MM00074 Are you a true believer
Mentoring Manna: Are you a true believer?
© 2003 Pastor Keith Hassell
John 6:64-65 “'But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.” Jesus never failed to draw a crowd. Everyone comes to a point in life when they need a miracle. Healings, miracles, signs, and wonders caused many people to seek Jesus and to follow Him.
To the outside observer, it seemed that Jesus was surrounded by true believers. Surely Jesus’ twelve disciples were awed and excited by the crowds. It is great to be popular! However, Jesus was not fooled by numbers. He knew what was in the heart of man. He knew that not all who followed Him truly believed.
After Jesus performed the miracle of feeding the five thousand, the multitude followed Him to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus turned and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.” (John 6:26) Jesus knew that the people followed Him because they wanted something. They were looking for His hand while He was looking for their heart. The multitude wanted provision, but Jesus wanted covenant: “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.” (John 6:53) Jesus was not speaking in terms of cannibalism but of covenant. When He began to confront the people’s motives and to set forth the conditions of a covenant relationship with Him, they were offended and walked away! Fortunately for the twelve, they had seen and heard enough from Jesus to keep from turning back. Twelve out of a multitude of five thousand proved to be genuine believers. Jesus went from being a mega-church pastor to a small group leader in a matter of moments!
The multitudes are no different today. When signs, wonders, and miracles happen, the crowds will gather. As long as a pastor or church will keep things sensational and minister to their every need, the multitudes will return. But what happens when its time for maturity in Christ involving responsibility, accountability, and sacrifice? What happens when it is time to grow up? What happens when it is time to accept Christ’s complete Lordship? Sadly, many become offended and walk away. We should not be surprised. They did not sign up for covenant; they followed out of convenience. Like two people living together outside of marriage---they want the privileges of marriage without the responsibility, accountability, and sacrifice involved in covenant.
Jesus will not “shack up” with anyone. There is a courting time when Jesus reveals His love and mercy through ministering to our deepest needs. But eventually He requires that we move beyond courtship to covenant, beyond blessings to bonding, and beyond supply to submission. Jesus said in Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” Obviously, there is a connection between belief and a commitment to doing God’s will.
Not everyone in the multitude proved to be a true believer. Jesus knew this and raised His staff to divide the sheep from the goats. Responsibility, accountability, and sacrifice have a way of separating those who are serious from those who are not. Good times come and go, but the true disciple of Jesus Christ will remain steadfast in their commitment to Christ no matter the cost or how difficult the journey. Their heart is like the twelve who said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (John 6:68-69) What about those who walk away? 1 John 2:19 tells us, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.”
Application: Are you a true believer in Jesus Christ or are you just another in the crowd looking for a spiritual hand out? While Jesus ministered to the multitudes to reveal His love for them, He demands that we move out of the multitude into marriage. Those who truly believe in Jesus Christ will spare nothing to follow Him. There is nothing that can lure them away. They are convinced and persuaded that Christ alone has the words of eternal life. They are true believers and their life declares it.
Prayer: “Heavenly Father, I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. I choose to serve You not on the basis of convenience but on the basis of covenant. I am Yours and You are mine. I accept fully the responsibility, accountability, and the sacrifice that comes in following You. This I declare in Jesus’ name. Amen.”