Relevant:The Rewards of Praying Part 4 (Ingredients of the Bread of Life)

Sermon Summary

This message explores what Jesus was talking about in The Model Prayer, or more commonly known as The Lord's Prayer, when He said we should ask God to "Give us today our daily bread." Most people automatically think of the physical bread we eat and this is certainly one of the aspects intended by Jesus. However, when you look at other things Jesus had said about "the bread of life" and take into account other passages of Scripture on the subject, you begin to see that the ingredients of daily bread are more than just physical. Asking God to provide you with daily bread includes physical provisions, but also includes spiritual provisions. 

Community Group Discussion Guide

1. Our bodies get hungry and have ways of compelling us to eat. We can always grab a quick snack and other times we spend a considerable amount of time preparing food or going out to eat. However, when it comes to the spiritual bread of life, we are not always as attentive to the hunger needs of our spirit. When Jesus said "Give us today our daily bread" the assumption was that we pray daily for daily bread! What are some of the difficulties and distractions you face in your attempts to establish a daily time of prayer and Bible study?

Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

2. Jesus certainly meant that we should ask God to provide for our needs physically, however, the temptation is for our prayers to become focused on our material needs or wants rather than on our spiritual needs. Why is this and how could Jesus' words, found in the following verses, help us with this problem?

Mat 6:25  "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
Mat 6:26  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Mat 6:27  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ?
Mat 6:28  "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.
Mat 6:29  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
Mat 6:30  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Mat 6:31  So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'
Mat 6:32  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
Mat 6:33  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

3. God has given us the written word to feast on. Jesus was the embodiment of the entire word and law of God in the flesh. Jesus not only gave us a wonderful example to live by through His life, but through His sacrificial death He also made it possible for us to eat the "Bread of Life!" What did Jesus mean when He said, "I am the bread of life"?

John 6:47-53 I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.
I am the bread of life.
Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died.
But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.  
This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

4. A list of spiritual provisions, which we should ask for daily, can be found in 2 Peter 1:1-8. This list is not exhaustive, but contains some powerful ingredients. Pick a few of the ingredients and discuss why they are so important to ask for daily.

2 Pet 1:1  Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:
2 Pet 1:2  Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
2 Pet 1:3  His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
2 Pet 1:4  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
2 Pet 1:5  For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;
2 Pet 1:6  and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;
2 Pet 1:7  and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
2 Pet 1:8  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Full Sermon Notes
Relevant: The Rewards of Praying Part 4
(Ingredients of The Bread of Life)
 
"I hear the Savior say, "Thy strength indeed is small; Child of weakness, watch and pray, Find in Me thine all in all." Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe, sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow."
Talk about rewards of praying. Just for the asking, Jesus pays a debt He didn't owe, because I owed a debt I could never pay! The whole reason we can pray The Lord's prayer, the model prayer, is because of what Jesus did on the cross! Thank You Jesus! Amen? Let's pray and ask Him to teach us to understand the depths of what it means to pray and the subsequent rewards.

"Lord, as we continue to study Your model prayer, please teach us and help us understand the depths of it's meaning. We thank You that we can pray to You our awesome and Holy Father! We do ask for Your kingdom rule and authority to be over our daily lives and we willing submit to Your will, direction, plans and guidance for our lives. Today we ask that You give us our daily bread. Teach us to understand all that entails and to understand how rewarding it can be to know we can ask You, The Creator of the universe, to take time out of Your schedule to stop and hear our cries, our concerns, our needs, our petitions. We love You and praise You for being such a loving and attentive God as we call upon Your Name. And it's in Jesus name I pray. Amen!"

Boy am I excited to share this message with you today. I woke up the other night thinking about the bread of life. What is it? What are the ingredients for bread of life? Our main text is found in Matthew 6. We will focus today on the part that talks about daily bread.

Mat 6:9  "This, then, is how you should pray: "'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
Mat 6:10  your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Mat 6:11  Give us today our daily bread.

When Jesus said we are to pray, "Give us today our daily bread, did He only mean asking God to provide physical sustenance for our physical survival? The other night I began to think about other things Jesus had said and taught concerning the bread of life. I was amazed. First of all, I knew He wasn't just talking about physical food when I remembered the words Jesus spoke when He was being tempted by Satan in the wilderness at the very beginning of His ministry. His words lead us to one of the most important ingredients in the bread of life.

The Written Word

Matthew 4:1-4 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ’”

Of course we need physical bread and sustenance. We'll talk more about that in a minute, but those who only focus on physical nourishment and ignore the spiritual, do so to their peril. God has graciously given us His written word to show us how to live lives with meaning and purpose. You can have all the physical sustenance and health in the world, but you can live a wasted life!

The Psalmist found this to be absolutely true. Psalm 119 is my favorite Psalm. It has 176 verses. We're only going to read 10 of them. Listen…

Psalm 119:9-18 How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.
I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Praise be to you, O LORD; teach me your decrees.
With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth.
I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.
I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.
I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.
Do good to your servant, and I will live; I will obey your word.
Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.

We keep our way of life pure when we live according to His Word. Seeking Him with all our heart keeps us from straying from His commands. He said he had hidden the word in his heart so he might not sin against God. He wanted to be taught, and he would use his lips to repeat God's Word so he wouldn't forget it. He found the Word of God to be as exciting as great riches. He meditated on the word and considered God's ways! He found great joy in what he learned and made a conscious decision to not neglect God's Word. He asked God to bless him and promised to obey God's instructions. He asked God to open his eyes that he could see the wonderful things in God's ways. I guess you could say the Psalmist had a really good appetite and he was spiritually hungry.

You might remember what Jesus had said back at the beginning of His Sermon on the Mount...

Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Now here's an amazing truth. God had given His people the written word. However, it was not enough. The people still didn't fully understand. They couldn't fully see. They couldn't fully comprehend the deep, yet simple truths God wanted them to know. So what did God do? He provided another ingredient for the bread of life...

The Living Word

Jesus was the embodiment of the entire word and law of God in the flesh. In fact Jesus had already made this statement in His sermon...

Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

Here's the deal…no one was able to fully live up to the righteous demands of the law. Many tried, but we were weakened by our sinful nature and so the law accentuated and highlighted our inability to be all God wanted us to be. God, in His mercy decided to do something about this. He made a way for those who hunger and thirst for righteousness to be filled. Jesus explained…

John 6:47-53 I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.
I am the bread of life.
Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died.
But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.  
This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.

They didn't understand. Jesus was not talking about literally eating His flesh and drinking His blood. He was talking about the spiritual ramifications of Him being the Messiah and the Lamb of God who would offer His body and blood as a sacrifice for the sins of the world and that whoever would believe and receive would be eating the true bread of life. How do I know this is what He was talking about? Listen to what Jesus said a few verses later...

John 6:57-63 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.
This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.”
He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you?
What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before!
The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.
There's another explanation...Let's fast forward to a short time before the crucifixion. Jesus was eating with His disciples. Listen to what He said...
And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying,
“This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

Let me explain something to you. When He said this is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you, the Jewish people had a unique perspective to understand. They knew that when a person lost their blood they lost their life, so for them life was in the blood. When Jesus said His blood was poured out for them they understood He was talking about His life! So Jesus lived a perfect life and then poured it out as a sacrifice for our imperfect lives and in so doing He became the Bread of Life for you and me. Now I know someone might be thinking. Wow! This is really deep and spiritual and kind of interesting, but I was wondering if "Give us today our daily bread" only has spiritual application? Are there any Physical ingredients in Daily Bread? I'm so glad you asked!!

Physical Provisions

Personally, I think sometimes we try too hard to separate our spiritual life from the rest of our life. I believe God wants us to understand that our spiritual well being effects every other aspect of our lives! Being spiritually well nourished gives us strength to face the difficult circumstances we all will face at some point in our lives. When we face those tough times it's certainly not wrong to ask God for very practical things, like basic necessities, including groceries! And except for those who are gluten intolerant, bread is on most of our lists. And they now have some breads that are gluten free! So it's okay to ask God for basic necessities! But we must be careful in this area. One of my favorite professors at Mississippi College said this...

"There seems to be an endless chain of 'things' for which to beseech God, thus making
'Give me' the recurrent theme"

Even the writer of Proverbs knew this temptation so he prayed a prayer that very few people are willing to pray, especially the prosperity preachers...

Proverbs 30:8-9 Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’
Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.

Jesus also gave some guidelines for the asking aspect of prayer a little later in His sermon. I think they sum up the asking for physical things pretty clearly. Let's just skip over there and let Him help us with this. Matthew 6:25-34.

Matthew 6:25-34 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns,
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.
Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow
is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Did you see what Jesus did here? He tells us to ask God to give us our daily bread, and I don't think it's wrong to ask God daily to give us our daily bread. But we are not to worry about those things and they are not to consume the lion share of our prayer time. That's why Jesus turns the attention right back to the most important daily bread! Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness! Remember, His Kingdom is where He rules! And remember His greatest desire is to be given the privilege of being the King of your heart! And if He's the King of your heart, you can rest assured that He will meet your physical needs so you can have the physical strength to accomplish His will for your life. But He said seek His Kingdom and His righteousness!

So this takes us to the final ingredients for the bread of life! They have to do with His righteousness.

Spiritual Provisions

2 Peter 1:1-8 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our
God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:
Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge
of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may
participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;
and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;
and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective
and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

So in your daily prayer for daily bread remember, God's going to give you the ingredients for the physical bread of life. Ask Him for them and thank Him for them, but don't worry about those things. The things we need to be concerned about are the things that God wants to give us but we are hesitant to ask for because they involve us being willing to submit our will to His will.

Our daily prayer for daily bread should include...

Faith

Goodness

Knowledge

Self-control

Perseverence

Godliness

Brotherly Kindness

Love

For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Let's pray! God give us today our daily bread. Help us to remember the very powerful list of ingredients that need to be a part of our recipe for daily bread. Thank You that You are the bread of life and that You have given us Your written word to feast on and that we have the example of Your life to follow...