The Food Which Endures
by Larry White May 5,1985
We have no exact English word for ψυχικος, a derivative of ψυχη or PSYCHE. One good translation is “sensual” or "natural". This is where we get our word “psychology”. By PSYCHE the Greek understands man’s immaterial part as it animates his physical body, his animate life or life-force; hence to be PSYCHIKOS is to be devoted to nothing higher. This is the man who has what pertains to his fleshy nature at heart. His pride, the desires of his eyes and the lusts of his flesh are the things that are most important to him; things that pertain to this life. The opposite of this is πνευματικος PNEUMATIKOS or spiritual. This is related to our PNEUMA or spirit, the eternal part of man which lives on after his flesh dies. The man who is spiritual is devoted to the spiritual things, the eternal and divine interests of his life and of the kingdom.
The Kingdom or church is a spiritual organization (Jno.18:36 "not of this world") It has a divine spiritual origin (Eph. 3:8-11 "according to the eternal purpose"). It engages in spiritual worship (Jno.4 :24 "in spirit and in truth"); worship offered up by spiritual people (1Pet.2:5 "living stones); people who have been spiritually born again (Jno.4:24 "born of water and spirit"). We long for "spiritual milk" (1Pet.2:2) so that we can grow spiritually and live in the spirit and walk in the spirit (Gal.5:25). Citizens of this kingdom hear and believe spiritual words (1Cor.2:13-16), they fight a spiritual war (Eph.6:12), they enjoy a spiritual fellowship (1Jno.1:3), and having all spiritual blessings in Christ (Eph. 1:3), they have a hope of obtaining a spiritual body when they die (1Cor.15:44).
Obviously the emphasis in the church is toward the spiritual. But some churches lose sight of their very nature and begin to worry about how the world views the church. They start catering to the fleshy appetites of the world in order to make the church more palatable or fun and interesting. The promotion schemes of the social gospel are the result of compromising the spiritual intent and direction of the church. The church takes on the characteristics of a social club for the entertainment of its members, complete with banquets, cake walks, gymnasiums, youth camps, joy-rides and you name it. These churches have some success and draw large crowds. But with a carnal appeal, they appeal to the carnal and that's what they will attract. After Jesus had fed 5000 people, some of those that followed him expected more of the same. But Jesus said to them, "You seek me not because you saw the miracles, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes - but for that food which endures unto everlasting life." (Jno.6 :26-27)
Brethren, it's left to us to glorify God by keeping his word and doing our work in God’s ways. Not to seek entertainment but to seek each other's good to edification (Rom.15:2). Not allowing social fellowship to be our objective but longing for that spiritual fellowship of faith and of work in the kingdom. Not to convert people with gimmicks but with the honest, sincere and plain word of truth.
We may be a small church, but there's many among us who can see the future, not by prophecy, but by faith. Faith in our potential for growth, faith that we can become a shining light to all the people in the area, and most importantly, faith in God who is able to accomplish this in us. When we do God's work in God's way, he's guaranteed we'll succeed; the end result being His glory and many precious souls saved from a devil's hell. Brethren, let us be busy in our spiritual work to that end.