Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Seeking the Bread of God

Acts 2: 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

And a long lost portion of Scripture in this chapter was recently found. It reads:

48 And the believers went to Rome to borrow money for a wonderful building. And when it opened they invited the unbelieving Centurion to cut the ribbon.
49 The people elected a pastor and paid him handsomely. And after they had selected a handful of men and women for a praise team they handed out parchments around Jerusalem which invited people to come experience their wonderful worship experience.
50 The elders asked the people what they wanted in a gathering and then they gave it to them. The pastor become known for his rants against the Roman Emperor. After a while the believers realized the unbelievers who came were uninterested in prayer and so they replaced prayer with announcements and greeting time. But to their credit there were a few perfunctory prayers which were short and sounded amazingly like last week’s prayer. Everyone was happy indeed.
51 In a few short years the gatherings registered with Rome and nestled into the culture with no real difference to say nothing of any influence. In fact Rome invited their pastor to give the invocation for the next Caesar. The church became a political force with which to be reckoned.

Of course these verses are my own, but I hope we can see just how far the western church has strayed from the Biblical model. This is sad and tragic and I believe also has necessitates the Spirit’s withdrawal since there seems no appetite for repentance. And now the church no longer hungers for the Bread of God sent down from heaven. It seeks chills and thrills and entertainment and organization and politics and everything the world desires as well. Let me offer this:

Jn.6: 32 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.
33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.
35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

This is one of many portions of Scripture which reveal with clarity that Jesus confessed openly that He was God and was sent from Heaven. Of this there can be no argument. And that is why we must reject and confront all cults which teach otherwise. And be advised, this is no game of semantics. He who denies that Jesus was God in the flesh and was eternal is an antichrist. When it comes to this we are not to be timid or merciful. We are to stand for Christ and rebuke those who teach otherwise.

But the Roman Church has taken these wonderful and sacred truths and turned them into a self serving ceremony. This teaching from the lips of our Lord brings forth the life giving essence of Himself. He alone gives life and life eternal. But make no mistake He also gives life upon this earth. We who have been changed by His power know that we just do not just await heaven to experience his power and presence. No, we are continually being changed into His image and just knowing Him makes life in the here and now an experience of unspeakable value.

In the Jewish everyday life bread was the common sustenance which sustains life. But when Jesus called Himself the Bread of Life many who had followed Him with some interest turned away. And here is where the evil one has adopted a more effective and sophisticated method of deception. Instead of people walking away from Jesus they can retreat to a tepid and soothing presentation of Jesus that accommodates the flesh and endorses a lifestyle which cannot be reconciled with the teachings of Jesus. This phenomenon is sweeping the western version of what is called the “church”.

But actually the word “church” is translated “the called out ones” in the Greek. But we have taken the word Church and stripped it of it power and made it refer to a building or a place or a denomination. But if you are a part of God’s church you have been called out from among the world and you have been called to follow Him who makes all things new. It is no building. It is no denomination. It is no set of doctrines. The true church is the assembly of born again believers who have responded to the Spirit’s call and through the Spirit’s power of regeneration have been made new creatures who follow Jesus.

The Hebrew language employs many literary devices in order to drive home truths. Jesus told about plucking out your eye or cutting off your leg. But that is hyperbole used to make a serious point. And when Jesus speaks about eating His flesh and drinking His blood He is making a profound spiritual truth by the use of horrific and even offensive word pictures. In the end, the western church has rejected the Roman Church’s interpretation but they have created their own dull and impassive interpretation. One of the lessons to be learned here is that it is not enough to reject certain heresies if we create our own benign, inoffensive, and painless manifestations of the Word’s and teachings of Jesus.

The reality is that if the western church was actually confronted with the words of Jesus without cultural and manmade dilutions it would be offended just as were the people in John chapter six. The very fact that millions of church members can go back and forth every Sunday and not feel a tinge of conviction about the life they are living in direct disobedience to the teachings of Jesus openly reveals the self serving and powerless essence of that religious practice.

But here is a pertinent and penetrating question which should follow the verses in John chapter six. What does it mean to eat the Bread come down from heaven? How many church members have even considered such a question?

No comments: