Church Members in Hell?
by Ray Geide
Jesus said an unusual thing to a captain of the Roman army. He stated that many would come to heaven from non-Jewish nations and sit down with the Jewish fathers, but the people who were supposed to be in heaven, the Jews, would be cast into outer darkness where there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt 8:11-12). This was unusual because Jesus himself was a Jew and his ministry was almost exclusively to Jews.
Why would he say such a harsh thing?
The Jews were good people. They believed in God. They read the Bible (the Old Testament). They went to the synagogue weekly, if not daily. They prayed everyday at sun down. They followed the law.
Yet they missed one very important virtue which this Roman captain had. That virtue was faith. In fact, Jesus was so impressed with this non-Jew's faith, that he marveled that he had not seen so great faith in all of Israel.
Faith is the act of believing, trusting, relying, and depending on something or someone. It is not only important; it is required in our relationship with God. Without it a person cannot please God (Hebrews 11:6) and without it a person will go to hell (John 3:36).
When I was a missionary in Russia and I talked to people out on the street, one of the first questions that I would ask is "Do you believe in Jesus?" The answer would always be yes. So I would continue talking to the individual about his faith. Inevitably, my interpreter (a seasoned Russian Christian) would turn to me in startled amazement and excitedly whisper, "Ray, he is not a believer."
It is one thing to say that you believe in Jesus and it is another to actually trust Him. Faith is something you do. The Bible clearly states this in James 2:14-26. Just saying you are a believer does not make you a believer.
I know people who would swear until they were blue in the face that they are believers, but their actions prove otherwise. When they have problems, they do not turn to God and say "I cannot handle this, You can, I trust You to take care of it." They have not even done this concerning their eternal destiny.
God is at least a billion times bigger than us. Not only does He see the whole universe but He also is aware of the smallest things that happen. He loves us more than anyone else. He is at least a billion times smarter than us. And He wants to help us in ways that we would never dream of. But instead of trusting God most church members turn their backs to His abilities and would rather trust themselves and things that they can see.
When my daughter was 5 years old we were shopping on a hot, Kansas, summer day. After parking the car, I opened the back door and reached in to pick her up. "No, I want to walk" she cried. I tried to explain to her that the black pavement was hot and she did not have any shoes on, but she still insisted that she was going to walk. You see, she did not believe me. She did not trust me.
So I finally gave in and let her walk. She slid out of the car onto the hot pavement. In an instant her attitude changed. She put her arms up towards me and cried, "Carry me, carry me."
The same thing happens with mankind. God warns them about life and hell and says "Trust me. Let me carry you." But people make all kinds of excuses. "I go to church." "I am good." "I can handle it." When they get out on the hot pavement, when problems come, they refuse to trust God.
If Jesus were here today He would declare the same warning against church members that He proclaimed against the Jews.
Whether they like it or not, church members who have not put their trust in Jesus will go to hell. What a horror to be thrown into the flames of hell and suffer forever in its torments with the realization that you went to church all of your life with faith staring you in the face and you didn't do it, you didn't trust Him.
There is one thing God wants you to do: Trust Him. The first thing to trust Him with is your eternal destiny.