PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Communities

November 12, 2010

Pastor's Corner: Why tell anyone about Jesus?

NEDERLAND — Years ago a man I know sat across from me and we were speaking about the future of the church, not a particular church, but the church in general.  We spoke of the years he had spent in the church as a child and how over his lifetime he had seen the church decline in attendance and he couldn't understand why.  He told me that he thought that the generations had gotten lax and had failed to comprehend the value of the church and would suffer in the end.  When I asked him about evangelism and what the church could do to reverse attendance, he made a startling, yet not uncommon, statement.  He said, “Well, you know, I have never needed to tell anyone about God… I live my life in a Christian manner, I treat people well, and I'm basically a good person.  I don't have to actually tell people about God.” 

Really?   What happened?  It is clear that something had happened in this man's life to make him think that sharing his faith in the lordship of Jesus Christ was not only unimportant, it was not needed at all.  Somewhere along the line he had gotten the message wrong. He had gotten the message that the church was some king of social agency.  It simply existed to help the poor and needy.  While that is certainly a noble cause, the church doesn't exist for that purpose.  Social outreach is a by-product of Christians who care.  The church exists for two reasons, to worship God and to tell people about Jesus. 

So here is the big issue.  Why did the church fail to communicate the importance of telling others about the joy and incredible life one finds when living in a relationship with Jesus Christ?  My opinion… the church failed to impress upon its members the dire nature of life without God.  That's right, the church failed to acknowledge a place called “Hell.”  Here's the kicker.  If you believe there is a God and God exists, then you really might want to believe that being without God is Hell.  In a recent poll, over 40% of people polled did not believe in a place called Hell.  And there are many who believe in a place of fire and torture and others who believe it is a metaphysical place of absence with God, either way, neither is a pleasant state of being.  The Bible is clear about it, there is a hell and it isn't a party.  It is a place to destroy Satan, demons, and unbelievers.   

Do people just not take the possibility of Hell seriously?  That is possible. I don't want to come off as judgmental.  I certainly don't know who will or will not go to heaven, but I do know that I want as many people to go to heaven as possible.  I want people to know that God is wonderful and life with God will be wonderful.  Life without God is empty, unfulfilling, and ultimately worthless. 

Finally, I want to go back to my friend in the first paragraph.  Sadly, he had the criteria wrong for who is a Christian.  He had been misled to believe that “good” people go to heaven and “bad” people go to hell.  Thus, in his mind, I believe, he thought that those who don't go to church (know God) would get what was coming to them and it was just.  Isn't it ironic… that is not what the Bible says at all.  Those who are good have no ticket to heaven. The ticket to heaven is given as a gift.  Good people don't go to heaven, forgiven people go to heaven.  All it takes is to realize that we are all broken and in need of God's gift of healing and, yes, salvation.  Please… share that information with someone you care about!   Until next time, Blessings!

Clay Faulk is pastor of Providence Presbyterian Church in Port Arthur.

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