Summary: Believing is not giving mental assent to certain facts about Jesus, it is feeding on Him and drinking Him in so that He becomes the satisfaction of our hearts.
Let’s open our Bibles to John chapter 6 this morning. As you’re opening your Bible I want to tell you about Andy Harris. Andy was one of a several people leading an expedition up Mt. Everest. When he reached the peak, he stayed there just admiring the amazing beauty. But he stayed there too long and on his descent, he became in dire need of oxygen. Andy radioed the base camp and told them about his predicament. He mentioned that he had come across a bunch of oxygen canisters left by other climbers but they were all empty. But the climbers who already passed the canisters on their own way down knew they were not empty, but full. But Andy maintained that they were empty. The climbers pleaded with Andy on the radio to use those canisters, but it was to no avail. Andy Harris was starved for oxygen but he continued to argue that the canisters were empty. The lack of oxygen had so disoriented his mind that though he was surrounded by the very oxygen he needed, he continued to complain that he didn’t have any. The very thing his body needed so badly was the very thing he held in his hand. And I want to say to you this morning that what oxygen is to the body, Jesus is to the heart and soul. Many in the church have Bibles in their hands and in their homes, and Jesus on their lips, but are suffocating and starving and don’t even know it. What oxygen is to the body, the Bread of Life is to the soul.
Having just miraculously fed the multitude (in verses 1-15), and miraculously walked on the water to come to the aid of the disciples (verses 16-22), Jesus now begins to teach the crowd of people (verses 23-71).
And while there are numerous things about Jesus’ teaching that I love, what I love the most is that He teaches the most important things.
And what is the most important thing? What is the main issue in life? It is how to be right with God, and how to live forever. You know, often children and young adults think a lot about what they are going to do for a living, who they are going to marry, where are they going to live? But there are more important issues in life that are very urgent, because life is fragile. The Persons lost a friend this week through a horrible accident, please pray for them and their families. Life can be short and being right with God and having eternal life are the most important things. And this is what Jesus teaches.
One example is in verse 27 where He says “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life which the Son of Man will give you.” His focus is on eternity. Look at verse 40: “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." Look at verse 47: “I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.” And finally verse 58: “This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever." Eternal life, everlasting life, living forever. These are the things that matter. Jesus focuses people on eternal life because this is the main thing, and it puts all the rest of life in perspective. And He says in verses 27 and 47 exactly how to get this eternal life. It’s through believing.
But what exactly does it mean to believe? I mean if our whole eternity depends upon whether or not we believe in Jesus, what does it really mean to believe in Jesus? You should know it is possible to believe in Jesus but not be saved. The Bible says the demons believe, yet they don’t have eternal life. Many Hindus believe in Jesus, yet they also believe in Brahma the Creator and his wife, Saraswati. They believe in Jesus and Vishnu, and his wife Lakshmi. Many people believe in Jesus, but not in a saving way. Not in a way that secures their eternal life. So what does it mean then, to believe in Jesus so as to be right with God and live forever?
Well in the passage that Jeremy read for us this morning, Jesus gives us three definitions of real believing. #1: Believing means feeding on and drinking in Jesus (verses 32-35), #2: Believing means coming to Jesus (verses 35-37), #3: Believing means looking to Jesus (verse 40). We will study these over the next few weeks, but I just want us to see the first one today: believing means feeding on and drinking in Jesus.