As we are being challenged to read and study the book of John, I wanted to share some of my personal sermon notes with you to help you understand the book. I preached through the entire book over the course of 1 year when I pastored First Baptist Church Del Rio. Enjoy!
Introduction—Did you know that your soul needs feeding? What does your soul require to eat? The Word of God of course, time with God, just you and Him alone, and regular church involvement as well. I say church involvement not just because I am your pastor, but because Jesus requires us to be engaged in a local church according to Hebrews 10:25 we are not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Feeding our souls is what we need and what we should want. We are to encourage each other as we meet each week.
If our physical bodies become hungry, we go and meet that need by eating or drinking something to replenish our strength.
So how do we know when our souls need replenishing? That is an easy question to answer. If you are asking this morning how do I know if my soul needs replenishing, I will answer it for you; it needs replenishing. You know it and others around you know it as well.
Let’s feed our souls with the Word of God.
Read, John 6:25-40
When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”
26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
30 So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”
35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
- Feeding your soul requires a daily feeding
- What happens when you miss a meal? For some of us we eat more at the following meal, since we have to make up for our lost calories, right?
- We would never think of not feeding ourselves when it is mealtime or when we are hungry or even when we just have a craving for something.
- If you want a satisfied soul, then feed it daily. Just like you feed your physical body, your soul needs to be fed too.
- 1 Tim 4:7-8—Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.
- Soul training is what I call that passage.
- They way you do that is simple: I said it at the beginning of this message. True soul food can come from only one source. To access that source there is only one way to do it. It requires your time.
- If you keep telling yourself that you don’t have time for God because your life is just way to busy, then it is time to make that change. It ain’t going to just happen on its own. I know many of you are believing for that miracle, but I have a newsflash for you today: It ain’t going to happen without you making it happen.
- You must decide for yourself today who you will serve. We all come to those crossroads in our lives.
- Joshua 24:15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
- Today, you have the same choice. To cave to the business of this world or to choose this day whom you will serve. As your leader, I can tell you with great enthusiasm that as for me and me family, we will serve the Lord.
- What about you and your family?
- In our text, Jesus says that His followers are more interested in their physical needs being met over their spiritual needs being met.
- He tells them in verse 26, you are here because you ate bread and had you fill, not because you are looking for me.
- Jesus goes on to say in verse 27, to work for food that gives eternal life. Now that would be what I would call soul food.
- If food for the soul that leads to eternal life is what we ought to be searching for, then why do we spend so much time, energy, and resources on food the is temporary? Jesus says its just going to spoil, or it wont last for long. Spoiled food is the worst, isn’t it. Usually it smells bad, looks bad, and if you made it to the eating part after knowing it smells and looks bad, it tastes bad.
- Jesus says our pursuit of earthly things is temporal, non-lasting, and unsatisfying. It is time to feed you soul this morning church!
Illustration—I spent several years as a youth pastor for a few churches. One thing I disliked, but I tried once in a while anyway, was youth events that used things like pizza parties, or battle of the burgers to entice youth to come so we could present the Gospel since we had them there. I always wondered if we told them to come and eat pizza, then they came, but we then told them they could have the pizza once we finished our Bible study. I often thought of this verse that Jesus tells His followers, you aren’t here to seek me, you are here for the food.
Application—Are you seeking after the things that satisfy the soul?
- Feeding your soul requires a fresh feeding
- Leftovers are pretty good sometimes, but there is something about a fresh home cooked meal
- Psalm 42:2—My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
- Psalm 84:2—My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
- Matthew 10:28—Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
- In our passage Jesus brings up the time when God fed the people manna. The manna was only good for a day during the week and on the weekend, God delivered manna that lasted 2 days so the people could keep the Sabbath holy. (The story is Exodus 16). God wanted His people to have fresh soul food that came straight from God. The reason He made it spoil was so they would have to seek God each day.
- We too should feed our souls with a fresh Word from God each day. We need it more today than ever before. Our faith is being challenged all over the world. If you aren’t daily feeding your soul a fresh word, the one you received yesterday is already spoiled!
- Churches love to think about how God moved in their church 20 years ago, or 10 years ago, or even just 5 years ago. God has moved on, we can’t keep camping out on the good old days.
- He has a fresh new powerful word today for you and for me.
- It is good to have milestones that we can look back and see the hand of God and what He did in a particular season, but God has something new for you this morning.
- If it has been years, since God has move in your life, your soul needs replenishing today. Don’t delay. Ask God to feed your soul!
- Feeding your soul requires work
- Work is required to accomplish so many things in this life. Life is hard.
- If you want to become all Jesus intended for you, then there is work to be done.
- Serving Jesus is hard work. You got to be committed. The benefits far outweigh the requirements.
- As a pastor, there is a running joke that we only work 1 day out of the week, which is Sunday. I tell people I work 2 days because we have Wednesday evening Bible studies also.
- Feeding our soul is a 7 day a week job. It doesn’t end Sunday at 12 noon. If this is your only feeding for the week, you must be starving. Your soul must be dry and thirsty.
Illustration—Pope Francis a year later: how does he do it?
On March 13, 2013, Argentinean Cardinal Mario Bergoglio was introduced to the world as the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church. Much has happened in a year.
Pope Francis’ work ethic has become legendary. His day is crowded with liturgies, meetings, and public appearances. His humility is striking: he schedules his own appearances, lives in guest quarters, and forgoes the trappings of his office.
His humor is remarkable as well. On St. Valentine’s Day last month, for instance, he presided over a service blessing 10,000 engaged couples from 40 countries. He said to them, “We all know there isn’t a perfect family, neither a perfect husband or a perfect wife. And let’s not talk about the perfect mother-in-law.” He was named TIMEMagazine’s “Person of the Year,” and became the first pontiff to make the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. It’s been quite a year.
What’s the secret to the pope’s stamina, humility, and humor? Consider his priorities. He begins the day at 4:45 AM with two hours of prayer. He makes time through the day to stop for prayer and Bible study. He finds in his personal communion with God the power he needs to serve his Lord.
I’d like to make a suggestion that we can learn from the Pope. The prophet Daniel was marked by this daily commitment: “he got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God” (Daniel 6:11). This three-fold prayer commitment has been common in Jewish culture from Daniel’s day to our day. Every day, faithful Jews stop for morning prayer, prayer at noon or early afternoon, and evening prayer. It is no surprise that the Holy Spirit fell at Pentecost during the time of morning prayer (Acts 2:15).
If we would experience the intimacy with God for which we were created-if we would change our culture as did the Pentecost Christians-don’t we need to meet with God as they did? I invite you to make time for God in the morning, at noon, and during the evening, every day for the next week. After that week, I believe you’ll be so blessed that you will want to continue this lifestyle. You don’t have to begin at 4:45 AM with two hours of prayer like Pope Francis does. But as your body needs food at least three times a day, your soul needs nourishment as well, and even more.
Application—Have you worked on feeding your soul lately?
Conclusion—Our souls require a lot of work, a daily feeding, a fresh feeding, and we have to work at it. God is ready and available for you today, wont you feed your soul? Jesus said I am the Bread of Life, if you come to Him you will never go hungry, and if you believe in him, you will never go thirsty, and Jesus said I will never drive you away. As you feed your soul, remember these promises of our King. He loves you so much. Trust Him with your life, with your mind, and with your soul!
Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,