The Undead In The Pews.
We all know people who call themselves followers of Christ on Sunday and live however they want Monday through Saturday. I’m not pointing any fingers but I will use my past life as an illustration. I have been a church goer all my life, but before I committed to following Jesus as Savior and Lord, I was a religious zombie and a stinking decomposing corpse that filled the aroma with my own stench and sin. There is “nothing new under the sun” as Ecclesiastes would say and there have always been necrotic Christians.
Revelations 3 says
1 “To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. 4 Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. 5 He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
See verse 3 where it says“But if you don’t wake up,” the key words are “if you don’t” we all get tired in our faith at times and backslide but what becomes of someone who at one time had a “reputation of being alive” but then defects and slides down the tunnel of sin into oblivion, never to return from the black hole of the soul that sucks them inside. The slip over the event horizon into an unrepentant state and never to return, sucked into a blackhole of a hardened heart. Praise the Lord for his mercy and grace because at one time I was that kind of person but I was saved from the throws of spiritual death. However, unfortunately some aren’t so fortunate but commit the sins Jude speaks of.
Jude 1:12 These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm–shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted–twice dead. 13 They are wild waves of the sea,foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.
“twice dead” can imply these people were never alive in Christ to begin with and are able to fool enough people in pretense to make them think otherwise, and finally when they do utterly backslide, reputiate and recant, they have in a way died a second time. -Hebrews 6:4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6 if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.”
Yes, indeed, one can be active in the church and even have a appearance of faithfulness. They may even share their faith, sing in the quire, be quite involved in the church ministry but truly be still “dead in their sins and trespasses”-Ephesians 2.
It’s strikes fear into my heart even as I contemplate this. Jesus taught a story of a man who left for a time and left his household servants in charge of his estate. He narrates it like this in Luke 12:
35 “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. 39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” 41 Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?” 42 The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? 43 It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. 44 I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45 But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the menservants and maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk. 46 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.
Basically the evil servant got tired after while with his responsibilities and grew careless, he began to think to himself in verse 45- “‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the menservants and maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk. 46 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.
How dreadful that must have been for the evil servant who abandoned his position and resorted to lawlessness. As it is said”The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” 2 Timothy 2:19
Saved or not Saved, that is the question.
The problem with many of the churches today is false teachings, beliefs, and inability to discern between true followers and false ones. Of course this creates an issue for many who are coming to Christ and possible inclined to an interest in Christ. Why is this? The reason is it turns people away to see someone saying one thing and then living the opposite, and will cause not only confusion but resentment most of the time. It would be terrible if some hungry lost soul came in earnestly seeking the God who was drawing them to Himself only to see the behavior of some and then turn away in disgust.
Jude 1:4 says “For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
The problem is that we have tolerated so many professing so called followers who are not necessarily saved even at all in our churches to spread heresies like a infectious disease, Paul once referred to the false teaching of certain men in his day as being like “gangrene”. Gangrene is the condition the medical world now calls “necrotizing fascititis” and in laymans terms, it’s really just when body tissue dies because the blood flow gets obstructed and then it begins to rot. They openly sinning against God masking it under the term grace, they make God’s mercy a license to sin, deliberately. they also have tolerated and even accepted the lie that there are possible other ways to God. They indeed deny “Jesus Christ our only Sovereign Lord” I have even heard some people who have called themselves Christians yet will bring into doubt the fact that “Jesus is the only way” and by doing so they strengthen a hostile world’s attempts to deny Jesus as the key to salvation. Will not the world itself say, “Oh, this person is a Christian, and they even say themselves that there might be other possible ways to God, if a person is ‘sincere enough’” Often times this will only strengthen false accusations and not build bridges. We should not be ashamed of what Jesus taught, and I admit myself it’s tempting to succumb to the onslaught of pressure, but we should not chicken out on this one. Honesty is the best means, we must admit there is a problem called sin and give the only solution their is, the cross. It’s like a man who got a extreme staph infection in his abdomen, it was antibiotic resistant staph and the only way to kill the bacteria was for the doctors to make an incision in his belly and insert bleach pads. The truth is often more painful then the problem for a brief moment, but there after brings an end to the pain. Take for example a broken nose, it hurts to begin with bad enough, and it hurts even worse when the doctor has to rebrake it, but then comes healing and the pain deminishes over time.
John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
The reason the church for a large part is not winning the lost is because so many in the church are the lost. Many times its hard to tell who is true and who is counterfeit.
Jesus mentions this when he said
Matthew 7:22-23 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 in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Indeed it is possible to do works in the name of Christ and still not belong to Christ. Because its not about your so called good works and knowledge of the Bible its all about how you use it. Its not about how long you have been in church or what you know, its about being born again and if one has truly trusted Christ as savior and Lord.
Romans 8:13-14 says “For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.
“By the Spirit”, it says. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ is not a child of God.
Its never to late as long as your alive, the answer is to repent of your sins and trust in Christ to forgive you. He is gracious and ready to forgive anyone who truly turns to him! Don’t let the fear of the cost hold you back. It is more than worth it.