Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: We must ask ourselves, “What are my hungers? Where have I gone to satisfy them and where have those choices led me? " Thank goodness Jesus provides an alternative that is healthy for us both physically and spiritually.

A burglar was arrested and appeared before a judge. The judge found him guilty and before he sentenced the burglar, the judge asked him if he had anything to say in his defense. The burglar said, “Well, Your Honour, you know how it is. The more a man has, the more he wants”. The judge replied, “Is that so? Well, I tell you what I’m going to do. I’m going to sentence you to 15 years in jail. How many more would you like?”

The desire for more and more material things has often been used by human beings to fulfill their deepest desires, but unfortunately it leads to heartache and pain. One only has to look at the “stories” involving former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s resignation or the deaths of Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson or comedian John Belushi for evidence. Millions of people also practically worship the ground that Hollywood idols or rock stars walk on. These people get their joy from worshipping overpaid people who have gaping holes inside----holes that they often try to fill with worldly pleasures such as drugs, alcohol or sexual pleasures.

Another way people try to fill this gap is by being obsessed with food. For many people, food is no longer a simple pleasure and a means of nourishment. Instead, it is a source of confusion, guilt and conflict---just like the obsession some people have with drink or gambling. The moment of pleasure is an illusion.

We must ask ourselves, “What are my hungers? Where have I gone to satisfy them and where have those choices led me? When my life takes a turn that requires wise choices, strength and perseverance, will the stuff I use to fill the void in my life be the nourishment I need?” Thank goodness Jesus provides an alternative that is healthier for us both physically and spiritually. In John 6:35, he states that he is the bread of life, and he goes on in verse 44 to explain that no one can come to him unless God the Father draws him. Those who believe in him will have their spiritual hunger satisfied. This is the message that he tried to give in the story of the loaves and fish. Unfortunately, the people didn’t get it then, just like many of us don’t “get it” today.

The Jews didn’t get it because of their biases. They understood Jesus in a completely literal way, but Jesus was talking in a metaphorical way. They were so concerned with their literal interpretations of the laws of the Old Testament that they became set in their ways and either could not or would not change. In a way you can’t really blame them though. It’s only human nature to resist change, either actively or passively. We get so comfortable with the status quo, the way we’ve always done things, etc. that it becomes comfortable, like a well-worn pair of shoes. It just feels so good! We get comfortable! We like things just the way they are!!!!!! This new way of doing things makes us feel uncomfortable!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Jews also didn’t get it because of their prejudice against Jesus. When they heard his claim that he is the bread of life, their response was, “How can this be? Is he not Jesus, the son of a carpenter? How can he claim that he is the bread of life?” In other words, the Jews didn’t see Jesus as being a supreme being because of their prejudice against his family and his hometown. Nathaniel was a good example. When Philip told him in John 2:43-50 and Luke 4:16-30 that he found Jesus and that Jesus the Saviour was the son of Joseph from Nazareth, what was Nathaniel’s response? It was “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Today, that would be like one of us saying, “Can anything good come out of Port Mouton…….Milton…………or the west side of Liverpool”, for example.

The Jews also objected to Jesus’ claim that he was greater than Moses, and again it was because they saw Jesus as just a man, and not as the Son of God. Jesus knew that his claim would be difficult for people to accept, and therefore he said that if anyone did believe, it was proof that God had led him. The Jews saw Moses as being next to God, and everyone else was of lesser importance. The Jews’ pride kept them from believing in Jesus, just like our pride sometimes keeps us from believing in him. The Jews also believed that strict observance of the law would lead them closer to God, but Jesus tells them that this is not the case. God converts us from sin by enlightening our minds and inclining the will. He influences the soul by motives, just views of his law, love, commands, warnings, desires for happiness, applying truth to the mind, and by urging us to yield ourselves to Christ.

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