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Summary: Is your spiritual appetite great enough to help you grow in Christ? Are you starving, or well fed?

Pat Summerall, the well-known sports announcer, overcame alcoholism and became a follower of Christ in his late sixties. After his conversion and baptism, he immersed himself in God’s word through prayer meetings and Bible studies: "It's like an alcoholic looking for a drink,” Summerall says. If he wants it bad enough, he can find it—no matter what. I'm like that when it comes to finding prayer services and Bible studies. No matter where I am working, I know that they're out there and I can find them."

Summerall knows that caring for one’s self spiritually is as important as caring for one’s self physically. The body uses food as fuel to provide power, strength, endurance and resistance to sickness. But food alone does not meet our needs; one also needs [2] oxygen, [3] exercise, [4] rest, [5] clean, healthy surroundings [6] loving care, and [7] periodic checkups.

Christians have similar needs. In order to enjoy good spiritual health, one needs nourishment and care. John tells us Jesus referred to himself as the “bread of life”; meaning that he alone could provide the care and nourishment the believer needs to grow. OYBT John 6.

I. INTRODUCTION:

A. After the feeding of the 5000, Jesus and his disciples cross the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum. In this passage (6:16-34) John tells of Jesus’ walking across the water to meet the disciples whom he had sent in the boat ahead of him.

B. When he arrives at the other side and while the miraculous feeding of the multitudes is fresh in everyone’s memory, Jesus declares himself to be the bread of life that came down from heaven. He says those who come to him will never hunger or thirst, meaning they will be forever fulfilled (in this life and the next).

C. This morning we consider seven truths of spiritual care and nourishment, the best prescription for anorexic Christians.

[Is your spiritual appetite great enough to help you grow in Christ? Are you starving or well fed?]

II. THE BREAD OF LIFE – A prescription for Anorexic Christians (6:35-51)

A. Daily Food: Study and Meditation

1. The first component of good health is good nourishment; without it the healthiest of people will die…it is a matter of time. Anorexic Christians lack sufficient nourishment.

2. According to the Barna Research Group, 37% of Americans surveyed read the Bible each week compared to 60% of those who classify themselves as “Christians”. The numbers increase to 85% for those who classify themselves as “Evangelical Christians”.

3. We come to know God better through daily study and meditation. God reveals himself to us in the scripture we’ve read, brings understanding to what we’ve read, and draws us nearer to Him his it to our lifestyle.

B. Oxygen: Time in Prayer

1. Prayer is the oxygen of the soul; It is also the primary communication link between God and us.

2. As we spend time in daily prayer, we communicate to God our praise, thanks and concerns for others and ourselves. This is important—it’s spiritual EXHALING.

3. Our time in study and meditation provides spiritual INHALING—try one without the other.

C. Exercise: Practicing Faith

1. Don’t confuse activity with accomplishment. Study, meditation and prayer has no effect in you apart from daily practice and application of the truths revealed to you.

2. What good is it to read, study and meditate if it doesn’t change how you live or what you think?

D. Rest: Rely on God

1. Rest can only come in our spiritual lives when we turn control over to God completely. When we fight for control we tire ourselves unnecessarily!

2. God wants to be in control, he often waits for you to get tired so that you will release it to him. He is capable of taking it from you—but chooses not to.

3. If the first three are in place, this is the next logical step.

E. Clean, Healthy Surroundings: Where do you spend your time?

1. Ask yourself, “Could I take Jesus everywhere I went this week? If not, why not?

2. The company we keep bears witness to our character. Choose your friends wisely; those who love Jesus, love you, and will seek God’s heart with you.

F. Loving Care: Profitable Fellowship

1. The primary source of spiritual nurture is Christ’s Church, yet many who identify as Christian have no affiliation with the Church? No worship, no counsel, no teaching, no doctrine, no discipline, no passion for the kingdom of God—how does one take his place in the Kingdom fellowship? What effect does it have in their lives?

2. It’s nearly impossible to mature in Christ without the support and prayers of others. The reason for this is that you learn how to help others through the help that you receive.

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