Have you noticed that if everyone who joined the church stayed in church, there wouldn’t be room enough to hold them? Have you wondered why they come into the church and then leave it?
1. People leave the church because they are disappointed in how Christianity is working in their lives. They have been taught a wrong idea of what the faith in Jesus Christ is supposed to do for them. For the most part, Christian evangelism teaches that people who accept Jesus Christ as their savior have taken the right step to a life where troubles and trials will be minimal. So, people are becoming Christians to make their lives easier and less stressful. Fear of God and fear of eternal torment in a place called hell are not taken into consideration. True followers of Jesus Christ live and die just like everyone else. Christians have the presence of Christ to go with them through trials, but they still have to go them. (Suggest reading Romans chapter 8 – especially the last five or six verses. And remember Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee)
2. People leave Christianity because they are disappointed in people who call themselves Christians. Anyone, Christian or not, who has paid attention to people who call themselves Christians will likely be able to list at least five so-called Christians who are terrible hypocrites. They can probably list at least five more who are just trouble makers. These ‘Christians’ may be obeying some of the commandments most of the time, but they are also the ones in the middle of strife and disagreement in the church. People like that eventually hurt every single person in the church. Never the less, they and their gossipy cronies are faithful to attend church and put something in the offering plate. If they would look to Christ Himself for their example, the imitators of Christ would not be so troubling to them.
3. People leave Christianity because they were never really part of it. They went into the church for a specific reason. Perhaps someone wanted a Christian for a spouse, but the desired person refused to marry a non-Christian. Adam wanted to marry Eve. Eve takes him to church a few times; he goes through the sinners prayer,; he sticks with church fairly faithfully long enough to make Eve think he really has converted; She marries him; and his faithfulness to the Lord evaporates. Or a group of businessmen who call themselves Christians seem to be doing better than others in the same business. The owner of the faltering business joins the church thinking his business will prosper. It doesn’t, so he leaves. If the uncompromising truth of the way of salvation was being preached from the pulpit with conviction and passion, perhaps a few of these people would recognize the truth and respond to it, no matter what their original reason for attending church.
All these people have something in common. They expected something from joining a church that they did not get. They had a specific agenda in joining the church, whether it was an easier life, a group of perfect people, or a life of material prosperity, they all expected things that are not promised by God in the Bible. When they didn’t get what they were expecting, they counted Christianity as a failure and walked out. They may have never even heard much less considered that they are sinners separated from God by their sins. (Sins are things you do that break the commandments. It doesn’t matter if it is a big sin or a little sin. It is still sin.)
To set the record straight, Christians need to clearly tell the truth. Church is something you do in obedience to the teachings of the Bible. Truth is seldom popular, but that doesn’t change the truth or make it less important. There is nothing as important as the truth. And, church attendance is not what gets you into heaven. Turning from your old life to a new life in Jesus Christ is what actually assures a believer of a place in heaven.
The truth is people need to get saved so they won’t go to hell. Escaping eternal damnation is a lot more important than escaping the troubles that come in this life. I know that is dreadfully old fashioned and totally unpopular idea. However, it is definitely the truth. Fear of hell is a highly motivating factor. The reality of hell calls for a decision. Either you do what is necessary to escape hell, or you go to hell. (Thank God He has given us a clearly defined plan for being saved from hell.)
There is a giant difference between heaven and hell.
In hell there is torment.There is nothing good.
There is no hope for change or escape.
There is no friendship.
Hell is eternal for those who go there. There is absolutely nothing in the Bible that says people eventually get out of hell. People in hell remain un-repentant.
Take a look at Lucifer. The Bible tells us he will be chained for 1000 years in hell during the Millennium Kingdom. Yet when he is let loose for a little while, he does not repent or beg for mercy. He comes out of the pit filled with hate and encourages rebellion in the world. He was totally unrepentant. And so will all the people be who go to hell. They will never repent or acknowledge their sins. The Bible says, ‘It is appointed unto man once to die and after this the judgment’. (Hebrews 9:27) Also consider the rich man who was in torment and saw Abraham across the great gulf. Did he cry for mercy or show the slightest bit of repentance? No, he still saw himself as the boss. He wanted Abraham to send the former beggar who had lived by the gate of his house to bring him water. He had no thought of repenting for the evil he had done and certainly not of apologizing to Lazarus for his lack of compassion on the poor sick man while they were both living. He was the same, without repentance. Even after eons of torment in hell, he will not be fit for the kingdom of heaven because he is without sorrow over his sins. Both Lucifer and the rich man still have their pride.
In heaven there is eternal love, peace, joy, hope, contentment, satisfaction, and more than we can even imagine. Heaven will not be a boring place. According to 1 Corinthians 2:9, ‘But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.’
Given the two choices, what stops people from taking the road to heaven instead of the road to perdition? Pride. Pride is the deciding factor.
Along with pride is the power. Although it is a delusion, people prefer to believe they have some sort of power that will allow them to enter heaven on the basis of their own merit.
Greed is another deciding factor. Earthly riches and wealth are not forbidden by God. However, these things must be gained while staying within the boundaries of behavior set down by God in the Bible. This may prevent some people from considering Christianity, although today terrible filth is accepted in many churches, so that isn’t as important as in the past.
All these reasons are real, and there are many more. These are simply examples of the sin nature in all of us. We are born with a bent to do wrong. Our bodies are born to wear out and die. It is basically a lose lose situation. Still, rather than acknowledge there is an insurmountable problem, the many of the lost will stick with their pride, their power, and their greed.
Every reason could probably be combined and explained with the original sin. Eve and Adam thought they could be like God if they disobeyed God and ate the fruit. Satan tempted them, and they fell for it. However, if they hadn’t been proud to begin with they might not have fallen for the story. If they hadn’t thought they could have power to make their own way into heaven, perhaps they would not have fallen. Perhaps they were greedy, wanting the wealth and riches that belong to God.
These are all things that can encourage people to follow the broad way to perdition. I am sure there are many more. Christians, true believers in Jesus Christ, cannot turn all the lost to faith in Jesus Christ. But we surely cannot turn any to Christ if the truth is not told.
Jesus is the way into heaven. On the world of God Himself, Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. No one can go to God the Father except through Jesus Christ the Son. (condensed from John 14:1-6)
Honestly, the only real recourse of true followers of Jesus Christ is to tell the truth. The silly worldly tactics that draw people into Christianity for selfish reasons will not lead to true conversions. Once they are disillusioned and reject Christianity, it is much more difficult to gain their interest again. In their minds, they have ‘tried Christianity’ and it just didn’t work. They don’t know following Jesus is a decision, once made, from which there is no turning back.
It will always be far better to tell the truth to the lost instead of try to reel them into the fold with false teachings, or teachings that are so watered down as to have no strength in them. All they get is a false idea of what Christianity is all about.
True converts decide to follow Jesus because they have heard the truth and took it to heart.
Where ever Christians are, whatever their position in the world, whatever their influence, they can make a difference by just telling the truth that:
Everyone is separated from God Almighty by their sins. That means God is perfect and they are not.’ (Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.)
Through Jesus Christ there is a way to be reconciled to God.’ (Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.)
God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.’ (2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.)
The way of salvation is made clear. ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved.’
(Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.)
We won’t turn the entire world to Christ, but we can turn some. To those people it will make a difference for eternity.
Galatians 6:9 gives us our instructions. It says, ‘And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.’
To keep telling the truth is the duty of every Christian.