Summary: Christmas theme focused on feasting on more than the physical.
November 26, 2006
CHRISTMAS IS NO TIME TO DIET
I thought that song would be especially appropriate for today since most of us here have had to let out our belts from all the Thanksgiving eating this past week.
It’s certainly not the usual type of special music we have here, but the first time I heard it I though, THERE HAS TO BE A SERMON IN THAT SONG SOMEWHERE.
And, in fact, this serried of sermons I’ve prepared to preach over these 4 weeks leading up to Christmas will, I hope, be a fresh presentation of some TIMELESS TRUTHS TAKEN FROM THE LIFE OF THE SAVIOR WHOSE ADVENT WE CELEBRATE AT THIS TIME OF YEAR.
Now you might ask, “How do you get a message, how do you find a spiritual truth in the thought, ‘Christmas is no time to diet’?”
That is a rather fleshly or earthly thought isn’t it?
But if you think about it a little with me here now, I think we will see that: JESUS WAS MORE THAN CASUALLY INTERESTED IN FOOD AND IN EATING.
(Not so much His own, more often a concern for others, but His own as well.)
Think about it:
Before Jesus began His earthly ministry Jesus went into the wilderness to be tempted.
- After fasting for 40 days the scripture tells us that, “Jesus was hungry”.
- And the first temptation Satan threw His way was to satisfy that hunger by turning the stones to bread.” Luke ch. 4
As soon as Jesus did begin His ministry He began by calling His disciples.
- Who were the first called?
- Fishermen…men who provide a staple in the food pyramid of the day.
Luke 6 begins with the disciples being what?...HUNGRY
Picking up the heads of grain in their hands and rubbing their hands to eat the kernels. (Just happened to be on the Sabbath.)
- The Pharisees criticized and
- Jesus cited an instance in the life of King David, when his men were hungry. He told them to eat the consecrated bread which was unlawful, but as God’s anointed was acceptable.
Again, where did Jesus choose to perform His first miracle?
- The wedding feast in Cana of Galilee.
Then there’s always the instance where Jesus refers to the criticism of the Pharisees as they accuse Him of gluttony. Luke ch. 7
- The feeding of the 5,000
- The feeding of the 4,000
- Easting with Zacchaeus.
- Eating with Mary, Martha, Lazarus.
Hunger, food eating, so much a part of the ministry of Jesus. But let me turn your attention to a passage which frames all of this for us.
Matthew ch 4, vs. 4
This is Matthew’s account of that 1st temptation Satan throws at Jesus. Jesus being hungry is tempted to turn the stones into bread.
And here’s his answer: “IT IS WRITTEN: ‘MAN DOES NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT COMES FROM THE MOUTH OF GOD’.”
Jesus says: You can’t live on a bread alone diet.
Now I personally like bread....breads of many types, but I can’t imagine existing very long on bread alone as my diet.
- I tried that once many years ago as an intern missionary in Italy.
- We were on a limited budget so food was hard to come by, good food at least.
(But there was always an ample supply of Italian bread.)
- After eating so much bread for over 6 weeks, I began to have stomach trouble.
Let’s understand here, Jesus isn’t speaking about the damage caused physically by a “bread only” diet…He’s speaking about the negative impact such a diet would have on our spirits.
What is a diet anyway?
- In diets, you give up.
- You cease partaking in.
- You no longer indulge in certain foods.
You can simply reduce portions, but most the time there’s something that needs to be eliminated.
What Jesus is confronted with by the devil is the option to eliminate the spiritual and diet only on the carnal…the physical.
Jesus said, “nope, no way”. And he says it in this way for our benefit.
“MAN DOES NOT LIVE…..humanity….mankind: That includes us here today, folks.
We do not live (either the abundant life here or the eternal life there) by bread alone, but BY EVERY WORD THAT COMES FROM THE MOUTH OF GOD.
But, alas, friends, we all do a little too much dieting in that regard, don’t we?
Since the message is: Christmas is no time to diet, I want us to look at some specific words that came out of the mouth of God that first Christmas to see if we haven’t been guilty of dieting.
To do that let’s look at the very familiar words God spoke THROUGH THE ANGELS to THE SHEPHERDS found in Luke 2:10-11