Vol. 6, No. 11
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The responsibility of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and pleading with sinners to obey this call belongs to the church of our Lord (Mark 16:15; 1 Timothy 3:15). We are to be persistent in our efforts in leading others to Christ. The body of the Lord is to continue this great work that our Savior began while he lived on this earth (Luke 19:10). We should never grow weary in this tremendous challenge. However, there is also a need to recapture the saved that have become lost. That is indeed strange but it is a perpetual problem that plagues and perplexes the spiritually strong members of any congregation. Interested Christians spend a great deal of time and effort in bringing a lost soul to Christ and at the same time become disturbed when they witness the losing of the saved. In other words, we win a few and lose a few. If we could retain all those who have been baptized into Christ, our church buildings would be filled to capacity. Elders, deacons, preachers, teachers and all faithful Christians become frustrated with the loss of members and often ask, "Who is to blame?"
While there may be the case in which many are to blame if the proper care has not be shown to the erring, the Lord himself dealt with this serious problem in the parable he gave regarding the sower who went forth to sow the seed, as recorded in Luke 8:4-15. The seed (Word) was not different as it fell into the various soils (hearts). The difference was in the soils (hearts). Many members, having no real depth in Christ, fall to the various temptations of Satan. Others permit the various cares and pleasures of this world to lure them away from maturing in spiritual matters. They find no time to meditate on God's infinite grace and love, to pray, study the Bible, attend the periods of worship, and visit the sick or to teach the sinner of the love of God.
How many Christians have wept silently as they have seen souls won by Satan in spite of the manifested interest, love and concern on the part of the spiritual members of the church. How discouraging to know that the devil has captured the heart of an unfaithful member of the church. Our wayward brothers and sisters should observe the warning in Hebrews 6:4-6, knowing that they are crucifying to themselves the Son of God afresh and putting him to an open shame. Those who have wandered away from God, as did the prodigal son in Luke 15, should come to their senses, realize their lost condition and repent of their sins, and pray to God for the forgiveness of their trespasses (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:8-10).
Now, having said all of that, we are not released from our responsibility of making every effort to bring the wayward brother or sister back to Jesus Christ. In Galatians 6:1, the apostle Paul instructs us in this manner: "Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you, who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted." This is not an option but Paul makes it obligatory on the part of faithful brethren to reach out to the weak and erring brother or sister and encourage him or her to repent of unfaithfulness. If this is done and the wayward child of God is rescued, a soul will be saved "from death and a multitude of sins will be covered" (James 5:20).