Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”
Have you ever had a “friend” or colleague who only wanted your companionship or friendship for as long as you had something to give them like money etc – but as soon as you no longer have the very thing that they want from you, then you hardly hear from them. Some people behave the same way towards God. They seek God for what He can do for them and not for who He is. These people don’t really want God – but they want what God can give them. These people don’t really seek to have a genuine & obedient relationship with God – but they seek a way to get God to “unlock” the “keys” to material wealth. They are really seeking the gift but not the Giver of the gift.
Just like the 5000 followers, it is possible today, that people follow a church or appear to follow Jesus not because they seek to become like Jesus and to serve God – but because, for example, they want various temporary material and monetary possessions that they believe God will give them. Like the 5000 who followed Jesus for food, there some who follow God for presumed money and wealth.
Just like the 5000 followers, the motive of some people is not to learn from God but their primary motivation is to feed their fleshly desires. To them Jesus is a means by which they can attempt to achieve their carnal desires.
In our own life, our motives for being followers of Christ must be CORRECT and GENUINE. We must not be like some of the 5000 who followed Jesus because they were only interested in satisfying their fleshly and temporary desires. God knows our minds and hearts and He is able to clearly see and read the motives or the reasons for why we do the things that we do. (John 2:23-25 – Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. 24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.)
Below are some of the WRONG reasons why people follow Jesus or go to church
WRONG REASONS FOR FOLLOWING A CHURCH OR FOLLOWING JESUS
(1) FOLLOWING GOD FOR MATERIAL THINGS – (Luke 12:15 – And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”)
Some people view God as being a type of Santa Claus / Father Christmas. To certain people, the primary motive for following God is because they believe that He will give them what their flesh and carnal minds desire. The motivation to acquire riches and possessions blinds them from genuinely following God for the right reasons because they have been deceived into believing that God MUST grant them whatever they desire. However Jesus teaches that life is more than about what possessions we have or the amount of money we have and that if we seek after material things only then we are short-sighted and do not understand God’s eternal plan. Jesus also taught that our primary focus should be to seek God’s kingdom & righteousness FIRST. (John 6:27 – Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal). It is also important to realize that while God is Jehovah our Provider, it is God’s prerogative to either give us or to withhold giving us the material desires that we want. Therefore God is not obligated to give us what we want because He is not Santa Clause / Father Christmas. He is God.
(2) SEEKING AN EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE – (John 4:23-24 – But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.)
Some people go to church or follow Jesus because they are seeking an emotional experience. They seek an emotional “high” or they seek to be entertained. They judge their spiritual condition by their emotional feelings. Some people believe that if they have an emotional experience at church then it means that God has visited them or that they are growing spiritually. However, is following Jesus really about seeking an emotional experience? And is having an emotional experience no matter how temporary that emotional “high” might be – can such experiences be equivalent to true spiritual growth in a person’s life?
(Matthew 13:20-21 – As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with JOY, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away).
When Jesus spoke about the Parable of the Sower, he spoke of a type of people who hear God’s word and receive God’s word with JOY and with a lot of excitement and energy. However, the fact that they were joyful or excited at receiving God’s word was not enough to sustain their spiritual growth because the problem is that they were not firmly rooted in God’s word through meditation and OBEDIENCE to God’s word. An emotional experience or feelings do not automatically guarantee that one will obey God’s word. Therefore when trials, tests and challenges come, they backslide or become defeated.
The problem with going to church or seeking God because you want an emotional experience is that you will find yourself going through a cycle of unpredictability and inconsistency in regards to obedience to God’s word. Therefore your relationship with the Lord is based on feelings.
(3) FOR POSITION, POWER & RECOGNITION – (Mark 10:43-45 – But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many).
I have often seen, experienced and heard about situations where people may appear to be interested in following God and in doing the work of God, but yet their ulterior motive is to gain various positions of power and influence within the church so that they may fulfill their own personal agenda and not God’s work. The Pharisees sought the adoration and admiration of men. The Pharisees sought power and influence, and therefore when they discovered that the power and influence that they once had over the people was now shifting to Jesus, the Pharisees connived to kill Jesus (read Matthew 23-26:1-3)
Jesus Himself did not come be served, but He came to serve and fulfill the plan of the Father.
Therefore when we go to church or when we decide to follow Jesus, we must be prepared to give ALL the glory to God. We cannot claim to follow God but yet seek our own glory in the process because God does not share His glory with anybody. (Isaiah 42:8 – I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols).
Even if you do not have a position or recognition in church, you are still a vessel of God whose function is to glorify God all the time (Colossians 3:17 – And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.)
Our duty as Christians is not to seek self-glory or the admiration of others, but whatever we do must give glory and praise to God whom we serve and live for.
(4) FOR BUSINESS, MONEY & PROFIT – (Matthew 21:12-13 – And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.)
For some people, going to church is an opportunity to make business contacts; make money and to make a profitable business out of the church setting & environment. For some people, church has become a business market – and for these people, they may appear to follow Jesus – but they are actually following and serving mammon (money).
When Jesus entered the temple, He realized that people had lost the true meaning & purpose of the existence of the temple. The temple had not been built so that people could run their businesses and make money. The temple had not been built so that it could be a marketplace for people to sell and buy. The temple was supposed to be “a house of prayer”. The temple was supposed to be a place for man to communicate with God. The temple was supposed to be for the service and glorification of God and not for the advancement of people’s monetary or material wealth. (Matthew 6:24 – “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.)
(5) FOR SIGNS & WONDERS – (Matthew 12:38-39 – Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah)
If God does not perform a miracle or a healing in one’s life – it does not mean that He is not God. God is still God even if He does not heal. God is still God even if He does not perform any physical sign or wonder. God is still God even if He does not give us the things that we want and desire in life.
There is no doubt that Jesus performed miracles that nobody had ever witnessed. After all, Jesus is God and through Him all things were created. Jesus would heal the sick, open the eyes of the blind and even bring back to life those who were dead. However, not even miracles could sway the hearts of many including the Pharisees to believe and genuinely follow Jesus. The Pharisees, the Sadducees and many other people who would follow Jesus would witness the miracles He did but in the end some of them would still not genuinely seek Christ’s salvation or devote themselves to become His disciples. This example of the hardening of the heart by the Pharisees even after seeing miracles by Jesus clearly shows that signs and wonders alone do not guarantee one’s salvation nor can they be a primary reason for following a church.
(Matthew 24:24 – For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect). In Matthew 24:24 Jesus warns that false christs & false prophets will perform false miracles or signs & wonders in order to deceive people and lure people to follow after them.
Therefore if people go to church or attempt to seek Jesus because they seek miracles only, they must be careful that they don’t fall into the trap of false prophets and false christs because according to Jesus, it is by false signs & wonders that many people would be led astray.
God is not a magician. He is not an entertainer. God can choose to perform miracles or not to. Jesus did not perform a sign when the scribes & Pharisees asked Him to. Jesus did not have to prove Himself to them even though they sought Jesus for a sign.
God wants us to seek Him genuinely. He wants us to worship Him truthfully. Below are GOOD Reasons or GOOD Motives of Why We Should Follow Jesus.
10 GOOD REASONS WHY WE SHOULD FOLLOW JESUS
1. Because we love Him. If you love somebody you will want to do the things that please them – (John 14:15 – If you love Me, you will keep my commandments).
2. Because we want to serve Him above all things – (Matthew 16:24-26 – Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?)
3. Because we desire to learn from Him – Of the 5000 followers, many of them decided to no longer follow Jesus. However, disciples such as Peter remained with Christ because they knew that only Jesus could really teach them the truth about life. (John 6:66-69 – After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”)
4. Because we desire to obey Him – (Luke 6:46-49 – “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”)
5. Because we want to glorify and praise Him above everything – (1 Peter 4:11 – Whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.)
6. Because He is our Lord & Saviour – (Acts 4:12 – And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.)
7. Because He is the Way the Truth & the Life – (John 14:6 – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.)
8. Because only He can satisfy our every need – Contrary to the teachings of various “prosperity” teachers, God’s mandate is not to supply us with every material need, but however He does supply us with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 1:3 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places) and (John 6:35 – Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst)
9. Because we would rather have Jesus and follow the Lord rather than to have what the world offers – (Romans 12:1-2 – I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect). (Matthew 16:26-27 – For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.)
10. Because we desire to yield to the teaching & direction of the Holy Spirit so that we follow and genuinely obey God in our lives – (John 16:8-15 – And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.)
DO YOU WANT TO BE A CHRISTIAN or A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST???
1. ACKNOWLEDGE: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13).
You must acknowledge that you are a sinner and that you therefore need Jesus in your life.
2. REPENT: “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3), “Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19)
Repenting means: to change your mind; a sincere turning away, in heart, mind and action;
Therefore God wants you to repent of sinful values and of sinful living. God wants you to decide to
follow Him and to make Jesus the Lord of your life.
3. CONFESSION: “If we confess our sins. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9)
God is a forgiving God. God will forgive any sin that you have done because Jesus died for ALL your sins and to set you free from the bondage of all types of sin in your life.
4. BELIEVE: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
You must believe that ONLY Jesus can save you and restore your relationship with God. You must believe that Jesus is the ONLY way by which you can have everlasting life and escape from eternal separation from God. You must believe that Jesus died on the cross for you and resurrected from the grave.
“He came to His own, and His own did not receive him, But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:11-12)
By faith, You must receive Jesus as Your Lord & Savior and therefore; you become a child of God; you become born again; you become a Christian; you restore your broken relationship with God
Why Not Make Your Eternal Decision NOW?
We become born again Christians by GRACE through FAITH or TOTAL TRUST in Jesus Christ as our Lord & Savior (Galatians 3:26) & (Ephesians 2:8,9). Salvation is a FREE gift received through FAITH in Christ.
This prayer is only an EXPRESSION of your faith, belief & trust in Jesus.
“Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your love. I thank You that You died on the cross for me and resurrected so that I may have life through You.
I confess Lord that I have sinned against You and today I ask You to forgive me of all of my sins, past present and future.
I repent of all of my sins and I ask You to cleanse me Jesus.
Thank You for forgiving my sins.
From this moment, come into my life Lord Jesus & take full control of my life. I want to follow You Jesus and I want to follow Your ways. Save me and from today, make me the person You want me to be.
I receive You Lord Jesus right now by faith. I make You my Lord and Savior – Amen”
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