Last week I wrote about how a Believer will respond to trials and very often this exposes sin. If we truly “believe” we will respond as we should, but we don’t always do that, at least immediately. We must view this as chastening from the Lord and consider that He has a much higher purpose and reason for the situation. We can fight back at this trial or we can embrace it as a perfect gift from Him. It’s meant to refine us and purify us as pure silver or gold, not a cheap throw away metal.
All people are challenged with trials in their lives and this is not unique to Christians. However Christians should respond differently. Today I’m interested in exploring the trials that come directly through the preaching or teaching of God’s Word. The times when you just don’t like what you hear from the pulpit or directly from those called to shepherd your soul. (Acts 20:28, Hebrews 13:7)
We all have people in our lives that have come and gone. We love and have loved them. The church has poured a tremendous amount of resources into them. Then something happens. The consumer “christian” that loves the blessing of God and the church but when push comes to shove does not want the Lordship.
As I think carefully about the words I write today I must really challenge myself. Will there come a time that I won’t like what I’m asked to do? Will I be the one that justifies a certain position in my mind? A position that tells me I must walk away? This is very challenging to me and once I’ve written these words I’m accountable to them. I don’t take this lightly, I’m accountable to God.
John 6:60-61 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying: who can understand it?” When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you?”
Isn’t it clear from the teachings of Jesus that people will be offended? The “disciples” spoken of here are not the twelve; these disciples are simply “learners”. These are the multitudes of people that were following Jesus around. It was just back in verse 26 that Jesus said to them “you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.”
These learners were certainly interested in Jesus. They really liked the show, and were excited when they benefited from Him. They wanted to make Him their king because the bennies were great. He healed them, He fed them, He taught them… Not a bad deal right?
It’s really easy to see how this works as we read the pages of our Bibles but yet we can’t make the connection between what is so obvious to our own lives.
I’ve benefited from the meals brought to our home by the church…
I’ve benefited from the teaching and preaching of God’s Word…
I’ve benefited from the training of our children…
I’ve benefited from the wise counsel as I’ve worked through marital conflicts in my life…
I, me, me, me and I… It’s all about me right now.
But then, when I’m offended do I walk away? Do I say, “Well thanks a lot for all the great benefits, but say what? You want me to eat flesh and drink blood, no way!” That’s a hard saying, who can understand what you are asking of me?
Do you consistently live with a “one foot out the door” mentality as my good friend and brother recently confessed to me?
Believer, be challenged today. Be chastened by God’s Word if you’ve had this thought process in your life. Repent and turn from your sin.
I will never know if those that leave in this manner are truly regenerate or not, at least this side of heaven, but what I do know is their actions look eerily similar to this section of text. And the Lord didn’t go running after them because He knew they were not His, but let’s not think for a moment that those in rebellion are not fully accountable for their actions.
Their lives will eventually show what type of soil they are. (Matthew 13:3-9)
John 6:66-69 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
I hope you are being challenged in your Christian life, by God’s Word and by those that are called to shepherd your soul. I hope you will cling to God’s Word as the source by which you measure the teaching. I hope you will be convinced by the Word and by those that are accountable for your soul.
That will be profitable for you. (Hebrews 13:17)