For the Food Which Endures to Eternal Life
Reverend Dr. Philip Lee’s sermon from 2nd Lord’s Day Service on October 13, 2019
What kind of food are we seeking?
It is said in this world that food is great. If the food is good, people will go and travel great distances for it. People say that there is no medicine that can heal what food cannot heal. This means that if there is an illness that food cannot heal, then even medicine cannot heal it. This testifies how important good food is. According to the Bible, there are two types of food. First, the food that perishes and second, the food that endures to eternal life (John 6:27). Some people live for the food that perishes, and others live for the food that endures to eternal life. Today, do we live for the food which perishes or the food that endures to eternal life?
Those who work for the food that perishes
What is the food that perishes? First, according to our main scripture text, Jesus blessed the meal of five loaves and two fish, and the men who ate were five thousand, not counting women and children. After everyone ate, there were twelve baskets of food leftover. Thus, the food that perishes is like the actual loaves and fish that we eat. People live to eat. It is the reason they go out to earn money. All of the things in our lives and the things that we eat are the food that perishes. But furthermore, in the end, the worldly life that leads us to hell is the food that perishes.
Secondly, in the midst of those who work for the food that perishes, there are those who worked diligently for Jesus. In Bethesda, Jesus performed the miracle of five loaves and two fish, and the people wanted to make Him king, so He withdrew by Himself to the mountains. Jesus knew the heart of the people and withdrew from them. In Bethesda, the people could not find Him. His disciples boarded a boat to Capernaum, and it was there they found Him (John 6:24). They had diligence in finding Jesus but not for the food of eternal life, but for the food that perishes.
Thirdly, why did they seek Jesus out diligently? The people sought out Jesus diligently because through Jesus, they wanted Him to solve their physical needs and problems such as “what are we going to eat, drink and sleep?” They wanted Jesus to solve all of these problems. And also, through Jesus, they wanted liberation from Rome and independence. They believed if they could establish Jesus as King, they would become independent and free. This is the attitude they had and thus sought Jesus out. But Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled” (John 6:26). Thus, the reason why the people sought Jesus was not because they believed in Jesus to be saved or to go to heaven, but through Jesus, they wanted to fill up their worldly greed. And for this, Jesus rebuked them (John 6:26). The result for the people who work for the food that perishes is departure from Jesus (John 6:66). Today we must be able to receive Jesus’ praise, not His rebuke. Let us seek after the food that endures for eternal life and let us come to church and receive His praise.
Those who work for the food that endures to eternal life
The food that endures to eternal life is the Word of God, the Word of Jesus (John 6:27). Do not work for the food that perishes but work for the food that endures to eternal life. The Son of Man will give you this food. The food that Jesus gives you is the food that endures to eternal life. Thus, the Word that Jesus teaches. So, when the disciples departed and withdrew, Jesus asked, “Do you not want to go away also? (John 6:67). Peter confessed and said, “Lord, to whom shall we go, you have the Words of eternal life” (John 6:68). That is the food of eternal life. The one who eats this food will live forever. The food that causes one to live forever is the Word of God.
Secondly, receiving the Word of God is receiving His seal. When we receive Jesus’ Word, we are receiving the seal of Jesus (John 6:27). When we receive the Word of eternal life, we are receiving the seal of our Father. God the Father gave the seal to His son, and when Jesus gives us that Word, we are also receiving that seal and protection (John 3:33).
Thirdly, the one who receives the seal when the Lord comes again; they will stand on Mt. Zion with the name of the lamb and the Father written on foreheads (Rev 14:1). These who are sealed will be protected from all afflictions and tribulations (Rev 7:2-4; 14:4). If we have received God’s holy seal, then we must also proclaim that Word to the people of the world for they too must receive the seal of Jesus and the Father so that they can pass through the tribulations.
Conclusion: The one who has this food of eternal life will pass through the final tribulation. Those who do not have the seal of God will receive tribulations (Rev 9:4). We are sealed on our foreheads (Rev 7:3; 9:4). The forehead is at the very forefront of our heads and the forefront of all of our thoughts and consciousness. This is not talking about a literal sealing on our foreheads, but that all of our thoughts, consciousness and ideas are toward God. That is the seal of God. God commanded Ezekiel to proclaim the Word of God to the people, but because their foreheads were so thick, they were not able to receive the Word of God (Ezek 3:7). Therefore, our foreheads must be soft in order to receive the Word of God. God created the world through the Word; the Word that we cannot see made the world that we can see. If we hold onto this Word, no matter what tribulations may come, we will pass over them. So let us not work for the food that perishes but for the Word that endures toward eternal life and proclaim redemptive history to the entire world.