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Real Soul Food

soulfood

O taste & see that the Lord is good!  Psalm 34:8

Taste.

The word in Hebrew, just as in English, is usually used literally for food.

What a strange way for a warrior poet like David to invite people to experience his God.

Poets speak about seeing a vision of God, or hearing the voice of God, or sometimes even feeling the presence of God, but to taste an infinite noncorporeal being???

Could it be David chose taste because it is the only sense that requires assimilation?  the only sense that implies nutrition?  the only sense that creates hunger & thirst?

A thousand years later, a young rabbi descended from David used even more jarring language:

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So 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 feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me.”

Not suprisingly, the people who heard these words weren’t sure what to make of them or the young man who said them.  They replied, “This is a hard saying, who can listen to it?” and many abandoned following him.

For two thousand years now people have been searching for the full meaning and the full experience of what it means to feed on Jesus and to have life through Him. I don’t delude myself in thinking that I comprehend but the faintest outline of this mystery, but what I have learned makes me agree with that warrior poet of old, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

Chosen By God

God can no more leave your life unchanged than a mother can leave herr child’s tear untouched. It’s not enough for God to own you; He wants to change you. He refuses to settle for any dwelling short of a palace. After all, you are His house. (Max Lucado in Just Like Jesus)

God Chooses to Change!

The foundation of understanding how God changes lives is in realizing that God chooses to do so. So our first look at how we are Changed by God will deal with the topic of God’s choice.

God is sovereign— meaning that God is in control of everything and what He wills to do, He does. God makes a deliberate choice to change a person’s life. The fact that God chooses to change lives is theologically called election. Let’s examine five basic questions about election and the answers that the Bible gives:
Question 1: Did God Specifically Choose Me?

I know whom I have chosen. John 13:18

You did not choose Me, but I chose you. John 15:16

Now when the Gentiles heard the gospel, they were glad and glorified the word to the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. Acts 13:48

No one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father. John 6:65

I believed and responded in faith to be saved, but it was God who chose me and gave me the ability to believe and respond in faith. My inability to respond to God in faith without Him first directly working in my life is theologically called total depravity.

Answer: God specifically chose Me.

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Question 2: When Did God Choose Me?

Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world… Ephesians 1:4

God from the beginning chose you for salvation. 2 Thessalonians 2:13

Then the King will say to those on His right hand, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Matthew 25:34

To put it another way, when did God decide, “John Hollandsworth will be saved.”? God chose everyone who will ever be saved before He created the universe. Redeeming sinners was not God’s plan B— it was His whole intent from the start. Our salvation, redeeming humanity, to glorify His name is the reason that God created the universe. The fact that God chose me to be saved before I was born, before I had ever done anything good or right in His sight, without any conditions that I had to fulfill, is called unconditional election.

I know I don’t deserve a part in this romance
Still You turn Your gaze to me and take me as I am
Said You knew my heart was Yours before the world began
It’s not a chance, not just a whim, no conditions and no what if’s
Not a chance, not just my luck, just Your choice, Just Your love

(“Not A Chance” by Scott & Christine Dente and Charlie Peacock)

Answer: God chose me from the foundation of the world

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Question 3: How did God make His choice from the foundation of the world happen in my life?

All that the Father gives Me will come to Me. John 6:37

My sheep hear my voice John 10:27

Whom God predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified… Romans 8:30

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins Ephesians 2:1

Before I was saved, God in His mercy worked in my life to bring me to Himself. The Greek word “come” in John 6:37 actually means to compel, to bring by force. God called me to Himself and called me to salvation. God’s merciful calling to bring me to salvation is theologically called His irresistible grace.

And even in my youth You were chasing me
Whispering in the dark and running through my dreams
Each day I’ve lived You were calling me

(“Even in My Youth” by Erin O’Donnell)

Answer: God called me to Himself

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Question 4: Will God ever change His mind about me?

Jesus said, “All God has given Me I should lose nothing.” John 6:39

“no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” John 10:29

(Nothing) shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39

For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable. Romans 11:29

Once God chooses us, we stay choosed! Since our sin, past, present, and future, didn’t have anything to do with God’s choice, and it was God who brought us to Himself, nothing will change God’s choice. Theologians call this the perseverance of the saints.

Answer: God chose me for all eternity.

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Question 5: Why did God chooose Me?

All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing. John 6:37, 39

You (The Father) have given Him (Jesus) authority over all flesh, that He (Jesus) should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. John 17:2

My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. John 10:29

This last question is the most important one—why did God choose Me? What is the reason that God allowed Christ to come to earth and redeem a fallen humanity? The Bible is clear: we are the Father’s loving gift to His Son. God has made Christ the first born among many brethren, so that the church, the people God chose to be redeemed, might become the bride of Christ, a gift beyond all gifts to glorify Christ.

The Bottom Line: God chose me from the foundation of the world, called me to Himself, to be a gift to His Son for all eternity.

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What should my response to knowing I am chosen be?

Humility—We can claim nothing of ourselves in our salvation, only God’s mercy and grace

Love toward God– We love Him because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19

Peace– I am a chosen child of the omnipotent God John 14:27

Joy– “Rejoice because your names are written in heaven” Luke 10:20

(many thanks to John MacArthur for the basis of the structure of this teaching)