The Message of the Cross(21) – Eternal Life 3

Message of the Cross

[John 6:53-55] [Exodus 12:8-10]

[John 6:53-55] “Jesus therefore said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.'”
[Exodus 12:8-10] “And they shall eat the flesh that [same] night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water, but rather roasted with fire, [both] its head and its legs along with its entrails. And you shall not leave any of it over until morning, but whatever is left of it until morning, you shall burn with fire.”

[Introduction]

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

What is the ultimate goal of your faith in the Lord and leading a Christian life?

Some say they come to church to be healed of a disease and others say they come to receive financial blessings. They come because they heard they will receive blessings if they believe in the Lord.

Of course, God is almighty and full of love, so He heals disease and gives us material blessings, too. But the most important purpose of our Christian life is to gain eternal life. We lead a life in faith to gain eternal life, which was lost after Adam’s fall, and to recover the lost image of God and enter into heavenly kingdom.

But we cannot gain eternal life just by confessing with our lips, “Lord, I believe,” or just by knowing that Jesus is our Savior. Therefore, since the last session, I have been explaining to you about the situations where you call the name of the Lord and profess your faith in Him, but still cannot be saved.

From today, I will talk to you about the ways to believe in the Lord and gain eternal life. Of course, receiving salvation and gaining eternal life is done by faith.

If we accept Jesus as our Savior and repent of our sins, God gives us the Holy Spirit and recognizes us as His children, so we are born again and we gain eternal life. But, even physically, even if a baby is born, he cannot do the duty of a man.

He has to be nursed, grow up to be an adult, and learn the knowledge and duty of men. If the baby does not eat or mature, he cannot live a normal life and he will finally die.

It is the same in spirit. Even if we are born again by accepting the Lord, it does not mean we completely have eternal life. We have to eat and drink spiritual food and grow up to the full measure of Christ in our faith.

Then, what is the food that is necessary for the growth of our spirit? Today’s passage John 6:53 says, “Jesus therefore said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.'” Also, in verse 55 Jesus tells us, “For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.”

If we do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, we have no life, which means we cannot be saved.

Then, how can you eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man who was on this earth 2,000 years ago? I hope you will keep in mind how to eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man through this message.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will have life in you so that you will enter into the eternal heavenly kingdom with the Lord on the final day.

[Main]

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the flesh of the Son of Man that we have to eat spiritually refers to the word of God recorded in the Bible. John 1:14 says, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” It testifies that Jesus is the Word of God who came to this earth in flesh.

John 6:51 says, “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh.” Jesus said He is the living bread that came down out of heaven.

And how to eat the flesh of the Son of Man, which is the Word of God and the living bread, has a direct link with the expression ‘Lamb’ in the Bible.

In John chapter 1, when John the Baptist saw Jesus, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” A lamb listens only to the voice of its shepherd. It is mild and gives only benefits to men. Jesus, too, obeyed the will of only the Father, became an atoning sacrifice like a mild lamb, and gave men only good things.

Especially, the ‘one-year-old lamb without defect’ is, in comparison with men, at the most beautiful at the time of youth. It is pure since it has not yet mated. Spiritually, it symbolizes Jesus, who is blameless and spotless.

In Exodus chapter 12, God commands the people of Israel to eat a one-year-old male lamb without defect. It was when all Egypt was inflicted with the plague of the death of all first sons.

When they killed a lamb and put its blood on the doors and on both sides of the doorposts, God kept the houses of Israelites safe from the plague. But when the lamb is eaten, it cannot just be eaten any way we want.

There is a way that God instructed us. Today’s passage Exodus 12:8-10 says, “And they shall eat the flesh that [same] night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. ‘Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water, but rather roasted with fire, [both] its head and its legs along with its entrails. ‘And you shall not leave any of it over until morning, but whatever is left of it until morning, you shall burn with fire.”
The reason why God told them how to eat the lamb in detail is because it contains a spiritual lesson that is directly related to our lives. It is the way to eat the flesh of the Son of Man and to keep the Word of God in our heart.

So, from now, let us look into the meaning of how to eat the lamb step by step.

First, we have to roast the lamb over the fire, and we should not eat it raw or cooked in water. Here, ‘fire’ refers spiritually to fire of the Holy Spirit. It means we have to understand the word of God and keep it in our heart by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Also, to burn with the fire of the Holy Spirit, we have to pray fervently.

2 Peter 1:20-21 says, “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is [a matter] of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoken from God.”

Also, 2 Peter 3:16 says, “as also in all [his] letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as [they do] also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.”

They are telling us that if we do not interpret the word of God by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit but on our own, we will fall into destruction.

In today’s passage, interpreting the Bible on our own, without inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is eating the lamb raw or cooked in water. To eat the word of God raw is to interpret it literally without understating the spiritual meaning contained in the word.
If you eat any meat raw, it is difficult to digest, and you are more likely to have a stomachache. Similarly, if you eat the word of God raw, you can come up with some really irrelevant understanding of what is intended. Let me give you some examples of ‘eating the lamb raw’.

Matthew 6:6 says, “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” If you interpret this literally, when you pray, you must have a secret room, go in there, and pray there to obey God’s word.

But nowhere in the Bible does it say the patriarchs of faith prayed in inner rooms. Jesus prayed not in a secret room but on hills or at lonely places. The apostles prayed at the temple and some of them prayed on the roof tops or at the seaside.

Daniel opened the windows of his room and prayed facing Jerusalem. Therefore, the room in this verse is not a room in the physical sense.

Spiritually, ‘room’ symbolizes the heart of men. So, by telling us to go into an inner room and pray there, Jesus is telling us to communicate with God with our inner most heart.

If you go into an inner room, you will be isolated from the outside. In the same way, when we pray, we should not be hypocritical as a showing to other people, but we should communicate with God with our true heart without having idle thoughts or using meaningless repetition.

Another example is in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 says, “Let the women keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but let them subject themselves, just as the Law also says. And if they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church.”

If you understand it literally, women must stay silent in the church, so they cannot raise their voice to pray or sing praises. Then, they will not be able to perform any duty where they have to stand before the members and speak. Some churches interpret this literally and have made traditions of male elders to limit the activities of women in the church.

But in the Bible, we see that sometimes a woman like Deborah was appointed as the judge for the people. Also, there were prophetesses who delivered the messages of God to the people.

Also, in the New Testament, many names of women who followed Jesus and served the church are recorded. Therefore, saying that ‘women must stay silent in the church’, does not refer to physical women believers who are living the word of God.

It actually refers to those believers who are in the church but are not living in the truth yet, regardless of the gender.

Just as the ‘woman’, namely Eve, was imprudently tempted by the serpent by not staying in the truth, and then she also tempted Adam to sin together, ‘woman’ in the above verse indicates those people who have sinful nature to commit sins.

Those who are not changed by the truth speak many words of untruth, are narrow-minded and imprudent, make synagogues of Satan in the church, judge and condemn others, or even create dissensions and disorder. The Bible warns these disobedient people who have not cast off fleshly natures to stay silent and to obey within the order.

Also, some people literally interpret the case of Jesus making wine out of water. Including Proverbs 23:31 that says, “Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it goes down smoothly,” God warns us not to get drunk. Jesus did not make wine to let the men of flesh drink it and get drunk.
This was a miraculous sign for His ministry at the time of the beginning His ministry. It was to indicate that Jesus, who is the Word who came down to this earth, would shed His precious blood, symbolized by the wine. Some people who do not understand the spiritual meaning in this case depart from the truth saying, “Even Jesus made wine for men, so it is OK to get drunk.”

We also have the case of Naaman, the leper who was completely healed when he washed himself seven times in the Jordan River. But, it does not mean that the water of the Jordan River has healing power. Washing himself seven times in the Jordan River stands for obeying the Word of God completely, and that by complete obedience, we can receive healing of any disease and answers to any problem.

Without knowing this meaning, even if you go to the Jordan River and wash yourself, you cannot be healed of any disease. So you can see that interpreting the word of God literally, without understanding the spiritual meaning, is ‘to eat the Word of God raw’.

Next, what does it mean that we must not eat it cooked in water?

It means we must not add any worldly things when we deal with God’s word. There are some people who try to understand God’s word mixing other theories or some others who preach the word through human thoughts and theories.

They say they are preaching the Word of God, but the content of their sermons is filled with stories about politics, social values, and other fleshly things. Also, still others preach the word within context of the knowledge of this world saying, “So and so famous man said this, and that a famous philosopher once said that.”

But human thoughts and knowledge are very limited and even the most excellent thoughts are not perfect. They will change passage of time.

1 Corinthians 1:25 says, “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” God’s word is more excellent than any worldly knowledge. Only His word is the only truth that never changes eternally.

Some people study Hebrew and Greek language to distinguish the meaning of every single word of the Bible and try to gain life from that.

But you cannot realize the spiritual will of God or gain life that way. The Jews, Pharisees, and the scribes learned the word of God in their mother tongue. They also memorized whole portions and tried to maintain it without changing a single stroke.

Nevertheless, they did not recognize Jesus who is the Word itself who came down to this earth in flesh. They could not gain eternal life either. When preachers deliver the messages, they must keep this fact in their mind.

The word that must be preached on the altar is not any human knowledge or theory, or any worldly stories. We must preach the words of the Bible interpreted by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

We should testify to the living God with confidence. We should preach how to meet the living God, what the will of God is towards the believers is, how to lead a Christian life to receive salvation, and things like this. In this sense, God is telling us not to eat the lamb cooked in water.

Second, we should eat the lamb as a whole.

God told us to eat it roasted over the fire, not raw or cooked in water, and eat all the parts including head, legs, and entrails. This means that we must keep in our heart the whole word of God, the 66 books of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.

But some people just skip difficult parts like Leviticus or say that the Old Testament does not really matter because it was written before the Lord came. Also, some people do not believe in miraculous signs and wonders although they are certainly recorded in the Bible.

If you leave out the things that do not agree with human thoughts, whatever is left cannot be truth or faith. Only ethics and morality will be left. Also, they do not want to keep in their mind what is difficult to keep, so in this way, they cannot gain eternal life no matter how much they read God’s word.

You should not take only the parts of God’s word that agree with your thoughts but believe it as a whole and keep it in your heart. That is why God commanded the Israelites to eat everything of the lamb.

Third, we should not leave the lamb until morning, and whatever is left, we have to burn it. Namely, if they could not eat everything of the lamb until the morning, they had to burn the leftover with fire.

Spiritually, night refers to the time period during which the enemy devil and Satan has the authority to rule over this world. As the ‘night’ goes towards the last days, sins prevail more, and the darkness gets thickened.

Then, when the Lord comes back at His time, the darkness will go away and light will come so that it will be morning. By this time, everybody will realize all the words in the Bible are true, and each one’s measure of sanctification and rewards will be clearly revealed.

They will very clearly realize how foolish it was to hold on to their own righteousness, desires, and pride. They will also know how meaningless it was to love the world.

But there will be no chances remaining to change the results that are already revealed. It will be too late to regret thinking, ‘I should have cast off sins and evil more quickly and gone into spirit. I should have stored more rewards in heaven.’

Therefore, believers should keep all the words of God in their heart and make them their own before the Lord comes back. That is to say we have to accomplish all the words in us, finish the preparation as the bride, and wait for the Lord who is coming back.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, those who eat the word of God roasted over the fire will feel the word is as sweet as honey and honeycomb. They will be filled with the confidence of eternal life and hope of heaven, and they do not even notice the time passing when they read the Bible or listen to sermons.

Because they receive each word with longing for it in God’s grace, they feel it is fun. Also, they feel it is so joyful and happy each moment to find and change them selves with the Word. This kind of people will quickly grow to possess spiritual faith.

They will grow up from a newborn baby’s faith to the faith of a young man, and also to the faith of a father, namely to the full measure of the Christ.

If you reach the faith of a father, you will not only be blessed and prosperous in everything but also deeply realize the heart and love of God and come to know clearly about the secrets of the spiritual realm. Only those who have reached this level can understand how it tastes and how happy it is.

According to how you made the lamb yours, the quality of your life will become different not only on this earth but also in the heavenly kingdom. According to how much you kept the Word in you, the dwelling place, the glory given and rewards will be different. Also, the level of emotion and happiness you always feel in the eternity of time will be different.

I hope you members will eat the lamb roasted over the fire as a whole as God commanded, and quickly keep everything of it in you before the Lord comes back.

This way, may you go into the most glorious places and enjoy all the happiness that God prepared for His beloved children, I pray in the name of the Lord!

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