2706. Feeding On The Bread Of Life

by on
Feeding On The Bread Of Life

No. 2706-46:601. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, November 6, 1881, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, December 23, 1900.

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me has everlasting life. I am that bread of life. {Joh 6:47,48}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1642, “1642. “Truly, Truly”” 1643}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2706, “Feeding on the Bread of Life” 2707}
   Exposition on Joh 6:22-59 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3192, “Soul’s Meat and Drink, The” 3193 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Joh 6:25-51 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2606, “Choice Teaching for the Chosen” 2607 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Joh 6:41-65 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2706, “Feeding on the Bread of Life” 2707 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Joh 6:41-66 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3424, “Food Indeed, and Drink Indeed” 3426 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Joh 6:41-71 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2386, “Drawings of Divine Love, The” 2387 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Joh 6:41-71 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2528, “Eating the Sacrifice” 2529 @@ "Exposition"}
    {See Spurgeon_SermonTexts "Joh 6:48"}

1. Observe carefully the order in which our Lord puts the two blessings he mentions; — first, life through believing in him, and then food to sustain that life; — first, “he who believes in me has everlasting life”; and next to that, “I am that bread of life.” Life comes first, and food follows afterwards. It is impossible for a dead man to feed, or to be fed; only the living can eat and drink. I once went into the monastery of the Capuchins {a} at Rome, and there I saw certain of the departed brotherhood dressed in their regular habits, although they had been dead, some of them a hundred years, some fifty, and one gentleman, I think, had scarcely been dead more than a year or so; but there they sat, with their breviaries in their hands, just as, if they had been alive; yet I did not see any preparations for feeding them. It would have been as ridiculous to attempt to feed them as it was to keep them there at all.

2. Now, when we preach the gospel, unless you have spiritual life, you cannot feed on it; and if you were to come to the communion table, unless you were truly alive to God, you might eat the bread, and drink the wine, but you could have nothing to do with real spiritual food, the body of Christ, and the blood of Christ. We do not give food to people in order to make them live. That would be a useless experiment; but, because they are alive, they take food in order to sustain and nourish the life which is already in them. Always remember, dear friends, that the best spiritual food in the world is useless to those who are spiritually dead; and one very essential part of the gospel is that truth which our Saviour so plainly taught, “You must be born again.” All attempts at feeding the soul are of no use until the new birth has been experienced; even that precious, priceless bread of life cannot be assimilated unless the soul has been quickened by the Spirit of God.

3. Judge, then, my hearers, whether you are alive to God, or not. Before you can properly know the truth, before you are qualified to learn its mysteries, pray that you may be made to live by faith in Jesus Christ; for before food comes life.

4. But, next, after life there must be food; for, just as surely as there will be no use for the food without the life, so there will be no continuance of the life without the food. Men have played great pranks with themselves, and have even experimented on the possibility of living for forty days without food, — an experiment which I, for one, have no desire to imitate; neither would I recommend any of my hearers to attempt it, for the probability is that, if one man should manage to survive his forty days’ fast, there will be forty other men, who try to do the same, who will be in another world long before the end of that time. God meant us to eat if we wish to live. When he made men and women, he made the fruits of the earth on which they should feed, and afterwards he gave them the meat of beasts so that they might feed on it; but they must be fed if they are to continue to exist. So it is with the soul; and the soul must be fed on spiritual food. Souls cannot eat what bodies can eat; but, still, they must eat; all the qualities in a spiritual man, which are gracious, need food. Faith needs truth to believe. Love needs a revelation of love to keep it burning. Hope needs to be reminded of the things to be expected in the future, so that it may continue to hope; and every grace within a spiritual man is clamorous for spiritual food that it may feed on. If there are any of you, who profess to be spiritual men, and yet you say that you can live without reading the Bible, without attending the house of prayer, without any outward means of grace, all I can say is that I do not want to try your system of living, for I should be starved by it if you are not; and I would not recommend any Christian man to try to see how long his spirit can live without spiritual food. No; our Lord’s order is, first, life; then food; and this implies that, where there is life, there must be food. Those two things are very simple, yet many people live as if they did not know them.

5. Next, if you look at the text, you will see that there is everlastingness in the life: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me has everlasting life”; yet there is a need for food all the same. The everlastingness of the life does not militate against the fact of its need for spiritual food, for here the two things are put side by side: “He who believes in me has everlasting life. I am that bread of life.” The life of the believer is everlasting, but it needs food to sustain it. Does any one of you say, “God has saved me, the Holy Spirit has quickened me, and I shall never perish; therefore I need not feed on the Word, I need not be watchful, I need not be careful?” My dear friend, you err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the analogy of faith. It is quite certain that those whom Christ has quickened by his Spirit shall never die; but it is just as certain that they would die if they did not feed on Christ, and sustain their life by that means; the two things are not contrary to each other. I charge you, beloved, to be as vigilant in the keeping of yourselves as if you were really your own keepers. Be as earnest that you do not slip with your feet as if there were no promise that God would keep the feet of his saints. Be as diligent in prayer and holy living as if everything depended on yourself. Yet do not forget to fall back on the grand truth that, after all, your safety does not depend on yourself, but it rests in the hands of him who has undertaken to keep you from falling, and to preserve you even to the end. Your new life is everlasting, yet you must feed it.

6. Now think for a minute or two of the converse of that truth. Because your new life must feed, — which is clear from the text, where Christ says, “I am that bread of life,” — do not therefore infer that your life is not everlasting. All the precepts of the Word of God which admonish us to persevere are consistent with the fact that the saints shall persevere. All the exhortations to feed on spiritual food are quite consistent with the blessed fact that you shall so feed, and that, so feeding, your souls shall live for ever. Does a man not have two eyes? Surely it is so that he may see all of a truth, and not merely one side of it. I believe that some people fall into great mischief because they shut one eye, and never will open it; and if anyone tries to point out the other side of truth, they cry, “Oh, he is not sound!” But, my dear friend, for my part, I am always quite satisfied when I have the Scriptures behind my teaching. I do not care even the snap of a finger for what you may call unsound, or what anyone else may call unsound, as long as it is in accordance with the Word of God. And you may depend on this fact, that paradoxes are not strange things in Scripture, but are rather the rule than the exception. Very often, those things which appear to contradict each other are only two sides of the same truth, and he who would understand the truth itself must look at them both, and follow them both. If you are Christ’s sheep, you shall never perish, neither shall anyone pluck you out of his hands; yet it is to you that such a warning as this is addressed, “Take heed, brethren, lest there is in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God”; and it is to you that the injunction is given, “Do not labour for the food which perishes, but for that food which endures to everlasting life”; and while labouring for it, bless God that you have it already, since you have Christ in your possession, and he says, “I am that bread of life.”

7. Notice, brethren, how Jesus Christ, our Divine Lord and Master, is everything to his people. Our life, that is Christ: “He who believes in me has everlasting life.” Our food for that life: that also is Christ: “I am that bread of life.” I have come even to love my own needs, for they seem to be like pedestals where the image of Christ may stand. If I did not need Christ, how could he be my life? If I did not need food to sustain that life, how could he be the bread of life to me? But the greater my needs, the deeper is my sense of his fulness. The more I become dependent on him for everything, the more I see his all-sufficiency. You know that, if there were no great hollows and deep places on the face of the earth, there would be no room for the seas and oceans; and if there were no deep places in our soul’s need, where could be the fulness, the revealed fulness, of the Lord Jesus Christ? Rejoice, then, my brother, that Christ made you alive from the dead, and then raise another song of thanksgiving because he keeps you alive. Bless his name for grafting you into the vine, and then bless him for every drop of sap as it comes flowing out of him, the stem, into you, the branch. Christ is all; Christ is all; Christ is all; and to his name be praise for ever and ever.

8. Perhaps someone asks, “How do we feed on Jesus Christ?” and there are some who say that we feed on Christ in what is called “the sacrament.” I do not like that word “sacrament” as applied to the ordinance of the Lord’s supper; in any case, there is no mention in Scripture of such a thing as a “sacrament.” It is an old heathenish word, applying to the oath which a soldier swore to be faithful to his commander. I like neither swearing nor sacraments, and I do not like either one of them any more than the other, for both of them are contrary to the Word of God. Out of that word “sacrament” a great mass of mischief has grown up; it is a bed of rottenness out of which all kinds of evil fungi have sprung. Let us keep clear of that once and for all.

9. Some men tell us, however, that, in what they call “the sacrament of holy communion,” the communicants feed on Christ. Listen. My text was spoken by Christ before the Lord’s supper had been instituted: a long while before he broke the bread, and poured out the wine, as a memorial of his death, he had uttered these remarkable words: “ ‘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 you.’ ” But there was spiritual life in the disciples, even then, was there not? Yet they had never eaten from what is called the sacrament, for it was not instituted at that time. Since there was true life in them, they must have eaten of Christ; and there being no Lord’s supper then instituted, it is clear that there is a way of eating from Christ’s flesh, and drinking from his blood, altogether apart from the communion.

10. Now, having said so much by way of correcting a common error, I want you just as clearly to understand that the Lord’s supper, as later instituted, was obviously intended by Christ to be a picture, presenting, by outward and visible signs, the way of feeding on him. It is not actually feeding on Christ, for that took place before there was any Lord’s supper; but it is an admirable picture of that feeding on Christ; and to all time it remains one of the best methods — one method only, notice that, — one of the best methods by which spiritually-quickened souls are helped to feed on Christ. We often feed on Christ while hearing sermons. We feed on Christ as we read good books. We feed on Christ in the public prayers of the sanctuary, and in the secret communion in our own room. If we are as we should be, we are always feeding on Christ; and part of the meaning of that petition, “Give us today our daily bread,” is, “Give us today to feed on Christ.” Though we come to no communion table, much less approach an altar of sacrifice, we are spiritually and really fed by Christ in other ways. Still, again I say that this communion service is a very choice way of feeding on Christ; and I want to try to show you, by this picture, how it is that souls feed spiritually on our Lord Jesus Christ.

11. Baptism is a picture of how souls receive spiritual life. The Lord’s supper is a picture of how that new life is sustained. Both ordinances are only pictures, symbols, emblems, — nothing more. Our immersion, by its symbolic representation of death, and burial, and rising again out of the water, illustrates how we live by dying to all but Christ, and rise again to live in Christ in newness of life. That is the beginning of the new life; and then comes the Lord’s supper as a picture of how the soul feeds on the body and blood of Christ. Baptism is the door of the house, and the communion is a meal in the inner room for those who have been raised from the dead, and quickened into life in Christ Jesus. Do not imagine — I do not suppose that I have a single hearer who thinks so, — but do not imagine that there is any magic in baptism, by which water makes men, women, or children, into children of God, heirs of Christ, and heirs of the kingdom of heaven; and do not suppose either that there is any magic about bread and wine, — I think some use wafers and wine and water, — but do not suppose for a moment that there is any magic in them; they are merely pictures illustrating important truths, for souls cannot eat bread, souls cannot drink “the fruit of the vine.” What are these emblems and symbols here for? Only as helps to thought, reminders of certain great facts, memorials of wondrous deeds which are brought to our memory, so that our memories, and through them our souls, may feed on these great truths.

12. Now, after this unusually lengthy preface, which seemed to be necessary for the full understanding of our subject, I want to point out to you the picture, which the Lord’s supper sets before us, of our feeding on the bread of life.


14. In coming to the communion table, the first thing we do is to give thanks, — to ask a blessing, — the blessing of God on the sacred feast. Now, soul, if you are really alive to God by Jesus Christ, you cannot feed on Christ without the divine blessing. Just as you could not, at the first, come to Christ without the Father’s blessing, so you cannot even now feed on Christ without the Holy Spirit’s divine assistance. If I were to sit down, and say, “I am going to feed on Christ,” and opened at the very sweetest chapter in the whole Bible, I might read it through, and yet not be feeding on Christ at all. If I were to say, “I will get down on my knees, and in my bedroom I will enter into fellowship with Christ, and spiritually eat his flesh, and drink his blood,” I might stay down on my knees until they ached, but, apart from the blessing of God, I should get no good out of the action. So, first, when we come to this communion table, we ask God to bless what we are about to do; for, unless he shall draw us, we shall not be able to run after him; unless he shall open our mouth, we shall not be fed with the bread of heaven. I charge you, therefore, oh beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, whose hearts are longing for communion with the Well-Beloved, ask your Heavenly Father, by the effective working of his blessed Spirit, to visit you with power, and life, and blessing! When you open the Bible, let it be with this prayer on your lips: “Quicken me, oh Lord, according to your Word!” When you draw near to God in private devotion, let it be in complete dependence on the Spirit of God. When you listen to sermons, when you come to the communion table, let it always be with the glance to heaven for in the blessing of the Lord to rest on it all, for all is nothing unless God shall bless it to you.


16. The blessing is asked, now what follows at the communion? Why, next, bread is taken, and broken. That bread is the emblem of the body of Christ. But what is that wine cup? It is the emblem of the blood of Christ. So, you see, we have flesh there without blood, and blood there as it were drained out of the flesh. What do the two emblems together make up? Why, death. If we were to dip the bread in the wine, it would be no proper observance of the Lord’s supper; but these two emblems are separate from each other, because they are intended to symbolize to us the death of Christ. Now, brothers and sisters, the food of your faith is to be found in the death of the Lord Jesus for you; and, oh, what blessed food it is! Some of us know what it is to be bowed down in despondency almost to despair; and I, for one, bear my testimony that, under such circumstances, nothing revives me like a sight of my Master on the accursed tree. Unless he died for me, I, for one, am lost eternally. I can see no merits of my own, which I dare present to God; for I am a mass of sin, and I should be a mass of misery, were it not for those dear wounds of his, and that bloody sweat, that cross and passion.

17. Think much of this great central truth of the atonement, for it is the food of your soul. The bread and the wine cannot spiritually feed you; all they can do is to help you to remember the sufferings and death of Jesus, and, by remembering them, to illustrate his death until he comes. It is in this way that your faith is nourished, your hope is nourished, your love is nourished, your whole soul is nourished in every gracious and holy way. Read the life of Christ as recorded by the four Evangelists, but feed most on the death of Christ. Study the example of Christ, yet that is not your food; let your food be his body broken for your sake, his blood poured out in grievous agony, even to death, as atonement for your sin. The Lord’s supper is a very beautiful and impressive method of instruction for us because, just as there we have to feed on emblems which illustrate a cruel death, so our souls must feed, by contemplation, on the real death of Christ, and all good things within us must be sustained by faith in that death.


19. We have looked at what is on the table; the next thing, in order to celebrate the Lord’s supper, is that we must eat, and we must drink. It would be no observance of the supper if I were to break the bread, and leave it on the table, or if the wine in the cup should stand there simply to be looked at. No; the bread must be eaten, the wine must be drunk. Learn from this that if your soul is to be fed, you must take Christ into you; you must not merely think of him as belonging to someone else, but as your own Saviour, whose death was in your place, who loved you, and gave himself for you. Be bold, by faith, to cry, as Thomas did, not only “Lord and God,” but “My Lord, and my God.” Say, “In this blood, which he shed, I wash away my sin. This body of his, which he gave to death, he gave up for me; and in his sufferings my heart confides because these sufferings were endured for me.”

20. It is palpable to everyone that there is no feeding of the body by just rubbing a loaf of bread outside of it. You have to break up the loaf, and to get it into yourself; and there is no feeding the spirit by merely believing the doctrines of the Word, and knowing the facts of the gospel; you must accept him who is the very essence of the doctrines: you must receive him to whom all the facts relate; you must, indeed, by faith take Jesus Christ into yourself. Oh beloved, this is the way to feed on Christ! Your new life will be vigorous enough, and strong enough, when this is the case with you.


22. I remind you that, in the eating and the drinking at the Lord’s supper, there is much deliberation to be revealed, it is not a helter-skelter rush, and a hurried feeding. There are two signs, two symbols, both of which very wonderfully represent Christ’s suffering. I have often sketched for you the process by which we get our bread; it is very significant and instructive. The wheat is taken, and sown in the ground, and buried. It is subject to frost and snow, and all kind of ills. It springs up; it grows; it ripens. Then comes the sickle, and it is cut down. Being cut down, it is carried away on the loaded wagon, and thrown on the threshing-floor. Then it is beaten with the flail until each grain of wheat is separated from the straw. Then the wheat is taken, and put into the mill, and in the mill it is ground to fine flour. Nor have its pangs and tortures ended yet. It is made into dough, and kneaded; and then it must go into the oven to be baked. Through all kinds of painful processes it must go until it finishes up with being broken to pieces, and with being ground between the teeth of the eater. In this way, it becomes a most significant symbol of the sufferings of Christ. His life is, all through, a story of griefs: “Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows”; and you and I are to think over that history of Christ with due deliberation and care as we ponder the symbolism of the broken bread. Then comes the cup. Here, the grape has been crushed in the wine-press until its ruddiest juice has been poured out, its very heart’s blood being shed beneath the extreme pressure. This is another picture of Christ’s suffering, — of his suffering even to death. So the one picture has two panels, and many subdivisions, as if the Lord would say to us, “If you want to feed your soul on Christ, you must think a great deal about him. You must not merely say, by faith, ‘Yes, Christ is my Saviour.’ That is good, so far as it goes; that truth will give you life; but you must see who he was, and what he was, and what he did, and why he did it, and what he is doing now, and what he has yet to do; and so, by taking it in detail, you will feed your soul very wonderfully.” Look at many half-starved Christians. Why! you can see each rib, you may count each bone in their spiritual anatomy. They have scarcely enough life to be able to sing in a whisper, —

    ’Tis a point I long to know,
    Oft it causes anxious thought,
    Do I love the Lord, or no?
    Am I his, or am I not?

Now, if they thought more of Christ, — if they broke up the truth about him more than they do, — if they looked more into his passion, — if they studied his wonderful person, — if they relied on his promises, — if they rested in his work more in detail by contemplation, they would grow to be spiritual giants, they would be “strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.”

23. Is there not much instructive teaching, then, in this supper, as far as we have gone? But, I want you, dear friends, to notice that every point about the Lord’s supper is full of gracious spiritual meaning.


25. When the Lord Jesus Christ passed the cup to his disciples, he said to them, “This cup is the new testament (that is, covenant,) in my blood, which is shed for you.” Listen to the word “covenant, covenant.” — Brothers and sisters, are you very hungry? Do your souls want the richest food that God himself can give you? I will tell you of a cupboard where there is locked up bread such as they never ate in the wilderness; it is better even than the manna. Take your Bible, and go through its many chambers, and up and down the corridors of its wondrous teaching, and you will see, over one coffer that stands there, this word, in golden letters, “covenant.” That is the place where God especially meets with his people. “He has given food to those who fear him: he will always be mindful of his covenant.” The man who can fully understand the word “covenant” is a theologian. That is the key of all theology, — the covenant of works by which we fell, and the covenant of grace by which we stand, Christ fulfilling the covenant for us as our Surety and Representative, fulfilling it by the shedding of his blood, which is typified by the cup, and so leaving for us a covenant entirely fulfilled on our side, which is Christ’s side, and only to be fulfilled now by God. And what God has to fulfil is this promise of the covenant: “Also I will give you a new heart, and I will put within you a new spirit: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them. … And you shall be my people, and I will be your God.”

26. Ah, brethren! this is what we call “a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.” Some of our fellow Christians have very poor spiritual digestion; they cannot feed on this kind of food. When they try to partake of it, they imagine that it is too rich for them, so they say, “It cannot be good food for souls.” Indeed, but there are some of us who, by reason of age and use, have had our senses exercised, and we have grown old enough now to digest the solid food of the gospel, and we are glad to get our teeth into it whenever we can. I like to go down to the covenant storehouse, and to lay hold of these blessed things; and I urge you, brothers and sisters, to do the same. If you really want to feed your soul, take care that you try to understand the covenant, for the Lord Jesus gives you a hint that there the richest wine is found by saying, as he was passing the cup, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood.”


28. To my mind, there is something very beautiful and suggestive in the right posture for the observance of the Lord’s supper. What is that? Coming up here, and kneeling as if there was something to worship? That is a relic of old Romanism that ought to be done away with by all Protestants. What is the proper way to observe this ordinance? Why, just sitting around the table on which the emblems are spread. Look at that remarkable picture of Leonardo da Vinci, — a picture which I have seen hanging up in a Roman Catholic Church, as you may see it in many Roman Catholic Churches. It represents Christ and all his disciples sitting at a table, and that is the right posture for us. How did they at first eat it? They reclined; they lay along, in the easiest possible posture that they could take, sustaining themselves on the left arm, and so feeding, one with his head in his neighbour’s bosom. Now, translating the Orientalism into the Western custom, the nearest approach to that is to sit as much at your ease as you ever can; and the spiritual meaning of that posture is this: you are saved men and women; the life of God is in you; therefore, rest. “We who have believed enter into rest.” And whenever you want to feed on Christ, do not feed on him in a hurry; do not fidget; do not worry; do not stand with your loins girt, and with your staff in your hand, as the Israelites were to eat the Passover in Egypt. You are out of Egypt; you are past the wilderness; for we who have believed in Christ have entered Canaan, and are at rest.


30. A very blessed way of feeding on Christ is pictured by our sitting together around this communion table. One person could not celebrate the Lord’s supper, for a primary part of it is fellowship with others. “We being many are one bread, and one body.” If you want properly to feed on Christ, do not keep yourself to yourself, and do not try to keep Christ to yourself. No, brother, Christ Jesus is not Head over you only; he is the Head of the whole body, which is his Church. I believe that, sometimes, when you cannot pray alone, you would be helped if you would associate with others in your supplications. There is a way of feeding on Christ, by getting others to come in and feed too. Take care about that; and let your communion with Jesus, while it should be alone very often, not be always alone, but lay hold on your Saviour, and take him to your mother’s house, and to the bedroom of her who bore you, and there he will show you his great love. He may come to Peter or Magdalene alone; but he most of all delights, on the first day of the week, to stand in the midst of his assembled ones, and to say, not merely to any one of them, but to all of them, “Peace be to you.” Live in holy love with all who love Christ, so you shall be helped to feed on him, remembering that we are made to sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus our Lord.

31. VIII. The last point is this, — WE DO NOT FEED ON CHRIST WITHOUT PRAISE.

32. When we come to the close of the Lord’s supper, we always do what our Lord Jesus did. After supper, they sang a hymn; so the right way to close the celebration of the supper is to sing a psalm of praise. And, dear friends, whenever you want to commune with Christ, take care that you praise as well as pray. Mix thanksgiving with your supplications, for Jesus loves to hear the praises of his people. I am afraid we lose a great deal of communion with Christ because we do not give him more praise. I heard a brother say, the other day, — and, oh, how greatly did I enjoy his conversation when he said it! — “There are some times, when I am alone with God, when I cannot pray. I do not feel as if, just then, I wanted anything from him. Then,” he said, “I always sing, or in some way or other praise God; and I find communion with God in praise to be as profitable for my soul as communion with him in prayer; and, often, before my praise is done, my prayer begins to spring up like a living well.” Try that plan, brothers and sisters, for it may help you even more blessedly to feed on Jesus Christ.

33. I wish that all my congregation knew the sweetness of feeding on Christ. Every man feeds on something or other. You see one man getting his Sunday newspaper; how he will feed on that! Another goes to frivolous amusements, and he feeds on them. Another man feeds on his business, and on the thought of his many cares. But all that is poor food; it is only ashes and husks. If you only possessed true spiritual life, you would know the deep necessity there is of feeding on Christ. But you do not possess that life, you say. No; then do you know what will become of the dead? What will become of the dead? And after death comes corruption. The old Jews, in the times of the kings, took the corrupting bodies of the dead out into the valley of Hinnom, and there they kindled great fires, so that the corrupting corpses might be burned. And something like that, only far worse, will be the lot of everyone who is not quickened by the Spirit of God, and made to live with Christ. You will go to the place “where their worm does not die”; that is the place of corruption; “and the fire is not quenched”; that is Tophet’s flame. May God save you from it! But there is no salvation from it except for those who have life through believing in Jesus: “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life: and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God rests on him.” May God save you, dear friends, from that awful doom, for his dear Son’s sake! Amen.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death — Crucifixion To The World By the Cross” 282}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death — ‘The Love Of Christ Constraineth Us’ ” 295}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Church, Ordinances, The Lord’s Supper — Christ’s Dying Love” 942}

{a} Capuchin: A friar of the order of St. Francis, of the new rule of 1528. So called from the sharp-pointed capuche, adopted first in 1525, and confirmed to them by Pope Clement VII in 1528. OED.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Joh 6:41-65}

41. The Jews then murmured at him, —

That is, at the Christ, —

41, 42. Because he said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” And they said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that he says, ‘I came down from heaven’?”

They did know his mother; but they made a mistake, which may have seemed a very slight one to them, when they said that they knew his father. Yet that is how nearly all great errors spring from some slight and apparently trivial addition to the truth. They did know Mary, but they did not know that Jehovah was the Father of the Christ.

43, 44. Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. No man can come to me, unless the Father who has sent me draws him: and I will raise him up at the last day,

Note the unflinching boldness of Christ. He did not say to these people, “Well, you have some reason for murmuring, and I will explain the matter to you.” On the contrary, he faced them with the doctrine of sovereign grace, and told them that he did not expect them to understand him, for they could not do so unless the Father, who had sent him, should draw their hearts towards him.

45. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall be all taught by God.’ Every man therefore who has heard, and has learned from the Father, comes to me.

So, in effect, he said to them, “You have not been taught by God; the Father has never drawn you, otherwise you would have received me.” So the brave Champion thrusts the naked sword of truth into their very souls.

46, 47. Not that any man has seen the Father, except he who is from God, he has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me has everlasting life.

Let me read those precious words again, try to grasp them, you timid and trembling ones: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me has” — now, in present possession, — “everlasting life.”

48, 49. I am that bread of life. Your forefathers ate manna in the wilderness, and are dead.

He does not say, “Our forefathers.” He comes out, as it were, as much from the Jews as from the Gentile ungodly world, and he says, “Your forefathers ate manna in the wilderness, and are dead.”

50, 51. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat it, and not die. I am the living bread —

Bread that contains life within itself, and is therefore most potent to sustain a life like itself: “I am the living bread” —

51, 52. Which came down from heaven: if any man eats this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

I wonder if they perceived that this declaration of Christ involved his death, for he did not speak of giving them his living body, but his “flesh.” There are some who find their main comfort in the Incarnation of Christ; and, certainly, that is a very comforting truth; but, without the death of Christ, it affords no nourishment for the soul. Atonement, atonement, — there is the kernel of the whole matter. Christ must die, and then he can give us his flesh to eat.

53, 54. Then Jesus 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 you. Whoever eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

His soul shall live; his spirit shall never die; and though his body shall die, the force of the eternal life within the man shall quicken even his mortal body into an immortality like that of his spirit.

55-60. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, dwells in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father has sent me, and I live by the Father, so he who eats me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your forefathers ate manna, and are dead: he who eats this bread shall live for ever.” He said these things in the synagogue as he taught in Capernaum. Therefore many of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can hear it?”

And a hard saying it really is until we are instructed by the Spirit of God to understand it. The Papist has made it into a gross and carnal saying, teaching men that they really, and actually, and corporeally, eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ, which is horrible blasphemy, and nothing less. But those who are taught by God see the inward meaning of the truth peeping up from behind the letter, and know what it is to receive into their hearts, though not into their bodies, — into their thoughts, though not into their months, — the very body and blood of Christ.

61-63. When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured about it, he said to them, “Does this offend you? What and if you shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickens; —

The inward, spiritual meaning gives life to the Word, and life to us also: “It is the spirit that quickens”; —

63. The flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life.

They are not carnal; they are not gross; they have in them an inner sense which is full of life and spirit.

64, 65. But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who should betray him. And he said, “Therefore I said to you, that no man can come to me, unless it were given to him by my Father.”

“No man” — no, not even a disciple, — not the one who ate bread with Christ, and was his familiar friend, — not even he could come without being drawn by God. And he did not come to Christ; in the sense in which our Lord used the word, Judas never really came to him, but perished in his sin. The Father must draw us with divine cords, or else we shall never come to the Son.

Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death
282 — Crucifixion To The World By the Cross
1 When I survey the wondrous cross
   On which the Prince of Glory died,
   My richest gain I count but loss,
   And pour contempt on all my pride.
2 Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
   Save in the death of Christ, my God,
   All the vain things that charm me most,
   I sacrifice them to his blood.
3 See from his head, his hands, his feet,
   Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
   Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
   Or thorns compose so rich a crown!
4 His dying crimson, like a robe,
   Spreads o’er his body on the tree,
   Then am I dead to all the globe,
   And all the globe is dead to me.
5 Were the whole realm of nature mine,
   That were a present far too small;
   Love so amazing, so divine,
   Demands my soul, my life, my all!
                           Isaac Watts, 1709.

Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death
295 — “The Love Of Christ Constraineth Us” <7s.>
1 In the Lord’s atoning grief
   Be our rest and sweet relief;
   Store we deep in heart’s recess
   All the shame and bitterness.
2 Thorns, and cross, and nails, and lance,
   Wounds, our treasure that enhance,
   Vinegar, and gall, and reed,
   And the pang his soul and freed.
3 May these all our spirits sate,
   And with love inebriate;
   In our souls plant virtue’s root,
   And mature its glorious fruit.
4 Crucified! we thee adore,
   Thee with all our hearts implore,
   Us with saintly bands unite
   In the realms of heavenly light.
5 Christ, by coward hands betray’d
   Christ, for us a captive made,
   Christ, upon the bitter tree
   Slain for man, be praise to thee.
                  John Mason Neale, 1851.

Church, Ordinances, The Lord’s Supper
942 — Christ’s Dying Love
1 How condescending and how kind,
      Was God’s eternal Son!
   Our misery reach’d his heavenly mind,
      And pity brought him down.
2 When justice, by our sins provoked,
      Drew forth its dreadful sword,
   He gave his soul up to the stroke
      Without a murmuring word.
3 He sunk beneath our heavy woes,
      To raise us to his throne;
   There’s ne’er a gift his hand bestows,
      But cost his heart a groan.
4 This was compassion like a God,
      That when the saviour knew
   The price of pardon was his blood,
      His pity ne’er withdrew.
5 Now though he reigns exalted high,
      His love is still as great;
   Well he remembers Calvary,
      Nor lets his saints forget.
6 Here let our hearts begin to melt,
      While we his death record,
   And, with our joy for pardon’d guilt
      Mourn that we pierced the Lord.
                     Isaac Watts, 1709.

Spurgeon Sermons

These sermons from Charles Spurgeon are a series that is for reference and not necessarily a position of Answers in Genesis. Spurgeon did not entirely agree with six days of creation and dives into subjects that are beyond the AiG focus (e.g., Calvinism vs. Arminianism, modes of baptism, and so on).

Terms of Use

Modernized Edition of Spurgeon’s Sermons. Copyright © 2010, Larry and Marion Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario, Canada. Used by Answers in Genesis by permission of the copyright owner. The modernized edition of the material published in these sermons may not be reproduced or distributed by any electronic means without express written permission of the copyright owner. A limited license is hereby granted for the non-commercial printing and distribution of the material in hard copy form, provided this is done without charge to the recipient and the copyright information remains intact. Any charge or cost for distribution of the material is expressly forbidden under the terms of this limited license and automatically voids such permission. You may not prepare, manufacture, copy, use, promote, distribute, or sell a derivative work of the copyrighted work without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

Spurgeon Sermon Updates

Email me when new sermons are posted:

Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Learn more

  • Customer Service 800.778.3390