If you are part of the family, how are you carrying on the family name? Are you in the forefront, delivering the message to all that will listen, stocking the shelves for the next generation that will continue on the path as we are to be doing, or simply living off the work of others who are serving? There are a lot of people who think that they are in the family of Christ who have no idea that they don’t belong anywhere near the front door of the kingdom of God.
Service to Christ is meant for those who are willing to serve, not those who must be continuously reminded of what their obligations are to be, and although they would like to reap the rewards of being in this household, only those who have been chosen will be present to receive the benefits. And so therein is the question, how do you know that you have been chosen, how do you know that you are part of the family of God? This has always been a question that has been close to my heart, for there are many that are being deceived, many who think themselves to be saved by the grace of God, but the only works that they show are those that are related to the church organization that they attend, their service stops when the service is over.
They are like the cake that is never turned in Hosea 7:8, “Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned.” burnt on one side and completely raw on the other. Inside of the church building they can seem as if they are in the family, but as soon as they step out, they are cold as ice to those with whom they are to speak. They sing the songs, they greet the fellowship and plan next weeks activities, but they have nothing to say to the lost, save for the occasional invitation to church, and even that is beyond rare. They are a part of a family, but it is not the family of God. The works that they produce are only for those within the congregation, those that they believe are saved, as they think they themselves to be, yet they are far from the kingdom.
I personally know many individuals that fit into this mold, this false family if you will, they are always in church when the doors are open, and rarely if ever miss a Sunday service, but when we meet in the street, no matter how much I attempt to sway the conversation to the Lord, they will not participate. These are people that attend many different religious organizations around the community, and it is a scarce moment when they will enjoin in the conversation. Thus the terminology of the family and which one you are in, do you serve your church family, or the family of God, for if indeed the family of God is your answer, then all that you know have heard you speak on the love of the Lord, if your lips only pass the knowledge of His love and compassion to those in your church family, well then, you make the conclusion.
We are well past the point of discussing the embarrassment and shame that some feel when they are in the company of the lost here, those that know when they should have opened their mouths and did not. This is a statement of those who believe themselves to be saved, but show absolutely know works whatsoever outside of the building that they call a church, hot on the inside, ice cold on the outside. These belong more to a club than a place that worships Christ as Lord, although they may think they are doing so inside of the assembly, their hearts are truly far from the Lord. Their care and concern for the lost is only in words, and no deeds outside of the offering plate are seen from them, they are outsiders and treated as such. Their neighbors are inside the building, all others are outsiders, unless a special invitation is extended to them.
Harsh words, I know, but meant to spoken in love, and sometimes love is not very polite, at least it may not seem so to the one who is being reproved. My lovely wife has known an individual who has attended the same church for almost fifty years, she has even worked at the same location as him for several years, and until she initiated the conversation of scriptures just a year or so ago, not once did he bring up anything concerning his faith, never invited her to church, not once did he even mention the Lord and his saving grace to her. And this is not the only individual that attends this so-called church that reacts in this manner when approached about their faith, now why is that. Why would anyone who has attended a church building for so many years not have a desire to spread the word of Christ to any that would listen.
Part of this phenomenon is the pastors that lead these types of churches, they do not use words of conviction from the Scriptures, toes must not be stepped on, the majority and those who have been attending for many years are the ones who lead the congregation, and if the one behind the pulpit wants to keep his job, that is what he will adhere to. But it is not always this way, some of these pastors are not interested in the Word of God, they are interested in attendance records, of the continuation of the funds coming into the church, and the perception of the fellowship, not the truths that convict, are what is important. Who is at fault, they all are, they know the truths of Scripture and refuse to apply them, they are concerned with the fellowship of the congregation, not with the fellowship of Christ. They all have Bibles, albeit they may be misinterpretations of the Word, but even that in itself is no excuse, they are deceiving themselves, and they are doing it on purpose.
Unless you are extremely limited for time, you have no reason not to speak of the blessings of God to all that will listen, they do not need to be preached to, but they do need to know who you serve and why. Your works are self-evident to them, your conversations revolve around your Savior even as you listen to them speak about the world, you give Him the glory as they seek glory for themselves, and you speak of a world to come as they try to convince you that this world is all that matters. “There are no scales in heaven,” try that one out on them, it always elicits a response, “God is changing things up,” is one that I have been using lately, for it is easy to see that He is using His creation of nature to try and warn us of what is coming. The opportunities are endless for the one whose desire it is to show the love of Christ to others in words and deeds.
“But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.” (James 2:18) If the only place that you are hearing these words is from the one who stands behind the pulpit, then there may be a chance that your faith is dead, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” (James 2:17) Words are works, in fact, they may be the main works that we are asked to do, for they can be the most difficult to express, and it requires someone who is not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ to speak to others. I am in great fear for those who say they are Christians, those who cannot recall the last person that they not only witnessed to, but even spoke to in passing about Him, not a single word. “Not everyone that saith unto me, LORD, LORD, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 7:21)
Give pause today my friends, think back and try to remember, who was the last person you spent any amount of time with and does this person know that you serve a risen Savior, and make this person in your remembrance one who does not attend your church. Some who believe they are on the path don’t even know where the path is, they are deceiving themselves, others know that they are on the path, but have not moved much at all upon it for fear of offending those in the congregation that they call friends. There are many and varied reasons, it is up to you to look at yourself and decide if you are truly serving Christ and His family, or if the family you are in is of no relation whatsoever to the family of God.