As a Christian and especially as a pastor, I am deeply concerned for the people who DO attend churches for Sunday worship. I am concerned because something is amiss in many of their lives, at least, from that part of their lives which I can see. They profess the name of Jesus, claim to have been saved or born again, probably are a member of a local church, and very often attend church almost every Sunday. Yet when I listen to them speak and watch their actions (or lack thereof) outside the church's worship service, I see works which do not match their professed faith.
For example, how can a person who has been born anew by God's Spirit and indwelt by the Spirit have little interest or desire to be in God's Word. Oh, some of them tell me they read their Bible every day. Yet their ignorance of Scripture is very apparent. They lack a simple familiarity with the Word of God which belies their claim to be students of the Word. They often will not attend Sunday School classes or other free opportunities provided by the church to study the Scripture. How can you be truly saved and not thirst for the Word? Something is wrong and I am concerned.
Others who are members of a church will never attend a prayer meeting. Why? How can you be a child of God yet not want to meet with your brothers and sisters in Christ and lift up the needs of your church to God's throne? Something is wrong and I am concerned.
For many of these self-proclaimed Christians, there is no evidence of growth in Christ. There is no apparent desire to grow. How can one be born from above and have no desire to grow in Christ. Something is wrong and I am concerned.
I know a lady who, over a 5+ year period, has attended morning worship twice at most. She claims to know Christ and is a member of a local church. She often attends an evening Bible class at the church but never comes to Sunday School or prayer meeting or almost any church fellowship. When asked why, she says she has trouble sleeping and can't get up early enough. Yet some of her Facebook posts have been made on many mornings before 9 a.m. No, not being able to sleep is not her problem; it is her excuse. She does not want to come to Sunday School, worship service, or prayer meeting. PERIOD. How can a church member have such an attitude and truly believe they are born again, saved, and covered by the blood of Christ? No, something is wrong, something is very wrong, and I am concerned.
Perhaps this has always been true in Christianity. Perhaps the overwhelming number of local church members and attendees have actually been lost individuals either faking their Christianity or deceived into a false security of salvation. But, given the impact of Christianity upon society over many centuries, I suspect this has not been the norm .
Actually, it doesn't matter if this is normal for our faith or not. Something is wrong and I am concerned.
I tremble and shake when I read the Lord's words on judgment day as recorded in Matthew 7: "I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness." Lord, what can I do for such individuals?
I appeal to everyone who reads this post. Examine yourself as Paul tells us to do. Is there spiritual growth in your life? Be honest with yourself for your eternity depends on it. Is there a true, deep, heart-felt desire to be like Christ? Don't be deceived. God will not be mocked in the end. Claiming you are born again but living a life with no fruit (or even a desire!) loudly proclaims "I am LOST!" Are you lost or are you saved? Wanting to be saved and having a home in eternity is not the same as possessing such salvation. You can't just want it or pretend to have or merely think you have it. You must be born again!
If our local churches had true, converted, growing believers in them, we would be dynamically impacting our communities. The saints would be living godly lives and proclaiming Christ daily. How many churches are truly impacting their neighborhoods? Often the pastor is blamed for the lack of community involvement. But where are the church members who claim they know Christ?
Probably sitting at home watching the NFL or some other sporting event; anything but ministering for Christ.
Something is wrong and I am concerned.