Do you sit in church and only half-listen to the pastor's sermon? When the altar call is made do you pray for those in the congregation who may not know Jesus as their Savior? Have you heard the Word of God so much during your life that going to church has become a habit, rather than a privilege? Do people in your church believe you have turned your life over to Christ, but you know that you have doubts that the Bible is the inspired Word of God? Do you believe that your life is what you make of it and that God has no involvement in what happens to you?
I knew a woman who had been raised in a Christian home and attended a Christ-centered church all of her life. In her youth, she married a Christian young man, but they divorced. She gave money to her church, decorated for special church banquets, and invited visiting missionaries to her home for dinner. Yet, throughout her life, no one in her family ever remembered hearing her give a witness of her faith in Christ. She never said, "I'll pray for you," to anyone--not even her children. Some family members remember hearing her scorn their belief in prayer.
The pastor of her church thought she was a Christian, but he knew her only as a regular church member and an occasional participant in church functions. Her friends in the church thought she was a believer, but they just saw her working to make the church dinners look elegant, or they enjoyed a delicious dinner at her home when she hosted a missionary. Those who were closer friends and socialized outside of the church saw only a polished, attractive woman who was well traveled and talented--a woman who could talk about anything, except the Bible.
When news came that she had only a few weeks to live, the question was still unanswered. Was she ready to meet the Lord?
It is hard to understand how a person can hear the message of the Bible year after year and not respond. Do we assume everyone who attends our churches regularly is a Christian? Do we listen for words of a person's love of the Lord, a mention of answered prayer, or a request for prayer? When we socialize with people in our church, do we ever talk about the Lord, or do we talk about children, work, hobbies, or travel? We don't always have to be quoting the Bible or discussing spiritual issues, but we should not assume someone is a follower of the Lord just because the person attends church on a regular basis.
Listening to the Word of God is not enough.
Regular church attendance is not enough. Giving money and being active in church is not enough. Only accepting Christ as our personal Savior will allow us to enter into eternal life. The Bible also instructs us to give verbal witness to our faith in the Lord. In Romans 10:9 God tells us, "If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (NIV).
Do not wait until the doctor tells you that you have only a short time to live. The woman in this article waited until the last moment to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord. Be honest with yourself. Are you desensitized to the Word of God?
By: Barbara Lighthizer