A few weeks ago, I was meeting with a successful, middle age “Christian” who attended a good church regularly. However, he never appeared eager to talk about Jesus, was not known as a generous person or to volunteer. I asked him how he enjoys serving in his church. Apparently he's never served as a leader in any ministry, or as an elder, or deacon. “I don’t have the patience to sit in three hour consistory meetings to discuss where the piano should be placed,” he commented justifying why he wasn’t active at his church.
Over lunch, I asked him to describe his faith journey. “I’ve been a Christian all my life,” he said. “But I’d like to hear how that happened and what you do to keep following Jesus.” The blank look on his face told me volumes. Like so many men I meet, I think he had faith in his faith, but maybe not in Jesus, at least evidenced by his apathy toward living like a man who was in love with Jesus.
I don’t have a "faith-o-meter" to know if this man was truly born-again. But, if you simply read the book of James, chapter 2, verses 14-26, I fear for this man’s salvation. This much is clear; There is a faith that does not save. According to James it is a “dead faith.” Or in the words of Pastor John MacArthur it is “non-salvational faith.”
"As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead." James 2:26
Do you have someone like that man in your life? We can either just pray for their salvation, or take the risk to help them understand the danger they are in, ideally both.
I asked the man this question. “If someone asked you how they could be a follower of Jesus, do you feel comfortable telling them what they should do?” “No,” he admitted, “I’m not very good at that sort of thing.” But I wasn’t going to let him off that easy. “That's not surprising not many Christians know how to share their faith in Jesus, but if you’re interested I’d be happy to meet with you for a few weeks and give you some simple materials and ideas. Just pray about it and let me know.” I’m still waiting.
Was that a failure on my part? I don’t think so. For sure my questions made him uncomfortable. But in my experience, that’s exactly what ought to happen to religious people, people of "faith,” when they are asked to talk about Jesus. They ought to feel guilty, or at least curious why the idea of sharing Christ with another person is so scary to them. The alternative is to let these kinds of people march off into what may be a Christ-less eternity because no one cared enough to make them uncomfortable.
If a person’s face or name came to your mind while reading this blog, maybe even your own, the Holy Spirit might just be giving you your next assignment. If that scares you, why?