Over the next few Sunday, I will be preaching to you a series of sermons titled – Do You Want To Go to Heaven? I certainly hope that all of us would answer yes to that question. There is a requirement for us to enter into heaven. We must eat of the bread of heaven.
Who or what comes to mind when you hear the words “bread of heaven”? Fred Hammond sang a song quite a few years ago titled Bread of Heaven. In it, Fred sings, “bread of heaven, sent down from glory.” It, honestly, is a beautiful song that you should listen too if you have never heard it before.
I had heard of the bread of heaven long before Fred came out with that song. As you know, I have been in the church all of my life and I have been a born again believe nearly as long. So, personally, I think of the only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ, when I hear bread of heaven. Today, I want to focus on the bread of heaven and what it means for us.
Labor for heaven
How we get to this topic in scripture is very interesting. Just prior to this lesson, Jesus fed thousands of people with a couple of pieces of fish and five loaves of bread (John 6:1-14). This group of people then chooses to follow Jesus over to Capernaum (John 6:24-25). It is believed that many of the people were following Jesus because of the miracles He would do. This is believed because people today say how they would have followed Jesus if they could have seen the miracles.
Jesus says, however, that they were following Him not because of the miracles but because they had just been fed food (John 6:26) – freely by the way. So Jesus has to teach them a very important lesson that we are going to take a look at today. This is a valuable lesson for us to know in order for us to get into heaven.
Jesus then said this:
27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”John 6:27 NKJV
They were not following Jesus for the right reason. They were following Jesus for an earthly reason – the food – instead of a spiritual reason. We should all be following Christ for what He can do for us spiritually and not for the money, the cars, the clothes, the big house on a hill with a white picket fence, or for the husband/wife of our dreams.
Nothing wrong with physical labor
There was nothing wrong with them getting their belly fed because we all got to eat, right? The fact of the matter is that they were fed solely because Jesus felt bad for them not having food after listening to Him speak. There was absolutely nothing wrong with them consuming the food that Jesus and the disciples had given to them. However, following Jesus over to Capernaum so that he can feed you that type of food again was a big problem. There is a major problem when you are not feeding your spirit and that’s what was being done here.
There are many people today who say they are followers of Christ but they follow for the wrong reasons. Many want to enrich themselves in worldly things through their faith in Christ, but they never seek to enrich themselves in the heavenly. So the question has to be asked: do you want to go to heaven and enjoy eternal life or are you simply happy with enriching and filling yourselves with temporary things?
Heavenly preaching and teaching missing
This type of teaching was confusing to the people of that day. It was not because the people were stupid and could not understand, but because the religious leaders were not teaching them of the spiritual. Proof of this is shown throughout the gospels where the scribes and Pharisees would challenge Jesus on things they should have known. One particular example that I want to take a quick look at is in Matthew 15.
Matthew 15 highlights how hung up the scribes and Pharisees were on the physical instead of the spiritual.
Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, 2 “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.”Matthew 15:1-2 NKJV
They came to Jesus asking why were the His disciples trespassing against tradition – not against the Law. You see, the elders had started a tradition of washing their hands before they ate. We wash our hands before we eat because our hands are literally dirty but this was more of a religious and symbolic gesture that the elders had made. In His rebuke, Jesus points out that the elders had trespassed against the Law because they had added to it (Matthew 15:3).
10 When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear and understand: 11 Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”Matthew 15:10-11 NKJV
Jesus was concerned about the spirit in this lesson.
17 Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.Matthew 15:17-18 NKJV
What were the scribes and Pharisees feeding the people spiritually?
Same thing happening in our society today?
I wonder if this same thing is happening in our society today. Has our faith become polluted by societal wants? Where we, the spiritual leaders, should be preaching and teaching about the kingdom of heaven, we now want to teach and preach a prosperity gospel. I am certain the people want to hear about how the Lord can make them rich but, honestly, that is not of the gospel.
We should also ask what are people being fed spiritually today. You see, if people are not eating the proper bread then their spirit is being defiled. The defiled spirit is not one that can enter into the kingdom of heaven! Do you want to go to heaven? If you want to go to heaven, I encourage you to eat of the bread of heaven.
Not the manna their fathers ate
This was confusing for the Jews to understand. The problem they had, I believe, was that they thought heaven was already promised to them. These Jews may have believed that there was nothing more to do than to simply live life. They were missing the fact that genuine faith was required as well. That is how religion works my friends – live life and do some tasks out of religion and you are rewarded. However, that is not how getting into heaven works!
Jesus says to them:
29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”John 6:29 NKJV
We must have genuine faith! They are being told to have faith in the One sent by God! This was confusing for two different reasons for the Jews. The first reason: they were not sure who God had sent to them. The second reason (going back to laboring for the food that does not perish): they were not sure what kind of food Jesus was talking to them about. We see them even say to Jesus (John 6:31), “God already gave our ancestors food to eat in the wilderness.”
Jesus says to these Jews:
32 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven.John 6:32 NKJV
Manna was certainly food that the Lord provided to the children of Israel but we must inspect what the manna did. Manna sustained the Israelites during the travels from Egypt in the wilderness. This manna, however, was something that was physical therefore it was replenishing physically, not spiritually. Manna was also provided daily so this means that the Israelites certainly hungered again. Lastly, those who ate manna were certainly eating something that was provided by the Lord, but it did not give them eternal life or make them fit for heaven.
33 For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”John 6:33 NKJV
I want to you notice that Jesus clearly states that the bread of God a person that comes from heaven. The bread of heaven gives life not to a select group of people but gives life to the world.
The bread of life
Jesus goes on to say:
35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.
Jesus now clearly says to them, “I am the bread of life.” In total, what Jesus has said is that He is a different type of bread that should you eat from, you will never starve again. They were not going to eat of Jesus physically so they would have to digest Him in another manner. In other words, instead of looking for physical food to eat, they needed to digest everything that Jesus was teaching them!
After digesting what Jesus would teach, they would then need to choose to follow in faith. The choice is still the same today: will you eat of this bread? You see, we cannot live off of what our grandparents and parents choose to do in their faith. We all have to make the decision to labor for the bread that will bring out about eternal life!
Do you want to go to heaven and enjoy the eternal life promised by Christ? In order for us to get there, we must start with
This is the first step we must take if we want to enter into the kingdom of Heaven.