OceanSide church of Christ
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THE UNFAITHFUL LOSE OUT
Victor M. Eskew
Remaining faithful and steadfast is one of the challenges for every child of God. To the church in Smyrna the Lord said: “…be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Rev. 2:10. The writer of the book of Hebrews wrote his “word of exhortation” (Heb. 13:22) in hope of keeping the Jewish Christians of the first century faithful to God. In the book, there are many appeals to faithful service. “Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, let any man fall after the same example of unbelief” (Heb. 4:11). And again: “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward” (Heb. 10:35).
In every congregation of the Lord’s people, there are always those who are struggling with unfaithfulness. Some are new converts who have not yet grown enough in their faith. Some are good people who enjoy the cares and pleasures of life more than a close relationship with God. Others are Christians who are struggling with various temptations and sins. Still others have become disillusioned with the church because of wars and fighting between brothers and sisters in Christ. Then there are some who are fighting the daily battles of life. These hardships keep them in a depressed state. Sometimes they blame God for their difficulties.
Those who are unfaithful need to realize that their unfaithfulness is causing them to lose out on many things that are extremely beneficial to their lives. One of the things they lose out on is the worship of God. It was David who wrote: “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord” (Ps. 122:1). He was glad because the presence of God was within the temple (I Kings 8:10-13). At the temple, David could prostrate himself before God and praise his wonderful Creator and King. In the assemblies of the church, Christians still have this great privilege. Each Lord’s Day we bow before the Father’s majestic presence to pay reverence and honor unto Him (John 4:21-24; Acts 20:7). The unfaithful do not attend worship services. They miss giving homage to the great I AM.
Those who are unfaithful also lose out on Bible knowledge. The unfaithful are not found in Bible School classes. They do not hear the A.M. and P.M. sermons. They do not read and study the bulletin articles. They do not come to special classes that are offered. They do not attend gospel meetings. They seldom, if ever, pick up their Bibles at home. Home devotionals are a “no, no.” In essence, there is a famine in their lives. It is not a physical famine, but a spiritual famine (Amos 8:11). They do not eat the bread of truth, and they do not drink of the water of life. These individuals have forgotten the words of the wise Solomon in Proverbs 4:5-7. He wrote: “Get wisdom, get understanding: forget not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her; and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing: therefore get wisdom: and will all thy getting get understanding.”
Another important thing the unfaithful lose out on is fellowship with God’s people. The unfaithful separate themselves from their brothers and sisters in Christ. Often those in the world become their most common associates. These poor choices in relationships only keep them farther from God. Paul warned: “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (I Cor. 15:33). Solomon stated a similar truth with these words: “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed” (Prov. 13:20). Every Christian needs the fellowship of the local church. In his description of the body, Paul expressed this truth thusly: “And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you” (I Cor. 12:21). Yet, this is exactly what the unfaithful are saying. They believe they do not need the other members of the body of Christ. How foolish! How disillusioned!
In addition to the things mentioned, the unfaithful are also losing out on many opportunities to save the souls of others. Unfaithful parents will not save the souls of their children. Unfaithful members will not have a positive impact upon their family, neighbors, or co-workers. How can one who is unfaithful teach another the need to be a faithful Christian? Those in the world see the unfaithful’s lack of commitment and lack of conviction and want no part in a religion that seems to have so little meaning. The words of Romans 2:24 ring out to all unfaithful members: “For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.”
Unfaithfulness is not a good thing. Those who engage in it lose out. Sadly, if they do not repent, they will lose out in the judgment as well. “Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous; but the way of the ungodly shall perish” (Ps. 1:5-6). We close with the words of exhortation written by the inspired penman in Hebrews 12:12-13 to those who were struggling with unfaithfulness: “Wherefore lift up the hands which hand down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out the of the way; but let it rather be healed.”