Last week I presented an article entitled, "I Need You To Help Me Get To Heaven." The point of that article was that, as Christians, we need each other to get to Heaven. Many verses and contexts of scripture teach how much Christians need each other for strength, instruction, correction, assistance and encouragement. God designed the church to be like that. With that in mind there is a very specific group of our brothers and sisters who very much need our help.
In every congregation there are a great many brothers and sisters who have become unfaithful and no longer attend church services. This congregation is no exception. How Christians get to this point varies from individual to individual. Some become unfaithful almost immediately after being baptized. Others are zealous for a period of time, but eventually weary of the commitment that goes with being a faithful Christian. Some Christians teeter on the brink for a long time and finally give in to their weakness. Still others seem to be strong Christians for a long time but later succumb to temptation and leave the Lord's church.
The specific reasons behind a Christian's becoming unfaithful are myriad in number. Mostly, they're not reasons but excuses. Some Christians have a problem with a mate not being faithful. Some have friends that are bad influences upon them spiritually. Others have a personality clash with someone in the congregation where they attend. Some believe some other Christian did them wrong in some way, and their response is to leave the church, as if that would solve anything. The reasons given are almost as numerous as the number of unfaithful Christians who claim them.
But in truth no reason for leaving the Lord is valid, and make no mistake, leaving the Lord's church is leaving the Lord. The church is the body of Christ into which the Lord Himself puts the person who becomes a Christian.
While the reasons given for leaving the church may not be valid, the reality is that a lot of Christians are in this situation all around the world. Some have recently become negligent in their dedication and become unfaithful. Many may not even realize how long it's been since they've actually been to a worship service. Others have not attended i so long that many in their congregation do not even know who they are. Still others, many others, have moved into a new area and become unfaithful in the process. While many of these have been contacted, telephoned, visited, some of them many times, others have just sort of slipped away. Many have been gone so long that we hardly think about them anymore. What a shame!
It's been estimated that there are enough unfaithful members of the Lord's church in any given area as to double or triple the size of congregations in their area, if they would come back to faithfulness. We should not let our brothers and sisters move headlong down a path that ultimately could lead to their eternal destruction without trying very hard to lead them back. May God forgive us for not having done as much, in some cases, as we should have done.
What can we do, with God's help, to reach out to our lost brothers and sisters? Think, pray, act, make suggestions to the elders. Our brothers and sisters need us. They need us to help them get to Heaven...
Gary L. Hutchens