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Redemption and The Work of our Hands (Vol 21) - Working for the Kingdom of God.

Sunday English Service - 08 APR 18

Transcript

Please turn with me to the gospel of John chapter 6. I’ve been teaching about work, first we talked about how God designed man in such a way that he must work. Work is built into man, part of his nature. He’s made like God, therefore he must work. We showed you why God designed man for work. So that he may use the talents and abilities that God has given him and produce excellent stuff, the things that God wants him to produce. And by it bring glory to God, so that people may see the glory of God through that and God’s plans and purposes may be fulfilled for this world through that. That is why work was given. We saw how sin came in and ruined this work that was supposed to bring such satisfaction and joy and fulfilment, a sense of fulfillment. It was all ruined, and work became a very difficult thing, it became a toil. And we looked at how sin affected us, affected the whole area of work, this whole aspect of work. And then we began to talk about how redemption in and through Jesus Christ deals with our sin and the curse that came upon mankind. And one of the curses that came upon mankind was that work was cursed. The work of their hands was cursed, and how that the cross of Calvary has dealt with it and has made a difference in it, so that when we work today as redeemed people, what kind of changes can we see in attitude and in practice as people work. That’s what we’re talking about right now. We went to the Old Testament and the New Testament to show that, how the redeemed people work. In the Old Testament, even the people of God, the people of Israel were redeemed people in a way. So even through them it is demonstrated, and the New Testament certainly after Jesus came, we can see it in the church in practice and so on.

I want to go to John’s gospel chapter 6. I want to take a passage from what Jesus said and show you what work means under redemption. John chapter 6, let me read to you verse 27, the first part. Do not labour for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life. I want to stop there. Do not labour for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life. Now, we’ve heard or seen many sayings about work. I see sayings put up in places where people have put it up as “Work is Worship”, “Work is Divine”, or God or something like that. I saw on one place it said, “Labour is life” Now, labour is life means that without labour, there cannot be a life. That’s what they mean. We work, we labour because it is through work we provide food, we provide a house, we provide clothes, we provide education, we provide everything that our family needs and so on. So without work, there cannot be life. That is what that saying means. In some way it is true, but when you read the words of Jesus here in verse 27. Here He says, Do not labour for the food which perishes. Do not labour for the food that perishes. He’s not only talking about food or anything that perishes, anything that is of temporal value. But only labour for the food which endures to everlasting life. Only keep in mind, or look beyond, as you work, look beyond that which is temporal to the things that are of eternal value and work only for those things. Don’t be just working for temporal things, but work for things which have eternal value, that’s another way that you can put this verse, keep that in mind. Do not work for things that have only temporal value, work for things that have eternal value or that are of eternal value.

Now, this seems like a statement that is exactly contrary to the saying that some people have put up saying, “Labour is Life” that labour is everything, that without labour you cannot have a life. You can’t provide food and other things that we need. So basically, you work to provide that and that’s what life is all about. But the Bible says no, don’t work for the things that are temporal life food, house, car, whatever, you know, temporal things. But work for things that have eternal value. It seems like it is contradicting this idea. And it is not an ordinary contradiction because you and I know that in order to provide food, we’ve got to work. In order to pay our rent, we’ve got to work. Anybody in the world, anybody with any sense, they’ll say, “Yeah, I’ve got to work to provide. And without work you cannot provide anything. So how can you say, “Don’t work for things that are of temporal value, and work only for those things that are of eternal value. We are working for things that are of temporal value, to provide things like food that perishes today.” You eat this afternoon, again you’re hungry tonight, where did the food go? It perishes. It went into your body and disappeared somewhere. Once again you are hungry, you see, food that perishes. And there are so many things that perish today in this world. And it’s a very clear thing that we work basically for this temporal stuff in this world, so how can the Bible say do not work for things that have only temporal value, but only work for things that are eternal?

Now, whenever you see a real problematic verse like this, this seems like unreasonable. It seems like it’s against human logic. It seems like the “labour is life” is a decent statement, you’ve got to work to provide. You’ve got to work to pay your rent. You’ve got to work to meet every need. How come the Bible is saying don’t work for temporal needs? Whenever you find a statement like that from the Bible, please remember, you need to dig in and look at it because there is a truth there. A life transforming truth there that is hidden in it. It is not contradicting anything, it is not a problem at all. There is something for us to understand, dig out and understand and benefit from, that’s the way I look at the scriptures. Many statements like this are there in the scriptures, and I believe that this is one such statement. So we’re going to look at it. What does it mean to say, do not labour for things that have only temporal value, but labour only for the things that have eternal value. This is what Jesus is saying, what should I work for? Don’t work for food, don’t work for anything else, but work for only those things that have eternal value. What did He mean by that?

Now, in order to understand this passage, you need to understand the context of this passage. The context is that Jesus just got through feeding 5,000 people, they say maybe 15,000 to 20,000 people ate. In those days they did not count the women and children. Now, Jesus doesn’t believe in this kind of culture. The Bible sometimes simply mentions it because that was the culture of that time. The Bible doesn’t approve it, the Bible is actually teaching against all of this. You know, if you read 1 Peter chapter 3 verse 7 it says, Give the honour that is due to the wife. So the Bible doesn’t have any problem in giving the honour to the women in the family, you know. Giving honour means she’s counted as a number. In the time of writing of the New Testament, in that culture, women were not even counted, that’s not a way to honour women. But the Bible says, Peter writes, Give the honour that is due to the women. Verse 7 and chapter 3 of 1 Peter, Peter says that. So Bible is well advanced. The Bible didn’t speak about these things after the feminist movement came. We don’t really need the feminist movement, we have the Bible. And the Bible talks about the liberty and the freedom that belongs to every woman under God, as a creation of God. It has no problem, even children, children were not counted in those days. Not even respected as anything. The women and children, not counted as a number at all, not even taken into account. Can you believe that culture? But Jesus says, Do not forbid the children from coming to me. He put a child in the midst of the disciples and said, Unless you become like one of these, you will never even enter into the kingdom of God. He extolled the virtues of children. How innocent they are and how they believe and how they have simple faith and so on. So He used it as an example, you know, he didn’t put down children. He didn’t say, “Just take them away from me, they’re a nuisance.” He said, Don’t forbid them, allow them to come to me. So, in the Bible you see some culture of the day in which it was written, but you also see that culture is not approved by the Bible teaching. The Bible teaches exactly the opposite. So 10,000 15,000 20,000 people ate maybe. What did they eat? Jesus took five loaves and two fish, and multiplied it to food for these thousands of people.

Now, these people ate and were satisfied and 12 baskets were left over as you know. And next day the news is spreading everywhere. So they’re talking, “Well, today it’s fish meal, tomorrow it must be chicken, I think.” Where is he having his meeting? Now, I know some preachers read this and they’re saying in every meeting they have, they serve food also, because Jesus did not have a meeting without any food.   One preacher said, “He always served food when he had meetings.” That’s all they understand from this passage you know. But John chapter 6 is not about how when you have meetings you need to serve food. I don’t serve any food here, you know. I don’t think anybody will eat if I serve food here. The thing is, this is not about how if you had a meeting you have to serve food. No, that’s not the point, don’t miss the point. Jesus was making a point here, actually John writing this story makes a point. You know, John says in the same gospel in chapter 20 he says, There are many things to write, I’ve not written it, you know. Books cannot contain all that can be said about what Jesus did during his lifetime. There are so many things to say, but I’ve chosen these things and I’ve put them here in my gospel, he says. So that you may believe. The purpose of his writing is so that we may believe that Jesus is the son of God, that He’s the savior and so on. So, with that purpose he’s writing, and all the miracles are written with a purpose. It’s not to state that a miracle happened, there is a meaning behind the miracles, that’s the way John writes it. It’s different from the other three gospels, they are in the Bible colleges and all the other three gospels are taught together. They’re called synoptic gospels because most of the stories are the same, same narrative there in the three gospels, basically. Only a few differences, but here in the gospel of John it is entirely different and therefore it is a different gospel. It is always taught separately. And every miracle mentioned here is handpicked by John, in order to demonstrate a particular truth, to reveal something about Jesus and so on. For example the turning of the water into wine, which was the first miracle that Jesus did. When he tells the story, at the end of the story in verse 11 of chapter 2. He says, This was the first miracle that Jesus did and He did it in Cana of Galilee. And manifested forth His glory in this way. He manifested His glory through this first miracle in this way. So that is why he turned the water into wine. Jesus didn’t turn the water into wine just to show that he can do some magic, you know.

I saw the other day some guy turning mineral water into wine, you know. And people are drinking and saying, “Yeah, it’s sweet, it’s wine.” But there is no message about Jesus, about salvation, about the love of God or anything like that. All that I learned by looking at the video is that if I had a problem, I must contact this guy. This is a great guy, he can turn water into wine. My God, he took the mineral water and turned it into wine. Somebody drank it and said, “This is sweet, it’s wine.” That’s all I learned. We know that he’s a great guy, very anointed, very powerful, that is all we understand. Jesus never did it because of that, Jesus did it to make a point, to show forth His glory. What is His glory? His glory is that when He took the water and turned it into wine, he took something that was colourless, odourless and tasteless, and turned it into something colourful. Something that is full of nice odour, and something that is full of wonderful taste, which is wine. There is a complete transformation, complete change. By doing this, He showed forth His glory, that means just like he took the colourless, odourless, tasteless water and made it so wonderful, colourful, tasteful, and full of odour, He will take your life, which is often colourless, odourless, and tasteless, and turn it into something beautiful, wonderful, tasteful. He will make your life wonderful, that’s the point He’s trying to make. That is why Jesus came, and He will do it in abundant measure. That is why He filled the water jars that were used for washing the feet, because there was abundance of wine.

Some people have a habit of taking Bible for their convenience, you know. One, drunk, came to me and said, “Did you know Jesus turned water into wine?” I said, “Yeah, you will also say next that He told you to roll on the ground after drinking wine, you know.” That’s the point he was trying to make, you know, that it’s alright to drink, Jesus turned water into wine. That’s why everybody’s using the Bible for their own convenience. No, Jesus turned water into wine so that you can see that he can take your drunken life and turn it into something beautiful and wonderful, you know. It is not to tell you to drink, but to tell you that He can completely turn you around, you know. And in the same way, this miracle, the feeding of the 5,000. After He fed the 5,000 with loaves and fish, they thought maybe tomorrow He’s having some meeting there and He’s also feeding people the next day. So they started following Him and they came and saw He was not there and somebody said He’s gone across the lake there. And so they took boats and crossed over and came. And here He sees hundreds of people coming, and to them He says these words. Verse 27, He said to them when He saw them coming. He says, Do not labour for the food which perishes. He says, man you’re trying so hard for something that stays in your stomach for just a few hours and then it’s gone and you’re hungry all over. Do not labour for something that has such a temporal value. You’re working so hard, trying so hard, to get something that is temporal. But labour for the food that endures to eternal life. Labour, work for something that has eternal value, something that’ll last you forever. It will come with you forever, he says.

Now, we need to look at this and understand this. Now, the people there did not understand the point that he was trying to make. Why did He feed the 5,000 bread and fish? Not to show that He fills the stomach. Filling the stomach is not a problem for God, He can do it 1,000 times over again. The point is not that I can fill the stomach, the point is I can fill the greatest needs of every human being. And I can meet every need. So don’t go after the things that satisfy you like food and so on. Go after the person who’s the source of meeting all your needs. He came to tell about Himself, they totally missed the point. They got the food, they got their stomach filled, but they missed him. So they come searching for Him. And now He continues in verse 35, look at verse 35. He says, Then Jesus said to him, I am the bread of life. Now he’s trying to give the meaning for what he did, the bread and the fish that He gave. He says, I am the bread of life. This is the point I’m trying to make to you guys, He says. But you’ve missed the whole point, you’re satisfied that your stomach was full. But I want to make this point, I am the bread of life. It’s not about the bread that you ate, but I am giving a message to you that I am the bread of life, he says. He who comes to me, shall never hunger. He who believes in me, shall never thirst. In other words, if you eat this food you’re going to be hungry in just a few hours, and again and again you’ll be hungry. But I am here to talk about another food that when you eat you will never be hungry, and when you drink that you will never be thirsty. I’m talking about something spiritual, something wonderful. Which is the thing that you need, and through that all the physical needs are also met but you’re missing the whole point, you’re just staying with the physical, never going on to the real meaning of what I did, He says. If you eat what I give you, you’ll never hunger. If you drink what I give you, you’ll never thirst. But you never got my point, He says. I tried to make that point through my miracle, but you never got it.

See, that’s why miracles of Jesus were known in the gospels as signs and wonders. Have you ever wondered what the sign is? Sign means that it’s pointing to something. On the road you see a sign, it says Trichy 320 kilometres. It means if you keep going like this you’ll get to Trichy it’s a sign. It’s a sign that if you go this way, you’ll reach there, right. Wonder, the word wonder simply means that when you see something like this happen, you begin to wonder what this is all about. They neither wondered, nor did they understand what the sign was about. They were satisfied, I think they went and slept. Did not even give any thought to it. Next day they got up and came for chicken and rice maybe, you know. Jesus says you missed the whole point. This is about how I am the bread of life. If you eat the bread that I give you, you’ll never hunger. Do you understand that point? Did you get my point? See, a lot of people are like this, you know, they come to meet to get their physical needs met, and the next time you’ll see them in church is the next time they’re sick, you know. When you see them, you know they’ve got a problem. When you see them, they’ve got a need, that’s when they’ll come. They think Jesus is someone who just feeds or heals, or just meets their need or something like that. But the miracles of Jesus made a point to them, pointing to something greater. Certainly Jesus wants to feed, certainly Jesus wants to heal and so on. But there is a greater point that he’s trying to make and these people totally missed it.

Now, we read 35, but then He continues, it’s very interesting. Read verse 51, I’m not reading the whole passage, you may read it later on when you get home. But I’m just reading here and there just to make this point, I’m trying to convey to you what Jesus did this miracle for. Verse 51, I am the living bread, which came down from heaven. See, He said in verse 35 that I’m the bread of life, if you eat what I give you, you’ll never hunger again, right? Now, He goes a little deeper, He says, I’m the living bread, which came down from heaven. I am the living bread, which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. Not only not hunger, but he will live forever. See, He wants them to catch the point. He says, And the bread I shall give is my flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world. Now, He has created a controversy, you know, now He’s going in a little deeper. Sometimes I think He deliberately does these things because there is a group among the crowd sometimes, of the Jews that don’t believe; like the Pharisees and so on, the Sadducees. These kinds of people that always want to resist him and give him trouble. So He sometimes aims at reaching them and shaking them up a little bit. So He does things in a different way. Remember, when He healed a man born blind in chapter 9. He spits on the ground and makes clay and puts it on the eye of the guy, you know. And preachers are saying, well, the ground has some medicinal value, you know. When you spit on it and make clay with it and put it on somebody’s eyes, they may get healed and so on. All these kinds of things were taught about that. But it’s not so, you know why he did it? To upset the Jews, the Jews believed that on Sabbath day you cannot work. And somebody said, “What do you mean you can’t work?” They said, “You cannot plow.” And somebody said, “What do you mean not plow?” So they listed a number of things that amounts to plowing, you know. Suppose you want to move this from here to there, you cannot even drag it because you’ll be plowing then. Like this, they wrote a book which had silly explanations about what working is all about. That’s what Pharisaical preaching is all about. That’s why they never got a crowd.

And Jesus attracted a big crowd because His preaching was different. He said don’t worry about what you’ll eat, what you will drink and what you’ll be clothed with. Your heavenly father knows that you have need of these things. Look at the birds of the air, lilies of the field, do they toil? Do they spin? What do they do? But your heavenly Father takes care of them, so you don’t worry, He says. Don’t take a thought, by taking a thought and worrying, you don’t change anything. This is the way He taught and how comforting it is, and thousands of people gathered for Jesus preaching. And the Pharisaical preaching was a religious preaching and nobody came for it, that’s why they were jealous of Jesus all the time. And here, Jesus does it for that very purpose, you see. He made clay out of spitting in the ground, and putting it on the man’s eye. And told him to go and wash it in a pool called Siloam which is a distance away. It is all a violation of the Sabbath. How making clay by spitting, working on the ground like this amounts to plowing? They even said to the people, “Don’t look at your face in the mirror, because you may see a grey hair and want to pluck it. That will amount to reaping, you know.” The silly books they had written about what is reaping, what is sowing, had laws like this. Just imagine what will happen today if I told you don’t look at the mirror before you come. I don’t think anybody will be here, including me, you know. Church will be completely empty. The Pharisaical laws are terrible, and let me remind you there are some Christian Pharisees also, you know. They teach only rules and regulations, it has nothing to do with Christian life, you know.

So, Jesus made the clay and put it on the ground. And I know one guy who came from somewhere abroad and he went to Tirunelveli and made clay by spitting on the ground and put it on some guy’s eyes because he couldn’t see you know. I said, “Why did you do it?” He said, “Because Jesus did it.” Well, you've got to know why Jesus did it, Jesus did it to upset the Jews there. And the Jews were truly upset because they asked the blind man, “Who healed you?” He said, “Jesus of Nazareth healed me. He’s a great man, He’s great prophet.” They said, “No, no, no, He’s no prophet, He’s not a man of God because if He’s a man of God, He would not have made clay on the ground and put it on your eyes like this because it’s Sabbath day. He would have observed the Sabbath. He’s not a good man. He cannot be a man of God.” He said, “Well, forget it, good man or bad man, all I know is I was blind and now I see.” And they were more angry then.

So Jesus did some things to upset people and here also He seems to talk some things in order to provoke some people. You know, sometimes if you can’t teach nicely and convey the point, sometimes you’ve got to go to the point of provocation so that you shake them up a little bit. So that they listen better and get the point. Certainly they didn’t get the point when He made the miracle bread and fish, and fed them and they were satisfied. They didn’t get the point, now He’s shaking them up. So He’s using words that are very difficult. He says, The bread I shall give is my flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world. Now, when they heard that, the Jews… listen to this, they’re here again. Anywhere a miracle happens you see they’re also there, that’s why He does the miracles in that way. The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” They said, “Boy, this guy’s teaching cannibalism. He wants us to eat his flesh, did you hear that? What an erroneous teaching. It’s a cultish teaching. He wants us to eat his flesh.” They said. Then Jesus said to them, listen to this. Most assuredly I say to you, verse 53, unless, now He makes it even harder. Unless you eat the flesh of the son of man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. And then goes on and on until they go crazy, you know. He says, Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them on the last day. He says I will actually resurrect a person who eats my flesh and drinks my blood. What kind of religion is this? Cannibalism, eat His flesh and drink His blood and He’ll raise you on the last day? They’re really upset. Then He says, For my flesh is food indeed and my blood is drink indeed. You eat and drink my flesh and blood. It gets even worse, He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him. And they’re going crazy, I mean, they just don’t understand. As the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on me will live because of me. The Father sent me and I live because of Him, and he who feeds on me will live because of me, He says. And then He says, This is the bread which came down from heaven, and immediately they remembered manna, which their forefathers ate in the wilderness. This is a bread that has come down from heaven. They’re thinking, “Wow, manna.” And then He says, Not as your fathers ate the manna and are dead. He says your fathers ate the manna, sure, but they’re dead, no one is alive today. He who eats this bread will live forever.

He’s really teaching things, putting these things in very hard language, purposely. And they’re all very upset. What does this eating His flesh and drinking His blood about? Even today, some people are upset about this. You know, I remember in that movie Gandhi, you know, they made this famous movie where the one guy asks a Britisher in the train. He says, “In your church they drink the blood of Jesus, don’t they?” Something like that, he thinks that Christians drink the blood of Jesus. In the first two, three centuries, there was great persecution against the church because certain lies were spread about the church. They went and told out the world about the church. They went and told out the world about the church. They spread rumours that said that Christians are people that eat human flesh and drink human blood. These are horrible people, they practice this thing and that is how the society hated them. They killed them and heaped them, you know, because they believed that lie, you know. And when they took communion and they kissed each other you know, because the Apostle Paul says greet one another with holy kiss you know. They kissed them, it was a holy kiss, but they went out and said that these are immoral people, kissing one another. Like this they spread news in the world, fake news. And because there was no Whatsapp in those days, but the mouth is enough. This is pre-Whatsapp days, but mouth is better than Whatsapp, you know. I call it in Tamil Vai-app, you know. They spread the news and that is the reason why such persecution was there, because of lies that were spread. And look at this kind of talk, what kind of fake news can come out of this? What kind of things can spread out of this kind of talk or teaching that Jesus gave? He deliberately does that to provoke them, so make them think deeply about the point he tries to make about who He is.

The whole point about the miracle of feeding the 5,000 was about who He is and that He’s the bread of life and so on. What does He mean when says eat my flesh and drink my blood? If you don’t eat my flesh, drink my blood, you’re no part of me. If you eat my flesh, drink my blood, you’ll live forever. If you eat my flesh and drink my blood, such a person I will raise him again. What does He mean? He means to say, I’m going to die on the cross, my body is going to be broken on the cross of Calvary. It is going to be beaten and wounded for you and I’m going to shed my blood, and you better understand why my body will be broken and beaten, and why my blood will be shed. Understand it, believe that it is for you and for your sins, to remove your sin and your curse. Believe it, embrace it, confess it, meditate on it, accept it as something that God has done for you. That is how you eat my flesh and drink my blood. He’s not talking about eating it literally His flesh and drinking literally His blood. He’s talking about believing on why His body was broken on the cross, and believing why His blood was shed and embracing that truth. Believing it, confessing it, taking it as yours that your eternal life comes from it. Believe it like that, He says. And if a person believes like that, he will be resurrected on the last day. If a person believes like that, he’ll live forever more. If a person believes like that, he will never hunger and never thirst. All of life’s hunger and thirst will be taken care of by faith in Jesus, you’ll be fully and totally and eternally satisfied. That is what he’s trying to say. What an amazing truth! But they never got the point. They were all upset.

Finally, everybody left and the disciples are also looking at one another, picking up their bags and they said, “Let’s go, this man has gone crazy. He says we must eat his flesh and drink his blood.” And Jesus looked at them and said, “Are you also going to go, leave me?” And Peter said, “No, you have the words of life, where shall we go?” They stayed on. But the thing is this, that is the point that He was trying to make. That they should believe in Him, they should believe in the work of the cross that He does there, His broken body, and His shed blood which celebrated as communion today. We didn’t eat any human flesh, we didn’t drink any human blood, we ate some bread and wine in remembrance of this very thing that Jesus said, that you eat my flesh and drink my blood. We are saying, “I believe that Jesus died for me. His body was broken for me. His body was torn into pieces, so that through it eternal life can be received by me.” We believe that His blood was shed so that it can wash away my sins, it can cleanse my heart and my conscience and make me whole and clean. That is what we observed today, that communion is about that. We are not doing some kind of a cannibalistic practice. This is something that demonstrates for us vividly the truth, that our life, our joy, our peace, our happiness, everything that we have received comes from the death on the cross. That broken body and that blood that was shed, this is all that is. But they never understood. That is why they could not reach out to this truth and grab it and believe it. Why did they come and wanted to follow Jesus? They said, “He gave us bread and fish.” And He said, “Don’t work or labour for that which perishes.” This is just temporal, bread is just temporal. I’m offering you something eternal, something of greater value. Don’t try so hard for just the food that perishes, but go for the thing that lasts with you forever and ever.

Now, I remember many years ago one great teacher taught me that in the Bible there are some clues to understanding the Bible better. And one of that is there are statements such as, “Not this, but.” You know, that kind of statement, many statements are made like that. In other words, a truth is stated in the negative and positive form, like it is here in verse 27. Do not labour for the food that perishes. That means don’t do that, not this, this is not what I want you to do. But, labour for that which lasts for eternity. It is important to state it both ways because if He just said, only labour for food that lasts for eternity, you don’t understand it very well. You have to say, do not work for food that perishes, but work for food that lasts for all eternity. When you say both ways, the negative and the positive, it makes much sense. So I explained to you what it means to labour for the food that lasts for eternity. How do you labour for the food that lasts for eternity? Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, come to Him, repent of your sins, receive Him as your Lord, embrace this truth that He died for you. His body was broken, His blood was shed for you. Receive Him and all that He has done on the cross of Calvary as something that is done for you, that is eating and drinking, that is taking for yourself what He has done. That is the way you strive for the food that lasts for eternity. When you pay attention to that, when you meditate upon it, when you learn more and more about it. When you stand on it, when you confess it, when you believe it, when you embrace it. When you take that life as yours, that is eating and drinking. Now, let’s look at the negative, because the negative is given deliberately here, and it helps us. How not to labour for the food that perishes, alright?

Now, what does He mean there? Now, some people mistake what Jesus is saying here. They think, “Well, the Bible says don’t work for food, don’t work for house, don’t work for these material things or temporal things. We don’t need them at all.” No, everybody knows we need them. And they say, “Well, the Bible says, Jesus says, ‘Don’t work for that.’” So, some people don’t believe in working based on this. Now, anytime you read the Bible, you have to read in conjunction with other verses, you know, in relationship to the rest of the Bible. Bible interprets Bible, so let me read to you three more verses to show you that Jesus or the Bible, never teaches anything against work. It never teaches ‘Don’t work, and it is wrong to get a salary for work that you did. And it is wrong to pay your rent with it or buy your food with it, because then you’re working for the thing that perishes.’ No, no, no, the Bible doesn’t teach like that. So you’ve got to understand Jesus words in that way.

So let me read to you three verses, one is Luke chapter 10 verse 7. Remember the time Jesus sent the disciples to go and preach in various villages? Cast out devils, heal the sick and so on. When they went, He told them do not take, He said. He said, don’t carry money bag, don’t carry any knapsack don’t carry any sandals. Don’t greet anyone along the road, He says in verse 4. But in verse 5 says, Whatever house you enter, first say ‘Peace to this house’ and if the son of peace is there, your peace will rest on it. If not, it will return to it. If the guy is worthy of peace, he will receive it, otherwise it will come back to you, he says. Just go there and stay there, he says. And remain in the same house, look at verse 7. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the labourer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house. Very important statement, He says to the preaches, don’t be going from house to house, stay in that one house. It whatever they give you, drink whatever they give you when you go traveling and preaching from village to village. Why? See why do people go from house to house? It is because they think from going to house to house, they will get all their needs met. That they will get all that they need to do their ministry, that is how the ministry’s needs are met, but going house to house. Jesus said, don’t go house to house. They think by going house to house they will get the food, they will get the clothes, they will get all these things that they need. Jesus said, don’t go house to house and don’t even take anything with you. Then how are you going to get everything? How are you going to get your food? How are you going to get the money? How are you going to get everything? He says, just stay in that one place, eat what they give you and drink what they give you. And just do what I tell you, don’t go house to house, He says. Why? He says, The labourer is worthy of his wages. Why He told them not to take anything?

Now, some people think Jesus always wants people to go without taking anything. No, the same Jesus later on tells them, last time I told you not to take anything. Later on, I think in chapter 18 or so, He says, now take with you, he says. Take everything with you, He says. So this time it was a demonstration of how their needs will be successfully met even if they didn’t take anything. So you must read the Bible comprehensively, not just read one verse and think this is the way Jesus operates. No, He’s trying to show them what ministry’s like. How that God is the one that meets their needs, they should not look to people just going to house to house and trying to look to people to meet their needs. He says you go, you do your work, a labourer is worthy of wages and God, for whom you’re working, will meet all your needs. When they came back He asked them, were all the needs met? Were you alright? Did you lack anything? You read it, they say, no, no, no, we didn’t lack anything. Now, if you tell preachers today, a lot of them won’t believe that. And I have actually tried that and I tell you it works.

When I finished my education and all that I put everything I had in two bags, two suitcases and one guy had booked me to preach in four places. And then I went and thereafter I did not have  a place to stay, did not know where I was going. After the four event are over, you know, did not know what was going to happen. From that only I became a pastor in a church. From one place to another, one place led to another and I kept going and preaching for a few months, and then I ended up a pastor. And as a pastor I got a house, I got a car, I got everything that I needed. And you ask me, “Will you go without taking anything?” I tell you, I did go and everything was well. Nothing was lacking, nothing was left. God didn’t forget me, and God will never forget anybody. The labourer is worthy of his labour. God knows that everybody pays a salary, and to God’s men God pays a good salary, there’s no doubt about it.

Now, listen to this, read 2 Thessalonians chapter 3 and verse 10. Even when we were with you, we commanded you this. If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. I’m trying to show you that the Bible is not against working. The Bible doesn’t teach saying, don’t work, don’t work, everything will be alright. No, that’s not what the Bible teaches. It says, If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. Now, what’s the problem here among the Thessalonians? Thessalonians were people that concentrated too much on the Second Coming of Jesus. So some of them said, “Jesus may come tonight or tomorrow, any day. He said soon, so it must be any day. Why bother to go to this interview and get a job and bother to go to work and all this business? Forget about this, Jesus may come any time.” So, just stay at home, just pray, prepare yourself, be ready to fly away. That’s what the Thessalonians were doing. And Paul says if anyone is not willing to work, let him not also eat. That is how a strong connection is between eating and working. You’ve got to work, there is nothing wrong in working and eating as a result and so on.

So, Bible does not teach against working and so on. And the work providing food and all of that, there’s nothing wrong with that. Ephesians chapter 4, this verse we read a few weeks ago, verse 28. Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labour, working with his hands what is good. That he might have something to give him who has need. What is he saying? He says the guy who steals must not steal anymore but go to work, work with his hand what is good. Choose a good job, go and get a good work to do, and go get a decent job so that you may have something to give that has any need. That means go to work, earn enough for yourself so that you take care of yourself and your own. But then have also enough to give to others who do not have. This is the meaning of biblical prosperity. Why God wants you to have much more than you need? Some people live with this philosophy, me and my two. Me and my wife, and my two. You know, if God gives us enough, then we’ll be satisfied. Well, that is not a very spiritual life, that is a useless life. You know, they say, “We don’t want anything, we don’t want too much.” Well, God wants to give too much so that you will have enough to give to those that lack. That’s the way the Bible teaches it you know, and that is the meaning of blessing and prosperity in the Bible. It’s given so that you may give, alright?

So here it says you must work, not steal. So God is not against working, so the Bible here in John’s gospel, is not teaching against working when Jesus said in chapter 6 verse 27 of John, Do not labour for food that perishes. He’s not saying don’t work and have that work pay for your food and all of this. No, no, no, that’s not what He’s saying. Then what does He mean when He said don’t labour for food that perishes? For that you need to open to Matthew’s gospel chapter 6. A verse that everybody knows, but now you’ll know it even better. Matthew’s gospel chapter 6 verse 33. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. What did Jesus mean when He said do not work for temporal things? He means don’t just go to work just to feed yourself and buy this and buy that and so on, seek the kingdom. Are you seeking the kingdom? Am I seeking the kingdom? When we go to work we must seek the kingdom. What does seeking the kingdom mean? Why do we go to work? I don’t go to work and you shouldn’t go to work because we need to put food on the table and pay the rent. We should go to work because God has a kingdom, in that kingdom we play a role. God has given us gifts and talents and abilities, so that we may use them and produce for the kingdom certain things. God wants us to be productive, God wants us to be useful citizens of this kingdom of God. God wants us to go and do certain things, and accomplish certain things to fulfill God’s purposes. For that He has made us, He has made us as working people, He has given us gifts and abilities and talents. And He has commissioned us and called us to do certain things. I have a call on my life, every single one has a call on their life, that is what we taught. So we’re made as workers, we are given gifts, bestowed gifts, and we have a call on our lives to accomplish something. And that call always has to do with God’s kingdom, God’s purposes, we don’t live to just eat. We don’t live to just have a house, we don’t live to just have a few things here and enjoy them and then die. We live for God.

So, when we go to work, we don’t go so that we may have food on the table, we go because God has commissioned us to go, called us to go. Given us gifts so that we may go and produce some things that God needs to be produced and done in this world, to accomplish things for God in this world. We are God’s representatives, we go because God’s glory must be seen by our work. We go because God’s love must be felt in this world through our work. We work because God’s purposes must be accomplished. When the Bible says, Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. It means are you seeking God’s purposes? Are you living for God’s purposes? Are you going to work for God’s purposes? Are you trying to play your part and do your part in God’s kingdom, with what God has given to you? The call and the gifts that God has given to you? Hello. Tomorrow when you go to work, remember that. Why are you going? Some people say, “Well, I’ve got to put food on the table, otherwise I won’t go to work.” Now you don’t understand the Bible at all if you think. That is working for the food that perishes, when you say, “I go because I need food on the table. If it was left to me, if somebody gave me the food and somebody gave me all the stuff that I have, I would never go to work.” That means we don’t understand God, we don’t understand the Bible, we don’t understand Christianity. Even if we had billions and billions we would still go to work. And we will work as hard as we’ve always done or even harder, why? Because we’re a people made with a purpose. We’ve been gifted, God has given us gifts. God is going to come back and ask us, account of what we have done with it. Have we done our part, played our role in the kingdom of God? Have we gone where He has told us to go? Have we done what He has told us to do? Have we used our talents? Have we been productive? Have we done something useful with what God has done? Have we glorified God? Have we lived it out in such a way that people can see the love of God in this world? God is going to come back and ask us account of that. That is why we go to work. Amen.

So, if you go just to put food on the table, then you’re working for the food that perishes. But if you go because of the kingdom of God, because of who God is and His great purposes and His call upon your life and His gifts that He has endowed upon you. And you want to do your part in this kingdom, then you are not working for food, you are working for something of eternal value. Amen. See, I told you you’ll find it out if you dig it. The Bible is not contradicting some very simple facts of life. No, Bible is really presenting you a higher ideal, a greater motivation. Only one verse, I’ll finish. Turn with me to John’s gospel chapter 4, remember Jesus goes to Samaria, and there He meets a  Samaritan woman by the well. The disciples were with Him, went to buy some food. He’s also hungry, so they go to buy some food. And Jesus is waiting there, this woman comes at the well and He starts talking to her and in the end that woman discovers who this is. This is the Messiah that is to come. She goes and invites the whole town, the whole town now comes and hears Jesus. I mean, by the time they went and got sambhar and curd rice all this is happening. And the disciples come back and the disciples find Him there and listen to this verse, verse 31. In the meantime His disciples urged Him saying, “Rabbi, eat.” They brought food, so they said Rabbi, eat. He said to them, I have food to eat which you do not know. He says I have something to eat that you do not know. So they’re probably wondering somebody went and got Him something, didn’t they? They must have given Him something. He must have sent somebody else to get Him something. No, he says, Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food.” See they’re not able to understand what Jesus is trying to get across. He said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me, and to finish His work. He was on duty, He has come for a purpose. He has gone to this village because God is sending Him there. He has spoken to the woman because God has led Him that way. He has spoken to their entire village, because God has led Him and guided Him. He’s doing His work while they’re getting food. And He says when they come back, I already feel like I’ve eaten, because my food is to do the will of the Father.

What a man with a vision and a mission in life. He knows exactly what He’s here for. He is not working for food, He’s not just working for just material needs, He’s not working for this and that. He’s working to accomplish the will of God. That is my food, He says. And if you think like that, that your food is to do the will of the Father, then you’re not working for food, you’re working for something of eternal value. And when you do that, Matthew 6:33 becomes a reality. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. The Bible doesn’t say that when you do that, God’s will will be done and His kingdom will flourish and you will suffer without food, no. It says, Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things, which things? He’s talking about eating, drinking, clothing, and all these things. All these things shall be added unto you. You see, when you live for God and His kingdom, you go busy about His work. You go fulfill your call, use your gifts, use your abilities, work for God. Be a man on mission, I’ll tell you, you will never hunger for food. You will have much more than enough because God will bless the work of your hands. You live for the kingdom and I tell you that is what true success is all about. And that will bring prosperity on a level that you can never imagine. Amen.

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