#2168 – Are You Hungry for Life?      (25 Sep 2011)

The Message

Pastor Jim Penner

Special Guest

Mr. Chan Yim-Kwong
His life was transformed in 1998 when he came to Christ. He cares so much for the deprived groups and pushes education in Mainland China. He encourages the Christian businessmen to practice faith in doing business through the ministry of “The Oaks”. He focuses on marketplace and city transformation. He personally lives up as well as motivates Christians to glorify God at work, to bring the Kingdom into every aspect of the society and to testify the grace and the ruling of God.

The Message

Well I guess I have to preach. We’re talking about the I Am’s of Jesus Christ. And Dr. Schuller started the message on Jesus: My One Essential Friend. That was a sermon for a year. That sermon could last you a year, just repeating that: Jesus, My One Essential Friend. I can’t get those words out of my head. It’s wonderful. And then last week, Sheila talked about Jesus said I Am the Door. Jesus said I Am the Door. It’s profound because that’s the door that separated us from God. That’s what He was referring to. And Jesus says I Am the Door. And He makes it possible for you to have a relationship with God. If you missed that message, that message is about your entire eternity. Go to hourofpower.org, you can watch it again. Refer to an unsaved friend to that message because it’ll change their life. It was very, very well done. Sheila was really guided by the Lord in that.

And this morning, we’re going to take it another place where Jesus said I Am. Jesus said in John chapter 6, verse 35, “I Am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” Every time I’ve read that verse, there’s one word that jumps off the page at me every single time, and that word is hunger. Hunger. We all know what its like to be hungry. We’re hungry several times a day. I’m hungry five times a day, I guarantee it, always looking for something to snack on. We know what hunger feels like. We also know what it means to be hungry for love. We also know what it means to be hungry for acceptance. We also know what it means to be hungry for success. We know what hungry feels like, what hunger feels like. That’s why this message is entitled “Are you Hungry for Life?” because most of us go through life hungry for something our entire lives. A hunger that sometimes just never feels satisfied. Hunger. And yet Jesus says, “I Am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger.”

Now what you hunger for in life is different for everybody. Everybody has a different kind of hunger. So what hunger burns within you today? What hunger burns within you that just doesn’t seem to be satisfied? I’m asking that question, and the reason I’m asking that question is because many years ago, there was a group of people sitting in a meadow, thousands of them, and they were listening to Jesus teach. Now it’s very interesting because towards the end of the day, all of a sudden, baskets of food starts making their way through the crowd. Baskets of food. In some of those baskets there was bread. In some of the other baskets there were fish. But they’re making their way through the crowd, and these folks are just like you and I, they were hungry so they ate.

But pretty soon, something started to happen. Somebody started to notice that maybe something wasn’t quite right. Hey Joe, you see a catering truck roll up? No I didn’t see a catering truck. You see a catering truck? No. Did you see a wagon roll up with a bunch of food? I didn’t see a wagon full of food. We’re in the middle of nowhere. Where’d all this food come from? And it’s murmuring through the crowd, where’d all this food come from? And then somebody who’s carrying a basket said no Jesus did this with five loaves and two fish. The guy’s over here looking at him like man, who punched your ticket to crazy town? That just doesn’t happen. How’d He do that with five loaves and two fish? No, He did, I saw it with my own eyes. No, you’re nuts. Then another guy over here with a basket said no, I saw it, too! Five loaves and two fish. It was the weirdest thing. He’d divide that bread and it just kept dividing. There was no end to that loaf. This guys standing over here, really? And another guy over here with a basket, yeah! I’m not kidding, we saw it too.

Now all of a sudden there’s a murmur through the crowd. Hey wait a minute. This just doesn’t happen. If this Jesus can do this, man, we need to make Him our leader. We need to make this guy king. This guy knows how to satisfy the hunger in our bellies. He knows how to bring home the money. Right? He can satisfy our hunger any time we need it. We just call upon Jesus. Let’s go make Him king. Jesus hears this murmuring and it’s about this time He kind of just slips away and they can’t find Him. The very next day, this same group of people that were trying to make Him king, they go out and look for Jesus and they find Him with His disciples. And when they find Him, it’s very interesting. Everything they ask Him really kind of boils down to three word question, a three word question. Who are you? That’s what they’re really asking Jesus, who are You? Did God send You? Are You a prophet? Who are You? Well Jesus has an answer for them.

They ask Him what sign will You perform then that we may see it and believe that You came from God? What work will You do? Our fathers ate manna in the desert as it is written. He gave them bread to eat from heaven. Now they were referring.. they knew that their forefathers had come out of Egypt, that God had rescued them, that they’d crossed the Red Sea, then they knew they wandered in the desert for 40 years and every single day God made it rain bread from heaven. He made it rain manna, and that’s how they survived. These folks knew that that’s how their forefathers survived.

So they say, our fathers ate manna in the desert. As it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said to them, most assuredly I say to you, Moses did not give you bread from heaven but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven for the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.

Then they said to Him, Lord, give us this bread always. And Jesus said to them, I Am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I say to you, that you have seen Me and yet you do not believe. I can’t remember the first time I read those words where Jesus said, I Am the bread of life. And also where He said I say to you that you have seen Me and yet you do not believe. But I remember in my college days, my college days were dark days. My college days were I was hungry for bread in the world. I wasn’t hungry for the kingdom of God bread; I was hungry for bread in the world. God, You gave me life, thank You very much, I’ll take it from here. I got the wheel. It’s in good hands. I know how to take care of things. That was my college days.

But I found something out. When God says turn right, and I turned left, it kind of leads to misery. When God says go slower and I went faster, it kind of leads to misery. And when I would say I got a better way of handling this, Lord, it kind of led to misery. Because I was walking outside of God’s will. And that goes right back to what Jesus said: I say to you that you have seen Me and yet you do not believe. You don’t trust. I wasn’t trusting. I was trusting myself. I was hungry for bread in the world. And you know all those fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self control, I went to church every Sunday when I was in college, most Sunday’s. I knew what those things meant. I also thought that I had them.

But it was also very interesting, because what I really had was I loved those who agreed with me. I had kindness for those who loved me. I had kindness for those who I needed kindness from. I had joy when I was getting what I wanted. I was hungry for life on my terms. Now if that meant being judgmental over here, and saying oh I don’t think they’re living life quite right, so I’m going to tear them down a little bit, that’s what I did. And quite frankly, we’re all really good at that. We are all really good at pointing the finger. You see how they’re living? You agree with what they’re doing? Versus, Lord, what do You want me to do about this? Nothing, just trust Me. Lord, that’s hard. Nothing, just trust Me. Lord, I got to do something. Nothing, just trust Me. God says that over and over again in scripture to trust. And going to church every week didn’t change my attitude because I didn’t let it change my attitude. I didn’t want my attitude changed. I liked my attitude. But that’s how I was walking through life. I was walking through life.

But I also discovered something. The more I walked like that, the more I had anger, fear, and anxiety. Anybody recognize any of those symptoms of walking outside of God’s will? Anger, fear and anxiety. A whole lot of people know what anger, fear and anxiety is. Did you realize, I’ve said this before, the number one prescription medication on the market in the United States today is a prescription drug for anxiety. A whole lot of people are walking through life with worry and anxiety. A whole lot of folks. And I know it’s true. It’s true here. Because I can’t tell you how many people come up to me, or write me letters, or put messages on my phone that say I’m worried about my child. I’m worried about my health. I’m worried about my friend. My friend has cancer. I’m so worried about him. My husband is sick. I’m so worried about him. I’m worried about my relationship with so and so, or I’m angry at this person or that person for what they did. When I hear those types of things, I hear one thing: f-e-a-r. Fear. Worry. Anxiety. Oh man.

But what’s the response? What’s Jesus’ response to that? Jesus says, “I Am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never be hungry and shall never thirst.” If you’re hungering over fear and anxiety, that kind of fly’s away from what Jesus was saying. Jesus was saying, I Am the bread of life. You shouldn’t be hungering at all. You shouldn’t have any fear. You shouldn’t have any worry. Jesus did not say they’re going to thirst sometimes or be hungry sometimes. That’s not what He said. He said I Am the bread of life.

And you say but Jim, I’ve accepted Jesus into my heart. I didn’t say you weren’t saved. I said you weren’t living by faith if you have fear and worry and anxiety permeating your life. You’re not living by faith. Because quite frankly, Jesus said in Luke 6:46, “Why do you call Me Lord and do not do what I say?” That’s a powerful sentence, a powerful word from Jesus. Why do you call Me Lord and do not do what I say? Jesus, do You have anything to say about fear and worry? What do You have to say about fear and worry? Because I need a good word on fear and worry.

And it’s right here in Matthew 6. Jesus says about fear and worry, therefore, I say to you, do not worry about your life what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they neither toil nor spin and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Now if God so clothes the grass of the field which today is and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, oh you of little faith. Therefore, big therefore, do not worry! Saying what shall we eat, what shall we drink, what shall we wear? After all these things the Gentiles seek. Now the Gentiles in that day were considered people who didn’t have faith in God, so I’ll read that again.

For after all these things, the people without faith seek. Your Heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God. Wow. Instead of worrying, seek first and only, and nothing else, the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Ten verses and Jesus said five times, count them, do not worry, do not worry, do not worry, do not worry, do not worry. What did Jesus say? That was a really meager response. You ought to be pumped up full of faith right now. Jesus said do not worry.

And a little bit earlier, we talked about why do You call me Lord and do not do what I say? What did Jesus say? Oh, faith is growing, faith is growing. What did Jesus say? Yes! Who’s going to go out of here worrying today? Oh no hands. Perfect. Perfect. Do not worry. Do not worry.

Then the questions start, you’re feeling great now. You’re going to walk out of this church, but I need a job. Oh, my legs don’t feel too good. I’m kind of sick. How’s my checking account look? Oh, look a little frightening out there in the world, right? The questions start: I need a job. Give it to the Lord, believing that God will guide your job search. If you have cancer, give it to the Lord, God is on the throne, you are not. He’s in charge of your body, have the faith in Him that He’s going to do something about it.

And you say okay Jim, you got me. You got me. I need that kind of faith. How in the world do I get that kind of faith? How in the world do I get that kind of faith? I’m so glad you asked that question. You asked the question, right? How do I get that kind of faith? You’re not alone. The disciples, those hand picked by Jesus Christ asked the very same thing, so don’t feel bad. If you’re asking how do I get that kind of faith, Jesus, they asked Jesus that very same question. And Jesus gave them an answer. I’ll tell you what happened. It’s a great story.

Jesus gave His disciples the authority to create miracles in His name. And the disciples go out and they find this young man who’s actually possessed by a demon, doing all kinds of strange things. They’re not able to cast him out. And they’re scratching their heads. They take him over to Jesus, and Jesus says we’re not able to cast him out. Well you know what happened, Jesus rebuked the demon and the demon left, packed and got out of there. And the disciples are saying, how’d You do that? How come we weren’t able to do that? Jesus gave them an answer. Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief, for assuredly I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain move from here to there, and it will move and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind of faith does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”

Jesus said if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed. I got mustard seeds over here. You ever seen a mustard seed? Right at the foot of the cross. It’s so small, I don’t know if you can actually see it in the palm of my hand. That’s how small faith is. When I pinch it with my fingers, it kind of disappears. When I got these at the store couple days ago, I got one out and I shook one out of the container and I put it in the palm of my hand. And I wanted to see if I could hold on to this mustard seed all the way home, maybe a two/three mile drive. Sure enough, I lost it; searched through my car trying to look for it. But it reminded me of something. How easy it is to lose faith. That little mustard seed rolling around, how easy it is for us to lose faith.

Oh man, as I said earlier, my checking account’s empty. Got all this sickness in my body, knees don’t work; relationships aren’t working, job hunts not working. How easy it is to lose faith. But yet Jesus said if you have faith that big, as a grain of mustard seed; that doesn’t seem like a lot of faith. But what does He say? If you have faith as a grain that big, mountains will move in your life. Wow. What if you start praying; that’s how this works. Wow. Mustard seed faith is amazing. What if I prayed for my friend who was sick from cancer? I prayed for him and two weeks later I find out they were healed. Mustard seed faith. What if I prayed for that job that I’ve been lacking and all of a sudden it happens? Mustard seed faith. Mountains move when you have that much faith. We’re not just playing around here. These are the words of Jesus Christ: “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed.”

Oh and I know all the arguments. Jim, what if it doesn’t happen? What if it doesn’t happen? What if I pray for something and it just doesn’t happen? How much faith do you have? It takes even more faith to believe God has an even better plan for your life. Whoa. How do I know what I should be praying for? How do I know that my prayer is perfect? Because back earlier in Matthew, when we were reading, where Jesus said seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. So your first prayer needs to be, “Lord, Thy will be done.” How many messages have I given on that in this church? Thy will be done.

So this morning, I’m going to invite you to come up and get a mustard seed in a minute. Let this little seed, even if you lose it, remember how precious faith is. Now, it’s very interesting, it spells out faith, and when you come over here it spells faith in mustard seeds. And you’ll notice there are so many seeds on there, that as you take one away, there’s still enough faith left for everybody. You can still read the word. Every one of these seeds will be gone into your hands; you’ll still be able to read faith because there are so many mustard seeds there. That’s what this is about.

Let’s rise and pray together: Oh Lord Jesus, today we pray for mustard seed faith. Just a tiny fraction of the faith, just the tip of the iceberg of what You are talking about. And Lord, You said mountains would move. So Lord God, we’re going to pray two things. First thing we’re going to pray is Your will be done, not ours. We’re not important, You are. You’re on the throne. We’re going to pray Your will be done. And Lord God, we’re going to pray for the faith of a mustard seed so we can say to the mountains in our life, in the name of Jesus, move, and they will move and nothing will be impossible to us. Thank You, Lord Jesus, amen.


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