The Readings for Last Sunday's Sermon
Ephesians 4:25-5:2Putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil. Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
John 6:35, 41-51Jesus said to the people, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven." They were saying, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, `I have come down from heaven'?" Jesus answered them, "Do not complain among yourselves. No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, `And they shall all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh."
Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. We have been talking about the bread of life and the living water of Jesus for several weeks now. Is it ok to just believe and that is it? Bread has substance to it. Water is refreshing. They are both life giving but only if they are consumed. Jesus wants us to eat this heavenly bread and drink this living water. How do you do that. Should we just profess our faith and leave it at that or is there more expected of us.
In Paul's letter to the Ephesians, I think he gave us a pretty good dose of reality of what it means to consume this life changing bread and water. He says, “put away falsehood, do not hold onto your anger. If you are a thief, give up stealing. Let no evil talk come out of your mouth. Put away all bitterness and wrath and anger and slandering and wrangling and malice.” “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgive one another as God has forgiven you. Live in love as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.” Make your own sacrifices to God.
That's it! That is all you have to do. Let me go over that list in the form of do's and don'ts.
Don't: lie, steal, stay angry, slander, fight, bitterness, show malice.
Do's: Kindness, tenderhearted, forgiving, Love others.
Is there anything that you think Paul might have overlooked? Please share it with me.
Let me pick on one. Forgiving is sometimes so hard. It is hard for me to forgive someone who spends his money to go to Africa and lure an animal off of a preserve and kill it. It is hard for me to forgive someone who goes into a crowded public place whether it be a theatre, the finish line at a marathon, or a market with the intent of killing others.
But, that is what Jesus tells us to do. Remember that whey Jesus was hanging on the cross, his hands and feet pierced by nails, his final words were, “Forgive them Father, they know not what they do.” We are to be kind, generous and forgiving. The earlier followers of Jesus called themselves followers of the Way. Let us follow the way, the truth and the life. Let us share in the heavenly banquet and quench our spiritual thirst with living water.