The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone; (Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks:) When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus. And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither? Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.John 6:22-27
Why do you go to church?
I know the answers to that question could vary greatly from person to person, but should they? Is it not true that God commanded that we not forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25)? Is that not enough reason? Perhaps we should also consider what great mercy and grace God has had upon us and go to church to worship in great thankfulness!
Jesus faced the same problem that many pastors face today. Many of God’s people go to church for what they “get out of it” rather than in obedient thankfulness to glorify God for how amazing He is!
As we will see further on in this passage from John’s gospel, many of the people, including disciples, witnessed miracles that clearly showed that Jesus had to be the Messiah. Jesus showed Himself to be God by the mighty power He showed both privately and publicly. Yet, many of the people just followed because they got their bellies filled. They didn’t even consider how a wondrous a miracle it was how Jesus did that!
Modern “Christianity” has been polluted with so many things of the world that I am not sure first century Christians would even recognize what is happening as a church worship service! There are so many “activities” and types of entertainment. There are self-help classes and philosophies being taught as gospel. The list goes on and on. Churches are spending huge amounts of money to figure out how to attract and keep people in the church. It is quite an industry!
And it should not be this way.
Jesus is about to start really preaching. And what is going to happen? Lots of people are going to stop following Him and go back home. The bread that they, and we need, is the word of God being taught to them clearly from the Bible. But that is the one thing that people then and now just don’t seem to care about. Sermons in the 21st now average less than 15 minutes and use very little scripture, but the “praise and worship” band will entertain for much longer than that. Children’s programs and programs for adults who never grew up dominate the culture while the word of God is relegated to a back seat position in worship.
Accounts like these in scripture should serve to warn us against falling into the same patterns as children of God in the past. We read about the children of Israel being delivered and then falling immediately back into sin time and time again. And yet we do the very same thing!
Let us each lay aside our personal preferences for what we think church ought to be and try to get back to the principles and practices of the early church. Sunday is the Lord’s day, so let’s not rush through church to get to some other activity. The gospel message is the heart of worship and how God instructs His sheep. Let’s give it the important position God designed for it. I think we will better glorify God in our worship, and we will actually “get more” from the service as well. We will be fed from the word of God.