Question 5: Do you have a growing concern for the spiritual and temporal needs of others?
This week's question, at this time, is especially important. "Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words" is a quote that is very popular and not true. Words must be used to preach the Gospel. At the same time, those who have been saved and changed by the Gospel will desire to help those who have temporals. "Those following Jesus can trace their progress in His likeness by tracking their growth in their concern for both the spiritual and temporal needs of others." (68)
It is not either word, Spiritual truth - the Gospel OR Temporal actions - Love and Caring for physical needs. When someone hears and responds to the truth of John 3:16, they will live out the truth of First John 3:16.
Jesus' earthly ministry included teaching spiritual truths, meeting physical needs (healing and providing food), and dying as the perfect lamb of God for God's glory and our good.
James 2:15 - 16 reminds us of how we should respond to physical needs. "If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,' yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?"
10 Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health lists people through history who spoke truth and demonstrated love to others.
- George Whitefield was a fruitful evangelist who started an orphanage.
- William Wilberforce fought to end slavery.
- William Carey worked against child sacrifice and widow burning in India.
- George Mueller prayed and helped orphans.
- "C.H. Spurgeon, remembered as the Prince of Preachers, built more than seventeen homes for elderly widows, two orphanages." (74)
Whitney gives three things to help you grow in your concern for the needs of others.
- Go to the Great Ophthalmologists.
- Look for the hurt in every heart and home
- Do something for the gospel and the good of others
I would like to add a fourth. Remember how needy you were before you were a child of God.
The last paragraph of this chapter serves as a great reminder.
Don't sit passively until you "feel led" to particular needs. Go adventurously into your world with the gospel and the love of Christ, and you'll find Him guiding you to the needs He wants your to meet. And as you become His instrument in meeting the needs of others, you'll find Him meeting many needs of your own. (78)