Grace For Your Day January 9

If you have been with us for awhile, you will know that I often spend the first part of January discussing several shepherding subjects that I was not able to get to during the year. In 2021, I talked about the issue of “Christianity and the Government.” In 2022, I talked about Bill C-4 and “Should a Christian Wear a Mark to Church?” For January 2023 I want to take this coming Sunday to address the issue of “Hypocrisy” because it is such a problem in our world today. Everybody does not come to Jesus for the right reasons. Some people do it because they have carnal motives for following Him.

For example, John 6 records the biggest miracle that Jesus ever did when it says that He fed the hungry. He took a multitude of Jews and He gave them bread.

Matthew 14:21 tells us that He fed 5,000 men at this event not counting women and children but John 6:4 says that the Passover was near which could imply that they were heading to Jerusalem in order to celebrate it. If that was the case, then the men could have brought their families with them bringing the number to somewhere around 15,000 which was the population of a small town around the Sea of Galilee at this time. It was a work of tremendous proportion, yet surprisingly enough, most of the crowds rejected Him after that. They turned away from Jesus and refused to follow Him anymore. John 6:66-67 says:

As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?”  

What happened? Why did so many people leave Jesus after this miracle? They did it because He told them what it meant to believe in Him. They could not just come to Him in order to have more bread. They needed to do it in order to have something greater. As verses 26-27 says:

Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you.”

I mention this because there is a great misunderstanding today about what it means to “believe in Jesus.” Some think it means that you get your felt needs met. They believe that Jesus exists only to fix their problems and make everything easier for them by giving them more bread. Others think that Jesus exists only to give them money, as the prosperity gospel teaches. They believe that, if they follow Him, Jesus will make them healthy, wealthy and wise.

Others come to Jesus for a deeper spiritual experience because they view Him as a higher power but nothing more. They put Him on the same level as the Dalai Lama which is also wrong because Jesus did not come for that. He came in order to save us from sin and deliver us from the wrath of God.

After this week, we will go back to the Book of Hebrews in order to talk about the Hall of Faith which shows us what true faith is. The author of Hebrews will give us example after example of people who came to the Lord for the right reasons and were saved by it, which will be very encouraging for us. However, before we get there, it would be helpful to have this sobering passage ringing in our ears in order to remind us that Jesus will not accept our faith if it is based on fleshly things. We need to come to Him in order to receive “the food which endures to eternal life.”

So please join us as we talk about this together. The service will begin at 9:30 and be livestreamed for anyone who is not able to attend in person.

– Jeremy Cagle