by Mike Ratliff
28 Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God? John 6:28 (NASB)
Genuine Christians will be very interested in getting the answer to the question posed to Jesus from John 6:28. If a professing Christian is not interested in that answer then there’s a problem. On the other hand, there are many professing Christians who have answered that question without reading Jesus’ response to it. Instead, they have jumped head foremost into “religous” work that they believe pleases God and is earning them bonus points in eternity. Their “works” may look good to most people, including non-Christians, but are they what Jesus tells us are the genuine works of God? Let’s look at this passage in context.
22 The next day the crowd that stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other small boat there, except one, and that Jesus had not entered with His disciples into the boat, but that His disciples had gone away alone. 23 There came other small boats from Tiberias near to the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they themselves got into the small boats, and came to Capernaum seeking Jesus. 25 When they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You get here?”
26 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. 27 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, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” 28 Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” John 6:22-29 (NASB)
Those people sought Jesus because He had fed them. They sought an earthly messiah who was to be world ruler. They wanted Him to be their King and provide for them. Jesus, being omniscient, knew their hearts and rebuked them. All through the Bible we learn that the key to serving God is to believe in the one sent from God. That means a great deal more than simply believing Jesus was an historical figure. It means to believe in Him by Faith. Those who believe in Christ this way do so through the faith God gives. On the other hand, the vast majority of professing Christians, the “religious” Christians, are not obedient to this simple command. Instead, they seek a sign.
30 So they said to Him, “What then do You do for a sign, so that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.’” 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. 33 For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” John 6:30-33 (NASB)
Faith is the work that genuine Christians do. On the other hand, disingenuous Christians do not walk by faith. They move forward only if given a clear sign instead of obeying God by believing Him and in the one whom He sent. Their approach to “Christianity” is not by faith at all. Instead it is a form of pragmatism. They look for what works for others and do that. Many church leaders refuse to remain in small churches that operate strictly by faith by transforming them into copies of Mega-Churches that operate primarily on the sensory level.
I have come to the conclusion that the Western Church is being tested. The apparent wild success of “Seeker-Sensitivity” based churches is simply God using this mechanism to divide those who really walk by faith and remain loyal and devoted to serving Him according to His will from those whose real god is success. God has allowed them to appear successful as they pursued the bread instead of the One who breaks the bread. God has allowed our enemy to draw many church leaders into this pragmatic godless idolatry. Yes, it is tragic. Yes, it is blasphemous to do things according the ways of the world then tell everyone that God is blessing their growth. God has allowed Satan to compromise the visible Church to such an extent that the genuine Christians in the West are becoming more and more separate. The division is growing and becoming more and more apparent between all the the false wings of the compromised Church and the genuine Church in the west. What does Jesus say to us about this?
34 Then they said to Him, “Lord, always give us this bread.”
35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:34-40 (NASB)
Jesus makes it clear that His people are given to Him by the Father and He will lose none of them. These people believe in Jesus by Faith that is given to them by God. (Ephesians 2:8-10) What about those whom God saves this way? What of them? Do they abandon their devotion the Son to pursue empty religion or works righteousness or do they get bored with church and fall away? The answer is no to all of that. When God saves His people they are regenerated, reborn, and are made into New Creations. They are to live their lives wherever God has placed them doing what He has given them to do fully trusting Him to grow them in grace, suffering and walking by faith. Why? They are laying up treasure in Heaven, not here on earth. Possessions are seen as blessings and things to be used in their service to their Lord, not treasure. Fame and wealth here on earth are snares. We are not to seek “bread” here, but are to seek the bread of life, our Lord Jesus Christ, telling everyone we can the truth.
On the other hand, those who are ensnared into the compromised Church are flesh driven. They may be super religious, but they are in bondage to works righteousness. However, today’s version of this church has evolved into a church of the lowest common denominator. There are no demands for repentance and drawing near unto God. Instead, they are entertained at church and have no demands put on them to conform unto the image of Christ via repentance, prayer and walking by faith. We cannot grasp Christ with our thoughts or our reason. Therefore, faith cannot be our own work. We are drawn to Christ, even though we can neither feel him nor see him. However, the compromised Church attempts to present a religion based on human reason. Therefore, it is very popular with the lost because there are no absolute truths bearing down on them from the “Seeker Sensitive” preacher. Instead, they are told to try Jesus out to see if it works for them, sorta like trying out a new car.
Praise the Lord if you are of the Remnant of believers whom God has “kept” from the deception of the Compromised Church. Why? You are not seeking the bread, but the one who breaks the bread. Your faith is growing and becoming stronger as you seek to walk blameless before your Lord by His grace. You are actively mortifying the sins within your heart. You are rejecting all overtures to join in the deception. Your wisdom and discernment that has enabled you to see the division between the Compromised Church and the Remnant is God given not base on human reason. You still suffer from the battles with your sin nature, but know that this is according to God’s plan for you so that you will be sanctified in the fire as our Lord’s grace is sufficient for you. You do the good work of believing in the one sent from the Lord and, therefore, your Christlikenss is deepening causing you to not resort to fleshly responses to those seeking to abuse you or trip you up. Even when your inner self wants to strike back and seek vengeance, you pray for wisdom and patience then respond in meekness and humility.
Dear ones, if this pattern of living before the Lord is yours then rejoice. You may just be starting or you may well be far down this narrow path, but it makes no difference because the first will be last and the last will be first. You are one of Christ’s sheep and, being the Good Shepherd, He will not lose one of His flock. Rejoice and be glad in your sufferings because in them you will find your way to the Celestial City by the faith God gives you.
Soli Deo Gloria!