I keep hearing people say the same idea in different ways. They want to bring their unsaved friends to church with the hope that the pastor will preach them down the altar and into Heaven. Basically, they want their pastors to do their jobs. This allows Christians to sit back and believe they are doing their part in soul-winning, allows unbelievers to check off “go to church” on their “to do” lists because they’ve graced God and the church with their presence, and creates an incredible burden on the pastor while weakening the church.
NEWS BULLETIN: THE CHURCH IS NOT FOR UNBELIEVERS
– The Body of Christ/Church is considered the bride of Christ. Christ wants to wash us with His Word, perfect us, and present us to Himself (Eph 5:22-33). Unbelievers can’t understand this relationship and our part because they still have a mind and heart that is in opposition to Christ.
– The church buildings are where Believers meet/assemble (Bible records churches in multiple locations such as in Smyrna & Corinth).
– Believers come together to encourage and exhort one another (Heb 10:26).
– The pastor’s job (leaders of the church) is to teach Believers.
“11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” – Eph 4:11-16
I’m not against unbelievers attending a church service if they want to hear the Word of God. The problem is that people keep comparing the church to a hospital stating everyone sick in sin needs to come in to get clean. To some extent that’s true, but it has grown to accepting all manner of sin and not calling members on it and allowing unbiblical practices to start and continue in church. Maybe the church members are afraid their membership will dwindle, they’ll offend people, they won’t be able to “reach” sinners, or something else. We’re not supposed to be unequally yoked with sinners, and the church is supposed to be different from the world.
– The early church dealt with blatant, unrepentant sin. – “5 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. 2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. 3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” – 1 Cor 5:1-5
– The Lord is the one that adds to His house, so our efforts to try to improve on His command to preach the Word and be instant in season & out of season is futile. – “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” – Psalm 127:1
– Churches do not need to resort to marketing tactics to figure out how to get people to come & join. Those that want Jesus will come to Him out just as sinners went to Him when He walked the earth. – “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” – John 6:37
So this causes people to ask, “How will my friend get saved?” – Well, he’s your friend. YOU know your friend. Instead of twisting his arm to try to get him to listen to a sermon with the hope that it will focus on salvation, you take the initiative to talk to your friend about sin and salvation.
Here are some reasons why it hurts the church:
– Elders/overseers/pastors are given the charge of feeding the flock of Jesus – not the goats.
“15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” – John 21:15-17
– If a pastor must adjust his sermon every week due to visitors that must keep hearing what salvation is before they can become Believers, it cripples the Believers already in the congregation because they should be learning more than “Who is Christ?” or “what is sin?” two years into their membership. The pastor can’t focus on holy living, being conformed to the image of Christ, or the deeper passages of the Bible because he must keep going over preschool lessons since the members of the congregation don’t see they have a responsibility to witness to others, and his congregation is filled with unbelievers.
“1 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. 2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.” – Luke 10:1-2
1) Notice Jesus doesn’t tell them to go find people and bring them back so He can teach them what they’ve been taught.
2) Notice Jesus’s earthly ministry is not yet complete, but His disciples are still encouraged to tell people the Gospel even though they don’t know everything. Jesus actually refers to them as “babes” in verse 21.
3) Notice Jesus tells them to pray for labourers because of how many souls are at stake. At no time do they pray for God to send people instead of them.
– When things Believers need to know aren’t taught (such as the importance of staying in the Word), and baby Christians hear the same thing for weeks, months, & years on end, they begin to believe they are okay continuing whatever lifestyle they have. When people see them, they don’t know how to answer basic questions about their faith, they don’t know anything about witnessing, and they see those following Biblical Christianity and consider them extremists. One of the phrases you’ll hear is, “Oh, it doesn’t take all that to be a Christian. She’s overdoing it.” This is why we have people that will claim to have been Christians for 40+ years and be in the same place as the woman who just gave her life to Christ.
“12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” – Heb 5:12-14
When we understand the command to “Repent, and believe the Gospel” is for everyone, that God’s wrath is real, hell is the destination for anyone unsaved, and that we are the instruments through which God can use to spread His message to others, then we will understand that God means for all of us to participate in that command instead of passing that responsibility on to our pastors. The pastors’ responsibility is, primarily, to us for our edification, and our responsibility is to share our witness with those outside the church.
“A” church is a physical gathering place. “The” Church is the body of Believers – you. The first thing you can do to witness to your friend is get serious about your faith and live it. Your friends will pay more attention to your lifestyle than to your words, especially if they don’t match.