is when the Holy Spirit of God takes those precious things of Christ and reveals them unto us. Then, before the eye of our faith, we see the reproach He suffered for us. We start feeding upon that blessed manna. Now the hurt has gone. That Balm of Gilead now heals that wounded heart. It feeds the soul. We see the blessedness that there is in Christs perfect work and how He came to bear our reproach. The end result is that the pain is gone. Every illness, every condition, every sorrow is healed by that blessed name of Jesus. When we understand what it is to seek that meat that endures to everlasting life, then there is a cure for every disease in the blessed name of Jesus.
We live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God, because Jesus is the Word of God "and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...And the Word was made flesh." GAL 2:20 says, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live..." Do you understand a little of that? Do you understand what it is to suffer reproach and then to see that we live when we realize how Christ was reproached on our behalf? Do we understand what that is? "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me..." That is when Christ begins to live in you.
Whatever your trial may be, whatever your temptation may be, whatever your circumstances may be, our blessed Redeemer understands it so intimately well because He was there. When your friends misunderstand you and your friends persecute you, we have to look to Jesus, because He was there. He can so intimately relate to the conditions and the circumstances that you are in because He was there.
Verse 20 continues, "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." To "live by the faith of the Son of God," means that when our faiths eye looks unto Him and we see that by faith he endured such reproach. Then our reproach becomes so small that we are able to stand that reproach because we "live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
To "live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me," is to live by the admonition that we have in ROM 6:13. "Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God." He talks about yielding yourself. The Lord will never have any pleasure in you serving Him out of compulsion. He says, "yield yourselves unto God." That means to surrender; give your heart unto God; "Son, give me thy heart."
There is a big war between those called "Calvinists" and those called "Armenians" and it deals with this thing called the free will of man. Satan loves these wars that he can instigate between the churches about all these private interpretations of what the Word of God means. He loves it because contention is a damning sin. ROM 2:6-8 says "Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath."
"[Y]ield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness." God said with audible voice from heaven, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him," MAT 17:5. When Paul said, "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," he confessed that without regard for anything that he had done, God could only find pleasure in the life of Christ which dwelt within. Your best righteousness and your best works (if they are from the flesh) are nothing but filthy rags in the sight of God. There is only one way that you and I can serve God acceptably and that is: "the life which I now live...I live by the faith of the Son of God." It is Christ in you.
Our text says, "[T]hat meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you." How does He give it? He gives you His flesh and His blood by Christ being formed in you. Living by the Spirit of Christ is that manna.
COL 1:27 says, "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." The Lord Jesus is telling you and me that we must seek that meat which comes from above. It is only in Christ that you and I will ever serve God acceptably. It is only when Christ is formed in you as the hope of glory that the Father can look upon you and me, that we are walking by the faith of the Son of God, that is Christ in you that the Father can see.
Verses 27-29 continue, "which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily." "Labour not for the meat which perisheth." It is when Christ is in me; it is when the Holy Spirit instills that Spirit of Christ in my heart that I can serve Him acceptably from the heart, doing those things, which are pleasing unto God.
Our text says, "Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed," JOH 6:27. We need to rely upon the Son of Man giving unto us "that meat which endureth unto everlasting life," because it is only that blessed heavenly manna that is in us, that is Christ in you, that makes us able to serve Him.
This same Greek word, which was translated as Labour in our text is also translated as wrought in JOH 3:21, "But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God," in other words, that it is Christ in you that does these things. That is what makes it acceptable. That is what makes us able to come to the light. That is what makes us able to confess all of our deeds and all of our thoughts, that we see the wretchedness of our own heart. Then we are able to come before God in all our sins and miseries when we have Christ formed in us. "that they are wrought in God." Its Christ in you.
Jesus commended Mary for her labor of love, which she wrought upon Him in MAT 26:7-10, "There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me."
That word wrought is again the same word as Labour in our text. See the significance of that word Labour. She has "wrought a good work upon me" from her heart. She was at His feet weeping over her sin. She was washing His feet with tears and wiping them with the hairs of her head. Her heart was so forlorn and so grieving over the sins that she had committed against such love. Now she came and "hath wrought a good work." She brought forth that costly alabaster box of precious ointment and poured it on His head. She came there for one purpose: to do glory for His name, to do what would be for His honor.
This word Labour is synonymous with the phrase "do good" which is found in GAL 6:10, "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith." What are we striving for? Where are our ambitions centered? Is it to "do good unto all men, especially...the household of faith"? These are the works of God, which the multitude did not understand.
JOH 6:28-29 says, "Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." That word believe is also a word that is grievously misunderstood. To understand rightly what it means to believe, take what we find in Mark where it says, "And they that believe not shall be damned." Look that up in the original: believe not is "to be in rebellion" and to be rebelling against the authority or to stand in contempt of court. That is what it means to "believe not."
So what does it mean to "believe"? It means to be in unconditional surrender to His authority. It means to have our rebellion broken. It means to come into His service without reservation. He said, "This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." God is not a respecter of persons; there is only one limitation to obtaining salvation, and that is to believe. There is much controversy over this doctrine. There are people who will tell you that the atonement is limited, but the Scriptures do not teach this at all. The Scriptures teach that salvation is limited. Who is it limited to? Its limited to those who believe on the Son of God that they would not perish. "[T]hat whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life," JOH 3:16. That is the only limitation that there is found in Scripture.
Where do we find the sovereignty of God in this? Does that make a humanistic religion? No, there isnt one living soul that will believe unless by the washing of regeneration that God "worketh in you to will and to do of his good pleasure." (PHI 2:13) It is only those who were foreordained of God who believe. ACT 13:48 says, "And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed."
Do you know why that is? "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." ROM 8:7. That is where we see Gods sovereignty: in making us willing, giving us the grace to believe. On the Day of Judgment were not going to be able to come before the Lord and say, "The atonement was limited, therefore I couldnt be saved!" Theres no such thing.
Then the argument is, "Do you mean that some that Jesus suffered for are going to spend eternity in hell?" No, because every person who was foreordained will believe.
JOH 6:64-65 says, "But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father."
The Father will draw all those unto the Son whom He has given unto the Son. Thats where the sovereignty of God comes in conformity with the free will of man. But God will have no pleasure in any person serving Him out of compulsion. He makes them willing and we yield ourselves as servants. That is where God is well pleased in the work of His own hand.
To believe in the "NAME" of Jesus is to believe in that authority, which the Father has given His Son as the reward for His perfect obedience. We come in holy reverence for that Name of authority. ACT 10:34-35 says, "Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh [this is the same word in the Greek as the word Labour in our text] righteousness, is accepted with him."
Is there any person that has a right to come on the Day of Judgment and say, "But I wasnt elect. The atonement wasnt for me. Therefore, I was justified in living in sin"? Satan loves that kind of teaching. The only who will perish in the Day of Judgment, are those who work iniquity, those who work not righteousness. In every nation, without respect of persons, "he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him."
Where does Gods grace come in? ROM 8:6-8 says, "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." It is grace that makes us willing to serve Him.
Our text in its context says, "Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent," JOH 6:26-27.
This is how Jesus revealed their unbelief. This is what we need revealed: do we have faith or are we living in unbelief? They were seeking Him because they ate bread by the miracles which He did, and yet they said "What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?" JOH 6:30. Here they had crossed the sea, they had followed Him all this way because they had just seen that wonderful miracle, and when He told them to believe on Him they asked, "What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? What dost thou work?" They were following Him because of all the miracles they had seen of healing the sick. They were following Him because they had seen the miracle of the five loaves and the feeding of the five thousand. But see how He revealed their unbelief.
They had faith, but not saving faith. When we have saving faith we are not asking God to prove who He is. That is how Satan was tempting Christ in the wilderness. "If thou be the Son of God," then do this to prove it. They came to Him and asked, "What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe?" We dont need to ask God to prove that He is God, but we long to glorify His name by our labor of love. That is the fruit of saving faith.
MAT 5:16 says, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." That is the purpose of His creation. Amen.
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