Close To Heaven

A couple of our friends from church recently were married. There is something special that I find with marriage as it reminds me of the coming marriage of Christ and his Church. It really is a picture of Christ’s love for his bride as he laid down his life for her. What a great picture. But this post isn’t about them. It is about two men who worked at the church they were wed at.

After the wedding I have the opportunity to talk to two of these men who worked at the church. Come to find out that neither of them attended church and it soon became apparent that they needed to hear the gospel. Which is shocking to me that men would work in a church but not be part of the church. I think this really speaks to the state of the church that many no longer preach the gospel. Many churches don’t believe in the realities of heaven and hell that we no longer find the necessities to share Christ with those nearest to the church. So here is a tragic reality of churches.

Tragedy 1. People (unbelievers) work with in the walls of the church but never hear the gospel.
Tragedy 2. People attend the church but never hear the gospel.
Tragedy 3. Neighbors to the church have never been evangelized with the gospel.
Tragedy 4. The neighbors of people within the church never heard the gospel.
Tragedy 5. The pastor doesn’t share the gospel.

The first four problem are a result of the greatest problem. The pastor doesn’t preach the gospel. It is clear that the command for pastors is to “do the work of the evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Tim 4:5) Dr. Steve Lawson brings up this issue in his book titled Famine in the Land. He says, “Biblical preaching must always occupy the leading place of influence in the life of any church. At the core of any healthy congregation is a vibrant exposition of God’s Word. Unfortunately, though, many pastors are turning away from the central role of expository preaching and doctrinal teaching. But in so doing , they fail to realize that new converts, first and foremost, need to be taught God’s truth.” The fact is that the two men who I spoke with suffered one from not hearing the word and possibly being converted.

The message I gave to these men is one of repentance and faith in Christ. The sad thing is that these two men reminded me of the men on the cross next to Jesus. Both heard the words of Christ and yet only one was saved. These men at church were close if you will to heaven and yet both were so far away. One had parents who attended the church and the other had no church background. Seems strange that these men who worked inside the church hadn’t really heard the gospel. I hope that no one ever comes to a church I attend let alone work at one and yet not be saved. Even 1 Corinthians 14 tells us that the uninformed coming into the church should hear and be saved. So why isn’t it happening. Perhaps the gospel is some unintelligible sound to those who come and hear.