Would you turn your back on Jesus?

While many are rich in the Western world, others lack the basic necessities of life. Men, women, and children go to bed hungry. Jesus' parable of the sheep and the goats teaches that we must help these people. The sheep inherit eternal life in God's kingdom for they ministered to Lord Jesus Himself. Every time they gave a bag of groceries to a hungry brother, they were feeding Jesus Himself. The goats are eternally separated from God in torment. In this life they turned their backs on Jesus and let Him go hungry. Every time they turned their back on a brother, they denied Christ. (Scripture reference Matthew 25:31-56)

Jesus also taught about a beggar named Lazarus and the rich man. This account shows us how God is fair and just. To see God's justice, we need to look at eternity and not merely our short lives here now. This is because life can seem to be unfair. The Apostle James wrote that is his time God had called many materially poor people who were rich in faith. Often it seems that the homeless man loves God though he is suffering with mental illness and eating out of the trash. Meanwhile the rich college professor is an atheist. Jesus' account of Lazarus and the rich man clears up the apparent inconsistency. The rich man had good food and fancy clothes in abundance. Yet he failed to come to the aid of the beggar Lazarus who was living outdoors by is gate without food and in need of medical attention. Then one day both died. The angels carried Lazarus to be with our Lord in paradise forever. The rich man found himself in torment where the worm never dies and the flame is never quenched. (ref. Luke 16:20-31, Mark 9:39-50)

The message is simple. If each is to call himself a "Christian" which means "follower of Christ" then each one must be like Christ and help the poor. Faith without works is dead. My breath isn't my body. The breath is something invisible and intangible. Yet take away my breath and my body will die. Very quickly it would decay, return to the ground, and disappear. Without breath I would have no life and therefore no body. We need to continually renew our bodies by breathing. We need to continually renew our faith in acts of love for those in need. (ref. James 2:14-26)

God wants mercy and not sacrifice. If I go to church and sing, pray, raise my hands, speak in tongues, and praise God- that is a sacrifice to God. But if I don't have mercy, God doesn't want my sacrifice. Mercy is love in action. It is having enough compassion for someone in need that I lend a helping hand. Without mercy, my intended sacrifice becomes an abomination before God. (ref. Proverbs 5:8)

With so many suffering outside the church walls, how can we not go out and help Lazarus at our gate? Our Lord suffered outside of the camp. Those who love Him will follow His example. We enjoy to be inside of the church sanctuary while the Lord's work is outside. If we loves others, we will leave our comfort zone. Jesus commanded His first apostles- "Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature...." Jesus commands us today- "Go ye..." Isaiah heard the Lord ask- "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Isaiah responded in obedient faith, "Here I am, send me." Are you willing to go? Are you willing to be sent? (ref Mark 16:15-18, Isaiah 6:1-13, Hebrews 13:8-14)

Love, Pastor Shoe