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Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Hope for the Lost in the Church

The Christian rhetoric is not hard to learn. Church can provide a social outlet. Church is safe. People put up with things in church that they wouldn't put up with anywhere else. Many people became part of the church when they were very young. They did what they were told to do and they were told that they were members of the church. They were asked to serve on committees, teach and serve in leadership before too long. Some of these people do not know the Lord even though they may have been members of the church for several years.

I heard of an evangelist who goes through the congregation asking people personally if they know the Lord. He does so as the congregation sings. When asked who he chooses to ask the question, he responded, "O, that's easy, I ask those who aren't singing!" I really wished it was that simple.

Do the lost church members know they are lost? I seriously doubt it. They see things from the outside. Christianity doesn't look much different from any other religion on the outside. It seems to be a way of doing things.

A personal relationship with someone who died almost 2000 years ago makes no sense to the lost. They reason that it is just a feeling. They have had feelings about lots of things. They have political feelings, familial feelings and other preferential feelings. Jesus is just a feeling to them. They get that feeling every once in a while.

These people will be those who will stand at the judgment claiming that they called Jesus Lord. They will mention their acts of service. Yet, He will imply that they didn't do what He asked. How could they? He never knew them. They had never heard Him ask them for anything. They just did what they thought was expected. Somehow they thought that this would buy their eternity.

The lost in the church have been assured of their salvation throughout their time in the church. They have endured hundreds of altar calls in which they were supposed to hear the Lord calling them to Himself. They haven't heard a thing so they must already have everything they need. How do you convince someone that he is wrong about what he is sure of?

The Bible says that you will know them by their fruits. Yes, there are some that you can identify who do not know the Lord. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The believer bears the fruit of bringing others to Christ, too. The absence of these is ample evidence for their lost condition. Yet, the lost in church don't know that their fruit is rotten. There are so many who are also lost around them that it appears very normal.

Only the Holy Spirit can indicate to the lost person that he is lost. God has done that in the past through revivals. True revival is known when Christians come under full conviction to confess their sins and fully commit to live like Christ has called them to live. The change in their hearts makes a clear distinction between the lost and the saved. The lost realize it is more than a feeling and give their hearts to the Lord. Great evangelism follows the awakening of the church because faith can no longer be faked when those around you are no longer faking it.

So, the hope for the lost in the church is for the saved to live completely devoted lives for Jesus.

That, of course, will take a miracle.

Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV)
21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23  Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'


Cynthia Hampton said...

My former husband and I were baptized together about 20 years ago. Yet he never exhibited those fruits that identify one as a Christian. Oh sometimes he did. He served on committees, the Board of Trustees, gave money and looked like a Christian on the outside. Yet our home life was in shambles. He was cruel and selfish with me and cruel to my son whom he adopted. He showed unselfish love toward his flesh and blood children. We ended up divorced four years after our baptism.

He was a back and forth Christian. I eventually remarried a very godly man who befriended my "ex". My "ex" even returned to church for a time. But eventually he returned to his old ways of thinking. He took our daughter's side against me, telling her that I was a religious nut and that it was ok to have an atheist boyfriend. In his eyes it was ok to take a "road trip" with your boyfriend if you need quality time together. He gave his blessing to that behavior.

Several weeks after his "blessing" He died suddenly at the age of 60. We found that he gave to umpteen charities and causes during his life. Perhaps he was trying to buy his way into heaven, I don't know. But I believe that scriptures such as Matt. 18:6 and 1John 5:16-17 apply in his case.

maybe said...

very good and cool,thank you for your sharing.

ty said...

I stumbled upon your blog. thank you for this post.

Anonymous said...

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Prentis said...

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Anonymous said...

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Maybe I'm just not getting it - not too tech minded, but on your new blog I can't seem to figure out how to make a comment. Is that feature turned off? I was going to ask you about this via email but that link doesn't seem to lead anywhere either.

PS And just out of curiosity, was the note about where your blog moved to always on the top of this blog? Just wondering if I'm completely crazy. :-)

Steve Finnell said...

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