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Sermon: Tarentum, by Robert Johnson
Spiritual Nutrition

I. The Command to Feed the Flock: Spiritually.
II. The Problem of Spiritual Malnutrition.
III. The Cause of Spiritual Malnutrition: No Food or Wrong Food.
IV. How Does One Recognize True Spiritual Food?
Conclusion: You can lead a sinful heart to the Word, but you can't make him drink.

A. There is an ever increasing concern in our society with the nutritional value of the food we are eating.
1. Nutrition: The act or process of nourishing or being nourished (to promote growth, sustain), the sum of the processes by which an animal or plant takes in and utilizes food substances.
2. Some experts say that food we eat today provides lest nutrition than food in the past:
a. Imitation? Processing? Preservatives??
b. Thus there is a need to closely examine our foods for nutritional value.
B. Even more important than our physical nutrition is our spiritual nutrition:
John 6:26-27 (KJV) "Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. 27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed."
1. Spiritual food is those things which we receive from the spirit which promote growth spiritually, i.e. our becoming more like Christ.
2 Cor 3:18 "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."
2. Are we being fed those things which promote our growth spiritually?
a. In our assemblies and Bible classes??
b. In our home studies, devotionals and Bible readings??
3. Does being fed spiritually mean we should “feel” a certain way?? Exicitement?? Enthusiasism??

I. The Command To Feed The Flock :Spiritually
A. Let us consider Jesus’ exhortations to Peter in John 21:15-17:
John 21:15-17 (KJV) So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
1. Peter is told to promote the spiritual welfare of the church! (to feed, from eat)
B. Consider Paul’s exhortation to the elders at Ephesus in Acts 20:28:
Acts 20:28 (KJV) Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
1. Poimanio (to feed, to tend a flock, keep sheep, to rule, govern, to furnish pasture for food, to nourish).
C. Consider Peter’s instruction to the elders in 1 Pet. 5:1-4:
1 Pet 5:1-4 (KJV) The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
1. Ensamples: Pattern, example, (literally the mark of a stroke or blow, print, a figure formed by a blow or impression, of a figure or image).

D. The above passages raise some interesting and important questions:
1. What happens when the church is not fed, i.e. how do we recognize spiritual malnutrition?
2. What was Peter and the elders to feed the church in order to make them healthy spiritually?

II. The Problem of Spiritual Malnutrition:
A. We do not need to search very hard before we find examples of Christians suffering from Malnutrition: (Not being properly fed or receiving the food they needed):
1 Cor 2:12-16 (KJV) Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God (teachings spoken by Paul, rj ): for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
1 Cor 3:1-3 (KJV) And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

1. They could do milk but they could not do (bear: dunamai) meat:
2. Even after a fair amount of time. (3:2).
3. Evidence that they were carnal: Envy, strive, contention, division, disunion:
4. Rom. 16:17,18- Mark those that cause divisions and offenses contrary to doctrine: They deceive by good words and fair speeches.
5. Paul’s commands that there be no divisions (1 Cor 1:10), but this is only possible when the members are feeding on the proper meat: (no unity in diversity- Only Unity in Truth).
6. Let us briefly note that divisions do serve at least one practical purpose: They show people’s true colors:
1 Cor 11:18-19 (KJV) "For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. 19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you."
C. The Babes In Hebrews 5:11-6:6 were suffering from a spiritual lack of meat (of their own doing).
Heb 5:11-14 (KJV) "Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. 12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."
Heb 6:1-6 (KJV) "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation (rj, why would a foundation need to be laid again???) of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this will we do, if God permit. 4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame."

1. Hard sayings are beyond explaining to the dull of hearing: Dull = sluggish, lazy, ignorant.
2. Strong meat belongs to those who have used the word enough to develop sound judgment as good and evil.
3. They lacked the foundation of repentance from dead works (flesh), i.e. they remained in their sins.

III. The Cause of Spiritual Malnutrition: No Food or Wrong Food.
A. The Bible often speaks of food and drink which does not help us or make us strong:
Isa 55:1-2 (KJV) "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.”
Jer 2:13 (KJV) "For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water."

1. In this case the water represents the object of their trusts: They choose to trust in man made sources of water rather than what God supplies: No water , versus fountain of living waters.
B. Some desire religious instruction which does not reveal God’s will, but instead satisfies their own personal appetites:
Isa 30:9-10 (KJV) "That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: 10 Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:" (Note: 2 Tim. 4:3-5, itching ears).
C. ILLUSTRATION: Maclaren, V10, p.207
We need God, nothing else will do: “To seek for satisfaction elsewhere is like sailors who in their desperation, when the water-tanks are empty, slake their thirst with the treacherous blue that washes cruelly along the battered sides of their ship. A moment’s alleviation is followed by the recurrence, in tenfold intensity, of the pangs of thirst, and by madness, and death. Do not drink the salt water that flashes and rolls by your side when you can have recourse to the fountain of life that is with God.”

IV. How Does One Recognize True Spiritual Food?
A. We must first develop a taste for the truth: Without truth there can never be any true spiritual nutrition! (READ THE LABEL!!! IF Label is not there, demand to see the label, source, etc.)
1 Pet 1:22-25 (KJV) "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever...”
B. Study the Label: What is the TRUE Bread and Water we need? WORD OF GOD!
1. The Living Bread from Heaven (Jn. 6:51) is Jesus or His Words:
John 6: 27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life,
John 6: 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of 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.
John 6: 63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. ...66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. 67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? 68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life."

2. Jesus plainly explained the only bread we need was the Word of God:
Mat 4:4 (KJV) "But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."

3. The Word of God is A Springing Fountain (constant, overflowing, never ceasing supply of water for all of our thirst!) (John 6:35).
4. The Word of God is living and powerful, judging the thoughts and intents of our hearts! It seeks to rebuke and reform us into the image of Christ! Not always a please meal, but very nutritious.
Heb 4:12 (KJV) "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

A. Nothing but the preaching of God’s Word can provide truly satisfying, nutritious spiritual food for true spiritual feeding!
B. “You can lead a sinful heart to the word, but you can’t make him drink!”
1. Some people are spiritually starving to death in congregations full of spiritual meat and drink!
C. Hearing God’s Word is not feeding Spiritually, One must Do It! Live It! Stand for It!
Mat 4:4 (KJV) "But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."
John 4:31-34 (KJV) "In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. 32 But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. 33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? 34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work."

1. Is not Jesus’ meat also our meat?? Must DO to grow spiritually!
Heb 5:14 (KJV) "But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."
2 . Strong meat (spiritual food) can only be digested by those who obey and accept the Milk!
1 Pet 2:1-2 (KJV) "Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:"
D. Many today are not willing to receive the food (Word) God has laid down, they consider it unclean, unfair, unloving, etc.!
Acts 10:10-15 (KJV) "And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, 11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: 12 Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. 14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. 15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common."
E. Are We Satisfied with our Diet or are we murmuring and complaining about what God has given us, craving other “food” which God has not supplied?
Num 11:4-6 (KJV) "And the mixed multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? 5 We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic: 6 But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes."
1. How sad! Nothing to nourish themselves on except what Gave them!!!!

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