28 They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?” 29 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.” – John 6:28-29 NLT
In its simplest form, the “work” that Jesus came to do was to save the world. He could have done that by going straight to the cross, dying and being resurrected. But there were many things that God wanted Him to do while He was here. This work included miracles to draw people to God. It also included living a sinless life as an example for us to follow. Just as the work that Jesus did included more than death and resurrection, “the only work God wants from you” is to “believe the One He has sent” includes more than just believing. But believing is the first step and if you don’t believe and receive the Holy Spirit, you will not be able to do the rest of the work. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. 38 So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”—Matthew 9:36-38 (NLT)
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
We are told in verse one that “God gave Paul the power to perform unusual miracles.” In verse twenty, we see the reason for this was to spread the Good News about Jesus and the redemption story. The spreading of the Gospel always has a powerful effect on all those that hear. To those that hear and believe, it brings new life. To those who hear but refuse to believe, it brings death. Anytime the name of Jesus is spoken those that hear it must make a decision right then and there. Either they will believe the Good News and receive life or they will refuse to believe and earn their way to hell. When the name of Jesus is spoken with the intent to glorify God, it contains all of the power that was present at the resurrection of Jesus. But when the name of Jesus is spoken with the intention of self-glory or for the mere purpose of gaining wealth, the result is confusion and chaos. Just ask the seven sons of Sveca. God is a God of miracles and miracles are still being performed today. Not all of us are given the power to perform miracles as Paul was. God gives different gifts to members of the body of Christ so that it can be whole and bring glory to Himself. God doesn’t perform miracles on a whim or on demand. Each time we witness a miracle we know that God has a purpose and a plan that requires a miracle to complete the plan. Miracles always affect more than one person. The person receiving the miracle is not the only one touched. Those seeing or listening that are already believers are encouraged and those who do not believe will be drawn to God.
8 Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— 9 yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 11 See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern,what readiness to see justice done.At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter. — 2 Cor. 7:8-11 NIV
In his letters to the church at Corinth, Paul had admonished them to take corrective action against those members that were not living a Christian lifestyle They were participating in sexual sins and not showing proper respect when taking communion. He wanted the church to be a shining light in a dark city. Although, he spoke to them firmly, it was because he loved them as his own children and wanted to see them maturing in the faith. When we have erred, we need to accept correction from those who love us and want us to be stronger Christians. If we feel guilty and condemned, we should remember that condemnation comes from satan, not from the Lord. Condemnation is “worldy” sorrow that leads to death. Conviction is “godly” sorrow that leads to repentance and life. When we feel convicted of an error, we ask God for His forgiveness. We all fall down at times, but God is waiting to pick us up and restore us to Himself. It just requires us being honest with ourselves and with Him..
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. — 1 John 1:8-10 NIV
Once we have accepted God’s forgiveness for our sins, we need to forgive ourselves and move on. We must never allow satan to use past sins to condemn us. This only leads to pain and confusion. Rejoice in the freedom that comes with confession and forgiveness and live in the truth of God’s Word.
9 “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” 10 I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty. 11 Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12 As for those agitators,I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!—Gal. 5:9-12 (NIV)
Just as it only takes a little bit of yeast to make the whole batch self-rising, it only takes a little untruth to make the whole message a lie. God does not need our help to make His glorious Good News any better. He doesn’t need us to stretch the truth to make His miracles any bigger and we don’t need to add anything to His plan of salvation to make it effective. We must be very careful in witnessing to others that we do not add to or subtract from what God has said. We must be confident in what we believe and share it with the love of Jesus Christ. Anything more or less than what Jesus said takes away everything that He did for us at the cross. We must saturate our efforts with prayer and the love of Jesus Christ. But, just as Paul was adamant about rebuking those that sowed confusion to the new converts, we must be courageous in sharing the Gospel. There are lines we do not cross and there is a stance from which we do not back down. Share the Gospel with love, pure and simple, with no apologies. 32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.–Matt. 10:32,33 (NIV)
43 Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It is because you are unable to do so! 44 For you are the children of your father the Devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning and has always hated the truth. There is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me! 46 Which of you can truthfully accuse me of sin? And since I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Anyone whose Father is God listens gladly to the words of God. Since you don’t, it proves you aren’t God’s children.”—John 8:43-47 (NLT)
Jesus continues to have a conversation with the people present that day. They didn’t understand what He was saying because they were spiritually blind and deceived by satan. Lying, confusion and deception are all characteristics of the devil. Since the people there and we today were born in sin, we are easily misled and led astray. We are guilty of the same sins just as the father of all flesh, the devil, is guilty. Once the Holy Spirit calls us and we see the Light, then we can no longer use this as an excuse. When we are exposed to the truth of who Jesus really is, we always have to make a decision. Whether we accept or reject that truth will determine who our father will be. If we accept the truth of Jesus coming to earth to be our redeemer and His fulfilling that mission by dying on a cross, then our Father is God and we gladly listen and believe the words of Jesus. More than that, we should hunger and thirst after His words. We should hide them in our heart so that we will not sin against God. 10 I have tried hard to find you—
don’t let me wander from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
12 I praise you, O Lord;
teach me your decrees.—Psalm 119:10-12 (NLT)
14 Remind everyone about these things, and command them in God’s presence to stop fighting over words. Such arguments are useless, and they can ruin those who hear them. 15 Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth. 16 Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior. 17 This kind of talk spreads like cancer, as in the case of Hymenaeus and Philetus. 18 They have left the path of truth, claiming that the resurrection of the dead has already occurred; in this way, they have turned some people away from the faith. 19 But God’s truth stands firm like a foundation stone with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and “All who belong to the Lord must turn away from evil.”-–2 Timothy 2: 14-9 (NLT)
We should set the example of studying God’s Word and meditating on its meaning. Then we won’t have time for these useless arguments and idle gossip. Arguments and gossip lead people away from the truth of the Scriptures and away from salvation. We need to be able to explain the Word of truth and avoid foolish behavior. The world is watching us to see if we are walking out what we are teaching. If we are not, then sinners will not be interested in what we have to say. All this earthly religion will pass away but God’s Word will stand forever. Not the least point will be left undone. It is the foundation of the message we preach. It is not up to us to turn people from evil, God will do that if we use the words He gives us to say. We are the messengers, He is the author and the finisher of our faith.