The Counterfeit Gospel
Friday, November 17, 2006
What is the mission of the Church?
Three short months ago, I stood in a parking lot at NC State and prepared to say goodbye to my son. This was a crucial moment, a chance to wrap up years of experience in a few pithy sentences. What was the most important thing I wanted him to know? Would my words make a difference in his newly independent life?

Two thousand years ago, Jesus stood on a mountain in Galilee and prepared to say goodbye to his followers. He would, in just a few minutes, be leaving them for a very long time. What was the most important instruction He could give them? These friends were going to build His Church on the foundation he laid. His last words to them would confirm the church's primary mission. We all know those parting words as The Great Commission: "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them...and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." [Matt.28:20]

What He chose as His parting words affirms a saving gospel, not the social "gospel" a counterfeit "Christianity" is promoting to a world eager to reject a redeeming Savior. Proponents of social ministry misuse Christ's words in His parable of the nations where He blesses the "sheep" nations and curses the "goat"nations: "For I was hungered and you gave me meat... whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." [Matthew 25: 41-36]. In context, this dialogue takes place after Jesus returns with His saints to reign in His kingdom on Earth. The nations have been brought before His throne and He is judging them according to their treatment of His brethren, the nation of Israel [Matthew 10:6, John 1:11]. For as God vowed in Genesis 12:3, "I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse."

Nowhere does Jesus command His followers to dedicate their lives to providing for the physical needs of the less fortunate. Instead, when John the Baptist questioned why he should believe that Jesus was the Messaiah, Jesus provided proof: "The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor." Not one word about how many hungry families He served at the soup kitchen or the amount of clothing He donated to the local thrift shop. But He did command his disciples to follow his example and: "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy,drive out demons.[Matt. 10:8]" So why isn't the Church following that command?

Genuine charity is a natural response in a life guided by the Holy Spirit. We Christians should absolutely care for the truly needy, but our charity must be accompanied by the saving gospel. Feeding the hungry belly, while starving the soul, is cruel and selfish.

As the holidays draw near, if you have a chance to serve in a soup kitchen or to open your home to the less fortunate, please do so. But make sure you share the true gospel: "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:35"
posted by K. Geffert | 7:55 PM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for your clear statement regarding our mission as a church

daniel from romania

12:50 AM, January 07, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this was a good statement - because you can do all these things, feed the hungry, etc., but without Jesus it is all in vain

11:44 AM, January 17, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what a great encouragement!
A warning and a reminder to stay
on track and remain united to Jesus ,the vine.

3:53 AM, January 23, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Truth. So many I see play Church. We are to be the Church. Not all about eating and the world must be departed from the church.

2:47 PM, February 03, 2007  
Blogger Joseph James said...

I agree whole-heartedly with your question. Our true purpose is to seek and save those who have no hope.

9:36 PM, February 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Karen, I notice your last date as being Nov 2006. There is too much well-said perspective here to not add more to this blog. Please keep up the great commentary.
vcj in Hopewell, VA

11:53 AM, February 25, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yours is the gospel of the earthly kingdom intended for Israel Mt 10:5-8, not the gospel of the grace of God for all as later revealed to Paul: 1Tim 2:6,7.

12:47 PM, March 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is not the great commandment "Love God....Love your neighbour....."
You need to deal with the human first. Would it not be easy to sit in splendid isolation going through empty relegious rituals whilst our neighbours are dieing.
Wake up Church and get engaged in the World. Or should we all sit around and dream up the 10 commandments of driving????
Lift the burden of Relegion and help the needy, poor, hungry etc.

10:15 PM, June 23, 2007  
Anonymous V. Tachiquin said...

8:16 PM, July 16, 2007. "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:35" I have read this scripture to many times before, However; today for the first time I understood this scripture! Thank you. God Bless.

11:24 PM, July 16, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes Please update - One reason relegion doesn't follow His instructions in Matt:10 is - It offends too many in the Church Building.. He also said we would Always have the Poor with us. He also said we would ( or could ) do greater things than He did.

3:24 AM, October 21, 2007  
Blogger Carol said...

Congratulations on your award!! Please come to my site to pick it up.

10:52 PM, November 29, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if only or vicar believed in feeding the poor and need both spiritually as well as psyically she might find she has a fll hurch insted of one getting emptier by the day, trning peole away becuase they ive the other side of the dividing line of an area was not the way CHRIST intended it to be i am sure

4:36 PM, March 07, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

love God and Love your neighbour said the Lord, why then is there so much bloodshed in this world in the name of religon, as a child i was beaten black and blue by my peers but my faith atayed strong, however it seems so wrong to walk by when people are in crisis but we do it daily not knowing but the Lord See all and will judge accordingly

4:45 PM, March 07, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"These things the LORD hateth yea seven is an abombination. A lying tongue, feet swift to do mischief..." etc.
Here GOD Himself demonstrates that HE doesn't hate men, HE merely hates what they do. We are to be the same.
John said " He who doesn't come with this doctrine is to be treated as a
sinner. Don't even bid him GODspeed
or you are a partaker of his evil
work." Here John is talking about
dealing with someone who says that
Jesus is not the Son of GOD. Yet John would later say that anyone who says they love GOD but not their fellow man is a liar and doesn't have the TRUTH. We view those who deny the good confession
are to be viewed as persons who don't have the truth (just as those who refuse to love people).
Love them, deny or disapprove of
what they do. This isn't being
judgmental it's being discerning
of GOD'S truth. But that doesn't give us the right to be uncivil just disapproving of sinful actions. We are required to show mercy to the penitent sinner and
not threaten Hell on the non-penitent. THAT'S judgmental.

4:27 PM, February 04, 2009  
Blogger teci said...

"Feeding the hungry belly, while starving the soul, is cruel and selfish."

Amen! i had that question as a young Christian - why was poverty not emphasized (in our church) as much as the gospel? I eventually realized that indeed man does not live on bread alone; the Word of God is more important.

God be with you always!

6:28 AM, March 13, 2009  
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12:12 PM, November 21, 2009  

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