Bread From Heaven

     Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believed not."  

     The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, "I am the bread which came down from heaven." "And they strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then said Jesus unto them, Verily, verily. I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. . . . It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." The question comes home to us today, Are we eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God? It is by beholding the love of Christ, by drinking it in, by dwelling upon it, that we eat his flesh and drink his blood, becoming partakers of the divine nature. As we meditate upon the truth as it is in Jesus, it becomes more deeply impressed upon the soul. "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." It is through the ministry of the word, that the saints are to be perfected. But what does it mean that there is so low a standard of piety among those who profess to be followers of Christ? Are the people fed upon the words of Christ? Are the messengers satisfied with preaching a discourse, and leaving the work of ministering to whoever may be inclined to do it? There is earnest work to do out of the desk as well as in it. The sermon may arouse the conscience, but the labor will be lost if the soul is left to settle down into the same state of indifference as before the words were spoken. The messenger is to speak as moved by the Spirit of God, and then he must come close to souls through personal labor, and guide the conscience, and fasten the truth in a sure place. The minister has a work to do in the home circle, teaching the members of the family concerning the great love wherewith God hath loved us, that they may know what it is to eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God. When the heart of the messenger is warmed with the love of Jesus, he will have a message to give that will be as a savor of life unto life, or of death unto death. He will not feel that his responsibility is over when he leaves the desk; there is a God-appointed work for him to do as a careful, tender shepherd of the flock of God. If he is a heaven-sent messenger, the truth will be in him as fire shut up in his bones, and it will be continually shining to enlighten those who are ignorant of what Jesus is to them, and of what they are to Jesus. He will teach them that the only way to reach the heaven above, is to cling to Jesus, day by day, hour by hour, mounting step by step to the heights of Christ.  

     Those whom God has appointed to become instructors must know by personal experience what it is to have Christ made unto them wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. But let no soul imagine that the gaining of eternal life through the finished work of Christ, will involve no struggle, no conflict. There will be constant battles against their own inclinations and hereditary and cultivated tendencies. The apostle declares, "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." We are continually to be found fighting the good fight of faith. We are to behold Christ, to study his character in the light of his word with fervent prayer, dwelling upon his attributes and virtues, until we shall become changed into his image. There is no time to halt and rest upon the ladder of progress. The command is to go forward and upward, looking to God, who is above the ladder. To look back is to become dizzy, to relax your hold, to lose all, to fall back into darkness. You must keep hold on Christ your Mediator, ascending step by step, being changed from glory to glory, from character to character, as by the Spirit of the Lord. Stretch up the hand of faith, taking hold of one line after another in the work of the Redeemer for the saving of precious souls. Those who think to labor for others should not wait till they know it all, before they begin to communicate to others, nor should they think that they have attained all that belongs to the work of the minister when they can preach a discourse. Such an one should set the standard high, and seek to become a minister of the word, teaching the souls for whom you labor precept upon precept, line upon line of divine truth. Your work cannot be a success unless you educate those for whom you labor. Seek to enlighten the minds of the seekers after truth by giving them clear and definite explanations in their own home circle, in the prayer meeting, and from the pulpit. Instead of spending all the time in sermonizing, open your Bible, and invite the people to engage with you in studying its precious truths. Let those who desire ask questions concerning that which they do not comprehend, that the plan of salvation may be more clearly revealed to their minds. Plant the feet of all that you possibly can, one step after another upon the divine ladder reaching from earth to heaven. Lift up Jesus, lift him up as the only One whereby men can be saved. Then will the truth you present become the power of God unto salvation. 

BEcho, April 1, 1892