Has your church ever done a community outreach event? Perhaps you’ve been part of one of these that has offered people free food, along with games for children and a chance to bounce around on inflatables. That’s all wonderful. We certainly want people in our neighborhoods to know we are friendly, perhaps even likable. But, quite frankly, any group of people—believers or not—can put on an event like that.
We must want more for our friends and neighbors than that. We must long for them to have an encounter with the risen Jesus and to find life in Him.
The best reason for a church to convene a community day, then, is the same reason for it to convene any gathering: so that men, women, and children might have a direct encounter with the living God through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Ultimately, we want unbelieving people around us to become committed followers of Jesus.
One way to conceive of sharing the good news is by reciting the ABCs of the gospel:
A – Admit: We all have something to admit. We have sinned, every last one of us. We have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). And though “the wages of sin is death, … the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus” (6:23). Unless we admit our need, we will never know the remedy.
B – Believe: There is something to believe. Jesus Christ died in the place of sinners like us. The good news of the gospel is not about what we’re able to do in order to make ourselves acceptable to God; it is the wonder of what God has already done in Jesus. The message is that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). We must believe it.
C – Come: We must come to Jesus. We can have a sense of our sinfulness and even know that Christ died in our place, but unless we entrust ourselves to Him, we remain lost. Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, emphasis added).
Sometimes people get stuck between B and C and, despite knowing they’re sinners and understanding the gospel, have never actually come to the Lord Jesus. It is worth checking that this does not describe you. If it does, it’s appropriate to ask, What are you waiting for? The Lord Jesus Himself said, “Whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” When you sense pangs and longings in your soul that nothing else seems to satisfy, then come to Jesus. Full and everlasting satisfaction awaits.
If you have come to Jesus and found life in Him, then do not keep quiet about Him. The “bread of life” is for offering around! So by all means let us and our churches show gospel kindness in our acts of love. But we are called to do more, too: to share gospel truth in what we say. To whom will you offer the “bread of life” this week?
How is God calling me to think differently?
How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?
What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?
53So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread3 the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59Jesus4 said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.
The Words of Eternal Life
60When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” 61But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? 62Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
66After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
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