One of the criticisms levelled at Global Warming advocates is that their actions do not always match their Doomsday predictions. They are accused of preaching imminent global destruction but living as though there is plenty of time.
Spiritually speaking a similar criticism can be levelled at most Christians. We too can be accused of preaching imminent global destruction—at the return of Christ—but living as though there is plenty of time.
Nowhere is this more evident than in our personal relationships. For a group of people who are expecting to be ‘beamed up’ to heaven at any second, we often show no visible evidence that we care about those who will not be joining us.
It is not my aim to ‘guilt-trip’ anyone. Instead, I too need to be challenged to adjust my life to the immediate needs of the souls that surround me. Non-Christians must be taught the Gospel, believers must be encouraged to grow, and the wayward Christian must be called home.
It is this last group that I would like to briefly focus on.
Those who have left us generally fall into two groups: Firstly, those who just stop coming, and secondly, those who have been asked to leave—disfellowshipped—because of unrepentant sin.
“Disfellowship” is a word that is not spoken out loud anymore. In fact, it is a word that should strike terror into all of us. When a Christian persists in open rebellion to the Lord’s commands he is no longer in fellowship with the Lord, and thus, is no longer to be in fellowship with the church—we do that which is done in heaven.
Scripture tells us plainly how we must treat the disfellowshipped: “Do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother” (2 Thessalonians 3:15).
These wayward brethren must never be able to accuse the church of not caring about them. If anything, even in their rebellion towards God, they should be overwhelmed with our love, and our desire to have them back among the saved.
As believers prepared for Jesus’ imminent return, we desperately want everyone to join us in heaven.