Summary: Sermon dealing with unsaved church members.
Introduction: Dr. James Binney, the director of Moorehead Manor and editor of Issues of the Heart Journal, in an article titled, "Can Church Members Go to Hell?" said this:
When I first became a Christian, I assumed that all church going people were automatically qualified for the fast track into heaven. It was a given. After becoming a church member, then a pastor, I had to rethink the issue.
I have encountered many leaders who doubted their faith, others who could not clearly explain how they were saved, and even others who frankly admitted that they had never been saved. Imagine 20 pastors confessing their lost condition in one city! It happened...when George Whitefield preached in Boston. Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. said, "I have spent nearly my entire life in association with ministers. Nobody would tell you that every preacher in America is a saved man." (Dr. Jim Binney, Issues of the Heart, Fall 2000, p. 2).
Dr. Binney believes that many preachers are lost today. These preachers will be left behind when the rapture comes!
But the problem isn't just with preachers. Dr. Binney also believes that many church members are lost. He refers to several well-known church leaders to support his position:
Dr. Rod Bell, president of the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship of America, estimates that 50% of church people are without Christ. His estimate concurs with that of Bob Jones, Sr. ...in the 1940's he also fixed the estimate at 50%. Dr. B. R. Lakin estimated that 75% are lost. W. A. Criswell would be surprised to see even 25% of his church members in heaven. Dr. Bob Gray, longtime pastor of the prestigious Trinity Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida, once said that probably 75% of those he baptized were not saved. Billy Graham puts the figure at 85% while A. W. Tozer and Southern Baptist consultant Jim Elliff raise it to 90%. These are shocking figures to be sure, but not surprising...many such lost people find their way into the roles of the church through evangelism methods that are less than thorough...In a country boasting of coast to coast Christianity with thousands of church buildings and millions of members, it is hard to realize the depth of the problem...with 80% of the American public declaring that they are Christians. The reason that so many who think they are saved may actually be lost is traceable to a misunderstanding about the means of salvation. Many religious people are misled into believing they are genuine Christians because of some external criteria. This may be the form of their prayer at the time of salvation. It can also include a dependence upon feelings, going forward at a public meeting, or meeting someone's expectations in any regard about the means of salvation. The Bible warns against dependency upon the wrong things for salvation (Dr. Jim Binney, Issues of the Heart, Fall 2000, p. 4).
The truth is that whether you agree with those who estimate 50% or those who at 90%, it is shocking to think that that our churches are filled with people who think they are going to heaven and are not; that our churches are filled with the saints and the aints! In my opinion this problem of false conversion has been compounded by the seeker sensitive movement that has been popularized by men like Bill Hybels and Rick Warren and the "cheap easy believism" that men like Dr. Leroy Forlines warned about years ago. Listen to a statement made by Bill Hybels just a few short years ago;
"We made a mistake... What we should have done when people crossed the line of faith and became Christians, we should have started telling people and teaching people that they have to take responsibility to become self-feeders.
We should have gotten people (and) taught people how to read their Bible between services (and) how to do the spiritual practices much more aggressively on their own."
Hybels indicated that the emphasis on programs and meetings did not produce disciples.
Let me go one step further. What if the actual figures of genuine conversion was 40%, what that be acceptable? Or what if it was 25%, would that be acceptable? If you will let me, like Abraham who was trying to find 10 righteous men in Sodom, ask, what if the percentage of unconverted church members was 10%, would you find that acceptable? The answer to all these questions is a resounding no, no, no! What is to be done? Let's look at our text and see if we can learn anything that will help us to understand this phenomenon.
Exodus 12:37 And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children. 38 And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle. 39 And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual. 40 Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. 41 And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.