“For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.” 2 John 7-11, NASB.
I received some heart-wrenching news this past week. A family that I have known for more than five years of my ministry in Pensacola has fallen under the deceiver’s sway and embraced the false religion of the JWs. (I know that is not politically correct. I am a pastor, not a politician.) I was sent a letter that they wished to disassociate with my church and never to be contacted again. I am working through my “God response” to this but I have been labored in my spirit and warring in my flesh for days now…seeking answers from God and taking mastery over my own “fix it” nature.
I have looked for someone to blame. I have blamed the family since they have not chosen to stand faithfully with the church and their confession of faith. I’ve blamed my church. Perhaps if our Life Groups had been more aggressive in connecting. Perhaps if we had embraced reconciling them during their long periods of absences.
I’ve blamed myself. I have ministered to this family NUMEROUS times through the years, at points of crisis. I’ve sent birthday cards, had Facebook chats, visited family members in crisis. Why didn’t I do more? How can a shepherd ever be comfortable losing a sheep?
Some of my associates would simply say they were never saved. They were never with us. Perhaps. I don’t know hearts. What I do know is the battle is not up until they take their last breath. Until then, there is hope.
I think I have found the place where my “blame” is rightly placed, though the responsibility to go to war for souls is not removed from me and from my church. Satan is a great deceiver and has used this false cult of a religion that denies the deity (God-ness) of Christ to cull vulnerable sheep from the herd and draw them into the butcher’s pen.
I have come up with a hundred responses of how to protect others in the future…how to seek to win these back…but they all have a common theme and it is for me and for my church and ultimately for every believer.
BATTLE STATIONS! We are at war with the devil. He is killing people we love and deceiving them into becoming killers of others through their naive propagation of false religions. We, the church, must not be complacent or patient or lax in our approach. We are called to war. If we do nothing, there will be, in this family alone, a half-dozen children and others who will spend eternity in hell…suffering for their own sins when forgiveness is only as far away as repentance.
WAKE UP CHRISTIAN! They are dying. We would not sleep as criminals broke into our homes and stole the lives of our children or our neighbor’s children. How can we sleep soundly when far more is at stake! Their spiritual death is eternal! This matters! Grieve with me and fight with me. Our Lord defeated the devil. He has no power…only sway in the hearts of others as he deceives. Fight him.
The names of these naive souls are at the forefront of my mind. I grieve. We must not lose others. 7 in 10 people in my neighborhood are in their exact same position. 7 in 10 of your neighbors. 7 in 10 kids at our partner schools. 7 in 10 Walmart shoppers. 7 in 10 of your co-workers. Most people you know are marked out for destruction and our King has ordered us to battle.
We must fight in His power until the last soul is won or He calls us home.