Friday, September 08, 2006


Reading through some verses in John 6 today, I was struck with the relevance and clarity in an answer Christ gave to a question the hungry crowd asked him. Funny thing is, it is the same old question being asked in churches across America by millions of church members who are absolutely, utterly confused and baffled in trying to strike a balance between obeying the Great Commission and (out of guilt) fixing the world's problems.

The question is:
What must we do to do the works God requires?

Every time I turn around I hear a pastor or a writer telling me I should be doing my part to do this or do that, feed the poor, help God to bring His Kingdom here on earth, etc. All of the sudden I'm somehow feeling guilty for not caring enough or being sensitive enough to the homeless and the less fortunate. Eventually I'm driven to the point where if I only give the gospel and don't feed someone I start doubting what it is I'm doing. I almost feel like if I don't feed the guy, then he won't give a flying hoot about the Truth I'm giving him.

From Rick Warren's P.E.A.C.E. plan to Rob Bell's quest to save the environment to your church's new gospel of African village repair, it's the same basic goal: to bring the Kingdom of God here on earth as it is in heaven. It's as if this is the new Great Commission. But I think they're missing the point that Jesus made 2000 years ago.

Then I stumbled upon a similar situation in John 6. Jesus just got finished feeding the masses. And after being approached by the same crowd with the question of "What must we do to do the works God requires?" (vs 28) Jesus, with crystal clarity, zeroed in on what our focus must be, i.e., "To believe the One He has sent." (vs 29). A simple question followed by a simple answer. First and foremost, our number priority must be to give the world Jesus, the bread of life! Feeding the poor and ending world hunger should pale in comparison to an ever-consuming, passionate desire to our chief aim and responsibility given to us by the Lord himself, to feed the world...HIM, the Bread of Life, the message of the Gospel!

Jesus refused to feed the crowd the next day because he knew (vs 26) that the crowd was back to get more to eat. He explained to them that He is the bread of life and how that is what they should have been looking for and working for (vs 27). But they were still only interested in their physical needs. Once he told them that they must take Him as the bread and not earthly bread, many turned away from him (vs 60). They wanted earthly life, not eternal life. Jesus knew that if he fed the crowds when they returned, that they would never understand the whole reason why he came, to give them eternal life. He did NOT feed them a second time, Interesting, isn't it?

So if you're confused and baffled about what to do, then I suggest that you start here:

Offer bread to the poor; the Bread of Life, Jesus. Give the Gospel. Preach the Gospel. Preach repentance. Baptize. Make disciples. Shout the Gospel. Preach the cross. THIS is the Great Commission.

Yes, your love for the person will move you to feed them food if necessary. That's okay of course. But let your love for God move you to tell them the Old, Old Story of Jesus and His Love and don't you dare neglect to tell the poor and hungry the message of the cross. Make that your main objective. Read John chapter 6 and you'll see what I mean.



Blogger Kennyo said...

This message is very important for people to understand since there is a MAJOR attack going on today of reinterpreting the real gospel. This is the new "guilt gospel".

Where are the preachers and evangelist who speak to people about repentance? I think we have been brainwashed into evErybody liking us therefore we soften the message of repentance which is difficult at first but if it is really true then the GRACE will come and true fellowship and unity with other belivers will be the result since we all have been to the mercy seat of Christ but only AFTER we have been prepared to receive his grace through repentance.

God will feed the poor if we preach the gospel to the poor as Jesus told us to do. God will not leave his true children without their needs. He promised if we seek his kingdom first he will provide physical needs. If physical needs is equivalent to "his kingdom" then why did he make a distiction in Matt. 6:33?

That's what these people are claiming the new gospel is--feeding the poor and saving cultures. According to them I guess we've had it wrong for 2000 years.

8:41 PM  

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