People want to believe what they want to believe. Wanting to know the truth is the first step to knowing the truth about reality. In the context of a coming apostasy, Paul revealed that those who do not love the truth would not be saved (2 Thess 2:10). Paul told Timothy of a coming time when many will not endure sound doctrine but seek teachers to tickle their ears (2 Tim 4:3–4).
Christians often struggle to let go of habits and traditions especially when believers tie these things into their beliefs. Many believers hold close their upbringing and very fundamental assumptions of life. Traditions and presumptions often undermine understanding the Scriptures. Every Christian must decide to put aside the wisdom of men for the truth.
The supremacy of Christ overcomes many false doctrines. The Christian faith did not come in mere sophistry of words. Jesus Christ is the radiance of God’s glory and exact representation of His nature (Heb 1:3). Christians must stand firm professing the greatness of Jesus Christ encouraging faith among their peers.
The Epistle to the Hebrews addressed Jewish Christians of whom unbelieving Jews were trying to persuade to leave Christ and forsake the assembly of the saints. The writer of Hebrews encouraged Christians to give more attention to what they heard from Jesus Christ and attested by those who heard Him (Heb 2:1–3). Believers were drifting away from Christ by not giving attention to teaching (Heb 2:1). However, God affirmed the teachings of those who heard Jesus by signs and gifts from the Holy Spirit (Heb 2:4). Christians have no reason to neglect the revelation of God from Christ.
The writer of Hebrews overwhelms readers with the greatness of Christ. God subjected the world to come to Christ (Heb 1:10–12; 2:5). God put all things under the subjection of Christ’s feet (Heb 2:6–8). God made Jesus lower than the angels when Jesus shared blood and flesh. Jesus suffered death for everyone (Heb 2:9). He became complete through suffering (Heb 2:10). Jesus is sinless and the source of holiness for all. He came in the flesh and blood so that He destroy the one who has the power of death (Heb 2:14). Christ became human in every respect to become a merciful and faithful high priest (Heb 2:17). His death made atonement for sins (Heb 2:17). For these reasons, no one should leave Christ.
What can Christians do to keep believers from leaving Christ? The faithful must continue to speak of Christ among Christians and unbelievers. The church needs the faithful to speak in the church. The church needs leaders who speak of Jesus when they sit and walk, lie down and rise up. This action will change the church and the world.
[First published at Dean Road church of Christ.]
Author says: What can Christians do to keep believers from leaving Christ? The faithful must continue to speak of Christ among Christians and unbelievers. The church needs the faithful to speak in the church. The church needs leaders who speak of Jesus when they sit and walk, lie down and rise up. This action will change the church and the world.
What needs to be done is for pastors to begin doing what the Bible teaches instead of being consumed by discussions of pastor’s salaries, prolonged minutiae meetings, setting the church budget, temperature of the sanctuary, loudness of the music, building maintenance, programs, entertainment, potlucks, sound equipment, and all the other trappings they have fallen into.
What they should be doing is teaching their congregants the rudiments of Holy Scripture. Ephesians 4: 12 lays out their principle responsibility, “to equip the saints for work of ministry”. That means teaching. Both 1 Timothy and Titus emphasize the need for Pastors to prepare Christians for service. One of the qualifications, therefore, for anyone to be a pastor is he must be “able to teach” (1 Tim. 3:3). Titus expands on that responsibility by stating “He must hold firm to the trustworthy Word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it” (Titus 1:9).
Pastors are not doing their job. Statistics show that less than 20% of a given church membership attend Bible Study classes or Sunday School classes. God explains that situation in no uncertain terms: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). They are not grounded in the Word and that’s why believers leave Christ and are destroyed, they have not been equipped by pastors with the knowledge they need to remain in the faith.
The Bible tells exactly why believers leave Christ. “Fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things to draw away the disciples after them” (Acts 20:29.30). Fierce wolves materialized because pastors failed in their duties. Not being seriously grounded in the Word, these people become “tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes”. (Eph. 4:14).
Succumbing to these influences because they are not able to defend the Word, presto, they are gone.
If the faithful have not been equipped (and they haven’t), they aren’t going to be able to live the Word and they certainly aren’t going to “speak” as this author proposes is the solution to the problem. That kind of thinking is illusory.