By William C. Sexton
Have you read of the events that have been recorded in John 6:5-27? If you have not, then I suggest that you stop and read it. Then having read it, think, meditate, and state in your own words just what the lesson is! Jesus says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye seek me, not because of the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give you: for him hath God the Father sealed.” Why did Jesus rebuke them? What was the fault He was seeking to have corrected in them?
So much of what is done in religion today falls into the same category as that with which the Lord was displeased! Much is done to feed and entertain the “fleshly man,” the “outward man,” while little or nothing is done to feed, nourish, and ,strengthen the “spiritual man,” the “inward man” (1 Pet. 3:4; 2 Cor. 4:16; Rom. 7:22). Often men label as “fellowship” activities that only support and entertain the physical man. Such is called “religious services.”
Jesus fed the people in John 6:5-27 because there was a necessity! They were in a place where they could not obtain food. He possessed the power to perform miracles and He employed that power to feed them. However, they should have seen Him as He was the Son of God and they should have been impressed with His power. Having made the proper summation, recognizing His deity, they should have hurried to Him that they might receive a supply of spiritual food. They were suffering from spiritual malnutrition. However, even though they were spiritually starved nearly to death, they had no appetite for spiritual food. Such was indicative of their spiritual unconciousness and mental dullness. Nevertheless, they manifested a symptom that pervades many “Christians” of our day, and perhaps that symptom is evident in all ages; history seems to support that proposition. That being true, it adds to the idea that we need to examine our motives with great scrutiny and frequency, the aim of this article. Are we able to see the real point of Jesus’ advice? Or, are we so oriented, so preconditioned, so dull in our .spiritual perception that we miss the point of His teaching? Do we think that we can go stubbornly on our way, feeding on the chaff of Satan and drinking his wine, and have the Lord?
If one’s citizenship is contingent on the fun and frolic, meat and drink, then beloved, he is in the wrong kingdom (Rom. 11:17). The citizenship of the child of God is based on righteousness-being right with God; peace-being at peace with God, having been justified and walking by faith (Rom. 5:1; 2 Cor. 5:7, 17). The third factor in this citizenship is Joy in the Holy Spirit-being happy doing what the Spirit of God teaches, being lead on to do the will of God as it is expressed on the pages of the New Testament. Being moved and guided by the word of God is being a child of God. Conversely, he who will not be moved and guided by the word of God is not a child of God on whom the grace of God is extended (Rom. 8:14-18; Eph. 6:17; Col. 3:16-17; 2 John 9). If we are not producing the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-26), we have not the Spirit dwelling in us, regardless of our claims to high heaven that we do. Also, if we are not happy and finding joy as we produce the fruits of the Spirit, then some re-examining, some resolving, some re-dedication is in order (2 Cor. 13:5).
Beloved, are you aware of the lesson Christ was proclaiming in John 6:26-27? Are you seeking Him for the proper or improper motive? Is your life as it should be? Are you placing the wrong thing first? What is it that you are seeking from your religion? Are you engaged in those activities which yield their “reward” now? (Cf. Matt. 6:2). Some people invest their funds in those securities which yield short-run profits. Likewise, some religious people are interested in rewards that are given here and now. Evidently, some brethren are doing that which brings immediate “reward.” Some people lay up treasures in heaven (Matt. 6:19-21) and they are not so worried about what is happening now, as far as the reward is concerned. Their reward will come latter, and it will be the “crown of life,” the crown of righteousness (James 1:12; Rev. 2:10). To the people whose treasury is in heaven, the words of Paul has great significance: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:1-2). Do not be satisfied, beloved, with the Social Gospel. There is something much more valuable than the reward that is available here and now.
Do not be satisfied with a congregation either, beloved, whose doctrine is for the “fleshly” man, the physical person. Look around you, and you will see many congregations whose work consists largely of “education facilities,” “fellowship-halls,” etc., “cloth closets,” “food bins,” and the like. Appeals are made to come and let us “eat” together and have fun. Are these people really motivated properly to “seek the Lord?” Do not be deceived by the master deceiver, Satan, whose aim is to condition you to be satisfied with your “reward” here and now. Consider his first recorded successful effort of deception (Gen. 3:4-6) and know that he has continued to build a successful record. He works constantly, effectively, and very deceptively. Do not be taken in by him. What, in fact, is your motive in seeking the Lord?
Truth Magazine, XVIII:20, pp. 13-14
March 21, 1974