Jesus Did No Good for Anyone

Monday Discussion

Jesus did no good, no act of compassion, no miracle for anyone without accompanying words that pointed people to God and the Gospel of the Kingdom.

So why do those who are called by his name insist on giving out water bottles, doing “random acts of kindness,” and free car washes as “outreaches” without any testimony to the supremacy of Christ in their lives or offering the gospel or news of the kingdom to people?


19 thoughts on “Jesus Did No Good for Anyone

  1. Because the culture has shifted. The world today is much like an unbelieving spouse — they’ve *heard* the good news. They’ve been burned by our hypocrisy and arrogance.

    If Christians the world over — The Church — would live transformed lives and begin passing out cold water and doing random acts of kindness, the world would be changed and people might be willing — even eager — to *hear* the good news of the gospel.

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  2. I actually like Llama Momma’s answer and think that as a justification for why we don’t follow the pattern of Jesus and do something else, it is about as good as it gets. Thanks Llama Momma.

    But just to put a finer point on what I am driving at:
    Jesus Pattern = WORDS COUPLED WITH ACTION.
    Modern Pattern = ACTION WITH NO WORDS UNTIL ASKED.

    What motivates the change? Is it missional? (Llama Momma’s answer). Or is it something else? What might those “something else’s” be?

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  3. Although there is some good in moving out past ourselves to “doing something”, it is easy to do these acts of kindness without words coming with them. What problem is the unbelieving world going to have with a free car wash? But when we get to the gospel, that is when we will be ridiculed and rejected, because the gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing. For me the love of man (man’s approval) far too often outweighs my love for God (God’s approval). Less resistance and less rejection is one of the reasons why this happens.

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    1. Shannon, I think you are dead on. Llama Momma’s answer is a good one but I fear that it is often the excuse rather than the reason for not following Jesus’ pattern. I’m not saying this is the case for Llama Momma. But I think it is far more typically true for most weak evangelism.

      And that is a heart issue.

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  4. I have given rides in the name of Jesus, given money to drunks in the name of Jesus and numerous other things in the name of Jesus and said ‘in the name of Jesus’. On one occassion I got a hug. On the rest that I remember, there was eye contact with no comment. There was always eye contact as a response. I have been knocked for my faith many times, but never when I gave something, ‘in the name of Jesus.’

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  5. I agree that the “acts of service” can be used as a cop-out to using words. I’ve been there, where the Holy Spirit is whispering, nudging, and I know I need to speak. To ask a hard question. And I don’t want to.

    But I think you could also ask the opposite question:

    Does “in-your-face” evangelism work?

    I’ve seen it do more harm than good.

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    1. That is a worth while question to ask. But not too quickly. Sometimes we run off to new questions before or because we don’t want to plumb the depths of the question at hand. (Not saying that is what you are doing. Just sayin’.)

      I’ve seen some stupid, irresponsible, unloving, insensitive, arrogant “in-your-face” evangelism too. But I think you are seeing this in too much of an either/or atmosphere. “Either “acts of service” or “in-your-face.” There are more options than that. In fact, I would counter that Jesus’ way is neither of these options but is in fact a third way.

      Let’s summarize some of the reasons we have heard so far for why we don’t follow the model of Christ.
      1. Fear of men.
      2. We don’t want to ask the hard question.
      3. We don’t want to, period.
      4. Fear of rejection.
      5. Fear of ridicule.

      Have we exhausted the list of “something else’s” that keep us from following the pattern of Jesus?

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  6. I guess I ask the question because in my relational “acts of service” evangelism one of the biggest barriers people have to Christ is loud mouth Christians. No joke.

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  7. I know you’re not advocating loud mouth evangelism. I doubt anybody does. And yet I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard stories of well meaning Christians who damage the cause of Christ because all they do is give people the gospel and go. “Ding-dong-ditch” evangelism.

    And people — real people — are left in the wake.

    I wish I could write about this more on my blog, but so many of my neighbors are avid readers…

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    1. I empathize with you. And I’m glad you have the outlet and opportunity to represent Christ on your own blog in the way that you do.

      But again, I abhor the same thing you do. I think Christians who dump the gospel verities on people abruptly and then abandon people as friends and fellow image bearers of God are a huge problem.

      By the way, I think it is completely disingenuous to do acts of kindness SO we can evangelize. I think the acts of kindness should be done BECAUSE we belong to Christ and because we love people. They should not be done as a means to get to the gospel. Again, I am not advocating an either/or but a both/and.

      We may not like it. We may be uncomfortable. We may be fearful. But the reality is that Jesus, our master, never did it the way we do it. He always coupled the two, compassion and words. And he knew that some would walk away. Maybe we should sit down and have a cup of coffee. I like your first answer—the culture has changed, and your first metaphor—the culture is like an unbelieving spouse.

      In fact, I would expand on the metaphor. The culture is like an abused spouse. And that requires a very delicate and consistent response.

      It is just hard to get around the fact that the gospel is mediated through words, and the gospel preached is the means of salvation, and without preachers who preach, people will not hear.

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  8. I hear you and I agree.

    Kindness should simply be a way of life, honestly. And the unkind, grumpy Christians should just never let on that they’re, um, Christians. 🙂

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    1. I preached a sermon one time and had a line where I said, “If this is the kind of Christian you are and this is the kind of witnessing you do, would you do the rest of us a big favor and stop calling yourself a Christian?”

      You could hear a collective gasp from the congregation. And then thirty people came up and thanked me for my honesty!

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  9. “Preach Christ always and when necessary, use words” (St. Jerome????)

    My life must reflect my faith in every aspect and then and only then do I have the right to explain the hope that lies within me with gentleness and respect. Plus I probably won’t be asked to explain until my life does!

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  10. Continuation: The key to a life that is a flawless reflection of faith is a life of submission in every aspect. This is the working out of my salvation, guided by the Holy Spirit, and in my case, is still a work in process. As the Spirit works in me, I become a vessel of living water, poured out as a witness to the transforming power of the Cross.

    Anything but an “in your face” evangelism, it is the only effective outreach and is the result of my seeking to display my love for my Lord and Master through obedience to the Word.

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  11. John, trust you are well. The quote “… if necessary use words” is most often attributed to St. Francis. Fortunately, the reality is that neither Jerome nor St. Francis ever said it. There is ZERO evidence. It just has been quoted so often, and sounds so pithy, and fits people’s cowardice so well that it has become the standard “truth” about how to share your faith. Frankly, it is nonsense.

    The reality is that the gospel is contained in words, can not be believed with out preachers to preach it (Romans 10), Jesus came “preaching the gospel” and sends us into the world as heralds of him and his message. My life should reflect the transforming power of the gospel. My life should invite people to wonder about the source of its power. My life should adorn the gospel I preach with beauty. But, I am not absolved of the responsibility to herald the gospel simply because I have not attained complete sanctification. That will only happen when I draw my last breath.

    So my gentle and respectful push back is that all of us who have been redeemed have the “right” to preach the gospel, the authority to preach the gospel given to us by Christ who has all authority in heaven and earth. A life centered and saturated with Christ will make us better witnesses but it won’t give us more authority than we already have. Like Jesus, we need to preach and act in love and kindness and mercy and compassion and consistency together, all the time. Preaching and service to the world must be close companions. We can’t let them drift apart and not be informed and influenced by one another.

    Always love your insights. Hope your bride is well.

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  12. Romans 10:14-15 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? (15) And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

    Amen, we must preach! If I overemphasize the importance of leading a transformed life, forgive me, but keep in mind the environment in which I minster. A prison is a concentrated microcosm of all the sin of the culture and to be a Christian can be dangerous, certainly not an act of cowardliness. Blessing and praying for someone who curses and persecutes you is risky, but is frequently an opening to preach the Gospel.

    On the other hand, a quick way to lose the “right to speak out” in prison society is, for example, to lose it (your temper), to curse out the guard who has, in your opinion, issued an an unjustified disciplinary report. Your cellmates may agree with you that the guard’s actions were unjustified but will also be quick to label you as a hypocrite.

    Hence, we spend a lot of time trying to gain an understanding of what it means to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ while incarcerated. In short. it validates our message. And we spend a lot of time repenting for none of us have achieved the perfect holy life, but we sure look forward to the trumpet call that will usher us in.

    Over to you, dear brother.

    Betty and I are fine, a very hectic summer and fall but that’s the call to laborers in the vineyard. And you and your family?

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  13. I think this is a very interesting conversation to have. Many Christians seem to be content with warm fuzzies, but don’t want to get down and dirty with sharing the Gospel with unbelievers. In my opinion fear of man is the biggest issue, but also we allow ourselves to get so caught up into our own lives we miss the opportunities presented to us. Something the the Lord has revealed to me is that meditation is so important. Not just prayer, but honestly sitting and listening for Him. When I started doing this it was so difficult, my brain wouldn’t turn off.

    I waited it out and it took me about 45 minutes of sitting still for my brain to just stop and relax. As I’ve learned to do this more, I find that the opportunities are more available (or at least I notice them more) as I tune out the world and really listen for God daily. A lot of people do not want to really stop and listen for that still small voice, and miss the real ministry opportunities that are sitting around them. (FYI, I’m not awesome and by no means have this down).

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    1. Amen. Keep at it. We are all in process. Next month, on Saturday the 20th` I am doing an 8:30-11:45 AM seminar on THE ART OF BIBLICAL MEDITATION at Trinity Church in Watseka, IL. Biblical meditation is a passion of mine. Keep at it.

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