#18 The Change of Diet to the Heavenly Christ (2)
Paul Cooke continues our series about our spiritual diet as believers
Scripture Reading: Exo. 16:1-36; Num. 11:6-9
III. The deep truth in Exodus 16 is that God wants to change our diet to a diet of Christ as the real manna sent by God the Father for us to be reconstituted with Christ and to live because of Christ in order to make us God’s dwelling place in the universe; there is no matter in the whole book of Exodus more crucial than this:
A. Although God’s people had been brought out of Egypt into the wilderness of separation, they were still constituted with the element of Egypt, signifying the world; God’s intention was to change their element by changing their diet in order to change the nature of His people; He wanted to change their being, their very constitution, to make them a heavenly people constituted and transformed with the heavenly Christ.
B. For forty years God gave the children of Israel nothing to eat but manna (16:35; Num. 11:6); this shows that God’s intention in His salvation is to work Himself into the believers in Christ and to change their constitution by feeding them with Christ as their unique heavenly food, thereby qualifying them to build up the church as God’s dwelling place; in fact, after being reconstituted with Christ, the believers themselves become the dwelling place of God—cf. 1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19; 2 Cor. 6:16; 1 Tim. 3:15; Heb. 3:6; Rev. 21:2-3.
C. God’s way to deal with the flesh of His people is to put it aside and to not feed it; for this reason He changes the diet of His people and sends them food that their flesh does not like; the people of Israel abhorred the heavenly taste of manna and lusted for the worldly taste of the Egyptian food—Num. 11:5-6.
D. The Egyptian diet denotes all the things that we desire to feed on in order to find satisfaction; America is the leading country with respect to the Egyptian diet, the worldly entertainment; whatever we desire, hunger, and thirst after is the diet according to which our being has been constituted.
E. On the one hand, the heavenly manna nourishes us and heals us; on the other hand, it eliminates the negative things in us.
F. How marvelous it was that God gave the people nothing except manna; this indicates that He gave them nothing except Christ; may the Lord take away the desire and hunger for anything other than Christ!
G. By feeding on manna, God’s people eventually became manna; our constitution must be rearranged through the eating of Christ so that the church as the dwelling place of God may be built up; may the Lord change our diet so that we may be reconstituted with Christ and become God’s dwelling place—Matt. 16:18.
H. Along with the change of diet, we need a change of appetite; the Lord Jesus said, “Work not for the food which perishes, but for the food which abides unto eternal life”—John 6:27:
1. By food, we mean anything we take into us for our satisfaction; Christ Himself is the only food that does not perish; this food abides unto eternal life.
2. Whatever satisfies, strengthens, and sustains us is our food; the unique food that we take for our sustenance, strength, and satisfaction must be Christ alone.
3. All those who have been regenerated need to change their diet for a change of appetite; God’s intention is to cut off the worldly diet and to limit us to a diet of heavenly food, which is Christ.
4. We all should be able to say, “The Lord is the only One who satisfies me. Apart from Him, I have no satisfaction. I am daily strengthened and sustained by Christ. He is the only food on which I rely.”
I. The unique food that we take for our sustenance, strength, and satisfaction must be Christ, and the one unique ministry in the New Testament conveys Christ as the unique food for God’s people— Num. 11:5-6; cf. Acts 1:17, 25; 2 Cor. 4:1; 1 Tim. 1:12; 2 Cor. 3:6.