The Right Message

“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst’ ” (John 6:35).

Today churches struggle with getting the right message to the people. They correctly provide food and clothing, perhaps shelter, and a host of other good things. But God sent His Son into the world that we might have life through Him (1 John 4:9). Jesus did not come primarily to offset human suffering, but to point people to the source of life. Let’s look at a few verses that illustrate this:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24).

“Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent’ ” (John 6:29).

“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’ ” (John 7:38).

Jesus’ message leads to life transformation. We must keep this message uppermost in our minds as we seek to demonstrate God’s love. They cannot self-reform, turn over a new leaf, or perform good works to earn favor with God. They need to repent of sin and trust Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The entire bent of the gospel points to this end. Zacchaeus was formerly greedy, but now serves God. Saul persecuted the church, but in a moment God transforms him into a saint. On and on it goes to this very hour: God takes sinners and transforms them into children of God.

As we shine our lights before people, we must not forget the right message, which is the gospel message. Husbands can properly love their wives, but cannot do so apart from a transformed life. Greedy embezzlers can become generous givers, but not apart from the gospel of grace. Addicts can abandon their substances, but will find no lasting peace apart from salvation in Christ.

With all the good causes to pursue, we risk losing the greatest cause of all. We need to think vertical. Until people find God through faith in Christ, they cannot find answers in this world alone. Nothing makes sense apart from God.

A navigator may get impressed by looking at the shiny new equipment aboard the plane, but cannot afford to lose direction. The fire department may feature the shiniest fire trucks in the county, but they cannot forget their primary mission of fighting fires. The church can do many good deeds, but must hold out the message of life through Christ.

Remember our message. Remember the chief need of humanity. Remember the evil one will make every attempt to distract us from our main calling.

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