It’s all true. Everywhere I go I hear it. Like a tragedy as visual as the starving peoples of sub-Saharan Africa, the saints in North America are starving. Most followers of Jesus Christ attend churches where the content of the message is geared toward wooing worldlings with watered down content that won’t offend. “Keep them comfortable,” “give them time,” “don’t upset or alienate,” these are the watchwords of watered down churches. Much more could be said about the unbiblical foundation for that kind of evangelism or how it mitigates against discipleship in the ones it does win, but the purpose of this post is to consider how it starves the saints.
“Feed My Sheep!” Thrice repeated in John 21, it was the strongly emphasized and nearly final command of Jesus to Peter and the rest of the apostles. It was not a suggestion, it was not a point worthy of consideration, it was a clear and simple command from our master Jesus Christ. “Whatever else you do, feed the sheep.”
Jesus often talked about His sheep and how we need to “hear His voice” so we can follow Him (John 10:28-30). Sadly, today the majority of believers come and go from church in a dutiful manner and drive home with a gnawing in their spiritual stomachs because their souls have not been fed. The Word of God has not been opened and expounded, they have not been challenged or chastened by the sanctifying truth of Scripture (John 17:17). They have heard a pep talk on some self help issue aimed at the ‘least among them.’
The legitimate mission of evangelism, the job of the ‘church dispersed,’ has replaced the worship of God by His people and the edification of the saints, the biblical objectives of the church ‘gathered.’ Truth is diluted or displaced by self generated ‘talks’ on perceived issues of importance. These inventions come from communicators who regard their own thoughts more highly than God’s Word, sadly somehow believing that they are assisting the work of the gospel by avoiding the words of the Lord Himself. Such arrogance; go figure. These same messages so lacking in biblical truth are aimed at an audience that too often has no concept of what they are missing. Starving and they don’t even know it. Junk food is all they have ever known, and they have no reference point to relieve their hunger or remedy the ache in their gut. The thing that is missing, the thing they are longing for, the only thing that will feed them is what God’s Spirit was sent into the world to bring . . .
Jesus said; “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come (John 16:7-9, 12-13).